Die Hard: Nakatomi Plaza Review
Die Hard: Nakatomi Plaza is a game based on the first of the Die Hard movies. The game stays pretty true to the plot of the movie, and, since players expect more than two hours of gameplay out of their games, throws in some extra levels that were not part of the movie. It would be a very good thing to see the movie before playing the game, as players will be undoubtedly confused by the plot pretty early in the game without any knowledge of the film's storyline. For example, our hero John McClane starts the game in his wife's office as the shooting begins, and this is also the point at which the player takes control. On the floor are John's shoes, and those who have seen the movie will try to pick them up, but to no avail. Those who never saw the film probably won't even notice the shoes, and will be bewildered later in the game as John makes a crack about how small the feet are of the first terrorist he kills. The makers of the game were obviously very familiar with the film, and as a result may not have done the best job of conveying all of the necessary information to the player about the plot's development. So, in short, make sure you watch the film before playing the game.
On the other side of the coin, familiarity with the film gives the player some foreshadowing as to the solutions to some of the game's puzzles. You'll often catch yourself thinking things along the line of "this is the part where I throw the guy out the window, so I guess I should grab him." This doesn't mean that this is the case for all puzzles in the game, but it can make the challenge of finding the solution to the game's puzzles to be an uneven affair.
Huge fans of the movie will need to prepare themselves for the fact that outside of Officer Powell, none of the movie's actors lent their talents to the game. The voice acting in the game is fine, it's just that when John McClane speaks, it's certainly not Bruce Willis. This should not be an issue with most players, but those who obsess on their favorite flicks might be taken aback by this and should be aware of it.
To the game's credit it features a variety of mission types, and include duels with key terrorists, hostage rescues and escorts, and timed, bomb-diffusing missions. However, they serve to put the game somewhat out of alignment with the original movie. The movie had a large psychological component to it, as John battled wits with the lead terrorist - each trying to anticipate the other's next move. Since a large part of the movie featured John sneaking around to avoid detection while he took out the terrorists one or two at a time, one would think that a stealth-based game might have been more appropriate. As an action game it needs to throw enemies at the player, and as a result the dozen or so terrorists in the film have ballooned to several hundred in the game.
Speaking of the terrorists, they are quite consistent in exhibiting inconsistent behavior. At times they behave intelligently, using cover or firing from behind corners. At other times they'll run straight at you, oblivious to the lead you are busily depositing in their bodies. Sometimes, you'll even see a terrorist take a shot at you from around a corner, only to suddenly decide it's a good idea to rush straight at you. This won't always mean instant death for the terrorist, though, as the damage model is inconsistent as well. Some terrorists can be dropped with a head shot or two, while others will keep coming despite the fact that their bodies are carrying an entire clip of bullets.