Playing first-person shooters on the N64 was good in that era, but today the controller's single analogue stick makes shooters feel somewhat awkward. New here is a dual analogue stick control system, bringing the gameplay up to par with modern first-person shooters, although the game's auto aim (essential in the N64 original) does feel a bit too helpful now – thankfully it can be turned off. Precision aiming also annoyingly roots you to the spot, whereas modern games would simply slow down your rate of movement while zooming in slightly.
There's no denying that this is a great package, though. As well as the excellent, albeit in places dated campaign, there are two two-player game modes (standard campaign co-op and counter-ops, in which one player is Joanna and the other takes on the role of an enemy), four-player split-screen and eight-player online support across a variety of maps and game types. We've yet to be able to test out the online play, but four-player split-screen is great fun and certainly brings back many fond memories. With the weapons from GoldenEye and three of the most popular maps included here, many GoldenEye fans will be able to stop hoping for the remake that's never going to happen. Four mates, a smooth frame rate, one couch and GoldenEye settings makes for one brilliant nostalgia-filled evening.
On top of this there are unlockables galore, including a truck load of cheats (getting all these provided us with hours of fun back in the day) and Achievements. Online leaderboards are included for every level in the game, so you can see how you compare to the rest of the retro gamers the world over. It seems as though 4J really left nothing out of this XBLA edition of Perfect Dark. There are even pre-set control layouts for Halo and Call of Duty fans, but no way to play using a single analogue stick.
The wait for Perfect Dark on the Xbox 360 has been worth it, but don't hand over your 800 Microsoft Points expecting a modern FPS. This is old-school gaming, with none of the modern day handholding we're used to, but it's jam-packed with gaming goodness. The campaign can be frustrating due to a lack of direction, but it's still full of great moments, and the multiplayer is as much fun as it ever was. Perfect Dark is no longer the pinnacle of console shooters, but it's clear why it was held in such high regard. Yes, it's better when played while wearing rose-tinted spectacles, but anyone who enjoyed the original already owns a pair.