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If you were a gamer in the 90s then you know one thing to be true: Goldeneye 007 was one of the best games of the era.
It was the first shooter on consoles that was worth playing, and it demanded more than play—we worshipped it. Kneeling at the altars of our Nintendo 64s, we 90s kids prayed every afternoon after school that we might smite our friends in multiplayer by selecting Oddjob first and finding the Golden Gun. Or maybe you played Facility over and over again for weeks or months trying to unlock the Invincibility cheat—back when cheats were a thing. There was no worse feeling in the world than running through that level on 00 Agent difficulty and coming in just a second too late, and no greater feeling in the world than when you finally nailed it.
Ah, those were the days. Here's the thing, though, if I can be frank: I've always liked Perfect Dark better. Listen. No one's denying that Goldeneye is a classic. It set the bar, and it was hugely important for the genre, especially on consoles. But at some point we have to start being honest with ourselves, and I think it's time to admit that Perfect Dark was better in every way. There were plenty of other James Bond games on N64, but Perfect Dark was the real successor to Goldeneye.
Perfect Dark eschewed its spiritual predecessor's James Bond license in favor of an original story, and even that paid off; the tale of Joanna Dark and her alien friend Elvis is one of the best things about the game.
Released three years later, it was developed by the same team at Rare, and that pedigree is obvious in every facet of the game. That's because it expanded on everything that made Goldeneye great, from the addictive and frenetic multiplayer to the varied arsenal of inventive weapons. Perfect Dark eschewed its spiritual predecessor's James Bond license in favor of an original story, and even that paid off; the tale of Joanna Dark and her alien friend Elvis is one of the best things about the game. Goldeneye rehashed the story that had already been told in the film; Perfect Dark had multiple races of aliens, conspiracy theories, a mission on Air Force One, and voice acting. Voice acting—on the Nintendo 64!
It's possible to understand Perfect Dark's superiority by simply going down a checklist of both game's features. Perfect Dark had more guns, better production value, more secrets, more originality, better level design, better graphics, more characters in multiplayer, a shooting range, a hub world instead of just a list of missions, more customization—the list literally goes on and on. And the guns—oh, the guns! Goldeneye had the RCP-90, the golden PP7s, and the Moonraker laser, sure. But for Perfect Dark Rare had the alien factor, and they effing ran with it.
You had the FarSight, use of which was practically considered cheating thanks to its ability to home in on distant enemies and shoot them through walls; the Phoenix, a curvy white pistol that shot exploding rounds; the RCP-120, which was like the RCP-90 but with 30 more of whatever that number stands for so therefore better; and don't forget the damn Laptop Gun, which transformed from a laptop into a futuristic assault rifle into a god damned automatic turret that you could mount on walls. You could set two-sided ambushes in multiplayer, even if no one was on your side. Speaking of multiplayer. We all spent a lot of time playing Goldeneye with our friends, but Perfect Dark's multiplayer was even better.
The levels were bigger and more varied, the superior arsenal made things way more interesting, and—this is a big one—it had bots. Bots! In a console shooter! You could even set up a match with eight of the little bastards and watch them go at each other. At the time this was very novel. You could play as an alien in some missions. There was both co-op and counter-op, in which one player continually re-spawned in the bodies of enemies around the single-player levels. Both of these modes were massively ahead of their time. Perfect Dark even has all the best Goldeneye multiplayer stages, like Facility, included by default. It's everything Goldeneye was, and so much more.
So what do you have to say to that, haters?