Perfect Dark

By: Rare
Platform: Nintendo 64
Rating: 95%
Available: Now
Price: $59.99

But Does It Get the Chicks?

It's easy for you and your girl to get right into a deathmatch, even if she's uninitiated. Even better, if she's clobbering you a little too well, you can always play together as a team. / digital culture / software / perfect dark

There's an interesting two-player match that brings to mind the way those nefarious men-in-black in The Matrix "body-jack" their way toward their intended target. One person plays as Joanna Dark, running through the same levels and enemies as in the single-player game. But a second player automatically body-jacks into the enemy character who is nearest to Joanna. If the second player is shot dead (the health of enemies is much lower than Joanna's), then his or her point of view immediately jumps to the next closest enemy that Joanna encounters.

Speaking of The Matrix, Perfect Dark can also be made to simulate a slow-motion effect during the heat of action. Watching characters on the big or small screen engaging in such surreal sequences is certainly cool, but can be a bit disorienting. Though it can be useful in order to better respond to action that's happening much too quickly, it's an effect better suited for third-person games where you can see your character on the screen.

That's a minor quibble, however, as is the unimpressive soundtrack, even if it is in Dolby Surround. (GoldenEye 007 had the advantage of access to music from the James Bond franchise, so it's hardly fair to fault Perfect Dark on this.) None of this, however, takes away from an otherwise excellent game.

Perfect Dark brings to console gaming what enthusiasts of PC first-person shooters already enjoy, and surpasses many of these games for the PC with its multiplayer features and storytelling.

back to digital main

Freelance writer Howard Wen has also covered videogames for Salon, Wired and the O'Reilly Network.

1 | 2