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Ad critic retro: Perfect Dark (N64)

Alan Rose

One of the nice things about hanging on to old gaming magazines is the archive of classic ads they provide. I found this promo for the original Perfect Dark in the 10th anniversary issue of Entertainment Weekly (Spring 2000). Rare's sultry heroine is ready for war against the evil dataDyne corporation and those menacing Skedar -- notice the subtle alien presence in the upper right-hand corner.

But how does this Joanna Dark model stack up (pardon the pun) against the lovely ladies who portrayed Ms. Croft? Her hairstyle and skin-tight, black leather outfit certainly seem to have inspired the wardrobe department for the Aeon Flux movie and game.

It's interesting to note that a key promotional element persistent in today's gaming ads is absent here, which is a little surprising given the influence of the Internet on the gaming community at that time. Maybe Rare was too busy making a kick-ass game to bother with a web site (anybody remember if there was one?). In retrospect, it didn't really matter as Perfect Dark became one of the most popular and successful titles for the Nintendo 64. In fact, it was so good, I bet they'll make a sequel some day!

Update: Thanks to RyanH for helping my tired old eyes. There is indeed a tiny "" URL embedded in the fine print. Also, thanks to NothingShocking for posting URLs of the game's viral marketing campaign.

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