Genesis Reviews

Last Action Hero

Genre: Action Developer: Bits Publisher: Sony Imagesoft Players: 1 Released: 1993

Last Action Hero was another one of those games I grabbed for nickels and dimes fully knowing it was going to be total trash, that and I needed it for my collection. I really didn’t give it a second thought, but then I was looking for another obscure game to review. Wiith the persuasion of seeing nothing at all on the web for coverage (and also seeing and enjoying this video of the NES version on YouTube) and getting vibes to have fun with a bad game, I decided that Last Action Hero needed some coverage no matter how bad it was. Believe me, this game is bad, quite bad. It’s also quite hard!

The game is one half-baked excuse as far as the gameplay goes; I honestly couldn’t get far at all for quite a while, and I was going to write it off and write a trash review for it. I was left testing my own mettle which was wearing quite thin. Then I finally found a walkthrough online of the SNES version which greatly helped, since the differences between the two versions are largely cosmetic. I finally made it through several stages in the game and I’ll be honest, I didn’t finish LAH, but I don’t need to as it’s already bad enough, and I did get far enough to honestly give a full review for the game.

The game starts out with some basic text storyline from the movie that doesn’t even give you enough time to read it. It’s also pretty blurry too. The first two stages are platform beat-’em-ups. I actually almost gave up in the second stage since the collision detection is so bad. I finally overcame that and realized that if you are too close to the enemies your hits won’t register. They also kept ganging up one me, and I had to figure out how to kill multiple enemies at one time.

I’m finally starting to get the hang of it and then, what’s this? There’s random gunfire raining downing on me from the sky, draining my health faster than I could keep up with. Talk about cheap! The second stage is more of the same except with more enemies to bum rush you, just minus the gun fire. Along the way I noticed random shiny things falling down on the ground, those are movie tickets which replenish health. The problem is is that they only replenish one little bar of life, and most of the time they fall right off the side of the screen and can’t be grabbed. Little good, that is.

Well I finally made it through the first two stages and started tricking myself into enjoying the game. Then stage three comes along, and just when I feel like I’m getting somewhere, this stage just starts dishing out the punishment in a big big way. It’s a driving stage reminiscent of the ones found in Sunsoft’s Batman game for the Genesis, minus the weapons. You simply have to race along and beat the timer while avoiding enemies and parked cars which will instantly destroy Mr. Slater. I finally figured out what the objective was and finally beat this torturously hard level, and I was back to another lame beat-’em-up stage where you have to figure out how to ride elevators to the roof, which grows pretty confusing at first. The boss at the top is the helicopter from the movie and get this you have to defeat it by kicking its missiles back at it (Umhh yeah, great logic there for a game huh). It’s actually much harder than it ever should be, and that’s where I knew it was time to throw the towel in and call it a day. Even though I didn’t get that far, the manual said that there’s one driving stage and two beat-’em-up stages left before the end of the game.

Just when you thought it didn’t get any worse, it did. You’d never know the game was on a 16-bit console unless you were told so upon first seeing it in action. Both this and the SNES version are almost identical and look absolutely horrible. Jack Slater looks nothing like he did in the movie and the animations are stiff, limited, and ugly; not to mention that the graphics are about as grainy as they can get for a 16-bit console. There are only two to three enemies for each stage that you have to beat over and over, and the stages are too long on top of that.

The soundtrack is some pretty lame jazz/elevator music that loops over and over. It wasn’t bad at first, but it got pretty old by the end. As bad as the music is, the sound effects are simply ridiculous. For example, in stage two you have to punch doors to break them. One time it sounds like you tore a piece of paper, and the next time it sounds like the grunt you hear when you punch an enemy. How’s that for accuracy? The driving stages have one of the funniest sounds I’ve ever heard in a video game, but it’s not a good thing. The sound of braking comes off like that shrilling whistling sound you get when you let the air out of a balloon. It really has to be heard to be understood, but it’s really bad.

Well you can’t expect much from Sony Imagesoft given its track record. I haven’t seen the whole movie; I only saw the second half, and it’s one of those crap B grade popcorn flicks that you watch on network TV when you’re bored on a weeknight, so you couldn’t get a better game if you tried. It’s kind of like trying to bleed a turnip. Last Action Hero is a trash game based on a trash movie programmed by a trash company, so yeah, basically I’m telling you to avoid it. You may ask me why I even wasted my time playing this game and writing this review, and I’d have to honestly tell you that I don’t know why I did it. I guess it just shows that I’m dedicated. I knew when enough was enough, so now it’s time for me to digress because I have a headache and want the time that I spent playing this game back. Do both me and yourself a favor and honor my sacrifice. Don’t submit yourself to the pain I went through for playing this game. Oh, and one more thing. Give yourself a HUGE “attaboy!” (or “attagirl!”) if you have ever managed to finish it!

SCORE: 2 out of 10


One Comment

  1. “Oh, and one more thing. Give yourself a HUGE attaboy (or attagirl) if you have ever managed to finish it!”

    Well, I guess I get a huge attaboy, since I just beat it! The helicopter boss is definitely the nadir of the game, and really depends more on luck than anything. After that the last levels are actually pretty easy, and the final boss isn’t too bad. The first driving level is frustrating as hell at first, but it seems a lot harder than it actually is. The trucks and health/powerup items follow a strict pattern, and the parked cars are always in the same place, so with a little memorization it’s very doable.

    I think I’d give the game 3/10, and if it weren’t for the helicopter boss it might scrape a weak 4/10. It’s ridiculous and damaged, sure, but the beat-’em-up levels are perversely fun once you find the right attack pattern (close in tight, hit them with two kicks, done). There’s a brainless entertainment value to it that’s lacking in other, fancier games, e.g. the horrible Doom Troopers which was about as fun as a root canal.

    BTW, the gunshots at the start are actually kind of clever: you’re supposed to jump on the police cars as a decoy, to get the snipers to aim too high. Do that, and the bullets will pass overhead harmlessly.

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