Preview By: Andrew Joy
|# Of Players:||1-4|
Two of the greatest first-person shooters for the N64 - Goldeneye 007 and Perfect Dark - were both developed by Rare. Now, two console generations later and owned by Microsoft, Rare is preparing to do it all over again.
The question of launch titles for the Xbox 360 has been a big one, especially considering its early release date. Perfect Dark Zero, a prequel to the award-winning N64 classic, is Rare's answer. And, although this is only her Xbox 360 début, Joanna Dark has gone through some changes.
No one who remembers the original Perfect Dark will be able to refute the grandeur of its single-player game. A sprawling story, full of intrigue and humor, that was all brought together by the amazing array of vehicles, weapons and infinitely useful thingamajigs at your disposal. Nothing appears to have changed the second time around, the vehicles and weapons still abound and the story could hardly be more at home.
In Zero you once more play as Joanna Dark, working with her father, Jack Dark, as they try to thwart the plans of several global corporations fighting a secret war amongst one another. However, since this is a prequel, you will be guiding Joanna Dark through this futuristic science fiction world - akin to that of Blade Runner - along the path to becoming a Perfect Agent.
As for the multi-player, that aspect of the first game also garnered some high praise and many, many fans. The various play modes of the split screen death matches, including the advance A.I. of the bots, assured that the game always stayed fresh. And the ever-popular co-op mode of Perfect Dark could not have been more, well, perfect. Many of those will return, with improvements, for Perfect Dark Zero.
The multi-player will return once again, still featuring the four-player split screen, but now with the online capability to support 32 players with vehicles and weapons new and old. The Xbox Live components will feature all the usual bells and whistles of tournaments and ranking and such. Sprawling maps will also compliment the setup, changing to suit the amount of players and set play modes of the multi-player campaign. Co-op is also set to make an appearance this time around, certainly to the jubilation of many gamers.
Of course, the Joanna Dark we know and love is gone. This time around, Rare has opted for a slicker look, and in more ways than just tweaking the effects to support the Xbox 360. No, for Perfect Dark Zero, Joanna sports an almost anime look, something which has earned both cheers and jeers. However, we should always reserve judgment in such scenarios, something so many learned from The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. And, after all, we should be glad it is a whole new game instead of reworked re-release, like Conker: Live and Reloaded (the Xbox release of Bad Fur Day).
Originally intended for the Xbox, Zero is now the perfect choice to headline the Xbox 360's release. With many desperate fans clamoring to get their hands back on Joanna Dark, in whatever form she may come in, this game may be the sole reason many gamers decide to buy the Xbox 360. And, with the hopes of so many riding on it, it is good news to hear that Perfect Dark Zero does not look to disappoint.
Posted: 2005-10-23 07:06:06PST