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SummaryThe Punisher has come… to punish his fans
The GoodAh poor old Frank Castle, his family got slaughtered by a bunch of gangsters while in a picnic in N.Y’s central park, so during the last two plus something (I think) decades he’s out seeking revenge, even something beyond revenge, total catharsis more like. If I’m not mistaken this is the second time Frank Castle (aka the Punisher) and his quest to purge society, gets transferred into a computer game. I can only vaguely remember a game on the old Amiga named “Punisher – the circle of blood” which was also a shooter, I can hardly remember any detail of that game, so my info here will be inaccurate. Punisher also got transferred in the coin-op genre as a beat-em’ up style game during the early 90’s. I’ve read a couple of dozen of Punisher’s issues back in the beginning of the 90’s decade and to be honest he’s my favorite Marvel hero. I much prefer his unbelievable stunts and gun blazing havoc, than any other flying, wrecking, wall climbing hero-creature.
In this game you play the Punisher (well who else would you thing of?) himself. It’s a third person perspective shooter game. Marvel gets largely involved in the development of the game, mainly with the comic’s original writers. So this is gotta be good… Well… sort of…
First of all, added to the shooting menace of the plot there are some action elements, like the ability to capture enemies, interrogate them to find further info vital to the continuity of the plot, smash their faces or use them as a shield in gunfights. Additionally there are some special interrogation spots, scattered on appropriate places on a level that make the game more interesting and resembling more to the comic’s look. In the same style as interrogation there are special kill spots, where the Punisher kill his captive in a special way according to the surroundings, ie: throwing people out of balconies, windows and cliffs, smashing their heads on power presses, get their faces eaten by piranhas etc. There’s a good variety of imagination here.
The plot itself turns around like a snake. At first Punisher is after the Nucci’s (Italian mafiosos), then the Russians come in along with some nukes and if that wasn’t enough the Yakuza pays a visit only to be revealed that behind them is Jigsaw, one of Punisher’s worst enemies. Talking about Punisher’s enemies the game includes several of his foes and friends. On the foe celebrity cast we have: Jigsaw of course, Bushwacker, Bullseye, the mighty Russian and others. The friends that join the massacre party are Black Widow (an x-Russian spy, now teamed up with SHIELD) , and Nick Fury.
The characters (friend or foe) are modeled nicely with a good level of detail, the Punisher’s model is simply excellent. Added the fact that the player can unlock 3 different skins from the comic eras: 1980’s, 1990’s and 2000. Equally beautiful are the weapons where you can find all of Punisher’s classic tools of his trade including his dual .45 ACP pistols, the Vietnam era M-16 assault rifle, the M61 machinegun (in this game the M61 proves useful actually, as it offers a bit more accuracy than in any other game of the same genre), Dual Ingrams, Flame thrower, anti-tank rocket launcher, shotgun, among many others.
The scoring style of the game is laid out in an unusual way, so in order to get a high score and earn medals for each mission you have to kill as many enemies in a row without taking a single hit. The more you kill, the higher the score multiplier gets, but if you get a hit the killing row score gets added to the overall score and the multiplier resets back to zero. In other words big score means loads of kills without being hit, tough stuff.
Also getting a high score will allow you to purchase many combat useful upgrades such as higher ammo quantity packs, larger magazines, increased shooting accuracy, increased damage sustain, grenade launchers attached to some guns etc.
The BadWell, the biggest disappointment of the game is the game itself. Here we have a release by THQ, developed by Volition and Marvel comics is also involved in the works. Having not seen the game, one can expect that this is a major blockbuster. Well… I’m afraid it is not. It’s more like a quick dip for the cash than anything else, before the Punisher movie loses it’s freshness. Thankfully the havoc physics engine gets employed here and saves a bit from the total disaster this would have been otherwise.
First of all, the 3d modeling and graphics. Take out the punisher model, take out the foes and weapons and all you have left is a joke really!!! The level modeling simply sucks, I’ve seen better modeling than that in games 3-4 years ago. Seeing this game, makes it really difficult for one to believe that Volition has developed the superb Red Faction, 3 years ago or so (among other superb games). This game seems like it’s been developed on an extreme rush. So expect no jaw drops or excitement about the graphics and the modeling.