game news Perfect Dark: how did Rare’s game revolutionize FPS on N64?
It was at the Game Awards 2020 that the development of a new episode of Perfect Dark was announced, a futuristic FPS originally developed by Rare that illuminated the last hours of the Nintendo 64. Although the huge dataDyne logo visible at one point in the video leaving no doubt about the return of Joanna Dark, it was when the title of the game appeared at the end of the trailer that the streamers broadcasting the event became excited. It seems that no one was willing to forget the famous spy who reigned over console FPS in the early 2000s, before the arrival of a certain Spartan.
007’s years of experience serving a young adventurer
What inevitably jumps out when one plays the first episode of perfect darkness (released May 22, 2000 in the US), that’s how many similarities Rare’s FPS has to its previous first-person title, GoldenEye 007. The lineage is such that Joanna Dark’s epic was sold in almost everywhere as a spiritual sequel to the adventures. of James Bond. Leading the development of the two apps is Martin Hollis, a talented game designer who declined to participate in the adaptation of the video game Tomorrow Never Dies in order to benefit from greater creative freedom. The British studio wanted to tell a story that takes place in a dystopian future, whose influences range from Blade Runner to The X Files. That he no longer had much to do with the spy in His Majesty’s service, you will agree.
Thus, it is the team behind GoldenEye 007 that gave birth to Joanna Dark, a secret agent sent to investigate the dubious actions of sprawling organizations. This is why we find many similarities on the gameplay side between Bond’s adventure and Dark’s, whether in the artificial intelligence of the adversaries, in the way the difficulty adds objectives or in the maneuverability. It should be remembered that the game engine that powers this little world is an improved version of the one from GoldenEye 007. In any case, the years of production dedicated to the FPS with Agent 007 have allowed the team to become familiar with the game in the first person, while several ideas germinate.. They will be found, for the most part, in Perfect Dark.
The little extra things
Perfect Dark is often referred to as the futuristic GoldenEye. See it as a simpleflay” of the adventures of Bond would however be a big mistake. Despite a tumultuous development caused by the departure of several executives (who left to found Free Radical), studio execs stacked the odds in their favor for Joanna Dark to hit hard. The Stamper brothers, then heads of Rare, made sure their artists didn’t feel pressured by not setting a production deadline. Big bosses loved their employees.give the best of themselves“to deliver a work”as innovative and as good as GoldenEye 007”, as recounted by Régis Monterrin in the History of Rare Vol.2 (p.157). A risky bet that paid off.
Developers took advantage of this new, non-Jame Bond-licensed playing field to develop original weapons with mostly secondary fire, and especially larger, richly detailed environments. Joanna Dark had the ability to peek and had fun gadgets like the infamous mini-camera to unfold. The project was so ambitious that the Expansion Pak, a small card that was inserted into the N64 to double the RAM, was required to launch the game’s campaign.. Graphically, the software was simply one of the most beautiful Nintendo 64 games.
A multi like no other
The element that really inscribed Perfect Dark in the pantheon of console FPS is its extremely comprehensive and cutting-edge multiplayer.. Firstly, the 17 levels of the campaign could be experienced by two thanks to a rather innovative split-screen co-op mode for the time. Then the modecounter operation” (or Enemy) gave a player the possibility to embody an opponent normally controlled by the machine in the individual player levels. Its objective? Eliminate your partner trying to complete the mission. In case of death, the J2 reappeared in the skin of another character to fight Joanna again, a bit like Agent Smith in The Matrix. Finally, there was obviously a more classic mode like every man for himself, except that here you could integrate bots into the game, which was not the case in most games of the genre released on the Nintendo 64 or Playstation.
The captivating story, time-accurate gameplay, and comprehensive bot-integrated multiplayer, as well as original modes, have helped establish Perfect Dark as one of Rare’s biggest hits on the Nintendo 64.. A plebiscite that will motivate Rare to produce a new episode destined for the GameCube that will finally arrive on Xbox 360 in 2005, under the name of Perfect Dark Zero. Unfortunately, this work directed by Chris Tilston will not have the expected success.
Microsoft took 15 years to formalize the development of a new episode, orchestrated this time by The Initiative instead of Rare. If you’re considering (re)discovering Rare’s work, a remastered version is available on the Xbox Store and on Rare Replay.