Keanu Reeves’ “John Wick” character appeared in Fortnite earlier this year, and has a strategy game called John Wick Hex coming sometime in the future. But if you don’t feel like waiting, there’s now a short NES homage to the would-be-retired hitman you can play for free.
Spotted by PC Gamer, the short game, titled simply John Wick, was created by developer MuriloDev and uploaded to itch.io. It recreates the most recent film in the series as the sort of licensed tie-in game we might have seen during the 8-bit era. It controls like an 80s side-scrolling shooter and mercilessly channels the difficulty of games from that era.
As Wick, you can jump, shoot, and duck, but that’s about it. Meanwhile, guys with guns and swords run at you while snipers take aim from afar. Your health is limited to a small bar reminiscent of Ninja Gaiden, and once it’s depleted, it’s game over. No extra lives. No continues. And certainly no miraculously stumbling back to life after getting shot up and beat-the-shit-out-of like in the movies.
But while it is incredibly hard, the game’s not impossible. Each time I died, I learned a little bit more about the starting level and had eventually memorized enough to get to the end of it, if not actually beat it. Brute-forcing my way through games isn’t my preferred way to play, but it did make me feel slightly more like the battered and bruised hero from the movies.
John Wick is only a few stages long, but it’s as good a case as any for other popular action movies to get their own NES-inspired adaptations. Its music and art are particularly on the mark, and their original creator, Danilo Dias, made the assets free for others to use as well in case they want to go ahead and make the complete game we all deserve.
Correction: an earlier version of this article wrongly attributed the creation of the game’s assets to MuriloDev. They were actually originally created by Danilo Dias.