RELEASED: July 1991
AVAILABLE ON: NES
Lethal Weapon came out in 1987. This movie was the new standard for traditional action film. Instead of some buffed up supersoldier played by Sylvester Stallone or Arnold Schwarzenegger, it had a drunken, suicidal delinquent played by Mel Gibson. Instead of having anything to do with science fiction, it was a street ready buddy movie, packed to the brim with action and insanely funny punchlines as we used to know and love 'em. Just a year later, Lethal Weapon's standard was broken by somewhat of a spiritual follow-up, John McTiernan's Die Hard. Starring Bruce Willis, a newcomer to the big screen, Die Hard is arguably the greatest action film ever made, a true classic and an even more solid part of my holiday traditions than It's a Wonderful Life. Lethal Weapon and Die Hard are often compared to each other and widely regarded two of the most iconic action movies of all time. Both movies spawned their own bunch of video games, as well, and none of them were very good. Activision made their first Die Hard game for the PC in 1989 - it bombed. The Commodore 64 version, which came out a year later, fared a little better. In 1991, three years after the movie's premiere, a third unrelated game was published on the Nintendo Entertainment System. This game was also published by Activision, but made by Pack-In-Video, who were already responsible for some of the worst 8-bit movie licenses ever made, including Friday the 13th and Rambo. This game might lack the infamous logo of Pack-In-Video's usual partners in crime, but it certainly might as well be LJN's doing. In a word, Die Hard the video game is horrible.
The fly in the ointment, the monkey in the wrench, the pain in the ass
N.Y.P.D. officer John McClane meets up with his estranged wife Holly to spend Christmas with her at the Nakatomi Building, one of the largest office buildings in Los Angeles. When a group of German terrorists takes control of the building and everyone inside it hostage, cutting all communications, John takes it upon himself to neutralize the threat.
|The graphics suck. My God, they suck.|
The Die Hard movie franchise, as it was, was also rare as it spawned a very playable video game back in the mid-90's - Die Hard Trilogy, which is the main purpose of me taking on a couple of earlier Die Hard games like this. Before I even saw it, I knew that Die Hard for the NES would suck, royally. I even got AVGN to confirm it with a video review I consider one of his best ones yet. However, when I finally tried Die Hard, I found that the video merely scratched the surface. The game is one of the ugliest, most tedious licensed games I've ever played on the NES. The only things that carry it are the name, and the fact that unlike Pack-In-Video did with the abysmal Friday the 13th, they at least tried with Die Hard - tried to make it a relatively realistic adaptation of the movie.
The game is played from a very generic and stoic top-down perspective, and the vision of terror is crowned with hypnotically ugly floor patterns straight out of an epileptic's nightmare. Areas that are not within John's current field of vision are blacked out, which makes the game look even more of a mess. The so called cutscenes feature some really odd caricatures of the characters - got to say they nailed Rickman's Hans pretty well, though - and it's hard to see any distinction between background items. Not to mention to make out what they're supposed to be. The music is horrible and repetitive as heck. Good thing the game doesn't seem to be that long at all... if you can find enough sense in it to beat it, that is. I can't.
|Darn. I'll try again.|
There's somewhat of a different time limit to this game, which is tied to Theo's (the hacker) skill to hack the locks of the Nakatomi vault. If I'm not totally mistaken, you have about 20 minutes to beat the whole game. Failing to beat the clock apparently does not result in a game over, but a different ending. Imagine that - multiple endings. In a movie adaptation. Rad. Gotta wonder who's ignorant enough to go for another game of this fucking tardfest. I'd be happy just to reach one ending so I could lay this bastard to its deserved, shameful rest with a good conscience.
|Why did I do it?|
Some licensed games are fun to play or at least somewhat cool, because they're based on something you love. Even the suckiest Terminator games have their brief moments - except for The Terminator on the NES. Die Hard isn't fun in the least, not for one passing second. It had been three years since the movie's release - Pack-In-Video could've had some second thoughts and simply quit making the game halfway through development. No one would've minded - hell, no one would've noticed. But no, they had to carry the doomsday project to the end and leave another stain in the big book of licensed games made for the sake of capitalism, not the best of players in mind.
+ The movie's one of the best ever...
+ ...And the game's actually got something to do with it - which is quite rare
- Awful graphical presentation, all the way from background patterns to the angle itself
- Horrible, stiff controls that make confrontations a lot harder than they already are
- Foot power... bitch, please
- Cryptic advances that seem to make no sense or difference
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