main index




Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
Kickstarter Message
TV Tropes Needs Your Help
Big things are happening on TV Tropes! New admins, new designs, fewer ads, mobile versions, beta testing opportunities, thematic discovery engine, fun trope tools and toys, and much more - Learn how to help here and discuss here.
View Kickstarter Project
Video Game: Perfect Dark
aka: Perfect Dark Zero
The future of shooters is Dark.

The series began in 2000 with Perfect Dark for the Nintendo 64, a Spiritual Successor to Rare's previous FPS classic GoldenEye, with which it shared a (modified) engine. Joanna Dark, having recently graduated the Carrington Institute's training program with the first ever "Perfect" score, is sent to meet an insider from the dataDyne corporation. You also end up saving the President of the United States twice in the process. Things rapidly become more complicated and she soon finds herself in the middle of a war between two alien races who have allied themselves with different factions on Earth.

In addition to its other merits, the game was one of the few that made use of the N64 Transfer Pak. It was originally meant to have been used to connect to the Game Boy Camera and let players map real faces on to characters in multiplayer mode. After Moral Guardians voiced their objections, Rare's said that the feature was cut for "technical reasons", though they later admitted they wanted to avoid controversy. It was still possible to connect to the Game Boy Color version of the game for extra items. Said Game Boy Color game was a prequel, showing Jo's training and first mission with the Institute.

The eagerly anticipated sequel was chronically delayed (originally a GameCube title, it shifted to the original XBox after Microsoft's buyout of Rare and then ended up as a launch title on the 360 in 2005) and eventually became a prequel. Perfect Dark Zero, set 3 years before the original, has Joanna working as a bounty hunter with her dad before getting mixed up with the Carrington Institute. Reviews were good but it was generally seen as not up to the standard set by the previous game. In March of 2010, the original game was rereleased for Xbox Live Arcade, with new features such as updated graphics with 1080p resolution and eight-player online multiplayer.

In March of 2011, it was revealed that a sequel to the original Perfect Dark known as Perfect Dark Core was also under development in 2007, but it was canceled before making it past the prototype stage in 2008 after the team developing it was cut down to three people. It was intended to be Darker and Edgier than Perfect Dark Zero, but by the time it was canceled it wasn't even a Perfect Dark game anymore; it was about an unknown male protagonist fighting giant mechs.

The time period in between the two games is covered in a pair of novels, Initial Vector and Second Front, as well as the comic series Janus Tears. There's also the aforementioned Game Boy Color game, although since that was released around the same time as the N64 original and long before Zero became a prequel, it's unlikely to still be considered canonical.

Includes examples of:

  • Absurdly Spacious Sewer: The Sewers map from multiplayer.
  • Action Girl: Joanna, obvious. Some of the guards also qualify.
  • Action Dress Rip: When fighting to defend the Carrington Institute from the joint Skedar/dataDyne forces, Joanna is wearing a long dress (because she was to attend a three-way meeting between the President, Carrington Institute and the Maians), which she rips towards the end of the intro cutscene.
  • Adaptation Dye-Job: Jo has long red hair in Zero despite having short brown hair in the original.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Played with. Although Dr. Caroll develops sentience and defects from dataDyne, he retains his moral code throughout.
  • Air-Vent Passageway: Several levels have them, including Area 51, and some of the multiplayer levels.
  • A.K.A.-47: A selection of weapons from GoldenEye are unlockable; and not only are their names different from their Real Life counterparts, they're also different from its own made-up names.
    • The Klobb becomes the "KLO-1313" in Perfect Dark, despite already having a fictional name.
    • The game also features a few straighter examples; the Falcon 2 is a Colt Double Eagle, the CMP150 is a barely-disguised Steyr TMP, the AR-34 is clearly the French FAMAS assault rifle painted in sci-fi colours, and the DY357 Magnum resembles a Colt Anaconda.
      • Also the RC-P90 in Zero, which also has a few more straight examples of this (its version of the Superdragon, for instance, is clearly a G36K).
  • Alas, Poor Villain: Both Trent and Cassandra get this treatment. Two Smug Snakes who were killed by the Skedar after failing for the last time and realizing Joanna was her best chance for revenge, respectively.
  • Alien Abduction: Joanna and Cassandra are taken prisoner by the Skedar near the end of the game.
  • Alien Autopsy: The Area 51 stage of the original game has a level which involves rescuing an alien from vivisection, and another (bonus) level involves sabotaging the autopsy of an already dead alien.
  • Alien Blood: Maians have green blood. Averted by the Skedar, who have red blood.
    • Skedar blood is also a slightly different tint of red than human blood.
    • The Paintball Cheat takes this to a whole new level of absurdity with everyone bleeding multicolored rainbow blood.
  • Alien Sky: The Skedar homeworld has a blue sky tinged with pink and three suns.
  • Aliens Speaking English
  • Aliens Steal Cattle: The Skedar are implied to be behind the "cattle mutilation" phenomenon.
  • All There in the Manual: The game has an unlockable feature which provides more background information on the game's plot and setting.
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us: One of the later levels of the original takes place in the Carrington Institute as dataDyne troops and Skedar soldiers make one last spiteful attack.
  • Amazon Brigade: Zhang Li's last line of defense is a platoon of about 20 elite female troopers armed with cloaking devices and plasma rifles. They're super annoying, since getting killed by them kicks you all the way back to about halfway through the level.
    • Cassandra De Vries' bodyguards are similar. They're all female, and they all have shotguns. They're also some of the first enemies to carry sidearms, making disarms less effective against them.
  • Ambiguously Jewish: Jonathan's last name is apparently Steinberg and he has curly hair. Judging by his accent, he's American, so he very well could be Jewish.
  • Amusing Alien: Elvis, who is also Intrigued by Humanity.
  • Ancient Astronauts: Both the Cetans and the Maians have visited Earth in the past.
  • Annoying Arrows: Enemies will keep fighting even if they've been turned into a pincushion by crossbow bolts or thrown knives...but since the former are laced with a tranquilizer and the latter are poisoned, they won't be fighting for long.
    • And there's the fact that the Crossbow has an instant kill function, which kinda averts the trope.
  • Area 51: Where you meet Elvis. No, not the King, but a Grey.
  • Armor of Invincibility: The Super Shield cheat.
  • Armor Is Useless: Body Armors and Helmets seem to be fashion accessories instead of protective equipment as the easily killed dataDyne Troopers and G5 SWAT Guards can attest to this.
  • Artificial Brilliance: Elvis is a particularly good shot with the Farsight (which, to be fair, has an auto-targeting system). On "Deep Sea" he can take care of the enemies in the first section all by himself if you let him.
    • Perfect Sims and Dark Sims seem to know exactly where all the good weapons and shields are on multiplayer and always have perfect aim.
  • Artificial Stupidity: Meat Sims are the easiest AI enemies you can play against in multiplayer. They wander around drunkenly, ignoring weapons (and oftentimes you), and can barely hit the room they're standing in.
    • And in an accidental example, none of the AI can detonate Remote Mines. They can throw a Dragon in secondary, but only if it's empty; amusingly, they treat the Laptop Gun the same way, meaning you might sometimes encounter sentry guns that don't fire. They also can't see any form of trap and will walk straight into a proximity mine left in the middle of a corridor.
    • Generally your 1-player buddies (Jonathan and Elvis) are very handy shots, but they will occasionally wander right into your line of fire or otherwise act like idiots just so you can fail the mission.
    • The inability to avoid explosions has carried over from GoldenEye. Case in Point: This video.
  • Arrow Cam: The Slayer rocket launcher's secondary attack is a fly-by-wire missile you steer while looking through a camera on it. Sadly, it can only be used in a few levels and weapon training, even with the All Weapons cheat.
    • And in MP, but using it there will get you killed, because people will look at your section of the screen to see where you were standing when you fired it. N64's non-remote multiplayer makes this less fun.
    • But, in Zero this is the secondary mode of the rocket launcher.
  • Artificial Gravity
  • Attack Drone: The police robot from "Chicago Stealth", which also shows up in the Alaska level. Although annoying, they aren't very dangerous.
  • Autodoc: The Alien Medpack that you use to revive Elvis in Area 51.
  • Awesome Mc Cool Name: Joanna Dark. Doubles as a Punny Name.
  • Awesome, yet Impractical: The Skedar Reaper seems like this when used by a player. Even with two hands your bullets will never hit anything besides the edge of the screen. Justified in that it's supposed to be used by the much stronger Skedar-when they wield it with one hand they have almost perfect accuracy, even on the lower difficulties.
  • Badass in Distress: Joanna, when she gets abducted by the Skedar after the attack on the Carrington Institute.
  • Bag of Spilling: For some reason, the weapons that you get will never carry over to the next mission. (Example: Joanna picks up a CMP150 in Mission 1-1 but she no longer has it at the start of Mission 1-2.)
  • Bait-and-Switch Gunshot: Joanna meets Jonathan this way when he shoots an Area 51 guard for her.
  • Bare Your Midriff: Joanna does this in some missions in Perfect Dark Zero, on a snow-covered mountain, no less.
  • Beam Spam: Several alien weapons are good for this.
  • Beating A Dead Player: Just like in GoldenEye except that you don't get a third-person replay from three different angles.
    "Enemy: The bitch is dead! Keep shooting her up!"
  • Benevolent Alien Invasion: The Maians planned to do this eventually, but left the humans to develop on their own for a few millennia. The end of the main plot revolves around the Maian ambassadors finally coming down to meet with the authorities in the White House and establish peaceful connections. Then the game plays the evil Alien Invasion straight when the Skedar come rolling along.
  • Benevolent Architecture: Most levels have plenty of pillars and walls to hide behind.
  • Benevolent Boss: Carrington.
  • Big Bad: dataDyne in the series, [[spoilers: and Skedar]] in Perfect Dark.
  • Big Damn Fire Exit: The Cetan ship has a sequence like this.
  • Big "NO!": The guards will sometimes let loose with one of these when they are killed, even if you shoot them in the head.
  • Big "YES!": Joanna gives one when she kills the Skedar leader.
  • Bioluminescence Is Cool: The Cetan ship.
  • Bizarrchitecture: "Skedar Ruins". There are collapsed archways and off-kilter floors all over the place, as well as random chasms and dead ends.
  • Blackout Basement: "dataDyne Central: Extraction" begins with a section in pitch blackness which requires the use of night vision. "Area 51: Rescue", "Deep Sea: Nullify Threat" and "Skedar Ruins" have sections where the lighting flickers on and off.
    • The "Perfect Darkness" cheat takes this Up to Eleven: every single level will be pitch black (with flickering lighting if indoors). It's impossible to get around without using Night-Vision Goggles.
  • Blasting It out of Their Hands: If you're skilled or lucky enough, you can shoot firearms right out of enemies' hands, which will leave them vulnerable as they run over and pick it up. Getting it first is often enough to get them to surrender. Sadly, this feature seems like it is too "complicated" to include in most modern games. Same thing with the ability to make the guards limp when you shoot them in the arm or the leg.
  • Bling-Bling-BANG!: Trent has a gold-plated magnum revolver with a leopard skin grip that has the same One-Hit Kill ability as GoldenEye's Golden Gun.
  • Blond Guys Are Evil: The Skedar use a holographic disguise of a hulking Scandinavian man named "Mr. Blonde" when they interact with humans.
  • Bloodless Carnage: Completely averted. Both humans and aliens bleed a lot even when shot with lasers.
    • Bloodier and Gorier: The gore is ramped up quite a bit from in Goldeneye, where enemies bled if shot, but it just stained their clothing. In Perfect Dark they leave bloodstains all over the floor; if you shoot an enemy in the head, blood will spray all over the wall opposite the direction from which you shot them. This is partly why it was rated M when Goldeneye was only rated T.
  • Blown Across the Room
  • Body Armor as Hit Points: A shield generator will completely protect you. Even from explosions.
  • Bond One-Liner:
    "Sorry, gotta shoot!"
    "Lights out!"
    "Accidents will happen ..."
  • Boring Yet Practical: The Falcon 2, your default weapon, is fairly accurate, has a good rate of fire, and is easy to get headshots due to little sway. There's penty of ammo for it, too. The CMP150 is a bit weak for a semi auto weapon, but every goon carries it so there's plenty of ammo. You can dual wield both of these weapons, too.
  • Boss in Mook Clothing: The dataDyne captain in "Mr. Blonde's Revenge".
    • In "Maian SOS", there is a guard who is armed with dual golden magnums. Having him become alert to your presence may quickly result in you getting killed. note 
  • Boyish Short Hair: Joanna has a pixie cut in the original. In the prequel, she has long hair though.
  • Brick Joke: "Not forgetting the President, of course."
  • British Accents: Joanna has this in the original.
  • Brutal Bonus Level: All of them on Perfect Agent, especially "Maian SOS" (playing as Elvis, beginning with half of your health missing) and "The Duel" (where Joanna is a One-Hit-Point Wonder, regardless of the difficulty setting).
  • Bug War: The war against the Skedar is like this, despite their not actually being bugs.
  • Bullet Proof Human Shield: All NPCs will act as this unless using a weapon with very high penetration, such as the DY357 revolver or the FarSight. This can be handy when one needs to be used as a meat shield.
  • Caffeine Bullet Time: The Combat Boost.
  • The Can Kicked Him: A guard can found unconscious and face-down in Carrington's bathroom in the Villa level.
  • Captain's Log: A few levels begin with Joanna recording one.
  • Captain Obvious: Joanna, according to her inner monologue.
    "They'll be unable to conduct operations without any power."
  • Casual Danger Dialogue: Just about everything Joanna and Elvis say to each other.
    Elvis: Look out, Joanna! I think they may be angry...
  • Casual Interstellar Travel: The Skedar Assault ship ends up near a triple-stellar system (that is somehow habitable to Joanna) likely a few hours after the Institute attack. The Skedar obviously have super FTL travel down pat.
  • The Cavalry: The Maian troops that show up to assist Joanna in "Attack Ship: Covert Assault".
  • Changing Clothes Is a Free Action: Joanna seems to be able to switch outfits between levels effortlessly.
  • Charged Attack: The Skedar Mauler's Secondary Fire. Unusual in that the charge happens automatically when not firing: the gun consumes a few extra bullets (up to five) and starts glowing red.
  • Chasing Your Tail: The final boss fight contains some of this, since he will occasionally cloak and chase you around the room. The only way to avoid it is to run around in circles.
  • Check Point Starvation: Perfect Dark Zero has only 2 checkpoints per mission; one at the very beginning, and one about 3/4ths through or before the end level boss fight. This is fine for the shorter missions, but very noticeable on the longer ones.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Several.
    • The backup of Dr. Carroll.
    • The recording of the meeting in the G5 building.
    • The shield tech item from the second level that dataDyne is working on. Guess what the troops that storm the CI later in the game have?
    • The K7 Avenger is also first seen on that level as a prototype, and is later used as the primary assault weapon for the rogue NSA troopers as well as dataDyne's forces.
  • Chest Monster: The Secondary Fire mode for the Dragon assault rifle turned it into a proximity mine you plopped on the floor. Unless they have one of the game's hazard-detecting items, an opponent in multiplayer is going to be very surprised when they try to pick up their free gun.
    • Ditto for the UGL Liberator SMG in Zero.
  • Cherry Tapping: Tranquilizer weapons in the first game. The sedation feature, which causes the screen to blur and darken each time you're punched or hit by a tranq weapon, is one of the quirkier features of the game, largely because your sedation level doesn't drop to zero when you're killed. You'll respawn as trippy as you were before your buddy finished you off. Better hope it wears off before he finds you again!
    • The N-Bomb (Neutron Bomb) is a hundred times worse. It is a special grenade that explodes with a very persistent, light-absorbing sphere of energy that can completely mess up your vision and kill you (albeit very, very slowly). It is also the only weapon in the game that bypasses shields.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: The Skedar.
  • City Noir: The Chicago level.
  • Code Name: Agent Dark (or "Dark Zero" in Zero).
    • Elvis is Protector-1.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: dataDyne troops wear dark blue or black while CI agents wear light blues and greys. Even your crosshairs are colored to reflect this (red for enemies, blue for civilians/friendly fire).
  • Combat Stilettos: Cassandra's bodyguards wear high-heeled boots for some reason.
    • Joanna wears heels herself in a few of her outfits, not that seems to slow her down.
  • Comm Links
  • Compensating for Something: Joanna doesn't like the fact Jonathan uses a magnum for covert work and secretly accuses him of this.
  • Complaining About Rescues They Don't Like: Dr. Caroll is infamous for this.
    "Do you actually know what you are doing?"
    "We're going to the helipad, I assume?"
  • Computer Equals Monitor: In Area 51, apparently all records are kept on the monitor (!) of a single computer note . As well, destroying the monitor of a mission-critical computer will result in a failure.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: The toughest of the AI opponents you can fight against in multiplayer are Dark Sims, who move faster than you, always get headshots with hitscan weaponry even if they don't actually have a line of sight to your head, spawn armed with the best weapon in the current setup, and teleport when you aren't looking. To be fair, the game tells you this beforehand, leaving them a challenge for masochistic players.
    • The computers, however, are all cheating bastards. Even the super-easy MeatSims can fire semi-automatic weapons faster than you, reload every weapon at the same speed, use lock-on weapons while moving, and have perfect aim with non-hitscan weapons. PerfectSims also act as if they can see the radar even when it's set to off.
    • One former Rare developer has said that they were even harder in pre-release builds of the game: in one version, DarkSims had the ability to strafe out from behind cover, fire, and move back behind cover - all within the space of three frames!
    • In missions that have respawning enemies, it's important to complete your objectives as soon as possible or prevent an alarm from being raised as the spawned enemies will always know where you are. This can be averted with cloaking but only if you use cheats to get cloaking outside of Mission 7. Disguises will also work as long as you weren't seen during changing and your cover isn't blown.
  • Conspicuous Trenchcoat: Joanna wears a trench coat in "Chicago: Stealth", as well as all of the CIA and FBI personnel, which ironically makes them stand out even more.
  • Conspiracy Kitchen Sink: Apparently Area51, The Greys, Ancient Astronauts, The Reptilians and a Secret War are all true and related to the Roswell Incident.
  • Container Maze: "Area 51: Rescue" begins with a section in a warehouse.
  • Contemplate Our Navels: Right at the end of Zero, Jo and the final boss all of a sudden get philosophical about the nature of death and decay.
  • Continuity Nod: Zero has two scientists in a Mayan shrine, arguing over whether the Mayans were visited by Gods or Aliens, and who exactly gifted them with the MacGuffin Zhang Li wants so badly. It's clear they are talking about the aliens.
  • Continuity Snarl: The books don't mesh very well with the games. The original game states that Joanna is a recent graduate from the institute's training program, while the books would indicate that she had done several missions for them. The books also indicate that Carrington was practically in love with Cassandra and portray him as blindly idealistic, which don't match with his game portrayal. Unless the books events caused him to loose both. Finally Jonathan in the game is the institute's top infiltrator, while the books portray him as the institute's security chief with no sense of subtlety. Though those could be different Jonathans.
  • Cool Bike: The hoverbike from Area 51 is surprisingly useful. It's fast, indestructible and you can fire weapons while sitting on it. It can even be used in later levels!
  • Cool, but Inefficient: The Laptop Gun's secondary turret tends to be this. It will usually expend much more bullets killing mooks than a decently accurate player would.
  • Corporate Warfare: dataDyne is not a company that plays well with others.
  • Corridor Cubbyhole Run: "dataDyne: Extraction" has a sequence in which you must sneak past the helicopter outside the building by hiding in the offices. (Or you can just run past it, but you'll take damage.)
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Cassandra deVries.
  • Corrupt Politician: Trent Easton.
  • Coup de Grâce Cutscene: More than one.
  • Covers Always Spoil: Look closely at the box art for the game. You can see a reflection of Elvis in Joanna's left eye.
  • Critical Existence Failure: For some reason, being pistol-whipped or punched will cause you to stumble and your vision to blur, but not being shot multiple times to the point of near death.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Elvis. See Pintsized Powerhouse.
  • Cryptically Unhelpful Answer: Just about everything Carrington says for the first half of the game.
  • Cutscene Incompetence: The ending of "Carrington Institute: Defense". Apparently Joanna can defeat dozens of enemies per level, but can be captured by a single unarmed Skedar which knocks a pile of crates onto her.
    • The very lame ending to the grueling Maian SOS level is Elvis getting hit with a tranquilizer and keeling over.
  • Cyberpunk: Sorta.
  • Cyanide Pill: An actual item for the game's competitive campaign mode - one player is Agent Dark as normal, while the other takes control of one mook at a time, switching if their host is killed. If they take control of someone far away from the action, they can take the "suicide express" to try to get closer.
  • Daddy's Little Villain: Mai-Hem in Perfect Dark Zero.
  • Darkened Building Shootout: In "dataDyne Central: Extraction", the level begins with the lights turned off, forcing Joanna to use night vision. At the end, Cassandra's bodyguards do the same thing and must be fought in the dark. Since they're wearing night vision goggles as well, turning the lights back on temporarily blinds them, making them easy to kill.
  • Darker and Edgier: The canceled sequel, Perfect Dark Core.
  • Dark Reprise: The "Carrington Institute: Defense" theme is a remixed version of the training area BGM, which also serves as the main theme of the series.
  • Deadly Doctor: The scientists and biotechnicians in Area51 will attempt to attack you by firing TranquilizerDarts, although these are more annoying than anything. Of course, then there's also what they plan to do to Elvis...
  • Dead Man's Trigger Finger: Enemies do this on some occasions in the original.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Joanna, but also Jonathan. Forcing them to work together results in a lot of snarking.
    • Even the President gets a few snarks in himself. Eg. if you stand in front of him blocking his path on Air Force One, he will sarcastically comment, "Are you sure this is the way to the escape pod?"
  • Deadly Euphemism: "Retire presidential clone."
  • Deal with the Devil: The alliance between dataDyne and the Skedar doesn't work out so well for them in the end.
  • Deflector Shields: The personal variety. Makes thrown weapons like the Combat Knives bounce off. Also averts One-Hit Kill on the weapons that would normally play it straight, but at the cost of the entire shield's energy. The shields also take the same amount of damage no matter what portion of the shield is hit, making head shots not immediately fatal until the shield is dropped.
    • Fridge Logic comes into play when the Tranquilizer and Crossbow have alt-fire instant kills by chemical/poison means. Why would that take down an energy shield in one shot?
  • Department of Redundancy Department: Elvis' description of the Skedar homeworld.
    'Elvis: This is the Skedar fanatics' most holy place. They believe this planet is sacred ground. The Battle Shrine is located at the most holy part of this holy planet.
    Joanna: So let me get this straight: it's holy.
  • Description Porn: All of the weapons and items in the game have detailed descriptions in the menu, and even more descriptions at the firing range. The sheer number of weapons is bordering on Gun Porn, too.
  • The Dev Team Thinks of Everything: Impressive detail is one of the good reasons why Perfect Dark is considered one of the best shooter games of all time and the rightful spiritual successor to GoldenEye 64.
    • Shoot someone in the leg and they'll limp around unable to run anymore. Shoot them in the arm and they'll hold it while moving. They will even trickle blood to show that they're wounded.
    • When you kill someone while their back is against the wall or a solid object, they'll fall against it.
    • When you kill someone who is sitting on a chair, they'll remain slumped over in their seat.
    • When you kill someone who is on the second floor behind a handrail with explosives, their body will fly over the railing and down to the first floor. You can't do that in GoldenEye.
    • The Carrington Villa Mission features rooftop snipers and soldiers that go prone to shoot you. The snipers will roll down off the roof and the prone soldiers will simply spazz out with their face in the dirt when you kill them.
    • When someone falls down from lethal force, they cry out and a pool of blood appears to indicate that they are dead. If they fall down from non-lethal force (punch, pistol whip, sedatives), then they are simply unconscious but will continue to react to non-lethal blows with cries of pain.
    • Completing levels results in a green colored "mission stats" menu. The Mission Status is listed as completed, and Agent Status as active. At the end of "Carrington Institute: Defense", Joanna is knocked out and the menu is instead grey with Mission Status: Unknown and Agent Status: Missing.
      • Taking it a step further, it even changes in regards to failing, aborting, and using cheat codes.note 
    • In Area 51: Infiltration, if you knock out the tech carrying the lift keycard instead of killing him, he shows up in the next mission behind a locked door. Take the elevator in the hangar he was in and you'll find a Phoenix.
    • When escaping from Area 51, you can choose to have Jonathan escape with Elvis, or have him stay and escape on his own. If you choose the former, Jonathan will appear on the mission where when the Carrington Institute is attacked and cover you. If you choose the latter, he does not.
    • In Area 51 - Rescue, you have to escort an Explosive Box to a hole in the wall. If the box explodes, you will fail the mission, but you won't be kicked out of it. The enemy soldiers in the mission carry Dragons, which have a Proximity Mine as their secondary effect, and will explode when shot in that mode. If you use this mode to destroy the hole in the wall, you will UNFAIL the mission and can continue as normal!
    • Enemies in GoldenEye react to the noise of loud weapons and near-misses (bullets that hit or pass by close to them) but not nearby explosions. In Perfect Dark, they now react to nearby explosions and will also check unconscious and deceased people that they come across.
  • Diagonal Speed Boost: Like GoldenEye, it's essential for getting most of the cheats.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Did you just assassinate the Skedar leader?
  • Die, Chair! Die!: Not as much as GoldenEye, but most computers and panes of glass can be destroyed, as well as the obligatory Exploding Barrel.
  • Diegetic Interface: The game's menu is contained in the headset that Joanna wears. It can also be accessed from the computers at the Carrington Institute.
  • Dilating Door: All over the place. Coupled with Slow Doors, this can be very annoying.
  • Dirty Cop: The FBI agents you encounter in Chicago are most likely on dataDyne's payroll.
  • Disc One Final Dungeon: The Cetan warship in the original game.
  • Disposable Pilot: Air Force One's pilots are killed while Trent is executing his coup, forcing Joanna to reach the cockpit and activate the auto pilot. With some Sequence Breaking, Joanna can kill the assassins before they reach the pilots, and they will stabilize the plane when things go awry.
  • Distaff Counterpart: Joanna is basically a female James Bond, only with a more serious personality instead of a hedonist.
    • In-game, Joanna and Jonathan are counterparts.
  • Distress Call: The distress beacon Joanna has to activate in "Crash Site: Confrontation".
    • In "Maian SOS", Elvis must sneak through Area 51's underground base to send one to Mr. Carrington.
  • Distressed Damsel: Believe it or not, Joanna, when she wakes up in a cell aboard a Skedar ship.
  • Do Not Drop Your Weapon: Averted, unlike in GoldenEye. Shoot an enemy in the hand/gun or use a disarm mode punch and they'll drop the weapon, but aren't dead yet. If you grab their weapon in the process, they may surrender, but not all the time.
  • Do Not Run with a Gun
  • Double Agent: Chandra. This could also be considered a Face-Heel Turn, considersing she used to be a good guy, until she sold herself to dataDyne.
  • Doomsday Device: The Cetan ship's Weak Nuclear Force Decoupler.
  • Dramatic Gun Cock: Frequently in cutscenes.
  • Dramatic Unmask: Mr. Blonde.
  • Dressing as the Enemy: In "Area 51: Rescue" and "Air Base: Espionage", Joanna has to acquire and wear uniforms to wear in order to fool security.
  • Drop Ship
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: Some of the workers at the Carrington Institute are less than polite towards Joanna, considering she saves their asses in one level.
    • To be fair, at least one of them dies during that stage, so you can forgive him for being a cranky zombieman.
    • Jo herself comes across as being cranky, particularly in the novels. Going by this she kind of withdraws into herself after failed attempts to socialize by the time of the first game's events.
    • Dr. Caroll is less than polite to Joanna when they first meet, considering she's trying to rescue him.
  • Dummied Out: There's a piece of cheese in every level of the game, but you can't collect them or do anything with them. Rare admitted that the pieces of cheese are just there to send people insane trying to figure out what they're for.
    • In the "Chicago: Stealth" level, there's a bar which was bowdlerized in the final version of the game. It can be entered in normal gameplay, but there's nothing in it but a guard and a couple of Falcon 2 pistols. A stripper pole is still visible on the table.
    • Also, the passwords given by Cassandra's necklace and getting rank 1 in multiplayer. It seems they were once intended to do something, but even the defunct dataDyne and Carrington Institute websites didn't accept them.
    • There are several missing multiplayer modes (touch the crate, destroyable doors, destroyable walls; no, nobody's sure how the last two were supposed to work) and at least one entire missing bonus level, "Retaking The Institute."
    • The Deep Sea level of the first game originally had much more upbeat music than what was used in the finished game.
  • Easter Egg: Quite a few, including the infamous cheese.
  • Easy Level Trick: In Extra Mission 2, there are 4 guards hidden in certain areas of the level that serve as placeholders for the guards that will be infinitely spawned to hunt you down after the alarm is triggered. By killing them, you can completely prevent them from spawning and attacking you altogether.
  • Earth-Shattering Kaboom: The Skedar intend to test-fire the Cetan warship's superweapon on the planet its currently residing in before wiping out the Maians. Guess which planet.
  • Elaborate Underground Base: The dataDyne basement labs, as well as Area 51, the Alaskan air base and the Carrington Institute itself.
    • Carrington's private villa also has an extensive network of tunnels in the basement.
  • Elevator Action Sequence: "Mr. Blonde's Revenge" has a fight with a guard on the elevators.
    • In the second level, Joanna punches out a guard in the elevator (possibly a Mythology Gag since the same thing happens in the original GoldenEye).
  • Eleventh Hour Superpower: The RC-P120 comes at just the right time in the game's hardest level.
    • In Mission 1-3, you can destroy the hovercopter with normal gunfire but why risk losing most of your life and ammo when you can use the rocket launcher that was just conveniently assembled on the top floor?
  • Elite Mooks: The masked dataDyne guards, and also the black-clad dD soldiers.
  • Enemy Chatter
    What a mess!
    Aw, I never liked that robot anyway...
  • Enemy Civil War: An VERY interesting (and hilarious!) example (which, for some reason, only occurs in Co-Op mode) is the mission on board the Pelagic II. Apparently, there are two separate camps inside the ship that you're dealing with.
    1. Datadyne soldiers disguised as Pelagic II Guards.
    2. Pelagic II Guards who are loyal to the government but are unaware that Datadyne has taken over the ship.
  • Enemy Detecting Radar
  • Enemy Mine: Joanna and Cassandra after being imprisoned aboard the Skedar ship. It doesn't last long, as Cassandra sacrifices herself to distract the Skedar.
  • The Enemy Weapons Are Better: In some cases. The K7 Avenger and Mauler are generally more useful than the AR-34 and Phoenix, for example.
  • Episode 0: The Beginning: Perfect Dark Zero.
  • Epunymous Title
  • Escape Pod
  • Escort Mission: Both games have their fair share of these, some much more annoying than others.
  • E.T. Gave Us Wi-Fi: Antigravity technology and other advances are due to help that dataDyne and the CI received from the alien races. In the second level of Perfect Dark, you must steal some technology from dataDyne that is heavily hinted to be reverse-engineered from the Skedar, specifically the prototype shield and the K7 Avenger and its threat detector. The night vision visor though... we already have that in real life.
  • Everything Fades: Partly Averted. The game will try to preserve framerate performance by removing deceased or unconscious entities and destroyed objects while still allowing a few to persist. There is even a limit to the amount of bullet holes, explosion marks, and bloodstains allowed in-play.
  • Evil Is Hammy: All of the villains, but especially Trent.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: Mr. Blonde.
  • Exact Eavesdropping: The meeting in the G5 building.
  • Executive Suite Fight: In dataDyne headquarters.
  • Expanded Universe: The novels Initial Vector and Second Front by Greg Rucka, and the Comic Janus Tears by Eric Trautmann.
  • Expecting Someone Taller: The first thing Joanna says when she sees Air Force One is that it's smaller than she thought, although it's actually pretty damned big.
  • Expendable Clone: Of the President. The Skedar King has several clones of his own.
  • Exploring the Evil Lair: Many levels such as "dataDyne Research: Investigation", "Area 51: Rescue" and "Deep Sea: Nullify Threat" have elements of this.
  • Explosive Instrumentation
  • Exposed Extraterrestrials: The Maians.
  • Exposed to the Elements: Jo's snowsuit in Zero leaves her midriff bare.
  • Expy: Dr. Caroll was an erudite AI construct who's basically designed as a pair of floating eyes. He rebelled against his villainous creators to join the heroes... and eventually, he sacrificed himself to save the Earth from total destruction... or am I talking about Floyd from Jet Force Gemini?
    • An in-game example is Cassandra de Vries' obvious jealousy of the Carrington Institute, to the point where the dataDyne logo is almost exactly the same as the Carrington Institute logo.
  • Extranormal Institute: The Carrington Institute's other role besides being a Spy School.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: Subverted once. You cannot get "Mission Completed" on the Carrington Institute Defense level, you'll always get "Missing In Action".
  • Fake Balance: Even though the weapons are supposed to be balanced (eg. the Falcon 2 is a small handgun, but is much more accurate than the AR-34) some are clearly much more powerful than others (the FarSight, Superdragon, anything with explosives etc.).
  • Fake Defector: Subverted in Second Front, [[spoiler: as Joanna approaches Portia De Carcareas, who believes Jo is defecting Carrington, but Joanna clears the misunderstanding quickly.
  • Fast Roping: A couple of levels begin with Joanna rappelling from a Drop Ship.
  • Feminist Fantasy: Subverted, while both the protagonist and one of the chief antagonists are women, so are some of the expendable Mooks.
  • Firing One-Handed: Joanna does it in a few cutscenes, with an assault rifle no less.
  • First Contact: Between humans and Maians, setting up the rest of the story.
  • Flying Car
  • Flying Saucer: The Maians use them.
  • Franchise Zombie: After Microsoft's buyout of Rare, as with most other Rare franchises.
  • Frickin' Laser Beams: The Mauler and the Phoenix are quite weak on their primary setting, but can be fired rapidly for plenty of Beam Spam.
  • Friendly Sniper: Elvis, who cracks lame jokes while shooting down guards with the FarSight.
  • Gentleman Snarker: Dr. Caroll.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: Nintendo allowed an unusual (for them) amount of swearing in the game, although it still got an M rating from the ESRB.
    • In the introductory cityscape, for a brief second an advertisement for "Anal Land" is visible.
    • Elvis' "I'll kick your ASS!" and "Kiss my alien butt!".
    • The guards say things like "What the hell?", "You bitch!" and "Holy Shhhh--" when they spot you and/or get shot.
  • Give Me Your Inventory Item: It's necessary to sacrifice one of your weapons to enter the boss chamber in the Skedar battle shrine.
  • Goggles Do Something Unusual: The IR scanner, which can detect enemies using cloaking devices, and even find weak spots in walls. (Needless to say, Real Life infrared technology does not work that way.)
  • Gondor Calls for Aid: Carrington sends a message to the Maians asking for help in foiling the conspiracy between dataDyne and the Skedar.
  • Government Agency of Fiction: In the game, the NSA is practically Trent Easton's private army and joins the dataDyne corporation and the Skedar in an attempt to lead a coup against the President. In Real Life, the NSA is the United States government's signals intelligence branch and deals with cryptography and other fairly boring stuff like that.
  • Government Conspiracy
  • Gravity Barrier: And if you fall in them, you will die.
  • Grenade Spam: The SuperDragon, definitely. Repeating grenade launcher with a magazine of six and a reserve of 40? Yes please.
  • Grenade Tag: Mines can be thrown on enemies and then detonated.
  • The Greys: The Maian race is a textbook example.
  • Groin Attack: A "critical hit" will make the enemy clutch his bereaved area for a few seconds, giving you ample time to put him out of his misery. It even works on female enemies. And just like in GoldenEye, there are death animations for killing someone with a groin shot.
  • The Guards Must Be Crazy: Enemy AI is variable in this regard. Some enemies will go immediately for the alarm if you attack, while others you can shoot from behind and make them ask in an astonished voice, "Was that a bullet?" It's also sometimes possible to eliminate almost an entire floor's worth of guards if you're careful, as long as you get rid of each one out of the others' line of sight.
  • Guide Dang It: One of the main criticisms of the game nowadays. It can be very confusing to fight out what the level objectives are when there are no hints besides a few paragraphs of briefing.
  • Guilt-Free Extermination War: Apparently it's okay to commit genocide against the Skedar (not that it's called that, of course) because... they tried to do the same thing to Earth? And they're Scary Dogmatic Aliens with a Religion of Evil?
  • Guns Akimbo: Partially. Only certain small weapons can be dual-wielded.
    • Elvis frequently wields dual Phoenixes and the Skedar sometimes carry dual Maulers.
    • Taken to ridiculous extremes with Dual Cyclones on Magazine Discharge (see: More Dakka)
  • Guns Do Not Work That Way
    • Bullets Do Not Work That Way: The Tranquilizer is a dermal spray injector that uses liquid sedatives contained in capsules to operate. This makes sense when your using the weapon in secondary mode but when you're using it in primary mode... well, let's just say that Hollywood Science somehow allows the Tranquilizer to shoot the sedative drugs as liquid bullets without the need for darts as a delivery system.
    • Every Bullet Is a Tracer
  • Gunship Rescue: The helicopter that appears to rescue Joanna when she's trapped on the roof of the dataDyne building.
  • Hacking Minigame: In multiplayer.
  • Halfway Plot Switch: You thought this was a futuristic Cyber Punk thriller about rival MegaCorps? Nope, it's a Sci-Fi thriller involving aliens... no wait, maybe it's both...
  • Hand Cannon: The DY357 Magnum. See Revolvers Are Just Better.
  • Handicapped Badass: Jo was born with a broken spine and spent her first several years paralyzed. Once past that she kills gods and stops alien invasions.
  • Harder Than Hard: "Dark Agent" is the fan name given to a setting where all the Perfect Dark mode sliders are set to full. Unlike in Golden Eye 1997, a headshot is fatal even when an enemy has 1000% health (as opposed to requiring ten), so it's actually doable. You can turn it Up to Eleven by also throwing on the Enemy Shields cheat, which prevents scoring instant kills by head shot so long as the shield is active.
  • Heroic BSOD: Joanna Dark blames herself for the death of her father. In Initial Vector, she considers herself a killer and responsible for the death of Benjamin Able. In Second Front she also comes to the conclusion she's a failure, who disappointed her father and Carrington.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Dr. Caroll destroys the Cetan ship and himself along with it.
    • Cassandra of all people makes one to save Joanna's life. Though Cassandra claimed it was so Joanna could kill the Skedar, giving Cassandra posthumous revenge, the woman might have seen it as her chance of redeeming herself. In Second Front, she tries to do it when she realizes how rude she's become, yet she ultimately become what she is in Perfect Dark.
    • Jack Dark pulls one in Zero, and he actually takes out a fair deal of the mooks, and saves Jo but Mai Hem ducks his bullets, and shoots him in the gut, bringing him down. She then aims her Magsec at his head and shoots Jack and Jo shouts a quick, somewhat unconvincing "No!"
  • Higher-Tech Species: The Maians. Just look at their weapons!
  • High Heel-Face Turn: Cassandra sacrifices herself to allow Joanna to escape the Skedar ship.
  • High-Speed Missile Dodge: The Rocket Launcher and Slayer are quite slow and easy to dodge (a form of Fake Balance since both can track you).
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Two doctors attempt to use Area 51's nerve gas system on Joanna... which includes the room they're in. Joanna makes it out, of course.
  • Holding Your Gun Sideways: For some reason, Joanna will fire her pistol sideways at close targets. The grenade launcher on the SuperDragon also requires the gun to be held sideways, probably for the same reason.
    • dataDyne guards do it in some cutscenes, too.
  • Hollywood Hacking: The Data Uplink can access any computer and bypass any security measures in a matter of seconds.
  • Hollywood Science
    • The RC-P120 somehow converts bullets into energy to power the prototype cloaking device it has.
    • The Tranquilizer is a dermal spray injector that uses liquid sedatives contained in capsules to operate. It can dispense the sedatives with a direct injection or as liquid bullets.
    • The IR scanner detects weak points in walls.
  • Hollywood Silencer: Roughly the same as Golden Eye 1997, though the 'first shot from any weapon is silent' rule seems to have been taken out.
  • Holographic Terminal: In the Skedar mothership.
  • Homing Projectile: The Rocket Launcher has a lock-on feature, although it's not perfect and its use greatly slows the velocity of the rocket, and it's also possible to shoot the rocket down.
  • Humanoid Aliens: The Maians.
  • Humans Are Bastards: The mission briefing to "Maian SOS" implies this.
    Emergency capture protocols activated. Ship XD-310372 suffered hostile planetfall. Maian Protector One (Aelphaeis Mangarae) sole survivor. Planet designated pre-contact status: paranoia grade 'B+,', intolerance grade 'B,' xenophobia grade 'A.'
  • Humanity Is Insane: What the Maians regard humans as. They've watched man for thousands of years and experienced disappointment after disappointment, remaining hopeful mankind will eventually start to tap into its potential after it matures.
  • Hypercompetent Sidekick: Elvis, at times.
  • Hyper-Destructive Bouncing Ball: The always entertaining "Proximity Pinball" secondary function for a grenade, which causes the explosive to ricochet around before detonating next to someone-possibly even yourself if you're unlucky.
  • Hyperspace Arsenal: Though the "quick select" menu only shows up to ten items (weapons and gadgets), they all are still in there somewhere; the rest have to be accessed through the Pause menu. Expect to do so very often if using the "All Guns in Solo" cheat, especially given the very, very diverse arsenal.
    • Some guards pull guns out of nowhere, even large ones like the Cyclone.
      • Speaking of which, where the heck was Grimshaw hiding that grenade launcher when he was taken hostage?
    • Averted in Zero, where you can hold 4 slots. Pistols and grenades take one, plasma rifles, rocket launchers, M60s and sniper rifles take three.
  • I Can't Reach It: A very lame example when Joanna can't throw a bug onto the antenna in Area 51 without lowering it first. Any fit person should be able to do it. In fact, she can throw it that far, it's just much easier to lower the antenna first.
  • Impairment Shot: The screen blurs and darkens if you're hit with a weapon causing...
    • Interface Screw: Poison gas, poison knives, tranquilizer darts, and the dreaded N-Bombs all make it very hard to shoot straight, much less walk in a straight line. Taking more than a few punches from an unarmed foe can result in a similar effect.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: The Skedar Leader's fate.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: All of the guards are fairly bad shots on Agent, but the revolver-wielding guards from the G5 Building really stand out. They're unable to hit you at point-blank range and yet they keep swarming in and getting killed.
  • Implacable Man: Mr. Blonde, apparently. He doesn't even flinch when Trent points a revolver in his face. Of course, he's actually an alien wearing a holographic disguise, so...
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Elvis, to some extent. Jonathan also counts since he's equally deadly with a revolver as enemies are with scoped rifles.
  • Incredibly Obvious Bug:
    • In Mission 1-1, you must plant an ECM Mine on the Internal Comms Hub and External Comms Hub. The only clear place to put it is directly on the monitor.
    • In Mission 3-1 (Chicago), you must place a Tracking Device on a Datadyne limo. On an additional note, you'll fail the mission if the guards see you planting the device.
    • In Mission 4-1, you must plant a Comms Rider bug in the dish of the communications antenna. How can you expect a routine patrol to look at the antenna and NOT notice that?
  • The Infiltration: Numerous levels, including "dataDyne Central: Defection", "G5 Building: Reconnaissance", "Area 51: Infiltration", "Air Base: Espionage", etc.
  • Infinity+1 Sword: The FarSight.
    • Infinity–1 Sword: The RCP-120, although the K7 Avenger might be a better candidate since it appears in many more levels.
  • Insane Equals Violent: The Psychosis Gun. At least the game got the definition of the word right, though.
  • Instant A.I., Just Add Water: Dr. Caroll, who was created to decipher codes and languages but became sentient and turned against dataDyne.
  • Instant Death Bullet: Although guards usually die instantly when shot in the head, this is averted at times when they die slowly and make horrible choking sounds as they expire.
    • Trent's DY-357 LX magnum.
    • The FarSight XR-20.
    • The secondary functions of both the Tranquilizer and the Crossbow.
    • Of course, if the one-hit kill rule is active in multiplayer, then all attacks are instantaneously fatal — even the fire from an explosion.
  • Instant Sedation: With tranquilizers, it only takes a few hits to become completely disoriented. This is particularly egregious in the cutscene where Elvis is hit by one dart and keels over unconscious.
  • Insurmountable Waist High Fence: Super spy Joanna Dark lacks any kind of jumping abilities, so her path can be blocked by such trivial things as a handrail, a couch, or a potted plant.
  • Interservice Rivalry: Apparently the Secret Service is completely loyal to the President while the NSA isn't.
  • In the Future, We Still Have Roombas: In one level, Joanna must follow little cleaning robots to get into secret passages that only open for them.
  • Interface Screw: Melee attacks apply a heavy after image filter to your screen for a while to reflect stunning. Tranquilizer darts apply an even stronger version of this effect. Get hit by 2 or 3 darts guarantees you are not seeing your own weapon for the next minute. In multiplayer, it sticks around even after getting killed and respawning.
  • Invisibility Cloak: Of the technological sort.
    • Invisibility Flicker: Aside from an actual faint flicker that can be caught with a sharp eye by human players, the game's cloaking devices make the wearer become fully visible for a brief moment when firing a weapon.
  • I Should Have Been Better: Joanna says "I should have been quicker" when she rescues Mr. Carrington from being held hostage. Of course, he tells her it's not her fault.
  • It Has Been an Honor: One of the last things Dr. Caroll says to Joanna before his death.
  • "It" Is Dehumanizing: dataDyne always refers to Dr. Caroll this way, since they believe he's Just a Machine.
  • It May Help You on Your Quest: Elvis seems fond of giving you items which become extremely handy later on the level.
    Good to see you, Joanna! Take this - you should find it useful...
  • Jeanne d'Archétype: Loosely. The game's creators seem to have taken Joan of Arc as a template for ActionGirls.
  • Just Eat Gilligan: The conspirators go through a lot of trouble to get permission from the President of the United States to use a high-tech government submarine to reach a hidden Doomsday Device. They even enact a unnecessarily complicated plan to replace the President with a clone. When that fails, they just steal the submarine anyway; hey, once they've got their hands on the Doomsday Device it's not like anyone will be arguing with them, right?
    • For obvious reasons, the Skedar weren't exactly forthcoming with their human accomplices about their intentions with the Doomsday Device (namely, using Earth as target-practice), hence all the high-tech espionage.
  • Just Following Orders: One of the pleas by a surrendered enemy.
  • Karma Houdini: Mr. Blonde, unless he was one of the Skedar you fought at the end.
  • Keystone Army: The Skedar seem to have a Hive Mind dependent on their leader.
  • Killed Mid-Sentence: Plenty of enemies.
  • Laser Hallway: A few levels have laser barriers which must be bypassed.
  • Laser Sight: The Falcon 2 comes with one (see Sniper Pistol).
  • Law Enforcement, Inc.: The Carrington Institute is a supposed R&D center that secretly conducts espionage and paramilitary operations in league with aliens while killing U.S. government personnel and the security guards of a private corporation. They're the good guys.
  • Leet Lingo: Perfect Dark includes an unlockable version of the Klobb gun from Golden Eye 1997, renamed the "KL01313". Also, in the Attack Ship level, the information screen for Cassandra de Vries' necklace displays the message "Password: I8MOZYM8NDI8S".
  • Little Green Men: The Skedar, in contrast to the Maians. The "little" part is especially emphasized by the fact that they're actually tiny, snake-like creatures piloting mid-sized mechas.
  • Lock and Load Montage: Before the last level.
  • Lost Technology: The Cetan megaweapon.
  • Low Culture, High Tech: The Skedar.
  • Made of Explodium: While not as common as in Golden Eye 1997, things like computers and television monitors will explode when shot. In one level, the flying cars seen outside a tower can be picked off with good enough accuracy, and will go up in a fireball regardless of what type of gun you shoot them with. Any car that blows up after one shot from a handgun at a distance must be very volatile.
  • Made of Iron: Just like in Goldeneye, graphics limitations include no dismemberment and disintegration. Invoked heavily when you set Enemy Health at 1000%. (See also: Only a Flesh Wound and Plot Armor)
    • When you're roaming around the Carrington Institute, nobody, yourself included, can run out of life and die no matter how many times they are shot at or blown up.
  • The Masquerade: Nobody but the CI, dataDyne and certain parts of the US government knows that aliens have visited Earth before and are supplying us with advanced technology.
  • Matrix Raining Code: The computers tend to show this.
  • Meaningful Name: Joanna, of course. Elvis also counts, since it suits his fascination with American culture. Cassandra ... that's a bit more dubious.
  • Mega City: Also the City with No Name and a Skyscraper City.
  • Mega Corp.: The dataDyne corporation, along with others in the novels.
  • Mega Manning: You can't dual-wield weapons without taking them from an enemy carrying two of them.
  • Miniature Senior Citizens: Zhang Li.
  • Missile Lock On
  • Mission Control: The Carrington Institute.
    • Missing Mission Control: Carrington is unavailable in the last two levels. Elvis takes over the mission briefing at this point. He's also unavailable in the Villa, for obvious reasons since the level centers on rescuing him from being held hostage.
  • Money, Dear Boy: invoked dataDyne's motives for cooperating with the Skedar.
  • Mook Chivalry
  • Mook-Face Turn: The infamous "Janus guard" glitch in the first game, which randomly causes a guard to side with the player and attack other guards, as if he/she were under the effects of the Psychosis Gun.
  • Moral Guardians: Nintendo might have geared things back enough to allow blood and mild swearing, but there were still demands made; Nintendo forbade any depictions of alcohol or drug use. The "Combat Boosts" were originally "Adrenaline Pills," and the abandoned, useless basement bar in Chicago (which has a stripper pole, no less) was probably a casualty of the same policy that forbade there being a bar in one of the N64 Duke Nukem games.
    • Then there was the story of using the Game Boy camera to put faces of anybody in the game. Rare at first said this was due to technical limitations; however, they later said it was taken out due to the Columbine massacre and video games being blamed for the shootings.
  • More Dakka: The Cyclone is a fairly average machine gun with the extraordinary ability to empty its entire clip in a second or two. The Skedar Reaper is horribly inaccurate, but has an incredibly high firing rate best used to clear corridors (not to mention the highest-capacity magazine in the game - it can hold 200 bullets!). Then there's the RC-P120, which can hold 120 rounds per magazine.
    • The Magazine Discharge on the Cyclone spews so many bullets that you're guaranteed to kill and destroy anything, even though it looks like you're missing it. You can also dual-wield the Cyclone for twice the destruction.
  • Musical Spoiler: At the end of Carrington Institute: Defense, Joanna is overwhelmed and knocked out by the Skedar. Instead of playing the normal 'Mission Complete' music, a slow, ominous tune plays over the level statistics (in addition to the screen going monochrome instead of green with dark-blue background). You knew something bad was going to happen next.
    • Mission Status: Unknown. Agent Status: Missing.
  • Mutual Kill: dataDyne and CI soldiers will occasionally do this.
  • My Friends... and Zoidberg: It becomes something of a Running Gag that nearly every time the President is mentioned by other characters, it's almost like he's an afterthought.
  • Named After Somebody Famous: Elvis. In a slight twist, it appears he chose the name himself.
  • Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Played straight with the Devastator grenade launcher and Slayer rocket launcher, which really are deadly; averted with the wildly inaccurate Reaper, which might well be the single most useless weapon in the game. Unless it's a Skedar warrior wielding it, as the weapon was designed for Skedar physiology and not humans.
  • Neutron Bomb: The aptly named N-Bomb, which is essentially a grenade that knocks out everyone in a radius of several meters.
  • Nintendo Hard: Trying to complete certain missions in Perfect Agent, or unlock cheats, even when you know what you are doing, will often have you tear out your own hair. This game pools no punches, you either do it perfect, or you die.
  • No Biochemical Barriers
  • No Fair Cheating: You can use the cheat codes on any level you have access to, but you won't unlock anything while using them.
  • No-Gear Level: "Attack Ship" begins with Joanna armed with nothing but a knife.
  • Noisy Guns: Taken to ridiculous extremes. There are clicking sounds every single time you pick up ammo or reload, often followed by a Dramatic Gun Cock.
  • No OSHA Compliance: Very few in the Perfect Dark universe has ever heard of railings.
  • No Name Given: Or maybe his name is "Theodore President" and they're just shortening it, who knows?
  • No Scope: Possible with any of the guns, even with the FarSight (although it's quite difficult).
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Joanna is supposed to be American, yet she speaks like an authentic Brit in the first game. We know the lads from Rare are Brits, but it's not like any part of the game is set in the UK.
  • Nothing Can Stop Us Now
  • Offscreen Teleportation: Your buddies can do this.
  • Oh, Crap: Joanna, when she realizes the Maians are bombing the Shrine with her inside.
    • The dataDyne Scientist who is gathering data on the K7 Avenger until you come around and kill the volunteer who was test-firing it.
    "Help! Help! She's got a gun!"
  • One-Hit Kill: The DY357-LX. The alt-fire modes of the Tranquilizer and Crossbow as well, and especially irritatingly, the FarSight XR-20, which can shoot through walls. Got a shield? Good, now it's just a Two-Hit Kill (draining the shield first with no health damage) and you have about half an extra second to live before you get hit with the next one.
    • One-Hit Polykill: The DY357, Callisto NTG and particularly the FarSight are capable of this.
  • Only a Flesh Wound: Shooting someone in the head with a Crossbow bolt won't kill them, just as long as the weapon is not set on Instant Kill. (See also: Made of Iron and Plot Armor)
    • Any NPCs that are specially coded to be invincible (aka. Plot Armor) can be shot up with every weapon and show nothing for it but some bloodstains and a few bolts and knives sticking on their skin.
      • Major Injury Underreaction: If you shoot pretty much any enemy in anywhere but the head, they'll stagger for a moment, then recover and start shooting back at you.
  • Only Six Faces: The same enemies keep showing up in single-player, but this is averted in the Combat Simulator where you have a wide variety of skins to choose from.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: The amount of voice acting in the first game was very impressive for its time, but Rare made the mistake of using British actors for a game primarily set in America. This is most apparent with the President, who comes off like a Sean Connery Expy when it happens.
    "You can't make accusations like that without evidence! I a-shume that you have some?"
    • Daniel Carrington's faux-Scottish accent isn't much better.
    • Trent Easton's garbled mush mouth has to be heard to be believed.
  • Optional Stealth: Perfect Dark Zero, but only on the lowest difficulty setting. It is a stealth title, but on the easiest setting stealth is mostly not required.
    • Nor in the original Perfect Dark, where the game is easy enough to complete without bothering to be stealthy on Agent. On Perfect Agent, though, that'll get you killed pretty fast in most levels.
  • Our Presidents Are Different: Of the "President Target" variety. Also "President Minority", which hadn't happened yet at the time the game was made.
  • Outrun the Fireball: When alien ships are destroyed, some unknown phlebotinum causes them to erupt into massive explosions. This isn't a problem if you run away fast enough.
  • Outside-the-Box Tactic: In Zero, the two bosses go down really easily if you know what to pack Pack a Plasma Rifle for Mai Hem, and a Viblade for Zhang Li.
  • Overdrawn at the Blood Bank: Perfect Dark can be modified to have more blood.
  • Palette Swap: The second player's primary character Velvet, in the N64 game, during most of the co-op missions (before the missions where Jonathan or Elvis become the second-player character). Velvet even resembles Ken to Joanna's Ryu.
  • Parking Garage: In the G5 building. It's where you get ambushed by cloaked guards.
    • There is a multiplayer level called the Car Park too.
  • People Jars: The bodies of the Maians being kept in cryogenic storage at Area 51.
    • The Skedar have cloning tanks which hold warriors in suspended animation.
  • Percussive Maintenance: In one cutscene, Elvis fixes his spaceship by banging on it with a hammer.
  • Personality Chip: Dr. Carroll's backup disk, which (fortunately for the population of Earth) is also his Morality Chip.
  • Pint-Sized Powerhouse: The Maians. Despite being three feet tall, they're still able to punch out Skedar over twice their size.
  • Pistol-Whipping: The secondary fire mode of the Falcon 2 and DY357 is a melee smack.
    • And in Zero, any gun can do this with the 'B' button.
  • Planet of Hats: The Martial Pacifist Maians against the Always Chaotic Evil Skedar.
  • Player Versus Player: The counter-operative mode.
  • Playful Hacker: Elvis, who appears to be perfectly familiar with both the Cetans' and the Skedars' computers.
    It looks like this would benefit from a little bit of sabotage...
  • Plot Armor: On some levels, certain characters will have an indestructible protective shield around them to make sure they aren't killed. (See also: Made of Iron and Only a Flesh Wound)
    • One particular instance is in the Chicago level, where a police robot patrolling the streets is made completely immune to all weapons and explosives, so that it can only be destroyed by reprogramming a taxi to crash into it for one of your objectives. This is made particularly egregious by the fact that robots of the exact same model turn up in a later level, but can be gunned down with just a few rounds from your gun.
  • Plug 'n' Play Technology: Your Data Uplink is compatible with pretty much anything the game requires it to be. See Hollywood Hacking.
  • Poisoned Weapons: The Combat Knife has a poison tip which will slowly kill enemies if thrown accurately.
  • Police Are Useless: The CIA agents in the Chicago level of the first Perfect Dark. Despite being a major law enforcement agency in Real Life, the agents featured in PD might as well be ordinary civilians, and don't even attempt to maintain law and order. They carry no weapons, show no indication of any experience in combat whatsoever, flee at the sight of Joanna carrying a weapon in front of them, and seem to only exist as an excuse for you to fail your objectives.
    • The FBI agents, the SWAT guards they call in if they see you, and the police robot on the same level, on the other hand, are pretty much indistinguishable from the dataDyne thugs that are patrolling the streets outside the G5 Building.
  • Power Glows: The charged-up Mauler glows bright red.
  • Power Hair: Cassandra has it.
  • Private Military Contractors: dataDyne.
  • Punch Clock Villain: Some of the guards say things like "I'm only doing my job!" when they surrender.
  • Punny Name: Mai Hem is "Mayhem".
  • Purely Aesthetic Gender: It makes no difference whether you're playing as the skinny Joanna or the hulking Mr. Blonde; everything about the gameplay is exactly the same.
  • Purposefully Overpowered: The FarSight, and also the DY357-LX.
  • Race Lift: In the Japanese release Jo was given Asian features, despite looking Caucasian in every other release.
  • Railing Kill: Quite a few, especially in the Villa level.
  • Ramming Always Works: Elvis' way of dealing with the Skedar UFO attached to Air Force One.
  • Rank Inflation: In-universe. Joanna is the first agent to achieve an A++ score in training, hence the call sign "Perfect Dark".
  • Rapid-Fire Fisticuffs: The "Hurricane Fists" cheat boosts your melee rate of attack to Dragon Ball Z levels.
  • Ray Gun: The Phoenix.
  • Really 700 Years Old: The Maians are a long-lived species. Elvis' age is given as 320.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: The President.
  • Recurring Riff: The main theme of Perfect Dark Zero is played (at different tempos and in different arrangements) in just about every piece of music in the single-player campaign.
  • Red Filter of Doom: Whenever the player dies.
  • Red-Headed Hero: Joanna Dark, though art for later games and novels shows blond streaks and highlights - a dye job?
    • Apparently she was born like that according to the books.
  • Regenerating Health: Perfect Dark Zero has a unique version where most damage you take being "shock damage" that will go away if you aren't hit again after a short period, with a small amount being lost forever every time you get shot. Combined with a complete absence of health kits or other healing items, and you can eventually end up stuck with only a sliver of health towards the end of a level if you get shot a lot.
    • Furthermore, each weapon has different levels of shock damage. Viblade? Say goodbye to your health permanently. Fell a long way or getting poisoned? All Shock Damage. On the hardest difficulty, all damage is permanent.
    • In the original game, this was how you recover from poison/punching/N-Bomb effects (see Interface Screw, above). In fact, you have to actually walk it off; the effects don't fade if you just stand still.
  • Reliably Unreliable Guns: The enemies' guns will sometimes randomly jam for no reason at all, which is quite convenient for you.
  • Renegade Splinter Faction: The Trent Easton-controlled NSA.
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent: The Skedar are weird dinosaur-like aliens, whose offspring resemble small lizards (that can jump and bite you).
  • The Reptilians: The Skedar race appear to be inspired by the Reptilian myth, being aliens that disguise themselves as Scandinavian men.
  • Respawning Enemies: Most levels have a finite number of enemies, but if they sound an alarm or call for backup, wave after wave of baddies will appear.
  • The Reveal: Mr. Blonde is a Skedar with a holographic disguise.
  • Reverse the Polarity: Confusingly, the firing range says this is how the Devastator's Sticky Bomb function works. The game's menu just says the grenade is coated in some kind of adhesive.
  • Revolvers Are Just Better: The DY357 Magnum is a beast of a handgun. There's even a gold-plated version, the DY357-LX carried by Trent Easton, which is a One-Hit Kill, as you might expect from it being a Golden Gun and all.
  • Rich Bitch: Cassandra.
  • Robo Cam: The BombSpy, CamSpy and DrugSpy appear this way when you're piloting them remotely.
  • Robotic Reveal: When Joanna discovers that Dr. Caroll is an AI.
  • Rooftop Confrontation: At the end of "dataDyne: Extraction".
  • Ruins for Ruins' Sake: The Skedar Ruins.
  • Sapient Ship: The Cetans are implied to be this, although gameplay-wise, the Cetan ship you explore doesn't really do anything special. It's in some kind of Convenient Coma.
  • Say My Name: Joanna and Elvis seem to do this a lot, particularly in cutscenes.
  • Scare Chord: When Trent is killed by Mr. Blonde.
  • Scary Dogmatic Aliens: The Skedar, who are depicted as aggressive religious fanatics, as opposed to the peaceful Maians.
  • Schizo Tech: Flying cars and police drones coexist alongside computers that look like they're from 1985 and a "smartphone" of sorts (the Data Uplink) which looks like an old satellite phone.
  • Schmuck Bait: That Dragon assault rifle lying on the ground there looks awfully tempting...better hope its' explosive booby trap alt-fire isn't engaged!
  • Schrödinger's Gun: Whether you or Jonathan stays behind in Area 51 is determined by whether you bring the hoverbike with you into the hangar or not. If you stay behind, he appears in "Carrington Institute: Defense" and helps you out a bit.
  • Scream Discretion Shot: The camera cuts away right before Mr. Blonde kills Trent. Also, Cassandra's death happens offscreen. However, you see Trent's death in his POV so it's a subversion.
  • Secondary Fire: Every weapon has a secondary firing mode. Some are basic, like the Falcon 2 and DY357's Pistol-Whipping, the Reaper's Grinder mode, the Combat Knife's throw instead of a melee slash, the AR34's scope zoom in non-aim mode, and the Sniper Rifle's crouch (since crouching in the N64 original was done by going into aim mode and pressing down on the D-Pad or C-button layout, except in this case where it adjusts the zoom) to burst-fire modes like the MagSec 4, Cyclone, and shotgun to explosives like the Phoenix's small explosive rounds, the SuperDragon's underslung grenade launcher, and the Dragon's proximity mine booby-trap to the downright exotic like the aforementioned "Proximity Pinball" function on the grenade, the Laptop Gun's sentry mode, the CMP150's aimbot and FarSight XR-20's auto-tracking, the K7 Avenger and explosive mines' threat detector (picks up armed mines and booby-trapped Dragons), the Devastator's sticky grenades, and the RC-P120's cloaking device.
    • Then there's the Laser (Short Range Burst), the Crossbow (Instant Kill), the Mauler (Charged Shot), the Callisto NTG (High-Impact Shells), the Tranquilizer (Lethal Injection), the Rocket Launcher (Homing Rocket), and the Slayer (Fly-By-Wire Missiles). Also, the N-Bomb has a proximity option.
    • Even when unarmed, you can choose between "Punch" and "Disarm."
  • Secret Government Warehouse: Area 51.
  • Secret War: The novels indicate this has been gonig on between the Carrington Institute and dataDyne, out of the public eye.
  • Sequence Breaking: Many levels can be completed in more than one way.
    • Opening the safe door in the G5 building takes 90 seconds while you deal with Demonic Spiders. Or you can trigger the As You Know cutscene within 3 seconds after you begin unlocking the safe, as the door will actually finish opening during the cutscene but the enemies will not spawn and attack you.
    • The Pelagic II has a hidden entrance to the submersible which allows you to beat the level much more quickly than taking the conventional route.
    • The sensitive information in Carrington's office can be destroyed with a grenade instead of having to go downstairs, then go back up to open the safe with the laser.
    • By putting the BombSpy in the other elevator, you can kill the dataDyne captain much more easily in "Mr. Blonde's Revenge".
  • Space Cold War: The real conflict in this series is not between the Carrington Institute and dataDyne, but rather the Maians and the Skedar. Earth itself is not that important; the only reason the Skedar have even bothered to take an interest in Earth is because they're losing the war against the Maians but have learned about the existence of a Lost Superweapon under the ocean that was left behind by a third alien race, the Cetans. In the end, humanity isn't considered a major player in this war; the Skedar plan to activate the weapon on Earth just to test it, and if successful, then they'll deploy it against the Maians.
  • Set a Mook to Kill a Mook: The Psychosis Gun, which makes enemies Brainwashed and Crazy so they attack each other.
    • It's possible to get enemies to fire at each other just by dodging out of the way fast enough.
    • See also the Enemy Civil War and Mook-Face Turn entries.
  • Shoe Phone: The Laptop Gun, which unfolds out of - you guessed it - a laptop. It even has a kickass secondary mode where you attach it to a surface and it serves as a Sentry Gun, which you can pick up again and take with you. It also Averts Bottomless Magazines in this mode, as it'll only have whatever was left in the magazine when you throw it.
  • Shoot the Hostage Taker: In "Carrington Institute: Defense". [[This is much easier if you take the Combat Boost first.
  • Shooting Gallery: The firing range, where you can try out any weapon you want.
  • Short-Range Long-Range Weapon: Guards will not fire at you past a certain distance, even assault rifles (except snipers). When you get close enough, they try to punch you out instead of shooting you.
    • The accuracy of the AR34 is so bad, it might as well be a "close-range only" assault rifle. You have to crouch in order to hit anything at a distance.
  • Shout-Out: Numerous ones to other sci-fi and cyberpunk works.
    • The sound effect of weapons and ammo respawning in multiplayer mode is exactly the same we hear in Half-Life 's Deathmatch Classic mod.
    • The design of Area 51's laboratories, hallways, and even the autopsy rooms is lifted straight out of Independence Day.
    • The entire level "Chicago: Stealth" is an homage to Blade Runner, with flying cars and neon billboards, Chinese characters everywhere and constant pouring rain.
    • The flying taxi cab you have to blow up in the Chicago level looks identical to the one Bruce Willis flies in The Fifth Element.
    • The K7 Avenger is visually based on the design of the pulse rifle from Aliens.
      • The Skedar attack ship is based on the Auriga from Alien: Resurrection, and their dropships are like the brown shuttle from the same movie.
    • The cloaking device and other elements (the RC-P120 and the interior of the G5 building) are taken from Ghost in the Shell.
      • The "cloaked alien" motif may be from Predator, as is the IR scanner.
    • As a Call Back to Golden Eye 1997, all of the guns from the game appear in glass cases on the firing range, and some of them can be used in single player with cheats.
    • It may not be intentional, but a desert planet with more than one sun sounds familiar from somewhere.
    • Given the game's overall tone, it may actually be a reference to another desert planet.
    • Or another desert homeworld of an alien race bent on destroying the Earth.
    • Unlockable material implies that the real Skedar are the tiny alien creatures, which reside in mechas. Where have we heard this before?
    • One of the weapons might count: the Slayer, a rocket launcher like the one used on the Judge.
    • Joanna's auto-targeting HUD and the MagSec machine pistol; both make it clear that somebody on the design team had watched RoboCop (1987) before.
      • The Laptop Gun is used by the drug dealing child in RoboCop 2.
      • The X-ray scanner is also very much like the one RoboCop has.
    • The multi-player level “The Grid” is borrowed from the building Neo and Trinity storm in The Matrix, complete with columns and an elevator. Plus the name of the level is a dead giveaway.
    • The concept of a railgun that fires through walls seems to be borrowed from Eraser.
    • A very subtle one: the names that are mentioned over the intercom in Area 51 are actually the members of the rock band The Pixies.
    • And the announcements themselves ("Dr. X, go to location Y") may be a reference to a scene from Film/Tron.
    • In the first bonus level, Mr. Blonde does an Arnold Schwarzenegger impression. The level's music even sounds kind of like the theme from 'The Terminator''.
    "Go to the helipad if you want to live." Also, dataDyne = Cyberdyne?
    • The Maian aliens are based on the classic sci-fi "greys.” Elvis even has a flying saucer.
    • In Mission 5-2, the outro cut-scene pays homage to the part in The Empire Strikes Back when the Millennium Falcon fails to enter hyperspace.
    Joanna: Elvis! Elvis! I can't detach that tube from the fuselage! Can you take it out?
    Elvis: Piece of cake, Joanna. Watch this!
    *Weapons malfunction*
    Elvis: ...Uh-oh.
    Joanna: Watch what? Will you stop playing around and shoot!?
    • Another Star Wars reference: Joanna's Horizon Scanner has the same display as Luke's binoculars in A New Hope.
    • The Psychosis Gun, which injects enemy soldiers with a drug that makes them go crazy and start attacking each other, could be a reference to the movie Jacob's Ladder.
    • The Alaska mission, where Air Force One is hijacked, the President gets away in an escape pod and Joanna has to find him using his medical scanner, is very similar to the plot of Escape from New York.
    • The physical layout of Air Force One is very similar to another Air Force One from a film that Harrison ford starred in.
  • Sigil Spam: The weapons-manufacturing Megacorp dataDyne likes plastering their "dD" logo on all their architecture. (Admittedly, it is quite a cool logo.) Not to mention the fact that the Carrington Institute's logo appears on Joanna Dark's Spy Catsuit (I'm sure that would help with her plausible deniability if she were ever captured!).
    • DataDyne troops also have the same logo on their uniforms, and it even appears prominently on the dataDyne-designed shotgun.
    • The Skedar also seem to like etching their symbol into every available surface and sculptures of it appear all over the place in the Battle Shrine.
    • For a top-secret government installation, Area 51 makes it pretty clear what the name of the facility you're in is.
  • Showdown at High Noon: The bonus mission "The Duel", complete with back to back stance and scripted steps. Higher difficulties demand you to best more duelists in a row.
  • Silliness Switch: The Paintball Cheat replaces bullet holes with paintball splotches and blood with multicolored puddles.
  • Simple Yet Awesome: The Falcon 2 is a surprisingly decent handgun, considering it's the first weapon you get in the game. It's fast, accurate and even comes with a handy little scope. The CMP-150 also qualifies: it's the most common gun in the single-player mode, but it has a high firing rate, plentiful ammo and a nifty auto-targeting system. It can also be dual-wielded.
    • Then there's always the option of just disarming an enemy, which works wonders in multiplayer.
  • Single-Biome Planet: The Skedar homeworld is implied to be one big battle-scarred wasteland, due to a combination of earthquakes, scorching heat from the star system's three suns, and thousands of years of constant warfare on the Skedar's behalf.
  • Sinister Geometry: The weird polyhedral structures that are scattered all over the Skedar planet. (Overlaps with Spikes Of Doom.)
  • Slow Doors
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Trent Easton is head of the NSA (National Security Agency), a high-but-not-that-high position in the US intelligence hierarchy that would make him a report to the Director of National Intelligence. He acts like he is the NSA (National Security Advisor), which is a far more influential position.
  • Smug Snake: Trent. He almost succeeds in his plan to capture the President, but ends up getting mauled to death by the Skedar.
  • Sniper Pistol: Joanna's trusty Falcon 2 pistol can be fitted with a scope to make a surprisingly accurate medium-ranged sniper weapon.
    • Note that the silencer and scope attachments cannot be applied or removed at will; they're treated as separate weapons.
  • Sniper Scope Sway: The game has this feature for all scoped guns, but it's especially bad on the sniper rifle. To compensate, you can crouch while firing for greater stability.
    • This feature can be turned off in the menu, unlike in GoldenEye.
  • Sniping Mission: The first part of the Villa. Averted on the Perfect Agent difficulty; instead of sniping the guards to save the diplomat, you are the diplomat and have to use the laptop gun.
  • Soft Glass: You can even punch through it.
  • Somebody Set Up Us the Bomb: Twice - in Area 51, and the Carrington Institute.
  • Songs in the Key of Panic: Nearly every level has a faster variant of its music, which plays during critical junctures.
    • Exaggerated with Carrington Institute: Defense; the normal level music is already more frantic than the Institute's usual theme, and still has an even faster variant.
  • Speed Run: Time attacking was encouraged by the developers, since not only does the game keep track of the player's best time on each level on each difficulty, but completing particular levels within specific target times (some lenient, some strict) unlocks bonus cheat options.
    • Some levels essentially must be played as speedruns, because there is no realistic way to complete them otherwise due to the sheer number of enemies. "War!" comes to mind.
  • Spiteful A.I.: In Defense when hostages are taken the hostage takers have no self preservation whatsoever, eagerly gunning down their captives regardless of how many times they're shot just to make you fail to save them.
  • Spiritual Successor: To Golden Eye 1997.
  • Spread Shot: The shotgun, obviously, but the Cyclone has a ridiculous spread as well, as does the Reaper.
  • Spy Catsuit: One that has has armored surfaces and is a mixture of blue and gray material rather than black leather.
    • She does wear a literal spy catsuit in the G5 Building level.
    • The Carrington Institute uniform she wears in the second half of PDZ counts too.
  • State Sec: The NSA headed by Trent Easton. Unlike the real world agency, the video game counterpart has its own troops and controls Area 51. Somewhat justified since Easton is part of a conspiracy, using the NSA to accomplish his agenda.
  • Stealth-Based Mission: Numerous examples, but being stealthy is rewarded in just about every level.
  • Stealth Pun: Joanna Dark.
  • Sticky Bomb: The Devastator's grenades have this option. Mines also qualify.
  • Strapped to an Operating Table: This nearly happens to Elvis.
  • Stripperiffic: Mai-Hem's outfits have to be seen to be believed.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: The ending cutscene for "Deep Sea" contains plenty of Scenery Porn.
  • Super-Persistent Missile: When you fire a Homing Rocket at a stationary enemy.
  • Super Soldier: Joanna is something like this.
  • Suspiciously Small Army: Joanna believes that seven Skedar constitutes an 'army'.
    "OH NO!!! A Skedar army in suspended animation!"
  • Swiss Army Weapon: The Laptop Gun (see above) has three functions (laptop, SMG, and Sentry Gun).
  • Tap on the Head: Punching out civilians is easy and painless. Occasionally, there will be one who puts up a lot more resistance than others though.
  • A Taste of Power: You can get the K7 Avenger as early as the second level, which doesn't appear again until halfway through the game. It's also possible to get the Phoenix in Area 51, which makes the level much easier. It doesn't appear again until the last few levels.
  • Technicolor Toxin: The bright green nerve gas in Area 51.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Joanna and Jonathan.
  • Teleporters and Transporters: "Deep Sea" has warp portals.
  • Theme Music Power-Up: The "CI Operative" theme plays during some cutscenes, usually after Joanna does something awesome.
  • They Look Like Us Now: Mr. Blondes.
  • Throwaway Guns: The Dragon and Laptop Gun on their secondary mode, which turns it into a disguised proximity bomb, or sentry gun respectively. Also, there is one point in the last level which requires you to leave one of your guns behind before progressing. Unfortunately, the completely worthless Reaper can't be used for it.
    Make your sacrifice to the god of war.
  • This Is the Final Battle
  • Timed Mission: Several levels have segments which must be completed in a certain time limit (these are usually Always Close).
    • "Mr. Blonde's Revenge" must be completed in about four minutes before the bomb you've planted in the basement of dataDyne headquarters goes off. It's possible to do it the long way (see Sequence Breaking) and kill everyone in the building before planting it, but very difficult and time-consuming.
  • Title Drop
    Carrington: Good luck, Perfect Dark.
    • Perfect Dark is, in fact, Joanna's agent title at Carrington Institute. So sometimes she'll be called that (Carrington also uses the codename to call her over the radio after the Air Force One crashes on the Alaskan wilderness).
  • Took a Level in Badass: There's one animation all the guards can potentially do, mercifully don't, but oh boy when they do, it strikes fear into most gamers. Its unofficially called the "Terminator walk". Guards in the game generally either go prone, crouch or stand still, all while adjusting their aim. In the Terminator walk they start advancing towards you with no regard for their own safety like a badass, and unload their entire magazine at you. If this happens on a harder difficulty, expect to get massacred.
  • Trapped in Containment: The surgeons at Area 51 who kill themselves with nerve gas.
  • Tranquillizer Dart: The tranquillizer gun, but instead of knocking targets out, it blurs their vision, lowering their accuracy. The alternate fire gives the darts a lethal overdose.
  • Translation Convention: The mission briefing for the bonus levels is written to reflect the style that the alien races might be expected to use.
  • Trial-and-Error Gameplay: The original game's lack of mid-level saving of any kind means that if you get killed in ambush, use an expendable gadget in the wrong place, or allow your braindead AI companions to get themselves killed, it's back to the start of the level. More evident on the two higher difficulty settings.
  • Troperiffic: Rare more or less attempted to cram as many action movie and sci-fi tropes as possible into a single game. It worked pretty well.
  • Try Not to Die:
    Jonathan: That crate? It really doesn't like being shot.
  • Universal Ammunition: A fairly ridiculous example in that not only do most guns use one of a couple different types of ammo, your own ammo is compatible with alien weapons.
  • Twenty Minutes into the Future: Apart from the flying cars and alien technology, this could almost be a modern shooter. Canonically, the game is set in 2023. The prequel is only set three years earlier and completely drops both of these, leaving the only real hints that it's the future as some of the odder weapons (plasma rifle, sword with an energy shield, etc.), the fact that the only flying vehicles all seem to be Osprey-inspired, jet-powered VTOL craft, and the in-universe existence of Deathmatch.
  • Unguided Lab Tour: dataDyne Central, Area 51, the Pelagic II.
  • Unexpected Genre Change: From normal, if futuristic, spies versus evil conglomerates to epic sci-fi action ending with the main characters storming an alien planet.
  • Unlockable Content: Perfect Dark inherits this structure from GoldenEye, in that, if you want to have the full experience, to explore everywhere, and complete various objectives, you are required to play the missions in the harder difficulties. This however, is no cake-walk.
  • Unnecessary Combat Roll: It seems like the first day of security guard school is spent teaching cadets how to perform this. Averted in that it's as woefully ineffective as it should be (it leaves guards open to attack for several seconds) but played straight in that Joanna herself performs a few shoulder rolls during cutscenes.
    • One of the changes made from Golden Eye 1997 involved making the rolling animation interruptible - that is, a guard no longer finishes his roll, stands up and then dies if shot mid-roll.
    • Zero lets Joanna do this as a command. It breaks enemy lock-ons, forcing them to get their bearing. They are also substantially quicker.
  • Unorthodox Reload: The Cyclone's bizarre reload animation where the magazine is fed into the side of the gun and passes out the other side.
    • Maian weapons have a magazine which looks like a greenish ball and is absorbed into the side of the gun like a liquid.
    • The DY357 has a cool-looking but pointless reloading move where you insert the moon clip into the chamber and then flick it sideways one-handed.
    • When you're dual-wielding. How the heck can you even reload two guns at the same time so quickly if you're holding them in each hand?
  • Unusual User Interface: Joanna's headset, which is essentially a wearable computer that deploys over her field of vision when you access the menu.
  • Updated Re-release: Re-released for the Xbox Live Arcade on March 17th 2010 with bright, shiny new high-def visuals and online play!
  • Vader Breath: Mr. Blonde has it.
  • Video Game Caring Potential: If you disarm or surprise some foes, they'll surrender and cause you no further trouble note . But...
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: Are you evil enough to shoot an enemy in the groin after they've been disarmed and surrendered? Yes.
    • In the original, foes who have been knocked out can then be killed rather easily, especially if you like headshots.
    • In the first mission, you can shoot down flying cars that go by, obviously killing whoever was inside.
    • Nothing says "guilty, sadistic pleasure" more than shooting a dead body curled up in the fetal position.
    • The non-combatants in Area 51 will either surrender, run away to hide or alert security, or yell at you. You can kill them all without failing the mission... if you want to, that is.
    Scientist: "Leave this area now!" (gets shot in the head)
  • Video Game Cruelty Punishment: In some levels there are civilians wandering around. You are not allowed to shoot them, and if you do so you instantly fail the mission.
  • Villain Shoes: "Mr. Blonde's Revenge" is played from his perspective.
  • Violence Is the Only Option: Against the Skedar.
  • Virtual Ghost: Dr. Caroll.
  • Virtual Paper Doll: In multiplayer.
  • Virtual Training Simulation: The Combat Simulator room.
  • Visible Invisibility: The Cloaking Device leaves a faint trace of the user's outline. As well, users have to decloak to attack (see Invisibility Flicker).
  • Voice with an Internet Connection: Usually Mr. Carrington, although other CI staff sometimes fill this role (see Mission Control). Zero gives you Chandra for half the game, though she defects to dataDyne very shortly after Jack is killed.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: The Skedar can shift between their true forms and their Mr. Blonde disguises.
  • Wall of Weapons: The guns in the glass cases at the firing range.
  • Weak Turret Gun: The Laptop Gun in its Secondary Fire mode.
    • Most drone guns in the game can be destroyed without much effort, although the ones in Area 51 can be pretty tough.
  • Weapon of Choice: The Falcon 2 for Joanna; the Phoenix for Elvis; the DY357 for Jonathan; the DY357-XL for Trent.
  • Wearing a Flag on Your Head: Elvis' stars and stripes vest. The Maians really like America.
  • We Can Rule Together: Cassandra invokes this when Joanna encounters her at the end of the dataDyne mission.
  • We Need a Distraction: Reprogramming the taxi on Chicago to crash into the police robot.
    • Cassandra gives her life to make one in "Attack Ship".
  • We Will Not Use Photoshop in the Future: Joanna's evidence of the conspiracy is a recording which the President proclaims "overwhelming" after seeing roughly three seconds of it.
  • We Will Use WikiWords In The Future: dataDyne, SuperDragon, FarSight, MagSec (what is that short for, anyway?), the BombSpy, CamSpy and DrugSpy. The N-Bomb may count too, since the "n" is short for "neutron", though it's nothing like a real neutron bomb.
  • What a Piece of Junk: Elvis says this about his own ship.
    Elvis: Oh no, we have a problem. It's a single-seater. Two can get in, but no more.
    Joanna: It's the only way out of here.
    Elvis: Plus it's got no style, you know what I'm saying?
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: After being rescued in the Crash Site mission, the President is never heard from again, although a meeting with him is a plot point later on.
    • The aforementioned abandoned sequel probably would've answered a lot of questions about the plot/s.
  • What Measure Is a Mook?: Until you run up against the aliens directly, you're mostly mowing down security guards or government employees. Admittedly, they're working for a corrupt corporation and a treacherous NSA respectively, but you still spend a lot of time killing people just doing their jobs, although to be fair, they're under orders to kill you.
    • However, if you feel like it you can just knock out human enemies if you like in most levels. It's just that this is usually only practical if you can surprise lone guards.
    • In the levels where you have to board or are actually on Air Force One, you will fail the mission if you kill guards, as they are not involved in the conspiracy to kidnap the President. You can, however, kill NSA troops, since they are.
    • A particularly sad example is in Mission 4-2 where you must take a spare uniform from a scientist named Harry. On Agent difficulty, you can't avoid killing Harry as he is "conveniently" next to the crack that you must demolish.
  • Where the Hell Is Springfield?: The game is rather vague about the location of most of its settings, aside from Chicago, Alaska and Nevada. Most of the CI staff are British, but the city where dataDyne's headquarters are located isn't named, and Carrington's villa seems to be in Gibraltar or somewhere on the Mediterranean.
  • A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing: Whenever there is a group of scientists or people that you're not allowed to kill, one of them will invariably try to screw you over by sounding the alarm or pulling a gun.
  • Word Salad Title: Aside from being the codename of the main character, the name "Perfect Dark" doesn't mean anything in particular besides that it sounds really cool. Because of the difficulty in localizing the title, the game was going to be renamed Red and Black in Japan for the same reason until they decided to just transliterate the English title.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Apparently, your enemies.
  • Why Isn't It Attacking?: When Joanna and Elvis enter the Cetan ship, they comment on how unusual it is that there are no guards around. The reason is that they all have cloaking devices.
  • You All Look Familiar: All of the Skedar and Maians (except Elvis) look the same.
  • You Are Too Late: Joanna rescues Daniel from being held hostage at the villa, but not before dataDyne recovers Dr. Caroll from him.
    • Trent invokes this when he has the President hostage at gunpoint. Jo has about a half second to disarm him before failing the mission.
  • You Fool!: Trent says this about the President.
    • Cassandra also says "You won't shoot me, foolish child". You can't shoot her without failing the mission, but you can knock her out.
  • You Have Failed Me: When Mr. Blonde kills Trent at the end of the Alaska mission.
    Mr. Blonde: "You have failed, Easton. You are a flawed device, and we need you no longer."
  • You Keep Using That Word: The game uses "download" when you upload something with the Data Uplink. Also, the Air Force One level is subtitled "Antiterrorism" (which is a real word) when the correct word here would be "counterterrorism".
  • You Shall Not Pass: Joanna attempts this during the evacuation of the Carrington Institute. While the ship she was defending manages to escape, she gets knocked out and captured.
    • During the evacuation of Area 51, either you or Jonathan covers the escape. If you do it, you find a way out on your own, and Jonathan shows up again at Mission 7. If Jonathan does it, the mission ends for you immediately and you don't see him again.
  • You Wouldn't Shoot Me: Cassandra rightly claims this. You can still knock her out though.
  • Zerg Rush: The tiny Skedar in "Deep Sea" are particularly annoying as they just keep spawning and there's nothing to do but shoot them all as they regenerate.
    • On "War!", the enemies never stop coming; your only hope is to kill as many as you can and run like hell to avoid the rest. Luckily, they're terrible shots. The good news is that your army also respawns. Keeping them alive is pretty much mandatory.
  • Zeroes and Ones: Dr. Caroll displays this when his backup is installed.

PenumbraMature RatingPersona 4
Panzer DragoonUsefulNotes/The Fifth Generation of Console Video GamesPokémon
Pac-ManCreator/Microsoft StudiosPhantom Dust
PenumbraStealth-Based GamePrince of Persia
PeggleXbox LIVE ArcadePenny Arcade Adventures
Operation DarknessUsefulNotes/Xbox 360 Phantom Breaker
Panel de PonCreator/NintendoPikmin
PAYDAY 2First-Person ShooterPirates Vikings And Knights
UltramanUsefulNotes/Nintendo 64 Pilotwings
No One Lives ForeverSpy FictionThe Secret Service

alternative title(s): Perfect Dark Zero; Perfect Dark
TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from
Privacy Policy