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All-Reviews.com Videogame Review:
Perfect Dark

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All-Reviews.com Video Game Review: Perfect Dark Publisher: Nintendo
Category: Action
Platform: N64, Game Boy
ESRB Rating: Mature    Release Date: May 2000

Overall Rating: 4 Stars out of 4

Review by Darvan
4 Stars out of 4
(Review of N64 version)

Once upon a time there was a well known game called Goldeneye for the N64. This game was very popular and fun and had everything a good first person shooter should have. Well because of the success Rare, the creators, decided to create another game which would serve as a sequel. And after what seems like many years and delays it is finally here. Perfect Dark, the reason why everyone should own a N64? Worth the hype?

Well this game has some problems but the sheer amount of playability, customization, and fun out way all flaws. The game centers around the character Joanna Dark, cod named Perfect Dark for her superiority in training. That game is set in the near future when humans and aliens co-exist.

There are four main ways to experience this game which are single player, cooperative play, counter operative play, and death match. Single player is the strongest single player event of any 1st person shooter to date. Even surpassing Half Life. Basically you navigate Joanna through 30 or so different missions like Goldeneye. You move from on stage to the next. There are three different levels of difficulty to play as well. Easy, Normal, and Perfect. All of them are somewhat similar except the higher the difficulty more areas become available. There is also different plot paths as well in each difficulty making it different every time you play. The story is told through a series of rendered cut scenes that feature full voiced dialogue. The voice-overs are good but are not very good quality because of the game being on a cart in stead of a cd or dvd. There is a very neat feature as well that allows you to take control of your character during the cinema therefore allowing you to surprise enemies and such.

Cooperative play is when you and a friend both play the single player missions together. The story is exactly the same except now you have a little bit of help. You can also play this with a stimulant instead of a friend. Counter ooperative is when you and your friend play the story mode together except now your friend takes control of a bad guy to hunt you down in the level while your playing. Your friend still has the same health as the bad guys however, and when your friend dies he re-spawns into one of the other bad guys in the level.

The best part of the whole game however is the Death match mode. It is by far the most expansive and in depth mode ever created in a video game. You have a multitude of menus and choices, to many to name in fact. This part of the game will still have you playing PD for months and years to come. There is a plethora of death match arenas plus The Complex and Temple arenas, which you may remember from Goldeneye, except now they are in high resolution glory. Many more of the death match options open once you complete the game as well. Maybe you don't have any friends to play with? No problem, there is a great number of different types of stimulants you can trade shots with, all having there own unique AI.

The graphics of PD are absolutely gorgeous. Every area in the game has its own unique feel and the atmosphere is wonderful. There is allot of cool effects in the game as well such as wicked lighting and reflection effects. There is some slow down however. Especially in multiplayer when you have more then 6 stimulants when playing split screen. but this is minor and does not deteriorate the game play. All in all PD is the best game on the N64 and no one should be without it. Also you wont want to play this game without and Expansion pak........... the single, cooperative, counter operative, and half of the multiplayer mode is unavailable without it :(. So go out and get a copy! You wont regret it.

Review by Tom Allen
4 Stars out of 4
(Review of N64 version)

Like Resident Evil Code Veronica, Perfect Dark is one of the year's high-profile games that every reviewer risks his life reviewing. Giving this game anything less than an A could result in death threats.

Of course, this is probably not how Nintendo would like me to start off this review, but I'm pissed, so I don't care.

I am pissed because I just saw a segment on MSNBC about video game violence. Most of the piece (at least most of what I saw) focused on Perfect Dark.

The segment gave the impression that Nintendo was suddenly producing more adult games (Conker, anyone?) to catch up with the market, and that market share was more important to Nintendo than America's youth, or something to that effect.

This report just goes to show you how clueless mainstream media outlets can be with respect to video games. Where was the media in 1997 with its reports on GoldenEye 007? Perhaps the real question is, Where was Columbine in 1997?

The fact that people are so clueless about the ratings system (most parents I talk to have never seen them, even though they are far more prominent in size than movie ratings) shows that there is virtually no effort on behalf of parents to investigate what their kids are playing, other than to listen to the politically-motivated talking asses that appear as guests on the evening news. Compared to the amount of "mature" rated films, the video game industry is a land of Barney.

To be fair, I do support enforcement of the ratings system in stores, but the finger-pointers who blame video games need to give the industry a lot more credit for its content labeling and low amount of violence on average.

Wrapping up the MSNBC issue, I found it very interesting that news anchor Brian Williams completely changed the subject at one point by asking, "What is the X-Box?," as if he didn't know. After the question was answered ("It's Microsoft's new console system."), the discussion returned to the original subject as if the X-Box plug never existed. I was disgusted. What does the X-Box have to do with video game violence? The damn thing isn't even out yet.

What MSNBC's panelists failed to consider was the relative quality in violent games. If people want to bash Duke Nukem for the crap that it is, fine, but bashing Perfect Dark is opportunistic and unfair. I can see the thought process now. Big brand name (Nintendo) + violent game (Dark) = massive publicity.

Perfect Dark is not perfect by any means. The graphics are a tad fuzzy and not very detailed; slow-down problems become an issue for multi-player modes, even with an Expansion Pak.

The story is more ambitious than one would expect, with alien species and a trip to the bottom of the Pacific Ocean. The most popular modes, however, are the ones with no story at all.

The multi-player modes include an option to play with a total of 12 characters, composed of four human-controlled friends sitting in your house and eight "simulant" robots controlled by the game itself.

You can also check out the co-operative mode, where two players work as a team via split screen, as well as the counter-operative mode (not seen in GoldenEye), where you and a friend dissolve your friendship by battling against each other in a unique way.

Once you die, you inhabit the body of the nearest enemy to your friend. In fact, the game includes a virtual suicide pill, which allows you to kill yourself on purpose in case you get trapped or just wander too far away from your challenger friend.

I love how the crosshairs seem to float right onto your intended targets. This little feat of software engineering really ups the pace from GoldenEye 007. Speaking of engineering, the game's artificial intelligence is able to identify friend versus foe, and act accordingly.

Another great feature is the 16 x 9 widescreen option.

Control-wise, the game does not break any new ground. The controls of first-person shooters always seem a little floaty, but this isn't exactly a game that could benefit from a third person perspective, or is it?

Each of the 35 weapons has a secondary firing feature, but switching between the two is often awkward. Thankfully, you don't really have to switch if you don't want to.

Perfect Dark really does say good-bye to GoldenEye. I was not a huge fan of GoldenEye; I thought the multi-player modes got old quickly. With Perfect Dark, Rare was able to focus more on the development of these features, and the results are very successful.

July 28, 2000: New info added. Being punched results in blurry vision. You can shoot the lights out and use night vision goggles on purpose. Simulants can friend or foe depending on particular multi-player game. One weapon (Far-Sight XJ-220) lets you see through walls when sniping in multi-player, so you can't just camp out and wait for your foe to round the corner.

Reader Feedback

Once again the review's 100% accurate, good job!    --Perfect Joanna Dark


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