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GF! Archival Version Copyright 1995-2004

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by Tim Bogenn and Richie Plantain

Ups: Complete strategies; lists of cheats and weapons; good organization and illustration; vital resource. 

Downs:  Sparse coverage of Challenges.

System Reqs:
For use with Perfect Dark for N64.

Only the best of the best games warrant a strategy guide. Strategy guides are for your favorite game, the game that has you staying up late into the night trying to devise a plan to defeat the final guy on the sixth level. Strategy guides are for tough games with lots of levels, secrets, cheats, extras, multiple modes, and difficulty settings. After shelling out the big bucks for a video game it's often hard to justify spending another $13 on a book. Well, in Perfect Dark's case the $13 is well worth it. Perfect Dark is hard enough, big enough, and cool enough to warrant a guide; in fact it's almost too much to deal with without a guide.

N64_pd_5-01.jpg (5056 bytes)BradyGames has put out Perfect Dark's nearly complete official strategy guide. Within minutes of bringing the guide home I was already using its very complete level strategies. In fact I had already combed the internet looking for a FAQ that could get me past one of Perfect Dark's final levels, but nothing out there seemed to help me. The FAQs contradicted one another calling my end goal a spaceship in some and a helicopter in others, and adding to my frustration none of them gave me directions or maps. The Brady Games guide on the other hand gave a clear description of my goal's location as well as a nice screen cap to make sure I knew where I was going.

N64_pd_4-01.jpg (4813 bytes)The Brady Games' guide doesn't directly deal with the easiest difficulty setting; in the introduction they explain that a serious player won't need help on the easy setting, but will definitely need it for the two harder settings. I found this, for the most part, to be true, but by outlining the harder levels they also outline parts of the easier settings. The mission guides are thorough, clearly outlining the objectives, revealing lots of secrets, tips, and hits; there are also detailed maps that are a tad bit confusing to read (but the levels can get pretty complicated). I found myself wanting a breakdown of the differences between the difficulty levels at the beginning of each mission section.

N64_pd_3-01.jpg (5220 bytes)Make no mistake, this guide is more than just a walkthrough. It also includes: game information (weapons, devices, characters, and vehicles), hidden items, cheats, a combat simulator guide, and a pin-up poster of Joanna Dark. While the poster and game information have limited value, the hidden item and cheat info is indispensable, especially for a game so full of them. I found the combat simulator guide to be less helpful. It clearly describes all of the arenas, preset games, options, weapon sets, and simulants, but I already knew all that stuff. Slightly more interesting were the challenge descriptions (which I would have gotten in the game by unlocking them for competition). I was hoping for some hints or strategy (or even some maps for that matter) for the combat simulator's challenges. I've found that the challenges are one of the most exciting and difficult parts of the game and was quite disappointed to see BradyGames' "complete" muliplayer coverage so incomplete.

Overall, BradyGames has done a great job of squeezing a ton of info into this guide. The maps and screen caps make the missions easy as pie (well not quite that easy, but they sure help a lot). So if you own Perfect Dark and plan on beating, opening, and unlocking every last thing in it you better get this guide.

--Sarah Wichlacz