Sunday, May 27, 2012

Retroulette #16: Last Action Hero(es)

Today we’re going to do something a lil’ different. The robot who picked the game only told me ‘Last. Action. Hero.’
“Awesome”, I thought, “I love that movie. The game is sure to be great!” Upon checking my collection, however, I noticed a problem. “Hey, wait a second, there’s like four of these things…Robot, which one am I supposed to pl—“

But he was already gone. So I’m going to play all of them.

Now, like I said, I seriously love this movie. If you haven’t seen it (and you likely haven’t, it was a box office bomb) it was another collaboration of John McTiernan and Arnold Schwarzenegger following Predator. It’s about a boy from “our world” who gets a magic ticket that transports him into the movie he’s watching. And that movie happens to be a badass Arnold Schw- Jack Slater action movie. So in the movie he’s the wacky sidekick who’s pointing out to Jack how ridiculous all these movie tropes are, and it’s pretty funny. But it’s also the badass action movie that it pretends to be. It gets crazy meta. It’s some serious Charlie Kaufman shit.

But I’m not here to talk about the movie!
Although I wish I was…I should go watch it again…

Anyway, first up is...

The first level is set up with-GAH!-

Granted, this guy was pretty messed up looking in the movie...

 ...But in this game he looks like a pile of corpses in a raincoat.

This guy, The Ripper, has Jack’s kid held hostage on top of a building. In the movie he just kinda goes up there, without much resistance, because he's an officer of the law after all.

Other than the usual exasperated police chief.

But with this game, we learn that what the cameras didn’t show was that Jack was attacked by fucking everybody on his way to save his kid. You begin on the streets, and right away you’re attacked on both sides.

“To arms citizens! He’s attempting to rescue his child!”

I attempt to clear the screen of enemies before continuing on in the level, because that’s what you do in video games. But here, the enemies are infinite. I sat there and punched like fifty jeans and tank top dudes coming from the left of the screen, and they never stopped coming.  So fuck that, I’ll just ignore them and continue on. But what’s this? Now there are guys in trash cans throwing bombs at me!

Oh wait, no, they’re chimpanzees.   
Now, chimps using weapons is always awesome…

Exhibit A.

…but what in the hell do these furry bastards have against me protecting my progeny from decapitation?  These little dumpster bombardiers aren’t just throwing out bombs at everybody because that’s funny, they are specifically targeting me on my quest to liberate my son from capture. But that’s not the worst. Oh no. After the chimp bomber, the next enemy is…

Oh bullshit! BULLSHIT! I’m the only officer actually doing something here, and these fuckers are going to shoot me?!! As you can see they are pretty shitty shots, but still. How about you do something about this angry mob and these garbage monkeys!?  What kind of backwards freaking place is this?

Oh. Ok.

 A little while after that I get bombed to death and die. Upon restarting I’m just ignoring everything and running forward.  Those three enemies are just repeated over and over again for the whole level. A little bomb here, a little jeans there, some betrayal mixed in. But after some trial and error I make it to the building. But before I can enter I must defeat a mini boss of sorts. This is the King of All Citizens, and you can tell this, because he has sleeves.

Also he has a gun.

The only weapon I have in my arsenal is my colossal dukes. And that’s the only weapon Arnold needs. After firing one shot this guy decides to handle this fight up close and personal.

Big mistake.

My fists require sacrifice.

 So now it’s time for the showdown. Jack Slater Vs. The Ripper.

He’s pretty easy. He throws some axes, which I effortlessly jump over.

Then I punch him in the nuts like 10 times until he explodes into a fine mist.

For future reference, this will win every fight you’re ever in.

Woooo everything’s great! Except the kid still dies.
Oh well! The intro to the next level is this:

I imagine if you’d never seen the movie that’s all fucking nonsense. But yeah, that’s the gist of what went down. But what is with this game’s fetish of taking characters from the movie and dialing the horror up to 1000. The gentle old soul Nick:

Becomes this walking nightmare.

One ticket to eternal torment.

And the next level really is Danny’s dream of Jack Slater as Hamlet. This as actually one of my favorite sequences from the movie. Just watch.

Pretty badass. Now here is the level.

It may look different, but it’s exactly the same thing as last level. Replace cops and monkeys with archers, and tank top dudes with yellow knights and you have the Hamlet level. The enemies are still infinite, and that’s still bullshit. Somehow they’ve made a level more boring than regular Hamlet.
Eventually I come to a door with a knight just walking into it for no reason.

I open it and he kills me instantly. GAME OVER.

Fuck that! I vaporized you!

Next you’re given a screen with the names of everybody responsible for stealing your money.

So that game sucked. We’ve still got three more to go!

So now we’ve left that crappy ass 8-bit stuff behind. Now we move on to the power of 16-bits. Let’s see how this beast of a system sets up the story.

Ok, so it’s not so terrifying as the NES intro. It loses points for not being accurate to the movie however. Everyone knows Danny was watching Jack Slater III, and he doesn’t go inside of this one.

Typical lazy research.

The game begins after that. You start on the streets, just like the NES version. Except now you have Mickey Mouse or something giving you helpful advice such as “walk right”.

Thank you Mickey, that’s most helpful.
So, just like the last game you only have two actions, jump and punch. The first enemy in this game is some dude equipped with a mullet and a knife. He kicks my ass.

But I manage to punch him enough times before dying to kill him. After that I face my next foe, Ash Ketchum with a baseball bat. Yep, he also kicks my ass.

Aaaaaaaaaaaand I die. It turns out the only real way to do any real damage without taking far more is to run up and punch these guys, and then run away, and then repeat that about 5 more times. And that strategy works for me for the first half of the level. But then it ramps up a bit. They start to throw two knife guys at me. Then two bat guys!

And even later, they mix it up with bat guys and knife guys. No matter what I do I can’t get past this stage. So that’s the SNES one I guess.

Now we’re going to move on to the handheld scene.

There is no setup to this version of the game. “You bought a Last Action Hero game” the developers say, “You already know what’s going on”.
Awesomely enough, this version skips the bullshit street segment. You begin inside the school, trying to work your way up to the roof to rescue your little boy.

In hindsight, I can see why the other versions skipped this part of the story.
So OK, you can punch and jump like the other games. There’s some golden tickets flying all over the place, and at first I collect them only because I have been conditioned to collect things in video games. But they do have a purpose. Later in the level I come up to a door on fire. When you’re near these doors, pressing the punch button will instead bring out a fire extinguisher.

“Yaahgggahh, before rescuing my children I always practice proper fire safety.”

After that I encounter the first enemy, some…I dunno…guy in a coat.

These guys are the worst. First of all they punch you, which makes you fall back onto the ground. Then, while you’re still on the ground, they roll a grenade on the floor, and this hits you again. If you do manage to get up you’ll either run at them, and they’ll throw a grenade and hit you, or you’ll jump at them to avoid the grenade and they’ll shoot you with a gun that (surprise!) he has. And it doesn’t matter which one you do, because this enemy is psychic, and will respond appropriately while you are still deciding. He’s a Smith Handing son of a bitch, and also this is the only enemy in this level so there’s a whoooole bunch of them. I eventually do manage to make it past him and after that I just fall and die. What the hell? I didn’t see any pit!

Ahhh but it was there the whole time. I maintain that no person would see and react to that on their first try. It blends in with everything else and Jack moves like a stair car and needs to know about 30 seconds prior to any stops. So I retry, and this time I avoid the golden tickets because fuck that. But as it turns out you need those tickets to use the fire extinguishers. After the stealth pit is a staircase to the next floor. This confuses me for a bit because, unlike in any well designed game ever, the staircase isn’t one smooth incline, but a series of separate platforms you have to jump onto one at a time.

Also you can get stuck in it, so it has that going for it.

 After the stairs there’s some more enemies that either almost kill me or do a great job at killing me. Then there’s another pit. But this one is giant. And it’s just wide enough that if you don’t jump from the farthest pixel possible, you will fall. And I do that, over and over and over again.

And just because this game thinks it’s funny, sometimes I just piece of cake son it. After a lot of tries I get past it. And after that pit? THE SAME EXACT PIT. Yes. Two of them in a row. And you better believe I fall in the next one too. After finally making it past the second one…hahaha….HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA


There’s a guy on the other side of the pit and he (teehee) shoots the fucking shit out of me immediately.
The next try I’m so mad about the last try that I forget about the stealthy pit again and die instantly. The try after that I fall in the big pit over and over again until I just die for no reason.

That’s a thing that can happen.


So this one doesn’t have any set up either. And that’s because—



It’s the same as the last game with the obvious difference of it looking old timey. Except, for some reason Jack handles way better in this game. He runs and stops more fluidly, and his jumping is much improved. As a consequence I’m able to get a little further in this game.

Eat shit gravity!

 After the pits there’s a series of dumb platforming sections where if you fall you go all the way back to the beginning. And then you get to a locked door. Not a burning door, so there’s no fire extinguisher, just a locked one. And I don’t have a key. So I go collect more not yellow tickets until I get an item.

I don’t know what the hell that is but if I had to guess, I’d say it is an explosive of some sort. So I set it down near the door, run away a bit, and….



They're all the same thing, and they are equally misleading. The covers are the same as the movie, but the movie was AWESOME. These games are terrible.

These game seem like they have money on you failing. I can’t say for sure, because the farthest I got in any of them was Level 2, but I’d have to say the games are hiding the fact they only have three levels behind brutal difficulty. I hate all of these games. I’m going to watch the movie again, and so should you.


  1. Amazing.

    Oh, and I LOVE this movie.

    Rubber baby buggy bumpers - HA! You didn't know I was going to say that!

  2. I'm gonna get on the phone right now and complain to Arnie at his home number on 555-5178

  3. Good stuff dude.

    Finished the Maw yesterday; Thanks again!