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The World is Not Enough – Nintendo 64 Review

Posted on December 1st, 2000 by HMB

The Rubber Chicken began life as a Nintendo review website with silly animations. As a service to curious Google searchers, we have kept the best-written reviews of selected obscurer games in the archive.

If this isn’t what you’re after: hey, turns out we’re a comedy website now.

twine0

A review by Hu Man Bing

The World is Not Enough, self-confessedly abbreviated to TWINE, is the Eurocom follow up to the N64 FPS legend, Goldeneye. Now freely available to both US and UK players, N64 owners everywhere have their chance to once again be Bond, in three dimensions.

A similar question hangs over this title as did over Perfect Dark, released circa half a year in advance – how does it compare with Goldeneye? Many even showed their early scepticism of the title by phrasing the question “Will it be any good?”

Goldeneye was a hard act to follow, even for PD (which is still sparking debates amongst many as to pros and cons over its precursor)… given that this job was handed to a separate developer altogether, how could they successfully follow up the stellar performance of Rare‘s 007 sim with one of their own?

The answer, it would appear, is they didn’t. On first glance, the aiming sight, the controls, and the weapons all look as if they have been lifted bodily out of Goldeneye and placed into TWINE. Hit locations still trigger appropriate responses, and on later levels, headshots once again command a hefty priority over other targets. Objectives are set out, and have to be accomplished by any means possible. Each weapon is attendant with its strengths and weaknesses, and ammunition type.

There, the casual observer stops and (we hope) sits down to enjoy the multiplayer, which is also superficially similar to Goldeneye’s splitscreen action.

Look closer, however, and you will see that Eurocom have added a series of subtleties that take this game beyond Goldeneye. Whilst they may not even pretend to the same sweeping changes introduced in Perfect Dark, they *do* deliver a Bond shooter that has matured with the three years of improvements. JamesBond2000 this game certainly is.

The in-game framerate is smooth on the standard graphics setting, and in multiplayer the slowdown is slight and unobtrusive. Character animations are good, and the business of aiming and shooting is similar to Goldeneye’s. Whether this is a good thing or bad thing is debatable. Certainly, whilst it is similar, there are a few differences (very slight) in tracking speeds and sensitivity of TWINE and GE meaning that occasionally frustrating accidents with fine-aiming can occur. Either way, this is a fault that may well be due to the player’s own experience, and not that of the game.

Weapon select and gadget select have been tweaked to be more accessible, although shunning PD’s wheel-selection option, and it is now possible for the player to select among gadgets with the same ease as Bond might produce a stealthy P2K pistol. The weapons have secondary fire modes, as well, which may raise a doubtful eyebrow or two on first sight. On second viewing, however, this is one area where the game actually holds its own against Perfect Dark, and admirably so: Consider the lowly P2K pistol; the player indicates secondary fire, and voila! Bond affixes a silencer on the end! Automatic rifles have a secondary 3-round-burst option, just as in real life, and the now-formidable Shotgun can be set to fire singly or to unload completely in terrifyingly potent automatic action.

Here, at least, Eurocom have not departed from the world of realism and modern day armaments, and herein lies one of their strengths – namely, that whilst the originality of their work may be less than brilliant, the execution is polished and the end result is pleasing. No more “Undetachable proximity mine” Alt-Fire illogicalities need plague the player in multiplayer. The old favorites of Shotgun, Magnum and rocket launcher are still here, along with a host of new and wonderful weapons – not least a shoulder mounted multiple rocket launcher with laser sight guidance!

Solo mission wise, the game is made to appear somewhat more fluid and changeable than GE, with some objectives changing and new ones appearing in mid-mission. However, each mission can be somewhat more linear than Goldeneye. Whilst not something this author has found annoying, there are situations wherein a simple accidental act can ruin the mission for the player, without the game giving any indication.

Missions themselves include the standard “level-slog” (with the player battling minions to reach an end goal), to the “stealth ‘em up” (a truly excellent night time level where not a single enemy may be killed), as well as the less flexible “shooter on rails” (with the player skiing down a perilous slope dealing with snipers as he goes). The sheer variety attempted is greater than that presented by either PD or GE, with the downside being that some levels are clearly less enjoyable than others – the Cold Reception ski level being foremost on this list.

Generally speaking, though, the levels are enjoyable, detailed, and quite importantly, realistic. Ammunition in both solo and multiplayer is far more precious and rare in this game than in either GE or PD, with Bond needing to conserve every shot and strive for the same precision he displays in the movies. Enemies can take several shots to the body and limbs, but headshots are even more assuredly lethal here than in either of TWINE’s precursors. Voice acting – a highly contentious point in Perfect Dark – is superb in TWINE, with Pierce Brosnan’s voice very skilfully imitated, and John Cleese actually lending his dulcet tones to the game. Overall, Eurocom’s game brings a solidly enjoyable (if not particularly inspired) presentation to the player, and rivals either of its predecessors on this front.

So far, so good. What are the let downs of this game? Firstly, the hardcore Bond fan will instantly recognize a rather massive vacancy in the line up of Bond paraphenalia – the Monty Norman theme song! Although the music provided is perfectly suited for the mood of the game, one does have to wonder why Eurocom, having secured the rights to the movie and actors’ likenesses, then failed to bring in the signature tunes. A notable and unfortunate absence, though not one to wreck the game.

Secondly, the enemy AI is decidedly weak compared to Perfect Dark, and nothing special compared to Goldeneye. The multiplayer bots are considerably less clever than Perfect Dark’s Sims, but they *do* possess the redeeming feature of not actually resorting to cheating when playing against you. Even so, the solo missions are structured so that the questionable AI is unimportant to the playing experience, and the different gadget-related mission objectives are enjoyable enough without needing to shoot bots.

Thirdly, the end confrontation is a great step down from that of Goldeneye. Although stringently loyal to the plot of the film, the anticlimactic nature of the final showdown is such that many players will wonder where the big fight went. The rest of the end level, though, presents an excellent array of navigational challenges and gadget related tomfoolery, and demonstrates how far this game has progressed since the groundbreaking Goldeneye. Now Bond really does move, jump, and swim in three dimensions, and the emphasis is no longer so heavily on the shooting.

Whether this game is better, worse, or equal to Goldeneye and Perfect Dark is a question that the reader will have to solve for themself, and there may not be a single answer. However, having played the game almost without distraction over the course of a week or so, I can confidently say that The World Is Not Enough is a very accomplished game. Simply put, it deserves a very thorough sampling by any fan of the FPS, or Bond junkie.

If – like me – you are both, then all that remains is for me to ask you what you’re waiting for.

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