There are 8 different controller mappings available in GoldenEye.
1.1 is the default control style, and by habit ended up being used by a lot of players in the early years of the-elite. It's main issue is that your turning speed is capped while maintaining full speed, unless your stick has incredible range, though this is overcome by Cruise Control. It is significantly slower at looking up / down, since this is on the c buttons. A few players persisted with it but 1.2 quickly became dominant, and is widely considered superior to 1.1 for all stages on normal difficulties at least. In modern times it is little more than a meme.
1.2 is the staple speedrunning control style, with analogue control over the camera and sharp digital inputs for the movement. It cannot be recommended highly enough to new players.
1.4 is the same as 1.2, but A is used to shoot, Z to bring up the r-aimer, and the bumpers to switch weapons. This is only used occasionally by a few players on levels where you need to R-Lean, and their control grip makes 1.2 more uncomfortable than the oddities of 1.4.
2.x generally refers specifically to 2.2 and 2.4, which both are similar to a "modern controller" with Bond's movement on the 2nd controller's analogue and the camera on the 1st controller's analogue. They differ in that their z buttons are switched: 2.2 has shoot on the 1st controller's Z, with aim on the 2nd controller's Z, while 2.4 is vice versa.
Crucially the 2nd controller is 'live' during the opening cinemas. This has several advantages:
- Fullspeed can be built during the opening cinemas, saving ~0.35s on many different levels
- The B button allows you to open the door at the start on Caverns
- With 2.4 you can select and shoot a weapon from the point of view of the camera. This also builds noise
On this last point, you have "no weapon" equipped by default at the start of cinemas. Holding A from before the level starts will equip your first weapon, while A & Z will equip the previous weapon. From there you can cycle as normal.
Most players only play 2.x where they gain some advantage, but a certain top player uses 2.x just out of preference, and has done so to great effect.
The main fear with 2.x is the loss of full strafing speed. Most players use a Gamecube stick, which brings back some of the binary-ness of c buttons as well as having greater range, and will Cruise Control it where possible.
On paper 2.3 sounds like a nightmare combination of 1.1 and 2.x. It has forward movement and left/right turning on the 1st controller, as in 1.1, and then look up/down and strafe on the 2nd controller, along with shoot. This look-up on the 2nd controller means it is available in the cutscenes. In the 1st cutscene the camera is fixed but the look up/down will still tilt the gun and so 2.3 is effectively able to aim slightly up / down and shoot in the 1st cinema.
This small aim up is just enough on Frigate agent to free the bridge hostage semi-consistently in one of the five cinemas. It also has potential application on Bunker 1.
1.3 & 2.1
The 2 styles not mentioned above have no known uses. 2.1 is 2.3 but with the two controllers' Z buttons swapped. Aiming up/down in the cinemas without shooting serves no purpose, so it seems it'll never be useful. 1.3 is so irrelevant that noone even remembers what the mapping is. Maybe it's to 1.1 what 1.4 is to 1.2.