Monday, March 28, 2016

Perfect Dark Zero Review

Perfect Dark Zero is a first person shooter developed by Rare and published by Microsoft for the Xbox 360 on November 22, 2005. It was a lunch title for the Xbox 360 and a sequel to the Nintendo 64 game Perfect Dark. Perfect Dark Zero is one of the games on the Rare Replay compilation for the Xbox One.


Perfect Dark Zero takes place in the year 2020 and is a prequel to Perfect Dark. You play as Joanna Dark as she is contacted and hired by the Carington Institute but before that happens you start the game working as a bounty hunter with your father, Jack.

Joanna Dark 
I'm going to stop myself right here and say I really didn't care about the story and was on my phone while the unavoidable cut scenes played. I had this game when it came out and was looking forward to it as I had loved the original but I just couldn't get into it, then or now. As a first person shooter I think Call Of Duty 2, which was also a launch title for the Xbox 360, did it much better. The camp from the original game was attempted but failed. There was a weird virtual reality level, I don't know what it was doing in this game. At one point I was shooting at cowboys.



Perfect Dark Zero is a standard first person shooter. It takes place 15 years into the future from when it was released but wasn't as crazy as Perfect Dark with it's lasers and aliens. This game plays just like the original, with no jumping or running but with the new addition of you walking around at the speed of molasses.

You can play the campaign on a few different difficulties and with a feature that I hate, the hardest difficulty having to be unlocked by finishing the game on the second highest difficulty. It's an artificial way to pad the game's length and that's all it is. I played on the easiest difficulty and it took me just five hours to finish, that's pretty bad for a game like this. Even the newer Call Of Duties, which are more about multiplayer than the story at this point, last at least 10 hours.

The game tries to change up the game play with some vehicles that you get to control. In one level you pilot a hovercraft while your father blows up all the bad guys. It was OK but easily could have been left out of the game. There also have a level where you climb into an exoskeleton suit that you use, kind of like Ripley in Aliens. It has a machine gun on it but it moves so slowly I jumped out and went on foot.


You also get some boss battles which isn't usually seen in a first person shooter. Like the rest of this game the boss fights didn't work for me. The bosses take way to much damage before they are killed. You just pump them full of ammo and you're thinking that this is too much. The final boss fight was in a weird place with floating platforms that he would jump from while throwing columns at me.

Final Boss
I played this on the easiest setting and some of the guys would not go down, multiple shots to the head and they were still up. The bad guys in Call Of Duty on veteran take less hits.


This game isn't too bad looking for a game from 2005. It's a big improvement over the original and while dated now is one of the better launch titles on the Xbox 360.

Rocket ship

The sound effects sound great in this game. I think it was a big step up from the original. I didn't hear one cougar call in the whole game. On the other hand I think the music was weird and out of place. Lots of tracks of guitar rock that really doesn't work in the levels they were used in.

One level had you using a zip line and the way the screen split while on it I though looked cool.

Zip line

This game was a disaster for me, no map and no radar to use. Eventually the game would call me out for being an idiot and they would say they marked where I need to go. The game would put light blue arrows on the ground to show me where to go but they were at times hard to see.


I did like the cars in this game, they look like a combination of the Tumbler Batmobile from the Christopher Nolan Batman trilogy and a Delorean.



This game is a bit weird in a bunch of different ways. Perfect Dark was a weird game too but it worked unlike in this game. For a start there is a lot of weird dialogue. This game was rated Mature so everyone talks more "adult" then the original

Here is some of the things I heard.

"If you don't play nice, I'll take my ball and go home."
"Boy that was hot work, I could use a cold beer."
"I'm putting you on my shit list."

And then you get the sexist remarks.

"Not bad for a girl."
"The little bitch is shooting at us."

And I'm not certain I heard this right but I'm pretty sure someone called me a whore as well. I think they were trying to do camp like in Perfect Dark but it just doesn't work. The dialogue is terrible and the voice actors sound like they would rather be working in a toll booth. I'll admit that I laughed once when I shot a barrel that exploded in a huge ball of flame, a bad guy took the brunt and was flung across the room, when he stood up he said "that hurt." That almost made the rest worth it, almost.

I played one level where I have to infiltrate a party. There are two women talking about the dresses that they were wearing, how one of them said it was a knockoff. It was just weird because other than the soldiers there they were the only people that I saw at the party. This game seems a bit sexist to me but what do I know.


The dead bodies in this game sometimes wouldn't stay dead. A few guys would bend at the waist until their upper body would come into contact with a wall and stay like that. I also saw a few dead bodies doing a little wiggling after death. Now we've all seen videos of terrible glitches with bodies flying all over the place. I've never experienced anything like it before this game. One dead body started flying all around. As I play this game it's 11 years old so I would have figured glitches like that would have been taken care of by now.

This game has checkpoints but the way it works is odd, if you died you are sent to the beginning of the level with the parts of the mission you've completed still done. That's a new one for me.

I've seen many movies and played lots of video games and this is the first game I've played where shooting at a bad guy wearing a bullet proof vest or armor would have the vest explode off of him. Never seen or heard anything like it.

Exploding Vest
One last thing about this game that I found odd. Like I mentioned in my Games Beaten in 2015 article my goal was to play more game and worry about achievements less. Well this the game that proves the point. I did beat the game on the easiest setting and for that I was awarded 10 points. Out of 1000 points I was given 10. Most of the achievement for this game are for multi player which unless you have a time machine the only way to get these achievements is to play about a million games with bots. There are a handful of achievements for playing 1000 matches of certain multi player modes. And there are achievement for each difficulty level, both solo and co-op. So to get them all you'll need to play 1000s of games of multi player and play the game with someone else at least three separate times. As soon as I beat the game and I was awarded my 10 gamer score I deleted the game and won't ever reinstall it again.


This game was a complete disappointment when it first came out and my opinion hasn't changed today. It was a glitchy uninspired prequel to a quality game. Rare really dropped the ball with this one which could be a reason that they have pretty much disappeared. I rate Perfect Dark Zero a 4 out of 10.


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