Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Graeme Norgate (with Grant Kirkhope) -- Goldeneye 007 N64 OST
Sometime near the start of my sophomore year of high school in 1997, I saw a commercial for Goldeneye 007 for the Nintendo 64.
I immediately sold my Super Nintendo (a horrible mistake, though one I later rectified) and bought a Nintendo 64 (a great idea). The late 90's featured a huge debate between the Nintendo 64 and Sony PlayStation crowds. I fell into the Nintendo camp. The Playstation fans argued that their disc-based system could feature better sound and full speech. Those things were true, but that missed the point of what made the Nintendo 64 so great: it was backed up by a ton of incredibly awesome games. Goldeneye was one of the best, but I had to wait nearly sixth months for the local New Roads Wal-Mart to stock it. In early March of 1998, during the final week of basketball season (and during a very nasty, extended bout of insomnia), I got my copy of the game and replaced the hours I'd spent setting screens and making layups with hours setting proximity mines, and filling enemy soldiers full of Nintendo 64-rendered lead.
Goldeneye was quite a game, one of those N64 gems that gave loners an excellent quest to complete, secrets to earn, and for everyone else, a multiplayer mode that has yet to be eclipsed. The N64 was known as the "party machine" for this last factor--it had four controller ports so that friends could play together. The PlayStation had two. Suck it, PlayStation.
Anyway, Goldeneye was quite a game, but I'm not here to review it. I'm here to review its awesome soundtrack. Goldeneye 007's N64 soundtrack works on three levels: 1. It does a good job of operating in the vein of Éric Serra's soundtrack for the film it is based upon. 2. It does a good job of operating in the spirit of the James Bond universe. 3. It does a good job of operating in the strange aural world of the Nintendo 64. The system's tones and pitches are ingrained upon the minds of millions of impressionable kids who grew up on or came of age while playing it. Nintendo 64 was the first system to successfully pull off 3D, but because it was the first, it featured a lot of empty, lower-detail, grayish rooms, and foggy, minimalistic landscapes (The system also featured vibrant colors as well, but there is a certain blur that unites all N64 games together.). These familiar sounds I'm describing are the soundtrack for these rooms and landscapes. Goldeneye's soundtrack perfectly captures this trademark N64 aura, even as it propels the game's fast-paced, exciting gameplay.
If you want a nostalgia burst, you can download the entire soundtrack here. It was never formally released, so there's no need to feel guilty. Rare, the best N64 third-party developer, had a trifecta of awesome composers working on their N64 game soundtracks. Throughout these reviews, there will be more on them to come...in fact, really soon. The story of the N64 has just begun!*
*(Explanation Point neccessary due to reviewer enthusiasm)