GoldenEye was more than a Nintendo 64 game—it was a cultural phenomenon. First released in 1997, this breakthrough first-person shooter video game sold over eight million copies worldwide and united a legion of diehard Nintendo and James Bond fans.
Now, almost 20 years since its debut, we’ve uncovered some little nuggets of truth about what is arguably the greatest N64 game ever released.
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2. It was originally conceived as an on-rails shooter
Meaning it would have looked a lot like Virtua Cop instead of the intricate game we’re all used to today. Extra points for anyone who'll admit they thought it was “Virtual” Cop up until today. That includes me.
3. The GoldenEye team had no f*cking clue what they were doing
Eight out of the ten developers had never worked on a single video game in their lives before GoldenEye and it was almost designed to look like a side-scroller along the lines of Donkey Kong Country. Still, the team was known to work up to 120 hours a week to get the game going.
4. There’s more James Bond in the game than you think
For instance, Bond’s electromagnetic watch is directly taken from Live and Let Die, which—as we all know—is one of the greatest Bond movies to date—mostly because of the awesome opening song. There’s also the laser from Moonraker, the golden gun from The Man with the Golden Gun, Jaws, and Oddjob.
5. There were elements in GoldenEye that had never been seen before in video games The biggest being the stealth element which would alert enemies of your presence by the firing of a gun or simply standing next to them. Really makes those Goombas from Super Mario Bros. look like serious pieces of sh*t.
One of the developers, Martin Hollis, described the legendary multiplayer mode as being nothing more than “a complete afterthought” and was completed in a little over than a month. At the time, critics say GoldenEye and Mario Kart 64 were among the greatest multiplayer games in existence.
7. Remember Dr. Doak? He’s a real guy.
David Doak is an Irish video game designer from Belfast and helped developed GoldenEye—that’s a hell of a way to get immortalized. Other notable video game developer easter eggs include the character Noob Saibot from Mortal Kombat and the gigantic man-eating flower from Super Mario Bros. 3.
8. You didn’t always have to play as Pierce Brosnan
A special code allowed you to play as Sean Connery, Roger Moore, or Timothy Dalton. The special George Lazenby option is still being investigated, but is widely accepted as being nonexistent and completely unwanted by all James Bond fans everywhere.
9. The Rumble Pak was almost a viable way to reload your gun
It would have involved simply taking out the rumble pak and putting it back in to gain ammo. This feature almost made it all the way to the final version of the game before it was nixed. These days, most PlayStation controllers are built with DualShock, which allows vibrations to be felt without external hardware. Nerd alert!