Danny Madigan is watching a sneak preview of the latest film of his favourite hero, Jack Slater, when he is mysteriously catapulted inside the screen; now standing next to his favourite idol. You are Jack Slater, an action movie hero, who takes on the ax maniac “The Ripper”, who is holding a school under siege, and Benedict, a villain who wants to use Danny’s ticket to bring terror to the real world.
The game, based on the film of the same name, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger
, is very different for each platform. For most of them, the gameplay can be split up into two parts: side-scrolling fighting levels and wild car chases on the streets.
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Various Development Notices
Collected trivia about the development of the PC version by Ste Cork
1) Columbia Pictures said that we weren't allowed to shoot at the bad guys or armoured truck in the game, even though Arnold
does exactly that in the movie. This was a the time when he was starting to make the comedy pictures like Junior
, and therefore we were told to turn the violence right down. We were only allowed to have the car bump into the truck over and over to damage it. I found this restriction to be annoying and stupid, and as a riposte I made the pedestrians capable of being run over by all the in-game vehicles, including the computer controlled ones, the bad guys and your own. Pedestrians even leave little blood splats when run over, and do not wait for cars before using the pedestrian crossings (which cars ignore), ensuring they get splatted regularly. Columbia never said anything and the feature remained.
2) As a further 'up yours' to Columbia I created a semi-hidden area in the middle of the map, where the player can squeeze between two bushes, drive around the back of a house that's not visible from any other part of the road, and see a swastika-shaped swimming pool, on the basis that there was a nazi war criminal living there. Unfortunately the Psygnosis producer who saw it (and thought it was hilarious) insisted the pool be changed to a simple rectangle. The hidden area is still there, but there's nothing exciting to see.
3) Every car in the city on the driving section drives correctly even when at the other end of the map, observing junctions/lane changes and other vehicles properly. I had fun writing that, even if the game was so bad.
4) At one point the game progress came to a stop, because the freelance artist (who I never met, he just sent me disks in the post) refused to send any more graphics until some unrelated payment issue with Psygnosis had been cleared up.
5) Arnold Schwarzenegger (or more likely his agent/publicist) rejected the Arnold-graphics for the beat-em-up part of the game twice as being "too muscley" - again, it was due to the actor's attempt to switch over to making comedy movies at the time
6) Every platform version of this game was different to all the others. There was no central coordination or direction, the box art for several versions (including PC) were from an early Commodore Amiga demo and thus pointless, and the project was a "short straw" - meaning no-one wanted to do it, hence why many versions don't even have authors names on them. Psygnosis even shipped the Amiga manual with the PC version, and just added a single-sheet loose insert for PC controls. No-one cared about this game, and it showed.
7) Last Action Hero
was one of the only movie-license title produced by Psygnosis (along with the Bram Stoker's Dracula
games from the same time period) and they only got it because Sony (who were acquiring Psygnosis at the time) owned Columbia Pictures. They didn't set a good example ;-)