The year 2000 was a splendid time for a happy go-lucky Nintendo fan. For that summer, they were blessed with the long awaited spiritual successor to the legendary Goldeneye, indubitably the finest console FPS of all time. What they got didn’t disappoint; a deep single player campaign with bond-esque objectives and gadgetry as well as a multiplayer mode that once again pushed the envelope and rekindled the sweaty 4-way fisticuffs typical of a marathon Goldeneye session. To revisit it now on its native N64 is an exercise in disappointment. Sure the look, feel and sounds are all present and correct, but the framerate and murky textures are not what you recall. No, back then all was laser sharp, tangy neon and inky blacks and you certainly didn’t have any framerate issues when you set off 20 remote mines at once. So the rebirth of Perfect Dark onto Xbox Live has been even longer awaited by those who know, promising as it did, the genuine article with HD graphics and, well, that’ll do actually. And now it’s finally here, available at a surprisingly restrained 800 points, has it survived the transition from our sepia toned memories..?
argh, she got me..
I- I haven't seen you before..?
Where it was neither progressive nor very successful was in it’s enemy AI. These goons are fresh from an Austin Powers super villain lair; spot you and they’ll either start shooting in 4 second bursts (unless you get one of the buggers that just walks at you firing continually) and then they may leap to the side in a bid to dodge where you’re most likely firing. Half the time their gun may jam, much to their astonishment, before uttering a brilliant soundbyte as you finally off them. No there are no flanking tactics here, no retreat and regrouping – they will run at you until they get shot. What they lack in nouse, they make up for in deadliness, certainly on the fiendishly difficult Perfect Dark agent level, where if they sneak in a hit you will find half your health gone.
For all the leaps and bounds in the FPS genre over the last ten years, you’d be forgiven for assuming Perfect Dark is a pointless addition to your heaving collection, but you’d be sorely mistaken. The little touches remain as brilliant today as they were then. The way Joanna tilts her pistols sideways, gansta style if you get close enough to a bad-guy. The way you can disarm and knock- out every henchman if you so choose, some of them throwing down their guns pleading for you not to kill them. The ever entertaining shooting gallery, the spy-cam, and the spectacular return to what you thought was just a pretty hub world. No, Perfect Dark remains a quite brilliant and relevant shooter; never less than fun and full of invention, and with quibbles only worthy of mention because the overall standard remains so high, this is an essential purchase.
Treehouse Rating: 4/5
Ah, our star agent..
Perfect Dark is available on Xbox Live for 800 of your Earth points