I've covered a fair number of Die Hard games so far, but if there's one game that doesn't seem to get the love that it deserves, it's Die Hard: Nakatomi Plaza. Published in 2002 by Sierra Entertainment, it was the first and only game to actually attempt to re-create the plot of the original film in video game form.
At the same time, another game featuring John McClane came out on consoles. Die Hard: Vendetta is probably better remembered a lot more for taking over the advertising and shelf space to the point that for the longest time I thought the two were roughly the same game. Both are first-person shooters that each got middling reviews but it's Nakatomi Plaza that tops it by simply being true to the film that inspired it.
There are several parody posters scattered around the building.
From the very moment your bare feet scrunch the plush carpet in the restroom of your estranged wife's office, the game works hard to retell the story in-game as much as possible. This is both the game's greatest achievement and its biggest flaw. For those who've seen the film, it's a joy to participate in amped up versions of various scenes, complete with added enemies to bump up the FPS action quota. On the other hand, it limits the game's variety quite a bit. Most of the game takes place in grey corridors, often recognisable from the film, but boringly grey none-the-less.
On the plus side, the game reuses sound effects and background music from the film, again adding to the authenticity. With the exception of Reginald Vel Johnson reprising his role as the bumbling cop Sgt. Al Powell, most of the new voice cast do a fairly decent job imitating their more famous counterparts. There are a few dips in quality here and there but most of the time it's pretty admirable.
Health can be restored by collecting the contents of the first aid boxes.
As you play, there are three meters you have to pay attention to - health, stamina, and morale. Health is self-explanatory (and if it's not, play more games). Stamina acts in a similar way to the original NES game's Foot bar. It displays how long you can run which will decrease quicker when travelling over broken glass. Morale is all about your confidence. As you kill more terrorists, your bravado will increase and the meter will rise to grant you more shooting accuracy, as well as affecting enemy AI. When you take damage, it will go down thus making you a worse shot. Playing on easy, I didn't see much of a difference no matter what level my resolve was at. I can imagine it has more of an effect on the harder difficulties and therefore adds a fair bit of strategy to your game, but I didn't see enough to experience it.
The game's not entirely a guns-blazing bullet-fest anyway, with many scenarios offering multiple ways to proceed. Other times, the choice is artificially limited to guide you in a specific direction. For example, in your first enemy encounter when leaving the bathroom, the terrorists have their back to you and completely oblivious to the gun-toting, bare-footed off-duty cop behind them. Don't try and attempt a sneaky kill, as they're not as easily felled as they might seem. Instead, zip around the corner and go straight to the fire escape. I didn't know to do this at first and constantly got my arse handed to me no matter what difficulty I chose. It was only when I cheated (don't judge) that I realised that they're programmed to be unkillable to force you to follow the events of the movie.
Some light puzzling will involve defusing bombs and re-starting electricity.
You'll sometimes need specific items to do this, but often a gun will do.
There are a fair number of moments like this, where you'll need to have knowledge of the film to progress. Later on, after a gunfight with the terrorist named Tony (Karl's brother), the game doesn't automatically load the next level or point you in the direction of where to go next. None of the doors or elevators work which is where you'd expect the level to end and you're left wandering the construction-filled floor wondering what you need to do. If you've seen the film, you'll know that John tries on Tony's shoes as he takes his walkie-talkie and machine gun (ho, ho, ho). So that's what you have to do. Go up to Tony's corpse which hasn't disappeared like the regular goons and hit the action key when looking at his feet. Not signposting these moments for the benefit of those unfamiliar with the movie is the game's biggest flaw and it all depends on the player how big of a deal-breaker it is.
For me, the joy lay in playing the movie. Those plot points I couldn't quite remember came back to me once I figured out the moments that stumped me. Taken as a whole, Nakatomi Plaza should also be given credit by also being a highly entertaining game in its own right. There are enough moments of well-executed action interspersed with exploration and minor puzzle moments that make this almost as memorable as one of cinema's greatest actioners. Well worth a play for fans and gamers alike.
To download the game, follow the link below. This is a custom installer exclusive to The Collection Chamber uses DxWind to run on modern systems. nGlide 3D Wrapper (included) must be installed. Tested on Windows 10.
File Size: 311 Mb. Install Size: 842 Mb. Need help? Consult the Collection Chamber FAQ
Die Hard (the movie) is © Twentieth Century Fox
Die Hard: Nakatomi Plaza is © Fox Interactive
Review, Cover Design and Installer created by me