Perfect Dark Beta Analysis: Beta Multiplayer

Perfect Dark Beta Analysis: Beta Multiplayer

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And now we can move on to the beta multiplayer of Perfect Dark.

Beta Multiplayer

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One of the most interesting rumors for the Multiplayer mode of Perfect Dark N64 is the one about plans for the game to have an online mode too. During the initial planning there were some ideas to develope Perfect Dark for the 64DD and to use the built-in modem of the add-on for the Multiplayer mode. However, due to many problems the 64 DD was delayed for months and  years, and eventually this peripheral was never released outside of Japan. It seems that Rare even though about a special cartridge with an internal modem (as used already by another game, released in japan. See the picture above), but as you can imagine the online structure would have been difficult to develope and soon the idea was scrapped.

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One of the worst things that Rare did to Perfect Dark was to remove a Multiplayer level that was almost complete and ready to host multiplayer matches. In the screenshot above, you can see this removed level: it could have been the famous “Rooftop”, a multiplayer arena which was confirmed by Rare to be present in the earlier versions of the game, but lately removed for unknown reasons.

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Looking at this other screen from the removed multiplayer level, we can see how the doors are identical to the ones in the Area 51 missions and even the colors / textures are very similar. This level had internal areas (1st – 3rd – 4th splitscreens) and some outdoors areas (2nd splitscreen), as the “Area 52” multiplayer level or “Warehouse”. The multiplayer radar does not appear to be present, but is difficult to say since the screenshot is very blurred.

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The removed multiplayer level is similar to one hidden area that is accessible from the single player mode. Above you can see a screenshot that shows this internal corridor near the hoverbikes, in the first Area 52 single player mission. In the final version, this zone has not changed much. After seeing screenshots of the beta multiplayer level, we can notice similarities in design and colors with this section of the final game. For example, see the ramps inside the corridor: it’s almost identical to the removed arena. We can speculate that the beta multiplayer arena took place in this section of the level, that for some reasons was cut and added to the single player as a little hidden zone.

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Even in this screen we can see the same area from within, to notice the considerable similarities with the Beta Multiplayer level. If  you never tried to enter in this area in the Area 51, I will try to explain briefly how to get there, so that you can see what I mean. First choose the part 1 of the Area 51 mission and begin to play the first part, trying to reach the zone in which you can find the various hoverbikes and a turret. Pay attention to the automatic turrets and try to get as fast as possible to the door which is on the left. If you get there fast enough, enemies will still be inside and if you wait for them to open the door, you can then sneak inside and see the area that was meant to be the removed multiplayer level.

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We shall now proceed to the beta version of the “Grid” Multiplayer arena. For those who played hours and hours in this level, it will not be difficult to recognize the different colors, completely changed from the ones seen in the final game. The arena’s overall layout does not appear to have been changed.

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A screenshot of the beta version of The Grid in multiplayer, perhaps playing a game of “King of the Hill.”

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This is an image taken from a beta version of Perfect Dark’s Facility / Felicity. Most of the level does not seem to have substantial differences when compared to what we have now, but in the player 1 screen you can see that there was a billboard / painting on the wall, like in the original Goldeneye arena. That billboard / painting  was removed later in development.

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In this screenshot we can notice a removed multiplayer game mode “Touch that Box”. It seems that Rare cut this mode because it was  not enough fun to play: players had to arrive at a certain point of the map before the others.

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A screenshot of the “Pipes” arena: the overal layout seems to be the same  in the final game, but we can notice how the HUD was changed. There’s an early version of the radar in the upper right, with a hexagonal shape rather than  the circle shape like in the final. The ammo counter was on the left instead than on the right.

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In this beta multiplayer match we still see the early HUD and a Maian head that looks different from the final one.

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Rare removed the Goldeneye weapons from the final version of the Multiplayer in Perfect Dark. Although you can still use these weapons in the single  player missions (after unlocking them), it’s not possible to use them in multi. Rare wrote that the reason why the GoldenEye weapons were not in the Multiplayer mode was because of not enough time to incorporate them. However, we know that this is not true, because as shown in the screenshots above (taken from the old official Perfect Dark website), they were already working in the beta multiplayer.

Update: thanks to Zoinkity we have some more info on the GoldenEye weapons in Multiplayer:

GE weapons, in fact, are problematic in multiplayer. There are two methods to add them back in, via replacement using cheat codes or by manually hacking the ROM to allow their selection.

Simulants are unable to fire GE weapons. Normally this wouldn’t be an issue, except that the AI gives priority to weapons with higher ID values. They obviously didn’t want to fuss with trying to rectify it, so it was easier to remove them from the list.

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In the beta version of the “Central hacker” Multiplayer mode, the PC used to download the data looked like the ones in the screen above, instead that looking like “portable PCs” left on the ground as in the final game. These big computers can still be found in the single player missions in DataDyne Building and Area 51.

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In the final game it’s not possible to use the Skedar aliens in Multiplayer normally, but thanks to a GameShark code you can play as these characters against your friends. We dont know if Rare planned to make them playable in the Multiplayer Mode, but it would have been a cool addition. The Skedars (similar to what happens with the Raptors in Turok 2 ‘s multiplayer) are much faster than human characters and you can use weapons using the final code revisions. You may also play as Dr. Carol or a camspy, both of which explode after being killed. (Thanks to Zoinkity for the info!)

Perfect Dark beta Analysis – The End.

[Original article written by monokoma in 2001, translation by DCodes7 in 2010]

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monokoma

monokoma

Editor in Chief, UX & SE Optimization at Unseen64
I'm an Italian gamer with not enough free time to play as much as i'd like to and sadly not enough time to write about cancelled and beta games. Founder of Unseen64 in 2001, i'd like to sleep more than 5 hours a day, but i have to pay the bills. I'm currently working for various italian & international websites for a better User Experience & Search Engine Optimization, you can add me on Google Plus,Twitter, Last FM or contact me by email.
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7 thoughts on “Perfect Dark Beta Analysis: Beta Multiplayer

  1. Zoinkity

    GE weapons, in fact, are problematic in multiplayer. There are two methods to add them back in, via replacement using cheat codes or by manually hacking the ROM to allow their selection.

    Simulants are unable to fire GE weapons. Normally this wouldn’t be an issue, except that the AI gives priority to weapons with higher ID values. They obviously didn’t want to fuss with trying to rectify it, so it was easier to remove them from the list.

    I should also point out you can use weapons as a skedar using the final code revisions. You may also play as Dr. Carol or a camspy, both of which explode after being killed.

  2. Linkx

    >.< at times like this i wish i could hack into software houses databases and check every bit of info about games development!

  3. SubDrag

    Although Zoinkity was correct, after delving deeper into the ROM, the table of which controls simulants priorities is indeed missing the GoldenEye guns. But it’d be easily added by Rare (and clearly was working by old shot, so had to have been removed), so I suspect it was removed for another reason.

    We have a patch with them working in multi.
    http://goldeneyevault.com/viewfile.php?id=178

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