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- GoldenEye 007
Well, that didn’t take long. Just two days after a full walkthrough was posted to YouTube, the GoldenEye 007 XBLA remaster leaked. In the mid-2000s, Rare ported GoldenEye 007 to the Xbox 360 with visual and technical enhancements. The game was never released due to rights issues, which is a shame because it’s awesome.
What’s the story with the GoldenEye 007 remaster?
A GoldenEye reimagining released in 2010, which updated the plot to align with the Daniel Craig films. However, this game suffered in the shadow of its predecessor. It lacked the innovation and character of Rare’s classic, and quickly vanished into obscurity. At this point, it was evident that GoldenEye 007’s winning formula didn’t need to be tampered with or replicated. The original just needed some modern polish, which Rare attempted to provide on the Xbox 360.
Unfortunately, Bond licensers Danjaq and Eon allegedly blocked the GoldenEye 007 XBLA remaster not once but twice. Rare attempted to release it during the Xbox 360’s lifetime in the mid-2000s, and again as part of its classic game anthology Rare Replay. It seems like negotiations must have fallen through close to release in both cases. The game’s near-complete state seems to indicate the studio had at least some confidence that the licensor would approve it. The leaked Rare Replay development footage being recorded also lends credence that the game nearly made it to that collection.
What’s different in the GoldenEye 007 remaster?
It’s unfortunate that the GoldenEye 007 remaster never released because it’s exactly the treatment the game needed. GoldenEye 007 is one of my favorite games for the Nintendo 64. However, as much as I love the N64, overall, it’s aged the worst of any system of the era. Even with an UltraHDMI mod, the graphics tend to look muddled on modern LCD screens. However, despite the poor visuals, the objective-based campaign and excellent multiplayer still feel fresh, a testament to Rare’s excellent game design.
Fortunately, instead of revamping gameplay mechanics or reimagining content, the game is simply updated to take advantage of the Xbox 360 hardware. It supports widescreen (the leak has even been modified to support 21:9 through the Xenia emulator on PC), the controls have been adapted to two joysticks, draw distance has been greatly improved, and it runs at a steady(ish) 60 fps.
The most significant changes that come with the GoldenEye 007 remaster are the overhauled models and textures. Every aspect of the game received a visual upgrade, and it looks great. Instead of totally revamping the graphics, Rare opted to run them overtop of the original code. So, there’s still a bit of that blocky N64 charm that bleeds through. Overall, the new style looks like what Rare would have done had the technology been there when the devs made the original game instead of a dramatic departure.
At its heart, the GoldenEye 007 remaster is still the N64 game, which means that it’s still intimately familiar for those who played the original. Guards still do their goofy, inappropriate rolls from time to time, and the entirety of the original content is intact. The only new maps are multiplayer versions of Dam, Frigate, and Depot, which all make for great additions to the original lineup.
How can you play the GoldenEye 007 remaster and are there any bugs?
We can’t link the download location of the GoldenEye 007 XBLA remaster, but it’s not too hard to find. The leaked version has been tweaked to remove the non-functional Xbox Live selection from the menu, and 16:10 ratio has been replaced with 21:9. The leak was also converted from a devkit format to one that modded Xbox 360s can use. Of course, I don’t condone any piracy (as this is still copyrighted material), but I can confirm the game works on both the Xenia emulator and an RGH modded Xbox 360 Slim console.
It should be noted that the leaked build is near complete, but it does have some bugs. It hitches now and again when streaming in new textures. Additionally, some visual glitches crop up now and again. Most notably, sometimes character heads don’t load properly, and when you pause the game, Bond appears to be wearing every article of clothing he’s seen in during the game at once.
Despite the rough edges, GoldenEye 007 remaster works very well, and the iconic split-screen multiplayer is still intact with all its options. Looking at how well it turned out, it’s really a loss for gaming as a whole that it wasn’t released. I know I speak for many fans when I say that I would have rather had the chance to pay Rare for its excellent work than see it through a leak. However, perhaps seeing the enthusiasm that the leak is being received with will finally open a door for an official release.