It’s a seminal console FPS, proving the genre didn’t have to be PC-only if developers could find a unique slant. And this is exactly what Rare managed to do back in the mid-90s.
As you know, GoldenEye 007 has 18 main storyline levels and two bonus levels for completing Secret Agent and then the über tough 00 Agent setting. Below I have ranked all 20 levels based on how much I enjoy replaying them individually.
20. Surface 1
Its non-linear environment is a definite positive; being able to roam freely around helps make the stealth element more engaging. However, the environment is drab and sparse and the objectives through all difficultly levels aren’t anything to shout about. I only re-play this if I am recompleting the game.
I like how similar to the film its environment is but that’s as far as my enjoyment for this level goes to be honest. It’s a small, linear level really; the tank is slow and there’s no real skill involved in completing the objectives.
18. Surface 2
The redeeming feature from the first Surface is that the objectives are more of a challenge. It’s still drab though – a shame the Xbox Live version didn’t see the light of day because it really spruced up the visuals of this level.
I do like racing through for the target time cheat but it is far too linear and repetitive to have longevity in the enjoyment stakes. Scientists just get in the way too….
16. Bunker 1
Its semi-non linear structure allows for some stealth – picking off cameras and enemies hoping for minimal disruption. However, I just can’t get over the missing sections that suddenly appear in Bunker 2 and link the whole facility together. It just makes Bunker 1 not feel quite right…
It’s so far down my list because of the utter underwhelming feeling I got playing it for the first time once I had toiled through 00 Agent. It just didn’t feel worth the trouble at the time. Although facing off against Baron Samedi is cool and the level has so many nooks and crannies for enemies to pick you off from. Some skill is needed.
Jungle reminds me of Turok’s opening quite a bit – the scenery and fogging create a foreboding atmosphere. A player does need to sneak through and carefully pick people off in the early stages in order to conserve health for later on. I like facing off against Xenia as a bit of a mini boss and the weaponry gets fun. The biggest challenge is the target time because your usual tactics have to go out the window.
I can still get lost on this level! For some reason that’s why I like it and re-play it. I have never really managed to learn its layout off by heart and I probably won’t. However, for some, I can see why this level might be a bit drab and easy to fly through.
This is quite a clever level because of the designers’ use of repetitive scenery to confuse the player and get them lost. If one memorises some certain junk in the level then it isn’t too hard to whizz around, however. Bad guys can pop up from anywhere around you and the flight recorder can land in a few different places to keep you on your toes.
11. Bunker 2
A much better version – the player can roam freely through the corridors and rooms in any chosen direction in order to complete objectives as efficiently as possible. The challenge leaps between Agent and Secret Agent – one must decide on a tactic for completing it and stick to it. For example, I methodically pick off every bad guy in the level – there are 50-odd by the way – and happily let it take as long as it needs. Some like to race through completing objectives and killing when necessary. However, this doesn’t work for me.
What I like about it is that the level is linear in terms of completing the objectives and subsequently getting to the train yet there’s so much to explore and roam freely for if you’re on Agent, for example. I remember exploring every corner of every place looking for some sort of secret or Easter Egg. It also gets super tough on 00 Agent so a good level all round.
Driving through the streets in a tank, crushing anything in your path is still a lot of fun even if it is rather slow. Yet, on foot, there are back streets to explore and objectives to complete on harder settings. On foot is also the best way to complete the target time for a cheat – just get your head down, memorise the route and strafe your heart out!
This is a brilliant level for many reasons: a mixture of linear and non-linear structure for completing objectives; a well-pitched difficulty increase; lots of different scenery in the facility with some good visuals still; and a hugely tense battle at the end both in protecting Natalya and the subsequent race to the end. Yes, protecting her is annoying and massively tough on 00 Agent but it makes the level what it is. It’s at number eight because it is one of the toughest levels in the game and will drive you insane on 00 Agent.
A huge, sprawling level that can be raced through with expert marksmanship or taken slowly with stealth. Objectives’ challenge increase well like in Control but it feels more achievable on 00 Agent. Again, some good weaponry on display and it introduces some new scenery such as the doors and the corridors. I like how it can be tense at the end but not off-the-chart-tense like Control is.
Archives for me is fun because it is a race – get out of the room, get to Natalya, get out on to the streets. This race gets tougher and tougher as you up the difficulty and I don’t think there’s any other way to approach it. Stealth just doesn’t work on here and that’s tough!
Probably the most linear stage, a criticism of mine earlier on, but its linear nature creates a great feeling of claustrophobia on the train. There’s nowhere to hide, no method of escape from fire other than ploughing forward. Therefore, one must be on one’s best form to pick off everyone as quickly as possible especially on 00 Agent. Although experts can memorise their appearance, I like how enemies pop up behind you, follow you and can cause loss of health if one forgets. Also, try to kill Trevelyan at the end – apparently it’s possible!
This one is a little nostalgia-driven because for 99% of us, it was our first experience with the game and the opening level epitomises my love for GoldenEye 007 because of this memory. It is still a good level – large and even larger when you have to explore what is going on underneath the surface of the dam. Some combination of blasting enemies and picking them off covertly is the best approach and, if you have an Action Replay, you can reach that fabled island across from the dam!
Another race – this time in pursuit of Trevelyan once and for all. It’s tough because of the enemies ; they’re not your priority for once! Sometimes you need to get them if they’re in your way but ultimately the death of Trevelyan is your goal and this needs to be the focus. Well-placed head shots get him to say “Finish the job, James!” quicker and this is your aim. I like it because it has the right level of tension and a variety of FPS skills are needed to complete it. Chasing Trevelyan around is fun and the level is the right size for this kind of objective. Pitched well all round by the +Rare Ltd developers.
A fantastically well-pitched level. From picking off a faeces-full guard and dropping into the toilet, to blasting those bottling tanks, the level is full of great moments and challenge. It’s quite claustrophobic with little room to hide and pick off enemies. Racing through proves to be the best method and has to be in order to achieve that insanely difficult target time on 00 Agent. It’s so well-recreated from the film and is genuinely the most I feel like James Bond in this and any other James Bond game on any console. Sublime for me.
A superb level and a wonderful present from Rare for completing Secret Agent. In terms of reward satisfaction, this should have been given for completing 00 Agent but then not as many people may have got to enjoy it. It looks fantastic, it has an array of scenery and places to explore and it really challenges the gamer to use many skills to complete the objectives. Not only that, you get to battle Jaws. Jaws! Yes, you can just get face-to-chest with him and blast him to death but that doesn’t matter because it’s surreal to be battling him in the first place. We are introduced to the laser gun and your aim is to get that rocket into space. I love this level and happily replay it when I get the chance. It can still get me – I’ve never perfected it and this gives it longevity for me.
Steven Smith runs the N64Memories Twitter and Facebook pages as well as its blog – www.n64memories.blogspot.co.uk
Like it or not, Nintendo so far has proven the Switch as a worthy successor to the ill-fated Wii U. Then again, the more time individuals a part of that lucky 1.5 million club get a chance to play it, the clearer it becomes of how much of the Wii U’s DNA remains within the historic Kyoto, Japan-based developer’s first hybrid home/portable console. This is why it made sense for Nintendo to announce a sequel to Splatoon during the initial Switch reveal with a clever Esports tie-in.
When the original Splatoon hit the Wii U in 2015, critics and consumers alike praised the game for delivering an incredibly non-violent and child-friendly take on the third-person shooter dominated by the likes of Gears of War. To be honest, the team over at Nintendo EAD made the most genre-defying product since the original multiplayer fighter Super Smash Bros. in 1999. The squad/ink concept worked well mechanically, shooting rival Teuthida or things felt great, there was a layer of team strategy that rivaled its contemporaries and the visuals mixed highly stylized 90s cartoon aesthetic with an adequate technical display of Wii U’s low horsepower. All of that lead to well-deserved total sales of almost five million copies.
And, this is why Splatoon 2 could do for Switch what Super Smash Bros. Melee did Gamecube after trying out a few matches during the Testfire weekend. Taking a more “ain’t broke don’t fix it” approach, there are some significant additions that were noticeable out the gate. The biggest being the ability to play it exactly how one wants to thanks in part to the Switch’s design. I played some rounds on the sofa, while in bed and taking a shit. Literally, just like the commercial.
What can I say? I’m a busy man and those eight plus hour gaming sessions are difficult when you have a needy(and expensive as fuck) five-month-old. When on the commode, mobile os games from iOS to Android always felt like half-assed versions of things better done on either home or dedicated portable consoles. I refuse to play Mobile Strike, Candy Crush or Kim Kardashian Hollywood and console specific genre standards suck with a touchscreen.
And no, I’m not going to walk around with a PS4 controller just to play a five-year-old port of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. The fuck I look like?
But, I digress.
Keeping things serious, Splatoon 2 adds some new weapon types like dual wielding to keep things interesting and the visuals seem to be bumped up from its predecessor. This means 1080P and 60FPS which really makes a difference when playing online. Most importantly, it plays great.
Splatoon 2 is the game I can see my five-month-old enjoying when she gets around six or seven years of age before she hates me in her teens and becomes a fan of Halo 15 or Call of Duty: Insert Generic Adjective Warfare. One thing remains questionable, however. What’s the single player going to look like?
Isometric action RPGs fans normally use the Diablo II series as one of the gold standards. Who blames them? Like really, no need to go much farther. A studio who took that too heart was Grinding Gears Games when they dropped Path of Exile in 2013 following a lengthy development cycle and open beta. The free-to-play project was so good, that Gamespot called it the game that out “Diablo”d “Diablo” when the outlet gave it its’ PC Game Of The Year. Since then, Path of Exile averages around one million players a month with the average session lasting five hours long. Members of “The Master PC Race” obviously love it. Though freemium games get a bad rep for being lower quality than titles requiring single transactions, Path of Exile has always set an example of how to properly pull it off.
However, how does one translate that to consoles?
Both console version of Diablo III struggled to hold everything together control wise and still manages to damn near hold retail value even in second-hand markets. Outside of that, there isn’t much to fill that void of multi-class multiplayer dungeon crawlers. For the upcoming Xbox One port of Path of Exile, the game still remains free while featuring all the update’s including the upcoming Act 5: The Fall of Oriath endgame. From the time played during a press day in Culver City, it plays just as well as the PC version thanks to controls that at time feel more inspired Dragon Age: Inquisition and Gauntlet. All the character and weapon customization remain intact as well. As far as the visuals, it’ll probably go hand-in-hand with Smite as the best looking free-to-play title available for the console.
So yes, Path of Exile gets the console treatment without missing a step both mechanically and visually. And did we mention it was free and will retain its eight-player multiplayer? Though Microsoft’s second place console may be missing that killer AAA title, this might be exactly what they need instead.
Today marks the availability of the Legion Pre-Expansion for World of Warcraft. Servers will be down today until 11:00 PDT, so lets take a look at a few of the changes being made to the game.
Transmogrification is getting an overhaul and will closely resemble Diablo III’s system. Under the new system, whenever you have collected an equippable soulbound item, the appearance of that item will now be stored in a new collections tab called Appearances. Items under that tab will be account bound. You will be able to save outfits and swap them at the Transmogrifier. Also, whenever you change your character’s spec, your outfit will automatically change. Currently under the interface options you can hide helm and cloak. Those options will be moved to the transmogrifier along with the new option hide shoulders.
Player vs Player
A few changes will be made to PvP to prepare for Legion. Starting today, Honor Points and Conquest Points will be removed as currency. Items that were able to be purchased with the old currency will now be purchased with Marks of Honor, which can be earned through Battlegrounds, Arenas, and Skirmishes. Gear will be normalized during PvP combat. What this means is you will receive a pre-determined set of stats for your class specialization. Your item level will give a small boost to those stats. The goal of these changes is to provide a more balanced PvP experience to all players.
Other Notable Changes
Gnomes will have the option to be hunters, however there is no word on whether or not their pets will scale down to gnome height. The talent system will undergo some big changes. Dual specialization will be removed. Players may now change from any three (or four) specializations at any time, as long as they are out of combat. Major Glyphs will be removed from the game, as well as most minor glyphs.
The Legion Pre-Expansion Patch should get players hyped up for the new expansion, which releases August 30. World of Warcraft: Legion is available for pre-purchase starting at $50 USD.
I recently had the chance to talk with Ezekiel Rage, developer of Citidale: Gate of Souls, and discuss the upcoming indie game. Please have a look at our conversation
JB: Where/How did you get the idea to make your game Citadale – Gate of Souls?
ER: It actually started as a Castlevania fangame. I wanted to do a remake of Castlevania Legends. It was my first time using the engine I use and as such I figured creating a remake would teach me a lot about the program. And as development kept getting more complex and different from the original, I decided to make it its own thing instead of a remake.
JB: Obviously Citadale takes influence from the Castlevania series, but are there any other game series that Citadale was influenced by?
ER: There is a rather obscure NES game called Faxanadu that inspired me greatly. Another influence was the SNES game Demon’s Crest.
JB: Konami’s reputation has taken a beating over the last while. Do you think that will help you with promoting a game that is essentially a spiritual sequel to the classic Castlevania games?
ER: To be honest, I have no particular thoughts on that subject. I hope that the game will be doing well but whether the success of the game is influenced by Konami’s decisions or not is not something I am concerned about. I suppose this discussion would probably be worth having after the game has been released.
JB: You have some interesting ideas for this game, such as it being primarily played on the gamepad, while the TV screen shows a bigger map. What made you decide to do that?
ER: When I decided to port it to Wii U, which was in 2014, I thought that it would be an interesting way to play the game. Of course you can switch views at any given time or not use the GamePad at all, and we do support most input devices on Wii U. The main idea I had was a boss fight that would take up more vertical space than the TV can give you. I realized this boss fight in Stage 3, by the way.
JB: Besides Castlevania, what were some of your favourite games growing up?
ER: I am a HUGE Zelda nerd. I have a Zelda shrine, so to speak. I own all the games with packages and manuals, lots of merchandise, and I even have a Zelda tattoo. There was also game on Super Nintendo (and Sega Genesis, but the SNES version was better) called Maui Mallard in Cold Shadow – I love this game. Terranigma and Lufia are among my favorite games, along with the aforementioned Faxanadu, the classic Mega Man series and of course the Metroid series.
JB: What Castlevania games influenced this game the most? That is, besides Legends, what other games inspired the design and gameplay?
ER: Well the very first NES Castlevania was not only hugely influential on this game, but also on my younger gaming self. I also took some inspiration from Dracula X on SNES (yes, I know, Rondo is better), in that you can’t upgrade your main weapon for example.
JB: What were your favourite Castlevania games to play?
ER: Obviously I love Symphony of the Night. I am also very partial to Legacy of Darkness and Simon’s Quest. Super Castlevania 4 and Portrait of Ruin also rank among my favorites.
JB: With regards to the last question, what were some of your favourite game genres growing up?
ER: I love action adventure games, really. I like to explore interesting settings – be it old castles or intricate dungeons.
JB: Making this game focused on the Wii U could be considered risky at this time. What led you to that decision?
ER: I have been a huge Nintendo fan growing up. I always wanted to create a game for a Nintendo system so this was really an easy decision to make.
JB: What do you think of the indie scene on the Wii U?
ER: It is far bigger than most people think, and from what I can tell quite popular. Of course there are positive and negative examples but overall most Nindies are actually very good games.
JB: Do you have any plans to integrate Miiverse into this game?
ER: We actually do support Miiverse. We also have stamps in the game.
JB: What are your hopes for this game? Would you want to make a sequel if this does well?
ER: My hopes are that it does well enough to warrant a release of story DLC. I could do a sequel but I’d much rather release the continuation of the story as DLC – a sequel would use the same graphics and graphical style anyway, because I am a one man development team (well, one and a half, I have an amazingly talented programmer/publisher friend) and creating complex graphics is simply not within my field of expertise.
JB: Is there anything you would like to say to the readers of Real Otaku Gamer?
ER: Well, obviously I hope you check out my game and my upcoming projects. I would also like to thank you for taking the time for me and I wish you all the best 🙂
Thank you for taking the time to do this interview and good luck with the game.
You can follow Ezekiel Rage on twitter here and check out his website here
11 Bit Studios announced a new game at PAX Prime . The game is Jameson The Pilot!
According to 11 Bit Studios and the developer Rezoner, Jameson The Pilot is described as follows:
Jameson The Pilot is a space sim in which the players can do almost anything they want. They can be explorers, miners, traders, pirates or even… space bus drivers! Countless possibilities and the extensive system of customizable ships, guilds and quests create huge universe full of potential.
Check out the reveal trailer below:
Jameson The Pilot is set for Steam Early Access this fall!