The GoldenEye Arms Reference

Site Navigation
Home Page - Introduction and credits.
Principles - General behavior of firearms and explosives.
Weapon Details - Detailed descriptions of each weapon.
Weapon Comparison - Ranking of weapons by performance metrics.
Multiplayer Modes - Analysis of multiplayer weapon combinations.
Realism - Authentic and inaccurate aspects of gameplay.
Methodology - Techniques used to measure several metrics.

It is the quality of the GoldenEye engine that gives the game its unmistakable feel - carefully implemented weapon behavior, combined with cinematography that eschews unnecessary gore while faithfully depicting the digging of bullet holes in a wall. It must be conceded that at its heart GoldenEye is not a simulation but an action game; several concessions were made for playability quite apart from those addressing hardware limitations. But the world that results is quite consistent, and can keep single or multiple players enthralled for hundreds of hours.

Above all it must be remembered that GoldenEye is not patterned after real life, but after James Bond movies! Enemies that all run around corners to be killed might not be a staple of real life but are plentiful enough at the cinema. The inaccuracies listed below are therefore not complaints, merely observations made during months of play.

Also note that these are comments upon the firearms behavior; this catalog is not concerned with other aspects of the game, nor with trivia regarding idiosyncrasies and bugs.

Accurate behaviors

Weapons load a limited number of rounds, and when this supply is exhausted a weapon must be reloaded.

Firearm handling
Weapons fire at different rates, have different accuracies, and experience recoil when firing rapidly. Note that the effect is not merely a randomization of bullet trajectories, but that the gun visibly shakes in the character's hands.

Involuntary motion
The player is not a perfectly frigid robot, and when standing still his weapon and the scene in front of him will slowly rock with his breathing, pulse, and the tension of his muscles. This becomes particularly obvious when using a powerful sight, especially that of the sniper rifle, and is one of the most attractive and sophisticated aspects of gameplay.

Hit effects
Other characters during missions flinch and can be knocked backwards when taking fire, and die with appropriate theatrics. Equally impressive are the fact that bullets damage walls and other scenery, complete with trash fragments falling through the air and sparks flickering in the craters before quickly going out.


Every weapon can be reloaded in just 0.89 seconds, even if Bond is holding two weapons, leaving no free hand to change either clip. And a partially depleted magazine can be instantaneously refilled; real reloading would involve replacing a half empty clip with a full one, not magically topping off the depleted clip from a supply of extra bullets.

Apparently Bond is deft enough to instantly repackage rounds into semiautomatic or automatic configurations, allowing weapons as different as the PP7 and RC-P90 to draw from a common supply of ammuntion.

Sniper rifle
When the player carries a sniper rifle, choosing ‘Unarmed’ selects the butt of the rifle as an implement with which to strike opponents. But a sniper rifle is a precision instrument which of all the weapons must be jealously protected from any shock or blow that might affect its sighting.

While the sniper rifle in the game holds eight rounds, it does not seem to be depicted as having any kind of magazine; and even the GoldenEye Instruction Booklet describes the weapon as a ‘single shot rifle.&rsquo (But then again, it is not illustrated as having a bolt either!)

Real explosives cause damage through their concussion and shrapnel in addition to heat, and usually do not produce several seconds of billowing flames. They also tear apart walls and doors, exposing their interior construction and the rooms behind them, instead of transparently passing through scenery to damage players and boxes.

Enemy ammo
Enemies seem to possess an unlimited supply of ammunition, but when they die you can scavenge only a handful of rounds from them.

Other players
When in multiplayer mode other characters' movements do not always match their actions; for instance, when another player side steps his weapon arm flails out to the side but from his point of view the gun still points forward and he can indeed shoot you with it. And an ‘unarmed’ character will stand with his hands by his side even if he is busily trying to slap you.

Rhodes MillCopyright © 1998 Brandon Craig Rhodes.