Perfect Dark

a game by Rare, Ltd.
Genre: Action
Platforms: Nintendo 64Nintendo 64, GameBoy Color
Editor Rating: 8.6/10, based on 9 reviews
User Rating: 7.7/10 - 6 votes
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Perfect Dark
Perfect Dark
Perfect Dark
Perfect Dark

Leave it to the guys at Rare to devise a use for the most useless weapon in first-person shooters: the fist. "Your opponents' vision becomes blurry when you punch them," Rare's Mark Edmonds, Perfect Dark's producer, told us. "It makes it hard for them to aim, and there's a gun in the game that has the same effect."

Sure enough, your perspective goes goofy--all wavy and distorted by the same blur effect seen in Metal Gear Solid--when opponents coldcock your noggin in Perfect Dark's multiplayer mode, which we played extensively at E3. And Rare has crammed this mucho-anticipated pseudo-sequel to GoldenEye 007 with plenty of equally snazzy innovations.

Wanna hear another? "You can shoot out the lights in some of the deathmatch levels," Edmonds continued, "and then use your night vision to see people and shoot them." Nifty. And we haven't even mentioned the computer-controlled "simulant" allies and enemies, the complex mission objectives, the game's Blade Rurrnennsplred cinematic feel or the ability to map your face onto multiplayer characters with the Game Boy Camera.

We'll get to all that later. First, some background. When Nintendo and Rare missed out on the Tomorrow Never Dies license, they built GoldenEye's sequel around a slick new character. Her name's Joanna Dark, she's a rookie secret agent with a Dorothy Hamill hairdo, and she wields twice as many weapons as oP 007. Ms. Dark's adventure-set in dreary 2023--begins when she's assigned to rescue a scientist from the secretive dataDyne Corporation. She learns dataDyne is working with aliens called the Skeedar, who are at war with the Grays, that infamous race of big-eyed aliens who are your allies in the game. One thing leads to another, Dark learns of an intergalactic war, Earth's caught in the middle, yada, yada, yada. The gripping plot twists through plenty of in-game cinemas, while the levels are set everywhere from a future-shocked Chicago to secret airbases to an alien crash site at the bottom of the Pacific.

If you can't tell from the screenshots, these environments are stunning. And according to Nintendo game guru Ken Lobb, Perfect Dark's supreme visuals (and enhanced gameplay) are the result of Rare's major overhaul of GoldenEye's code. "Basically, Rare was like, 'We know what we like about the GoldenEye engine,"' Lobb told Videogames.com. "Let's throw everything else away.' Well, they didn't like very much." As a result, level architecture is more complex, with staircases everywhere, more varied and detailed textures and latticed structures. Gee-wiz graphical tricks abound, including real-time lighting, particle effects, fancy HUD displays, lens flare, steam and falling rain.

Even enemy animation will be beefed up with scads of new motion-captured death throes. Perfect Dark will also support Nintendo's Expansion Pak to punch visual quality up a few more notches, and it'll sound as good as it looks thanks to Rare's immersive Surround and Acoustic Shadowing Technology.

But will it play as good as it looks? Let's put it this way--Perfect Dark was one of the few games at E3 that every EGM editor returned to play again and again. And again. And just one more time. And again. Everything in the single-player game has been enhanced. Enemy Al is at the genius level compared to GoldenEye's bad guys. Perfect Dark's baddies will reportedly work as a team, they'll seek cover, they'll assess your abilities and take immediate action. You'll need to rely on stealth if you wanna walk, breathe and whup ass for long.

Here's the real kicker: You'll have Al guys on your side, too. During your adventure, you'll find computer-controlled buddies who--much like Natalya in GoldenEye's jungle stage, but smarter-wili fight alongside you and respond to formation commands issued via D-pad. They'll provide cover, scout the area, even act as shields from enemy fire. (Oh, and you can access these simulants in multiplayer mode, but more on that later.)

As in 007's adventure, each of Perfect Dark's 18-plus single-player stages will offer three levels of difficulty, with harder difficulties doling out more mission objectives. But Nintendo says the objectives will be more intellectually challenging this time around. So, instead of simply dealing with tougher enemies, Perfect Dark players will face some tricky puzzles at the higher difficulties, or they can stick with the more action-oriented easy mode. Sample mission objectives include planting mines to obliterate security cameras, convincing a scientist to grant access to a computer system, and nabbing a data-storage necklace from a reluctant dataDyne staff member.

Interaction with the environment has also been ramped up. Joanna Dark can push, pull, carry and throw objects. She can shoot and damage even frivolous background details--such as the hovercars that cruise by the skyscraper windows. Like Bond, Dark will stumble across vehicles, including a speedy hoverbike.

Right, but what about the really fun hardware. You want gadgets? Perfect Dark packs more than enough neato 21st-century gizmos. You want guns? Here's where the game kicks into overkill: Joanna Dark will find at least 40 weapons. She'll grip GoldenEye favorites like the .357 magnum. She'll discover massive alien superguns. She'll clear the room with the Devastator, a grenade launcher with a funky not-of-this-Earth shell. She'll wield the Dragon, a high-powered rocket launcher similar to the one in GoldenEye. Then there's the camper-slaying Farsight Xj-220, which...well, just go read the sidebar on this X-raying raygun. And like Jimmy Bond, Ms. Dark can carry two of the same weapon, one in each hand, for two-fisted blasting.

Perfect Dark's one-player game will keep a grin on your face for a long time, sure, but what about multiplayer, which gave GoldenEye its two-years-and-we're-still-playing longevity? Fear not. Rare knows what you want. "A lot of people bought GoldenEye for the multiplayer," Edmonds said, "so we really wanted to concentrate on making better weapons and better-designed multiplayer levels. And we wanted the bots."

That's right--for the first time in any console shooter (although a few upcoming games will pack them, too), you can battle computer-controlled bots in multiplayer mode. All you gotta do is choose how many simulants you want in the arena. You'll be able to go solo against as many as seven simulants (and Rare said they may bump that number to 10). Or you can have four human players in the level with four bots. The amount of multiplayer-mode combinations will be nearly endless. Pit your character against your friends' characters, you and your friends against the bots, you and a few bots versus your friends and their bots, and so on and so on.

If there's a downside to Perfect Dark's multiplayer, it's that there's no cooperative mode for the regular one-player game. But that's one of the reasons Rare added bots to multiplayer, so players could team up against simulants. Multiplayer modes similar to capture the flag and team battle will be implemented too, of course, and Rare's toying with the idea of adding some mission elements. For example, Edmonds told us players may have to fight as a team to reach and access a computer under simulant guard.

As Edmonds said, Rare has put a lot more thought into the multiplayer levels this time around. It shows. Three levels were playable at E3, and two of them were familiar: the Temple and Complex stages from the original GoldenEye (more classic GoldenEye levels are expected to pop up in Perfect Dark, as well). All the deathmatch levels are more detailed, multi-leveled and crammed with staircases. New to the mix are moving platforms and bottomless pits. Unlike in GoldenEye, your character can now walk off ledges. One false step near a pit and you'll plunge to your death. Despite the more complex environments, Perfect Dark maintains the same four-player frame-rate seen in GoldenEye. So, while things get choppy once in a while, it always remains playable.

We should know; we certainly played the game enough at E3. We left the show a little overwhelmed by the game's potential and Rare's knack for packing innovations into a crowded, ho-hum genre. How does the U.K.-based company do it? It's not like the Perfect Dark team is particularly huge. Only about 12 programmers and artists have worked on the game for the past two years, ever since they finished GoldenEye. Ultimately, Rare's games turn out right because--to the chagrin of impatient gamers--they take their sweet time. "Every developer dreams of working on a game until it's finished," Edmonds told us. "We get to do that, and it works out really well for us."

With games as good as Perfect Dark and the rest of Rare's lineup, it works out just fine for N64 owners, too.

Multiplayer

I'm gonna go out on a limb and say Perfect Dark is the best multiplayer game on any current system. And the funky thing isn't even finished yet! If you think GoldenEye has a wealth of deathmatch options, sheesh...forget about it! Perfect Dark is going to blow it away. You can customize your character, you can pick what specific weapons you want on the level--you can even play on old GoldenEye stages! Too bad the frame-rate hasn't changed much.

One Player

Although we played it on a crowded show floor, the quality of PD's single-player game still shined. Requiring stealthier tactics than the majority of Golden Eye's levels, it manages to capture the tension of a spy-thriller as effectively as its predecessor. The new weapons and tactics are awesome. Sniping someone with the wrist-mounted cross-bow is particularly satisfying, as is blasting out windows with the high-powered weapons.

Visuals

GoldenEye was good, but the engine's dated. That's why Perfect Dark was a nice surprise at E3. Environmental detail like rain, lens flare, light sourcing and sophisticated architecture help give the levels a noir-esque edge. Bullet holes, shell casings and blood on walls made me feel the impact of every hit (or miss). Most impressive was the use of different view styles (transparencies and infrared) to portray different gadgets.

Face Mapping

Perfect Dark's face-mappin' feature is one of gaming's great innovations. It's easy; it lets you decorate your head with varied beards, glasses, etc.; and--better still--you can save an army of custom yous to the Controller Pak and unleash 'em in a friend's copy of the game. Sure, the faces are hard to see in the heat of four-player battle-unless everyone stands in a circle and stares at each other--but when was the last time you starred in a game?

Download Perfect Dark

Nintendo 64 Download

System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

GBC Download

System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

Game Reviews

Set for release this winter, Rare's GB version of Perfect Dark chronicles Joanna Dark's past as she finishes her training. Set in the South American jungle, the game has Joanna chasing after cyborgs and trying to destroy a robot factory. Watch for cool features galore...FMV, speech, infrared and printer support, rumble cart and two-player deathmatching. By beating this game, you can even open up new modes in the N64 cart (and vice versa), using the Transfer Pak.

People say:

5.5

I reckon if Rare had made Perfect Dark in the 8-Bit '8os, it'd play a lot like this cheesy GBC version, which doesn't come close to the quality of the N64 original. Forget that you battle enemies named Mink Hunter and Octopus Prime. Forget that you wield tired weapons like Uzis and ninja stars (no Laptop or Farsight here). The real culprit is the dull sneak-around gameplay. The levels-which have you skulking through the jungle, a DataDyne base and the Carrington Institute-look sharp but offer no interaction other than the rare switch or annoying Simon style door-lock puzzles. Headshots, so crucial in the N64 game, are handled in an odd way here, too. You score one-hit kills by walking up to guards and point-blank blasting 'em. Lucky for you, the guards don't notice you unless you blunder directly in front of them. I've shot and missed guards from a millimeter away, but they didn't bat an eye and let me aim for a second shot. PD does take advantage of every conceivable <SBC feature. Use the IR port to transfer multiplayer maps. Print unlocked pics with the GB Printer. Snap PD into the Transfer Pack to open a few cheats in the N64 game. And link two GBCs together to play a few dull two-player modes. It's really the between-level mini-games that are PD's standout feature. You'll play twitch stuff inspired by Spy Hunter, Tron Deadly Discs and Operation Wolf, classic games from--that's right--the '8os.

5.5

Perfect Dark is easily ore of the best-looking GBC games ever--huge characters, sharp backgrounds and outstanding animation--it's just too bad the gameplay didn't receive the same attention. The view is so "zoomed in" that it's impossible to get a sense of where you are in the maze-like levels (with no maps of course) or see what's around you, including enemies and hostages. There's some great mini-games (car chase, sniper mode, speedboats) but they aren't used nearly enough. The lack of checkpoints makes some levels realty frustrating, and the story is embarrassingly bad (a guy named Max Danger? Please.). Disappointing.

5.0

It's ridiculous how little this game has in common with its superb N64 counterpart. The only thing that makes them remotely similar is that the hero has breasts, and though that's kinda cool, it's not nearly enough. Since it has little to do with Perfect Dark, maybe they should have called this game Idiot Executioner. Most of the gameplay consists of trying to sneak up on guards from behind so that you can blow their heads off. Novel, yes. Fun, no. Exploiting dumb enemies is amusing, but after the ninth headless wonder crumpled to the floor, I had enough. Some of the mini-games and multiplayer modes were cool, but I expected a lot more.

From the development team behind the brilliant GoldenEye 007 blasts Perfect Dark, a futuristic first-person spy shooter that hopes to surpass GoldenEye in every category from story line to gameplay. You play a talented young field operative named Ioanna Dark--codename, Perfect Dark. After uncovering a conspiracy that spans hundreds of light years, you grab your gun and hunt for clues and bad guys in locations that range from alien shipwrecks to top-secret air bases. The mission objectives promise to be more intense than GoldenEyes, while the gadgets and weapons will be more high-tech and even deadlier. Look for the game to hit some time this fall--it could be Nintendo's best title this year!

Even without the 007 license, Rare's "sequel in spirit" to Golden-Eye was one of E3's most buzzed-about games, gleaming with the potential to become another stellar hit for Nintendo. Set in the year 2023, Perfect Dark opens as top operative Joanna Dark is sent to reconnoiter after a distress call from a scientist at the mysterious dataDyne Corporation. Naturally, a conspiracy that spans the globe unfolds, and Dark is the woman for the job. Playing from GoldenEye's familiar first-person view, you'll scoop up cool gadgets and take down enemies with a wide array of weapons as you tackle mission objectives in levels that range from a deep-ocean alien crash site to the rooftops of futuristic Chicago.

Perfect Dark packs in some slick innovations, including a multiplayer mode that pits four human players and four CPU-controlled bots in a battle to the death. Even better, gamers will be able to take pictures with the Game Boy Camera and tack them onto faces in the multiplayer game. Now that's cool! Rare also focused on the A.I. to fashion enemies that work together as teams, recognize and use cover, and more. As long as Rare continues to work its usual magic with Perfect Dark, the game is bound to be a chart-topper this holiday season.

One of the best games we saw at the show was Rare's follow-up to GoldenEye 007. This hot prospect isn't scheduled to be released until December 1999, but when it does come out, Perfect Dark is aiming to take you on a run-n-gun sojourn through some amazing levels. You'll play as Johanna Dark, a secret agent who uses two guns to wipe out her enemies, John Woo-style. And when the action gets intense, Johanna can use her weapons as a shield from bullets by crossing her guns in front of her face. No one got to play PD at E3, but the video that Rare showed indicated the game has lots of cool promise. Even though this game has no connection to James Bond, GoldenEye fans will be amazed.

No doubt about it: Perfect Dark's got frame-rate problems. Although the one-player game zips along at around 25 frames per second, the Cooperative, Counteroperative and simulant-packed four-player modes can bog down so badly that players accustomed to high-powered PC deathmatching might just upchuck. Check out our Chop-o-Meter chart for more frame-rate info, but bear in mind that the game's pretty much unplayable when four humans and eight simulants trade shots in the same arena. But that's OK, 'cause PD gives you so many multiplayer options (most of which you'll open by clearing 30 Challenge missions) that you're bound to find a variation that works for you and your buds. You can combine human and simulant players in any team combination. (Holding A and tapping the Z trigger twice calls up a menu of orders you can issue your simulant teammates.) Social concerns may have forced Rare to remove the game's facemapping feature, but you'll still find enough head and body types here to build a decent custom character. The weapons menu lets you pick any mix of guns and gadgets you desire. Submenus let you tweak player handicaps, turn off radar or turn on special/x-style slow-mo effects. You'll even uncover cheats such as the original GoldenEye weapons and Perfect Darkness, which shuts down the arena's lights and forces everyone to hunt with night-vision. PD lets you do everything short of designing your own deathmatch levels. Best of all, you can save your custom setup to a Controller Pak, name it, then tote it to a friend's house--or transfer it to your Web site via the DexDrive and share it with the world. Oh, and one last thing: You won't want to play PD without the Expansion Pak. More than half of the multiplayer options are closed without it, and it'd be a crime not to experience this game to the fullest.

People say:

10

Perfect Dark is not perfect. Choppy frame-rates plague the more ambitious multiplayer modes. But you know what? You'll still want to spend months locked in a room with this masterpiece. Heck, PD's training level packs more stuff to do than most entire games. The blood-soaked one-player adventure is perfectly paced, mature, funny and reason enough to buy this game. And the higher difficulties offer so many new areas, options--even plot points--they make for an entirely new experience when you play 'em. But just as in prequel GoldenEye 007, it's the multiplayer options that'll keep you playing PD until the franchise arrives on Dolphin. The Cooperative and Counter-operative modes--which Rare included at the cost of delaying the game's release four months--get choppy (sometimes to the point of being unplayable), but they're fun and welcome additions nevertheless. You get six different multiplayer games and the option to throw in as many as eight "simulant" 'bots, who come in their own massive variety of difficulty levels and personality types. But those options are barely the beginning; PD lets you tweak every deathmatch feature you can imagine, especially once you open some of the wilder cheats. Everything about PD-from the visuals to the cinemas to the clever weapon design--screams high production values. Rare took as long as it needed to craft this game, and it shows.

9

Hello Joanna, good riddance Bond. Perfect Dark is everything I'd hoped for, I just hoped it'd get here sooner. As usual, Rare has pushed the Nintendo 64 to the limits--this game is absolutely gorgeous. The first-person mode usually moves pretty smoothly, but if you try any of the multiplayer modes the slowdown often gets to be a little unbearable. But that's been one of Rare's annoying trademarks. Fortunately, that's my only complaint--the story, atmosphere and level designs are meticulously put together, and the amount of game modes is simply unbelievable. Rare thought of just about everything, and finally GoldenEye can be put to rest.

10

As someone who thought GoldenEye was over-rated (heresy around here), and as a big fan of PC first-person shooters, I was extremely skeptical of Perfect Dark, but once I tried it I was hooked This isn't the kind of great game you play for a week or two, finish, and never pick up again--it's the kind of incredible game you live with for months, trying all the different play modes and difficulties, opening up new secrets, and inviting friends over to fight with and against. I still wish the frame-rate in multiplayer was smoother, but the solo and co-op games make this the most ambitious, addicting, and just plain fun FPS I've ever played for any system. Worth the wait.

We've been saying for months that Rare is working on a follow-up action game using the GoldenEye engine, but don't think anyone was expecting anything as advanced as Nintendo was showing at E3.

The underlying principle is still the same--it's a 3D action/shooter with lots of stealthy spy shenanigans. You play the part of Joanna Dark (codename: Perfect Dark...naff, but we can live with it), a hi-tech spy in the year 2023 who finds herself in the middle of a conspiracy concerning a William Gibson-esque corporation of the future called dataDyne.

As with GoldenEye, the game follows a strong story line that unfolds through events in the game. Beginning at the top of a skyscraper, it takes Joanna through locations that include secret bases, laboratories and even to an alien wreck at the bottom of the ocean.

Again, as with GoldenEye, this is filled with loads of cool weapons that vary from your usual pistols and Uzis to high-tech alien gadgets capable of blowing the crap out of huge chunks of buildings. There are also some vehicles dotted around the place too. The demo at E3 included a brief showing of a hover bike that seemed to control in a very similar way to the tanks in GoldenEye--so it should be possible to look and shoot while travelling along.

Speaking of vehicles, there were also some nice little cosmetic touches on the first level that make use of them. As Joanna works her way through the offices in the dataDyne skyscraper, you can see helicopters flying around in the distance. If you blow out the windows (very cool effect) you can shoot at these vehicles and watch as they crash into buildings or tumble down into the streets.

As far as gameplay is concerned, it seems fairly safe to assume that the game's pedigree will help ensure excellence. Al has been a particular point of focus for the team and we were assured that the bad guys would all behave in a very convincing manner. The demo we saw already had them hiding in shadows and actively ducking down behind desks, cupboards and doorways to avoid being shot. By the time everything is finished we should see Bosses that appear to be fully aware of their environments too.

Visually the game is nothing short of stunning. The lighting effects are all used to dramatic effect, while transparencies, particle effects and environmentmapping are employed to give a realistic environment.

Rumors abound that Perfect Dark may make use of the planned 4Mb expansion module featured in this month's news. Although denied by Nintendo PR, there is a distinct possibility that we could see the game enhanced visually with the addition of the module.

The demo on show at E3 was enhanced in this manner--although we were assured that this was for development purposes only.

  • MANUFACTURER - Nintendo
  • THEME - ACTION
  • NUMBER OF PLAYERS - 1-4

Perfect by name...

You know that feeling you get when you've been waiting for something for so long and it just doesn't live up to the hype? It's called anti-climax. Take Star Wars for example, if you can honestly say that you enjoyed the film after the onslaught of the hype then you are clearly in need of psychiatric help! Thankfully Rare's latest title - possibly the most anticipated videogame ever - more than lives up to its advance publicity. Perfect Dark is worth all the hype that preceded it and then some - it most definitely is 'all that'!

This game was first mentioned in 64 Magazine way back in issue 15 (14 if you include the rumour about Goldeneye 2!) and it has since been delayed more times than a Virgin commuter train. Now, in issue 41, the UK version of the game is finally here and the wait is almost over. In just a couple of weeks life as you know it will be over, as you are

Better Than A Lottery Win!

The year is 2023 and you play Joanna Dark, a special agent working for the top secret organization known as the Carrington Institute. Being the concerned operative that she is, Joanna decides to investigate the sinister dataDyne Corporation. Needless to say something is amiss and you soon find yourself travelling all over the world as you tackle the 17 missions in this game. Not to mention a trip into a secret Area 5i-style location populated with Grey aliens! Like Goldeneye, each level in the game involves several different objectives which need to be finished before you can progress any further. The higher the difficulty setting the more objectives you get - the trials Joanna must overcome getting progressively more dangerous as you choose from Agent, Secret Agent or the ultimate: Perfect Agent

Tastier Than A Gourmet Meal!

The difficulty setting you choose also makes a massive difference to the gameplay. Whereas in Goldeneye you could wander round the entire level and even complete all the objectives of 007 Agent on the easiest Agent setting (you just wouldn't gain anything by it), in Perfect Dark all that has changed. The higher difficulty settings open up entirely new parts of the levels which cannot even be explored on the easier settings! With this and the random placing of enemies, each of the missions becomes a new challenge each time you play it. On some of the levels even more drastic changes are made between Agent and Perfect Agent settings. On one level for example, you enter the stage as a rooftop sniper, protecting a negotiator on a pier below. However, if you are playing on the harder setting, you yourself are thrown into the centre of the fray as the negotiator!

It's not just the missions themselves that change though, as the enemy Al has been given a serious boost since Goldeneye. Whereas in the Bond shooter the henchmen seem like they're novices straight out of boot camp, these dataDyne bods seem to have degrees in making your life a misery! In Goldeneye you could quite happily predict what your opponents were going to do, but now they try such underhand things as attempting to circle around behind you. This increased Al makes the challenge a hell of a lot better and the gameplay a lot more tense.

More Desirable Than Buffy!

Another thing which gets bumped up as you move through the difficulty levels is the accuracy and power of the sentry guns. In Goldeneye they pretty much stayed the same whether you were on Agent or oo Agent but in this game they pose a whole new problem. Slip up on Perfect Agent setting and you're human Swiss cheese faster than you can say 'help'! One thing you do notice as soon as any gun starts firing is just how gory Perfect Dark is! We're not talking Turok standards here but the stained Soviet suits of Goldeneye - which looked quite frankly like someone had suffered a wine spillage - are gone! Now if you pepper someone with bullets you get a viscous-yet-stylish blood spray, which pebble-dashes the surrounding walls!

Killing people has never been so much fun and Perfect Dark is sure to bring a disturbing maniacal smile to your face. As well as the gory red showers the comedy death animations also make a welcome come-back. This time new ones have been added to the already improved classics and the reactions almost make your feet sympathetic...almost! If you took ,great pleasure in torturing someone with the pistol in Goldeneye then you'll take even more pleasure in doing it in Perfect Dark.

Faster Than A Ferrari

There are certainly plenty of tools to help you reap havoc upon the enemy in this game. 40 gorgeous futuristic weapons are just waiting for you to slap in a clip, ready to rock and roll. These even include a few classic guns hidden away from Goldeneye like the PP7! Best of all though, almost every single one of the guns in Perfect Dark has a second function - which brings the killing unarmed then you can opt to disarm the bad-guns and turn their own weapons variety count up to nearly 80! The automatic Dragon weapon for example, doubles up as a proximity mine which can be thrown on the floor and if you're on them!

Of course any self-respecting special agent should never be without their toys and Joanna is no exception. She has James Bond-style gadgets coming out of her ears - and as this is set in 2023 the toys are futuristic to say the least. Included in her arsenal are a floating pod camera, which can be flown into rooms and a lap top which doubles up as a sentry gun! Throughout the course of the game you also get to pilot a hoverbike, which is a lot faster and a lot more fun to drive than Bond's tank was!

Better Than Goldeneye

The bike, gadgets and especially the guns are made even more desirable by the seriously pumpin' sound effects. If you haven't got your N64 hooked up to your stereo or a decent surround-sound system yet then this game is the 'perfect' excuse! With the volume cranked up the gun sound effects are quite literally breathtaking and if you take your games seriously then there's always the bonus with surround sound of being able to hear where the enemy are coming from.

It's not only the sound which stands out about this game, because unless you're blind then you'll notice that V it also looks mouth-wateringly delicious! In fact, Perfect Dark is so gorgeous it puts Goldeneye to shame making it look just like what it is - a first generation N64 title. Even Turok 2 and Quake should bow down to this game! The lighting effects look amazing and the outdoor levels are practically fog free. Oh and then there are the blurring effects! Normally this would be a big no-no in any game but here blurring is used to show the effects of drugs, blow darts and radiation poisoning. It's the numerous small touches like this which make this game really stand out from the crowd.

Almost Perfect...

The only major grumble against Perfect Dark is the fact that if you don't have the Expansion Pak, then you won't be able to play the one-player game at all! Worse still, without it the multiplayer becomes restricted to just a two-player game! So if you don't already own a pak then this does bump up the price quite a bit but then again if you haven't got one yet, why not? They've been around long enough - hell it was even bundled in with Donkey Kong If that isn't enough of a reason then how about this - it's Perfect Dad. This is the best game ever to grace the N64 and if you have to sell your soul to the devil himself to get an Expansion Pak then so be it!

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