The Retro Critic

Die Hard Trilogy

Welcome to the party, pal.

Movie-based games very rarely achieve what they endeavor to achieve. Either they end up being rushed, cheaply made and clunky as hell or they just miss the mark completely.

Or they’re good but that’s a rarity.

Remember Ghostbusters on the NES? Sure you do, I’ve mentioned it many times before. Talk about not capturing the essence of the source material…


At least that Die Hard game on the same console was ridiculously hard, which made sense considering it was based on a movie in which one guy takes on an entire building full of thieving terrorists. But although the game followed the film’s basic plot, it still didn’t give me what I wanted from a Die Hard game.

Except a somewhat badass title screen:

Die Hard Cover

“Push Start” lol

Speaking of which, A Good Day To Die Hard was out this month and although its impressive suckage was somewhat soul-crushing, three good things came out of it:

– I can appreciate Die Hard 4.0 a tad more now it’s officially NOT the worst Die Hard film around.

– It made me want to revisit the first three movies, which are still badass.

– It got me to play that Die Hard Trilogy game on the PS1 again and inspired me to write this article!

Otherwise, yeah. Bad movie.

Yippie Kay NAY.

Back when my Sega Saturn was still alive, I would play Die Hard Trilogy religiously. This is a game I never expected to be any good. After all, I had played Die Hard and Die Hard 2 on the Commodore 64, I knew the type of Die Hard game that was out there and it scared me. To my surprise, though, I found not only one good Die Hard game but three! Based on one of the best movie trilogies ever!

Die Hard Trilogy

The game had slightly cartoonish but very decent graphics for the time and offered a huge game based on the first movie in which McClane makes his way up and down that crazy-tall building killing bad guys (of which there are THOUSANDS, for some reason), saving hostages and eating the occasional hot dog.

It was a thing of beauty.

Not only were you playing as John McClane, who was actually given the occasional Bruce Willis-voiced wisecrack, but finally you were playing a worthy Die Hard game! Sure it didn’t follow the plot note for note, but it didn’t need to, the game understood what a fan of the movies would look for in a game based on that particular franchise and it delivered.

Die Hard Basement 2

You’re running around barefoot, picking up a good range of weapons along the way and every level, though they offer a lot of the same things, manages to feel different and offer new challenges which demand tactical changes on your part. Sometimes you can just blast through everything all guns blazing but sometimes staying in one spot and killing a few dudes one by one until the number of opponents becomes more manageable is the way to go. At the end of every level, you’re required to stop a bomb from blowing up on that floor by running into the right elevator and disarming it: most stressful moment in a game. Ever.

Well, not really but still, if you’re unsure which elevator to run to, it can get pretty intense.

Die Hard Basement

Each level is surprisingly detailed (ok, it’s not exactly Crysis but for back in the day I mean) and does remarkably well to keep you glued to your screen for as long as possible. It’s not an easy game by all means but no matter how long you’ve been playing it for, how many times you lose, you’re still always having a ball.

The game boasts a fun tongue-in-cheek attitude with a slightly cruel sense of humour and the A.I. throughout is so ridiculous it’s actually completely entertaining. It’s an adorably flawed game which feels very uneven by today’s standards but is still charming as hell and frankly irresistible.

With A Vengeance

The second game on there is based on Die Hard 2: Die Harder (“Die Harder” lol) and instead of going for a third-person action adventure again, this time you’re given an arcade-style shooter to play with and although it lacks the awesome factor of the first game (much like the films, in fact), it’s still really enjoyable. I do think you need to be rather good at that type of game, though, to fully appreciate it. This is one I’ve always been rubbish at personally.

Die Hard 2

Then there’s the Die Hard With A Vengeance driving game.

Based on my personal favourite Die Hard flick, this is a truly nutty one I have to say.

Again, it captures the essence of the movie beautifully as genius douchebag Simon sends you and your new pal (Samuel L. Jackson, of course) all around town in a yellow cab stopping one bomb after the other by… slamming into them (?). It is non-stop and makes Crazy Taxi look like “Driving Miss Daisy: The Game.” There’s variety as well: one second you’re following a hot dog truck all over Central Park, the next you’re crushing everyone in your path as you try to avoid a conveniently placed traffic jam in order to defuse one of these damn bombs.

Die Hard 3

For a Die Hard fan, this game had it all.

Sure now it looks a bit dated and maybe there have been better Die Hard games since (I’m pretty sure there has been) but that was the last one I played personally and to the risk of landing on some weird Die Hard 4.0 game where all you’re doing is recording podcasts with Kevin Smith or some terrible A Good Day To Die Hard game where you’re McClane’s son fighting carrot-eating, tap-dancing villains as you de-radioactivise Tchernobyl, I think I’ll stick to this little retro Trilogy, thank you very much.

Anyway, Die Hard Trilogy on the Saturn or on PS1: criminally underrated.

Check it out ;)