GoldenEye: Rogue Agent Review

GoldenEye: Rogue Agent is sure to cause some confusion with its title, but let me clear that up right away. Yes, it is a James Bond related game, but no, it is not related to either the movie or N64 game of the same name. Here GoldenEye refers to the cybernetic artificial eye implanted in the game’s hero, a device which gives him a permanent heads-up display as well as a few nifty special powers.

Perhaps calling the game’s main character an antihero would be more appropriate, because you are not working for MI6 in this game. Instead, you are a rogue agent drummed out of MI6 due to your violent approach to situations. You soon find that your services are in high demand and quickly land a job with the infamous Goldfinger. Goldfinger needs your help in his supervillian war with Dr. No and you’re all too happy to cause some mayhem in the name of your new employer.

The game touts the fact that it lets you play an evil character, but in reality you’re evil only so far as you have an evil boss. Fighting the minions of an evil mastermind is what you would do working for James Bond’s MI6, so that doesn’t make you feel particularly evil. The game rewards you for doing evil acts, but these acts are blowing up enemies, making headshots, and grabbing enemies to use as shields. To me it sounds a lot like what you do in most first person shooters as the good guy anyway.

Your cybernetic eye gives you four special powers: the ability to see through obstructions, to do remote hacking, to create a defensive shield, and to create a telekinetic force to push enemies back. Each power will drain energy from your eye after which you’ll need to give it time to recharge. Of these powers, the only one that is especially useful is the shield. Seeing through obstructions will let you know there’s an enemy behind something up ahead, but you’ll pretty much know this already. There is a railgun available that will let you shoot through obstructions, but the fire rate is so slow that it is impractical to use since the enemy will move by the time the projectile gets there. The remote hacking boils down to disabling enemy guns or flipping switches. The push just isn’t practical, using too much power for the minor benefit you get from it.

Gameplay boils down to an exercise in room clearing. You move from one large room to the next, gun down legions of henchmen, and then move on to the next. The settings make references to Bond movies and you’ll even encounter famous characters such as Odd Job and Pussy Galore. Some also feature special ways to trap and kill enemies such as torching them in the exhaust of a test rocket. These can be pretty cool to try out and they will inevitably catch a few napping enemies, but they do not show up frequently enough and when they do they are best for a quick kill of a couple of enemies but impractical to really help you clear a room. The game can be a little frustrating at times due to the sluggish controls. Movement is OK, but turning is too slow and it can be too difficult to precisely aim your weapon. For the most part, though, the levels are standard first-person shooter environments that are very heavily filled with cover.