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Best and Worst of 2000

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Switch to PC Games

Best Nintendo 64 Game

Winner: Perfect Dark
Platform: Nintendo 64
Developer: Rare
Publisher: Nintendo
Release Date: May 21, 2000

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Deciding on the Best Nintendo 64 Game of 2000 was easy. When the votes were cast, a resounding cry of Perfect Dark was heard. Perfect Dark is a standout title in every respect, and it is well deserving of its first-place honor. After being in development for three years and being featured at Nintendo's E3 booth for two years, Perfect Dark has delivered. Perfect Dark is so innovative for a console first-person shooter that games on systems twice as powerful are still trying to catch up.

Unlike most shooters, which use story merely as a vehicle to sustain the flow of the game, Perfect Dark's plot has enough twists and turns to keep you adhered to the couch. The enhancements found in Perfect Dark's gameplay, when compared to Rare's previous N64 shooter, GoldenEye, let it to stand entirely on its own merit. Perfect Dark's futuristic setting provided creative freedom, giving Rare the ability to feature even more gadgetry than its classic James Bond shooter from 1998. While the weapon selection isn't overbearing, the inclusion of dual modes for each weapon opens up countless possibilities. Who could forget the enjoyment of tossing the laptop gun/turret against a wall and watching the bodies pile up?

The 17 single-player missions are varied enough to support stealth, run-and-gun, and puzzle-influenced gameplay, and they all manage to come together into one tight, cohesive experience. Those who played through Perfect Dark on the easiest setting and then gave up cheated themselves of the most intelligently conceived enemy placement and level design in video games this year. The enemy artificial intelligence is so impressive it's spooky. Enemies play hide and seek or wait for reinforcements when outgunned. The enemy death throes are so varied and realistic that Perfect Dark is the most immersive espionage simulation ever created.

Anyone who played GoldenEye knows that it was the four-player deathmatch that kept the cart plugged in for months and months. Perfect Dark includes so many options that it is nearly impossible to explore them all. There are 30 different maps to shoot it out in, and plenty of weapons configurations to keep the good times rolling. Perfect Dark includes 18 different types of bots with fully customizable AI and disposition - a console first. As if all this multiplayer mayhem wasn't enough, Rare included a counteroperative mode, where one player played as dataDyne and the other as Joanna Dark. In addition, two players could play the single missions together in the co-operative mode.

While there have been just a smattering of marquee games released for the Nintendo 64 in 2000, none of them have matched the smart game design and unlimited replay value of Perfect Dark. Some Nintendo 64 games may have looked better, but none have played better or offered more value.
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