Review: Die Hard: Vendetta
Posted 18 Dec 2002 at 01:52 by James Hamilton
So far, the GameCube has had a fair share of decent shooters. From the average Agent Under Fire and Turok Evolution, to the awesome multiplayer mayhem of TimeSplitters 2, the GameCube now has a good selection of FPS games. Now, we have a new shooter to add to the roster. Enter Die Hard: Vendetta. The storyline isn't the greatest, but in a game designed to entertain guys with an itchy trigger finger and a lust for blood, the plot isn't important.
Lucy McClane, daughter of John McClane, has joined the police academy, but unfortunately for her the son of terrorist maniac Hans Gruber (the bad guy from the first Die Hard movie) has a son, Piet, and he's out for revenge. Cue Lucy being kidnapped and it's up to John to sort everything out again.
The graphics are impressive, definitely not bad but not quite jaw-dropping either, with some decent lighting effects. Other details are also very good, such as distortion under the surface of water, heat distortion from fires, and even McClane's hands are very detailed, with a nice effect on his skin as McClane flexes his fingers or tightens his grip on a gun.
Also, the lips on characters are synchronised with the dialogue, which is a nice touch that many developers find hard to do. The characters, for the most part, seem very real, and there is rarely a drop in frame-rate. Very nice.
In a word: average. The music is OK but not a brilliant, overwhelming musical score either. In fact, nowhere near that.
The voices are also not bad, and the lip-synching does help, but a few of the characters I've encountered (usually hostages) all have a whiny, obnoxious squeaky voice, which can get annoying. Needless to say, not all the voices are like that, and the voices of the main characters, such as John McClane, Lucy, and the gang members are pretty darn good. In fact, the voice of police Sergeant Powell is actually the voice of the guy who played him in the movie. A nice touch.
Graphics are an important part of a game, but needless to say, that's not the most important part. No. What really matters is the gameplay, and here Die Hard really shines. The game has a very intricate plot, with many twists and turns, though, like I said, the basic idea of the plot isn't really necessary in a game like this. Usually, it's new features you don't normally find in games, features that make the game different from other games in that genre, that can make or break a game. Will it be another pointless Goldeneye clone, or does it have that little extra something to make the game worth buying?
Here is where Die Hard really stands out from other shooters, as it has many features that are rarely, if ever, used in an FPS.
For example, one of my favourite features is McClane's ability to sneak up on criminals from behind. McClane can switch from 'Action' mode, which is normal gun-barrel-forward shooting style, to 'Stealth' mode, in which he raises the gun and can move slowly and, well, stealthily towards a gang member. This makes it less likely for McClane to be noticed by criminals. When you get close enough to a gang member, pressing 'A' will make McClane grab the guy and put a gun to his head. This can be incredibly useful, as if you capture the leader of a group, you can make the other guys there drop their weapons and surrender, which will allow you to interrogate them if necessary. However, get an unimportant guy, and the rest may decide that he's expendable and shoot at you anyway. Also, McClane has his own version of Max Payne's Bullet Time, called, in this case, Hero Time. This slows down enemy's reactions and lets you take them out quickly and easily. This comes in useful during hostage situations.
These features add a great deal of stealth to the game, and make it much more enjoyable. However, there is one really bad part of this game, which really is disappointing, despite the general quality of the game. There is no multiplayer. Multiplayer games add to the lifespan in the game, and also makes the whole experience much more enjoyable, and this is the main criticism of Die Hard, and one of the reasons why Die Hard can't snatch the FPS crown from Free Radical and TimeSplitters 2.
Basically what I've already explained above. Playability isn't hindered by drop of frame-rate, or is it hindered by the extra gameplay elements such as the hostage taking and Hero Time. There isn't really anything that makes the game less playable – except for the controls.
To be fair, the controls aren't that bad, most of it is what you'd expect from an FPS. However, the main weaknesses in the control system are the aiming, which can be very inaccurate, and the manual jumping controls. The rest is fine, but these things can be slightly irritating during play.
Quite a lot here, actually. Not the most difficult game in the world, but with three difficulty levels and 11 missions you won't breeze through this. Just don't expect an enormous, mind-gripping, life-sapping experience. However, the lack of multiplayer lets this down a bit. Did I say a bit?
Overall, Die Hard Vendetta is an enjoyable, challenging, and generally good FPS game. The lack of multiplayer obviously lets it down, but this is still a great shooter, and, in my opinion, the second best FPS released on the GameCube in the UK (no prizes for guessing which game is first…)
N-Europe Final Verdict
The second best FPS released in the UK on GameCube, though flawed. However, the good points far outweigh the bad.
Great, original features.
Good level layout.
Lipsynching on characters.