Well, finally, after the release date being pushed back and back, we have all found out the wait was definately worthwhile. As an obvious "GoldenEye" sequel, as it was intended to be, it has learned a lot from the most successful game on the N64. It has the same, first person shooter style, the same, mass murder, and the same need for silence. It has added blood-spurting mayhem and the unforgettable groans of a dying guard. Ofcourse, this is the whole reason for the 18 certificate, and the whole reason for disappointment for hundreds of under eighteens around the UK on the 30th June 2000. But that in turn was the reason for hundreds of mothers entering the local games shop buying a game they had no clue about!!!
And it must have made so many people happy. Even those who could not get their friends on the dog and bone could play multiplayer style with computer characters, called "BOTs" or "Sims". Up to 8 of these computer characters can be put in one game, which almost elimanted the need to invite round three rowdy amigos who were bound to eat you out of house and home just to play a multiplayer game of PD. But you still have to unlock these extra BOTs by completing multiplayer challenges. You will only start with 4 computer characters. The challenges will also allow you to unlock weapons, options and battle arenas for multiplayer. So if you're good enough, and you have to be REALLY good, you can get all the extras for more multiplayer laughs. But just put this into perspective: There are challenges where you face Sims called 'Perfect Sims', hmm, dosen't sound that easy, does it? But for everyone around my level there are 'Easy Sims' (hooray!) and 'Meat Sims', who really are just there for a butchering!!! Also, you can create a player file of your own, that you can name. This player can be loaded each time you play and will improove in 'rank' the more challenges you complete.
But that's not all PD multiplayer has to offer. Two more options are included. Co-operative and Counter Operative. In Co-operative you can play with a friend or a Sim and play the solo missions together. This is a very good addition and well worth doing with a friend. Not so great with a Sim as they don't always do a lot. Counter Operative allows you and a friend to play against each other on the missions. You (or your friend) can be Agent Dark and the other person can be all the baddies that are encountered on the level. Counter Operative with a Sim is basically the same as the normal Solo Missions, so you can only play the counter option with a friend.
The Solo Missions are the main part of the game. the story surrounding the characters is revealed in these missions. read up as well, because if you're playing on the easiest difficulty, "Agent", some major objectives in the storyline will be missed out. There are two other difficulties which are almost equivalents to the GoldenEye difficulties, "Special Agent" (like GoldenEye's Secret Agent) and "Perfect Agent" (Like 00Agent). In Perfect Agent there are more objectives and the storyline will become more clear.
You play as Joanna Dark, and Agent for Carrington Institute. You have been through the training and have recieved the best grade so far, A++. You have hence been given the codename 'Perfect Dark'. Your job is initially to recover an AI machine from dataDyne research labs, the enemy of the game. Soon a plot begins to unravel with dataDyne at the centre. They seem to be finding a way to bring about the demise of humanity, but soon you find there is more behind this, and dataDyne have a dark secret that not even they knew or could do anything about...
The story is great. It is interesting, exciting and in places funny. You encounter some strange characters along the way, but we won't spoil it for you by telling you who they are and what they are there for. Its definately worth finding out, though.
PD has incredible graphics, and the game runs with immense speed and flows well, without glitches. The sounds are also one great contribution. The eirie roaring of a monster in the distance, and the gradually growing sound of gunfire add to the realism and horror of the game. The only problem being the slight slow-down in graphics in a four player multiplayer with eight computer characters. A word of warning, however, for you potential PD owners... You NEED an expansion pack to play the whole game. Apparently only 35% of the game can be accessed without it, and that 35% does NOT include the solo missions, more than 2 player and some extra bits and bobs that come with the perfect dark experience.
Graphics - 98%
Gameplay - 99%
Extras - 98%
OVERALL - 98%
Well, Paulsite called this (along with Pokemon Stadium) the game that lets the N64 go out with a bang, before the arrival of the 'Dolphin' project console, but how wrong we were. Now it seems like a vision of things to come for Nintendo...