Die Hard Trilogy was developed by Probe Entertainment, who were later acquired by Acclaim. The game is an adaptation of the first three Die Hard films. Because each Die Hard film is represented by a different genre - Die Hard was adapted as a top-down third-person shooter; Die Hard 2: Die Harder was adapted as a first-person shooter; Die Hard with a Vengeance was adapted as a driving game - Die Hard Trilogy was marketed as being three games in one, as the three "games" which were on the disk had enough depth to act as stand alone arcade titles.
The games were developed as if they were arcade games. A running score is kept at the top of the screen across the three different modes, and typical arcade conventions of continues, high scores, scoreboards, and lives were applied.
Die Hard Trilogy was very successful upon release. The game was banned in Germany, due to excessive violence and gore, particularly in the Die Hard with a Vengeance segment, where players can run over innocent pedestrians at will. The game sold enough to make Sony's Greatest Hits line in North America, and the Platinum line in PAL territories. A sequel, Die Hard Trilogy 2: Viva Las Vegas, developed by n-Space, was released four years after Die Hard Trilogy.
The adaptation of the first film sets the player in Nakatomi Plaza with little reference to the film's original story. Instead, players make their way up each individual floor, from the ground floor at the bottom, to the top floor, some thirty-five storeys up. The different floors are made up of the roof, a parking garage, a ballroom, maintenance levels, office levels, and computer levels. Key to the gameplay was the top-down camera view and the tank controls which were toned down to make them more responsive and less taxing on the player.
Each level is packed full of terrorists, all of whom the player must eliminate in order to complete the level. Once all terrorists are defeated, a bomb timer is triggered in one of the elevators in the level. The player has thirty seconds to reach the elevator in which the bomb is located - should they fail, a game over is triggered. Hostages are scattered throughout each environment, and the player gains health by saving them. There are also a myriad of pickups, including several special weapons such as assault rifles and shotguns which fire incendiary rounds. Each environment had many destructible aspects. Office divider walls break apart when shot; levels under "construction" can be razed to the ground.
Throughout Die Hard, the player character - apparently John McClane, though this is never strictly stated other than in the manual for the game - utters several one liners from the film, and ones uniquely recorded by a Bruce Willis sound-alike for the game.
Die Hard 2: Die Harder
Die Hard 2 puts the player in John McClane's shoes. The game is played as a first-person shooter (though strictly speaking it is an on-rails light gun game, and plays similarly to how Time Crisis plays without a light gun). Nine different levels are included in the game; each level takes players throughout the different settings from the film - the airport, the runway, the plane, the church, the snowmobile fight, among other locations.
Similarly to the adaptation of Die Hard, terrorists and hostages are scattered throughout the levels. If the player shoots hostages they lose a significant amount of health. Terrorists drop armor and weapons when shot. The player can also use different types of ammunition, such as tracer rounds, as well as grenades and missiles. In order for items to be collected, the player shoots the highlighted pickups on screen. Several different types of enemies attack the player. Often, "Head Honchos" spawn into the levels, which are effectively sub-bosses. If the player does well in key areas in each level, secret areas can be unlocked with more weapons and health and ammunition.
Die Hard 2 can be played with the PlayStation controller, or with the Scorpion light gun.
Die Hard With a Vengeance
With a Vengeance takes the player away from the shooting mechanics of the other two games and puts them behind the wheel of a New York cab. Similarly to the level structure of Die Hard 2, levels are taken from locations all over the film. The player must drive around in large, city-like areas and disarm bombs that terrorists place down around the city. Bombs are disarmed when the player drives over them.
Because time limits were particularly harsh in this portion of the game, the player can drive at tremendous speed, and can collect pickups which add to the "nitro booster" of the cab, or which slow down time. Hitting the shoulder buttons of the PlayStation controller will make the cab instantly turn at a ninety-degree angle; supposedly this feature was to be used for turning around tight corners in the city portions of the game. Civilians play a large role in the early levels, as they often line the sidewalks - sidewalks which the player can use as shortcuts to avoid traffic. The player has the ability to drive into innocent people, the result being an explosion of blood splashing across the windshield.
Originally the game was envisioned as a PlayStation exclusive, but development went smoothly enough to allow an avenue for a port of the game for the Sega Saturn and the PC before development on the PlayStation version was even completed. Both versions required further development, because the method of handling polygons in the game engine - particularly on the Sega Saturn - was a very different from the PlayStation.
Die Hard Trilogy was one of many games on the PlayStation to feature redbook audio. Redbook audio was normal CD audio burned onto the CD past the game files. This allowed for there to be high quality music that did not need to be converted through the PlayStation's sound chip; instead it could be played like a typical CD.