Go back to Die Hard: Nakatomi Plaza

Written by: Rik

Date posted: January 21, 2008

To me, there’s not much point in avoiding direct comparisons with the film and treating the game ‘on its own merits’, because the fact that this is a Die Hard game is pretty much the only reason for anyone to buy or play it. So the level of authenticity is important. While die-hard Die Hard (sorry) fans may have even more quibbles, here are a few things that I noticed, as a reasonably big fan of the movie:


1. The intro is pretty good. Yes, Argyle is literally all right, and so is everything else, pretty much.


2. As the action heats up, familiar scenes come at you thick and fast. Mr Takagi’s unfortunate end is done pretty well, although Gruber’s quip about him not being able to join his fellow employees ‘for the rest of his life’ is sadly omitted. To be honest, when you’re a developer with access to a Hollywood script, you really shouldn’t be messing around with it in the belief that you can make it better. This isn’t a huge problem, but if you’re fairly familiar with the movie you might notice one or two other largely pointless changes.


3. Some of the swearing has had to be cut, presumably in order to get the game classified as a 15. This means some swears are allowed, but they aren’t all that frequent, which means some memorable lines are slightly diluted. So while McClane does deliver his famous ‘Yippie-ki-yay’ line uncensored, he doesn’t swear at the jobsworth police radio operator. Such trade-offs are fair enough, I suppose, but I’m not sure the right calls are made here. Or maybe they could have kept the script as it was and toned down some of the RELENTLESS GUN VIOLENCE.


4. You face off against some of the more memorable terrorists (ie those that feature in the film as opposed to acting as cannon fodder) although these battles aren’t what they could be. For a start, your foe is flanked by several buddies, so any thoughts of a skilful duel should swiftly be dismissed, and even when you get it down to one-on-one, the AI isn’t all that clever, with the increased difficulty largely being down to their ridiculous durability when faced with a stream of bullets. Oh, and you won’t get to kill any of them in a clever way, either, so say goodbye to hanging anyone with a chain.


5. Now this is something that bothered me. In the game, you do start off with a pistol, but by the time you’ve gunned down several hundred terrorists in the first couple of levels, you’ll have been using a machine gun for some time. Which kind of ruins the ‘ho ho ho’ bit, really. It’s just one of many moments that highlights the difference between the subtle tension of the film and the implausible FPS gun-fest that is the game. In a further departure from the movie, you also get your hands on more powerful weapons, although seeing as ammunition for any of these is as rare as rocking-horse shit, you actually end up unintentionally ‘keeping it real’ for most of the game.


6. Unsurprisingly, since he’s the only actor from the film that’s been tempted back, Reginald VelJohnson’s Sergeant Al Powell gets a bigger role here. In one respect, that’s fair enough, seeing as he was hardly a minor character in the first place, but here he starts ordering McClane around at times, sending him here and there as if he was in charge. Speaking of ‘here and there’, it’s also worth mentioning that you seem able to hop from floor to floor without too much difficulty in this game, with one level set in the parking garage, and the next calling for you to speed back up to the thirtieth floor. You’re up and down like a frickin’ yo-yo.


7. The whole C4/detonators thing doesn’t seem to be done right. For a start, I can’t remember McClane a) finding a whole load of C4, or b) ever picking up the detonators in the game. Which would be such a big oversight I almost can’t believe that it isn’t in there. If I’m wrong, feel free to write in and correct me – you could win a prize – but if I am, then I must have missed it both times I played it through. Which, admittedly, isn’t beyond the realms of possibility.


8. In the film, Ellis is such a gigantic prick that the actor playing him must either be a complete tosser in real life, or very good at pretending to be one (ie a professional film and television actor). Whoever plays him here is clearly phoning it in, but even if you couldn’t get someone to sound like him, it doesn’t cost anything extra to make him look vaguely similar.


9. And speaking of which, why the hell have they made both Agent Johnsons from the FBI look exactly the same? For a start, it completely ruins the ‘No relation’ joke, which is retained. Also, there’s not nearly enough of Dwayne T. Robinson in this game for my liking.


10. As mentioned in the main review, Hans Gruber is fairly well recreated here, especially the famous ‘Bill Clay’ scene. However, there are a couple of glitches here, too. Firstly, once the face-off is resolved and it’s obvious to even those who haven’t seen the film that he’s not really American and, you know, ought to be on TV with that accent, you can shoot him, but if you do, it’s ‘Game Over’. And he doesn’t say ‘SchieƟ auf das fenster’ either. Rubbish!