Developer faithfully recreating GoldenEye 007 multiplayer experience with Source.
Whether you’ve actually played GoldenEye 007, chances are pretty high you’ve at least heard of Nintendo 64’s smash hit game from 1997. It’s one of the most significant titles in the progression of the first-person shooter. One of the best things about that game was its multiplayer side, featuring a variety of endlessly enjoyable deathmatch modes and maps.
Unsurprisingly, GoldenEye holds a special place in many a gamer’s heart, but going back to it can be a painful exercise. When it first came out, its clunky controls, one-dimensional artificial intelligence, and stick figures with low-res photographs smeared on were the pinnacle of impressive (not to mention the shattering glass walls). As an unfortunate side effect of the genre maturing, these issues are now essentially holding hostage what is still a whole lot of fun gameplay. The multiplayer side, at least, desperately needs a modern interpretation.
The alternatives have been fairly disappointing. Although there’s seemingly no end to GoldenEye maps under various other PC titles, such as Counter-Strike, you’re still ultimately playing whatever the host game is. Disappointing, that is, save for one particularly promising Source-based game.
Called GoldenEye: Source, it started as one guy’s dream way back in late 2004. Fast forward to now, and it’s in a playable beta state, with a sizeable collection of developers hard at work recreating the entire multiplayer experience from the original game using the Source engine. The attention to detail is actually quite stunning, with the remade maps being nothing short of gorgeous, particularly from a nostalgic point of view. Weapons and how they behave, maps, game modes, character selection, menus – everything presently in the beta is faithfully reproduced, yet in a very polished and modern interpretation. These guys are all clearly big fans of the original.
“GoldenEye: Source is a modification of Half-Life 2, with only one goal in mind; to bring the memories and experiences from the original GoldenEye 007 back,” explains the developer. “We want you to look at this mod and remember the first best multi-player first-person shooter ever made.”
Although far from finished in its present beta form, it’s already succeeded in that arena. Aside from featuring a long list of achievements players can earn, it currently includes nearly all multiplayer modes as found in the original game. These modes consist of normal free-for-all deathmatch, ‘License to Kill’ where bullets kill opponents in one hit, ‘You Only Live Twice’ where if you’re killed twice you’re out of the match, and ‘Man With the Golden Gun’ in which everyone hunts down whoever is holding the one-shot-kill golden gun – excluding the latter, all other modes support team-based play. It even has a paintball option.
On top of everything, it’s the many small things the developer has reproduced that really adds to the experience. Blood seeping down over the screen when you die, for example, or the curved health/armour bars and the 007-inspired theme music playing in the background. You can also still shoot the hats off opponents. Karate chopping with your ‘slapper’ (hand) remains an option and the relevant maps still feature fake walls, including the ones you just walk right through. We even get the trusty throwing knives again.
Currently in beta, the developer has just released a rather big update, taking the version to beta 3.1. It’s already busy working on beta 4, and this promises up to four new maps on top of the existing thirteen, which currently includes ‘classic’ maps based on the low-detailed originals for the traditionalists among you.
Overall, this is one very exciting mod for fans of the original game, but I suspect also for anyone else into fun, heavily-themed first-person shooters. Even though it’s a tad on the buggy side, I still had to tear myself away from it to write this, so it meets my ‘hell of a lot of fun’ requirement. The legality of it is the one main thing I’m concerned about, and hopefully this won’t bite the mod in the arse as it inevitably grows in popularity.
To install and play the beta, you need to make sure you own at least one full game that uses the Source engine and then grab the roughly 520MB installer from here. If you can spare the time, be sure to let the developer know your constructive thoughts, as this is one project that deserves your attention.
See below for the most recent trailer of beta 3.1, uploaded over the weekend. The last clip teases over a remarkable hour and a half’s worth of theme music they’ve created specifically for the game.