Welcome back to Box Art Brawl, the weekly vote where you decide which retro regional box art variant wins in the beauty stakes according to sophisticated modern tastes. Oh yes.
Last week Castlevania for the N64 entered the ring in a third appearance for the series and one of the closest fought brawls to date. In the end Europe just edged a victory over Japan by a mere 3% while North America trailed far behind with just a tenth of the overall vote. We guess you weren't fans of Reinhardt's bushy eyebrows. Congratulations to Europe, but we're certain we haven't seen the last of Castlevania round these parts.
This week is a real gimme; possibly the biggest foregone conclusion in the history of democracy, but we've delayed it long enough. Perfect Dark for the Nintendo 64 was given a different cover in each region, an interesting story in itself which we delved into last year by talking to former Rare Art Director Kev Bayliss. However, today ours is not to reason why. Today, we're just voting for our favourite.
C'mon then. Let's get on with it.
North America got a close-up of Joanna Dark's CG face with Elvis, her alien chum, reflected in her right eye. Strands of hair flick down over her brow and we like the lighting that suggests she's hidden in the shadows, waiting to strike. The gun barrel looks particularly clean as it breaks into the frame and who doesn't love a sexy red laser beam? It makes us think of Arnie's gun in the first Terminator movie. That's a good in our books.
The game was compatible with most every 'Pak' made for the N64, as you can see from the red strip down the right side. The slick logo sits prominently against the darkness at the top and that little gold Rareware logo gives us the feels, too. It's dark but still colourful. Not bad, not bad.
Looking absolutely nothing like the in-game model for the character, here we get the more sultry CG version of Joanna Dark (essentially Lara Croft moonlighting as a secret agent) and the bottom half of the gun we saw on the North American cover. It's still dark, but the face fades as several images are layered behind ol' Jo showing various structures and what looks like level geometry. None of it is particularly easy to make out, although you can see Elvis and one of his Maian mates.
The usual black border common to Nintendo's N64 output in Europe is gone here with the info displayed over the main image. Same logo as the North American variant. Again, it sets the scene nicely. Not bad, but it's all a bit immaterial, isn't it...
Game over, man. Where's a gif of Homer Simpson dribbling when you need one?
If you really wanted to nitpick you could argue that the game cover inside the big box which contains the game and Expansion Pak is rubbish, but in our experience gamers don't like to be pedantic like that. Here it is all the same, though:
Ah, there you are Agent Dark! Just in time to click 'Japan' below and hit the vote button:
There will be people who don't like the Japanese one - that's absolutely fine! Everyone is entitled to their opinion and we welcome all to Box Art Brawl! There's only one right answer, though... We joke! Ha!
So, tell us why you voted for Japan below and we'll see you next time. Stay safe, lovely people!