Review by Achilles Heel

"The Die Hard game which has nothing to do with Die Hard"

Ah, Die Hard Arcade… In my misguided youth (which was only a few years ago…) I was quite fond of DHA. I’d go to the movie theater, a sin in itself, to play this wonderful game. I didn’t care that it ate quarters like my fat uncle eats hot dogs, but that’s okay. It was fun, and that’s all that matters, right? Keeping with the spirit of the arcade game, the Saturn port of DHA is extremely fun. I mean, who wouldn’t like kicking punks’ butts with hair spray?

Story: 4/10
Strangely enough, DHA has no correlation with the Die Hard movies, other than the fact that John McClane is the main character. Basically, some wacko named “White Fang” or something or other has infiltrated and taken over a bank with the help of some punks, and kidnapped the Bank President’s daughter, along with McClane’s wife. Being the plucky fellow he is, McClane decides to go on a police helicopter with a rookie cop and eradicate the bad guys. Same old plot that’s been reused a hundred times… Yawn.

Gameplay: 9.3/10
As John McClane and his police partner, you’ll brawl your way through the bank to reach White Fang! This is the classic 3D beat em’ up we’ve been waiting for, folks! Utilizing the Virtua Fighter engine, you can use the same punch-kick combos as in that game. In addition to that, you can use various weaponry scattered throughout, such as brooms, pistols, missile launchers, anti-tank weaponry, and the good ol’ spray cans (which can be combined with lighters! Heh heh…). At the end of each level, you’ll fight a boss, such as a sumo wrestler or a rouge football player.

Interspersed throughout the beating up of evil punks (with dyed hair, of course), there are “Quick-Time Events” similar to the ones in Shenmue. You’ll see a cut scene of McClane running through an area such as a hall, and then the game will tell you to hit punch, kick, or jump. If you hit the correct button quickly enough, McClane will take down a villain. If not, he’ll miss and you’ll have to battle the punk.

Continues are gained through playing an old Sega game called “Deep Scan” in which you play a battleship dropping bombs down at submarines. It’s fun, yes, but eventually annoying. Having to earn continues exclusively by playing it becomes monotonous when you only wish to play a quick game.

Worth mentioning is the EVIL final boss. He’s cheap! He blocks almost all of your moves, and gets to throw tons of knives when you get nothing projectile-wise, to throw at him! Dirty cheater… Also, he has the advantage of tons of moves more than you, so the balance completely tips to his favor. I can see why Sega did this in the arcade game (to get money…) but why they didn’t tone him down for the home version, I’ll never know…

Control: 10/10
Like Virtua Fighter, control is spot-on. You won’t lose because of the recognition, but your own inner unworthiness… Uh, yeah… Anyway, the control is excellent and responsive. Enough said…

Difficulty: Easy
DHA itself is not an easy game. The punks can get a few cheap hits, and the bosses are extremely hard. The end boss is annoying, like I mentioned before. Had it not been for the Deep Scan game, DHA would be really difficult. However, since Deep Scan allows you to earn an unlimited amount of continues, you can rack up 30 continues and breeze through. It’s unfortunate that Deep Scan allows you to earn so many; some sort of limit would be very nice.

Graphics: 6/10
DHA is not graphically excellent; not even close. The characters suffer from the same inherent blockiness first shown in Virtua Cop; the Saturn just doesn’t do 3D well. The textures are very bland, and the faces… Ick! It’s worth skipping through the cutscenes just so you don’t have to expose yourself to the President’s daughter’s face. I can’t say enough about her ugly mug, except that I’ve heard some have had their eyes burned out from exposure to “it”. *shudder*

Sound: 8/10
The music is mostly nice, but it just blends into the background. The voices in the cutscenes are cheesy, of course, and sort of annoying. (The president’s daughter, of course, is again awful! I hate her…) The sound effects are mostly good, but can get grinding on the nerves.

Value: 5/10
After one play-through of DHA (which takes only thirty minutes), you’ll most likely get extremely bored. It’s always more of the same, with no change. Deep Scan is a nice addition to add to the replay value, but beyond the regular arcade mode, there’s nothing. It’s always fun to play through it, just for a nice beat ‘em up, but it’s still a really short game. And for the price of $30 (it’s still that expensive, even now in 2001), it’s just too small.

For those of you, like me, that crave a beat ‘em up, this is for you. If you loved Streets of Rage, this is similar, but still not a true sequel. It’s too bad that Sega hadn’t made this a Streets of Rage sequel, instead of a Die Hard game that has nothing to do with Die Hard.
For those of you who love Virtua Fighter, this is your game too. For the rest of you just wanting a Die Hard game, you need not apply. Go play Die Hard Trilogy…

+ A nice beat ‘em up
+ Deep Scan is a nice addition
+ Virtua Fighter aspects
- Very short
- Deep Scan allows you to breeze through
- Subpar graphics, especially the President’s daughter

Overall Score: 7.5/10
Rounded up to GameFAQs standards: 8/10

Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 06/06/01, Updated 11/08/01

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