EXCLUSIVE: Tribal Tuesday- The Controlling Conundrums of Rare’s Classic Shooters

For their time, Goldeneye and Perfect Dark were the first-person shooters (FPS) to have for a console. They helped to define what a shooter meant to be and paved the way for all of the FPSs that we play today. Even Jet Force Gemini, though not nearly as popular as the other two, was one of the greatest third-person shooters of that generation of gaming. It was, in all respects, the Mass Effect its time. But if you were to go back today, right now, and attempt to play any of these titles, you’d find yourself ineptly unskillfull at what you thought you were an absolute juggernaut at. Why? One simple reason: the controls.

We really take for granted the way we play our shooters today. They’re so simplified and elegantly controlled with those additional little analog sticks on the controllers. You can strafe and turn and look in any direction with such simplicity it’s almost a sin to do it. Back in the Nintendo 64 era, we didn’t have these advantageous means. We had this…

See those yellow buttons? Those are the C-Buttons and that’s all we had. Seriously. You want to strafe left, you press the left C-Button. Strafe right? Yep, press the right C-Button. Jet Force Gemini even took it a step further by requiring the play to press the C-Up Button to move forward and the C-Down Button to move backward when in the games first-person view. At the time, it wasn’t really such a hassle. We could strafe our way through Goldeneye firing headshots and destroying security cameras without a second thought. It’s what we had and we dealt with. We adjusted to the only control scheme we ever knew for the time and dominated in the games that utilized it. But when was the last time you fired up your N64 and attempted to play any of these titles in their original incarnations? I guarantee you, it isn’t easy. At all. In all likelihood, you’ll be cursing at the screen and damning your controller to the pits of Hell for the confounded controls that just absolutely do not work the way you remembered them to.

We’ve grown accustomed to the way we play today and it has spoiled us to the point where the original versions of Rare’s classic shooters are just nearly unplayable. With enough time and patience then sure, perhaps eventually you’ll get readjusted to the controls, but the first time you miss what should have undoubtedly been a simple headshot or an easy strafe avoid gunfire, you’ll instantly be wishing for that second analog stick and the elegant, fluid controls of the shooters of today.