The “Get To Know” line of articles are built to get a better impression of what I love/hate, and why, through a more direct means. While my tastes have been quite unconventional to the “norm” we’ve seen, I feel as if it’d be beneficial to run a series of articles that go into what I adore, and deplore, about gaming, and why.
I alluded to a major project I was going to work on throughout 2018, but due to repeated illnesses, I was unable to produce a healthy enough queue to get it going. That project was going to be my top 100 games of all-time, in which I would go into a great bit of detail on each game, and why it has a position on said list.
With this miniseries I have going with Get To Know, it’s given me a renewed sense of urgency to try and get some portion of this project revealed and shared with everyone. Instead of being overly ambitious, I’ll truncate the list to a top 25; that’s more than enough to show the kinds of games I adore the most, and the genres that they represent.
21 – Perfect Dark
- Developer: Rare
- Publisher: Rare
- Platform: Nintendo 64, Xbox 360
- Genre: FPS
- Release date: 5/22/00 (N64), 3/17/10 (360)
- Rating: 9.6 (N64) 9.7 (360)
What is Perfect Dark?
Following the unexpected success of Goldeneye 007, Perfect Dark was Rare’s first person shooter that managed to eclipse its previous title in nearly every aspect. From solid voice acting to a more robust (though often choppy) multiplayer suite, Perfect Dark was the definitive FPS experience on consoles for quite some time.
What warrants Perfect Dark‘s inclusion on this list?
Perfect Dark was an absolutely mind-blowing experience when it was first released. The massive story and single player experience, with a bountiful multiplayer suite that had options on top of options, gave players a myriad of options as to how, and what, to play. IMO, Perfect Dark refined the console FPS standard that Goldeneye 007 introduced. While the mechanics have not aged particularly well, thanks to an Xbox Live Arcade re-release, the second analog helped make that incarnation the definitive version.
Back during the N64 release, I never really had that many people to play multiplayer with (outside my senior year in high school, where we would play GoldenEye 007 during lunch or when there was a teachers meeting), but thankfully there were bots included, which ranged in difficulty and intelligence. From the easily dispatched bots, to bots with superhuman aim and reaction times, to even bots that would focus a certain player or CPU, the options to diversify what kind of experience you had.
And that’s not even taking into account all the maps, weapons, and such.
With a few returning maps from Goldeneye 007, as well as tons of maps originating from the single player experience, Perfect Dark had more than enough stages to cause chaos in, during a time when companies weren’t trying to nickel and dime the consumer with “map packs” and the ilk. I mean, I usually stuck to the Goleneye 007 maps, but having all those options available was more than welcome.
The line up of weapons was beyond ridiculous, and the fact that they had secondary fire/uses? It paved the way for so many creative battles, utilizing each weapon and its secondary feature for countless scenarios. Ran out of proximity mines? If you have the laptop machine gun, you can use its secondary fire to toss it up on the ceiling in a corner and have it pepper an unsuspecting player with bullets. There’s even a gun that lets you fire through walls, with a quasi-heat sensor vision it gives the player.
The single player game was no slouch either. As with Goldeneye 007, different difficulties opened up a number of extra objectives that open up. The story takes some bizarre turns, but nonetheless remains engaging, thanks in part to the aforementioned line of weaponry and their secondary functions. It’s even possible to play the campaign in a co-op manner, or have a second player try to stop Joanna Dark by taking control of her adversaries in each level.
While it had its performance hiccups on the Nintendo 64, even with the expansion pak being utilized, the XBLA release cleaned up most of those shortcomings. It was a shame though, that it never really took off on the Xbox 360 in regards to the online multiplayer, because that could have been an obsession beyond compare for me.
Nonetheless, Perfect Dark was and, IMO, still is, a defining console first person shooter experience. The bells & whistles, variety, bots for multiplayer and huge single player campaign helped set a standard for console FPS to follow. Now if only Nintendo and Microsoft can come to some sort of agreement in regards to re-releasing Goldeneye 007, so we can quickly forget the abhorrent Wii “remake” years ago.
Rare peaked with Perfect Dark.
Ever since they became property of Microsoft, Rare has been a mere shell of its former self. While they also started out with some repugnant titles on the NES such as Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, their decline since leaving Nintendo consoles has been obvious. The less we say about Perfect Dark Zero, the better.