A great game but could they have made it any shorter?

Publisher: Sega
Developer: AM1
Genre: Action

When Die Hard Arcade was a coin-op, the game was voted "Player's Choice" by the arcade industry because it was fun, got played often, looked good, and didn't cost a lot. As a Saturn arcade conversion, it's just as great, except you don't have to spend extra money to continue.

Although DHA is a polygon-rendered Streets of Rage at heart, it expands upon the genre in ways that make this game unique and exciting. The arenas are larger, and your field of view will change with your distance from the enemy. In addition, your characters have a much larger range of moves, from the simple punch-kick-throw combos to Street Fighter-like helicopter kicks and wrestling throws. A personal favorite is the nut-cruncher, where male characters get kicked between the legs and they stagger for a couple of feet. Although there aren't enough moves to qualify as a separate fighting game, players have access to more moves available than any other game of this type.

If hand-to-hand combat isn't your thing, player's can pick up a wide variety of weapons. In addition to guns, bats, knives - your usual mayhem inventory, your character, John McClane or Kris Thompson, can go Jack Chan style, turning everyday items into deadly instruments of destruction. Mops, pipes, garden chairs, even a grandfather clock can be used brawl style to take out your enemies. Weapons can get quite imaginative, especially the spray can and the lighter, which turns hairspray into a flamethrower.

Graphically, the game sports an identical look and feel to the arcade version. The original Die Hard Arcade was based on Sega's ST-V board, which is uses the same hardware as the Saturn, except with more VRAM. As a result, DHA looks identical to the coin-op version, plus or minus a few polygons.

The environmental design gives the game a whimsical yet realistic mood. Each location, be it the parking lot or the elevator lobby, is rendered in good detail, and totally interactive. In the bathroom, toilet paper will roll across the floor, tripping people up, forcing them to drop weapons. Each fighting area is different, and you can use the physical features to your advantage.

Unfortunately, while DHA arcade is a polished gem of a title, it's a tiny chip of a game. An experienced gamer can finish the game in less than 20 minutes or 4 continues, while it should take the novice but determined gamer somewhat longer. Since you can earn extra continues in the bonus game Deep Scan, it's all too easy to rack up the necessary credits to beat it through persistence. Although it didn't really harm the game in the arcades, it can leave the home console owner feeling cheated. The conversion team felt the same way, since they add in Deep Scan as a temporary diversion, but it's not enough. For $50, Die Hard may not be worth the money for the length of gameplay it offers.

This game is a great AM1 conversion, and a great game at heart. However, Die Hard Arcade's brevity saddles the game with limited depth, offering little replay value except for the hard core gamer.