Throwback first-person shooters are penny a bushel at the moment, but while most aim to replicate the boomsticks of Quake, Agent 64: Spies Never Die mimics the PPKs and hacking gadgetry of another 90’s classic. Maybe the name gives it away: it’s Rare’s GoldenEye for the Nintendo 64, and there’s currently a demo available to play as part of the Steam Next Fest.
The inspiration is abundantly clear just to look at it, but it holds true in how Agent 64 plays, too. You’ll fire from the hip without crosshairs but forgiving auto-aim, then use the right mouse button to switch to a specific aiming mode for shooting off padlocks or getting headshots. Enemies, meanwhile, run into view carelessly, flee when shot, and have feet that never quite seem connected to the floor.
There’s only a single level available in the demo, set in a tower you must escape from. There are corridors crammed with crates, a toilet cubicle to burst in upon, and plenty of explosive red barrels. You can also complete it in three difficulty modes, with enemies becoming better at aiming and new objectives being introduced at the harder end of the scale.
I was already a PC gaming snob by the time GoldenEye released in 1997, and vastly preferred Quake, but that didn’t stop me from spending hours round friends houses playing Remote Mines Only on Complex. I don’t have the same degree of nostalgia for its singleplayer, but I had a good time while playing the demo of Agent 64 for 30 minutes or so. You can download it now from Steam, where the full game will be released some time later this year.