Oh they definitely did an amazing job with what they had to work with, I just still thought it controlled way too poorly to be any fun. Again this is just my personal experience, I have friends that loved it.
Did you try all control schemes? I didn't like the default controls either so i was using the "solitaire" scheme which was similar to Turok and was holding the controller using the D Pad to move and the analog to look around, much like a Keayboard + Mouse. This way it was pretty great actually, almost like todays shooters.
Btw, you can even setup a real dual analog scheme exactly like a modern shooter using either two N64 controllers on the console or use an emulator and a modern dual analog controller. Its like RARE knew what the future standard for FPS controls would be but there wasn't a dual analog controller for the N64 to use them. Imagine if there was, Goldeneye would have been the game to set the standard way before Halo (or whatever) since the controller scheme was right there in the options.
That sounds incredible. PD is one of my favorite games of all time, and to think they're could've been more... Unfortunately, as quite a few people already pointed out, that the N64 was already at the end of its life cycle so even if MS didn't buy them it still would've had to transition. Not to mention how the control scheme would've held up if they kept their original layout, only to compete with Halo only a few months later? It might be considered an overlooked gem, but ultimately PD1 released at the best possible time it could, and anything else after would've been downhill.
GoldenEye and Perfect Dark were my multiplayer cocaine. Most prefer the former, but the latter is definitely my favourite. So much content, and a huge technical accomplishment on the N64 (even if it often pushed things too far). Getting a second Perfect Dark on the N64 would have been too good to be true.
The weapons were the fun as hell, and the UI spot on for switching between them, among other nice design choices. The variety and number of gameplay options hooked me right in. I miss transforming laptop gun sentries and dropping weapons as proximity mines when the ammo runs out. Bring back the creativity in FPSes.