Caught My Eye: Perfect Dark: Initial Vector

Guest Post

This review will be a little different from what you normally see from me. I am pretty much a comic book man on Amish Otaku, but I recently read a novel that I felt compelled to talk about. The novel is Perfect Dark: Initial Vector and is written by comic book writer and novelist Greg Rucka. What I found interesting and noteworthy of Perfect Dark: Initial Vector was that it is a novel based on a video game and written by a pretty popular comic book writer. That mash up alone makes it a prime candidate here, despite being a format which we hardly cover.

As most of you may know, Perfect Dark was a video game by Rare that came out on the Nintendo 64 some years ago. It was the follow up to the widely popular Goldeneye on the same system. More recently, Rare joined forces with Microsoft and released a prequel game on the X-Box 360 title Perfect Dark: Zero. The basic premise is that the lead character is somewhat of a spy/general ass kicker for an agency called the Carrington Institute where their primary targets are super powerful corporations. It is set a few years into the future, where of course they have flying cars amongst other cool gadgets we are still waiting for.

This book takes place about six months after the events of Perfect Dark: Zero and before the original N64 game. I admit to not playing the X-Box 360 game since I don’t have that system and I didn’t quite know where this book was in relation to that game until after I read it. I have heard that this book does not spoil the events of that game, so if you are a fan of the series and have not played the X-Box 360 game, you need not worry about being spoiled.

For those of you who have not played any of the games, the story follows a red headed hottie by the name of Joanna Dark. She pretty much is a cross between The Bride in Kill Bill and Selene from Underworld. She gets recruited into the Carrington Institute mainly because they both have a common enemy with the largest global corporation named dataDyne. Like most corporations, they try to maximize their profits by crushing the soul out of the little man, and in this future they take it one step further.

I am in general a fan of futuristic stories mainly because you can suspend your belief a lot more knowing that the things you are reading about can happen do to future discoveries and such. This book does not stretch things too far, and could possibly be set in our time if it weren’t for the flying cars. I am also not a huge fan of the spy genre, but this book kept my interest for some reason and I am curious to read the sequel as well as play the X-Box 360 game.

One thing I really liked about the book was the mentioning of the guns being used. If you have played one of the games, Rare created a wide range of cool guns and they are almost all mentioned here. Since the N64 game was a FPS, the guns are an important piece, and their mentioning was a cool touch in the book. It was like walking down memory lane when Joanna used the Magsec and Falcon. Rucka even threw in references to the secondary uses of a couple of the weapons which I thought was real cool.

The book reads pretty quick and wasn’t difficult at all to get into. It had a steady pace that really chugged along until the end. Sometimes novels can be slow starting out, but this one didn’t suffer from that. The only complaint I have is that I wish it was longer and went more into of the hows and whys the world got that way, but it would have slowed the book down too much.

Overall, it was a fun read and I can’t wait to see how the events of this book, lead into the next. Now I need to go hunt down a cheap X-Box so I can play that game! Damn you Greg Rucka!