GoldenEye: Rogue Agent Review

The touch screen works pretty well as a shooter controller.

GoldenEye: Rogue Agent comes to the DS a little time after the console versions of the game, but it still holds the distinction of being the first first person shooter available for Nintendo’s latest handheld system. The game really demonstrates the potential of the touch screen as a viable FPS controller and provides for some fun multiplayer gaming, but an overly difficult and lackluster single player campaign really weighs heavily on it.

The story in GoldenEye basically follows that of the console versions of the game. You are a former MI6 agent recruited by Dr. No after being fired for failing a mission, and are thrust into the middle of a super-villain war between Dr. No and Goldfinger. The GoldenEye in question here is not the satellite part featured in the Bond film GoldenEye, but rather a very special piece of technology in the form of a bionic eye. Your eye gives you access to four special powers that are gained over the course of the campaign: the ability to detect enemies behind objects, a remote hack that lets you disable enemy armor or access control panels from a distance, a shield to absorb enemy attacks, and a “Jedi Force push” style power ripped off straight out of Star Wars. In practice these powers are pretty underwhelming and you won’t find yourself using them much. In fact there is only one instance in the entire campaign where you actually need to use one of your powers so it seems that the game doesn’t really care much if you use them or not.

The control scheme takes a little getting used to, but once you do it works pretty well. You use the touch screen to control your facing, GoldenEye powers, and weapon selection, while the directional pad controls the direction of your movement. The left and right trigger buttons are used to fire the weapon in your corresponding hand and the Select button is used to perform special actions. The hand positions required to use this scheme are not really all that natural, but after some trial and error you’ll probably find a grip that works for you and you’ll be moving through the game’s levels without too much trouble. The use of the Select button is a bit awkward but is often necessary as the hotspot on the touch screen that performs the same function is not very precise. Another issue is that your health and armor are difficult to monitor as the gauges appear on the touch screen which is obscured by your hands in the middle of battles. Lastly, turning around 180 degrees is a lot slower than it should be due to the nature of the controls.

The single player campaign is quite short and very linear, but it will take you some time to make your way through it. Why? Well the game’s developers resorted to cheap tricks to make the game harder, hoping that this would hide the fact that there is not that much to the campaign. For example, enemies mysteriously spawn behind you or hit you with one-hit-kill weapons from hidden locations more times than you’d care to count. I’ve cleared areas in the game only to be hit while exiting the area by four rockets launched by guards that weren’t there a moment ago.