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Die Hard: Vendetta Preview

John McClane and the rest of the Die Hard posse hit the GameCube.


Fans of the Die Hard films have had the good fortune of receiving a number PC, console, and arcade games inspired by the series in the past. Just this spring, for example, Sierra released a PC first-person shooter called Die Hard: Nakatomi Plaza, a game based on the events that were featured in the original Bruce Willis film. The latest game in this popular action series will arrive this November in the form of a first-person shooter titled Die Hard: Vendetta. Though, the game isn't actually based on any of the films--it's an entirely new story that features John McClane and several other Die Hard characters.

Looks like trouble is brewing again.
Looks like trouble is brewing again.

Die Hard: Vendetta's story takes place after the events that transpired in the third Die Hard film. Lucy McClane, John McClane's daughter (who appeared briefly in the first film as a child), is now a police officer who finds herself caught up in a situation that unsurprisingly involves lots of bad guys with guns. John McClane sees the events begin to unfold on television and heads down to the scene, where he meets up with old friends like Sgt. Al Powell and even news reporter Dick Thornburg. From this point, you play the game as John McClane, who must rescue his daughter. Though, the game doesn't end there. In fact, Lucy ends up helping her father throughout a great deal of the game, and he definitely needs all the help he can get, since Hans Gruber's son is in town, and he wants to pick up where his dad, who was the villain in the original Die Hard film, left off.

The gameplay in Die Hard: Vendetta is like that of most first-person shooters, though the game is set up in a way that will accommodate two distinct types of play styles. You can either run through the game with guns blazing or take a stealthier approach. The first approach, as you might imagine, involves you running around the game's environments and shooting every bad guy in sight, which isn't hard, since the game defaults with its aggressive auto-aim feature on, and it basically automatically targets every available enemy in succession, allowing you to shoot with ease. Though, you have to be careful, as many of the levels are set in public areas like art museums, movie theaters, and restaurants, where there are a lot of innocent people. If you accidentally shoot one of the bystanders, the mission will end.

Yep, this is trouble all right.
Yep, this is trouble all right.

When there are hostages or innocent people around, the stealthy approach is often the better way to go. For instance, if you sneak into an area undetected, you'll find that the bad guys often lose focus and start to converse. If you take your time, you'll often get an opportunity to turn the tables. For example, when a criminal with a gun turns his back, you can sneak up on him, put him in a headlock with your gun pointed at his head, and order the others to lay down their weapons. Once they do, you can run over and pick up their guns. If you don't, they'll quickly try to pick up their weapons and fire on you. You'll also find alternate methods and routes if you look around before running into the front door of a building with your guns blazing. Of course, there are situations that simply call for firepower and lots of it. Luckily for McClane, the designers have put quite an arsenal of weapons into the game, including revolvers, automatic pistols, sniper rifles, submachine guns, and even crossbows. All the weapons can be fired with both hands, so if you pick up two revolvers, you can choose to have one in each hand for double the pleasure. Trying to aim these weapons manually is a bit rough, but we're hoping the developers can smooth the control for aiming out a bit more before the game ships.

In its current state, the game looks like it's coming together well. The visuals are very sharp, but the character models are a bit stingy with the polygons, resulting in characters who look a bit blockier than GameCube owners are accustomed to. The textures aren't of the highest quality either, but the game does offer a lot of different environmental details and moves at a fairly nice and steady pace. The sound, which features Dolby Pro Logic II support, is rich and varied. The game includes a great deal of voice acting, including a lot of Die Hard-style phrases that are more than a bit colorful.

At the very least, fans of the Die Hard films should be interested in the game's story line, which is completely original. Die Hard: Vendetta's presentation and gameplay seem to be coming along pretty well, but while the game certainly looks promising, we'll have to wait until it's released on November 18 to pass final judgment.

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