Tuesday, March 19, 2013

VGR Die Hard Trilogy 2

John McClane is back once again!

VEGAS... What a town!...

Die Hard Another Day in these classic Eyz reviews!

VGR: Die Hard Trilogy 2: Viva Las Vegas
From n-Space/Fox Interactive
Played on PC
Also available on PSX

Type Arcade 
Year 2000

Die Hard Trilogy 2 is the logical sequel to the '96 game Die Hard Trilogy.
This time the game wasn't developed by Probe but by the smaller developer n-Space mostly known for portable installments of multi-console games. 
They were also behind the 3rd person Duke Nukem games Time to Kill and Land of the Babes.

If the first Die Hard Trilogy offered 3 separate stories based on the three different films, Viva Las Vegas offers instead an original storyline.

The game still retains the three distinct gameplay modes, instead this time they alternate depending on the situations.
DHT2 does feature some options, such as the ability to either experience it through a Movie Mode that features cutscenes (they look okay-ysh) and allows to play it as intended, or through the Arcade Mode where you'll miss the story but can play the entire 3rd person segments (for example) all at once.

Obviously, the Movie Mode's the most interesting, but the Arcade Mode is fun for later playthroughs or quick arcade sessions.

The story opens with Detective John McClane at home, in New York.
John gets a call from Kenny Sinclair, an old friend from the NYPD.
Turns out Kenny's now the head warden at Mesa Grande Prison. He's having a big celebration and decided to invite his an old pal from the force.

John comes down to Las Vegas.
At the party he meets Reese Hoffman, the owner of the Roaring 20's Casino, and his secretary Elena Goshkin.
They talk about a famous dangerous terrorist Klaus Van Haug that happens to be a prisoner at Mesa Grande.

When suddenly, there's an outbreak!
Van Haug escapes and frees several inmates. They appear to be working with guards there.
Once more, it's up to McLane to save the day...

John follows them all around town. Trying to free the hostages, understand what is going on here exactly and get back in one piece.
It appears Kenny, Reese, and Elena are working together and all this is but a diversion.. they are attempting a coup to take over Vegas!!

The game will change from a gameplay to another depending on the situation.

The 3rd person Action Shooter segments are what the principal parts of the game are made of.
They were consequentially improved over the first game.
First up the enemies don't pop up in as infinite numbers as before (even though there's always elevators around, they probably took that out during the development).
Now the game features several sub-objectives to do in those levels.
This time the levels are a lot bigger, they often include various floors with a lot of variations in the level design. You can take out all your foes to move around freely and explore. The layout was really improved and it feels like mini-labyrinths that require some exploration to either find keys, a button to activate or reach some place in a certain amount of time.

The Rail Shooter levels got a bit improved too.
They aren't as long or difficult as they were previously.
Sadly, the levels aren't as destructible this time around. (you could destroy everything in DHT1)
At least they have a lot of original things going on and the way McClane moves around is more natural and provide much more interesting routes than just going from point A to point B in the past title.

And finally, the Driving Stages.
This is pretty identical to the ones from DHT1.
In the first game there were chases, bombs to find or car fights. But now you get various missions in the same level. They do feel a bit repetitive and don't pop up much in the Movie Mode.

By 2000, this game felt a bit dated.
Graphically it was fantastic in the mid-90s, but so much better had come out by then.

As simplistic as the game looks, they did quite improve the controls themselves and the levels all feel fun and original.

First up the CG cutscenes are decent, but the writing and the plot is a lot more interesting than just rehashing the movies.
It's like the Die Hard movie we never got after Die Hard 3.
The voice actor, Jamey Scott, does a fun John McClane, even if he doesn't sound anything like Bruce Willis.
Strangely McClane not only rehashes one liners from the original trilogy but also comes up with new ones (new takes on classic McClane sentences, like "Come to Papa, scumbag!") but also recite some quotes from other films such as the cult "Game Over, Man!".
Yeah, McClane sounds more like Duke Nukem than McClane in this game.

But hey, it's still fun!

The game does have a lot of levels. And even more if you're willing to go though the Arcade Mode.
Including very secret bonus levels which require some technique to unlock them. They are completely original and worth the time (such as driving an UFO, playing as a rat, etc.!).

Overall, a pretty good game, all things considered.
The original story really does it for me.
And it's always fun to have the gameplay style change according to story, it keeps things fresh and interesting.
A pretty good third-person shooter, a very fun light gun game (even better on PC with a mouse!), and a decent action driving game - what's not to like about this combo?

It fixed several of problems of the original and added more content. A perfect sequel.

Die Hard Trilogy 2 also introduced the femme fatale vilainess character years before Die Hard 4 and Die Hard 5 would do the same on the big screen, years later.

All in all,
I give it:
2.5 / 3 Pacmans!

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