March 29, 2010

650 words 4 mins read

Review: Perfect Dark

Perfect Dark recently (17 March 2010) arrived on Xbox Live. This game was originally published for the N64 and came with a 4 MB RAM expander for said device (later it became available with just the game). If you didn’t have the RAM expander, you were limited to only part of the Combat Simulator (see the wikipedia entry for more information on said limitation), so to me that means it wasn’t really an “option”.

My brother and I spent a ton of time on Perfect Dark. We beat the game in single player and Coop mode. Then we switched to the challenges. Oh man were they fun. I remember this though: we never beat all of them. There are 30 in all, but the last challenge requires uber skills, which we most definitely did not have.

I remember finding out about Perfect Dark coming to Xbox Live Arcade a year or so back and getting super excited. I had been thinking about buying an N64 and Perfect Dark (or stealing the old console and cartridge while home) to relive the glory, but when I heard about it coming to xbox, I figured I could wait awhile. Unfortunately, it ended up being much longer than I hoped, but what was delivered did not disappoint.

Thus far, I have beaten the game on Agent; got at least a Bronze Star with all the weapons (not that I have the achievement for it for whatever reason); beaten all 3 versions of “The Duel”, and beaten a large number of the challenges (don’t recall how many, but I believe I have unlocked 26 thus far). My little brother also got the game and he and I have been enjoying playing Coop and Challenges together, just like we did growing up, though now we are playing across state lines over live, rather than sitting next to each other on the couch. When switching between shooters (for me it is from Battlefield: Bad Company 2, for my brother it was Call of Duty: World at War), there is a little lag as you remember the button sequences, but it was a little bit different with Perfect Dark. I had forgotten how the Aiming system was so different, and that Auto Aim would sometimes throw your shot wide (especially if you were trying to aim at the same time it was). Also, it feels like you are moving super fast throughout the game.

All in all though, I love the new version. The resolution is great, and they kept the old models (which I enjoyed). I did forget how limited an N64 cart was, but was quickly reminded when the other woman in Cassandra’s office in the first level shows up a few levels later as the negotiator that you have to save.

Also, this is one of the few games I’ve seen that uses both Achievements and Awards. You get your first award (a Perfect Dark T-Shirt for your Avatar) when you make your first head shot. Your second (and final) award comes from killing an enemy with every weapon in the game. There are also 3 achievements related to that; one for the dataDyne weapons, one for the Maian weapons, and one for the Carrington Institute weapons — incidentally, the crossbow was the last weapon I used to get a kill.

At 800 points (approximately $10 USD), the game is a great value. I highly recommend it.

One last note, this game is actually the sequel to Perfect Dark Zero, which was a release day title for the 360. The gun you use in most of PDZ is basically a Walther P99, however the main gun in Perfect Dark is the Falcon 2. In PDZ, it has a secondary function of tossing the magazine out as a firecracker, whereas in Perfect Dark it just has Pistol Whip (and comes in Regular, Silenced, and Scoped varieties).