It’s been a while since I covered a modification, but that’s because I don’t pay a lot of attention to the various mod scenes. It also doesn’t help that lately I haven’t played anything new, and often getting myself into a rut. But did you think that a Nintendo 64 game from 1997, one of the biggest first-person shooters of that era, would have a mod scene?
No, I’m not talking about Turok: Dinosaur Hunter – besides, the mod scene is strictly on PC these days – I’m talking about Goldeneye, Rare’s groundbreaking first-person shooter released on the Nintendo 64.
Goldeneye isn’t my most favorite James Bond game – that’s Nightfire, specifically the console version – but I still respect it as a good game that made a huge impact for first-person shooters on home consoles. So I was surprised to see that the game had a modding scene. Definitely not as big as the ROM hacks of Mario or Sonic, or even the thousands of Doom mods; but significant enough to be noticed.
Unfortunately, it seems to be a “separate the wheat from the chaff” problem, as this video proves:
(video credit: The Kins)
Thus I didn’t pay too much attention to the scene, since it seemed to be fairly amateur. But then a friend brought this mod to my attention, and suddenly my interest in Goldeneye modding scene was piqued.
Enter Goldfinger 64, a total conversion for Goldeneye that covers the story of the 1964 James Bond classic, Goldfinger. Goldfinger isn’t one of my favorite Bond movies either, but I understood that it was the turning point for the film franchise. A little less grounded in reality, with goofy villains, iconic film quotes (“Do you expect me to talk?” “No, Mr. Bond, I expect you to die!”), and a time where you could have a character named “Pussy Galore” and not it be the butt of a terrible joke.
While I’m more a fan of the latter eras of Bond films – partially because I don’t like Sean Connery as a person, regardless of his acting ability – Goldfinger is a goofy romp and a good starter James Bond film for a new fan. So let’s see how this team of modders took the engine of a 1997 game and based it on a 1964 film, shall we?
One thing Goldfinger 64 does is expand on the film’s initial pre-title sequence. While the film only hinted towards Bond blowing up a drug lab and eventually getting in a fight with a cuban hitman, the game expands that into a three level challenge, hitting most of the story beats, but with some embellishments. Such as Bond just shooting the cuban hitman rather than throwing him in a bathtub and electrifying him with a fan.
It does become a bit of a tough start as you have to actually plant the charges on explosive red barrels, akin to Silo in Goldeneye. In comparison, on Agent difficulty in Goldeneye, all you had to do was do the fancy bungee jump off the Dam. Despite this slightly tougher initial challenge, I was able to get it through after a few tries.
The difficulty of adapting a film that’s not especially action-packed can be difficult. I was concerned because the Connery era of James Bond save for the latter films like You Only Live Twice and Diamonds Are Forever were not really action-packed shoot-em-up romps. EA adapted From Russia With Love back in 2006 and bastardized a good movie with terrible story decisions. Yet, the modders who did Goldfinger 64 figured it out very well.
The film version of the hotel scene where Bond simply meets Jill Masterson is expanded into a minor shootout amongst various men as you find the key to get into the room, and it plays out surprisingly well. Goldfinger 64 even has Bond doing a bit of espionage sections, having to overhear the conversation between Goldfinger and his contact at Auric Enterprises, and recreating the scene where Goldfinger shows off his deadly nerve gas to potential buyers. While there are fairly slow sections like that, there’s not a lot of downtime where you’re not shooting up guards.
Hell, even the scene where Bond meets with Tilly Masterson ends up being a drive-by shooting section, complete with a drivable Aston Martin, so it plays like a brighter, entertaining version of Streets from Goldeneye.
I gotta hand it to the guys who made this mod: It hits all the story beats of the film, while also making sure the film adapts well to being a game. A few of the levels do get a bit confusing at spots, especially one later level where Bond has to meet Pussy Galore the night before she does the fly-by, but I’m willing to blame my inexperience in playing what is technically an “old” shooter.
It’s not 100% perfect, though. There are some model glitches, excess fog in spots, and even a spot where I opened a door that wasn’t supposed to be opened, leading to a voided abyss. Though some of these I might chalk up to the emulator I was using rather than the game itself.
Much like Goldeneye, there’s bonus levels once you beat the game, but they unlock only on higher difficulties. There’s even new cheats and target times, so this is practically a sequel to Goldeneye. (Let’s just pretend Perfect Dark and The World is Not Enough on the Nintendo 64 didn’t exist for a brief moment…) If you’re a fan of Goldeneye, I recommend checking this out. Even if you aren’t a big fan, this total conversion is pretty amazing.
You can get it here, but it does require some trickery to get it to work. You’ll need a Goldeneye ROM (available separately, find it yourself), and the Goldeneye Setup Editor to take the XDelta file of Goldfinger 64 and merge it with a Goldeneye ROM to get it to work. After that, you can slap it into an N64 emulator and go nuts. I used a modified emulator called 1964 which has proper mouse and keyboard support for Goldeneye, Perfect Dark and modded ROMs like these. It’s the best way to play these games, honestly, since the N64 controller is kind of a mess. Though this mod apparently does work on actual hardware, as there’s video proof of it on YouTube.
(Also, I just realized it’s called “Goldfinger 64” because the film was released that year, and the game it’s a modification of was on the Nintendo 64. Those crafty bastards.)