Perfect Dark

April 4, 2010

Perfect Dark is a game considered by many to be one of the two classic shooters that defined the genre on consoles (with the other being Goldeneye). And considering Rare’s failed attempt to make a proper sequel, it is clear that the original Perfect Dark is going to be the only game in the series to be remembered by fans. So now these fans, both new and old, have a chance to experience the original, either for the first time or all over again.  

The game has been enhanced for HDTVs and, although the game is still clearly an N64 title, the upgrade in visuals really looks nice. It’s hard to say the game has held up that over time, visually speaking, but it is definitely not the worst looking N64 game either. The audio is still as corny as ever, with bad guys spouting inane dialog both before and after their demise. 

The game has a lot of content, so let’s start with the single player campaign. There are a ton of missions, each with different parts and several objectives to complete. Not only that, there are three difficulty modes, a co-op mode, and even a counter-operative mode. In Counter-Operative, one player spawns as one of the bad guys in the level to try and stop the first player from progressing. It’s a fun diversion, but it does not hold up to co-op in terms of fun with a friend.

The controls have certainly begun to show their age. For someone who has played this game back on the N64, even if you have played a lot of modern shooters since then, will be able to adapt to these controls fairly easily. They are still a bit stiff, but the auto lock-on feature is incredibly helpful in that regard. Those who have never played this back on the N64, you may not be able to get past the controls. For those people, I recommend diving into the trial version before coughing up the 800 points for this classic revival.

Multiplayer is both excellent and awful all at the same time. It has a wealth of modes, options, and maps to use, including a few maps from Goldeneye. There is also the option to play split-screen with friends, and even include bots. But on the downside, the multiplayer is incredibly cheap and has not aged well at all, with the aiming and controls being the huge downside once again, forcing players to rely on the lock-on function. For those who have played the original, this might be a fun blast to the past, but for everyone else, the multiplayer is an afterthought.

There is not much else to say about Perfect Dark. It is an enhanced port of the original N64 title with online functionality added in. But it is also just that, a port of the original, keeping all of the controls that you may or may not remember. This is a game that I can see a lot of people not enjoying simply because they have never played it before, and for those people, I cannot recommend this game. But for those who loved the original, this is a must buy and one game you will continue to come back to, even almost ten years after its original release.

Pros: Single player campaign is still a blast; co-op is amazingly addictive; plenty of multiplayer options and maps to choose from; the up-scaled graphics look nice

Cons: Controls have not aged well; multiplayer is not as fun as you may remember; hard for those who have never played this on the N64 to get into


Score: 4/5

Questions? Check out our review guide.