[Article and Translation by Yota]
In the middle of the nineties, Rare, thanks to releases such as Donkey Kong Country and Killer Instinct, had already become an important partner of Nintendo. Nothing strange, then, that at the time the British software house was working on various new projects. One of these was a tie-in of the new James Bond movie, Goldeneye. Initially the game was supposed to be a 2d platform for SNES, but the development was quickly switched to the Nintendo 64.
Arcade shooters like Virtua Cop were originally considered as basis for the gameplay on the N64 and, even through at the end RARE opted for a FPS, some features of the Sega classic were kept in the final version, such as the button for reloading, realistic polygonal models that react differently depending on the hit point, civilians that shouldn’t be killed, and so on. Mario 64 too, with its objective-based levels, was an huge influence.
After almost two years of delays, constant revisions, new game modes added at the last minute (the multiplayer), changes made in order to avoid copyright issues (RARE used the original name of the weapons in the beta), Goldeneye was finally released in 1997. Although we know enough about the game for believing that the beta was different (and probably closer to the film), unfortunately the photographic evidence that we have is rather scarce, as the title was shown for the first time when it was almost finished.
Luckily, thanks to the Gameshark and the leftovers still available in the game’s code, it is possible to reconstruct at least in part the beta version of Goldeneye, and that’s what I will try to do in the following paragraphs.
In this actual beta screenshot we can seen that originally you had to complete all the objectives even on Secret Agent.
Apparently, this is the boat that was used originally to approach the famous “lost island” of the first stage. Probably it was activated with a key dropped by the only Commander in the level.
And this is the island itself, complete with a non-functional drone gun. It is likely that Bond had to come here to recover the bungee cord..
…or the piton gun, another removed item.
And here is the bungee cord, which was used to do bungee-jumping at the end of the level.
After the jump, Bond would have ended in this location, which has been totally eliminated from the final game and replaced with a non-playable cut scene. Our hero had probably to remove the iron grating.
These vents are located under the location mentioned above.
These are the beta alarms. In the final version they have only one alarm bell.
In this actual beta screenshot we can see a very early version of Facility and the old Rocket Launcher.
The gray doors from Archives were also used as placeholders in the beta version of Facility.
Another beta door. It was never used in the final version.
Originally the tanks were stacked just like in the movie.
Doctor Doak’s briefcase. It contained some weapons, but it was removed from the final game.
An aerial view of how the final room of Facility was in the beta.
Apparently we had to ride a motorcycle in order to take the airplane, as it happens in the film. It is likely that the scene was probably too complex to be recreated in the game.
And here we have the biker. Probably they had to prevent Bond to stole the plane.
In this actual beta screenshot we can see that originally the Surface level had a white sky. Also, the taser is different from the one that it possible to unlock in the final game.
This strange place, located under the beginning of the level, is inaccessible in the final version of the game. It was surely the starting point of the mission in the beta. In order to go up, Bond had to..
..take the elevator, as we can see from this actual beta screenshot, which was completed removed from the game,or..
…take the stairs. They are still visible in the released game, but we can’t use them anymore.
This section of the level is not accessible in the final version. The door is simply a texture.
If we kill Ouromov instead of letting him go, we can pick up his briefcase and a key that is used to open the roof of the silo. Surely it was originally another objective that Bound needed to complete.
An actual beta screenshot of Silo, that shows Bond using the laser.
Frigate (Beta name of level: Destroyer)
It is possible that in the beta there were real terrorists in the boat.
If Xenia was really aboard, as the briefing says (even if they are only rumors), this unused model was definitely the pilot of her helicopter.
A Beta door, not used in the final game.
Beta The Statue
In this beta screenshot of The Statue, we can see that originally the level was immersed in a grey fog. Also, in the final version there is nothing around the Lenin’s statue.
This object was removed from the final game.
In this actual beta screenshot we can see the very first version of the k7.
Ouromov’s car, which we had to chase in the beta mission. It had even the same plate as the one in the movie. Again, most likely it was removed in order to meet the deadline or because the frame rate was already choppy.
A red truck that was never used in the final game.
This is probably the Helicopter that Xenia used in the beta in order to make her appearance in the Jungle. In the final game we only hear the aircraft’s sound effects, but we never actually see it.
Beta Water Caverns
Apparently in the beta we had to chase Trevelyan. In the final game this isn’t necessary because he always waits for us at end. It is possible that in the beta, in order to not to fail the mission, we had to closely follow him through the caves.
In the beta version of the Aztec mission there were also female guards.
Egypt (Beta name of the level: Crypt)
Crypt was apparently the name of the level in the beta, but when they changed the name of the mission to “Egypt”, they forgot to change it in the watch too. Also, the subtitles for Baron Samedi’s laugh (HaHaHa) weren’t used in the final version.
Beta and Unused Items
A selection of the many unused items that can still be seen in the final game using the gameshark.
Citadel was a map used to test the multiplayer mode. Rare always denied that it could still be accessed in the final game, but in 2004 it was finally found and now it can be played thanks to Gameshark codes.
In the beta version of Goldeneye it was possible to play with the past Bonds from the old 007 films, namely Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Sean Connery. Surely they have been removed for copyright issues. Also, The Statue and The Cradle levels were originally multiplayer maps too.
[Article & Translation by Yota]
Some of the images are from www.goldeneye.detstar.com , which was the best website about Goldeneye.
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