Debate: Is Goldeneye 64 Actually An Arcade Game?

Goldeneye-64-is-an-arcade-gameThere is plenty of talk over the internet about Goldeneye 007 on the Nintendo 64 and it seems to be split between several types of people. There are those that still love it unashamedly, those that think it plays like junk today and those that think all PC first person shooter games destroy it anyway and it wasn’t that big a deal. Here’s the crux though, for me at least. Goldeneye is not a first person shooter, it’s an arcade game...

One thing I hear a lot is how it plays quite badly today but I don’t agree at all. I still feel Goldeneye plays wonderfully well and that’s partly down to the auto aim system used in the game, it works superbly. I imagine it likely the system was added to make up for the lack of decent control options available at the time, but it works in its favour. It allows you to comfortable deal with your enemies without having to resort to precision accuracy. This gives the game an almost shmup like feel, especially when things get busy because you can end up frantically shooting enemies without too much concern for where bullets end up.

Goldeneye is an arcade game then, just one from a first person perspective.

This brings me on to the second point, the animation system. Enemy recoil animations bring a superb layer of tactics to the gameplay. When things get busy you can fire pot shots at enemies and use their recoil animations to avoid being shot. This works especially well if you shoot them in the feet as it often makes them leap around in pain which takes them out of the action for a moment so you can get back taking out foes that are about to pull the trigger! It gives sort of crowd control element to the gameplay used in games like Final Fight. Another great aspect of the animation is that enemies ready themselves to shoot so you always have warning when a shot is coming. This reminds me very much of the Sega classic, Virtua Cop only without a green circle around them, indicating the moment they will fire.

Next up the overall level design and mission structure is not only brilliant but another aspect of its arcade like design. First time through the game feels huge, but it’s not actually particularly long, just so well designed and re-playable like all arcade games. Time targets highlight arcade roots further as you are heavily rewarded with completing missions in fast times. In reality, Goldeneye is quite repetitive and short, made to be played over and over until you master a level so you can complete it in record time. This is very much a trait of arcade games.


The final aspect is the multiplayer, especially the four player system. This mode was probably the most played mode in the game and it again worked so well because of the aiming system. Recoil animations were of no consequence here so it became competitive twitch gaming at its finest. This is taken even further with no radars and the turbo mode unlocks. Precision wasn’t really needed as it was all about speed and timing, with of course that element of surprise.

Goldeneye then, was unlike the vast majority of other first person shooters around, and it still is, bar the Timesplitters series of course. It feels radically different to the likes of DooM and Quake due to the various gameplay mechanics I have pointed out as well as the mission structure and for me it stands tall and plays wonderfully well today. Goldeneye is an arcade game then, just one from a first person perspective.

Last Updated ( 03 April 2015 )  


(Link to this comment) Marsmite 2015-04-07 19:59
I'm typing the first comment? What the...

Anyway, I think it's an arcade game. I think many of the N64's great classics are arcade games and I like them that way.
(Link to this comment) TheGebs24 2015-05-14 19:31
Interesting. I've never viewed Goldeneye as an Arcade game and I still can't. Ultimately everyone has a different opinion which is totally cool.
The four player mode was epic and I think this has led to Goldeneye's longevity as a 'great game'.
What do you guys think to the Wii version?

Thanks, Gemma
(Link to this comment) GuyFawkesRetro 2015-06-01 11:34
Either way, I love the detail on the various notice boards dotted arounf the place.

I see the point pf the arcade view, just took a while to think about it :)
(Link to this comment) oldgamerz 2015-12-04 12:26
no way it goes far as a first person shooter

Hello I'm new around here :-)

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