Perfect Dark – Xbox Live Arcade Review


Perfect Dark
Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios
Developer: Rare
Platforms: Xbox 360 
Release Date: March 17th, 2010

“Agent Joanna Dark hit the ground running in Perfect Dark, an epic tale of galactic conspiracies in 2023 America. Now this classic shooter comes to Xbox LIVE Arcade, rendered in greater definition and detail and sporting a silkier framerate than ever before. Fire up your Farsight and prepare for assignment—the Dark returns…” [via]

The year is 2023, you play as agent Joanna Dark and must unveil the conspiracy that is surrounding the artifacts. Go through levels with guns blazing as you take out humans, aliens, and everything in between.

Joanna Dark is the perfect operative, hence the name Perfect Dark. With an arsenal of weapons and gadgets at your side it is up to you to save the world.

This XBLA game is an exact port of the original Perfect Dark, so everything in the original is exactly the same in this port. There are a few extras, but the overall gameplay is exactly the same. Perfect Dark is a first person shooter that relies heavily on auto aim. Due to Perfect Dark originally being released on the N64 precision control wasn’t easily achieved and thus auto aim was mandatory. If you want you can turn off the auto aim, but the game becomes even harder if you do.

Every level has three different difficulties, but unlike a normal game you must play all the other previous levels at the harder difficulty in order to unlock that difficulty on later levels. Harder difficulties increase the speed at which an enemy reacts as well as the damage they do. Extra objectives are also added that gives you extra things to do. This makes the game even harder when the description of the objective is extremely vague. There is no radar or nav point to tell you where to go, so every objective must be completed by using your exploration skills as well as your skills of deduction.

Even the unlockable cheat codes have been ported over, all those codes that you played so hard to unlock in the original are available for you to unlock again in the XBLA version. 4J studios have added 31 new unlockable awards for you to work towards. These awards are like in game achievements, but are extremely difficult to get unless you look them up on the internet. The reason they are so difficult is because there isn’t much clue as to how to unlock them other than their name. Some examples are the “Magnum P.D.”, “Tick Tick…Boom”, and “Can’t touch this” awards. All you have is the name, and you must figure out what to do to get them.

There is also many multiplayer gametypes to play with your friends or the world. The Co-op enables you and a friend to go through the levels together.  Counter-Op enables you to go through the level, while your friend plays as the enemies to try and stop you. Finally there is online multiplayer, where you can go against up to 8 people over Xbox Live. Sims are also available for local multiplayer, but unlike the original you no longer have to play only locally.

GamePlay Video
Some Notes on the video Below:

  • I start off going through Carrington institute; everything has been ported including background info, cheats, and simulation training.
  • Due to time restraints I have to pretty much run through the first level on the easiest setting.
  • As you can see, I ran through all the other levels in order to get all the avatar awards. This did help show that in order to get the achievement for beating the game on every difficulty; you will have to beat each level 3 times. I got the achievement after beating the first level again on the easiest setting, since I did that level initially on the hardest.
  • As you can see, auto aim was enabled; you can turn it off in the options.
  • Each weapon has a secondary fire mode, the pistols secondary fire is a pistol whip.
  • On the easiest setting the game is quite easy, but the more difficult settings are quite hard since they add more objectives and harder enemies.

The game has been ported to the XBLA with everything from the original game intact, gameplay, secret areas, unlockable cheats; as well as a hand full of new Xbox live features. The game has gotten a graphical overhaul though. Everything visual has been redone. The original full game beautifully restored and back in full HD, 1080p at 60 frames per second!

Achievements – 20 achievements for 200 gamerscore.
The achievement list is almost completely comprised of random achievements. There are 4 achievements related to the missions but they are only worth 55 of the total 200 achievement points. The rest of the achievements will require you to do specific tasks that are not part of the story. Such as completing the challenges and getting all bronze at the shooting range. Then there are a few multiplayer achievements but they can all be done local with another controller. The hardest one is the new crown system which comprises of 31 miscellaneous in game achievements that have no other hint of how to complete it other than the name. The achievements list comprises of a whole bunch of random achievements that should keep you playing for a long time to get them all.

Perfect Dark also includes 2 avatar awards:

  • Perfect Aim – Kill any enemy with a headshot (This will happen by accident)[Perfect Dark Shirt]
  • Top Secret – Complete any Special Assignment on any difficulty. [Alien (Elvis) Doll Prop]

The Achievement List is:

  • How’s that for starters? – Complete dataDyne Central – Defection.
  • Both Barrels – Kill an enemy when dual-wielding. 
  • Act your age, Joanna – Destroy Carrington’s wine collection. 
  • Double 64 – Kill 128 enemies using secondary fire mode.
  • Camera Shy – Destroy 5 security cameras.
  • Deadly Laptop – Kill 50 enemies using the laptop in sentry gun mode.
  • Paci-Fist – Complete any Solo Mission on Special Agent or harder using only your fists.
  • Tools of the Trade – Get a Bronze rating or better with all 32 weapons in the Firing Range.
  • Versatile – Complete a Combat Simulator game using each of the six Scenarios.
  • Golden Days – Complete a Combat Simulator game on Felicity, Complex or Temple using Classic Weapons.
  • Prime Target – Complete every Challenge up to and including 29, the 10th Prime number.
  • A Friend Indeed – Complete any mission in Co-operative Mode.
  • …Who needs enemies? – Complete any mission in Counter-Operative Mode.
  • dataDyne Specialist – Kill at least one enemy with each of the dataDyne weapons.
  • Carrington Institute Specialist – Kill at least one enemy with each of the Carrington Institute weapons.
  • Maian Specialist – Kill at least one enemy with each of the Maian weapons.
  • Agent – Complete the Solo Missions on Agent.
  • Special Agent – Complete the Solo Missions on Special Agent.
  • Perfect Agent – Complete the Solo Missions on Perfect Agent.
  • Crowning Glory – Earn all the Leaderboard Crowns.


Perfect Dark on the XBLA is a blast from the past that any Perfect Dark fan will love. All the extra touches you came to love are still included within the game, such as the unlockable cheats. There is so much in this package and for the price of 800MSP it would be hard for anyone to pass up; 2 gamerpics, 2 avatar awards (3 if you count the different genders of shirt as 2), and a theme. I give Perfect Dark for the XBLA 9 capsules out of 10.



  • This Classic Port is very well done, and keeps all the stuff that was great about the original while making it HD.
  • 2 gamerpics, 2 avatar awards, and a Perfect Dark theme to unlock; all within an 800MSP game.
  • Tons of Replayability, with 3 different difficulties, fun extras, side missions, and online multiplayer.


  • The AI acts extremely stupid.
  • The game is dark, really dark. I had to mess with my settings because I was unable to see where I was.
  • No sense of direction. Without a radar you can easily get lost within a level if you aren’t good at remembering landmarks within a level.


  • It is a port of a the classic Perfect Dark but in HD. Some people might like this, while others will not.
  • No checkpoints, you must beat a level completely without dying. (This could be a Pro for people who like a challenge, and a Con for those who don’t)
  • Even the Classic glitches were ported, for fans of the original this will bring back memories, but for newcomers it may seem like sloppy work.




  1. $10 for a classic like this, really good price, and looks like they did an amazing job on this port.

  2. i like the way they changed the graphics

  3. amazing game, amazing price

  4. I never really gave this one much of a chance on N64. I had already been consumed by Dreamcast at that point.

    It looks great. This will be a definite buy for me.

  5. great, now i just need golden eye and we´re good 😀

  6. Looks great. Great price as well. A winner in my book.

  7. I played the demo on XBL and it seems really good. I hope I can get this one way or another.

    By the way, the alien doll for the avatar is cool hah.

  8. I never played the original, but I tried the demo, and it does seem good.

  9. bitching about checkpoints should’nt have been an issue.lack of n64 pad
    should have been (southpaw speed). otherwise great review

  10. already bought this, awesome remake

  11. Still the greatest shooter ever! However I’m having problems, I unlocked 10 achievements and it won’t let me unlock anymore achievements even when I complete them. Anyone else having this problem?

  12. I think from what Dylan said some might be glitched/bugged

  13. The weapon achievements are glitched, even if you kill someone with every weapon, the achievement won’t always unlock. Just keep playing the game, and it will unlock eventually.

    To get the difficulty achievements you must beat each level on every difficulty.

    The Co-op and Counter-op achievements must be done on an entire mission, not just level. So to get it you must beat, 1.1, 1.2, and 1.3. (it can be any mission, but you must beat every level of the mission.

    The game doesn’t always save the kills you have accumulated in a level unless you complete the level. So if you quit half way through a level, the kills you got won’t always save, and it will revert to the amount of kills you had before starting the level. (this counts for cameras too)

    The crowns are kind of weird, sometimes you have to be on different difficulties, and sometimes you have to do the crown’s objective a few times for it to register.

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