Reviews: Die Hard

Die Hard Arcade game review

You're on a tall tower filled with terrorists, and you have to fight your way through. That's about all this game, originally titled Dynamite Deka in Japan, has in common with Die Hard. The whole "Rescue The President's Daughter" thing was tossed in there, along with a 2-player co-op mode.

This is your standard 2D beat-em-up where you attack only left and right but can move in any direction, except that it's done with 3D graphics. That presents its share of problems, as I'd pick up weapons and then find I can only use them left or right.

Speaking of weapons, there are a lot of them, and they add a good chunk of variety to the game. Besides melee weapons, you get a variety of guns with very limited ammo. It works well, as this isn't a shooting game at all, so the shooting never overpowers the combat. Unfortunately the left/right attacking harms the shooting action - since you can only shoot left or right, you have no choice but to position yourself horizontal to the enemy. It's a dumb requirement that makes no sense in 3D. You also don't turn around quickly, which makes movement more stiff than it should be.

In the combat's favor, there are a ton of fighting moves. Through combinations of grabbing (done by running right up to an enemy), jumping, punching and kicking, you can perform all sorts of moves such as suplexing an enemy, throwing them, elbowing them to the ground, or shoving them to the ground and punching them in the face. Enemies can also break out of your grabs, and sometimes you can reverse a grab they've performed on you. It took me a little while to learn the system, but I was able to grasp it pretty well about halfway into my half-hour play session.

Yes, half-hour play session. This game is short. I don't think it was even a half-hour! Still, the gameplay doesn't get boring, because it keeps changing. Press X to Not Die events show up more often than I'd like, but they're not too bad. New enemy types and the weapon variety keep things fast and fresh, and the short length works to the game's favor considering its arcade origins.

The cutscenes are cheesy, the voice acting awful, the music (done by Sonic 3's Howard Drossin) forgettable, but the rest of the experience is enjoyable enough that I can see why this game is considered a Sega classic.