Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Perfect Dark Review

Perfect Dark is a first person shooter developed by Rare and released on the Nintendo 64 in 2000. An HD remastered version was released on the Xbox 360 and on the Xbox One as part of the Rare Replay. This review is based upon the HD remake that's part of the Rare Replay.

After all it's success with GoldenEye, Rare knew they would need to make a sequel but instead they came up with a completely original game. This was smart for two reasons, by making up a setting they wouldn't have to pay for the Bond name like they did when they made GoldenEye and second, because they made it up they could do whatever they wanted with Perfect Dark. And what Rare did was make a classic game not just on the Nintendo 64 but on any console.

In Perfect Dark you play as Joanna Dark, an agent of the Carrington Institute.

Joanna Dark
This game takes place in the distant year of 2023. Two alien races fight a galactic war and the Earth is drawn into the fight. The Carrington Institute takes the side of the Maians, which look like your typical grey alien with small body and big head. The Carrington Institute arch enemy, the defense contractor dataDyne, take the side of the Skedar who are a reptilian looking race. Joanna is sent in to help stop dataDyne and the Skedar race.

Perfect Dark starts out as a James Bond type story set a few years in the future but it quickly looses it's gritty feel and turns camp which I think suits this game well. You rescue and team up with one of the grey aliens who calls himself Elvis. He wears sneakers and an American flag shirt with his name on the back. That just about sums up the plot of this game.

"How is Elvis, and have you seen him lately?"
Another level has you board Air Force One, fight your way to the President and then have him escape in the capsule just like the movie Air Force One with Harrison Ford.

"Get off my plane!"

The game even depicts the President as an African American which was all the rage in movies from that era.

President Obama

This is your typical first person shooter and while it's a bit plain by todays standards it was a big deal when it came out. This game, and GoldenEye, were my favorite games on the Nintendo 64. I had played Wolfenstein 3D and DOOM when they came out but it was these two games that introduced me to first person shooter multi player. I have three brothers and we would play these two all the time. Sometimes we would play two on two teams and the cheating would get so bad, due to us looking on the screen where the others were, that we setup two TVs and covered up the other team's screen to keep from cheating.

The controls are a bit different than modern first person shooters. There is no running or jumping. You wouldn't realize how much you miss them until you can't use them. The other big difference is zooming in with your weapons. The way it works in Perfect Dark is not the same as in modern shooters, it kind of zooms at what you're aiming at. Overall it just doesn't work very well.

So that's what Area 51 looks like.


Perfect Dark was released on the Nintendo 64 and that generation has not held up very well, as a matter of fact the 5th generation of video games look awful. It's probably the reason that I don't like the Nintendo 64 too much. Fortunately Perfect Dark doesn't look terrible and the HD remake looks even better. It's not going to hold up to any modern games but it's playable without making your eyes bleed.

The music is a good match for the game and the sound effects are pretty good. Everything sounds the way I think it should except for the reptile aliens. They sound like cougars and it's very funny when they come at you while doing their cougar call.


Perfect Dark was a video game released only on the Nintendo 64 and Nintendo is a company that will censor anything that they think may offend anyone. How can a company be so crazy about quality games let this one get through. What happened to the people in charge of the Nintendo Seal Of Quality, were they on a break? I mean it's not hidden in the game, it's a grenade that you'll find all over when playing in multi player. I know that N-Bomb stands for Neutron Bomb in this game but come on. When Perfect Dark was upgraded and released for Xbox Arcade the name was changed to N-Grenade which is much better. When we played Perfect Dark there was nothing more fun then throwing an N-Bomb Grenade at your friends when they are coming at you as it's lots of fun.


Perfect Dark is one of my favorite Nintendo 64 games and it holds up today. It was one of the first console first person shooters with multi player. They tweaked what worked with GoldenEye to make an even better experience. There's a reason why after buying Rare Replay the first game we played was Perfect Dark Multi player. Perfect Dark is a 10 out of 10!

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