4J Studios | Xbox Live Arcade
As the start screen loads, my heart races and a vein pulses in my forehead. This aneurism is courtesy of Rare’s Nintendo 64 title now available on Xbox Live Arcade. A decade ago, three friends and I played this game for seven months, eight hours a day fueled by caffeine and fast food—we were obsessed. The campaign was engaging and as an unofficial sequel to GoldenEye 007, it contained the same elements that made its predecessor the best first-person shooter around. However, the real value was the 30 excruciatingly impossible multiplayer challenges. Luckily (or unfortunately?), they’re still impossible. Today, even with an increased frame rate, it can’t stand up to modern giants. The graphics are blocky; the AI switches between mindless dummies and superhuman cheats; and in retrospect, the solo missions are vague. Yet, Perfect Dark is the abusive ex who broke your heart and now wants you back. It’s risky but you open your arms wide because there’s a slight chance you can prove how great you’ve become and break her heart in revenge. It’s petty, but it’s worth it.