The announcement that a remastered version of GoldenEye 007 is heading to Xbox was met with cheers – rightly, given it’s one of the best games of all time. Then the cheers gave way to confusion, and disappointment, as it was confirmed that the version of the game releasing on Xbox consoles won’t have online multiplayer – only the classic split-screen.
In a weird twist, the Nintendo Switch version will have online play – but that release is basically an emulated version of the N64 release rather than a true remaster. It’s all a bit of a mess, and a bit of a disappointment. GoldenEye’s multiplayer is undoubtedly its most famous feature, and while it absolutely will forever be at its best when you’re crowded around a single screen – I also feel like online is a bit of a must in the year of our lord 2022.
If you want to play GoldenEye multiplayer on Xbox, however, this is an option – and it’s been available since 2010.
I’m talking, of course, about the Xbox Live Arcade version of GoldenEye successor Perfect Dark, which first released over a decade ago but was also part of Rare Replay and remains compatible with all modern Xbox consoles on the market today.
I’m not just saying this because Perfect Dark is GoldenEye’s spiritual successor, either – the Perfect Dark Remaster actually includes quite a bit of GoldenEye content.
This content includes three of GoldenEye’s classic levels, available to play in local or online multiplayer. Temple and Complex from GoldenEye return, as does Facility, albeit cheekily renamed to Felicity. The textures might be different in many cases, using visuals pulled from PD’s campaign, but the level layouts are identical and exactly as you remember them.
Over on the weapons side, a bunch of classic GoldenEye shooters are represented in the category of ‘Classic Weapons’. They’re the same weapons, but given a visual touch-up and renamed so that any legal issues are ducked.
The iconic PP7 Special Issue from GoldenEye, Bond’s iconic sidearm that is itself based on the Walther PPK, is back, not so subtly-renamed as the PP9i. AK-47 stand-in KF7 Soviet is back in Perfect Dark as the KF7 Special.
The awesome-feeling RC-P90 returns as the RC-P45 (presumably a joking reference to a form you have to complete in the UK, where Rare is based, when you get fired from a job). And would it be GoldenEye without the Klobb, the crappest gun in GoldenEye, jokingly named after developer Ken Lobb? That’s in Perfect Dark as the KL01313.
These are just a few, but the point is – if you remember a weapon from GoldenEye, the GoldenEye version is either in Perfect Dark as a neat little Easter Egg, or it’s represented by a near-identical Perfect Dark replacement. GoldenEye’s proximity mines aren’t present, for instance, but the PD version is basically identical anyway. Oh, and if you played Oddjob, Elvis the alien has that same height-related advantage to abuse.
Sure, it’s only three levels, and you can’t play as the Bond characters – but the point is a sizable part of the GoldenEye multiplayer experience is available on Xbox anyway. Perfect Dark is in the Rare Replay compilation, which is in Game Pass – so it’s available for all. Plus – whisper it – Perfect Dark is actually overall a far superior game to GoldenEye, anyway. James walked so Joanna could run. You might come for the GoldenEye throwbacks, but stay for all of the brilliant weapon alt-fires and strong maps Perfect Dark brings to the table as well.
None of this excuses this bizarre release from Microsoft and Nintendo, of course. Whatever has caused it, it’s vaguely nonsense. But booting Perfect Dark will, at least, take the edge off. I hope to see you online. I’ll be on Felicity – melee only.