Yes, this is a real thing. GoldenEye on the Wii is something you've probably already heard about. We expected to see it here at an Activision preview event, but we didn't expect to see a DS game. At least not yet. It was here, though, brought by developer n-Space. It was being shown off by a personal friend who works there, so I was the first to get a look at the game.
You should know right off that this DS game is not a modification of the Wii game. It's an all-new creation that ties in the best moments of the original game with current day 007 references. This means that Daniel Craig is Bond in this GoldenEye, and he actually did voicework for the title, as did Judi Dench. The game retells the movie's story, but it does it in its own way, and you could tell that the devs really wanted to do something fresh and different.
At first I got the same demo as everyone else, driving a tank through town, blasting other tanks and running over other soldiers. It wasn't the most impressive way to show off the game, but it worked well enough. The d-pad controlled the driving while the stylus aimed. I blew up tanks, cars, and eventually a helicopter. One-hit kills. Again, not quite exciting, but this is a key scene, and it's nice to see how they're thinking with this DS version.
Show me something better, I asked. My friend at n-Space did. He pulled up the Bunker stage of the game, which is the location where GoldenEye was built in the story. On this stage I was on foot, moving in first person in what could be called an exploration stage. Again, the d-pad moved while the stylus aimed. There were contextual buttons on the bottom screen, and the right bumper button fired your selected weapon. This stage actually had a bit less shooting and a lot more puzzle solving, with key cards and locked doors and the like, and made for a good level to get a feel for the game's control. It's atypical to see a mostly non-combat stage, but I like the idea of Bond being a smart problem solver, and not just a badass with a gun.
In this stage I moved through tight spaces in the dark, crawling under ducts and hopping over large pipes, all of which were automatic based on context. Combat was limited to shooting out security cameras to protect from being spotted. Doing things like kicking doors open and opening locks used gestures that made sense.
I saw these and a few other stages, all of which looked nice. None of them would blow you away visually, but neither would the Wii game, really. As before, it's all about fun first-person shooting, and from what I saw, this DS game had plenty of potential. I got the sense of playing a larger console game here, and you could tell that this is what the developers were trying to achieve. Keep in mind that this was a beta build, so a lot could change. And they haven't said a word about the included multiplayer aspect yet. Stay tuned.