The Punisher (Xbox)

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Written by  :  MasterMegid (902)
Written on  :  Oct 04, 2006
Platform  :  Xbox
Rating  :  3.71 Stars3.71 Stars3.71 Stars3.71 Stars3.71 Stars

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Welcome Back, Frank

The Good

The Punisher, was one of the first comic book characters to tread darker territory. Frank Castle, AKA, The Punisher, saw his family executed, born of that tragedy, he became, the gun-totting anti-hero. And inspired two poor Hollywood films, and a slew of video games. The games unlike the films are for the most part very enjoyable, from the DOS game that plays like a free-form game, about 10 years before GTA hit the scene, to the arcade Beat em Up, one of Capcom’s finest games. Since then it had been some time since a Punisher game, but the wait was well worth it.

In The Punisher, you are of course, Frank Castle. Based on the newer comics, we have a somewhat grittier Punisher gunning for the Gnucci Family. The game’s story unfolds as the Frank, tells it to two cops that are interrogating, him after his most recent arrest.

Cutscenes, in between levels, advance the story. It is fairly well written, and unfolds at a brisk pace. Written by the scribes of the comic is also a nice touch. Throughout numerous levels, Castle regales the police with his tales of a vigilante. Taking on the Gnucci’s, A rouge U.S. general, the Yakuza, and many super villains, from The Russian, to Bushwhacker. There are also cameo’s from a few other Marvel Superhero’s including, Iron Man.

Levels often have an interesting design, there is Castle’s apartment, and of course Central Park Zoo. During levels The Punisher, kills his way through. With 3rd person gunplay, quick kills, torture, and slaughter mode. Gunplay involves two guns, a main gun, such as am M5 or Shotgun, and a secondary gun, .45’s and Desert Eagles, as well as grenades. Guns are unlocked during missions.

The quick kills are pretty unique, when you approach a foe either from behind, or front, you push the “X” button to execute a quick kill. There are many different kills, often depending on how you approach the foe, implements of death include, knives, guns, crowbars, and even a T.V.

In Torture mode, The Punisher attempts to get info from his foes, using an array of devices, from his pistol, to a band saw. It plays sort of like a mini-game. Where you slid the stick to increase pressure and get the villain to spill their guts before you literally do just that.

Slaughter Mode, occurs when The Punisher’s blue bullet bar is filled. During this time he goes into a rage, and uses knives to kill all foe’s foolish enough to get in his way. This has often been unfairly compared to Max Payne’s bullet time, yet is not that much like it, sure you are pretty much invulnerable to attack, like Max, but can only use knives, no guns here.

There are also many unlockables. From comic book covers, to codes, upgrades, and flashbacks from The Punisher’s career. And The Punisher does not kill innocents so do not try it sickey.

The Graphics are good. Not Doom 3 quality, but pretty good, considering that this is a multiplatform game. Lighting effects are nice, when it comes from your guns.

The sound department is solid as well. Sound effects are loud and sound realistic. And both original and licensed music abound. The voice acting is very good. And includes the voice of Thomas Jane, whom played The Punisher in the most recent film, he plays a better Punisher here than he did in the movie.

The Bad

Among the unlockable items, one key thing seems to be missing. There are NO alternate skins to unlock, all comic book games should have this feature, even the horrible Batman Begins game had this.

The game is a little to easy. And for those that can not stand violent games, be warned, this is one of the most violent games I have ever seen. The same goes for those that find gratuitous language offensive.

There could have been more super-villains, and why is it that some levels are just poor while others are amazing?

I know it is in the comic, but the thing with Castle’s goofy neighbors is idiotic.

The Bottom Line

Fans of action, and comic inspired games will find a lot to like here. And all the unlockables add to replay value.