Relive the Nakatomi Nightmare

Die Hard: Nakatomi Plaza
Reviewed On
Available For

Die Hard: Nakatomi Plaza satisfies the big shooter fan in search of something new. The graphics are ok and the plot is palatable, especially if you’ve seen Die Hard the movie and liked the character of John McLean.

I am a little unsure why Sierra decided to publish a game based on a 10-year old movie, but I guess the number of people who have watched the movie thousands of times is a pretty big audience.

But regardless of whether you have seen the movie, which if you haven’t, you’ve been living in a bubble for the last 25 years, you’ll still be familiar with the most famous sayings in the movie such as the infamous, “Yuppie kayaeh mother*u*ker!” that were sometimes awkwardly placed in the video game, but nevertheless made the cut.

Perhaps the most disappointing aspect of the game isn’t the playing, but rather the install. The 660M of space needed is a heck of a lot for the compact install option. Forget playing this game on a laptop! I still don’t understand why the game is so large either? The graphics and level playing is no better than any other first person shooter.

Speaking about the graphics, they are a bit dated. Most of the levels themselves are rather uninteresting, such as the upper floors of the building when you are just walking around a maze of unpainted sheetrock. Sure it’s realistic, but you don’t want things to be dull just as you are getting into the game.

The game’s AI is pretty advanced though, which keeps the game moving at a great pace. Enemies will roll out, take cover and do all the things you would expect someone who is being shot at to do. Plus they are perfectly content to hold up in a defensible position and let you come to them. After all, you are the one who has to take the fight to them. If you follow the plot of the movie, then all they have to do is stall you long enough and they win, though they would prefer to kill you if possible.

The major problem I have with the game is the linear aspect of it. The game follows the movie, but perhaps it does so a little too much. There are scenes where you can’t do anything other than follow what Bruce Willis did. And walking outside of that plot line will get you killed.

The gore could be more, and at times the game got a bit ridiculous to follow. For example, during one scene you (John McLean) must follow the limo your sidekick is driving and defend it from the thieves/terrorists. The problem is that the game measures stamina, which is cool, but since you have to jump through hoops just to follow the car the game takes off the first-person shooter feeling and resembles Frogger. Luckily this feeling doesn’t last long and soon after you’re shooting bad guys again.

One cool addition in the game is the ability for McLean to flash his badge use his Zippo lighter. The badge will let civilians and other “good guys” in the game know that you are not with the terrorists. The lighter can lighten dark areas, so you won’t fall to your death through that, well dark hole in the vent shaft.

The accuracy of the weapons is also another plus to the game, which is affected by the aforementioned stamina. Weapon accuracies seem very realistic, and ammo is going to be a chief concern too. It’s not like most shooters where you carry thousands of rounds of ammo. What you get you pick up off dead bodies, or you might find a box or two around that they brought with them. As such, you can’t just run around firing full auto all the time, or you will run out quick. You have to be smart about when and how to shoot, which in the situation you are in, is perfect.

Another cool aspect to this game is the introduction of SWAT teams that attempt to infiltrate the Plaza and, unfortunately shoot at you along with the terrorists. Since you are the good guy, you can’t shoot back at them, which ultimately makes the challenge to get out alive greater, more realistic and fun.

Be sure to fiddle with your monitor and video settings because at times the game has a tough time depicting figures in shadows. Playing in a dark room also helps.

Taken as a whole, Nakatomi Plaza is an enjoyable and realistic shooter. I am a bit confused as to why multiplayer was never added, which is simply a must in this day and age. But the single player game not only tests your reflexes but also your brains. Think of it as a “thinking man’s quake,” and you should be happy.

Oh, and if you play all night and have to work the next day, just go into the bathroom and make footsies with your toes on the carpet. Just be sure to grab your shoes if the terrorists attack.

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