|The programmers at n-Space
have done a bang up job of recreating and improving the original Die Hard Trilogy cart,
which was famous for including three discreet styles of gameplaya 3rd
person actioner, a shooter, and a driving gamebased on the Bruce Willis
blockbusters. In Die Hard Trilogy 2 you have the option of playing in movie mode,
alternating between the three game styles while following a cinematic story line; or
arcade mode, which allows you to choose one of the game styles and play it through. Each
mode contains exclusive levels, ensuring that you will want to try both.
The story is just as silly and improbable and fun as any of the movies. John McClane, hung-over as ever, is woken by a call from an old police buddy who has been appointed warden of a new maximum security prison in Las Vegas. Said friend wants McClane to share in his glory at a banquet being held in the friends honor. Yes, the banquet is being held at the prison, and yes, a riot ensues and the party-goers are captured. McClane, a terrorists worst nightmare, escapes and is all alone, working his way through the bowels of the prison, killing inmates, and saving the day. Who holds a lavish banquet in a prison? Really dumb rich guys, I guess. I dont know. I dont care. To be honest, I bet this script was just inches away from being greenlit in Hollywood.
The movie mode made all the difference for me. Lets face it, there is no way the individual games contained in either of the single Die Hard Trilogy discs could equal the complexity of Tomb Raider, or Time Crisis, or Grand Turismo bought separately. But here the game styles alternate smoothly and with flare. The cinema screens create a true movie experience as McClane narrowly makes it through giant closing doors and ducks through ventilation shafts. You feel like you are a part of the big-screen action. I just didnt get that out of the first game.
The overall look of the game is an improvement over the first, as the individual styles of gameplay have been better integrated into one fluid game. The characters are smoother, the backgrounds intricate and lively. I admit that the bright, open streets of New York in the original served as a more interesting landscape for the driving sequences than the gloomy Nevada deserts, but Las Vegas looses its atmosphere in the daylight hours, doesnt it?
The sound is here and there. The effects are dead on. The soundtrack is terrific, interlacing tense action riffs with whimsical interludes as scenes cut between, say, a bus raging out of control, and the innocent passers-by that it is bearing down on. But what is it with that second-rate Bruce Willis knock off doing the voiceovers? Willis has done the video game dubbing routine before; he seems the obvious choice to play, well, himself.
The third person perspective scenes play well. The control is a little clumsy at first, but you get used to it pretty quickly. Walk forward, backward, turn, strafe, gun, grenade, action, that sort of thing. The first person look feature is useful for pinpointing hard to get targets. The laser sight is a god send, more than some games have the foresight to provide. During these scenes you set out to solve puzzles and kill the bad guys. There is a lot of interaction with the backgroundyou leave bullet holes and blood everywhere, you can shoot out windows and computer screens (not always recommended)though the extent of your interaction is predetermined. For instance, just because you shot out one window in a room doesnt mean that the other identical windows will do anything other than spider-web. I liked the way that explosions (and flaming prisoners) set off safety sprinklers, and that you could watch the halls around you from a bank of monitors connected to the same cameras that were tracking your movement through the prison. However, I would have preferred to have a jump button, as it would have made some of the puzzles play out a little more logically.
As far as I am concerned, and this is my biggest complaint about the game, the shooting sequences absolutely require a light gun. The camera moves too fast and tracks across too many attackers to get any kind of aim with the crosshairs. But if you have a light gun, these scenes are a blast. They are quirky, fast paced, and challenging. There are an infinite number of things to shoot and the enemies die with style. One scene even leads you crawling through the buildings rat-infested duct work, popping out of vents and assailing your targets. Dont like rats? Blow them away, too. In the end, this was probably my favorite feature of the game, I just dont like the fact that, in order for it to be fun, it necessitates a peripheral that can cost as much as the game itself.
Control during the driving sequences is about what you would expect. Gameplay consists of finding the best route through the level while collecting time and nitrous boosts, and, of course, wrecking the bad guys vehicles and putting an end to their evil ways. I was impressed that the vehicles sustained visible damage and that your car was at risk this time as well. As with the previous game, you can mow down anything in your pathfences, cows, pedestrians, nothing is sacred. Drive a little crazy and you will have to use your windshield wipers just to see through the bloodliterally.
This brings me to another possible problem: the gore factor. This is a very violent game. Even if the violence is done tongue-in-cheek, the fact remains that characters spray and splatter the walls as they are shot, prisoners are strapped to electric chairsfry them if you please, and there is no penalty for splattering pedestrians in the street. While this doesnt bother me, it may be a little much for some gamers. It definitely earns its "mature" rating.
Die Hard Trilogy 2 is simply a fun game. The different styles of gameplay, the cinematic feel, the tongue-in-cheek humor, even the absurdity of it all makes for a worthwhile ride. The 28 levels will provide plenty of challenges for the money, and the individual game styles in the arcade mode will give it some replay value. It is nowhere near as complex as most of the titles which offer one mode of gameplay, but it is more complete than the original title, and if you value diversity, and are willing to go with the flow, check this one out.