The Die Hard Game We Never Got

Back in the day, the Nintendo 64 almost got a piece of John McClane.

The history of Die Hard games is…err…well, there’s a reason you’re probably struggling to remember many specific examples of Die Hard adaptations. Die Hard may be the definitive action film, but developers have long struggled to capture the brilliance of that film and translate it to the world of gaming.

While most games based on Die Hard are relatively obscure despite their pedigree, the most obscure of them all was a rumored adaptation of the game that developer Bits Studios were supposedly making for the N64. Well the rumors have turned out to be true, as the first known footage from Die Hard 64 has been made publically available by Assembler Games. The game is said to have had 24 levels over the span of three prototypes that were developed before the project was canned. If you look hard enough, you can find nine of the levels to play online.

Aside from being a curious piece of gaming history, the following Die Hard 64 footage is a wonderful reminder that not every canceled game is a lost treasure.

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Now, to be perfectly fair, the footage you see above was taken from a working model of the game and was likely recorded relatively early into the development process. That would certainly help to explain the awful animations and sketchy sound design, but it does little to explain just how it is that a game which is clearly ripping off Goldeneye somehow overlooked the best parts of that milestone shooter.

While ripping off GoldenEye is a tiresome claim that is far too often tossed at any console shooter released around the time of the popular N64 title, it feels especially appropriate here when you consider that everything from Die Hard 64‘s targeting module to the sound it uses when a character is opening a door is taken directly from Rare’s Bond-based shooter.

That’s not the project’s biggest sin, however. That honor is reserved for the game’s seeming lack of personality. Call us old-fashioned, but we tend to expect games based on movies renowned for their personality to feature more than some generic shooter environments and pedestrian design across the board.

Oh well. There’s always still hope someone else will deliver a worthwhile Die Hard game.