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Review By: Roger Taylor
Developer:   Rare
Publisher:   Nintendo
# of Players:   1-4
Genre:   First Person Shooter
ESRB:   Mature
Date Posted:    10-18-00

Ah, Perfect Dark....where to start. The anticipation for this game could not have been higher, being the sequel to one of the best games ever created. Perfect Dark lives up to its name, being nearly 'perfect' in almost every
way.

First off the tech stuff. The graphics are somewhat variable. The game looks incredible at times during the single player mode, but some of the backgrounds are blurry; and the entire game can get blurry during multiplayer. The horrible framerate that everyone has been worrying about turned out to be nothing. Sure the game doesn't run great with 4 players and 8 simulants, and co-op is a little sluggish, but 90% of the time you won't really notice much of a problem.

The sound in Perfect Dark is very good. There is an amazing amount of in-game speech, and speech during the cinema segments. The sound effects are also outstanding, with clanking boots on metal, and the best gun effects to be found on a console. However, the music is sometimes not to the standards of Goldeneye. While some levels feature great, fast-paced music (or slow,
tense music depending on the situation), a lot of the music in Perfect Dark sounds either too bad-techno-ish, or too generic-videogame-ish.

Gameplay is one area where Perfect Dark is solid. The level design is great, perfectly mixing elements of stealth and run-n-gun. Many of the levels in PD aren't as good as those in it's predecessor's, but they are still good.  The
controls are just like Goldeneye's (read: great), and fit the gameplay perfectly.

Rare added about as much innovation as one developer can while using the same engine. The gun design is brilliant. Every gun has a secondary
function. For example, the magnum's secondary function is a pistol whip (basically smacking your opponents with the gun). Another example is the
Slayer's secondary function: fly-by-wire missiles (remember Metal Gear Solid?) From the tranquilizer (which makes your vision blurry), to the Reaper (which shoots off a spray of bullets rapidly, and also grinds opponents to death with it's meat-grinder like blades), all the guns in the
game are useful in their own way, and sometimes necessary in certain situations. That's to say nothing of the twisting storyline, simulants, and
other innovations....but I don't want to give the whole game away! :)

Perfect Dark has more replay value than almost any game I have ever played. The computer-controlled 'simulants' in multiplayer make a two-person game more interesting, and even allow you to play multiplayer by yourself! The main missions of the game will take forever to beat if you want to beat it on medium and hard settings. Also there are gun tests, training modes, and other nifty implementations that will keep you busy for months to come. Oh and did I mention that the multiplayer is just as good as Goldeneye's? The only beef I have is that I don't like the new arenas as much as those found
in Goldeneye; and to tell you truth this was a major blow to the game.  Many of the levels are annoyingly dark, and aren't nearly as playable as the one's found in Goldeneye, despite original level design.  And where the heck is the stack?

Highs:

All-around great quality.  Rare spent a long time on this game, and it shows.  Sound, graphics, gameplay, and multiplayer are all top-notch.

Lows:

Level design not as good as Goldeneye's.
Predictable story.

Final Verdict:

If you own an N64, go buy this game. If you don't, go buy an N64 and then buy this game. Yes, it is that good. I have only one major complaint, and that is that we knew WAY too much about this game before it's release.  For
months we have known every cool feature, and every new innovation.  Because of this, Perfect Dark doesn't have the "Wow!" effect that Goldeneye did. Even still, this is one hell of a game, and I really recommend it.

Overall Score: 9.6

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