The World is not Enough Hands-On
Bond is back on the N64 - martini, anyone?
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The World Is Not Enough was the highest-grossing Bond movie. It wasn't a bad movie either - probably the best of Pierce Brosnan's Bond movies and easily one of the series' top five. On the N64, it is a different story. There is one definitive Bond game: GoldenEye. But that game, immensely popular and still thought of by many as the best N64 game available, is over three years old and is beginning to show its age. Though comparisons between TWINE and GoldenEye are inevitable, frankly, it doesn't matter which is best - the simple truth is that N64 fans are crying out for decent games. From what GameSpot UK saw of TWINE at developer Eurocom in Derby yesterday, this game should be more than decent.
The first-person action game follows the plot of the film closely, at the insistence of MGM. However, as both parties were aware that there was room for the game to extrapolate, the developer has introduced elements to the story that add to the gameplay and still fit within the plot. One example is a hostage situation in the London Underground that was not part of the film but fits quite nicely into the story between the boat chase and the Millennium Dome scenes. The story will be revealed using expertly executed cutscenes between levels, which add to the game's atmosphere, going a long way toward convincing you that you actually are Bond. And frankly, who wouldn't want a piece of that?
Sadly, the boat chase itself isn't playable on the N64, but this has more to do with limitations in cart size than with the developer's imagination. According to Bill Beacham, the game's producer, the inclusion of the boat chase and other vehicle-related scenes would have meant creating a separate game engine, potentially compromising the core first-person engine. The decision was made to concentrate on making sure that the engine was as good as it could be, as it will compose most of the gameplay. For those familiar with the film, all the characters are instantly recognizable, from Bond to M and R, not to mention the Cigar Girl, Dr. Christmas Jones (who made me believe in Santa Claus once more), Elektra King, Zukovsky, and the delightfully immoral Renard. As is the norm for these games, voice actors impersonate the main characters, although John Cleese took the time to reprise his role as R, recording some special dialogue for the game.
The game will feature nearly 40 weapons and gadgets, so rest assured, Bond will have plenty of toys to play with. Some are lifted directly from the film, while others were inspired by the series. Many weapons have alternative fire modes to increase Bond's options. My personal favorite gadget is the pair of X-ray specs that served as little more than a visual gag in the movie but will play a crucial role in the game as Bond attempts to avoid the guards in a number of levels.
Each level's pace will vary, following the pace of the film: Some will be all-out action and others will rely on Bond's stealth. Objectives will be revealed dynamically, so Bond won't always know precisely what it is he has to do until he has completed the early stages of a level. These objectives will vary according to the difficulty level, which can be adjusted between scenarios. Changing the difficulty level will change the enemy's intelligence and alertness, as well as their numbers. The designers have also been at pains to make sure that many of the levels can be played in more than one way, for instance as a full-on gung-ho assault or a more sneaky, round-the-back infiltration, where the slightest snap of a twig will alert the guards.
Multiplayer will be a big part of the game, and the designers hope this will keep the cart in people's machines for a long time. There will be six multiplayer modes, 15 arenas, and a number of weapon modes, which will allow you to use, for example, just sniper weapons or explosive weapons in multiplayer games. Having tried out four-player mode, I can confirm that it works well. And in single-player mode, if you do well, bonus skin packs will be unlocked, some of which will feature past Bond villains such as Oddjob or Scaramanga. If these guys are used as bots, they'll behave similarly to their onscreen counterparts.
TWINE is nearly complete, and from what I have seen, it has the potential to be a real winner for N64 gamers. It promises varied gameplay, plenty of flexibility for the player, an immersive Bond atmosphere, and a well-thought-out multiplayer mode. If it delivers on its promises, it could well mirror its big-screen counterpart's achievement and outshine GoldenEye.
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