Games: John McClane and Rambo answer the Call of Duty

Neil McGreevy

RIDING the wave of '80s nostalgia, Call of Duty has rolled back the years for its Warzone and Black Ops Cold War multiplayer modes, putting players in the hobnail boots or bloody bare feet of two of the decade's finest.

Harking back to the golden age of action movies, Rambo and Die Hard's John McClane are available as premium characters for the Season Three Reloaded update.

Both come in a bundle that includes weapon skins, finishing moves, watches, charms, emblems and calling cards for some Reagan-era gunplay.

While the quality of its sequels receded quicker than Bruce Willis's hairline, there's no denying the genius of the original Die Hard (and yes - it is a Christmas film), and it's the 1988 movie that Call of Duty uses for its filthy-vested, barefooted McClane model.

Gambolling around the vents of Nakatomi Plaza, there's five floors of broken glass-strewn tower action to explore in it multiple missions, including defusing C4 on the roof, interrupting an arms deal and cracking a riches-stuffed vault.

Given McClane was an everyman antidote to cinema's steroid-jacked mid-'80s heroes, Stallone is a different kettle of testosterone.

The original First Blood (from the director of Weekend at Bernie's) featured an enormous killing machine with decades of military training being chased by seven overweight cops.

It's the 1985 sequel (where Rambo retroactively won the Vietnam War for America) and Rambo III (where our hero joins up with Osama bin Laden's Mujahideen - oops) that Call of Duty has used for inspiration here.

The campsites around CoD's fictional Verdansk have been converted into survival camps, where players can ferret out items and the dog tags of fallen soldiers for rewards, while a special kill move lets players sneak up on enemies with a hunting knife.

Of course, the main reason to fork out for these '80s icons is to play as Willis and Stallone, and while the models are recognisable, Rambo is a lot skinnier than I remember while John McClane has a much lusher pelt of hair than Willis ever did.

Neither star has provided new dialogue, with grainy quips instead lifted straight from the movies, and zingers limited to the likes of "To survive a war, you gotta become war" and "Welcome to the party, pal".

For gamers of a certain vintage, it's a mouth-watering prospect, but comes at an eye-watering cost.

With no option to unlock the skins through gameplay, each character will set you back 2,400 CoD points, or £16.79. To quote Hans Gruber, "I'm an exceptional thief, Mrs McClane."

From an era of action movies when body-count was god, you can now proudly proclaim, "Now I have a John McClane skin - ho-ho-ho" while Activision's accountants scream "Yippee-ki-yay."

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