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Let me get something straight, Goldeneye on the N64 is the Daddy of all console based first person shooters. Now there’s bound to be loads of Halo fans out there who think I’m insane, but superb as Bungie’s masterpiece is, Goldeneye was, and still is the benchmark. In fact Goldeneye was so good, that N64 owners practically counted down each day until Rare released another Bond classic, but unfortunately it never came.
You see after the phenomenal success of Goldeneye, James Bond became super-cool once more and Rare lost the licence to another developer. The upshot of this was that Rare needed to create its own hero (or should I say heroine) – the result was Joanna Dark, a sultry and sexy secret agent who was more than a match for Lara Croft.
Perfect Dark was a superb first person shooter and in some respects it even eclipsed Goldeneye. The fact that you needed the N64 expansion pack to play it in the first place, meant that the visuals were certainly a cut above Mr Bond’s efforts. Like Goldeneye before it, Perfect Dark employed a mission strategy whereby the harder the difficulty level the more objectives you needed to complete. This drove you to play the game through several times and complete it on every difficulty level.
When Nintendo launched the GameCube, Perfect Dark fans like myself couldn’t wait for Rare to set Joanna loose on the new platform, but it never happened. Instead Microsoft bought Rare and Joanna Dark missed out on an entire generation of console hardware.
But now, with the launch of the Xbox 360 Rare has unleashed Joanna once more and produced one of the best launch titles in the shape of Perfect Dark Zero. Set before the original game, PDZ sees Joanna working as a freelance operative with her father – she hasn’t been recruited by the Carrington Institute yet but the storyline heads towards that end from the outset.