Video Game Reviews

For most people, the only certainties in life are birth, death and taxes. But anyone who owns a Nintendo 64 knows that it doesn’t end there. Easily on par in the last decade with any video game publisher this side of the Milky Way, Rare has delighted N64 fans with one instant classic (Goldeneye, Jet Force Gemini, Banjo-Kazooie) after another (Donkey Kong 64, Killer Instinct Gold, Blast Corps).

Perfect Dark, Rare’s latest offering, may be the company’s best yet.

A first-person shooter with a high IQ, Perfect Dark puts the N64 through it’s most grueling workout yet, with some of the most exquisite missions and challenging objectives the genre has ever seen. The path you take is largely up to you, but you better follow orders. Death isn’t the only way to blow a mission this time around.

As with any decent FPS, Perfect Dark boasts its share of firepower; everything from assault rifles to laptop guns are represented, and when the enemy is too valuable to kill, you can always lay the smack down with your fists. And what would a game these days be without trimmings? In addition to solo missions, Perfect Dark allows for up to four players to compete in cooperative and counter-operative missions, as well as combat simulators and an old-fashioned deathmatch. The real treat, however, is the single- and multiplayer challenges, in which players compete to clear various obstacles in a limited amount of time.

A word to the wise: To enjoy much of Perfect Dark, you will need to pick up the 4MB Expansion Pak, which Rare did not include with the game. Even with the additional RAM installed, the game is a bit sluggish when too many people crowd the screen at once. Nevertheless, the Expansion Pak’s never been a better investment than now, and with action this good, the occasional framerate glitch is not even an issue.