Perfect Dark Zero is a first-person shooter video game developed by Rare and published by Microsoft for the Xbox 360 video game console. Perfect Dark Zero is the prequel to Perfect Dark, although it is the second installment in the series. Zero takes place in the year 2020, predating the original Perfect Dark's storyline by three years, and depicts the events leading up to Joanna Dark's employment by the Carrington Institute.
Perfect Dark Zero was released on November 18, 2005, to coincide with the launch of the Xbox 360. It has sold well over one million copies and was the first game to be rereleased under the 'Platinum Hits' title.
The Campaign is divided into 14 different levels, referred to as 'Missions'. (Note: Since the first mission is a virtual reality tutorial, it is refered to as 'Mission 0'.)
- Nightclub Stakeout
- Subway Retrieval
- Rooftops Escape
- Mansion Infiltration
- Laboratory Rescue
- River Extraction
- Trinity Infiltration
- Trinity Escape
- Jungle Storm
- Temple Surveillance
- Outpost Rescue
- Bridge Assault
- Arena Showdown
The year is 2020.
The prologue sees Joanna Dark in a DeathMatch VR simulation. Joanna infiltrates the Trinity Research Platform, bypassing several layers of security before reaching the platform's CPU. She destroys the CPU by piloting a CamSpy into its proximity and detonating its explosive ordnance. The destruction of the CPU causes the spiderbots on platform to become uncontrollable and they begin to attack the personnel. Joanna makes her way to a lift which takes her to the surface. A large security force ambushes her as she regroups with her father, Jack Dark. They manage to fight their way to a rocket before the simulation is terminated.
Dark Bail Bonds is after a scientist named Nathan Zeigler. The Dark Team has been tracking him for months, and now he has wound up in the hands of the Hong Kong Triad gang, led by a man named Killian. He's about to be exchanged for a large reward, but the Darks are to recover him before the trade can happen. The plan was for Jack to gain access to the Hong Kong nightclub, where Zeigler was being held, while Joanna hung back to support him. She is inserted by Chandra Sekhar via speedboat on a dock. Jack gets caught up in a firefight in the club, and Joanna quickly moves into the club to assist him. She battles her way through the nightclub, eliminating several of Killian's thugs as she moves to the upper levels. Meanwhile, Jack confronts Killian in his office. Joanna arrives and Jack's guard is thrown and Killian escapes, shooting Jack in the shoulder before throwing himself out a window.
Zeigler refuses to go anywhere without his research documents, and Joanna is sent to recover them. She moves through the streets of Hong Kong, sneaking past and dispatching Killian's thugs as she does so. She retrieves the research documents from a safe house and meets up with Jack at the rendezvous point (the elevator) in a subway. Zeigler takes a neurodrive from the case Joanna retrieved and uses it to implant information into Jack's subconscious. Zeigler then succumbs to his injuries and dies, all caught by camera in the elevator. Jack and Joanna then proceed to the rooftops, seeking to meet Chandra at the extraction point. Due to Killian's interference, Jack and Joanna are separated and Joanna covers Jack from the rooftop as they make their way to the extraction point. Knowing Jack's subconscious contains Zeigler's research, a dataDyne assault team impedes their progress, assisted by Killian in his dropship. At the extraction point Killian makes a last ditch effort to end Joanna's life, but she manages to shoot his vehicle out of the sky. Although she escapes successfully with Chandra, Jack is captured by dataDyne.
Having used the tracker in Jack's nullsuit to locate him within Zhang Li's mansion in China, Joanna sets out to rescue her father from the wealthy founder of dataDyne. Using her stealth abilities, she infiltrates the mansion. Joanna stumbles in on a DeathMatch session in progress, with Zhang Li's daughter Mai Hem defeating her opponent. The modified DeathMatch rig kills the opponent. Zhang Li notices Joanna, and mistakes her for a professional player. Mai Hem challenges her, and Joanna readily accepts, entering into a virtual reality duel with Mai Hem. Mai Hem has hacked the software and it isn't long before she brings in stone soldiers to support her, as well as making duplicates of herself. Before entering the mansion, Joanna had reprogrammed the server satellite, which allowed Chandra to patch in and give Joanna support in the form of a better weapon. Joanna then defeats Mai Hem.
Zhang Li stops the game before his daughter can be killed. As medical support is called for her, Joanna moves deeper into the facility. Having fought her way to the prison wing, she finds Jack in a cell. He's been tortured, and begins speaking gibberish to her, an after effect of the neurodrive. Together, Jack and Joanna fight their way out of the complex. They steal a hovercraft and go down the river, arriving at the airbase. Before they can escape Mai Hem appears with a response team. Jack and Joanna are pinned down when Jack steals Joanna's weapon and charges the security team. Joanna, taking advantage of his sacrifice, makes a run to a dropship. Jack takes down a few of the soldiers before being wounded by Mai Hem. Unarmed, he is killed by Mai Hem. Joanna flies near Mai Hem and sets her on fire with the engine in revenge. Joanna then escapes.
Joanna and Chandra decide to pursue Zeigler's lead and seek out Dr. Eustace Caroll, who serves aboard the Trinity research platform that Joanna had infiltrated in the prologue. Shortly after arriving Joanna loses contact with Chandra. She is ambushed by two bounty hunters hoping to cash in on killing her. She kills them and proceeds into the station. Dr. Caroll uses the neurodrive to extract Zeigler's information from Joanna's memory, which she gained when she rescued her father.
The information extracted, Chandra arrives and kills Dr. Caroll at the orders of Zhang Li. Zhang Li has made her a large offer, and she plans to get away with Zeigler's information. As she is about to shoot Joanna, Jonathan Steinberg blows down the door. Chandra gets away, and Jonathan and his team take Joanna to the CPU where they download the Zeigler information. The team fights to the surface and escape in a dropship. Jonathan introduces Joanna to Daniel Carrington via transmission. Carrington informs them that dataDyne is moving a large amount of their forces to a temple in the rainforest in Peru. Joanna agrees to come along.
Not long into the mission, Joanna's dropship is shot down by the dataDyne ground forces. Joanna and the dropship pilot defend the craft from a wave of dataDyne forces. Joanna sets off into the jungle, steals a jet pack, and flies over to the ancient temple that dataDyne has excavated. She discovers that dataDyne has uncovered an ancient artifact that powers the Graal, an artifact that grants power currently unknown to the human race. She plants a tracking device onto the artifact before sneaking aboard a dataDyne dropship.
Exiting the dropship, Joanna learns that Jonathan Steinberg and his team was captured while in Peru. She quickly rescues them before they can be interrogated. The team fights through the desert town and disables dataDyne's air defenses. Their extraction is interrupted by Mai Hem, who has survived the encounter back in China, albeit with large amounts of skin graphs. She fights Joanna, having the advantage of a hovercraft and a mounted turret. Despite the advantage, Joanna avenges her father and kills Mei Hem.
Knowing that Zhang Li cannot be allowed to access the Graal, Carrington sends his forces to the excavation site for an all out offensive. Joanna aids the Institute squads in crossing the bridge, taking on a large contingent of dataDyne forces. Successfully making it across in one piece she watches as Zhang Li gains the Graal's power, which gives him inhuman abilities and a younger body. Zhang Li kills Chandra, sacrificing her to his power. Joanna then faces him in the arena, alone. Joanna manages to come out on top.
The crisis averted, Steinberg and his squad arrive. Seeing that Joanna has stopped the scheme by herself, Steinberg aids her in walking over to Daniel Carrington. Fatigued, she asks Carrington about her performance. "Perfect" is his one word response.
Multiplayer in Perfect Dark Zero can be played via splitscreen, system link, or Xbox Live. Up to 32 players may participate in multiplayer. Player's statistics and ranking can be tracked when played in ranked matches. There are two primary game modes, each fully customizable (see here).
Players spawn in rooms where they may pick up weapons prior to entering the map, from a fixed set. Weapons are found scattered about on the map as well. The match lasts a set time limit.
- Killcount - Free-for-all deathmatch, defeat your opponents by reaching the set score limit or gaining the highest score within the time limit.
- Team Killcount - A team version of Killcount, with the team obtaining the highest score winning.
- Capture the Flag - Teams only, steal the opposing team's flag from their base and return it to your own to score. Highest number of flag captures wins.
- Territorial Gains - Teams only, accumulate points by capturing and defending different zones scattered around the map. Highest number of territories captured wins.
Players are divided into teams, and do not respawn until the next round in the game. Weapons must be purchased from a player's stock of credits. Credits are earned by killing enemies and completeing objectives.
- Eradication - Wipe out the opposing team before they eliminate yours.
- Onslaught - Two teams take turns attacking and defending a base. Win rounds by either eliminating the defenders or successfully defending it long enough.
- Infection - Players score points by either infecting others, or surviving infection.
- Sabotage - Take turns attacking your opponent's equipment stash and defending your own. Points are gained by destroying structures, made easier by a supplied Demokit.
The game comes with six maps, which can be modified to include either one of two sets of bases or just a small portion of the map.
Map Pack One (June 7, 2006)
Map Pack Two (November 1, 2006)
Player's have the option to pick one of six characters to represent them in game when there are no teams or when team lock has been disabled.
- Joanna (casual)
- Mai Hem (in her cyborg form)
- Jack Dark (without his mustard)
In team scenerios, the host has the option to lock player's appeances to that of their team. The team is decided by the host, but while in game the model chosen is random.
- Dark - Joanna (jacket), Jack, and Chandra
- dataDyne - Mai Hem, soldier and guard
- Carrington - Joanna (combat), Jonathan, and CI Soldier
- Trinity - Dr. Caroll, Trinity guard, and scientist
- Killian - Killian, enforcer, and thug
- Henchmen - various henchmen
The number of bots a match can support range from 0 to 16, in both DeathMatch and DarkOps modes. Bots will follow the orders the player issues them on the map screen, which include 'follow me' and 'move here'. The bots difficulty is scaled as follows: Agent, Secret Agent, Perfect Agent, Dark Agent.
As of the update, bots are given a personality defined by the host.
- Vanilla - As the name implies, there are no special distinctions.
- Ghost - The bot is cloaked as if they were carrying a Plasma Rifle, except when they fire weapons.
- Judge- The bot will seek out and attack leading players with the highest kill score.
- Bully - The bot will hunt down players with the least kill score.
- Venge - The bot hunts down any opponet that kills it.
- Feud - The bot chooses a random target and focuses on them until killed.
- Prey - The bot will target players with low health.
- Combat Shield
- DEF-12 Shotgun
- DY357 Magnum
- Fairchild DW-P5
- Falcon 18
- Hawk Boomerang
- Jackal Sniper Rifle
- Laptop Gun
- Maas P9P
- MagSec 4
- Plasma Rifle
- Psychosis Gun
- Rocket Launcher
- Shockwave Rifle
- UGL Liberator
- Revive Kit
- Night Vision Goggles
- Threat Detector Goggles
The Perfect Dark Original Soundtrack was produced by Nile Rodgers, and released on November 8, 2005 by Sumthing Else Music Works. It consists of 27 tracks from the game's campaign and menus. The total length of the CD is 73:56.
Development of Perfect Dark Zero began on the Nintendo GameCube. At the time, Nintendo had a 49% stake in Rare, making Rare a Nintendo second-party developer. The game made a small appearance at Spaceworld 2000, an event exclusive to Nintendo. But apart from the confirmation that it was in development, few official announcements were made. Perfect Dark Zero, along with several other Rare games, was intended to be finished in time for the Gamecube's launch, but for unknown reasons did not.
In September 2002, Rare Ltd was purchased by Microsoft. Around the same time, Rare released several images of Joanna Dark, the protagonist of the Perfect Dark games. The "cartoony" style of these pictures incited speculation that the final game — then intended for the original Xbox — would employ a less realistic graphical style than the original game; possibly an anime like cel-shading technique, (Rare had hired UK Manga artist Wil Overton to work with them, after seeing an anime-like image of the Original Perfect Dark game he had created for the cover of N64 Magazine.)
Development of the title was later transferred to the Xbox 360. Perfect Dark Zero's senior designer Chris Tilston (also one of the project leads for the game) later revealed that the Xbox version was "about twelve months away" from completion when the switch occurred.
In 2005, one of the rewards in the OurColony viral marketing campaign for Microsoft's next Xbox video game console was an image of Joanna Dark. At the official unveiling of the Xbox 360 on May 12, 2005, it was revealed that Perfect Dark Zero would be a launch title for the new system in the fall of 2005. The game's development has therefore spanned three platforms: the Nintendo GameCube, the Microsoft Xbox and the Xbox 360.
Final development for the 360 was very rushed, with Rare feeling that when the final build was sent to Microsoft for certification, the build was so buggy it may not have passed. The order was given to produce the discs five days before the Microsoft certification was complete, to meet the Xbox 360 launch date.
Zero was released in two forms: the standard version and a "Limited Collector's Edition." The collector's edition features a second disc of content, a black metal game case, images of the staff and most of the in-house testers which gave a glimpse behind the scenes at Rare, a comic booklet set in the Perfect Dark universe, which sets the scene for the game, and one of nine holographic collectible cards.
- 1UP.com - A
- Edge - 7 of 10
- Electronic Gaming Monthly - 7.83 of 10
- Game Informer - 7 of 10
- GamePro - 4 of 5
- GameSpot - 9 of 10 (Editor's Choice Award)
- GameSpy - 4 of 5
- GameTrailers - 9 of 10
- IGN - 8.4 of 10
- Game Rankings 81%
- Metacritic 81 of 100
- MobyGames 88 of 100
- This game has been in developement for three seperate consoles - the Gamecube, the Xbox, and finally the Xbox 360.
- Xbox's Perfect Dark Zero product Page
- Full list of achievements at xbox360achievements.org
- Perfect Dark Recon
|Perfect Dark series|
|Games|| Perfect Dark • Perfect Dark GBC • Perfect Dark Zero|
|Novels||Initial Vector • Second Front • Janus' Tears|