Thursday, April 11, 2024

True Lies (Super NES, 1995)

This is the one game I bought in the 1990's that I didn't actually finish, as far as I know. Well, more specifically my mom bought it. We went to the store to get something new and she got me this and Stargate. We liked both movies, and didn't know how bad movie-licensed games were yet. The good news is that both of said games are actually pretty decent. Yeah, even this one.

LJN finally made something good? Yeah, I'm surprised too. These two games are probably the closest I ever got to actually buying a bad game, but I lucked out. I'll cover Stargate some time, but in the meantime I think this is the superior game of the two. Surprised that I never finished it until 2010. I did skip to the last level in 1995 and "beat" the game with an invincibility code, but it wasn't until 2010 that I actually painstakingly beat every level normally (with emulator checkpoints, as some of these levels are way too long).

Get used to seeing this screen a lot, because this is one of those "run out of lives and you go back to the beginning" games. However it also has level passwords, plus a ton of codes you can enter to skip levels, be invulnerable, etc. So you can always go back to the level you were on.

It has these surprisingly well-done shots from the movie between levels, and actually does a pretty good job following the movie location-wise.

It also contains TOM ARNOLD, and subjects you to looking at his face for a large portion of the game!

He says to keep a low profile... then I JUST STARTED BLASTIN!

Man, Tom Arnold is peering right into the player's soul here. Is this really necessary, LJN?

The gameplay here is a bit like Smash TV except transpiring over actual levels. It's top-down, you shoot guns at terrorists, and you have a dive roll that makes you invulnerable to attacks for a moment.

Wait a minute... was Fromsoft inspired by True Lies for the Super NES? Is this the game we can thank for Dark Souls pioneering invincible dive rolls that are now in like every game?

Don't worry, that guy was definitely a terrorist! We only shoot bad guys!

Alright that one wasn't. Jesus, all of these RULES.

Plant the keycard in the computer and get outta the chateau. This all happens in the movie, IIRC. It's been a while.

The next section has Arnold running for his life down a mountain. I basically just dive-roll through this entire level. Big question on my mind is, how far did I get with this game in 1995? I want to say maybe halfway at the most.

The bad guys chase Arnold with a helicopter, but nothing can hit him with my DIVE-ROLL SPAM.

I mentioned how this game has a lot of codes. Well here they are. They make the game a lot more fun:

"Kill as many civilians as you want" would have gone over real well in the 90's. I probably would have gotten sent to the principal's office for talking about it, kinda like when I said I liked Maximum Carnage and literally got sent to the principal's office for saying it. Meanwhile a girl in my class got a "five minute timeout" for stabbing my friend in the head with a pencil.

With a fucking pencil!

Not even kidding. She was from Boise, Idaho, so I've never liked Boise, Idaho. If I did what she did I would have been expelled to the gulag of the local alternative school.

Back to the game. So this whole story is about secret agent Arnold pursuing Aziz, the leader of the Crimson Jihad cell, who has access to a stolen Russian warhead. It's the plot of a 24 season before 24 existed.

Also "Crimson Jihad" might be the coolest terrorist cell name I've ever heard.

The next level is the mall, just like the movie. This place is full of civilians (which basically stop being a thing altogether after this level) and interestingly-named shops.

Uncle Furry, huh?

Too bad you can't go into some of these shops. I'd like to see what's going on in the Llama City.

The first real boss of the game is in this bathroom. Which also kinda happens in the movie.

The bathroom stalls emit endless waves of terries unless you destroy the doors, which causes the stalls to stop spawning them in. Are they climbing out of the toilets? And meanwhile the big ponytailed guy with the shotgun is the actual boss, and you want to destroy the stall doors before he shows up. Dealing with him plus endless-spawning goons is a no-go.

Get outta here, Tom Arnold! I can't imagine having this guy in my earpiece all day.

Next level is the park, which is based on a scene where Arnold chases Aziz on horses.

This level is a massive, ridiculous maze that's about twice as big as any level should be (which is pretty much the trend from here on out) where you have to gather keys to progress.

Most noteworthy thing here is this group of martial artists practicing nearby. I think this is the last time you see any civilians in the game. Weird how they just totally drop that concept after the first couple levels.

Next boss is this big dude with a flamethrower! None of these bosses were in the movie.

Elsewhere, Aziz is caressing his nuke. Also present is 90's movie sensation Tia Carrere for some reason. She was pretty gorgeous. The other day I randomly bumped into a woman who looked almost exactly like her, except younger and hotter. She works at a Nordstrom. Anyway story over, back to the game.

I'm about 90% sure the park level was the last one I beat in 1995 when I first played this. I barely remember the next level at all. It's a subway tunnel. Chances are this is about when I gave up and level-skipped to the end.

The main hazard here is that occasionally trains barrel through, murdering everyone. Also the terries are becoming much better-equipped now.

At the end you have to blow up a computer room while an endless horde of bad guys converges on you.

Like I said, the between-level shots are the best part. Wonder if Arnold Schwarzenegger himself ever played this game. Probably not. Tom Arnold probably did, though.

Next level is the docks. Things are getting pretty bland and repetitive at this point, I see why I jumped ahead. The core gameplay is still good though. The trick to playing this game is to use the Y button to lock your facing in one direction so you can strafe and lay down shots. Until you learn to do that, you aren't going to get very far.

Would be hilarious if he fired this the wrong way, like Rae Dawn Chong in Commando.

Next level is China. Where in China? I don't know. It's just called "China".

After that we've got the Refinery. Not sure if the game is still following the movie at all or just tacking generic areas on to extend the game time.

Flamethrower wielding mobs become the predominant enemy type as the game goes on. Luckily they don't move around and don't have a lot of range.

The second-to-last level is easily the best thing in this game. You commandeer a fighter jet and take out a bunch of terrorists on a highway. It basically becomes a vertical shooter for one level.

Then the last level is an office building where Aziz is holding Arnold's daughter captive. I think technically the nuke got disarmed back in the subway level, so after that it's probably just him trying to rescue his daughter.

Disappointingly, you never actually fight Aziz. He just retreats and leaves you to fight goons. "The streets will run with your blood" is an insanely good threat.

The final boss is this dude who dual-wields uzis and has a massive amount of HP. The trick is to get him stuck on this corner here and shoot him where he can't hit you back very often. However it's more likely the player will just have to trade shots with him because his hail of fire is almost impossible to dodge.

This leads to Arnold launching Aziz into the sky with a missile from his fighter jet. Hilarious!

So that's it for True Lies. A decent movie-licensed game, and a decent LJN game. It's like hell has frozen over.

I think this is a solid run-and-gun game that probably shouldn't be forgotten. Would have been really good if it had a two-player mode, and it's perfectly suited for one. There are so many foes charging at you fast that you really NEED a second player as backup. However, no such luck. I think a two-player mode would have elevated this game into the realm of cult classic, because all the tools are there already.

That concludes the one game I bought in the 1990's and didn't finish. Took me 15 years to get back to it and beat the game, then another 15 years to write about it. Which makes this post the culmination of a 30 year journey. Not too bad for something my mom got for me in a Caldor.

No comments:

Post a Comment