Perfect Dark (2000)

by Nish
6 minutes read


Perfect Dark blends a compelling narrative with groundbreaking gameplay and technical achievements, establishing itself as a cornerstone of the first-person shooter genre on the Nintendo 64. Its legacy is marked by critical acclaim, enduring popularity, and influence on subsequent generations of games.


Released in North America on May 22, 2000, Perfect Dark is a first-person shooter that stands as a spiritual successor to the acclaimed GoldenEye 007. Developed by Rare and published by Nintendo, it brought forward a new era of gameplay mechanics and technical advancements on the Nintendo 64 platform.


“Perfect Dark” is a first-person shooter video game developed and published by Rare for the Nintendo 64 in 2000. It is the first game of the Perfect Dark series. The game follows Joanna Dark, an agent of the Carrington Institute research centre, as she attempts to stop an extraterrestrial conspiracy by rival corporation dataDyne.

The game begins when the Carrington Institute receives a distress call from Doctor Caroll. They trace it to the headquarters of the diabolical dataDyne Inc., and send in Agent Dark to save the doctor. Joanna Dark, who received the highest grade ever from her spy training at Carrington Institute, is sent to rescue Doctor Caroll. Doctor Caroll was apparently being forced to do work for dataDyne that he thought to be wrong and dangerous.

As the plot thickens, dataDyne allies with a malicious alien race, and together, they plan to ruthlessly take over the planet. The story escalates from there, going everywhere from Chicago to Area 51, and even getting involved with aliens in this futuristic spy tale.

The game features a campaign mode where the player must complete a series of levels to progress through the story. It also offers a range of multiplayer options, including a co-operative mode and traditional deathmatch settings with computer-controlled bots. Players manoeuvre their character from a first-person perspective and have the ability to lean left or right, look up or down, crouch, crawl, and drop from most ledges. There is no jump ability.

Interaction with the environment is via a single context-sensitive button, which can activate computers, operate lifts, and open doors. Players can carry an unlimited number of weapons, ranging from handguns to assault rifles, rocket launchers, a shotgun, a sniper rifle, and combat knives.

As a spiritual successor to Rare’s 1997 first-person shooter GoldenEye 007, Perfect Dark shares many features with its predecessor and runs on an upgraded version of its game engine. The game is one of the most technically-advanced titles for the Nintendo 64, and requires an Expansion Pak to access the campaign mode and most of the multiplayer features.

Upon release, Perfect Dark received critical acclaim and sold relatively well, eventually joining Nintendo’s “Player’s Choice” game selection. Critics widely praised its graphics, artificial intelligence, and number of multiplayer options, but some criticised its inconsistent frame rate. The game received the BAFTA Interactive Entertainment Moving Images Award for 2000 and the Golden Satellite Award for Best Interactive Product in 2001. The game is occasionally cited as one of the greatest video games of all time.

A remaster, also titled Perfect Dark, featuring enhanced graphics and online multiplayer, was released in 2010 for the Xbox 360. A Game Boy Color counterpart, which allows some gameplay options to alternatively be unlocked via a Transfer Pak, supplemented the game.

“Perfect Dark” is a game that combines elements of stealth, first-person shooting, and a compelling storyline involving corporate espionage and extraterrestrial conspiracy. Its technical advancements, engaging gameplay, and critical acclaim have cemented its place as a classic in the video game industry.


Joanna Dark is the protagonist, supported by Daniel Carrington, the head of the Carrington Institute. The primary antagonist is Cassandra De Vries, the CEO of dataDyne. Other notable characters include Dr. Caroll, an AI construct with vital information on dataDyne’s operations, and a cast of allies and foes that enrich the storyline.


Perfect Dark offers a single-player campaign with 17 missions, featuring diverse objectives and environments. The game is renowned for its cooperative and counter-operative multiplayer modes, alongside traditional deathmatch settings. It leverages the Nintendo 64 Expansion Pak for enhanced graphics and a complete gameplay experience, setting a high bar for console shooters.


Perfect Dark is a testament to the ingenuity and craftsmanship of Rare, delivering an unforgettable gaming experience that has stood the test of time. It encapsulates the pinnacle of first-person shooter design of its era and continues to be celebrated by fans and critics alike.

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