In the wake of one of the most popular titles on the Nintendo 64, GoldenEye 007, Rare introduced the world to a brand new game that rivaled its predecessor and advanced it in many ways.
Perfect Dark was released for the Nintendo 64 on May 22, 2000 in North America. It felt and looked like GoldenEye but it was new and different. Still a first-person shooter, Perfect Dark is set in 2023 and puts players in control of Joanna Dark. The story mode places the player in the middle of a war between alien races and hopes to uncover the truths behind conspiracies and a presidential assassination. It was rather fitting that it release in 2000, acting in ways as a recap of the 1990s zeitgeist.
Where Perfect Dark shined was not in its story, albeit interesting to experience, but rather in its multiplayer. Much like GoldenEye, Perfect Dark provided a number of maps and allowed players to take part in a local multiplayer deathmatch, among other modes of play.
I still recall the
hours days months that my brother and I spent playing Perfect Dark. We had previously invested many a sleepless night into GoldenEye, but something about Perfect Dark really captured our attention.
I think for us, it was largely the variety of weapons and customization within the multiplayer. We would play match after match, changing sides, adding varieties of bots, and cycling through different weapon layouts.
I remember one of our favorite combinations put us inside the level called “Grid.” The level had sort of a front and back to it, with an elevator connecting the two in the center and some ramps connecting the front and back on either side. The front side had narrow columns along the lobby area and the rear had a top and bottom separated by glass.
We would use the Laptop Gun, which was a rather quick firing rifle that could be tossed as a turret. Throw one of those into the elevator with a couple of proximity or remote mines and well, you were in for an afternoon.
I recall playing the classic maps, brought over from GoldenEye and seeing them in a new way thanks to the Farsight XR-20 that let us see through walls and kill one another from opposite sides of the map.
We would spend hours upon hours playing match after match, watching our profiles rank up and earn new awards each round. You would receive colored stars depending on your performance in each round, and we would obsess over leveling up and collecting the stars.
Perfect Dark was re-released on Xbox 360 in 2010, following two sequels; 2000’s Game Boy Color game of the same title and 2005’s Xbox 360 launch title, Perfect Dark Zero.
The original games is considered one of the most advanced games for the console, as it was one of the few that required the Expansion Pak. The single-player campaign required the 4MB expansion and most of multiplayer needed the boost as well. Utilizing the Expansion Pak also allowed the player the option to turn on “high-res” mode.
For those not looking to dig out the console, cartridge and RAM expansion, Perfect Dark is included in this year’s Rare Replay for Xbox One, which features a collection of games from Rare.