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Joanna Dark is an agent for the Carrington Institute, a secret organization funded by anonymous sources and dedicated to protecting the world. Through their highly trained operatives and special devices (gadgets), Carrington keeps an eye on terrorists, world powers, and strange happenings. The speed in which the dataDyne corporation has established itself through the development of new technologies is starting to worry the institute. So when Carrington receives a message from Dr. Caroll, a scientist wishing to escape dataDyne, they send their best agent, Joanna, to infiltrate the company headquarters.

Perfect Dark is a 3D first-person shooter similar to Rare's earlier GoldenEye 007, though with more of an emphasis on stealth. Joanna can pick up and use a variety of firearms, including shotguns, submachine guns, sniper rifles, various explosives, and others. In addition she carries quite a few spy gadgets such as IR scanners, night vision, probes, and a deadly laptop. Most weapons have secondary fire modes and reloading them is displayed in an on-screen animation.

Shields are scattered through the stages and can be picked up for additional protection. There are no health-restoring items and Joanna cannot jump. Like GoldenEye 007, the game has three difficulty levels, with the higher ones featuring more accurate enemies, less ammo, and more objectives for the player to complete within each mission. Cutscenes with voice acting advance the story between missions.

The game also features a training mode set in the Carrington Institute. Completing the firing range challenge there unlocks the classic weapons from GoldenEye 007. In addition, the campaign can be played in a co-operative mode for two human players or one human player and up to three computer-controlled teammates (in split-screen mode), as well as in a "Counter Operative" mode, where one of the players takes control of an enemy and tries to stop Joanna from fulfilling her mission.

Multiplayer includes a variety of modes. Among those are the traditional deathmatch as well as the objective-based Capture the Flag and King of the Hill modes. Other scenarios and objectives include surviving as long as possible while carrying a briefcase, hacking computer systems with randomly placed data uplinks, and hunting down a single player as a team. Stages, teams, and weapon placement can be customized by players.

The Xbox 360 port has redone graphics to support a 1080p full HD resolution at 60 frames per second. It also incorporates full multiplayer support over Xbox LIVE.


Perfect Dark Nintendo 64 Datadyne Infiltration
Perfect Dark Nintendo 64 A close up of the fresh corpse.
Perfect Dark Xbox 360 Face detail has been reworked and improved.
Perfect Dark Xbox 360 It's just like Goldeneye! No? Well tough, cause it's all you're getting!

Promo Images

Perfect Dark Screenshot
Perfect Dark Screenshot
Perfect Dark Magazine Advertisement pp. 28-29
Perfect Dark Screenshot


Alternate Titles

  • "完美的黑暗" -- Simplified Chinese spelling
  • "Wanmei de Hei'an" -- Simplified Chinese title
  • "Red and Black" -- Japanese working title
  • "パーフェクトダーク" -- Japanese spelling

Part of the Following Groups

User Reviews

It's well....perfect... Nintendo 64 Sam Hardy (82)
A step up from Goldeneye, believe it or not. Nintendo 64 Feem (45)
The most fun you can have with all your clothes on Nintendo 64 Tracer__ (13)
Cool! Nintendo 64 Ben Fahy (94)
Goldeneye times 3! Nintendo 64 darthsith19 (70)
Goldeneye's only true successor. Nintendo 64 John H. (59)

Critic Reviews

Video Games Nintendo 64 Jun, 2000 96 out of 100 96
Da Gameboyz Nintendo 64 Jul 07, 2004 9.6 out of 10 96 Nintendo 64 Feb, 2005 9.56 out of 10 96
Consoles Plus Nintendo 64 Jul, 2000 90 out of 100 90
All Game Guide Nintendo 64 2000 4.5 Stars4.5 Stars4.5 Stars4.5 Stars4.5 Stars 90
Game Critics Nintendo 64 Jun 20, 2000 9 out of 10 90 Nintendo 64 Dec 06, 2004 8.2 out of 10 82 Xbox 360 Mar 11, 2010 8 out of 10 80
GameSpot Xbox 360 Mar 17, 2010 7.5 out of 10 75 Xbox 360 Mar 18, 2010 10 out of 20 50


Topic # Posts Last Post
Publishing company question 2 firefang9212 (73966)
Jun 17, 2020
does this game live up to the hype 1 game lover (3)
Dec 22, 2008


1001 Video Games

The N64 version of Perfect Dark appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.


The first release cartridges have more than their fair share of glitches and bugs. The most glaring example is this is that if you try to load up the Warehouse multiplayer level with three players, the game will crash. No exceptions. Worse than this however is that "Challenge 7" is a three person game on the warehouse level and simply impossible to play if you have one of these early cartridges.


In each level there is a hidden piece of Swiss cheese. This was originally part of a plan to have a mega cheat activated when all the cheese was found, but it was scrapped in the final version.


Advancing trough the three basic skill levels (Agent, Special Agent, and Perfect Agent) not only increases the number of missions and reveals new areas, but also grants you access to the elite Perfect Dark skill level. Rare's development team has stated that nearly 95 percent of players will never be able to finish the game on this difficulty even if they somehow manage to get to it.

Game Boy Camera

During development, it was announced that Perfect Dark would use the Game Boy Camera in conjunction with the N64 Transfer Pak. Players would be able to use these two accessories to map their own faces on in-game character models for use in multiplayer modes. However, due to the potential of media controversy of 'being able to shoot your friends', this feature was removed prior to the game's release.

Japanese version

In the Japanese version, almost all blood was removed.


  • The Carrington Institute has a display case with weapons from Goldeneye 007 in it.
  • Some of the random head models/textures in the game are based on gaming journalist photographs taken at 1999's Electronics Entertainment Expo. This includes but is not limited to Ed McGlothlin, Matt Cassamassina, and Peer Schneider.
  • The BAFTA Interactive Award which Rare was given for GoldenEye 007 can be seen in a safe in the G5 building level of Perfect Dark.
  • On the Area 51 Rescue stage, there is a reference to the Pixies, the rock band popular for songs that usually mentioned aliens and UFOs. The following names are called on the loudspeakers:

    - "Dr. Francis, please go to Cryo Lab A" - "Captain Santiago, go to Medical Bay 6" - "Lieutenant Deal, report to Containment" - "Dr. Lovering, please phone autopsy"

    The band was formed by Black Francis, Joey Santiago, Kim Deal and David Lovering.


  • EGM
    • February 2006 (Issue #200) - #170 out of 200 of the "Greatest Games of Their Time"
Information also contributed by atadota, Big John WV, Jeanne, Jiguryo, Joshua J. Slone and WildKard

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Contributed to by Sciere (711225), DaMaul (99) and BurningStickMan (18030)