Perfect Dark Soundtrack (Nintendo 64), David Clynick / Grant Kirkhope / Graeme Norgate, 2000
If you want to kick off a debate amongst seasoned console gamers, try “Is Perfect Dark better than GoldenEye 007?” According to reviewers, the answer is usually ‘yes’. After all, this is the game that gave Rare the opportunity to finetune their approach to developing a first-person shooter, after they had created a genre classic with GoldenEye 007. Arguably pushing the Nintendo 64 to its limits, Perfect Dark provided such a wealth of content and degree of polish that it was hard to see how a console shooter in 2000 could be any better. Then again, GoldenEye 007 had arguably been the more groundbreaking title, popularising console FPS games. As a result, Perfect Dark didn’t have quite the same impact, as it was ultimately an immense refinement rather than another quantum leap.
Naturally, for the Perfect Dark soundtrack, Rare would call upon the same talents that had created the music for GoldenEye 007 – easily the best score for any Bond game. Complications were afoot though. Initially, the task of writing the Perfect Dark score fell to Graeme Norgate, who was working on Jet Force Gemini at the same time. Norgate began to lay the groundwork for the music, choosing a palette of instruments and completing a number of compositions. However, mid-way through the three-year development process, Norgate and half of the development team left Rare to form Free Radical Design (best known for their TimeSplitters trilogy).