Many gamers who grew up in the 90s have a soft spot in their heart for GoldenEye 007, the smash-hit N64 game that revolutionized the home console first-person shooter genre. While the game is ostensibly based on the long-running James Bond film franchise, most gamers remember it more for its addictive arcade-style gameplay and its multiplayer shoot-outs.
The iconic N64 game is finally back on modern consoles this week. Nintendo Switch players can access the classic game through the Nintendo Switch Online service’s “expansion pack” add-on. Meanwhile, Xbox players can access the game on Xbox Game Pass, a similar “games on demand” service.
It’s extremely fun to dive back into the 25-year-old GoldenEye, even if the game is showing its age these days. GoldenEye was one of the first mainstream first-person shooting games on a home console and used a revolutionary new controller scheme thanks to the N64’s unique analog stick design. This made GoldenEye a surprise hit for developer Rare and catapulted the FPS genre to mainstream popularity on home consoles.
While Rare followed up with the cult-classic game Perfect Dark, GoldenEye remains the standout N64-era shooter. However, the game’s expensive license is hard to greenlight for ports and rereleases, and its status as a Nintendo system classic is a bit tricky. Rare was purchased by Microsoft in the early 2000s. While Microsoft hasn’t done anything of note with the company, it means the Xbox owner has the rights to Rare’s massive catalog of top-tier N64 games.
Nintendo and Microsoft have been, strangely enough, playing nice in recent years. Since Nintendo launched its classic selection of N64 games on the Switch, Microsoft has allowed them to host Rare titles like Banjo-Kazooie and, now, GoldenEye. Many fans just assumed those titles were lost to history and would never see a modern re-release.
It’s worth pointing out that two-and-a-half decades of game design have left GoldenEye feeling a bit creaky and outdated. If you don’t plan on playing it with an N64 controller, you’ll need to dig into the options menu and make some changes to make the game feel manageable with a modern gamepad. If you’re eager to check out a piece of gaming history, you can play GoldenEye right now on Nintendo Switch Online or through Xbox Game Pass. Either way, just be prepared to adjust a few settings to get things running smoothly for your trip down memory lane.