SirTheory’s Treatise on Life

(opinions on just about anything)

Goldeneye: Rogue Agent (Gamecube)

Strange is the 007 game that doesn’t actually feature James Bond. Yet EA Games somehow managed to throw this together, complete with a shiny little “007 Presents” sticker. Really, I’ve only ever seen two Bond movies, so I can’t say I’m too upset over the lack of James in Rogue Agent. In fact, compared with the other 007 game I have, Rogue Agent is better off without the presence of Bond. Instead what we have is an agent kicked out of service and who has nothing to lose. He treks through a variety of environments and tries to kick a lot of you-know-what.

His success, of course, depends entirely on how well you do. And your ability to succeed depends on whether you enjoy shooting a lot of dudes. And whether or not you get bored with it. Because boredom is a very real possibility. On the other hand, if all you’re looking for is a straightforward first-person shooter, G:RA will throw some serious challenges your direction.

One thing I like in a game is a lack of ambiguity on where to go. Mucking around a map while not entirely sure if I’m going the right direction just irks me.  In this way Goldeneye: Rogue Agent is pretty ace. There is only one way to go. Because in Goldeneye it isn’t the going that matters, but the surviving. In order to reach the end of any given level, surviving is quite important.

In order to survive you need to have several skills: A) be good at taking crowds of bad guys out and B) understand the fine art of patience. For as many rooms that you can enter with guns a-blazing, there are an equal amount of rooms where doing so will leave you dead or awkwardly crippled. That is because, as redundant as it seems to get, the bad guys can be quite a pain to take out.

A lot of the frustration comes into play when you’ve worked long and hard to get through a level, only to hit a really tough room without the proper firepower. The only weapon that has unlimited firepower is your pistol. It is also the only weapon, in addition to your grenades, that you can keep without actually holding in your hand. Unlike other games which allows you to just keep on picking up weapons, in G:RA you basically can only keep what you can hold in your hands. Some of the weapons only require one hand, thus allowing you to carry two at once, others take two hands. So when you run out of ammo, and there are no other weapons around, you get limited to a single pistol.

Despite the fristration, there is something rather satisfying about passing a section with only a pistol when there is no way you should have a change in hell at succeeding. For example, I’ve taken out entire tanks with nothing but my trusty pistol. If I had had the rocket launcher it would have taken exactly two shots. With the pistol it took hundreds. To even have the slightest hope at taking down a take with a pistol you must have cover. This is another aspect of the above-mentioned patience. Without cover you’ll be a sitting duck for the canon balls that the tanks have a nasty habit of flinging at you every few seconds.

The enemy A.I. is hardly realistic, but certainly not horrible. The game cover points out that the “all-new E.V.I.I. AI means no two games are the same!” which is true from the point that the characters don’t move on a pre-programed track all the time, so there will be subtle nuances from game to game. Yet it isn’t so different that I would consider it a huge selling point.

The worst part of G:RA is how the difficulty doesn’t really seem to increase beyond new gadgets being utilized. If you can take out the bad guys in the first room, you can take out the same enemies in the last level. There are just more of them with nastier weapons. Or locations with things like the afore mentioned tanks. That increase is pretty much neutralized by the gadget that gives the game it’s name… the electronic and upgradeable Goldeneye.

You start off with the eye only being able to see through solid objects. Not all solid objects, but most normal obstacles. Then at certain points in the game your financier gives it upgrades which pretty much make you unstoppable for most normal opponents (though, unfortunately, the bosses are immune to the power of the eye.) The two big powers are the shield (which will protect you from the rocket launchers and canon balls, and smaller forms of firepower as well) and the energy field that kills. Nothing beats walking into a room, locating a person, and pressing the right button. They fly into the air like a rag doll, even though you didn’t lay a finger on them. Of course, none of this flows as free as water. At 100% you can use any of your four abilities. After the use, however, it will have used up a portion, or all, of you eye’s ability until it recharges. Recharging, especially if you are playing the hard level, can take a little while, so the patience comes back into play. It is much easier hiding only to emerge once in a while to pick off an enemy than to come out with guns firing.

In the end, Goldeneye: Rogue Agent is a very acceptable first person shooter. However, for those who are expecting and wanting something more in the traditional 007/Bond vein the game will definitely disappoint.

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August 27, 2007 - Posted by | Video Games

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