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25 years ago, James Bond changed video games forever

video games and movies they don’t have the best history together. Call it a love-hate relationship if you want because, as much as the movie industry tries to make video game movies happen, they’re not very good at making some of the biggest justice game franchises on the big screen. demonic resident, assassin’s CreedY Hitman All have been victims of less than stellar adaptations.

The reverse is also true, as most movie video games feel like cash grabs. but in 1997 Nintendo and Rare proved that movie-based games don’t have to suck with Golden Eye 007.

The new era of Bond

Two years before the game’s release, the movie golden eye it was a bold new direction for the Bond films. Released in 1995, it came six years after the previous entry in the franchise. Plans for a third film starring Timothy Dalton had continually stalled until the actor’s contract ran out. During that time, the world had seen the end of the Cold War and the beginning of the Internet age.

The world had left Bond behind, or at least that version of the character.

The Bond franchise was reinvented in the Brosnan era. Eon

Enter Pierce Brosnan to relaunch the new era of Bond as a “the devil may care” super spy, balancing Connery’s humor and wit with Dalton’s violence and intensity. A story about a spy trying to find his purpose in a post-Cold War world, it was a meta-narrative about how the Bond franchise struggled to justify itself.

It was also a great success.

In a retrospective on golden eye, the hollywood reporter he called it the film that made Bond “great again”. To this day it is still at the top of the lists of the best Bond movies in history.

Game adaptations of Bond films were not uncommon at this time, so the idea of ​​a golden eye the game tie-in was not surprising. In January 1995, 10 months before the film’s debut, Nintendo recruited UK developer Rare to adapt the game.

Rare wanted to show that games based on movies didn’t have to be mediocre.Nintendo

Golden Eye 007 it went through many changes during its two and a half year development. Originally a 2D platformer for the SNES, it was ported to the Nintendo 64 and transformed into a 3D shooter influenced by Super Mario 64 Y virtual police.

Although almost canceled by Nintendo, Golden Eye 007 was released for the Nintendo 64 on August 25, 1997, to overwhelming praise.

the gold standard

Golden Eye 007 it embraces the force of video game storytelling in its adaptation.Nintendo

While it’s mostly remembered today for its addictive multiplayer mode that was released at the last minute (and yes, Oddjob is cheating), Golden Eye 007The story of managed to skillfully adapt its source material.

The difficulty with adapting to any property is that different mediums have different strengths and weaknesses. A story cannot be told in the same way in a movie as in a book, for example. A good adaptation is based on the ability to understand the core experience of a story and to be able to recreate that core using the strengths of the new medium.

While video games are often called cinematic and may try to recreate the cinematic experience, the unique strength of games is their interactivity. Drawing an audience into a story and giving them agency allows for new dimensions of storytelling. So how do you translate the spectacle of a Bond movie and turn it into a game?

The 3D shooter game allowed players to inhabit the role of Bond.Nintendo

“Everyone seemed to believe that a game made from a movie had to be bad or mediocre,” said director Martin Hollis. The Guardian, “But he had the confidence of youth.”

Levels like ‘Streets’ put the player in control of iconic action scenes from the film, such as piloting a tank through a Russian city. The interactivity of using Bond’s gadgets while experiencing a story from a new perspective allowed the game to effectively recreate the feel of the film.

Beyond the direct recreation, Rare expanded the scenes so that the player really enjoys the experience. This extended to multiplayer which included levels that recreated settings from previous Bond films, giving it a sense of place within a larger franchise story.

In the 27 years since golden eye and the 25 years since Golden Eye 007, both the movie and the game have held up well with fans. While Hollis’s sentiment that most video game adaptations were lackluster or worse is historically accurate, golden eye stands the test of time, even next to its source material.

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