Whenever a video game box boasts of offering not one, not two, but three games in one, you can pretty much bet that the disc holds three pretty lousy games--none of which could stand on their own.
Sadly, that's the case with Fox Interactive's Die Hard Trilogy. Intended to follow the story lines of the three action-packed "Die Hard" movies, the game captures none of the excitement and delivers none of the fun of the films.
Instead, it serves up a bunch of clunky graphics, crummy control and weak game play that gets pretty dull pretty fast. Players longing for the gleeful "yippie-ki-yay" of John McClane are better off renting the movies than taking this dog out for a spin.
Players can choose which movie they want to play and each offers totally different objectives and options. In Die Hard, players assume the role of McClane as he scampers through Nakatomi Plaza in search of terrorists.
Although this is the best level of the game, that's not saying much. The graphics are blocky and boring. The only way to tell hostages from terrorists is by using the on-screen map. Control is unrefined and difficult to get the hang of. The third-person perspective employed for this level makes it tough to line up bad guys.
Unfortunately, it only gets worse in the Die Harder level, which follows McClane through Dulles International Airport, again in search of terrorists. This time, the perspective is first-person a la Virtua Cop. Unless players own a game gun, though, targeting is done with the controller, a lousy way to play a shooting game. As it goes, the action is pretty good, but the lack of a gun makes the level more frustrating than it's worth.
And, finally, the Die Hard With a Vengeance level is almost as disappointing as the movie itself. Players take the wheel of a range of different cars to speed through the streets of Manhattan in search of bombs. The driving is actually pretty fun and the degree of interactivity is the highest I've seen.
For instance, pedestrians don't just die when they get run over. They also smear the windshield with blood. Despite that questionable perk, driving around again and again gets pretty tiresome and the payoffs are lame.
A lot of thought obviously went into the Die Hard Trilogy and nice features pop up here and there. But they are too few and far between to make the game a winner.
Project Overkill: Imagine a game so real that characters actually leave bloody footprints behind after slaughtering the bad guys. That little feature is but one of the gruesome touches contained in Konami's Project Overkill, a third-person shooter that takes blood and gore to new levels.
If only it took game play to new levels, too. Despite being a fun little time killer, Project Overkill fails to deliver the kind of long-term playability that makes it worth buying. Rent it, play it and be done with it.
Most annoying is the absolute lack of control. I played an early version at the electronics expo in the spring and griped about the clumsy control then. I was told that it would be fixed in the final code, but when I slipped my copy out of the shrink-wrap and fired it up in PlayStation, nothing had changed.
Maybe I'm just a spaz, but my soldiers walked and shot just about everywhere--except where I wanted them to walk and shoot. Consequently, I ended up in a bloody heap on the floor more often than not. Fine at first, but a pain in the end.
Staff writer Aaron Curtiss reviews video games every Thursday. To comment on a column or to suggest games for review, send letters to The Times, 20000 Prairie St., Chatsworth, CA 91311. Or send e-mail to Aaron.Curtiss@latimes.com