"You surprise me again, McLaine..."
As you might have guessed, having enough intelligence to be able to read and find your way about the internet, Die Hard Trilogy from Fox Interactive is based on the series of (three) movies by the same name. The first Die Hard movie was great fun, and remains one of my favorite action flicks. The second (Die Harder) was, well... pretty stupid, as is usually the case. Finally, due to the law of diminishing returns, I never bothered to see the third (Die Hard with a Vengeance).
Let's face facts. Video games based on movies have consistently proven to be crap. A few memorable recent examples include The Crow, Batman Forever, SpaceJam, and Congo. So a game based on three movies should be three times as bad, right? Wrong. Keep reading because Die Hard Trilogy breaks the mold and delivers great action and good gameplay.
How do you base a game on three movies? Why you make three games, of course. Die Hard Trilogy has three completely separate and different games on one CD. And if this weren't enough to convince you... all three games are good, too.
The first game, based on the first movie, has a primitive Tomb Raider feel to it. You control Bruce Willis from a third person perspective as he annihilates the bad guys in an office building. Unlike Tomb Raider, there is no 'smart cam', there is only one view from above and behind Willis. When walls and other objects threaten to get in the way of your vision, they smoothly fade away. The emphasis is on firepower. There's no jumping, climbing, finding secrets, or exploring that really matters. Find the baddies and kill them. Oh, and you might want to free a few hostages along the way, but its not de rigeur.
The second game is, in my opinion, the pick of the litter. Its a gun game, so I hope you have a gun because trying to play gun games with the joypad is no fun. You start off at the airport terminal when suddenly things start exploding. There are people running around on fire, screaming, and of course, there are plenty of terrorists to shoot. While it doesn't have the crisp precision of Virtua Cop 2, the second part of Die Hard Trilogy is easily the best gun game made for the PSX. What it lacks in subtlety, it makes up for in chaos, mayhem and carnage.
I've never been in a real firefight (how many of us have?), but I know the cool, calculated sniping that gets you through most gun games cannot be what it's really like. The Die Harder game might be closer, with dozens of simultaneous gunmen spraying bullets everywhere, and you'll never get anywhere unless you spray right back. One shot sometimes kills, sometimes doesn't. It is impossible to play this game without killing quite a few innocent civilians.
Speaking of killing the innocent, in the Die Hard with a Vengeance game, you can run them down with your car and watch them fly. This part is a driving game, which is pretty fun. You have to maneuver through the crowded streets of New York , getting to certain points or vehicles and blowing them up before the timer runs out. If you take too long, an atomic bomb blows up the entire city (with you in it). Now there's some motivation. So just run over the pedestrians, smash into cop cars and cause general mayhem, because if you fail, everyone is dead anyway.
While I, with my sick sense of humor, didn't mind this a bit, it might be of concern to some consumers. This is a VERY violent game, and there is no penalty for killing civilians, innocents or good guys (except for a reduced bonus score). If you shoot a hostage instead if a terrorist, you just hear Bruce say, "Sorry pal" or "That's gotta hurt." If you run them over using the 'inside the car' view, their blood will sometimes splatter across the windshield. Don't worry, the wipers clean it off nicely.
Well, what did you expect? They were violent movies!
The graphics in all the games aren't revolutionary, but they're smooth and detailed and look good. The sound is also good, with a movie-like soundtrack (perhaps taken from the films) and Bruce Willis' real voice making snide comments.
The biggest flaw in the game was the disappointing finales. I didn't even realize when I was on the last level of the first game until I had completed it; it looked just like all the previous levels. The end of the gun game is clearly the end, but it is also the most poorly done level.
Aside from this, Die Hard Trilogy is great. It's also a bargain, with three games in one. So if you don't mind a little blood and carnage, go buy that extra clip for your submachine gun and get ready for some high caliber fun and a death count that makes Rambo look like a pacifist.