Last Action Hero
Last Action Hero is a beat'em up game developed in 1993 by Bits Studio for the NES, SNES, Genesis, Game Gear, Game Boy, Amiga, and MS-DOS. It is based on the movie of the same name.
Why It Sucks
- The character you control looks nothing like Arnold Schwarzenegger. This was a common issue with licensed games of this era, since a separate licensing fee had to be paid to use the actor's likeness.
- The game is largely a monotonous button masher with no strategy at all.
- Your only method of attack is punches and kicks due to Arnold Schwarzenegger at the time not wanting to be depicted using firearms in videogames.
- Enemies constantly respawn and take numerous hits to kill. They can kill you very quickly!
SNES and Sega Genesis/Mega Drive versions
- With the exception of Benedict, enemies always carry a weapon with them, which gives them much more range than you.
- Every level has a time-limit which is annoying due to how long enemies take to kill.
- Driving segments which are broken and sometimes impossible to beat.
- Hit detection is so poor that you or your enemies have to be a fixed distance from each other for your attacks to connect.
- Lazy and repetitive graphics.
- The Genesis version's first stage adds a crosshair target that constantly follows you and shoots you, making the game even harder.
- Awful music, especially the first stage.
- Terrible level design-- one level starts you right next to a bottomless pit and many times in the game you follow the compass only to reach a dead end and be told to turn back the way you came.
- You get only five lives for the whole game without any extras or continues (just like in Dragon's Lair on NES).
- The game uses cutscenes that are images from the movie, but the NES limitations make them look terrible. The in-game graphics are even worse, absolutely horrible.
- When you pause the game, the music is still playing. Same flaw in the SNES version.
- Just barely follows the movie, mostly through the sets which resemble scenes, even the Hamlet dream sequence.
- All the enemies use the same braindead AI, constantly respawn and never drop anything when killed, making fighting them completely pointless.
- All the bosses use the same strategy and take no effort whatsoever to defeat, which is to duck in place and keep punching them.
Game Boy/Game Gear version
- Even worse graphics than the NES and 16-bit versions.
- Poor controls, making the sweep kick hard to use.
- You have to collect every ticket stub for an item only usable for a specific obstacle, on top of having a time limit which isn't shown.
The Only Redeeming Quality
- The controls in the Genesis version are not as confusing as the ones in the SNES version.
Why It Flopped
According to Peter Baron, the lead programmer on the 16-bit versions of the game, the main culprit for the game's poor quality is in fact Arnold Schwarzenegger himself. Originally the game was designed as a shooter, but when the developers sent a beta version of the game to Schwarzenegger's management for approval, he demanded that they remove all guns from the game, as he was trying to promote a more family-friendly image of himself. Because the game's engine was designed for a shooter rather than a beat-em-up, the resulting hasty switch to that gameplay style resulted in a borderline broken game.