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Perfect Dark

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Released: 2000

Genre: Shoot-’em-up

Format reviewed: Nintendo 64

Publisher: Nintendo

Developer: Rare

Submitted by: Michael Levy

Let’s forget for a second that Call of Duty existed and return to a time where first person shooters didn’t have 12 year olds on a microphone swearing. Picture yourself in a room full of 4 friends, staring at 1 screen (4 windows.) having the time of your lives. Welcome back to Perfect Dark for Nintendo 64.

After Goldeneye, mecca of FPSes, Rare decided to release a sequel with an original idea instead of a license. You play as Joanna Dark, a sexy British agent who is part of a group called the Carrington Institute. In the year 2023, there are still evil corporations working with the government. DataDyne is working with an evil alien race to take a weapon from the peaceful aliens, the Maians. Joanna’s job after uncovering this is to stop the Skedar with the help of her Maian buddy Elvis.

One player mode is fantastic. You really feel like you are Joanna Dark. Depending on the level of difficulty you choose, the game either relies on quick kills or more stealth-like sneaking. Similar to Goldeneye, the game gives more objectives when the difficulty is raised.

Difficulty should have been the game’s middle name, because the game’s multiplayer computer A.I. is brutal. It is almost near impossible to take down the hardest setting of “Sims.” Arcade-like action in the multiplayer levels is fast and frustrating with quick spawns and kills. The assortment of weapons still to this day is one of the largest in any console FPS, with each gun having two methods of weaponry.

The control is fully customizable, with various levels of control to fit every players needs. Along with this, the game itself is completely deep in it’s multiplayer selections; setting up advanced mode is the way to go. The game featured the ability to play as multiple different types of characters, including mixing and matching alien heads on human bodies or vice versa. The best part of setting up advanced mode is crafting the best set of guns, as well as fine tuning the music to fit the atmosphere.

Musically, it’s what you’d expect from Rare; ambient electronic morsels draped over a dark city or a run through a compound with thumping techno echoing from the speakers. It’s so good the game released a soundtrack. Graphically, Rare gave it their best, and their best is fantastic on the N64. Requiring the 4MB expansion pak, the game’s amazing lighting and frantic action was ahead of it’s time. With this comes a price of poor frame rates, even during the one player game. However, who can blame it? If Goldeneye was the blueprint, Perfect Dark was the finished product.