Die Hard: Nakatomi Plaza
Description official descriptions
Die Hard: Nakatomi Plaza is another game based on the 1988 blockbuster action movie Die Hard starring Bruce Willis. Unlike other Die Hard games, Nakatomi Plaza works to retell the story in-game as much as possible, allowing you to witness many of the film's events (or participate in them!) from inside the tender bare feet of protagonist John McClane.
Many areas from the film (and by extension, the actual Fox Tower where the film was shot) are reproduced with careful detail, and will be instantly recognizable to fans. The game reuses sound effects and background music from the film, along with imitators for the main actors (with the exception of Reginald Vel Johnson, who reprises his role from the film).
Details also include using a lighter to navigate dark air ducts, an arsenal true to what was seen in the film, and a character who shoots all his guns left-handed (Bruce Wills is a lefty in real life, and in the film). The player is governed by three meters - health, stamina, and resolve. Health tracks the hits a player can take, stamina tracks how long they can run, and resolve grants accuracy bonuses as the player kills terrorists (confident), but makes the player a worse shot as they take damage or are pinned down by gunfire (afraid).
Nakatomi Plaza follows Die Hard's plot to the letter. The player controls New York cop John McClane as he visits his estranged wife in L.A. during her company's Christmas party. Terrorists arrive and take over the massive Nakatomi Plaza office building, trapping all inside. The player must fight through waves of goons (with numbers substantially increased for the game) to rescue his wife and stop the leader Hans. The game also includes expanded levels and sequences, meant to suggest what John was doing in the time that other outside events or character discussions were going on in the film.
Credits (Windows version)
196 People (102 developers, 94 thanks) · View all
|Assistant Lead Tester|
|Assistant Quality Assurance Manager|
|Marketing / Promotions Team|
|[ full credits ]|
Average score: 59% (based on 35 ratings)
Average score: 3.1 out of 5 (based on 16 ratings with 2 reviews)
As a fan of the great "Die Hard" movies, I always wanted to play through the first movies suspenseful plot - but unfortunately, the games which were released were absolute crap. So I was very happy to see that they didn't repeat the mistakes they made in the past.
Okay, basically, it's just another Half-Life clone. You slaughter your way through 30 levels, shooting bad guy after bad guy, solving childish "puzzles" like "get key for that door" - and then, it's something else. It's like an interactive movie, but other than the rubbish which I played when the "interactive movie" hype was in full effect, the plot is simply great and the conversion from movie to game is breathtaking. Instead of using lame video sequences, they just took scenes from the movie and modelled them in 3D engine graphics, complete with every single detail! They took the movie script and used it for the dialogue and the speech is pretty similar to the original actors. Everything is very detailed, the character faces are very lifelike.
Ok, the story is already known by anyone who knows the movie, but it's a good plot with many funny and even more really suspenseful parts. It's more like being in the movie yourself, having to remember "what the hell, how did John McClane do this or do that". It's fun to recognize the different enemies (there are more enemies than in the movie, tons of them to be exact, but the "master villains" are the few dudes from the flick, and you WILL recognize those faces!).
The controls are the usual Quake type - there is no alternate fire, and only two weapon slots, but well, after all, even in the movie, John is no Ubermensch but a very brave cop with a headache.
Well, it's pretty hard - you don't "die hard", but "die quick", even at medium difficulty. The bad guys - even at the first levels - seem to take much more bullets from the same gun than youself.
There is no multi player - which didn't hurt me since there are plenty of other games to choose from, but it's not very state of the art to omit that.
The Bottom Line
One of the best ego shooter games I ever saw - Max Payne was great for his setting of a gruesome, dark world where your only choices are desperation or death, but it was ways too short. This one is different as the story is already known, but this game lives from that point - because the player wants to be part of the movie. A must-buy for any serious action gamer!
Windows · by phlux (4294) · 2002
Okay, if you don't already know Nakatomi Plaza turns the first Die Hard movie into a first person shooter. That right there belongs in the Good category.
The controls are your typical FPS controls. You can run, duck, strafe and jump. They've also included Garret's ability to lean and fire around corners. This is really helpful as (like in the movie) Mc Clane is a relatively fragile character.
In addition to watching your Health meter, you also have to worry about Stamina and Morale. If you choose 'Always Run' or leap from desk top to desk top, Mc Clane will start wheezing like a smoker. Stamina was a great addition, as it encourages a little stealth and keeps you more grounded in the real world. No always running and jumping everywhere, but you aren't stuck with the frustration of dying from one shot.
The developers have done a good job of bringing Nakatomi to life. The cut scenes are recreations of famous bits of the movie done with the game's LithTech engine. The building might be a bit gray over-all, but it is an eighties office building after all. There is a nice bit of variety in the levels though. There are stylish Japanese-inspired executive floors and more mundane cubicle rooms and elevator shafts, the roof and (of course) sewers. The levels are very detailed, down to spare change lying on desks and food safety warnings posted in the cafeteria.
They brought back Reginald VelJohnson to play Sgt. Powell and the guy that does john Mc Clane does a pretty decent job. The sounds of bare feet on concrete, weapons firing and the rest are good if not great.
They didn't use much of the original movie's music, but since that music was almost all altered Christmas carols, I think it was a wise choice. The music they do use is good if not outstanding. I did like the way the music would change depending on your current situation.
The movie runs two hours and has a dozen or so bad guys. This wouldn't work for the game, so now there's hundreds of villains and there are extra tasks to accomplish.
Some of the extra tasks are great. You'll find Nakatomi's architect and have to escort him to safety while fighting a fire started by a dropped cigarette. Later, you'll find yourself entangled in a firefight between bad guys and a SWAT team in the sub-basement. You'll also get to go lend a hand to Argyle, the limo driver that brought you to the party.
Of course, there's also levels lifted straight out of the movie and that I think is Nakatomi Plaza's strongest selling point. Climbing around the ventilation shafts with your Zippo or jumping off the roof with a firehose are fun, fun, fun!
Sadly all is not well.
The cutscenes are remakes of scenes from the movie, but except for Mc Clane and Powell, everybody else tends to be wooden and emotionless. Since the best bit about Nakatomi Plaza is that you are playing your way through the classic movie, there should have been more care taken with the quality of the performances. That may not seem like much, but subtracts A LOT from this particular gameplay experience.
While the Health and Stamina meters are cool, the Morale meter doesn't really seem to serve any purpose. At least none that I've noted.
Also, there's too many locked doors, which sometimes makes you feel you're being funneled to the end of the level. Since by their office-building nature, the floors aren't very big, I think they should have let you do a bit more exploring. Maybe throw a few health-packs or something in the 'extra' rooms. There are a couple of times where they do just that and those tend to be the best, most exciting levels, since you don't know for sure where the villains are hiding.
Lastly, this game is very much set in the real world, but you can't shoot bad guys hiding behind cardboard boxes. I enjoyed the game quite a bit, but it also seemed like it would have been more successful if they'd made it a bit more of a single player Counter-Strike.
The Bottom Line
Die Hard: Nakatomi Plaza has it's share of problems, but I feel that it's much better than the ratings here suggest.
The cut scenes may not be as good as they could have been, but the game is great fun. In the end, it's great to step into Mc Clane's "shoes" (so to speak).
Windows · by Atomic Punch! (186) · 2009
While most characters have photorealistic textures as face skins so they look like the movie character, it seems Fox didn't have the license for every actor - while Mr. Takagi really looks like the actor who played him in the blockbuster, compare for example the movie "Ellis" to the game "Ellis" (in the screenshots section) and you'll see what I mean. Bruce Willis' likeliness is oddly absent as well.
One of the mini-bosses can be dealt with by non-weapon mean, and another can be defeated NOT by applying direct firepower. The alternate solutions only appear on two of the 30 levels, but are very entertaining when you do find them.
This game was originally going to be an elaborate, fan-made "total conversion" for Duke Nukem 3D. The textures were to all be bitmaps of real-life items, with frame-accurate recreations of all locations from the film. The team's (Creative Creations) website (deleted long ago) displayed extremely impressive images from test levels, and side-by-side comparisons with frames from the film. The team even engineered a phony meeting in Fox Plaza (the "real" Nakatomi Plaza in Century City), posing as representatives interested in leasing space in the building, to shoot reference and detail images for scanning into the game.
About the time they posted this bit of trickery on their website, the site went down, and the TC was thought to be lost. Mention of it reappeared in Feburary 1999 on Halflife.net, now to be running as a mod for Half-Life and utilising the advanced scripting capabilities of that engine. The mod was renamed to Nakatomi Plaza.
After E3 1999, work and updates to the mod ceased, ending in the website simply saying "CREATIVE CREATION'S SITE IS DOWN" for months and never returning. The mod was believed to have been shut down and given a cease and desist (many assumed it had been "Foxed", a term representing 20th Century Fox's reputation for shutting down websites infringing on it's intellectual properties, of which the Die Hard movies are part of.)
Behind the scenes, two of the team's founders created Piranha Games, with the intent to take the work to Fox directly and appeal for commercial support. It worked. Fox appeared to be impressed enough by their dedication that they offered to fund the game as a stand-alone budget title on the Lithtech engine. The game was released on April, 1 2002, with a surprising and successful end for the ambitious little mod's journey.
The three difficulty levels in the game are named after the three Die Hard movies: "Die Hard", "Die Harder", "Die Hard with a Vengeance".
The game included an mail-in form for a free copy of the original movie on VHS. It's even the remastered Special Edition with a "making of" featurette and THX audio. This offer was only good in the US and for a limited time.
While the US version does not feature the voice of Bruce Willis, the German version sort of does: John McClane is spoken by Manfred Lehmann, the voice actor of all Bruce Willis movies appearing in German language. All blood effects were removed in the German version.
Movie differences and inconsistencies
- Compared to the movie, the language was toned town. For example, while McClane is on the roof trying to get help via the CB radio, he yells "No fucking shit, lady! Do I sound like I'm ordering a pizza?" - in the game, the f-bomb was removed.
- The "ordering a pizza" line was censored but the F word did get used several times elsewhere in the game. Perhaps Motorola didn't want naughty language spoken over the (anachronistic) 2-way radio they payed to have plugged in(to) the game.
- Powell's gun used in the end of the movie was a black revolver. In the game, it appears to be a silver Berretta (automatic pistol). LAPD's official handgun is the .45 cal M1911.
- In the movie, the CB radio used seems to be a much older style, like those you find in Radio Shack, not the sleek Motorola CB in the game.
- The chopper in the game seems to have a standard blue/white paintjob instead of the camouflage pattern in the movie, but it's at night and I could be mistaken.
While it was never stated in either the game, the game manual or the movie, the weapons are: * Handgun: Beretta 92 (or one of the variants), with 17 round magazine, though in reality Beretta's maximum magazine is only 15 rounds * Submachine gun: Heckler & Koch MP5 * Sniper Rifle: Steyr AUG assault rifle * M-16: The actual gun is M-4, M-16's short-barrel cousin * Heavy machine gun: M-60 needs no further introduction
Related Sites +
- MobyGames ID: 6262
Are you familiar with this game? Help document and preserve this entry in video game history!
Contributors to this Entry
Game added by NeoMoose.
Game added May 8th, 2002. Last modified August 17th, 2023.