Perfect Dark Zero is a first-person shooter developed by Rare and published by Microsoft for the Xbox 360 on November 18, 2005. Prequel to Perfect Dark for the Nintendo 64 and an Xbox 360 launch title, Perfect Dark Zero adds and changes many gameplay mechanics from the previous game, including weapon-based running speed, a third-person cover system, slight health regeneration, a limited slot-based weapon inventory system, tertiary weapon functions (for some weapons), a dedicated melee button, combat rolling, and a campaign checkpoint system. The game also adds online multiplayer for up to 32 players (or bots), featuring eight distinct game modes. (However, some multiplayer mechanics from the previous game, such as Counter-Ops Mode, customizable characters, multiplayer challenges, and multiplayer unlockables are absent in this game).
The game requires 4.9 GB of space to install on a Xbox 360 HDD and comes with 50 achievements worth 1000 gamerscore. The achievements are split up between beating single-player and reaching milestones in multiplayer.
Gameplay in Perfect Dark Zero is slightly slower than its predecessor. In order to run fast, players must be unarmed. Primary and secondary functions return in this game, with the addition of a tertiary function for the P9P, DW-P5, RCP-90, Fac-16, SuperDragon, and Def-12 Shotgun. Some secondary functions are modified from their predecessors. For example, the MagSec 4 trades its three-round burst for bullets that ricochet around corners. Players can no longer carry as much weapons as they want. Each weapon takes up slots in your inventory (which has a maximum of 4 slots). Dual-wielding returns in this game, with each trigger on the Xbox 360 controller controlling each weapon. Players can now trigger melee with any weapon with the B button.
Despite the slower movement, this game adds a combat roll that lets players dodge bullets and a cover system. Unlike the predecessor, which has no checkpoints, Perfect Dark Zero contains a checkpoint system in most difficulties. Objectives in this game are now split up into primary and secondary objectives that are no longer fully determined at the beginning of the mission. The secondary objectives are not required and only add to the player's overall completion score.
Perfect Dark Zero has a two-player cooperative mode in both split-screen and online play. Unlike the original Perfect Dark game, the missions add new gameplay elements to co-operative mode. Some doors require both players to open while sometimes the second player spawns far away from the first, requiring each player to cover each other. A counter-operative mode, much like the original Perfect Dark, was scrapped during development.
- Mission 00: Datacore | Demolition
- Mission 01: Nightclub | Stakeout
- Mission 02: Subway | Retrieval
- Mission 03: Rooftops | Escape
- Mission 04: Mansion | Infiltration
- Mission 05: Laboratory | Rescue
- Mission 06: River | Extraction
- Mission 07: Trinity | Infiltration
- Mission 08: Trinity | Escape
- Mission 09: Jungle | Storm
- Mission 10: Temple | Surveillance
- Mission 11: Outpost | Rescue
- Mission 12: Bridge | Assault
- Mission 13: Arena | Showdown
The story takes place three years before the events of the original Perfect Dark game. The game's protagonist, Joanna Dark, is a bounty hunter who works for her father, Jack, and friend, Chandra. While rescuing a scientist from a Triad drug lord, Joanna's father gets kidnapped by the dataDyne Corporation. Through espionage, players uncover the conspiracies involving the dataDyne Corporation (a defense contractor whose founder, Zhang Li, and his daughter, Mai-Hem, are looking for a rare artifact with supernatural power). Along the way, Joanna joins the Carrington Institute, a research and development center founded by Daniel Carrington, who assists her in bringing down Zhang Li.
Perfect Dark Zero has online multiplayer in the "Combat Arena" with up to 32 players in various game modes. The game modes are split up into two types, Deathmatch and DarkOps. The Deathmatch modes are more traditional, while the DarkOps modes are more structured. Unlike the predecessor, team modes only use two teams. The green team indicates your team while the red team indicates the enemy team. Those colors can be changed in the options menu for color-blind gamers (or people that are sick of being on the green team).
Teams can be selected from different groups, such as team Dark, team dataDyne, and team Carrington Institute. Their choice of player models can be locked to that group. While these teams are not highlighted in color like the original Perfect Dark. Each player wears bright armor with their team's color. All game modes are almost entirely customizable. Like the original Perfect Dark, each map contains five weapon types that can be configured pre-game. A unique feature of Perfect Dark Zero is how the map layout can be customized. The map can be confined to small area or a large area with certain areas cut off.
- Killcount - Traditional free-for-all deathmatch.
- Team Killcount - Essentially team deathmatch. Players can spawn in random parts of the map or in special team spawns.
- Capture the Flag
- Territorial Gains - Several neutral hills are placed inside the map. Teams get points for taking control of these hills.
- Eradication - Team Killcount a la Counter-Strike. Each round begins with players buying their gear. Once a player dies, he/she must sit out for the rest of the round. The team who survives wins the round.
- Onslaught - Teams take turns defending and attacking a base. The defenders get one life (but can be revived) and can purchase weapons. The attackers have unlimited lives, but is limited to basic weapons. The defending team that holds the base the longest wins.
- Infection - A free-for-all game where players start as either infected or uninfected. When an uninfected player dies, he/she becomes infected. Infected players get points for wiping out uninfected players while uninfected players get points for surviving the round.
- Sabotage - Similar to Eradication, but teams take turns defending and attacking their property. The attacking team that does the most damage to the enemy property wins.
All weapons differ in terms of damage and each have 1-2 extra modes of use. Also, each weapon uses inventory slots (Max 3) and some offer a Duel Wield [DW] mechanic.
Pistols (1 Slot)
--Falcon (Small default pistol) [DW]
- Secondary - (Firecracker) Discharges and throws exploding magazine creating a distraction.
--P9P (Tactical Pistol) [DW]
- Secondary - Attaches silencer.
- Tertiary - Activates flashlight.
-Magsec 4 (Strong, scoped pistol) [DW]
- Secondary - (Rebound Fire) Fires ricochet bullets that can be bounces around corners.
--DY357 Magnum (revolver) [DW]
- Secondary - Fires a silenced decoy bullet which explodes.
--Psychosis Gun [DW]
- Secondary - (Psychosis) Confuses enemies.
Sub-Machine Guns (2 Slots)
- Secondary - (Hologram) Creates a hologram of the user.
--DW-P5 (Tactical SMG)
- Secondary - Attaches silencer.
- Tertiary - Enables flashlight.
--UGL Liberator (Uzi) [DW]
- Secondary - (Booby Trap) Throws down weapon which acts as a proximity mine.
--RCP-90 (Smg with 50 round magazine)
- Secondary - (Threat Detector) Highlights enemies in red and friendlies in green.
- Tertiary - (Reprogram) Converts enemy equipment for use.
Assault Rifles (2 Slots)
--Laptop Gun (Laptop made into a gun)
- Secondary - (Sentry Gun) Throws gun on surface to create a sentry gun.
--Fac-16 (Similar in design to M-16)
- Secondary - Grenade Launcher.
- Tertiary - Attaches silencer.
--KSI-74 (Similar in design to AK-47)
- Secondary - (Bayonet Shot) Fires bayonet as a projectile.
- Secondary - "Bouncy grenade" launcher
- Tertiary - Nightvision
Heavy (3 Slots)
- Secondary - (Caltrops) Small mine-like objects that slow pursuers.
--Jackal (Bolt-Action Sniper Rifle)
- Secondary - (EMP Marker) Disables enemy radar and marks them for allies.
- Secondary - (Cloak) Grants invisibility to user.
--Shockwave Rifle (High-Tech Sniper Rifle)
- Secondary - (Fly-By-Wire) Allows manual control of fired rockets.
Close Combat (2 Slots*)
- Secondary - (Radar Sweep) shows enemies on map.
- Tertiary - (Mimic) user appears to be friendly to enemies on radar.
--Combat Shield (Riot Shield)
- Secondary - (Duel Wield) allows use with any dual wielded weapon.
--Viblade (Sword) 1 Slot*
- Secondary - (Deflect) allows the user to deflect projectiles.
Thrown (1 Slot)
- Secondary - (Shrapnel shield) protects against splash damage.
--Frag Grenade/Flash grenade [DW]
-Multi-Mine (Remote/Proximity Mine)
(Players may also use their hands to attack and steal enemy weapons as a secondary mode).
Two DLC map packs were released for the Combat Arena. The first being paid DLC for 500 msp ($6.25) and contains four new maps: Plaza, Rooftops, Trench, and GasPlant. The second being free DLC and contains a recreation of Facility and Temple (known as Ruin) from Goldeneye 007. (The second recreation of the Perfect Dark series)
Perfect Dark Zero was originally planned to be a launch title for the Gamecube, before Microsoft's acquisition of Rare. Then, the game was originally planned to be released on the Xbox platform with a more cartoony art style. The game was later released on the Xbox 360 in two forms: Standard and Limited Collector's Edition, the latter featuring a metal case, bonus content disc, a comic booklet, and one of nine holographic collectable cards. This game was one of the first to be re-released under Microsoft's Platinum Hits program and spawned two sequel novels (Perfect Dark: Initial Vector and Perfect Dark: Second Front) as well as a comic series titled Perfect Dark: Janus' Tears.