Review by Mr. Sparkle

"A must have for Saturn."

INFO

This is a 3D beat-em-up, which was developed by AM1 of Sega. I believe it was originally developed on the ST-V (Saturn) arcade board, so the Saturn version is of course, for the most part, ''arcade perfect''. Sega for some reason decided to get a Die Hard license, so everybody's favorite Bruce Willis is the star of the game, even though the story is not directly from the movie.

VISUAL

Looks pretty nice. The graphics engine seems extremely similar to the Virtua Cop 2 port (probably other way around, seeing as DHA's arcade version looked like this originally). The textures are a bit ugly and blocky by today's standards, but compared to PSX lightgun shooters, I think it looks better. Framerate is good at 30 fps, and there is no noticeable slowdown.

Games like Die Hard Arcade show that Saturn's 3D capabilities could compete perfectly with PSX if worked with in the right hands. This game especially made me think Metal Gear Solid... It's a shame Konami never gave Sega the priority with any games.

AUDIO

The music is... Die Hard-like. It's rather quiet, but it fits the mood well. Sort of chaotic orchestral music. And the sounds are fine. Sometimes the girls groan like men when hit, but for the most part, everything sounds good.

GAMEPLAY

Alright, here's where the game scores high. It may be extremely short (5 levels), but it almost feels like playing a one-on-one fighting game, except with more people of course. AM1 wisely incorporated Virtua Fighter and All Japan Pro Wrestling Featuring Virtua special moves.

There are 3 buttons: punch, kick, and jump. Punch and kick can be used together to make easy 3-5 hit combos, like in Virtua Fighter, and pressing a different direction plus punch or kick or will give you a different attack and/or combo. You of course have full 3D control to move anywhere, but the fighting takes place horizontally, never up and down the screen, so the game almost feels like it's 2D, which I think is a good thing.

To grab opponents, you just walk into them. You can then punch/knee them three times, but here's where the AJPWFV style comes into play: pressing a combination of buttons quickly does a throw move. You can do a piledriver, suplex, over throw (like Kage's in VF), face buster, spinning leg toss (like Wolf's), arm throw, etc. This makes the game a bit more fun.

Also, like in Streets of Rage, there's a special move that lets you get all the opponents of you if they surround you or hold you. It's just a spin kick, which is done when you press punch kick and jump at the same time. It takes a little energy away, but it is invincible to all attacks.

You can pick up brooms, pipes, robots' legs (which you kick off), and sticks to beat people. There's pepper and a spray can that can be shot at guys to choke them, or if you find a lighter, can shoot a flame. You can throw TVs, clocks, barrells, and other things at guys. There's a nice variety of weapons: handgun, machinegun, awesome bazooka, and a really powerful rifle that shoots an enemy across the screen and causes him to bounch off the wall (and you can juggle guys by bouncing them off the walls, it's really funny!).

You progress through each level by going through individual rooms. By keeping the game located in one room at a time, the camera angle never changes, so you always have the side view. At the end of each level (there are 5), you fight a boss. All the bosses are pretty powerful. And of course there's the final battle.

Lastly, there are quicktime action sequences after every couple of rooms. While the video plays, you have to press the button that is flashing to hit a bodyguard while running or to dodge a missile or something. Not too hard. The game gives you enough time to press the button without a problem usually.

LOADING TIMES

There are really low loading times in this game, so the game runs greatly! But... One thing stinks. The game has FMV sequences after beating certain rooms or a level. The voice acting is pretty bad, but the worse thing is that the game uses all its loading times during these videos. So the music and sound in them is constantly interrupted. This gets annoying, but oh well. You can just turn the videos off in the menu or skip them, so it's not that big of a problem when you're playing the game for the tenth time.

REPLAY VALUE

Well, I still reach out and play it sometimes. And it's a great game to play with a friend. The game starts you out with 4 credits, and that can't be altered. I think it is almost impossible to win the game with 4 credits. Fortunately, there's a version of Sega's classic game, Deep Scan. You just try to hit as many submarines as possible with torpedos by dropping them from the top, and you have to dodge other torpedos. Every 200 points, you get an extra credit, and through this, you are able to beat the game easily.

I beat the game using 5 credits once, but I usually play Deep Scan for a few minutes to get 10. It's an okay idea, but sort of annoying. The game would be a bit easier to beat if the health bars enemies dropped gave more health, because they practically give nothing.

WORTH BUYING?

Yes! Well, the game was a bit rare and expensive a few years ago, but I think the price has fallen really low in recent times. Just want to finish by saying that this game has a really good fighting engine. The graphics are 3D, but the gameplay is more-so 2D (side scrolling). I think Sega's newest Streets of Rage (if it ever does come out) should follow the same style format (with the classic SoR controls of course), and just extend the levels out of the single rooms and just progress horizontally. Keep have bazookas!

Die Hard Arcade -- 8/10


Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 06/19/01, Updated 08/20/03


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