Platform: Nintendo DS , DSI
Category: Action Games
2-6 Players Wireless DS Multi-Card Play
Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection
Having reviewed the Wii version of GoldenEye 007, I was somewhat excited to get a chance to review the DS version. The first reason was that the thought of having a portable version of GoldenEye was enticing to say the least. The second reason was that the DS version was developed by n-Space, a developer that knows the ins and outs of the DS architecture as evidenced by Activision’s Call of Duty games over the past few years. Given the success that Activision has had with the portable Call of Duty games, both critically and technically, it makes sense that n-Space would be called upon to do the portable GoldenEye 007.
Visually speaking, GoldenEye 007 on the DS is quite a looker, but that is no surprise given that n-Space is the developer. They have a rich history with developing on Nintendo’s dual-screened portable console, and their experience shows. Their in-house graphics engine, which has been proven in Call of Duty games in the past, continues to show how well they can program on the DS. With great animations, smooth framerates, and some great looking special effects, you’ll love how this portable game looks. As a side note, please notice the ‘classic’ health and armour bars too, which are available from the on-set as part of the game design. Great touch n-Space!!!!
If I did have any issues with the visuals, it was in the fact that the in-game engine is used for cutscenes as well. This was a bad choice, given that these scenes use a camera that zooms in on the characters. Seeing these close, blocky characters act does not do the game justice. These characters are meant to be seen from a distance so the engine can truly show off its prowess. As well, the in-game characters have no resemblance to their real-life counterparts.
In terms of the audio, I was somewhat amazed to hear that much of the Wii version’s music was transferred to the DS version. This keeps the whole ‘Bond-esque’ feel to the game as the music is very 007 inspired. As for the sound effects, they too are not bad via the DS soundchip. From guns firing to barrels exploding, all sound pretty darn good. If there is any poor area here, it is the voice acting which seems to be rushed somewhat and just doesn’t sound normal. As is the way with most games on a portable consoles, this game is best played through a headset for better clarity and spatial separation.
The DS version of GoldenEye 007 is much like the Wii version in that it is a re-imagining of the original N64 game. It brings the characters and story into the modern era and makes some plot changes to bring the older game alive. Given that the Wii is a much more powerful machine then the DS, my hope was that this DS version still held its own. What I found was that it takes on a game changing role in such that it is adds new elements that the Wii version did not and makes the DS version its own re-imagining so to speak. That being said, you’ll once again cross the globe in an effort to thwart off evil and make the Queen proud as you do ‘Her Majesty’s Secret Service’ work as a double-0 agent.
As a single player experience, n-Space has been given the same leeway that Eurocom had for the Wii. 007 is once again played by Daniel Craig, and ‘M’ is once again played by Judy Dench. This brings the classic GoldenEye into the ‘Craig’ era of James Bond. And of course you’ll find new areas and new storyline elements that continue to bring 007 to the current time period. Overall the creative liberties are not damaging to the story of GoldenEye, and I think that n-Space did a great job of ‘playing with fire’ as the results could have been disastrous.
Having played the Wii version, one of the great things about that game was that I was in charge of how I wanted to play most levels. I could choose a very stealthy approach or I could go in with guns blazing and try to assert myself as the big man in town. Regardless of how I approached it, I was in charge of making the choice. In the DS version of GoldenEye 007, although the story follows the Wii version’s plot, the game actually forces you to “run and gun” or go “stealthy,” depending on what the level calls for. Although great in theory, the execution was not as smooth as it could be and I enjoyed the ability of the Wii version to allow for a choice.
What is also quite noticeable is the fact that the levels themselves are changed from the Wii version and the story overall. For example, in the Dam level, you’ll notice the truck scene is totally gone, and the jump over the dam is much different from the Wii version. As well, you will find that famed nightclub is now gone or that the Runway level is condensed into a cut scene. Now I don’t know why these, and other omissions, were made, but I can speculate. Given the storage nature of the DS, the card can only hold so much, so I can only assume that a port of the Wii version had to have some sacrifices. Regardless, for those who played the Wii version, you will notice these omissions, but for those who did not play, well you shouldn’t be affected, unless you know the original GoldenEye from the N64, then some of the omissions will be obvious.
Controlling the on-screen action is handled pretty well. You will find the typical DS FPS control scheme where the touchscreen is utilized with the stylus. It is the most precise control for these types of games, but it can result in a bout of hand cramps after long sessions of play. n-Space also opted to add another control scheme, this time with the d-pad and face buttons to control your movement; the touchscreen is used to change weapons and what not, while the triggers are used for shooting and aiming. Overall the new control scheme works well and players who buy this game should find one or the other suitable for their needs.
In terms of the computer AI, it manages to put up a formidable challenge, but if anything it was predicable. If I had one problem with the AI it was their inconsistency in dying. Some enemies would go down with a swift head shot, while others would take two clips or more to eventually go down. I attribute this to poor collision or bullet detection. Given the amount of times enemies would ‘flinch’ and ‘stumble,’ but not die, it is almost like the game allowed the AI to be protected at these times. Regardless of the reason, I was frustrated with these inconsistencies.
Given that this is a GoldenEye game, n-Space made sure to include some pretty robust multiplayer options. You can play over a Wi-Fi connection, or you can link up with up to five other people with their own copies of the game. You will find a couple of gametypes akin to the original N64 version included in this DS version, such as Flag Tag and Golden Gun. Of course there are also typical FPS gametypes as well, such as Capture the Flag, King of the Hill and Deathmatch. Add to these modes the ability to choose in-game modifiers (e.g. single shot kills, no HUD, no staying still) and you have even more interesting modes to play.
I found that the Wi-Fi worked very well considering it is a DS game, but I ran into one problem, cheaters. Now given that my FPS games are usually played on a home console I had no idea that ‘hacking’ the DS was such a big thing, but man it sure is. I came across quite a few games where players had weapons of insane nature, and it was not because they earned them. I even entered a match where the level had an unbelievable amount of proximity mines that were not there by design. The fact that hackers are out there with the DS just boggles my mind. This problem can be avoided though if you keep to playing with people on your ‘friends list,’ or you stick to local wireless battles with others that may have this game. If you can get into a game without any hackers, the game can be somewhat enjoyable online, but its not something you’ll be wanting to play all the time.
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