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GoldenEye: Rogue Agent

Shooter / FPS video game by EA - Electronic Arts for the Xbox

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Goldeneye 2? Close, but no Martini

  • Feb 9, 2005
  • by
Pros: James Bond movie sets, generally fun gameplay, cool "eye" attacks

Cons: Nothing new, mediocre plot

The Bottom Line: For James Bond fans only. Fans of FPS games will be disappointed.

Goldeneye: Rogue Agent for Xbox is a fast paced first person shooter that
does not hit the bar of excellence that the first Goldeneye set. The name is the
only thing these two share. In the wake of titles like Halo 2, Rogue agent is
a follower, not a leader.

For the uninitiated, the original goldeneye for N64 was developed by Rare which
is now owned by Microsoft. The original Goldeney was a brilliant piece of work
intertwining the best of first person shooters with a great James Bond Story.
Then EA acquired the rights to make the sequel and now we have GoldenEye: Rogue

The story of GoldenEye is a typical James Bond story with a bit of a twist.
You begin the game playing an MI6 agent on a deadly mission only to be accused
of using excessive force. You are banished from MI6 and take up with some of
the most famous James Bond villains such as Goldfinger, Dr No, P-ssy Galore,
Xenia Onattopp, and a few others. Goldfinger decides to "install"
an eye upgrade which gives the you special powers. More on that in the gameplay
section. You quickly learn that some villain has acquired or created a doomsday
device and is threatening to blow up the world. As the story progresses, you
get deeper and deeper and mixed up with all those characters. As you'd expect
from bad guys, double crossing ensues and the story gets confusing and merely
filler for the time in between gameplay. The story isn't terrible, it's just
very James Bond which, by nature, makes it campy and unbelievable.
Lameness Alert: Didn't most of these characters die in their
respective James Bond movies? Oh well, no matter....

GoldenEye: Rogue Agent is a first person shooter and it never strays from
that formula. Unfortunately, the controls are different from other FPS games.
The thumbsticks presses are not used for anything probably due to this being
a PS2 port, and things such as crouch are mapped to buttons that don't make
sense. Why they couldn't use the standard Halo config that most other FPS games
use is beyond me.
Lameness Alert: Particularly annoying is that the melee attack
is mapped to the black button. And in the thick of battle, it is often difficult
to find it.

As you play along you get style points for things such as head shots, melee
attacks, grenade kills, and using environmental objects as weapons. These style
points can be used to unlock things such as concept art. Yawn. As if we're so
impressed with the game that we just have to get a glimpse
of the process to make it.
Lameness Alert: The big selling point of this game is that you finally
get to be bad. The problem is, you don't ever do anything bad in the
game. Headshots and style kills are all staple items of FPS games. There's nothing
truly evil about any of them so this area disappointingly falls flat. While
I didn't like The Punisher,
it knew how to do some truly evil things.

GoldenEye was one of the first games to allow the player to dual wield weapons
and Rogue Agent continues that legacy admirably. Each trigger fires the weapon
in the respective hands, and some weapons require two hands so you'll drop one.
In this case, the left trigger is the zoom for the weapon. I would have preferred
to be able to throw grenades, but that's only available when you're not dual-wielding
Lameness Alert: What, no jump?? you gotta be kidding....

The feature that sets itself apart from other FPS games is your upgraded cyborg
eye. Goldfinger gave you this eye and it begins with some small powers such
as the ability to see through objects. As you progress, it is upgraded to such
cool things as machine-disrupting magnets and the ability to pick up and throw
objects. What the eye does is chosen by the directional pad with help from some
subtle on-screen displays. This is the coolest part of the game and is almost
enough to separate it from the rest of the FPS pack. But alas, it isn't quite

Throughout the levels you are given some environmental-specific ways to kill.
You can drop machinery on someone, freeze them or light them on fire. While
sometimes interesting, these are static and planned and take some of the spontaneity
out of the game. Its like "oh, I see, this switch makes that chamber freeze.
Oh look, some bad guys happen to be running through this chamber right now..."

Like so many other games, the graphics in Rogue Agent go from good to bad. The
character animations are good. Each time I killed someone, the death collapses
are varied and nicely done. The environments are detailed and many of them recreate
scenes from James Bond films. I can see each individual hair on the bad guys
head when I've taken him as a human shield.

However, there are about 4 bad guy character models through the first several
missions. No matter if you're in Tokyo, some submarine thing, science lab or
whatever, you can be assured that you'll be killing lots and lots of guys who
all look to be related...
Lameness Alert: There's no blood! In what looks to be a huge sacrifice
to avoid an M rating, EA removed most, if not all, blood. Shoot someone in the
head and some blue stuff splatters out. Huh?

The environments are nicely done, but suffer from lack of bump-mapping or advanced
ligthing. This is obviously a port from the PS2. Get up close and heavy pixelation
is obvious in the textures. In addition, the environments are not huge like
I would expect from a next generation title. Not terrible, but not great. Certainly
not what I would expect in a GoldenEye game.

One thing that stands out and almost deserves a Lameness Alert (But this review
is already littered with them) is the first person hands and weapons. These
are quite badly modelled, use very few polygons and the melee attack animations
are laughable. Watch your character flail his arm about as he tries to whack
the bad guys. Truly dumb looking.
Lameness Alert: While the cinemas look good as pre-rendered cinemas go,
you can't skip them even if you've already seen them! Every stinking
time you launch the game, you have to see each developer's logo screen. And
the last cinema you saw must play in it's entirety. No skipping through it allowed.

When first playing the game, the music is pretty good. It's got an electronica
soundtrack that matches the action quite nicely. Keep playing, though and you'll
notice that it's the same kind of music throughout. It doesn't get annoying,
I just tuned it out after a while. I would have liked some variation.

The effects sound good, but nothing stands out as fantastic. Full disclosure:
I didn't play this on a very good stereo so it's possible I'm missing something.
Since the game is THX certified, I assume it has some extra oomph that makes
it look and sound better. Or perhaps it's just a way to line George Lucas's
wallet with more cash. No one knows.

The voice-acting is very well done and they managed to get some key players
such as Dame Judy Dench as M. However, your character has no voice which makes
the player feel very little connection. I dislike it when games do this. Apparently
there's the philosophy that the player is taken out of the game if the main
character talks. I disagree.

Multiplayer is better than campaign, supporting up to 8 players over Xbox Live
(as well as LAN and split screen). The game includes 20 maps from different
locales of James Bond Movies (i.e. The Golden Gate Bridge), and several game
types. But in the end, it amounts to the same FPS multiplayer that we've always
seen. Why play only 8 of your friends, when you can drop in Halo 2 and play
16 with full clan support and stat tracking? Rogue Agent's multiplayer support
would have been great 2 years ago when Xbox Live launched, but now it's been
eclipsed by so many titles that do it better.

This game is part of the GoldenEye franchise in name only. With mediocre single
player and multiplayer, I can only recommend it for true James Bond fans.


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About the reviewer
Jeffrey Kafer ()
Ranked #721
Voice over artist specializing in audiobook narration. Hear more at http://audiobook-voice-over.com/ and http://JeffreyKafer.com
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About this video game


As an aspiring 00 agent dismissed from MI6 for reckless brutality, the player is hired as an enforcer by Auric Goldfinger, the wealthy super-villain with a lust for all things gold. Goldfinger is locked in a ruthless war against his archenemy, the brilliant scientist Dr. No. The prize is control of the world's greatest criminal organization. A brutal encounter with Dr.
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Number of Players: 4
Publisher: EA - Electronic Arts
Release Date: November, 2004

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