Unreleased Nintendo 64 Game ‘Die Hard 64’ Discovered
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Yippee ki yay! It looks like yet another cancelled Nintendo 64 game has been discovered – this time it’s the mythical Die Hard 64 from Bits Studios. Originally planned for a 1999 release by Fox Interactive, Die Hard 64 was never actually shown to the press or the public and the only hints that it ever existed (until now) were some mentions in magazine articles of the era. It appears that the same Assembler Games forum member who recently revealed the similarly cancelled Nintendo 64 game Riqa also has in his possession a very early (yet fully playable) version of Die Hard 64 – a first person shooter that is for all intents and purposes the blueprint for what went on to become Die hard Vendetta. RetroCollect reached out to forum member 10ahu – who incidentally worked for Bits Studios in the late 1990s – for further details on Die Hard 64. Here’s what he told us about this incredible discovery:
“The game is far from complete, and is split into three roms. Each rom has got about 8 levels and around 3 of them are playable in each rom (the rest are test levels, or unfinished levels with no enemies at all). The levels playable include the prison riot, the hospital, LA street, the police department. The maps are quite big, and fairly impressive for the Nintendo 64; for instance in the LA street level you have few streets and you can go inside some buildings, but you dont have any pedestrians or cars running in the street. It feels a bit empty, but this is a very early game. All cutscenes are missing and beside the “yippee ki yay!” and “that must hurt” voiced by Bruce Willis, there is no dialogue at all. Even in the most completed level you have a lot of funny glitches. It was really a work in progress – and you can tell.
“Beside that you still have a lot here. You have few melee weapons – a knife, baseball bat, police stick, tazer, and your fist. Firearms I found include a hand gun, Uzi, M-16, a sort of automatic shotgun and a few other generic machine guns. What’s really cool is that you can dual wield weapons. In terms of gameplay, you can climb ladder, push buttons, jump, crouch, crawl on the ground, and you can also lean around corners. You have also some kind of unfinished ‘bullet time’ effect with the camera rotating around the bullet – a bit like Max Payne.
“The field of view is quite narrow but I guess thats standard in an N64 shooter, and the controls seem to be quite complicated to get used to. I guess I lost my skill with modern shooters’ auto aiming, but it was really hard to shoot the enemies!”
As mentioned earlier, Die Hard 64 appears to have been cancelled due to it’s projected release date being very late in the life cycle of the Nintendo 64, so work was halted and the game was moved to the Gamecube. Die Hard Vendetta did not garner stellar review scores upon release, but it’s very interesting to see the origins of that game in true Nintendo 64 blur-o-vision. 10ahu went on to explain how the Bits Studios team was split and worked on other well-known titles:
“When the N64 generation ended, the Riqa team was split into two teams – one half joined the Thieves World (another cancelled N64 game) team and they then produced Rogue Ops. The other half joined Die Hard 64 which then eventually became Die Hard Vendetta.”
According to 10ahu, the Die Hard 64 roms will not work using an emulator like Project64, and instead is running using an Everdrive with genuine Nintendo 64 hardware. Whether he releases Die Hard 64 to the wider community (or Riqa, for that matter) remains to be seen. But what we do know is that with every new discovery, the Nintendo 64’s library of cancelled games shows a tantalising glimpse of what could have been. 10ahu has promised us a video of the game in action, and we’ll update as soon as it’s published.