Misunderstood gaming gems: Die hard
Die hard is a at fun 2D overhead shooter that actually lets you influence the course of the game through your actions. It masterfully sets up a scenario and lets you explore all the different possiblities and consequences. Most of all it's a very fun game that people should at least try out once.
I love me some AVGN and one of my favorite reviews is the Die Hard episode. The timing is great, the effects work well and it all builds up to an intense finale. Still I felt that from what I was shown of the game, it looked pretty decent. So I decided to give it a whirl myself. What I found may be one of the best games on the NES.
|That first fight one of the hardest. But once you have that weapon you can use it to unleash mass destruction upon your enemies.||Poor Franko, he'll never see the hail of bullets coming his way because I always flashbang the elevator before he has a chance to get out.|
For those of you who haven’t watched the review, let’s see what Die hard is all about. As you can probably tell it’s an overhead shooter. You can point and walk and run in 8 directions. The normal pistol and grenade are limited to these 8 directions, while machinegun fire can be spread between them. So you see some bad guys, they shoot at you, you shoot at them and if you succeed they drop some interesting items. You get to wield the machine gun, that the opponents showed you could be used to spread, (conveyance ftw). With the immediate danger taken care of, exploration and experimentation follow. Pressing start reveals a pause screen with a lot of information, the first clue that there might be more to this game than initially suspected. (though convoluted pause screens can just as well indicate bad game design) It also shows the amount of enemies yet to face. This sets the game apart from most other NES titles, where common enemies are nothing more than fodder for you to shred through. Here they even have names which you can hear if you pick up an enemy radio. Besides that you can also pick up a map, a rocket, C4, and a detonator. You can use these to get to the main computer and buy yourself more time, but it’s not required. It makes it a lot easier to kill most enemies before the time is up this way. Any enemy you fail to kill will be waiting for you in a final shootout, so it’s worth the effort.
|The police aren't going to be of any help, it's all up to you to stop these thugs, just like in the movie. If you're quick you can call them from the roof.||seems simple enough, health, running power, ammo, gimmicky timer and ... number of crooks. It immediately stands out.|
Whenever you get shot you lose an item and here’s where the real fun begins. It’s not just that you can use the items, but your enemies can as well. As such you can affect the ending of the game by dropping items like the detonator and the rocket on purpose, letting them fall back into enemy hands. The ending of the game is affected by this in real ways and that’s where this game shines. It takes a simple overhead shooter approach, creates a setting and sets you loose. You’re free to play how you want and do what you want. You can crawl through vents, flashbang the shit out of people, blow up the main computer or run away from everyone leading to a giant 40 vs 1 shootout at the end.
|If you don't kill any of the crooks you can fight them all in one giant battle on the 30th floor. Even on novice this is an extremely hard fight. On advance it's bullet hell.||Forgot to pick the detonater back up and oops, the top of the building gets blown up. At least the hostages weren't there so nobody died... This time.|
Die hard is a hard game (especcially on advance where enemies take multiple hits) but it's also a lot of fun to mess around with. If you’re a fan of overhead shooters or like the way Majora’s mask used it’s time loop mechanic to tell deeper stories, this should be right up your ally and you should at least give it a try. You won’t be disappointed.
James has often said that the nerd's opinions aren't neccicarily his own. I think this is one of those cases. He wrote a fantastic die hard episode and the game needed to be presented that way to work. I think that's fine, but I also think this game deserves another honest look and so I wrote this post.
I remember thinking the same thing the first time I watched that AVGN episode. James did make the game look liek crap, but at the same time, it seemed like it had a lot of depth to it that could really make it great. I'm sure it's flawed, but now that I have a more honest review, maybe I'll check it out.