I remember reading about this game in a Nintendo Power one month, then quickly flipping back to Classified Information…
Really don’t know what to expect with this one. Figuring it’ll be a bit like Metal Gear only… not as good.
Lunchtime Perfect Dark! Right off the bat Rare impresses with detailed graphics and even a bit of digitized voice acting… but then the game starts. I realize I’m doing myself a disservice by going into this game with a negative outlook so early, but I feel like it’s doing everything in its power to make me feel that way about it.
The game quickly takes a turn for the shooting gallery, and I’m going to be honest: If this was the entire game, I’d probably be really happy with it. Unfortunately, I find myself going through every doorway hoping for the screen transition only to be disappointed in finding it’s just more “game”.
Luckily this game has more games! Like Simon! Never have a dreaded unlocking a door more since Resident Evil… This process is neither fun nor fluid. The simple act of listening for tones, and worse selecting the proper ones is just tedious.
I swear, every other room inexplicably has a toilet in it! Just… sitting there! Sofa, bookshelf, about 30 square feet… and a toilet. At this point I’m tasked with “rescuing” “hostages”. Quotes intentional. The guards will not try to kill the hostages, and to rescue them you need only walk over them. They’re god damned collectibles!
More door lock mini-games, more shooting ranges… Hey let’s talk about the rumble!
I’ll admit that I both love and hate the built-in rumble packs on GBC games. When I got Starfox 64 with the Rumble Pak and lost my MIND. I still use it every chance I get with the N64, it just feels right. These days it’s standard, but not 15+ years ago, especially on a handheld. Why do I hate it then? Because now I can’t fit the damn game into a standard plastic case! I digress. As far as how much it adds to this game, short answer is, not much. After a couple minute I stop noticing the additional weight, and after 5 I stop noticing the rumble at all. It’s unfortunate, but not detracting.
After the search and rescue portion of the mission, it’s on to stealth training.
Maybe it’s because I’m older now, but I’ve come to hate forms of arbitrary difficulty or penalties. HATE IT. I walk in through the door and my watch beeps. It’s Otacon calling to tell me that, hey, when you walk you don’t make sound, and when you use your pistol at point blank behind an enemy, it’s a one shot kill! Thanks sensei, that’s useful information that I wish I had earlier because combat is absolutely the worst but I bet it’s going to come into play on this leg of the mission.
In the living room there’s a guard spazzing around with no other guards around him… so I shoot him.
…Yep, so, game requires me to play it the way it told me to. I know I’m nitpicking, but come on. Give me the tools and let me do work. Super Mario doesn’t make you restart the level because you didn’t run under the Hammer Bros like the game wanted you to. NO! You cheesed a spring 30 yards back that’s launching you all the way to the flag!
So I kill the guard the way the game wants me to: By running around full speed behind a bunch of knee-high furniture then “quietly” looping a corner and getting the head shot… Then I solve another door puzzle… Then there’s a shooting range… Then a guard sees me and I have to start over. The biggest penalty for dying at this point of the game is not the death itself, but that you have to see the stealth tutorial watch conversation every single time! Four more attempts and the guard sees me off-screen every time. Lunch is over.
I decided to give it another go, and after another solid hour of frustration, I decided I was done with this one.
I’ve played a lot of games that were underwhelming, or just generally not that fun, but this is my first time outright not liking a title. I’m honestly not sure how it made the list at all. Maybe it was the rumble pack, maybe it was the visuals or sound work. Maybe I’m missing something completely but as far as I’m concerned this game is a steaming pile of disappointment.
Play it Again?
No. Never. I have Perfect Dark 64 if I need some Joanna in my life. Hell, I’d rather play Perfect Dark Zero any day over this!