Sunday, May 18, 2014

Retro Sunday - May 18, 2014 - Perfect Dark

It's Sunday again! That means it's time to dust off another old game! Let's take a look at a game that never gets old, and is perfect to play on a lazy Sunday.

Everyone remembers Goldeneye for Nintendo 64. It was a revolutionary first-person shooter that got a generation of gamers hooked on the genre. Friend or foe, everyone loved Goldeneye (interesting tidbit: the multiplayer for the game was only added in the last six weeks of development).

Following the success of 007, the developers at Rare decided to make an all-new FPS from scratch. After years of waiting, we were treated to Perfect Dark, a spiritual sequel to Goldeneye, but with an all-new story and cast.

Perfect Dark took everything that was good about Goldeneye and ramped it up about ten levels. The multiplayer, the weapons, the characters... it's all kind of insane and awesome at the same time.

The story is set in the future. A corrupt corporation called DataDyne is trying to obtain an advanced AI to help them achieve their nefarious goals. And it only gets weirder. Much weirder.

What kind of plot featuring corporate conspiracies would be complete without extraterrestrials? That's right. You can team up with aliens on your quest to save the world.

Naturally, the multiplayer in Perfect Dark is excellent. You can play split-screen with friends, as you would expect. But if your friends aren't around (or you don't have any), you can play against Simulants. These are CPU-controlled players that are completely customizable. If you like a challenge, you can crank up the difficulty. Or if you like mowing down enemies like they're papier-mâché gorillas, you can do that, too. You can even give them personalities like pacifist or vengeful. Not to mention you can change how they look. My personal favorite: one-hit kills, with proximity mines, and eight simulants who all look like salesmen. It never gets old. Multiplayer levels range from alien facilities to car parks to some of the classic Goldeneye levels. It's still one of the best selections of multiplayer maps for any FPS.

The single-player mode also features the Carrington Institute. This is the good-guys' base of operations, and there is plenty to do here. You can check out the firing range to hone your skills. Or you can hit the hologram room to train for specific moves. Or you can do training for the various gadgets. Always a good time.

Speaking of weapons, Perfect Dark is full of unique, fun death toys. Take the Laptop Gun, for example. It folds up to look like a laptop, but it's really a deadly machine gun. Plus, you can stick it to a wall and it turns into a turret to mow down enemies for you. Or how about the Slayer? It's a guided missile with remote-control capabilities. Or if you're really up for a good time, try the Reaper. It has about 10% accuracy, but it fires enough bullets to take out many enemies at once. Plus, when you run out of ammo, you can activate the grinder and shred your enemies' faces. Wholesome family fun!

Perfect Dark is one of those games that I will always go back to. Even if the FPS genre has advanced since the late 90s, it still retains a lot of charm, and for me, a lot of nostalgia. I wish Nintendo hadn't sold Rare. We might still be enjoying Perfect Dark games today.

It should be noted that most of the influential people at Rare left when Microsoft bought the studio. That's why everything they make nowadays sucks. Funny story: when Microsoft bought Rare, they were touring the studios and one of the execs saw a poster for Donkey Kong Country. He said, "We own Donkey Kong now, right?" What a maroon.

Regardless, Perfect Dark will live on as the greatest FPS of the N64 era, and one of the most fun and influential games of the last 20 years. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to play the first level of the game and then proceed to murder thousands of simulants with Laptop Guns and Proximity Mines. Happy Retro Sunday!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wow, I didn't know how awesome this game really was. I always thought it was just like Golden Eye, but it sounds pretty unique and really fun :)