Thursday, February 23, 2012

True Lies (SNES)

He Will Grope You.

True Lies, for the Super Nintendo, is one of the lamer movie-based games of the 1990's. However, it has a special place in my heart. You see, this is the only SNES game I ever owned as a kid that I never actually finished back then. It was just too difficult, and too...bad. Luckily, emulators exist, so I was able to revisit this as an adult. Armed with adult patience (but lacking kid-reflexes), could I defeat this great bear from my youth? Join me, as I Legends of the Fall this thing.

It's worth noting that this game is based on a James Cameron movie. I'm a big fan of JC, even if he's kind of a dick. Since Titanic held the record for highest-grossing movie of all time until Avatar broke it, does that mean Cameron is both the #1 and #2 director of all time?

This gives me an idea for Former WWF Superstar Val Venis' next movie.





Rated X.

Val Venis: "Heh heh. Know what the ONLY difference between The Big Valbowski and The Titanic is? Only...400 ladies went down on the Titanic."


Whew... I apologize, folks. Now, about True Lies...

James Cameron: "This is MY Oscar! Suck it, Oscar Committee! Suck it long and good!"

Dammit! We need better security in here!

True Lies was made by LJN... brewer of countless bad NES and SNES games. At the end of some rainbows you can find a pot of gold... at the end of this one, you find a pot of shit!

Here we see The Governator, Arnold. He's a super spy, and he's trying to stop terrorism with the help of TV's Tom Arnold.


Our hero negotiates the first of the nine levels in the game... and the most fun/interesting one by a huge margin. After this, the game designers ran out of ideas for the remaining eight stages.

Also, when playing this game, get used to seeing Arnold staring you down because his picture is onscreen for THE WHOLE GAME. It doesn't even serve a purpose. Nope, it's just frozen, staring at you inappropriately.


Unfortunately, this is the mid-90's, so our heroes are downloading over a 56k modem. The screeching and howling of the modem immediately alerts the terrorists to Arnold's location. The electronic bellowing of"You've Got Mail!" didn't help either.

This game contains civilians who you can accidentally shoot, and hitting three means game over. The first two levels are crawling with them, but after that they pretty much disappear from the game entirely. This was actually an interesting game mechanic, too bad they scrapped it so quickly.

Oh shit! They're gonna kill Tom Arnold! Meanwhile, our hero battles terrorists on the ski slopes of the Swiss Alps. Too bad I didn't take more shots of this part, it's actually pretty cool.

Here's the leader of the badass-named Crimson Jihad, played by Jeff Goldblum's evil brother. It's too bad this game is so poorly constructed, because it could have been like playing an episode of 24.

Arnold traverses the mall, home of famed fast food joint Llama City.

Speaking of malls, back in 1995 my mom paid something like $30 to get this game for me at a mall. I really wanted it. Nintendo Power made it look cool, and it... it had Arnold! Little did I know that we were buying the first truly bad game I'd ever bought. It's a good thing we never bought any of the Terminator games for the Game Boy or the SNES. Those games were outright unplayable.

Shut the hell up, TV's Tom Arnold! I do what I want!

Arnold takes a moment to wash the blood off his hands...

...before getting more on them! BLAM BLAM BLAM! He used to be a terminator, bitches!

First boss is this shotgun-wielding menace. He has way too much health, but our hero reigns supreme by Rock Bottoming the guy through a toilet.

np bro

Our hero chases Goldblum through the park on horseback. Unfortunately, I don't get to do this in the game. Know what else doesn't happen in the game?

THIS...Oh God...THIS.

Level 3 is a hedge maze with the final civilians of the game, a karate class in session. If you succumb to the urge to throw a grenade into the middle of this group, you will be game overed one and a third times.

Another balls-difficult boss follows, as our hero takes on a guy with a flamethrower. I...I don't want to talk about it.

Evil? Aren't we all just shades of grey, really? In any case, the bad guys now have a nuke. Wait, they have three nukes!

By Christ, those two are even bigger than the other one!

Level 4 is a subway, and the official point where the game stops having any redeeming qualities. At least the first three levels were somewhat interesting, fun, and...well...beatable without becoming a frustrated wreck.

Look at this. It's like trying to dodge your way through a hailstorm! They just went waaaay overboard at this point, like they were trying to see how many bullets the SNES could process onscreen at once.

These between-level shots are the one cool thing remaining about the game. That said, the AK-47 he's got here isn't even a weapon you can get. So much for authenticity. I expected better from you, LJN! ...wait, no I didn't.

Arnold searches for nukes by land, sea, and air. Now replace "nukes" with "the titties", and this would also be an accurate reflection of real life. Meanwhile, you can almost hear the game getting worse by the minute.

But wait! Another cool between-level shot!

Next is a huge, confusing, Chinese monastery type level. Things are increasingly dire for our heroes, as the nukes have gone from suck to blow.

Know what does blow? This game. The presence of Tom Arnold is the only thing keeping it out of zero territory.

As I recall, at this point in the movie they kidnapped his daughter (played by young Eliza Dushku). Just like in Commando!

Here is the ultimate weapon of the game: the flamethrower. And you'll need it, because at the end of this area you get attacked by an almost endless stream of enemies. No matter how good you are, they will slowly whittle you down. Like a gauntlet-style fight against a steady army of battle midgets.

This is cool. You get to fly a jet for the next level. Normally I'm against changing control schemes up on a player for one level mid-game (case in point... those infernal Mega Man rail levels), but I'll seize the opportunity to take a break from the rest of this atrocious mess.

This level is pretty fun. Unfortunately, it's only about two minutes long. What's more, the ridiculous difficulty continues here. It seems like enemy shots actually take off MORE of the fighter plane's health than they took off of Arnold on foot in the rest of the game. What?

Arnold somehow parks outside of the TerrorBuilding with hover technology. ...that or flies into it.
I haven't seen the movie since the 1990's, so I can't say for sure.

That son of a bitch! Let Dana go!

"There is no Dana, only Zuul" says Goldblum.

And here's the final boss, an uberhenchman with two uzi's. His gunfire barrage is nearly unavoidable, until you find the one spot where you can hit him without getting hit back. Otherwise, he kills you in seconds. So much for dodging, or, you know, trying to play this like a real game. Just hang out in that spot and blast away. Yeah.

Finally, I win, and Arnold saves his daughter by catching her with a plane.

Aformentioned daughter? Yeah, that's Eliza Dushku, five years before her star-making turn on the Buffy series.

Also, the nefarious Goldblum is launched into the sea on a missile. Well, he won't be bothering us anymore. And you know what won't be bothering me anymore? This shitty game!

Arnold takes a moment to dance with his leg-tastic wife.

With that, True Lies is over. What do I think about this game?

 ...And that about sums things up.


  1. That was a thorough synopsis! Last photo is spot on!

  2. How could this not be a quality game when you have three hundred sixty degrees of firing power?

  3. Just beat the game for the first time after over 20 years of having it beat last time. I can't believe how I was able to beat that repeatedly as a kid. In those Nintendo kids our generation seemed to have had an endless threshold for patience and pain.