GoldenEye 007 is considered one of the best first-person shooters of all time. While movie adaptation video games can end up being pretty terrible, Rare did a fantastic job with the James Bond license and bringing the 1995 film starring Pierce Brosnan to the digital sphere.
GoldenEye 007’s cinematic focus inspired future story-driven games in the first-person shooter that focused on some spectacle and scripted events as opposed to the straight gameplay style of Doom and Quake. If you’re a Bond movie fan and watching GoldenEye, it’s hard not to see where the film and the game intersect.
8 Janus Control Room
While Rare had to take some liberties with the plot of GoldenEye because some moments in the movie don’t exactly scream fun video gameplay, the designers went to great lengths to replicate locations from the film itself. The Russian bunker GoldenEye Control Room and the Janus Control Room in the N64 version are faithful 3D recreations of their movie counterparts.
Watching the movie and then playing through the game gives you that moment of realization that “wow, this is the same set as the movie!” right down to how the walls are laid out and the funny staircases. This immerses you further into the setting, as it’s more realistic and less “a cool video game level.”
7 The Dam
The Dam level is considered one of the best opening levels in video games. It faithfully recreates that attention-getting scene to begin GoldenEye, where Bond sprints across the top of the dam and takes a bungee cord to leap below. If you had seen the movie before you played the game, you immediately knew what to do to exit the level.
Rare did a great job putting the iconic layout of guard towers and bunkers at the start of the level. It was an excellent introduction to the sniper rifle, body armor, guard alarm, and explosive barrel mechanics. The game designers were newcomers to video games, but that may explain the more realistic and organic designs we see in levels like The Dam.
6 The Bathroom
The opening part of the Facility showed how much Rare enjoyed and cared for the GoldenEye movie. There is a small but memorable moment where Brosnan takes out a guard sitting on the toilet. Now, this doesn’t exactly scream “great video game material!” but Rare turned this into something most kids of the ’90s remember.
While you don’t drop and punch a guard in the bathroom stall, you can quietly headshot him and move on. The level recreation of the bathroom area and the stairwell outside are spot-on from the movie. Who knew a toilet kill would be the uber moment of GoldenEye?
5 Bottling Room
While the Facility level departs from the movie after the bathroom scene regarding how the film goes, the level’s ending expertly recreates the cinematic moment of 006’s apparent death and Bond’s escape from Soviet guards.
The movie setting and the in-game room are spot-on recreations, and the escape through the conveyor belt is all here too. From Bond running around putting mines on all the tanks to Sean Bean dying, again, you get this overriding feeling you’re in GoldenEye during this level.
4 Escape From The Archives
While GoldenEye 007 could have some cinematic moments, they were somewhat limited, so it was interesting to see how the designers were going to carry out the interrogation room escape by Bond.
It’s different from the movie (which, by the way, is some of the best Bond you’ll see), but the spirit of a hopeless situation being turned on its head is achieved. While we have to wonder why the guards put a loaded gun in front of a foreign spy, it’s something they do in the movie, so you can’t blame the game designers for this plot hole.
3 The Tank
To this day, the tank sequence of the GoldenEye movie is jaw-dropping. Crashing a T-54 tank through a wall for a chase is something Rare needed to at least try to put in their movie video game. While it’s nothing like the chase in the movie, it set the stage for FPS vehicle mechanics for years to come.
This level also did an excellent job of capturing the mayhem that driving a tank through St. Petersburg would have. This tank chase would have been noticeably absent if it hadn’t been included. Every N64 player of the past got a big grin when they saw the tank sitting there, ready for use.
2 The Cradle
Using N64 technology, it is incredible that Rare could pull this off. The final confrontation with Trevelyan is on the cradle of a satellite dish, which has now collapsed in real life, in close-quarters hand-to-hand combat. These days the boss fight might be done with quick-time events or moved from a small platform to a bigger arena space altogether.
GoldenEye 007? Nope, you fight Trevelyan as Bond does in the movie, chasing him down to a small platform where you can dispose of him via a gun or karate chops if you want to go for the authentic experience. Rare even adds Bond jumping on the helicopter at the end.
1 Cutting The Floor Out Of The Train
You were never more aware of the N64 controller’s limitations than during this part of GoldenEye 007. In the movie, Bond has limited time to cut himself out of an armored train. In the video game, the designers give you a minute to get out before you die, and it’s some of the most stressful laser-zapping and best “beat the clock or you die” fun you’ll have in a video game.
The designers even throw in Natalya tracking Boris back to the Janus headquarters. Getting her off the train and to safety is equally as difficult as it looked during the movie. The train level as a whole is a fantastic experience and may be why we got all these darn corridor shooters.