It’s that time of the week again. It’s the time when Matt and Ian bicker like children to decide who gets their game into the Gaming Hall of Fame. This week the battle lines are drawn for an all out war to decide which game is the best in the N64’s library. Matt is going to be fighting the corner of the great gaming juggernaut, the game that some consider the greatest of all time, the game that gave the ocarina a surge in popularity, could it be anything else than Ocarina of Time? Ian on the other hand is fighting for a force that redefined the multiplayer experience. A game that broke many a friendship, due to screen watching. This is a game cool enough to carry its namesake. Ian is of course fighting for 007:Goldeneye. We may as well begin.
Ocarina of Time vs GoldenEye
Matt: Ocarina of Time isn’t only the greatest N64 game it’s also the greatest game ever. If there were ever to be a physical Gaming Hall of Fame, Ocarina of Time would have an entire wing dedicated to its greatness. Ocarina is a perfect example of everything in a game falling into place. It has a great soundtrack, great characters, great locations, great controls, great story, and iconic moments. Ocarina of Time didn’t just set the bar for games on the N64, it set the bar for games. Ocarina took the fantasy adventure genre and evolved it. I’ve already written an entire blog on the brilliance of this game, and referenced it in numerous others. It is the single strongest influence in my gaming career. There are only few games that are even considered to be in the same stratosphere as this great; Final Fantasy 7, Super Mario World, Resident Evil 4, Street Fighter II and GoldenEye, among a few others. The point is Ocarina of Time is always considered one of the greatest of all time, and it’s often the only N64 game that appears in such a debate. By a simple process of elimination that makes it the best N64. Of course I’m going to argue with actual points and not just that, but this is only my opening statement. Ian It’s your go.
Ian: Yup, I’m facing an uphill battle this week. Ocarina of Time is widely considered to one of, if not the, greatest game of all time amongst gamers. But Jack isn’t a gamer, so I have hope. See I’m going to have to admit it right now; I don’t like the Zelda franchise. It’s nothing personal; we just don’t ‘click’. But enough about Zelda lets talk Bond shall we? GoldenEye was the game that defined FPS games on home consoles in the late 1990’s. Lets get the big point out there front and centre. When you ask someone to recall their time playing Ocarina they’ll tell you amazing tales of defeating Gannon or traversing the Water Temple, with GoldenEye it will be of the best multiplayer matches the N64 has ever seen. And that’s the point I’m going to stick with for this first paragraph, GoldenEye not only has a pretty damn good single player mode but the multiplayer was AMAZING (so good it needed to be spelt in all capital letters). The N64 was ultimately a console that excelled at multiplayer games (Mario Kart, Mario Party, Super Smash Bros etc), why waste the position of best N64 game on a single player only experience? Get three of your friends, get a couch, ideally some beers and you will have a fantastic time shooting each other in the face. Now as with all retrospective looks at games, the time when they were first launched is a lot of the experience. GoldenEye was the first console FPS that did multiplayer gaming properly, it was the consoles version of DOOM (to put it in perspective), and people had never seen anything like it. It was truly of its time, on the first console that could do 4-player games in full 3D and it was an absolute revelation. The same can be said for OoT though I believe there to be one big difference, OoT is essentially a 3D version of ‘A Link to the Past’ (the previous title in the Zelda series on the SNES).
Matt: What!? It really isn’t just a 3d version of Link to the past; it’s more. The stories are different, the settings and the characters are also different. Ocarina of Time moved the Zelda franchise forward and created the mould for all the games in the series. The story was more deep and created character depth, and the sound track created the perfect atmosphere. The point you made above is that Zelda doesn’t have the multiplayer experience. I totally agree with you. However OoT was born in an era when multiplayer wasn’t needlessly tacked onto games to make them more marketable. Now Goldeneye doesn’t have this problem (it has a good single player and a brilliant multiplayer). The reason that OoT is better is because its single player is so engrossing and well made that it makes up for the lack of multiplayer. Also OoT is still very much playable and still as fun as the day it was made. Goldeneye isn’t though. It hasn’t exactly aged well. The maps seem small nowadays (because they are) and this makes it just makes it that little bit less fun. Furthermore the N64 did excel at multiplayer, but that doesn’t mean the best game has to go to a multiplayer game. That is very short sighted Ian. There were also a good few single player games on the N64; Majora’s Mask, Perfect Dark, Donkey Kong 64, Shadow of the Empire, Pokemon Snap, and Mario 64 among other. Any way I’m handing it back to you. Also see how I didn’t attack you for not liking Zelda? That’s because I’m a grown up…
Ian: I love how you used Perfect Dark as an example of a great single player game when it’s the spiritual sequel to GoldenEye (and everyone played it for multiplayer as well), but lets get back on track. Ok, small maps on GoldenEye. This is because the game only supported 4 players, if you have large maps they feel deserted, one of the reasons the multiplayer is so damn good is that its fast and frantic. Next, I totally agree that it hasn’t aged well. The thing is though, videogames more than any other entertainment forms are rooted in the time that they are released. They’re based on technology; it’s why often sequels are better than the originals, something that rarely happens in films and books, and at the time GoldenEye was an absolute masterpiece. This is where the debate gets tricky. I can still play GoldenEye, despite its obvious age, because it takes me back to playing multiplayer when I was younger with my cousin. All the levels and sounds that the guns make fill me with a massive sense of nostalgia that bring a smile to my face, and isn’t that what games are all about? With Ocarina, because I never played it when it was released, I can see how it’s aged as well but without the nostalgia. I played the remade version for the Nintendo 3DS and the one thought that came into my head was “this game is overhyped”. That’s not to say the game is bad, but because it’s had years of people saying it’s the best game ever made it can’t help but disappoint. Now I’m perfectly willing to concede that in it’s day it may have been a revelation but it just didn’t do anything for me (and that’s not me saying this just for a blog, Matt will admit that when I played it I didn’t enjoy it. Even bought it with my own money). Whereas with GoldenEye, sure it shows its age, but shooting your friends in the face is timeless, and GoldenEye is the genesis of it on home consoles. Ocarina is like listening to The Beatles; you hear they’re the best band in the world then you pop Yellow Submarine on. Oh.
Jack: Ok just reading the opening statements from Matt and Ian I can tell I’m going to upset someone whatever I chose as it’s apparent both love the games they are arguing for. Ian is right I am not a gamer, I don’t personally have a best game of all time, I simply haven’t played enough to come to a proper conclusion. Both games are obviously good otherwise they wouldn’t be the subjects of this debate and both seem completely different. On the one hand OoT is a single player immersive experience where as Goldeneye’s selling point is the multi player aspect.
Goldeneye is undoubtedly the game that I personally would prefer to play as its more social and as Ian puts it you can sit round with a few beers and shoot your friends in the face. Also the small maps make it more simplistic and easier to follow which helps me, as I’m not very good when games get complex.
I don’t think Ian’s argument about the overhypedness of OoT holds much weight as its not the games fault that people have talked about it in such high tones that it can’t live up. This week I’m going to give the GHOF title to Ocarina of Time, the multi player thing for me depends entirely on the people you are playing with. If they’re boring then so is the game. In that sense whilst Goldeneye is probably more fun to play, OoT is more consistent in its delivery as a quality game.