A little crazier and zanier than the original, Die Hard Trilogy 2: Viva Las Vegas is enhanced by better use of 3D acceleration, more realistic sounds, faster gameplay and an interesting plot. Sticking with the same formula of a three-in-one package, the results are obvious: the engine is almost entirely revamped -- almost. Furthermore, poor controls in some areas as well as a few glitches are not to be overlooked. Though the game boasts better AI and a bit of stealthy adventure, it's still no Syphon Filter.
Fox Interactive seems bent on reviving the Die Hard Trilogy craze, which helps Bruce Willis a lot since his likeness is even more apparent with our 3D polygonal hero. However, a second trilogy in the theaters does not exist; not even a fourth Die Hard sequel! So it doesn't make sense in that regard and can probably confuse those who don't know much about movie history. Instead we get a different story altogether, which takes place in Las Vegas this time. It's a good set-up and has some interesting CG cut-scenes (although a limited amount that don't last long). The biggest difference between this sequel and the original is the major facelift.
While the first Die Hard Trilogy had some of the ugliest 3D characters and textures ever seen in a computer game, there is a significant improvement in the sequel. No longer do they look like square pieces of garbage bags; they now actually look more human. However, despite the enhanced textures, it could have looked even better considering the graphics technology available. There are some pretty cool effects like smoke clouds, transparencies, fade-in, motion trailing, explosions, dynamic lighting and lens flare. Frame rate got a bump up in the smoothness factor while increased speed, a few separate camera angles and numerous bosses provide some real challenge. There are more weapons and items as well as the usual familiar stuff.
The sounds are Dolby Surround with better effects overall. The voiceovers are also done well, as is the music (now performed by Lil' Zane, Black Rob and Tony Touch). Strangely enough, the CD is completely in use while you're playing the game. The installation doesn't copy many files to the hard drive at all, so if you have a slow CD-ROM you're out of luck. However, the developers pulled it off pretty well considering it's all on CD and doesn't really affect the game whatsoever.
Several new features add to the realism of the game, including the option to enable or disable blood. Like Virtua Cop and Syphon Filter, it's not that gory. The most violence in that respect takes place in Extreme Driving mode where there's "opportunities" to run over people, just like in the original game. Controls are customizable, but unfortunately there's no 180-degree turn around button in Third-Person mode. As well, the Sharp Shooter mode is pretty tough to beat using a Gamepad or joystick. Act Labs' own SGA PC Light Gun, which is made specifically for games of this type, are a better option for accuracy. And the Extreme Driving mode consists of the worst controls for a driving game. Overcompensation, stiff turning and lack of a 180-degree spin only serve to frustrate the player. All of these problems are really astounding and impact the gameplay big time.
Power-ups are aplenty and in bountiful abundance, yet missing in areas that could be crucial to your survival. However, there are objects that need to be explored in search of hidden goodies, such as breaking soda machines (remind you of Fighting Force 2?) or activating switches to open jail cells. Saving up on some items that go into your inventory is a good idea if you want to live.
You'll go out with a bang in Die Hard Trilogy 2: Viva Las Vegas if you learn to overcome some of the problems. It's no piece of cake but it's pretty fair in general. Those fans of the action-oriented genre and those who dig the movie series are going to give this one a whirl, while those who are just casual action game enthusiasts could at least get a closer look before they Die Hard. And no, there's no Elvis Presley end boss.
Graphics: The visual onslaught in this sequel is much better than the original Die Hard Trilogy, with better video, better polygonal characters and more realism. It could have used more CG cut-scenes but better yet, have some in-game cut-scenes as well. The textures are improved but aren't as good compared to other games released at that time.
Sound: Audio is enhanced by Dolby Surround sound and music is another intricate part of the game. The voice of John McClane bears an uncanny resemblance to Bruce Willis himself!
Enjoyment: The gameplay is pretty good and there is enough incentive to go through it after you keep dying. But the poor controls, particularly in the Extreme Driving mode, are horrible. The game becomes much harder, not because of challenge, but because you've lost control!
Replay Value: There's enough incentive to replay the game a few times to build up that adrenaline rush. After that however, it might get a little stale.
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