Bring it Back – Perfect Dark

Welcome to Bring it Back the place where I take a look at some of the games (and series and franchises) I want remastered, reimagined, rebooted, updated, upgraded, a long overdue sequel/prequel, or dare I say it – a remake. I’m not really fussy which one it is (well OK please not a remake), I just want it back somehow.

This week is a Nintendo 64 classic that many view as the spiritual successor to another Nintendo 64 classic Goldeneye and one of my favourite games of all time, Perfect Dark. Let’s just ignore its X-Box 360 prequel Perfect Dark Zero.

I’m aware that Perfect Dark, along with Perfect Dark Zero (blah) and several other Rare classics like Banjo-Kazooie and Conker’s Bad Fur Day, has already got a re-release of sorts on the X-Box One thanks to the rather brilliant and good value for money Rare Replay. I do have the Rare Replay and I have spent a fair few hours playing through Perfect Dark again and all that has done is remind me of the hours upon hours of fun I used to have playing the original game on the N64 and makes me want more Perfect Dark. In fact I loved Perfect Dark so much that Perfect Dark Zero (along with Dead Rising) is what made me buy an X-Box 360 many many years ago, what a disappointment that was.

For those of you that never played it (and shame on you for that) Perfect Dark was a brilliant near future science fiction first person shooter with an excellent story  full of conspiracy, suspense, twists and turns, great and memorable characters, amazing level design, a fantastic soundtrack (that I still listen to on YouTube), and of course lots and lots of guns. The guns were a mix of near future human weapons and alien weapons that had some cool looking designs and some interesting secondary fire options, like the laptop gun that could be setup as a sentry/turret to provide you with cover fire.

The game starred Joanna Dark, a strong female lead should such gender nonsense be important to you, one of the Carrington Institute’s top agents, who was smart, strong, and witty and didn’t feel like some girly stereotype or like she had been crammed into the role for the sake of diversity. This is one of the reasons why I dislike Perfect Dark Zero, now granted it was a prequel and thus a younger Joanna, but they made her too immature and silly.

And all of that is just the single player! The multiplayer took what Goldeneye started and took it to the next level. You could add bots, with different personalities, to allow you to practice by yourself so you could beat your matches when they came over. There was a large variety of maps, including a couple from Goldeneye, you could pick from a list of preset weapon loadouts or make customised ones, again there were some guns from Goldeneye thrown in for good measure as well, along with challenges and game modes like King of the Hill or the ever popular kill each other until the time runs out.

There were also cheats to unlock but the game made you work hard for them which meant you enjoyed them all the more, all you had to do was simply complete each level on a certain difficulty in under a certain time. Sounds easy enough but it wasn’t. I remember spending an entire afternoon trying to unlock the invisibility or invincibility cheat, I forget which, by completing one of the levels set in Area 51 in whatever time it was. I had a stopwatch and everything to time and I knew if I didn’t hit a certain part of the level by a certain time I wouldn’t be unlocking the cheat and so would start the whole level all over again. An entire afternoon. Doing the same level over and over again. Slowly getting better and quicker each time. Until finally I unlocked the damn cheat and I was so happy.

I’ve probably taken up enough of your time gushing about how much I love Perfect Dark. All the Rare Replay has done is remind me how much I love that game and how much I want more adventures with Joanna. Just think what could be done with modern gaming technology. I really really want a new Perfect Dark game.


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