There's a scene in Die Hard 4.0 where John McClane propels a car into the air and brings down an enemy helicopter. I remember sitting in the cinema, watching this ridiculousness unfold and hearing audible groans from the audience.
Part of me was cringing. Part of me was thinking, "Hang on! I'm sure I've seen this happen before..."
It became clear to me moments later. This was a scene from Probe Entertainment's Die Hard Trilogy, the video game which debuted on the PlayStation in 1996 and featured a separate game based on each of the first three films.
The Die Hard With a Vengeance portion sees you speeding around NYC in a taxicab, trying to defuse bombs against the clock. In the final stage you have to bash the boss's helicopter out of the sky by hitting a series of jumps.
Maybe the Die Hard 4.0 scriptwriters had played the game and included the scene as a nod to the guys at Probe? Die Hard Trilogy was, after all, one of the most popular and well known titles in the PlayStation's early years.
The game is memorable because it's so brilliantly bonkers and over the top it makes the films look tame in comparison. As such, the car versus helicopter scene in the game seemed perfectly acceptable, whereas in Die Hard 4.0 it's laughable.
The game starts as it means to go on, with the carnage level cranked right up. The Die Hard portion is a third-person shooter set in the Nakatomi Plaza. Before you've even made it out of the car park beneath the building you're knee deep in dead bodies, there's blood everywhere and people are running around screaming and on fire.
The action continues in the same vein as you move up the building, floor by floor, taking down terrorists and rescuing hostages. Every so often you encounter a boss. You really can't miss him as the word 'BOSS' is floating above his head in large red letters. The game is about as subtle as McClane himself.
For Die Harder, the style switches to a first-person, on-rails shooter set in Dulles International Airport. Here the gameplay is even more frantic - the waves of onrushing enemies never let up for a second.
Sega's Virtua Cop is an obvious influence and the game does support a light-gun controller as well as the official PlayStation mouse (remember that?). But whichever control method you use, Die Harder is a tough challenge. It's almost impossible to reach the later levels without using one of the built-in cheats.
Die Hard With a Vengeance is tougher still. The time limit you have to reach each bomb is super strict and a single wrong turn or unexpected accident often leads to failure. It maybe the most difficult of the three offerings, but it's also the most fun as you can just burn around the city, crashing into stuff and watching the game's crazy physics come into play.
Plus it features one of those golden video game moments that everyone who's played it instantly remembers. That's right: driving into pedestrians, accidentally on purpose, and watching their bodies flip into the air as McClane quips, "Sorry pal!"
Even better: switch to the in-car view and watch as blood splatters onto the windscreen and briefly obscures your view before the wipers wash it away. Not since Turbo Esprit on the Spectrum has mowing down innocent people been so hilariously wrong.
As with many early PlayStation games, the 3D visuals haven't aged too well. The lumpy, polygonal people are particularly comical. But Die Hard Trilogy remains a supremely fun game that shoehorns in an enormous amount of value.
If the three games had been released separately, you'd imagine that each one would score around 6/10. So whacking them all on one disc as a single release was beyond generous.
A few years back I was lucky enough to meet up with Simon Pick and James Duncan, two former Probe employees who were part of the Die Hard Trilogy team. The pair have been in the industry since the 8-bit days and have worked on loads of games, yet both revealed that Die Hard Trilogy was the one title on their CVs that always received the most interest. "You did that?!", people would ask, before immediately bringing up the blood on the windscreen bit.
I did exactly the same thing and they told me how the game's development was a real kitchen sink affair. Members of the team were constantly throwing ideas in the mix: "Let's blow this up!", "Let's set fire to that!"
There was no development document as such. Probe boss Fergus McGovern was happy to let them get on with it and Twentieth Century Fox wrapped nothing in red tape.
But I knew all this already, as it's all up on the screen in plain view. Die Hard Trilogy is transparent and unpretentious. It's clearly the product of impassioned developers given the freedom to go off and do whatever the Hell they want.
Pick and Duncan did tell me one surprising thing, though. At Probe it was actually a tale of two trilogies, as Alien Trilogy was in development in the same building at the same time.
The Alien team was larger and more experienced, and the general feeling was that their game was more likely to succeed. The Die Hard team was even nicknamed 'Try Hard' by some, due to its hugely ambitious plan to create three distinct games.
By comparison, Alien Trilogy was solely a first-person shooter. While it was decent enough and fairly atmospheric, it lacked the raw thrills and sheer variety of Die Hard Trilogy. Maybe the Alien team should have been dubbed 'Try Harder'...