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Die Hard: Vendetta Package Art
  First-Person Shooter
  Bits Studios

Die Hard: Vendetta

The Die Hard franchise has been thrown around the video game industry for quite a while now, but has rarely captured the feeling of the movies. Die Hard Trilogy was the closest to bringing the franchise alive, but failed with its horrible sequel. The PC shooter, Nakatomi Plaza even took place during the first movie and didn’t come close to the great experience that the film provided. Now, small-time developer Bits Studios snags the rights to the film and instead of trying to recreate the films, they branch off from them to create their own original title, Die Hard: Vendetta. Vendetta captures the feeling of the movies extremely well, all without having to take place in the setting of one, or all, of them. While the game revives the Die Hard flavor, it is also a possible revolutionary piece of anti-censorship. The title is filled with expletives, buckets of blood, and a mature storyline. Bits Studios proves that a game can be mature without having to include a stripper mini-game or unlock-able nudity. However, does this make it a better game? Well… Yes.


The first thing you’ll notice about this title is that the graphics aren’t all up to snuff. Level design lacks the detail that many other first-person shooters have available, as most levels are blocky and constrained. However, the texture work in this game is very clever and reminds me of the excellent ‘old-school’ shooters. If anything, this title gives excellent potential for developer Bits Studios. Given the resources available, time and money, these guys could definitely make something special.

The character models in the game are wooden and seem to be thrown together too quickly. However, while McClane doesn’t resemble Bruce Willis (since it’s a lawsuit waiting to happen), they’ve created a very nice resemblance to the character himself. Since the end of Die Hard With a Vengeance, John has obviously aged, and they show it with a few more wrinkles to the stern face as well as stripes of gray hair on the side of his scalp. While the detailing isn’t great, they’ve definitely kept the spirit of the movie trilogy in mind.


The best part of this title is the clever writing and the voice acting that plays it out. Vice City, eat your heart out because the citizens of Capitol City throw out more F-words than an HBO special. These guys hold no boundaries to that type of censorship, which is obviously great for Cube gamers looking for more mature titles. I can’t think of anything more mature than a few bloody shoot-outs and a couple F-words thrown out for good measure.

However, they don’t just put in everyone’s favorite words just for fun. The writers obviously keep the spirit of the trilogy alive better than USA Studios or Turner Network Television. The story is very well written and plays out beautifully with the talent of the voice actors. Most of the accent work is quality stuff and doesn’t make you laugh out loud (i.e. Bam’s Reign of Fire).

The music keeps the action alive and is very well composed. The best part of the music is the Beethoven’s 9th references, which John always hummed in the trilogy. It even plays during the game’s nifty Hero Mode segments. He’ll also whistle and hum it during the game-- very clever. Sound effects are great and keep your blood flowing through the game. Nothing too exciting about it, but they match your standard action title flair.


Vendetta is a very unique FPS title. It doesn’t feel like anything else available, actually. Is this a good thing or not? I’ll just say that the title shows promise, more promise than I’ve felt from any other title this year. The game is programmed to auto-aim, which is very helpful, but probably makes the game easier than some may like. This can be turned off, but consequently it will make the game harder than some may like.

One feature I particularly enjoyed in this game is the opportunity for stealth gameplay. There’s even a button to enter “stealth mode” where you can sneak up to a person and grab him. What’s so great about this is that three terrorists can be holding a person hostage; you can capture the leader and cuff the lackeys. However, if you don’t capture the leader and instead grab a lackey, they’ll shoot through him instead of surrendering. While you can immediately get used to this after the first or second opportunity, it shows that there could have been much more uses for the “stealth mode” gameplay.

Another quirky thing about Vendetta is the “Hero Mode,” which I touched on earlier. In a nutshell, this is a “Matrix-inspired” play mechanic where all of the enemies slow down to a crawl and you move at normal speed. This is great at dealing with the large number of enemies that the game throws at you. Oh, and I forgot to mention that Beethoven’s 9th Symphony is playing during this mode, which is a great touch to a neat little quirk. Other than these unique play mechanics, if you’ve ever played an FPS, you know what you’ll be doing through the title.


No multiplayer. This hurts the title, but if you’re more into a single-player experience then it makes up for it in the long run.


Without the “stealth mode” gameplay, the “Hero Mode,” and the genuinely entertaining voice acting and storyline, Die Hard: Vendetta would have been simply passed off as an average FPS, if not below average. However, all of this gives me enough incentive to recommend this to any action gamer. If you’re a fan of the Die Hard movies I suggest that you definitely pick this game up. It’s much better than waiting for the possible Die Hard 4 coming up, and captures the spirit of the trilogy very nicely. Is the Cube growing up? If it is, then consider Die Hard: Vendetta what is making its voice crack.

final score 8.2/10

Staff Avatar Austin Starr
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"If life's not beautiful without the pain / well I'd just rather never ever even see beauty again"

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