Dark Rift

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For the feature in the Milky Way galaxy, see Great Rift (astronomy).
Dark Rift
European Nintendo 64 cover art
Developer(s) Kronos Digital Entertainment
Publisher(s) Vic Tokai
Distributor(s) Vic Tokai
Designer(s) Stan Liu
Albert Co
Matt Arrington
Andy Koo
Ted Wornock
John Paik
Platform(s) Nintendo 64, Microsoft Windows
  • NA: July 10, 1997 (N64)
  • NA: October 22, 1997 (PC)
  • JP: March 27, 1998 (N64)
Genre(s) Fighting
Mode(s) Single-player, multiplayer

Dark Rift is a 3D fighting video game for the Nintendo 64, notable for being the first N64 game to use 60 frames per second.[1] It has been referred to as the Nintendo 64's first native fighting game,[2] though in actuality it is a port of a cancelled Sega Saturn game.[3]

It was originally announced under the title "Criticom II",[4] and is the second of three fighting games developed by Kronos Digital, falling between Criticom and Cardinal Syn. These three games have been referred to as the "Trilogy of Terror" due to their rather uniform low-standing with critics.[5]


Fights go for a default three-out-of-five rounds, as opposed to the more conventional two-out-of-three.[2]


Dark Rift takes place far in the future, sometime after the events of Criticom. Gameplay spans three dimensions: the Neutral Dimension (where Earth is located), the Dark Dimension (home to demons), and the Light Dimension (home to energy beings). Although the creatures of the Dark Dimension are demonic, there is no indication that the inhabitants of the Light Dimension have any angelic qualities.

The crystal (the acquisition of which is the main motivation of the characters of Criticom) turns out to be the Core Prime Element of a Master Key, one which holds the power to all the secrets in the universe. The Master Key was found eons ago lodged in a spatial tear. When it was retrieved it burst into three pieces, sending two pieces into alternate dimensions, and widening the tear into the game's namesake Dark Rift.


Review scores
Publication Score
AllGame 1.5/5 (N64)[6]
3/5 (PC)[7]
GamePro 4/5[8]
GameSpot 5/10 [2]
IGN 5.4/10 [1]

Doug Perry at IGN.com referred to the game as "a visually attractive game with very little in the way of gameplay."[1] IGN's Peer Schneider said "Dark Rift suffers from a horrible lack of personality and is virtually devoid of any innovation."[1] Jeff Gerstmann of GameSpot said it "feels like a Virtua Fighter-inspired mishmash of monsters, demons, and guys with guns. The graphic effects are the only things that save Dark Rift from falling below average."[2]

Scary Larry at GamePro gave Dark Rift a short but positive review, stating simply "Although Dark Rift may not be in the elite class of fighters, Nintendo 64 owners starving for a slaying may find themselves satiated by a weekend with Dark Rift." He gave the game a score 4/5.[8] In reference to the "Trilogy of Terror" title used for Kronos's fighting games, Stan Liu (head and founder of Kronos) said "we got stuck doing fighting games for a while simply because we were one of the very few U.S. game developers that actually made a fighting game. Hence, Dark Rift and Cardinal Syn." [9]


  • Farkas, B & Kiang, D: "Dark Rift: Official Secrets & Solutions", Prima Publishing, 1997


  1. ^ a b c d "IGN: Dark Rift Review". Ign64.ign.com. Retrieved 2012-06-25. 
  2. ^ a b c d July 10, 1997 12:00AM PDT (1997-06-30). "Dark Rift for Nintendo 64 Review - Nintendo 64 Dark Rift Review". Gamespot.com. Retrieved 2012-06-25. 
  3. ^ "Dark Rift". Electronic Gaming Monthly. Ziff Davis (84): 77. July 1996. 
  4. ^ "Video Games PC Xbox 360 PS3 Wii PSP DS PS2 PlayStation 2 GameCube GBA PlayStation 3". GameSpot. Archived from the original on September 29, 2007. Retrieved 2012-06-25. 
  5. ^ "Fear Effect 2: Retro Helix Review". GameCritics.com. 2001-03-08. Archived from the original on May 31, 2012. Retrieved 2012-06-25. 
  6. ^ Wigmore, Glenn (2010-10-03). "((( Dark Rift > Overview )))". allgame. Retrieved 2012-06-25. 
  7. ^ Wigmore, Glenn (2010-10-03). "((( Dark Rift > Overview )))". allgame. Retrieved 2012-06-25. 
  8. ^ a b "Review: Dark Rift for N64 on Gamepro.com". Web.archive.org. 2011-07-17. Archived from the original on February 14, 2005. Retrieved 2012-06-25. 
  9. ^ "Interview with Stan Liu – Part 1". GameCritics.com. 2001-04-04. Retrieved 2012-06-25.