Die Hard Vendetta GameCube Review

Yipee-kai-ay m*****f*****! After a trilogy of films, spawning two trilogies of games on the PS1 and a few on the PC, John McClane has finally shot his way onto the GameCube. With news of this game as far back as June made it eagerly anticipated by many of the Project Alpha team, including me, of course. The game promised you to be able to take control of LAPD John McClane, whose out to rescue his grown up daughter, who also works at the LAPD, after she was kidnapped by none other than Hans Gruber’s son out for revenge!

The game takes you over 11 levels of explosions, shootouts and swearing, and possibly one of the best plots in a game yet. A plot that could’ve been from a Die Hard movie itself, and is a very good reason in itself to keep plugging away at the game. Each level is split up into “chapters”, which means once you pass a certain point in a level you will resurrect there.

Trust me, you will be resurrecting a lot. Each of the levels is quite lengthy and even on the easiest setting pretty hard. I did not manage to even do a chapter in the whole game without dying at least once. That may just be me being rubbish at the game, but I’ve got a feeling the majority of gamers would agree with me. This element definitely adds frustration, because each time you die you get the unskipable “OBJECTIVE FAILED: try to stay alive John!” message which takes years to appear. You WILL want to throw your pad down in frustration, rip the game in half or even go over to Bruce Willis’s house and give him a piece of your mind. But the very fact that the game appears impossible may drive you onwards even more. Swearing occurs frequently in the game, so much so in fact that I didn’t even notice it after the first couple of levels. It isn’t just the arses and craps we are talking about either, we are talking about all the words that Sunday school says sends you to hell.

On to the visuals. The visuals are not exactly pushing the GC and appear quite bland and uninspired. But there are some smart little effects, like when you get a “Critical Hit” and the camera goes into slow-mo, following the key bullet from your gun barrel all the way into the enemy’s chest/face, the bullet leaves a trail through the air, and the first couple of time you see it you will be impressed, but quickly it becomes repetitive.

But what all true gamers have realised a long time ago, graphics are not everything. The core gameplay here is very good, with numerous set-pieces which, again, could be straight from a movie and little moments which give you a little chuckle as you notice it, such as on the Prison level when you end up in the “insane” area, you’ll see and hear a guy hammering at a wall and when he pauses you hear a reply coming from the other side of the wall. You go round the other side of the wall and….well, it’s quite funny. The game has many smart ideas, which it uses once or twice, such as wearing disguises in order to progress and the Bullet time…I mean “Hero Time”. This is where after doing good things a bar builds up, and you press Y to activate it. Classical orchestral music kicks in, and everything apart from you slows down, perfect for those crowded areas. Except, once you start it you cannot stop, so a slip of the finger can set it off in a completely empty area. Very frustrating. And, personally I didn’t use it much, which is probably why I died so much. The controls are also aggravating; apparently Bits Studios were trying to implement Goldeneye controls, with the L shoulder used for aiming and the C-stick used for strafing (think back to the C buttons for Goldeneye). The controls do not fit well, partly because the strafing itself is slow and partly because of the auto-jump feature. Wander too close to a rooftop’s edge and McClane will bizarrely jump off. You will loose a bit of health over this flaw and will most probably die a few times. Overall the gameplay is addictive, but very frustrating. This can be more frustrating for some and more addictive for others.

As you wander about you will hear music well suited to the surroundings, such as the heavy beat music at the “Gangsta’s” place, and the sound effects are appropriate too. The guns sound good, but unfortunately all feel the same, and the speech is great. Sometimes you wander about and you hear a voice, you get into the action mode and scan the area before realising that the voice was your own… As mentioned swearing occurs a lot, but does end up being unnoticeable as it happens so much.

In my opinion, and it’s my review so it counts for a lot, the lack of multiplayer is the most disappointing aspect of the game. The game has all the guns, the ideal areas and the ideal characters, “Homie Gangsta”, fat al, Nitro, superb list. But like I said, no multi. Not only does that aspect mean that you’ll never play as Gruber and take down McClane yourself, but also you will not be able to share the possible magic with your friends. The fact that there is no multiplayer damages the lifespan of the game because the solo mode is so damn hard, even on the easiest setting that you won’t want to go through all the hassle again. So there we have it, a classic example of a game, which you will either love or hate. If you are a huge fan of the film your enjoyment won’t be much improved, except for the fact you are playing as THE John McClane, but you will probably love it. If you need good controls or were expecting a fairly easy ride, you will probably be one of the haters. My advice? Rent it first before you consider buying it.

6 out of 10