It's that Christmas time of year again, and you know what that means? No, not Christmas carols, or snow, or any of that Yuletide cheer. It means we can follow the exploits of John McClane and not feel bad that we're watching a Christmas film in the middle of Summer!
OK, I know, Die Hard Arcade isn't ACTUALLY based on any Die Hard films (we have the non-SEGA developed Die Hard Trilogy for that), but seeing as though Die Hard is one of the best non-Christmas Christmas films of all time, I felt it fitting that we should dedicate this month's Game of the Month to this game. Just as SEGA felt like they should make Dynamite Deka feel like a Die Hard game, and then go get the license for the Western release.
ANYWAY. Die Hard Arcade, or Dynamite Deka. You can call it what you want, but we're sticking with Die Hard Arcade from this point onwards. It was an arcade game that got ported onto the Saturn, and it was actually a very good one. Developed by AM1 and STI, Die Hard Arcade was a side scrolling beat-em-up, in the vein of Streets of Rage and Golden Axe. It was also the last game STI worked on before they dissolved, so it was a pretty good game to finish on.
The story was suitably Die Hard levels of silly. The President's daughter has been kidnapped by terrorists and you, as John McClane or Generic Female Character, have to go save her! Don't worry, it gets sillier. Should you BOTH manage to survive until the end of the game, you have to fight each other for the approval of the President's daughter! Again, not unlike Streets of Rage here, but it actually makes sense in this instance. Well, in that it's just downright ridiculous.
This game's actually one of my favourite side scrollers, purely because of how silly the whole thing is. Unfortunately, it can also be easy in places, with certain QTEs rendering battles avoidable if you can hit the commands in time. Bit of a cop-out, but I suppose if you wanted to fight everybody you could just fail the QTE sequences. I often did!
The game was also granted a sequel on the Dreamcast in Dynamite Deka 2, known as Dynamite Cop in the West due to the Die Hard license expiring, so if you wanted more of the silly same, then there's always that. In my eyes though, Die Hard Arcade was the last great SEGA side scroller, and we should take a moment to remember just how brilliant it was.
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