Die Hard Arcade is a 3D brawler developed by Sega, released in 1996 in arcades and later ported to the Saturn. The game was originally released as Dynamite Deka (literally "Dynamite Detective") in Japan and was clearly "inspired" by - but in no way officially connected to - the film Die Hard. When the game was brought over to the United States, rather than removing or editing any overt references to the film, Sega got the rights to the Die Hard license, and re-branded the game as Die Hard Arcade. The game features two playable characters, John McClane (Bruno Delinger in the Japanese version) and Cindy Holiday, a female SWAT member. The actors from the film did not support the game with voice work.
December 31st, 2015. San Fransisco's Eternal Tower is host to its annual New Year's party, with countless VIP guests from the world of finance and politics. Infiltrating the building's security team, Wolf Hongo and his band of terrorists have seized control over the building, and taken the President's daughter hostage! SFPD veteran and "Dynamite Cop" Bruno Delinger/John McClane and newly-transferred rookie Cindy Holiday are sent in via helicopter to take on the terrorists and rescue the VIP hostage.
Die Hard Arcade is a 3D beat 'em up where the player fight their way through the occupied building, using fists, feet, firearms, and a number of improvised melee weapons to defeat Wolf Hongo and his veritable army of terrorists. In each scene, set number and types of enemies spawn in predetermined locations, and once every enemy in a room has been defeated, the game moves on to the next scene. Although the game is in 3D, player and enemy characters can only attack to the left or right, and movement on the Z-axis is limited to sidestepping. In that sense, the game plays more like earlier beat 'em ups such as Final Fight and the Streets of Rage series, rather than its sequel or later 3D brawlers like SpikeOut. Much like those 2D predecessors, precise Z-axis movement to avoid lining up with enemies' attacks is a key survival tactic.
Despite its simple controls with 2D movement and only three buttons (Punch, Kick and Jump), the game offers a surprising depth with plenty of abilities for the player to master. The player characters have a vast array of martial arts moves at their disposal: everything from simple punches and kicks to elaborate wrestling moves like piledrivers and giant swings. Using Virtua Fighter-style inputs for movement and attacks, the player can perform special attacks specific to running, dashing, jumping or grappling states, and can even launch enemies into the air to perform devastating juggle combos.
In addition to hand to hand combat, throughout the game the player is able to pick up and use a number of melee and ranged weapons. Broken bottles, push brooms, steel pipes and other familiar brawler weapons make their appearance, but also firearms such as handguns, sub-machine guns and anti-tank rifles. Most weapons can only be used a set number of times before they break or run out of ammo, and are then discarded. However, picking up extra handgun or sub-machine gun magazines allows the player to reload those gun to extend their use.
A unique and memorable feature of the game is its early use of quick time events. As the player travels from one location to the next, cutscenes are commonly interrupted by joystick or button prompts; inputting the buttons correctly and in time allows the player to dodge or bypass whatever obstacle the game is throwing at them, whereas failing typically results in the player having to face off against additional groups of enemies.
Upon reaching the top of the building, players face off against Wolf Hongo in a final, two-phase boss fight. The first phase takes place in the CEO's office, but after being defeated once, Wolf retreats to the roof of the building where the final showdown takes place. After defeating Wolf, the President's daughter is recovered safe and sound, and when played by a single player, the game ends. However, in co-op mode, the two players must face each other in a competition to become the President's daughter's new bodyguard - reminiscent of the final battle in the original Double Dragon.