It’s out in the wild, which means you’ll need to know how to play the abandoned GoldenEye 007 XBLA game on your computer.
Originally intended for XBLA release from Rare back in 2008, GoldenEye 007 reappeared in January 2021 after being all but forgotten for the best part of a decade. Now, however, you have the chance to play it on your computer using an Xbox 360 emulator.
What You Need to Play GoldenEye 007 on Your PC
For the best results from this, the Xenia Xbox 360 emulator is recommended. Consequently, you’ll also need a Windows PC rather than a system running Linux (you can use Wine, but this is unsupported), BSD, or macOS. Xenia’s minimum system requirements are a little complex so as long as you’re using Windows 7 or later on a 64-bit system, everything should work. Check the details, of course, as you mileage may vary.
In terms of GPUs, the Nvidia family seem to have fewer issues than AMD graphic cards. Support can be found on this GoldenEye 007 GitHub thread.
You’ll also need a game controller. GoldenEye 007 was designed for an Xbox 360, so that controller would seem most suitable. The later Xbox One controller and anything else you can map the controls to correctly will also do.
Grab your downloads:
- GoldenEye 007 XBLA Retail ROM file – this has been removed from the original upload source on archive.org, so you’ll need to get creative and check the usual resources. It’s now known, amusingly, as Project Bean. Once you find it, take a few minutes to scan your downloaded file for malware.
- Xenia Xbox 360 emulator (click Master)
- OPTIONAL: Mousehook v1.11 for GoldenEye 007
Preparing Xenia to Play GoldenEye 007 XBLA/Xbox 360 on Windows
The process you need to follow to get GoldenEye 007 running on Windows is straightforward:
- Find the Xenia download and unzip
- OPTIONAL: if you’re using the mousehook, unzip this and copy the contents to the xenia_master directory, overwriting the existing xenia.exe
- Unzip the GoldenEye 007 XBLA Retail folder
- Open the Xenia folder and double-click xenia.exe
- If prompted by Windows, click More info then Run anyway
- When Xenia opens, click File > Open
- Browse to the GoldenEye 007 folder and find the XEX file (in the original leak this is \Bean\default.xex)
- Select this to play GoldenEye 007
At this stage, you should have an ice-cold vodka martini ready to drink. Before you start a new mission, however, select the Help & Options screen to select the optimum controller layout. They’re named after Brosnan-era Bond Girls.
If you’re using a modded Xbox 360, you should know how to load up game ROMs already.
Comparing GoldenEye 007 XBLA With Original Nintendo 64 and 2010 Wii Version
The XBLA cancelled release of GoldenEye 007 wasn’t a complete disaster for fans of James Bond. After all, the Nintendo Wii version came along in 2010, complete with Daniel Craig’s likeness added to the game. But how does the original N64 version of GoldenEye 007 compare to this newly surfaced XBLA release and the only other published version, for the Nintendo Wii?
Well, nothing is ever going to replace the N64 version. It is a seminal entry into the pantheon of video gaming. Sound pretentious? Fine, but it really is that good, important, and ground-breaking. So many FPS releases that followed owe a great deal to GoldenEye 007 on the Nintendo 64. The Wii version does a good job, but suffers from the po-faced seriousness of the Daniel Craig era it seeks to represent.
As for GoldenEye 007 on Xbox 360… well, in terms of switching the unique N64 controls to the modern Xbox input method, everything feels natural. Whether you prefer the polished graphics of the 360 version or switching to the N64 look, however, is entirely up to you.
One thing is for sure: GoldenEye 007 XBLA version is good enough to devote time to a complete replay of the game.
Gaming since 1984, retro gaming since 2004. Contributes to Linux Format magazine and MakeUseOf.com.