Why I like Goldeneye (and the veil of nostalgia)

Hello gang, today I’d like to talk about my experience with goldeneye and why it’s one of my favorite games of all time.

Goldeneye is an old and outright janky shooter that when played on the n64 controls weird and gets really laggy. However…I found out a way to play it with mouse and keyboard at 60 fps and it’s such an incredible experience. In fact, it was so incredible that I almost felt like I was playing a mod of half-life.

goldeneye’s source material is based off of a well known movie and book franchise – call of duty.

But why DO I like goldeneye? What is it that makes this golden boy game so good to me? As a whole with nostalgia aside it’s pretty mediocre, there aren’t really any new mechanics or engaging gameplay features that are added to keep it interesting. The enemies are pretty much the same and the guns are honestly pretty stale in variety. With that out of the way, I will say that the funnest aspect for me would have to be the level design and the enemy AI.

Level design

Most of the level design in golden guy is really good, like it starts of linear, but opens up *just* enough to let you at least explore a bit and shoot stuff and find equipment. (Although I would say some other shooters like half life or doom do it better because there are more actual pickup types to obtain)

Enemy AI

Now the enemy AI, is a fine example of good shooter AI. Unlike most shooters of today, they actually animate a startup and recover animation to their attacks. basically, the enemy will see you and bring his gun up, THEN start the random hit scan shooting, THEN they start to put their gun down.

(“Hit Scan” is a special type of “bullet” in video games where they instantly reach the point of contact when shot, meaning there’s no travel time. Usually this is balanced out in games with bullet scatter randomness and other features.)

tldr:

  1. Start Aiming their gun at you
  2. Shoot
  3. Put the weapon down to then repeat the process.

or rather the better version is

  1. start aiming their gun at you
  2. ???
  3. Profit

This is SO good, because you have time to react and it’s completely fair if you get shot since they are telegraphing their movements. As derpy as the enemies can be in golden boy, this design is honestly something I wish more shooters would go back to and stop doing the cheap instant shooting RNG hitscan nonsense.

(Of course goldeneye enemies sometimes also do cheap/questionable things though like that one animation where they’re walking and shooting their gun towards you and somehow have an absurdly large ammo clip during that attack.)

Another thing to point out is that frankly the enemies in goldeneye are pretty stale, in terms of depth and variety. I think what barely keeps this game going is the fact that there are so many different animations for when enemies get hit that it’s compelling enough.

Basically…if you’re in development crunch time, just have one basic enemy with a lot of different animations and uh…I suppose it’s enough?

Random thing to point out, in my opinion death animations of shooters like modern warfare 2 feel better to me because they have a quicker “pop” to them and instantly respond to your shot vs goldeneye having to startup it’s animation. (not really a problem but I find the pop feels better in games like mw2)

The weapons

The guns, the guns are okay, though there is a weird delay for some guns and honestly, the pistols of modern shooters like Cod4 feel so much better than goldeneye. But that aside, the hit impact sound and fx feel good enough and work well for making the gunshots feel responsive in goldeneye.

Objectives

Probably the aspect that is least interesting to me are the objectives, especially the ones related to escorting/protecting AI or having to trial and error my way to get the goldengun, etc.. I think objectives in games are a tricky aspect to keep compelling, the best example I’ve seen for objectives would have to be Starcraft 2’s campaign levels. they do an excellent job of providing a base line goal to complete, but also provide side challenges that motivate you to accomplish more to get better rewards. I feel that if I played goldeneye now the objectives probably would have frustrated me and I wouldn’t have felt as compelled by them vs when I was younger and was way more graceful/patient with games.

The only reason I might sometimes have the bias to say “oh yeah the objectives feature in goldeneye were awesome” is because I already know how to do them.

Conclusion/Final Verdict/Final Destination

Now it is one of my favorite games of all time yes, but the veil of nostalgia only lasts for so long with this golden guy.

I feel the fun starts to drop off though once bunker 2 ends. For me statue and the latter start to lose momentum and there are no new mechanics, no new things to do, and it mostly relies on showing a new gun that shoots just slightly different in hopes that it still feels fresh (or some objective, but as you could probably tell the objectives didn’t really compel me that much). Most of the levels in the later half feel redundant and lack that brilliant flow that some of the earlier levels have. Of course to each their own, I do still enjoy some later levels like depot, archives and caverns, it’s just that some missions like streets/statue just feel kind of repetitive and don’t have as much of a clever layout to them IMO.

The length that the game is feels appropriate. I honestly can’t imagine it going for longer than what is already there. Most guns that are introduced aren’t really that special, like the ZMG, really it’s just a Klobb, but it shoots faster?…and does more damage…ehhh….

I feel that if shooters of today are going to make guns, please make them different instead of just “gun x” shoots faster but does less damage that “gun y”. There’s a reason I feel why arena shooters like doom and quake have much more compelling variety to them.

All in all, I still like goldeneye, it’s still one of my all time favorite video games, and I’m still willing to criticize it. I know there’s the argument of “well at the time it was revolutionary/ground breaking”, But I still can’t help but compare how some mechanics/features are funner and worse in old games compared to modern ones.

Maybe I should compare this to perfect dark one day, after all perfect dark is the spiritual successor, but why didn’t it click for me?…hmmm maybe next week I’ll write on that.

Thanks for reading,

-Brandon

p.s. Enjoy watching this clip of bond never running out of bullets

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Looking at…Xenogunner by HappyFrogGames

Howdy gang, let’s take a look at another one of them videogames.

XENO GUNNER

Xenogunner is a game jam game that features boss rush elements with mouse aiming shooting mechanics. It’s has vibes reminiscent of genesis games like Gunstar heroes and Alien Soldier. …and call of duty.

You can get the game jam game here at itch.io

The game apparently is being developed further to feature more levels and fleshed out artwork. which is great because the game is pretty fun and it’s great to see fun games be developed.

Thanks for reading!

-Brandon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Xenogunner apparently is still in development, I’m not really sure what the status is on the whole project but you can see some improvements that get tweeted by Pedrovin, the main artist for the game. Happy Frog Games seems to still be developing it while also cranking out smaller games on the side. I hope one day we will see this boy come to life and “xeno gun” all the baddies one day…one day.

The video below shows more of the game, it seems like they’ve been really trying to make the levels have more obstacles to them so you can’t just blitz through it all unless you know what you’re doing. Also that announcer voice…sounds so ExCiTe

I think my greatest concern is whether the shooting itself won’t be super repetitive, especially when there’s little reason to not hold the shoot button (unless there are enemies in the game that counter that or there’s some sort of other incentive). Though I will say from my own experience when I designed Drone Strike, I questioned the aspect of a fire button in shoot-em-ups so I just made it auto-fire and whenever you hold the “Shoot” button it instead is a charge attack.

In Dronestrike, the shoot button is replaced with a charge attack button and you always autofire.

Regardless, I think Happy Green Frog will do a good job with handling that and also provide new weapons to use to help with balancing and keeping the game interesting.

Thanks for reading!

-Brandon

p.s. And take a look at this, who knew games had to start from scratch in order to become what they are now!

 

p.s.s.

Happy Green Frog responded with some answers to some of my questions, huzzah:

1. The status of the upgraded version of the game is that it is nearing completion. Release date is still uncertain, but it’s been playtested a decent amount, it has cutscenes fully implemented, most if not all of the graphics are done or near-done, there’s one boss battle I want to refactor a bit but it’s not strictly necessary, and from there it’s up to my publisher.

2. To answer the question of whether there’s ever a reason to let go of fire, one of the more powerful weapons has a really low fire-rate, and, without spoiling anything, some bosses move in ways in which it is ideal to wait until you’re sure you have a shot lined up before you fire. Suffice to say, manually pressing for a bit to fire a volley of it, then letting go for a bit to wait for the next good chance to strike, is, in a few boss fights, a good idea. I’m not 100% sure that it’s a sufficient way to keep the shooting from getting repetitive, honestly, but it’s something at least.

3. The old levels have indeed been updated to have more obstacles, first level aside. Additionally though, there’s a large supply of new levels, expanding the game well beyond what the GameJam version featured. If memory serves correctly there’s a fair bit more than 15 all new bosses to fight. (I think the total number of bosses, including the old ones from the GameJam version, is around 25?)

4. Some fun trivia: The voice announcer was actually me! I recorded that voice clip myself.

5. “Xenogunner” actually refers to the main villain of the game, which does make one of the lines in your article a tiny bit odd (but still kind of works overall), mainly the “xeno gun” but.

Ato Progress Report September 2019

Hi ho gang, just want to give an end of the month update on what has been done.

Launch Animations Code

Added more variations to launch animations, nothing huge, but took the extra time to have a bit more variety when they get hit by certain attacks.

And while I’m still cranking away at the last area for endgame content, I might as well show this environment art off

(not related to endgame)…

(also not related to avengers endgame)…

(also not related to ender’s game)…

I spent a bit of time adding more frames to the run animation, perhaps if I have extra time (which I generally don’t) I’ll see if there’s any other animations that can be smoothed out.

and who knows what else i’ve been working on…

(TLDR) Comphrehensive list of things completed:

  • 3 environment art assets made (just need to actually MAKE the levels and then decorate with these assets)
  • Encounter added
  • 1 Area completed (1 more left)
  • 20 Rooms added
  • Decorated area 4 with new assets (not related to the assets mentioned earlier)
  • Footstep sounds bass levels reduced
  • Cuttable bamboo
  • More launch code animation work
  • Cornucopia of bugs fixed (and plenty more to come)

I still have 1 more main area to complete, after that, I’ll spend some time adding side encounters (including that backer boss), fixing endless amounts of bugs and important features like menus, map system, extra decoration work…and plenty more…man the work just never stops piling on does it?

Thanks for reading!

-Brandon