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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: Brendan Jones

Perfect Dark has been a very special game for me- twice.  When it was released in Australia, it was the first game that I saved for and bought new.  When it was re-released on Xbox 360 Live Arcade- I was prompted to get a second hand Nintendo 64 and a copy of the original game.

Hey, I have a disposable income, but I'm not made of money.

I'm a rare type of gamer (no pun intended) in that I completely missed GoldenEye, but picked up Perfect Dark instead.  Gaming magazines had been hyping it for months, and I was damn keen to get it.

Thus, Perfect Dark added to our weekend multiplayer parties (also attended by Mario Party, Super Smash Bros and Mario Golf, until we threw our controllers away).  It's a magnificent multiplayer shooter, allowing the strategist and the grunt to compete equally on the field of battle.  Being able to see each other's movements in fact added an extra challenge- sure, I could watch where Hailey was going, but then Scott or Stef might blow my head off!

However, Perfect Dark lives up to its adjective with the single player campaign.  The story is deep, well paced, imaginative- and insanely and unabashedly English.  Joanna is not a female James Bond: she's more an updating of the sleek Avengers girls of the 1960s.

The gameplay is just as intuitive and slick as I remembered it (although I may not be).  There is a thrill of satisfaction as you pick off snipers at the villa, or subdue the submariners of the Pelagic II before they can strike to alarm.  Whilst it may not feel as densely populated after the rich worlds of Halo and Half-Life, Perfect Dark set the tone to come for the much loved first person genre.

OK, so I'm missing out on HD graphics, Joanna's new hairdo and Elvis's wrinkles.  What I've got is a slice of my own gaming history, every bit as perfect as when I left it.

Plus, has anybody else noticed the predictive nature of the President…?