Steven Seagal never had his own video game. Arnie had a bunch. So did Sly. Hell, even Van Damme had a couple. So in 1994, the good people over at TecMagik sought to change all that.

The game was The Final Option and it was going to break right on the heels of Steve’s big directorial debut, On Deadly Ground. Alas, it wavered in development hell for quite some time and TecMagik, either having lost interest or funding, turned their attentions to Deadly Honor, a new title they were developing for N64 and PlayStation (which was also canceled).

Eventually somebody over there at the now-defunct TecMagik decided to dump the unripened fruits of their labors into a ROM and circulate it around the Internet for all to enjoy ... although ‘enjoy’ might not be the most appropriate word here.

The game starts you right in the thick of the action - Steven has infiltrated “Nanotech’s Underground Munitions Depot.” What are the objectives of Mr. Seagal’s mission? We’re not really sure. What is Nanotech? It’s unclear, but it’s obvious this corporation is up to some unconscionable evil because we can see human bones amassed within the dungeonesque walls of their “Underground Storage Facility.”

Anyway, Steven is instantly beset by what look to be phone technicians and lab chemists provoked to violence by his mere presence. What’s the Master of Aikido to do? Awkwardly flail at his attackers, apparently, for Steven moves with the grace of an intoxicated Emperor Penguin.

The big gimmick here is that the game uses actual digitized film footage of Seagal himself (Steve, is that really you?) - but the muddy effect here is more Pit Fighter than Mortal Kombat. Combat is a bore. Steve can punch, kick, block, shoot and throw knives. There’s also a bit of ham-handedly implemented platforming. True to form, the jumping controls are dicey and more often than not, you’ll be treated to Steven’s hysterical munchkin-like scream as he plummets to his death.

The levels are labyrinthine and with no clear objectives you’ll find yourself blindly fumbling along until through mere coincidence you ‘pick up the right thing’ or ‘push the right panel’ to complete the level. There were allegedly a total of six completed stages in the game - culminating in a final showdown at the “Nuclear Fusion Facility.” I made it to the second stage before I hit the proverbial brick wall.

The Final Option's cancellation was probably for the best - On Deadly Ground was enough of a smack-to-the-face of Seagal fans for one year. It would also seem that it would be Steve's last shot at pixelated glory - fifteen years have passed and the pony-tailed one still remains video gameless. Developers, if you’re listening: I’m sure you can buy the rights to The Glimmer Man reeaaallll cheap.


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