Before there was Halo, there was GoldenEye 007. The James Bond shooter for Nintendo 64, developed by Rare and best known for its addictive multiplayer death matches, might be coming to Xbox LIVE Arcade with multiplayer support and improved graphics this year.

The blog Xbox Evolved, citing "very reliable sources", states that Rare, Microsoft, MGM Studios, and Activision have agreed to bring GoldenEye to LIVE Arcade sometime before Activision releases a 007 game of its own in 2008. Each company stands to benefit here; Microsoft and Rare make a pretty penny when the game hits XBLA (it sold eight million copies on N64), while Activision and MGM gain publicity for the new 007 game and movie (respectively) being released in 2008. Nintendo would obviously love a seat on this gravy train by getting GoldenEye on the Virtual Console service for Wii but it's a bit tricky for them as Microsoft bought their stake in Rare in 2002.

Rare may also bring some of its other old titles to XBLA, such as Banjo-Kazooie and Perfect Dark. The latter would really benefit from a port to a next-gen system with more muscle, as it really dragged ass on N64 at times. As far as GoldenEye is concerned, it was a classic shooter and I'm wondering how much they'll tinker with the gameplay. The bar for console multiplayer shooters has been raised significantly since 1997. There are some pretty easy changes Rare could make to enhance the game, like allowing more players in a multiplayer match. Some of the larger maps (I'm looking at you, Bunker) would be a lot more fun with four more players. The most I hope for with the rumored improve graphics is variety in the game's textures. Some GoldenEye maps were disorienting because of how indistinguishable one segment of the map was from the next. The problem was lessened a bit on N64 because you played on a split screen and could just look at your friend's portion of the screen to find out where he was, but you won't have this crutch over Xbox LIVE.

Oh, and one more thing: make Odd Job the same height as all the other characters. I'm not looking forward to explaining to some teeny bopper via headset that it's cheating to play a shorter character. It's time better spent demeaning them for walking into my remote mines.

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