Join Listal here 
Existing members 
Login here 
Join Listal to create lists, share images, get recommendations and much more

Perfect Dark Zero

Posted : 7 years, 10 months ago on 23 October 2006 09:19

Perfect Dark Zero has incredibly high production values. Everything screams quality, starting with the opening song where we see Joanna Dark, the main character of the game, crawl around while a cheesy rock song sings about little girls. We’re not kidding either. It all feels a bit like a James Bond movie, and I’m sure Rare was trying to give that feeling, so it’s all good. It’s shiny, especially on your new HDTV, and you’ll definitely won’t have complains about the graphics during the entire course of the game.

However, when we said ‘everything screams quality’ a few sentences back, we were talking about graphics. Because all the other, probably more important elements in the game, deserve their own judgements, and here at Moz La Punk we’re not afraid to make them. At all.

For anyone left in the ‘dark’ (see what we’ve done there? hah!), Perfect Dark Zero is the long awaited prequel to the Nintendo64 smash hit Perfect Dark, itself an unofficial sequel to the godly movie tie-in Goldeneye. While it’s debatable if Perfect Dark was as good as the James Bond game EA tries to remake every year (and failing at it), one can agree that the N64 game featured more of everything: more intelligent AI for the enemies, a more engaging single player with a better story line, awesome graphics (for the time) and heck, even the multiplayer was bettered, which was no mean feat since Goldeneye’s multiplayer was top of the bill. PD saw you playing around with Joanna Dark, a secret agent on track of DataDyne’s conspiracy with aliens.

200 slaps a minute

Enough with the background already! Perfect Dark Zero takes place some years before the futuristic Nintendo64 game, in the year 2020, where Joanna Dark is still a rookie and a much younger person, complete with trendy haircut, slim body and an American voice. If we could call a videogame character hot, she would be called hot, but honestly, you won’t find her sexy during the game. Why’s that? Because the voice acting is so heart aching terrible that it rips your ears from your head and punches it through your mouth straight into your stomach. It slaps you in your face at 200 slaps a minute while laughing and spitting to humiliate you. All the reviews are right: voice acting in Perfect Dark Zero can only be the work of Satan itself, as no one else would be so cruel to give us voices that are this anal.

It’s not just Joanna and the other lead characters: the enemies sound more alike to South Park characters than anything else, and it really makes killing them a lot more uninteresting. It’s a shame because their AI isn’t that bad… although we’ve seen better even in Halo 2. They often just walk straight at you, guns toting, and you can shoot them with ease if it wasn’t for the lack of auto aim, which is good or bad depending on your taste. Because controllers aren’t as sensitive as the keyboard and mouse combination, some auto aim is favorable, especially in the single player. A bit of practicing will get you anywhere though. To get back on subject, next to the voice acting, the story is just as bad and it’s really not worth it for us to describe details of it to you: trust us, it’s terrible. There is no motivation whatsoever to play on story-wise, and it backfires on the game soon enough.


It would help if the gameplay was incredibly interesting. It would make up for the lack of a good story and heck, maybe even soften the pain of the voice acting. But somewhere down the line, the development of this game must’ve gone wrong. It’s not that playing Perfect Dark is like a bad trip, and it’s not like the gameplay is terrible. It just feels… soulless, for the lack of better words. It still feels a bit like Goldeneye and Perfect Dark, which is good, only time has passed since those titles. Even worse, it’s almost as if Rare put some kind of slow motion filter on the control. Moving Joanna Dark feels like moving a cow with your bare hands sometimes, and the characters around you move just as ‘fast’.

I’ve really tried to keep myself interested in the main game, and the game tries hard enough: it throws all sorts of shiny graphics and vehicles towards you. And it succeeds in some cases. The weapon arsenal is varied enough and half of the weapons feel meaty and right, the other half feel like toy guns. The level design is often top of the bill and especially the variety in surroundings is worth a compliment or two. Almost every level has a different setting and it really sets the mood. In the first half of the game, an infiltration in a night club and going through a snow covered Japanese garden are the highlights, while the second half of the game has such captivating moments like a full on assault of you and your army buddies on a bridge, and working your way through a lush jungle. But the variety in levels don’t change the feel and simplicity of the gameplay, so even the most interesting looking levels can feel like a chore to walk through.


The multiplayer, then. A lot of people can attest to the fact that the shooters from Rare never were about the single player experience, but the multiplayer. And this time they even take things online. How can that possibly go wrong? Well, it certainly doesn’t. Featuring up to 32 players in a single match, six levels that can change size depending on the number of players participating and some healthy options for modes (next to the necessary capture the flag, there’s also the Dark Ops mode which sees you battling it out in a team just like Counter Strike).

I’ve heard from various persons and I read on a lot of message boards that they really enjoy the online gameplay, but I’ve also heard from various persons that they really didn’t had a feel for it. I belong to the second group. Personally, I was incredibly hyped for taking Perfect Dark Zero online but it just doesn’t do it for me. How is this possible? I’ve spend literally years with Goldeneye and Perfect Dark multiplayer, and here I am, ignoring PDZero’s multiplayer and favouring a match of laggy Call Of Duty 2? It’s not that Rare didn’t get the mode down to a quality offering, because there’s really not a lot of lag and the games looks great online.


So, we’re left here with a bitter taste in our mouths and we have no other choice than to call Perfect Dark Zero a failure. We might get a lot of negative feedback about this, yelling at us for not liking this ‘godly gift from the boys at Twycross’, but we’re not here to lie. We’re not here to hide our opinions. If you fall in love with the multiplayer, you don’t need our score anyway. It’s just our opinion and whether or not you agree, is an entirely different matter.

So, Perfect Dark Zero fails. You’ll be playing it through the end, maybe even on the difficult settings, just because you’ll want to like it. It looks so good that you want to love it. But most gamers that have played with good shoot em ups for the past couple of years, will be left cold by everything that happens in the game. The gameplay isn’t refreshing nor fun, the story and voice acting are terrible, and the online modes are solid but again, it might just not be your thing. Rare certainly got our thumbs up for their other launch game (Kameo), but as far as this product is concerned: get back to that drawing board, chaps!

- Mildly entertaining single player
- You might fall in love with the online game
- Graphics are good enough

- Single Player just isn’t that much fun
- The online deathmatch isn’t for everyone
- Graphics are often too shiny or plastic
- Voice acting and story are terrible

This game is for: Everyone wanting a playful shooter around the Xbox 360 launch.
This game is not for: People expecting a worthy Perfect Dark sequel or a great shooter.

Written by Moz La Punk / Previously published on

0 comments, Reply to this entry