Perfect Dark: Recompiled

There’s an interesting renaissance of Nintendo 64 gaming, powered by the ability to decompile N64 ROMs back into C code using Ghidra. There are projects around multiple classic games, taking the Ghidra output and renaming the generic function and variable names. There are two approaches to these projects, sometimes happening in parallel. The first is to perfectly recreate the original work, and get a bit-perfect binary that matches the original ROM. The other approach is to fix bugs, optimize the code, and add new features, often porting to new platforms in the process. Right now, we’re seeing the latter happen with 2000’s Perfect Dark.

There is a project by [Ryan Dwyer] to produce a matching C codebase, and that project is functionally complete with an over 99% bit-perfect output. But as impressive as that is, we’re interested in making code even better, and that’s what [fgsfdsfgs] has accomplished with the Perfect Dark port.

The game now runs on Windows or Linux, has mouse support, and runs at a solid 60 frames per second (FPS) at multiple screen resolutions. Want an ultra-widescreen Perfect Dark experience? The upgraded rendering engine handles it wonderfully. Mods? No problem. In the future, the developer is also looking to support high-definition textures.

To play, you do have to provide your own legally sourced copy of the original Perfect Dark game. That is the only way this project is remotely legal, and we suspect that even then it’s in a somewhat grey zone, as a derivative work of a copyrighted game. Big N hasn’t shut the project down, but the Mario 64 port was killed for attempting the same thing. We’ll hope for the best, and enjoy the nostalgia trip in the meanwhile!