Reader Review: Perfect Dark (XBLA)

Do you have what it takes to get a review published right here on Kotaku? Justin does, as he revisits a classic in XBLA form.

Yes, that’s right, we’re now publishing reader reviews here on Kotaku. This is your chance to deliver sensible game purchasing advice to the rest of the Kotaku community.

And thanks to the very kind chaps at Madman Entertainment, purveyor of all kinds of cool, indie and esoteric film, the best reader review we publish each month will win a prize pack containing ten of the latest Madman DVD releases.

This review was submitted by Justin Robson. If you’ve played Perfect Dark, or just want to ask Justin more about it, leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Rare/Microsoft introduce an old classic to a current console, and we take a one way trip to nostalgiaville and go back to the good old days of having to kill henchmen before they get to the alarm switch.


It’s Perfect Dark – Every detail has been redone for the HD generation. While obviously it doesn’t look like a triple A new release, the graphics have been overhauled while still remaining their old school Nintendo charm. Little things like the way they redid the Microsoft Game Studios logo in N64 style graphics, to the way faces and hands on character models are completely static; it just takes you right back to nineties gaming awesomeness. The sounds are practically untouched, and admittedly a little dated, but the stock movie sound effects and cheesy looped music really make this an authentic Rareware/Nintendo experience.

Missions – In terms of the mission structure, there hasn’t been a game that feels anything like this in a long time, and it kind of makes you wonder why. It doesn’t hold your hand like most current generation games, you might have fond memories, but in a lot of situations you’ll actually be left wondering what the hell you’re supposed to do. It might come across as linear, old fashioned or even simplistic, but things like playing on after you’ve failed the mission and the absence of objective markers lead to a lot of fun and interesting situations in which wackiness always ensues. You almost feel sorry for all the poor henchmen you have to kill. Almost…

Controls – You might find yourself hesitant to get it because of the controls, but sure enough they have done a good job to modernise them without losing their uniqueness. Anyone who’s played a modern shooter on a console will be instantly familiar with the controls, but at the same time things like the zoom in crosshair and the way the crosshair isn’t always in one spot keep it firmly at it’s roots.

Multiplayer – as of right now, it’s been too laggy to test in online multiplayer. Online co op is fine however, and if you have a friend or three, the split screen is hilariously fun like it always was. Again, it’s a very nostalgic experience that takes you back to the days of games like Goldeneye and Halo.


There are some quirks – for example, the controls are a little weird at first, and the auto aim is super sensitive, you barely need to aim at all. The character models, especially the many henchmen you’ll be slaughtering look extremely lifeless thanks to the old animations done with new graphics, as well as a bright light effect that’s just downright annoying. Then there are some little things with the gameplay, how the weapons you collected always disappear after a mission, and how there are so many pointless corridors and rooms to get lost in that have no purpose whatsoever. Realistically though, these are pretty insignificant issues when you consider what a long overdue and otherwise beautifully executed remake it is. We really don’t have much to complain about at all.

For a pretty reasonable price of 800 points, Perfect Dark on the XBLA is a must have for fans of the original. While there are a few technical issues, the graphics, sound and unique gameplay really remind you of what made you fall in love with it to begin with. Nothing is compromised, and it’s definitely the best remake we could have asked for.

Reviewed by: Justin Robson

You can have your Reader Review published on Kotaku. Send your review to us at the usual address. Make sure it’s written in the same format as above and in under 500 words - yes, we’ve upped the word limit. We’ll publish the best ones we get and the best of the month will win a Madman DVD prize pack.


    Junglist - neeed to work on your copy paste skills.

    This review was submitted by Justin Robson. If you’ve played Bad Company 2, or just want to ask Justin more about it, leave your thoughts in the comments below.

    Its Perfect dark not bad company 2

    "This review was submitted by Justin Robson. If you’ve played Bad Company 2, or just want to ask Justin more about it, leave your thoughts in the comments below."

    Bad Company 2 is awesome, but maybe not the focus here? ^_^

      All a part of our new discussion strategy, next up is an interview with Will Wright about the making of Red Dead Redemption.

    I enjoyed the demo - I've finally found an FPS where I can claim the F, in my case, does not stand for FAIL!

    Good review, and you're spot on about the sound-bites from movies and other games. I've only played the trial so far but I laughed so hard when I heard the baddie going "Why... me..." when he's shot in the balls. Classic.

    "the way the crosshair isn’t always in one spot keep it firmly at it’s roots."

    Unforunately, this annoyed the hell out of me. Having the new control scheme try to have it play like your typical dual-thumbstick FPS and then have the crosshair moving about itself as the screen does makes aiming a complete chore.

    I agree, the aiming feels much too twitchy to keep me happy. I keep finding myself getting increasingly frustrated when I try to move the crosshair over a goon only to have it it flick past him, then try to recorrect and have to flick back past the other way. Auto aim seems a little to "game plays itself" for my liking.

    That said, it becomes an insignificant complaint in what is such and obviously loved-over (in a respectful way at least) port of a 10+ year old game. Also, Mr Blonde's new texture is just FHAAABULOUS

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