If you never played Perfect Dark for the N64, you could probably care less about the following. Otherwise, read on.

The Xbox360 has finally been released, although the weary at slashdot.org will likely not be through with the barrage of related articles for a month yet. With it has come something I have hoped and feared for some time.

Perfect Dark Zero.

Why am I dedicating an entire monologue to this game? Quite simply, I was enslaved by it's predecessor.

Perfect Dark was my freshman year of college. I spent many an hour blasting away my closest friend on campus. He didn't care that we were actually on the same team, he was just annoyed that I gave him his comeuppance after he blew me up.

Needless to say, I have a lot of interest in whether or not the sequel turned out well, or whether there is the potential for it to be salvaged if it didn't.

From what I hear, the gameplay is very much akin to the original. Some people bemoan the jumping (there is none) and the poor controls for beating someone down with a weapon. I'm not so concerned with how it stacks up in comparison to the dime a dozen FPSs out there or even Halo, I want to know how it compares to the original.

In my quest for information, I came across many good and bad things similar to above. However, almost all the information was tainted with either malice towards all things Halo, or malice to anything that isn't Halo. The only information that wasn't so tainted was a list of the weapons.

Perfect Dark did for weapons in FPS games something I've never seen done well elsewhere. Weapons had multiple ways to use them, and unique ways at that. Some guns could fire grenades, some guns could turn into portable sentries, most guns could be dual wielded, it was all amazing. My favorite weapons were all Maian, the Phoenix, the Callisto, and the Farsight.

While the listed secondary and even tertiary functions of the weapons in Perfect Dark Zero is impressive, I am disturbed by the weapons themselves. Quite simply, saying that "many" of the classic weapons are in the game is like saying that "many" people are still employed after a company implodes on itself.

The Falcon is there, The Laptop gun, the RCP, the CMP150, the SuperDragon, the Rocket Launcher, and the Magsec. The shotgun and the magnum are still around as well. They've all recieved interesting changes, which is good. However, the other twenty weapons from PD are MIA. Those aren't the only weapons in the game, there are a total of twenty-four. However, that in and of itself is a far note short of what PD had.

Every gun in PD managed to be unique despite the vast number of them, and while Rare appears to have done a great job of this again, there is the notable difference that there are only twenty-four weapons, a good number of which are from the original game anyway. Not that using the originals is a bad thing, but I would have expects more new weapons in addition to more of the originals.

I am terribly saddened for the most part because a great number of the truly fantastic weapons, such as the Cyclone, the Mauler, the Devastator, the Slayer, the Reaper, the Callisto, the Phoenix, and the N-Bomb, are not present in the game at all. I can understand there not being a Farsight (getting sniped out of nowhere is rather annoying) but the other weapons were not overpowered (you were just as likely to blow yourself up with a Devastator or Slayer), were really cool and unique, and most importantly fun (there was little as cool as pinning a person down with a reaper, and running madly at them when the ammo ran out).

Whether or not the fun simulant variants have returned I could not find out, and it is always possible they and other weapons are unlockable, but my sources claim the weapons lists I read were from a strategy guide, which usually covers just about everything.

Now, given that Halo 2 and Ninja Gaiden received some truly awesome additional content post release, I can see that any problems with the game can be addressed. This is something I am actually happy about, as I like the idea that if something is supremely screwed up in a game for a console, it can be fixed. This won't always be a good thing (Star Wars Galaxies is certainly a cause for concern), but I think overally it will be.

Whether or not Perfect Dark Zero will benefit from this remains to be seen. It sounds like a good game, but I fear that it will remain largely unplayed by me for some time yet, as the Xbox360 does not come out here for a month yet, and after that I will be at home before college resumes anyway. By then I should know more about whether or not the game has any of the 1337 weapons I know and love.

Worse comes to worse, the Revolution should have the original, or barring that, the N64 isn't expensive these days.

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