Perfect Dark
System: Nintendo 64
Publisher & Developer: Rare
Released: 2000
Capabilities: Controller Pak Compatible, Rumble Pak Compatible, Expansion Pak required for all game play modes

The Game

A new first person shooter by Rare that uses the exact same game engine that Goldeneye 007 does, but this time there’s no James Bond or anybody, but instead you’re Joanna Dark, in the not so distant future, and you have new weapons, levels, and storylines! Is this a deserving sequel, or just some rehash of Goldeneye to hope continue the N64's life span? Let’s get onto the review and find out.


Better make sure you have the expansion pak, or else you won’t even get to see all those great cinematics in the solo missions, all the characters look just amazing, the amount of detail on them is so astonishing that your jaw will drop really, really far! There’s so many different face animations, and so many varieties of characters you won’t even remember them all. Even the backgrounds have animations, most of the doors don’t take forever to open like in Goldeneye, and the mirrors even have reflections of light on them, you can even see the smoke from your gun after firing several rounds.

The best thing that Perfect Dark improved in from Goldeneye in the graphics department was the added amount of gore in the game, in the original Goldeneye, all you saw was just stains of blood on the person’s body wherever you saw them, and the body disappeared. But in here the body stays on the ground, and even though there are still blood stains on the body, blood also flies out of the body after you keep on shooting at it, plus if they’re standing in front of a wall, blood stains stay on the wall!

There’s only one drawback in the graphics department, and that is the frame rate. Most of the frame rates for most of the modes run at a great speed, I was astonished that there barely any to no slowdown by fighting with 8 simulants by yourself. And there’s only just a tad of slowdown with 2 human players and 8 simulants, and that’s only when there’s a lot of action going on at once, but with 4 human player, and 8 simulants, things get un playable, I mean the game runs to an amazingly low 5 fps, but hey, at least the mode is in there. And the frame rate’s are a tad bit slow in the Co-operative and Counter-Op modes, but there playable, and I estimate they run around the speed of 25-30 fps.


Perfect Dark improves over Goldeneye’s biggest flaw in the sound department, and that is the use of adding digitized voice. They still have the text on the screen in the solo and co-op mode of the games, but you also get the addition of voice, and they all sound great, most of the voices have British accents, so it’ll bring back memories off old 007 movies. And what I really get a kick out of is the death groans, they aren’t just “Uhhhh” like in Goldeneye, but they actually say stuff when they get shot down like “I don’t wanna die” and “You B****!” But you barely here that second remark, you usually here the other one a lot more. And of course, there’s a language filter too.

The sound effects for the game are well done. Just about every single weapon has it’s own sound effect as it is firing. And you know when you’re shooting the glass, or the wall. A great addition to this game is the inclusion of footsteps, it just makes the game sound more real. The music for this game is really great too. It fits the 1st person shooter genre perfectly, and is faded out just right so it doesn’t make distract from the game play.

Game play

The controls are so easy to learn for this game, none of the controls are tight, and move along just right, and like Goldeneye, there’s several ways to choose your controls, like moving around with the C Buttons, or the control stick, etc. In my opinion, the default controls are the easiest to use, because free 3-D movement with the control stick is way easier to handle than moving around with the C buttons. Guns have new features in this game, some guns can have 2 ways to be used, like the 2nd feature of the Super Dragon is a grenade launcher, and the second feature of the Laptop gun is to be placed down as a security gun.

The game has lots of game modes, first off there’s the Carrington Institute, which is just like a training mode, when you start off the game you have some guy give you tour of the place, like the weapon target room, check out your cheats, and other stuff, great way to learn the game for Perfect Dark newbies. Oh, yeah, you better make sure you have the Expansion Pak for this game, because if you don’t. You’ll barely be able to play any of the game modes, just only the multi player challenges, and only up to 2 people with up to 8 simulants in the Combat Simulator, and if you don’t have it, you’ll miss out on all the good stuff like the Solo, Co-op, and Counter-Op modes.

Next off there’s the solo missions, where you start the game off all on your own, going through 9 different missions, each one with sub levels. There’s 4 difficulties of play: Agent, Special Agent, Perfect Agent, and the hidden Dark Agent mode, which is a level editor like the 007 mode in Goldeneye. The higher difficulty of levels, the more objectives you have to complete, the more enemies there are, enemies also get more accurate. Rare predicts that only about 5% of the average gamers will beat Perfect Dark on there own. And just like in Goldeneye if you beat the levels within a certain time or difficulty you unlock special cheats and weapons for the game.

Next off there’s the co-operative mode, which can be played with a friend of yours or a simulant(similar to duke bots in Duke Nukem, which is just basically a computer player). Both of you now can go through all the modes, and make it much easier to play the game together, but make sure to have the friendly fire option off or you’ll most likely end up killing yourself.

Then there’s the Counter-Op mode, which is truly a unique option in a game where you start off going through the level like you usually do, but your friend playing with you is just one of the random bad guys in the level, but unlike Joanna Dark, you have a very short life bar, and if you’re not satisfied with you guy. Then you can take the suicide pill that’s equipped with all the bad guys, and you’ll be randomly generated into a different bad guy in the level, this is a kind of fun mode, but seems rather useless, but a great addition nonetheless.

And finally there’s the Combat Simulator. This is probably the best home console multi player mode there ever was. First off you got the challenges, which can be played with a friend, or simulants, or on your own, and after you beat certain challenges, you unlock hidden weapons, levels, simulants, and scenarios for use in the combat simulator. You can have up to 8 sims play with you as well as 3 of your buddies, for a total of up to 12 people playing all at once. You can have an advanced setup for where you can include what area you are playing in, set teams, add simulants, set the scenario and time/point limits for the game. Plus you can save character profiles, and it’ll keep track of just about every imaginable stat like #of deaths, head shots, kills, bullets fired, awards, and just about everything else. Another great option from the game is the inclusion of your favorite areas from Goldeneye like the Complex, Felicity(Facility), and the Temple. I haven’t even described all of the CS yet, but you’re gonna have to check it out if you want the whole story because, like I said before, this will go down as the best multi player mode on home console!

Replay Value

There’s so much you can do in this game, that you’ll be playing for hours, single and multi! If you’re playing by yourself, you can be having hours of fun in the solo missions, trying to beat record times for the cheats, or going through all the target rooms and mini games in the Carrington Institute, or even playing against the sims in the Combat Simulator. But the multi player fun is what will be keeping you stuck in this game. Co-Op mode is a blast, Counter-Op, although odd, is good for laughs, and the Combat Simulator against your friends will have you stuck for hours on end playing this game! This game has enough replay ability to last for well over a year!

In Brief

+: PERFECT game play, PERFECT sound, PERFECT multi player mode

-: Crappy frame rates in 4 players w/8 sims and the Counter-Op mode was a little bit of a disappointment

The Final Ratings Rundown

Graphics: 9.8
Sound: 10
Game play: 9.9
Replay Value: 10

Overall: 9.9

Rounded to fit GameFAQs Score: 10

Final Analysis

The game is just about near perfect, and it’s flaws our forgiving. If you’re to only get one game for the N64 then get this! The game just has so much you can do that it is unbelievable! Heck, even the Combat Simulator itself is a reason to get this game! You will not be disappointed. This has got to be the greatest 1st person shooter ever! This game tried to deliver the best gaming experience ever, and it took about 3 hard years of development to pull it off, and you can’t hate a game for trying to give you it’s best, so even though it only has a couple of tiny flaws, in my opinion, THIS GAME IS PERFECT!