Previews

GoldenEye Wii gameplay preview

Hands-on: We check out Activision's revamp at E3...

Hello, Mr Bond. We've been expecting you.

Every since leaked images of Activision's GoldenEye 're-imagination' (don't call it a remake) emerged, we've been itching to grasp our Golden Gun once again.

Today at E3, we finally got to do so - and early signs are fairly positive. If you're a fan of the original N64 game (and, let's face it, who isn't?) there will be plenty here to satisfy your nostalgia - supported by the essential cornerstones of what makes a Good Modern Shooter.

The title has been created from the ground up by UK-based Eurocom. And although original GoldenEye developer Rare isn't involved in the project (they're too busy larking about in front of a camera), their footprint is very obvious in the new game's make-up.

We are taken back to 1997 almost immediately - with the brisk tones of Judi Dench as M prescribing us our first mission: To infiltrate a Russian base and prevent terrorists from loading a boat with chemical weapons, in the classic Arkangelsk level. So far, so rose-tinted specs.

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But not everything proves quite so reverent of the past. Using the silent P99 pistol to take out guards - via a contemporary left trigger/aim, right trigger/shoot mechanic - we are informed that the game offers the player two ways out of any situation: Covert, sneaky stealth or balls-out firefight.

Opting for the former, we eventually tiptoe our way into a truck with 006 (Sean Bean's likeness nowhere to be found), using up-close silent takedowns to remove certain enemies, crafty headshots to dispatch others.

We're told that Daniel Craig's (bizarrely incongruent) Bond is a rougher, more brutal fellow than Piece Brosnan's suave assassin, and it soon proves the case. A vicious close-up melee mechanic ends with a satisfying, thud-accompanied smack to the mush for poor Ruskie.

If that all sounds a bit Splinter Cell, you won't have to look too far for the other major gaming hallmark to influence the update.

It's Activision, it's current and it's an FPS. Call Of Duty-esque elements include a real-time, reddening damage indicator (complete with crimson flicks in the centre of the screen) and a constant radar in the corner - showing enemies and useful tidbits via obvious colour coding.

The dialogue we witness is spiky and impressive - especially for a Wii game - and it probably should be, considering Bond writers are on board. The background music, too, is reminiscent of a slick movie production - we have modern-day Bond composer David Arnold to thank for that.

Our single-player experience finishes on a more frantic note - AK-47'ing our way through quickly gathering reinforcements on a sodden dockyard.

If you're wayward with your shots or opt not to use the sneaky crouch position during certain sections, guards will be alerted and call for backup; quickly shifting the game into an explosive gunfight.

GoldenEye certainly looks good for a Wii game - with only the cardboard destructible environments letting the side down in the visual stakes.

Sound, too, is top notch, especially in terms of demarking different weapons in your possession (hardcore N64 fans will not be best pleased to see a correctly-spelled 'Klebb' in 007's inventory). In addition, dialogue is cleverly muffled to the ear when Bond is in a camped position.

Environments, meanwhile, are noticeably next-gen - with some clever rain and steam effects giving our brief battle a nice sheen.

Controls are simple, elegant and - in all key areas - obvious to anyone that's played a first-person shooter in the last eight years. We used the out-in-the-US N64 Classic Controller for Wii, which was very intuitive - but you can also deploy the standard Wii Remote & Nunchuk.

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