Nick DeMarco

TURN TO CHANNEL 3: ‘Yippee ki-yay’ – Sega Saturn’s ‘Die Hard Arcade’ is an action-packed party

TURN TO CHANNEL 3: ‘Yippee ki-yay’ – Sega Saturn’s ‘Die Hard Arcade’ is an action-packed party
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One of my favorite things to do at my shop in Mayfield is educate the young ones on things they don’t know about. I think, perhaps, this is to prevent those “Teens React” videos that make me sigh and desire to flick them on the forehead. Then again, shame on you parents out there for not educating them in our cool ways!

Eh, I digress. Another reason is because I feel that they often take for granted how things are now. The expectations for new video games are so high, and this is now especially true of games tied into movies.

I mean, sure, we expected this too, but rarely did we ever get what we wanted. Today, we look at a game on the Sega Saturn that, in a way, was more than just the sum of its parts, a notable game for more than just its movie connections. Welcome to the party, pal – we’re playing “Die Hard Arcade!”

“Die Hard Arcade” (Sega Saturn)


While lacking in variety, “Die Hard Arcade” follows a simple but effective approach with its soundtrack, creating intense moments and theatrical scores that both showcase the Saturn’s hardware and the fact that developers didn’t just throw something out there in hope that no one would notice or care.

“Die Hard Arcade” is an action-packed game, and the music found here, while repetitive, assists in getting you to focus on the gameplay itself. The soundtrack supports the game like a supporting actor. There are some voiceovers, but many are so cheesy and forced that they aren’t worth mentioning.


“Die Hard Arcade” wears its chunky polygon badge with pride, but since this is a 2D fighter, it carries some hilarious humor and action-packed scenes with it, only adding to the charm when you see enemies fly across the screen as you punch and kick them. This game has a “Virtua Fighter” meets “Fighting Force” look going for it which, in the weirdest way imaginable, works quite well.

The cut scenes squeeze every bit of dramatic movie flair that you can into things like bathroom brawls and in-your-face kicks. Has “Die Hard Arcade” aged well graphically? No, but neither has “Goldeneye 007” on the Nintendo 64, but gamers still enjoy it for what it is – a nostalgic romp down memory lane.


This is where “Die Hard Arcade” truly shines. The gameplay incorporates slapstick humor (guys in jockey shorts tripping over toilet paper or thugs falling into office cubicles in shock of your arrival) and fighting that’s so in-your-face that you can actually time your kicks and punches in close-up scenes that take you away from the regular action. Did I mention that you get to dodge runaway fire trucks? This is as if Michael Bay designed a video game, but it was actually good and not just overrun with explosions.

If “Die Hard Arcade” has one drawback, it is that a conversion of an arcade game usually has a scoring system, but “Die Hard Arcade” for the Saturn does not possess one, simply tasking you with finishing it. This may seem like a petty gripe, but it does take away from that straight-from-the-arcade feel of the game.


Sega did what they could without the ability to use the likeness of Bruce Willis, swapping in a generic guy and gal, but what they accomplished is one of the more talked about games on the Sega Saturn. “Die Hard Arcade” is an explosive romp of a game that doesn’t take itself too seriously and shines through its polygonal roots. A copy of “Die Hard Arcade” costs anywhere from $50-$75, depending on whether or not you want a complete copy. I do feel that this is one of those games that belong in a Saturn collector’s stash.

I hope you enjoyed this review! Next week, we battle through the world of “Dragon Force” as our stroll through the Sega Saturn continues.

Now, let’s yell “Yippee ki-yay!” and game on!

Tune in to NEPA Scene’s gaming column, Turn to Channel 3, every Thursday for new perspectives on retro gaming as well as fresh twists on the classics. All ratings for Turn to Channel 3 are based on a scale of 1-10.