Hello old friends! I’ve been away for a week at my Lighthouse off the coast of Birkenhead, where I go to fast, meditate and reflect on the meaning of life. Now replenished, I return to regale you with tales of my newest Saturn purchase.
The cheapest ever game I got for the Saturn was the excellent Sega World Wide Soccer ’97, which I picked up for the ludicrous price of 20p. The most expensive was the ultra rare House Of The Dead, for which I forked out £25! But since then, Saturn games on this side of the pond generally tend to average out at about £2-3 each.
Whilst on my way home from the Lighthouse, I stopped in at a favourite Gamestation in Bangor, North Wales. When you tend to populate one particular Gamestation (for me it’s Fallowfield, Manchester), you can find that it’s stock can become stagnant. You find yourself thumbing through the same tired old selection of games, vainly hoping that you missed something on your last ten visits.
Having checked out the Dreamcast titles on offer, I moved onto the Saturn section. There, lying amidst the dusty copies of Sega Rally and International Victory Goal, was a battered and neglected title. Not only did Sega shaft it’s UK customers with shit Dreamcast game boxes which shatter and break, it had previously shafted it’s Saturn owners by giving them shitty cardboard and plastic boxes which literally fall apart unless kept in a vacuum away from human contamination… (see here)
But I digress. What was the hallowed disc contained within this crumbling packaging? (See how I’m building this up?) Why it was none other than Die Hard Arcade!
I’d never heard of it! But from it’s £20 price tag I knew it had to be either very rare or brilliant (perhaps both!) I made sure I got the most expensive Dreamcast game I could get as part of the BOGOF offer (Crazy Taxi 2 -£9.99) that I could use as a trade in at a later date.
I played it tonight and its just fabulous. The ‘Die Hard’ element of the game is somewhat tenuous. Our hero is most definitely NOT Bruce Willis. He doesn’t even look a bit like him. However, he is incredulously hard and can kick terrorist ass! George W. take note...
Both the plot and gameplay were very familiar. If you’ve ever played Dynamite Cop for the Dreamcast, you’ve played Die Hard Arcade. Basically the President’s daughter has been kidnapped and its your job to get her back.
The graphics are reminiscent of the wonderful Virtua Cop, although you play from a third person perspective, not a first person. When playing or reviewing Retro titles, I feel there is no point stating that the graphics look a bit blocky or pixellated. Transport yourself to 1996 and gaze in awe at what they could do at the time!
As you work your way through the levels of this 3D beat ‘em up, you’ll encounter a variety of villains. Your job is to kick, punch and generally rough them up until their health bar is depleted and they disappear. Your own health bar can be replenished by various ‘life ups’ that your enemies give up on defeat.
But kicking and punching have their limitations. So you’ll be pleased to know that you can also pick up and utilise a variety of furniture, objects and weapons, with which to smite your foes! Chairs, fuel barrels and televisions can be hurled, guns, baseball bats, rocket launchers and flamethrowers can be fired at them. It’s all glorious, mindless arcade flavoured fun!
Between levels there is the opportunity to defeat an enemy with a QTE (quick time event) which flashes up the instruction to hit a particular button - jump, punch or kick - get it right and you'll be shown a cut scene where you kick ass. Get it wrong and your mistake will be re-shown to you time and time again (twice!)
The game does not have much longevity and can be completed in a single session. But that suits me just fine, as I have far too many games that need playing and completing on a variety of consoles.
A lovely feature of the package is the inclusion of a very Retro flavoured depth charge/U-Boat game called ‘Deep Scan’. This has nothing whatsoever to do with the main game, but when played, accrues credits for Die Hard Arcade! Sweet! Here's a nice video of the game in action!
My only gripe is, prior to writing this very article I was playing the game and enjoying it immensely, when for no reason at all it stopped playing and the Saturn reset itself… Time will tell whether this glitch reoccurs… until then I’m very happy with my purchase. And hey! Two reviews in the month of April! Things might be looking up at the Saturn Junkyard!!