At Nintendo's E3 booth, I played a quick round of two-player split-screen multiplayer of this new GoldenEye, and it left a positive impression. I could have sworn my opponent and I had faced off in a classic Bond map (the Archives, I thought), but Activision insists this is an "original" level, in so much as it is not a recreation of one of Rare's maps from the N64 game. Of course, Rare's maps were based on sets from the movie, and Activision has the rights to have maps designed from these same sets. So, expect to get a sense of déjà vu when playing the new Goldeneye.
My first "aha, this is a new game" moment happened when I pressed up against a railing and was prompted to "vault" over it onto the floor below. Wait -- you can jump now? Not quite.
The new GoldenEye uses a context-sensitive "action" button, which doubles as a sprint ability when there's no environmental object to interact with. While there's no "free jumping," developer Eurocom has added special abilities. In the demo (which was set up with Classic Controller Pros), I controlled Oddjob, the Bond villain henchman with a lethal, bladed-brim bowler hat; my special move being a one-hit-kills hatshot. (My opponent, as Jaws, could toss a handful of grenades as his one, not-nearly-as-cool trick.)
It was a quick match, and in the end my hat proved deadlier than the 'nades. How to sum up such a brief demo? Simply: I want to play more. The new GoldenEye 007 is a fast-paced, technically-sound shooter that could bring back the glory days of split-screen Bond -- if only I can lure my old friends over to play. (The game will also have 8-player online multiplayer with XP progression and unlockables.) If you're bummed that this game isn't a true Bond port, don't be -- unless you buy it thinking it is.