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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Graeme Norgate (with Grant Kirkhope) -- Goldeneye 007 N64 OST

 photo GoldenEye007box_zpsf1a5a5b8.jpg
8/10

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)

3 comments:

Neal said...

Ah, Goldeneye. That and Ocarina of Time made me wish I had a N64... but I didn't. I basically got to play both randomly when I was over at a friends that had the system.

Did you ever have house rules with Goldeneye? We generally banned the Golden Gun, since it seemed overly cheap (other for than the occasional spar with it). Sometimes we banned the Moonraker laser as well, though we didn't seem to hate those as much: they at least took a couple shots, so you had a chance if the other person was too cocky or got flustered.

Party games are great fun. I enjoy playing online with other people, but it's even more fun to be in the same room with people, playing the same game (I'll take board games along with Mario Kart, etc.). And when they have a good soundtrack, even better. :)

Nicholas said...

The golden gun was always banned. I also discovered that, if we were playing in a mode where it would take a ton of hits to die, Jaws was actually the best character. He never gets shot in the head. Oddjob, who is usually considered a cheat to use, is actually at a disadvantage, as his short stature means every hit is a power-sucking bullet to his cranium. I actually put so much time into this game, and got so good at it, I started playing it in a mirror to add a challenge. I got all the cheats, beat the Nintendo Power times, and never lost a multi-player match. I also didn't have a girlfriend.

Nicholas said...

Oh, yeah, and a used N64 is only $20 on Amazon now. The games are still so fun. You and Jess could have Mario Kart tournaments!