CHICAGO – The stage play that Harry Lennix is in town to direct – “A Small Oak Tree Runs Red” – is in its last weekend, and is giving the actor/director the best notices of the theater part in his long and successful career. For more information about the play, and ticket availability, click here.
Video Game Review: Updated ‘Goldeneye 007’ For Nintendo Wii Misfires
CHICAGO – Most of us who are old enough to have spent many of our formative hours playing “Goldeneye 64” often point to the title as one of the most memorable shooting games in history. Personally, I spent much of the time I should have been studying in college massacring my friends on the legendary Nintendo 64 game. Like most people of my age group, I was completely psyched for the 2010 reboot of the timeless game. It just makes my disappointment all the more painful.
Video Game Rating: 2.5/5.0
Let’s get this out of the way first — games that require quick hand-eye coordination like fast-paced shooters were not designed for the Wii-mote & nunchuk control system. As much as I wanted to make it work and as accomplished as some Nintendo Wii shooting games have been (“Resident Evil 4,” “The Conduit,” rail games like “House of the Dead: Overkill” and “Dead Space: Extraction”), the foundation of “Goldeneye 007” is deeply-flawed. The game tries to replicate the fast pace of PS3 or Xbox 360 games but when you’re constantly trying to find your bearings and merge movement with the control stick with the direction you’re aiming with the Wii-mote, it can ruin your good times. You’ll quickly move to the Classic Controller or go buy one if you don’t have one already.
Photo credit: Nintendo
Once you figure out the best way to control the damn game, it’s a recapturing of the joy of the original experience, right? Well, not really. The story and level design have been understandably recrafted for a new era, including Daniel Craig replacing Pierce Brosnan as 007, which is not that big of a problem, but most of the alterations in storytelling fall flat. Perhaps the best example would be that Tina Turner’s theme song has been redone by Nicole Scherzinger of The Pussycat Dolls. That about says it all. Even Scherzinger would probably admit she’s a downgrade from one of the most legendary programs of all time. And it’s a problem when every element that feels new feels like a step down.
Perhaps the biggest problem with “Goldeneye 007” is how far shooters have come since the original title. Playing the old N64 game as it was originally released would allow for retro forgiveness of its flaws but “Goldeneye 007” wants to compete with modern shooters and everything here has been done better not just before but recently. The level design is generic and the enemy A.I. is horrendous, even for Wii. The graphics are sub-par and the levels simply blur into each other after awhile. The splitscreen available for local multiplayer looks particularly horrific. Visually, the blurry title looks practically incomplete at times.
Of course, no one really remembers the single-player campaign of “Goldeneye” as much as they do the endless multiplayer bouts and if there’s a redeeming quality of “Goldeneye 007” it’s once again in that section of the title. Playing locally is almost impossible unless you have a 70-inch TV as the split screen is ineffective but the online multiplayer is effective, especially when compared to other Wii games. This console was simply not designed for multiplayer shooter games, so it works with that in mind. It’s not going to replace “Call of Duty: Black Ops,” but the square peg fits relatively well in the round hole.
There’s a chance that our expectations could have never been met by a 2010 Wii version of “Goldeneye.” Times have changed, gamers have adapted, and we expect more from shooters than we did in 1995. The classic “Doom” has made its way to XBLA and perhaps that was the route for “Goldeneye” that would have worked better because this version feels like not a reboot or a restart but that other dreaded “re-” word — remake.