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Die Hard: Vendetta

Review By:  2nd Opp

Developer:  Bits Corp
Publisher:  Fox Interactive
# of Players:  1
Genre:  FPS
ESRB:  Mature
Online:  No
Accessories:  Memory Card, Progressive Scan
Date Posted:  4-10-03

The Die Hard movies have always been some of my favorites. So when I heard that Gamecube was getting an exclusive game based on good old 'John McClane', I was pretty excited. Unfortunately I was detoured from buying the game by the advice of a number of reviews I've read. Now I've finally had the time to give the game a chance and have found out the game is not ALL bad. In fact I've actually had a good time while playing it.

In Die Hard: Vendetta you step into the shoes of John McClane, the unluckiest cop in New York. John is sitting back and watching a live TV broadcast that his daughter is doing security for. The show starts out fine, but the site of Piet Gruber on the screen sets him uneasy. Piet is the son of a terrorist that John unfortunately had to kill a while back. Suddenly all hell breaks loose, gunshots ring out and the event turns into a hostage situation. Not one to sit back and do nothing, McClaine jumps in his car and speeds down to the crisis scene to lend his gun. While the story may seem a little cheesy, it does follow Die Hard tradition.

Speaking of tradition, McClane has always been known for his foul mouth and sarcasm. Lucky for us Bits was not afraid to translate this part of his character to the game. You will hear an almost overwhelming amount of bad language, and thankfully all of it fits the situations thanks to some terrific voice acting. This isn't just for the main characters either, just about every character has a few lines to say. If John doesn't have someone to talk to, he'll talk sarcastically about himself in third person, saying things like "Don't F*** this up John...".

Of course, no game succeeds on how much cursing they can pack in, in the end it's all about the gameplay. Unfortunately this is where the game starts to see a few problems. Trying to aim your gun is very difficult, the sensitivity for small movement is way to high. Even the slightest touch of the C-stick sends the target half an inch past your target. On the opposite side, if you use auto-aim and your targeting sight comes within three inches of an enemy, your aim will be suck like a magnet to his chest. This makes the game to easy, since you can walk into a room and only use the fire button, and still hit almost all the enemies. Another issue with the controls is the jumping. The default setting is auto-jump, which gets in the way constantly. When you are walking near an edge and you get to close, your character may decide to jump off for you. So you'll want to turn auto-jump off right away, and that works fine...until you get to some platforming parts later in the game. In these parts you'll face upsetting jump-just-right-or-die-and-start-the-level-over type jumps. In a cruel trick against gamers, these jumps require you to jump at the last millisecond while running forward full speed. For this section I recommend you turn auto-jump back on and save yourself the frustration.

On the good side, Bits did try to give us some nice gameplay features to provide some fun. One of these is the hostage system. If you find a group of terrorist facing away from you, you can hit the stealth button sneak up, and grab the nearest one. Choose the one that looks like the leader of the group and the others will surrender, grab a grunt and they'll shoot through him to hit you. Getting them to surrender lets you interrogate any of them that are willing to talk, or you can just execute them for fun. Unfortunately almost all the chances you get involve civilians that the terrorist will shoot if they see you, and if just ONE civilian gets shot you fail the level. This sets up for a lot of trial and error attempts, but to help ease the pain there's "Hero mode". Hero mode slows down everything around you (ala Max Payne) and plays the famous Beethoven's 9th music from the movie. Your hero meter builds up with the more people you help and even a little is enough to clear out a whole room and save the civilians.

The game's graphics show quite a bit of age, and look like something that should have been a first generation Gamecube game. The rooms feel bare and common from repetitive textures. Characters models can be nice, but tend to look a little square. The FMVs have somewhat of a grainy look, just like Jedi Knight II. But with how dated the game looks in general, the programmers threw in some very nice special effects that make you wonder why they didn't do more. The first that caught my eye was some doors with yellow warped glass that bent and morphed everything visible behind it. The water effects in this game are just beautiful, I came across some parts that the water looked almost as good as it did in Star Fox. Another one that added a nice touch was reflection mapping on the guns. I just wish they would have spent more time on making more of the game look this good and that they would have refined the controls just a little more.

Highs:

  • Very good voice acting
  • Some very nice effects (water, reflection mapped guns)
  • Adult humor, lots of cursing (just like the movie)

Lows:

  • Some framerate problems
  • Control issues
  • Overall dated graphics
  • Almost every level can have NO civilian deaths

Final Verdict:

Overall, I did have a fun time while playing this game. Certain parts got me to smile and enjoy what was being said, but with how average this game feels, it can't quite contend with other FPS games. The fact that it has no multiplayer whatsoever is a shot in the leg. Hopefully the developer will fix these problems in any future games they attempt. If you enjoyed the Die Hard movies, or just enjoy FPS then Die Hard: Vendetta is definitely worth a rent. Only "die hard" Die Hard fans should go for the full purchase.

Overall Score: 6.5

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