Perfect Dark - Goldeneye with a Sci-Fi Twist

 Growing up in the 1990s meant a few things.  The internet was just starting to transition from a fringe business tool to a necessity in the home, kids were still able to be kids, and video games truly embraced the 3D world.  I'll never forget buying Goldeneye 007 for N64 and immediately getting in the family station wagon to go on a vacation.  I sat in the back seat staring at the box art and screenshots on the back of the box for hours just wishing I was back home to play it.

But this post is about Perfect Dark.... right?

It's no secret that Rare produced a lot of great games in the 90s, but Perfect Dark barely missed it, being released in the summer of the new millennium.  It took what was already a solid game engine and raised the bar even further, even if it doesn't get all the accolades Bond, James Bond, did back in 1997.  I get it, it came out 3 years later and didn't really reinvent the wheel.  It wasn't as technologically shocking as Goldeneye 007 was, but it certainly had some tricks up it's sleeve.

The Cold War was over even before the movie Goldeneye was released, so that story line was a bit tired by the time the N64 game was released two years later.  The USSR was done, and a lot of kids growing up didn't have much interest in the underlying story, other than getting to shoot a bunch of bad guys.  Perfect Dark brought in story elements that anyone reading this blog would enjoy; aliens, guns, alien guns, Area 51, and high tech gadgets.  Some might say the story is cliche, but not everything has to be profound as long as it's entertaining.

However, if the story line didn't appeal to you, several other new features might have.  The addition of bots (aka Simulants) in multiplayer mode meant that even when your buddies were grounded or on a family vacation (ugh), you could still hone your skills and be ready for next week.  The AI wasn't great, but it was definitely better than trying to have a parent or younger sibling sit on the couch holding a controller oddly as their screen rotates 360° for minutes at a time.  The AI skill levels ranged from borderline stupid, to holy shit the computer is cheating, which was a common thought from anyone that got destroyed by a DarkSim - the toughest AI level that has 100% shot accuracy.  Another fun feature added in Perfect Dark was the secondary feature of just about every weapon in the game.  Sometimes it was as basic as pistol whipping the handgun rather than shooting it, or a double blast from the shotgun with every trigger pull.  Other weapons got secondary functions that were much more fun, like the Laptop Gun.

Anyway, I'm getting long winded here.  This blog isn't meant to rival a Wikipedia page in length, so here we go.  Perfect Dark was more fun than Goldeneye 007, and had a lot more features and smoother feel to it.  That being said, it benefited tremendously by what the team at Rare learned with Goldeneye, as well as the additional three years for technology to progress as programming for the N64 was very mature by this time.  Hell, the Gamecube came out a little more than a year after Perfect Dark launched.