Review: Ahhh....Joanna in my pants (pocket)
Concluding Perfect Dark for the Game Boy Color is equivalent to the Nintendo 64’s version is an overstatement. After the arrival of Perfect Dark, it was hinted a handheld version of the game would be released. With the transfer pak, data from the Game Boy Color version of the game could be transferred over to the N64 cartridge. Perfect Dark has its pros and cons; I will proceed to specify. The game itself sets in the final stages of Joanna Dark’s training. She is flown to South America to accomplish multiple tasks and objectives. The major objective is to send an illegal cyborg manufacturing facility into oblivion. The story unravels more and dataDyne is involved furthermore.
The gameplay elements of Perfect Dark are considerably built around Konami’s fine masterpiece in Metal Gear Solid. The most noticeable similarity is the camera perspective, which is from a 45-degree view. The main character is obviously Joanna Dark; the character you operate through various missions and such. Stealth is implemented in the game. Normal walking by Joanna is silent, but the reloads of your arsenal and running will cause commotion.
The game is quite challenging at times. Ambitious objectives will be present, concluding with Joanna restarting levels over and over. Perfect Dark GBC is definitely not the kind of shooter Perfect Dark for the N64 was. From my experience, in early stages, getting shot six times will lead to your demise. Other downfalls in the game is the overly big panel for the small screen, and isn’t that useful. And another issue is Joanna’s mug; it’s terrible. Trying to sport a better image of her couldn’t hurt. The ups of gameplay are interesting mini-games, simple but fun target practice, and other neat little situations.
Controls are basic and user-friendly. The d-pad navigates Agent Dark, A shoots, B reloads, and tapping the d-pad twice will cause our agent to run. You are also allowed to run diagonally. Simplicity is apparent. As for the visuals, they’re above average. Character sprites are surprisingly detailed, and backgrounds are not bland and appealing.
Perhaps the most complex part of Rareware’s job was producing the fine audio. I was deeply surprised to find speech on an aging handheld that’s actually fairly clear. I mean, speech in an N64 game is a rare find, so speech on a GBC is revolutionary. As for in-game tunes, there are a variety of tunes that are sort of espionage-esque.
Along with the solo mode, there are other capabilities included in the cartridge. Multiplayer is a feature, along with printing out images with the handy Game Boy printer. As previously mentioned, PD also makes use of the Transfer Pak. I still wish the face-mapping feature was in Perfect Dark for the N64 though…