Judge Dredd: Dredd vs Death

Moby ID: 10742
PlayStation 2 Specs
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Judge Dredd is back. The comic book character who acts as judge, jury, and executioner makes another video game appearance in a first-person shooter set in the 22nd century, where crime and hopelessness run rampant amidst the chaos left behind from a nuclear holocaust.

Players must enforce the law using any means necessary within the sprawling, overpopulated Mega-City One, which serves as the gritty backdrop for Judge Dredd: Dredd Vs. Death. Players will battle vampires, the undead, and even a cadre of Dark Judges as they try to maintain some semblance of order in a world gone wild. In keeping with the spirit of the comic, some perpetrators of lesser crimes need to be arrested while others must be taken out with extreme prejudice.

The ultimate goal is to confront the evil Judge Death, who has taken it upon himself to cause as much mayhem and destruction to the beleaguered city as possible.

Spellings

  • Судья Дредд - Russian spelling
  • 特警判官 - Chinese spelling (simplified)

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Credits (PlayStation 2 version)

153 People (143 developers, 10 thanks) · View all

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Average score: 61% (based on 39 ratings)

Players

Average score: 3.2 out of 5 (based on 34 ratings with 2 reviews)

He is The Law!!! And this a great game!

The Good
I've been a fan of good ol' scarface Joe "I am the law!!!" Dredd since I was a youngster! Living in the U.K. for some years helped me building quite a pile of 2002AD comic books and Dredd special editions. Always ahead of times his stories were something else. Sometimes quite difficult to understand (depending on who wrote the scenario) but surely you should develop a devotion and read a lot of material before you could grasp what's lurking behind the big man and Megacity One, and that's where the Stallone movie lost the whole point. Nobody from the production team seemed to have been a devoted Dredd fan, or at least, had the dignity to sit down and study what the movie is about, instead it turned out to be a huge fiasco, a movie just to kill 2 hours of your life eating pop-corn, a good movie to watch while you're waiting for your friends to come and pick you up for a night out, nothing more... Joe Dredd is not Rambo Mr. Sly!!! He doesn't just kick ass, he's the Law!!!

Anyways, I could go on writing about Dredd endless pages of html but let's go into the game. First of all I recall that there were some other Dredd games around since the days of the good ol'Amiga A500! I had the game (but ofcourse!) for the Amiga, but it was a huge disappointment to be honest. I think there were a few more games but nothing matched Dredd's superiority in his graphics novels... Until Rebellion got their codes running and released Judge Dredd vs Death. Now this game seems to have a right approach on the scene. Basically, here we are talking about a first person shooter that the player incarnates Judge Joe Dredd with the task to capture the souls of Judge Death and his other three chums: Mortis, Fire and Fear

First of all the scenery is simply authentically... Megacity One! Right on the spot! Not too complicated (I've seen better level modeling in other games) but I think that the design here serves well the cause! I think that if you've studied some later stories of Dredd, you'll instantly realize that the scenery in the game resembles the comic! Very well done I think! The game menu soundtrack is absolutely brilliant! An atmospheric and imposing orchestration that plunges your soul in doom and prepares you to wander and restore the order in the chaotic World of Judge Dredd with the help of your mkII Lawgiver. Talking of mkII, the whole of the game is based on the later series of Dredd comics, even Dredd's jaw (the only real characteristic you can see from Dredd, and thankfully this time he keeps his helmet on!) is textured full of scars and creases, typical depiction of Dredd in the later series in the comic's history.

I liked the approach the game begins; It's an everyday, any day, you're in the Judges HQ chatting with Andersson about how you should tolerate crime and stuff, police blahblahblah and then you're off to your first mission where you've got to stop a demonstration situated at the HQ's entrance and arrest some graffiti artists who "make a mess" on the Megacity One's buildings walls. Who dares to protest against the law these days? "You're doing some time in the cubes creep!" You can either play it a considerate judge and do some arrests, sending the offenders to the cubes (which is the jail complex of Megacity One), or, play it a tough nut and send them to the other world, it's up to you to judge, since you're the judge hehe!, BUT, if you spend your ammo unwisely you're not doing a good job as a judge and the justice department is gonna send some good boys after you to calm you down a bit! Remember what I said earlier on? Judge Dredd is not Rambo, so you must not kill everything that moves in this game. Arresting is not an easy thing to do, nowadays people tend to either run away (as if they can escape the LAW! hehe!), or fight back, in that case try to aim at their weapons, if it falls from their hands and you go on killing them that's not the proper way of giving justice, plus the justice meter on you HUD will go down, and you don't want that to happen.

As the plot unveils to you, you realize that something's not right about it... It's a good time to say DROKK!!! Vampires and Zombies attack everyone in the city... Hmmmm, Judge Death and his friends have paid us a visit once more and they're all about their jibbery wibbery about conquering Megacity One and restoring their kind of law and order by killing every living entity. Fair enough, they're looking for trouble here, they'll get it! So, basically the game is about capturing the sinful souls of every one of Death's loyal officers: Judge Mortis, Judge Fire and Judge Death. In between you have a level devoted to killing Necrus, who's Judge Death's most loyal living follower, a priest of some kind, or an executioner more like. Apart from the main - 'kill the end level boss' type of levels, you have the in between levels where you must clear out various crime incidents in the city, all or most of them, linked to the Judge Death phenomenon and finally restore order. As you progress far deeper in the plot the game becomes more 'hunt Judge Death' orientated and escalates to the final level which is none other than the Judge Death's world, where he drains energy from the souls of four Judges, including Andersson, and finally incarnates in a monster's body ready for the final fight. Uhhh! We're gonna need a lot of meat wagons for this boy!

Talking about meat wagons, I should elaborate a bit more on the tools that will help you fill meat wagons, therefore: weaponry! The trusty "Lawgiver" (mkII) is here and it is the basic and more useful of all the weapons you'll find in the game. The Lawgiver has available a number of different ammo settings, ie: standard (bursts of simple bullets), armor piercing, incendiary, bouncing bullets, etc. to name a few. Basically, only a few of them are useful in the whole of the game. As it was mentioned in an other review of the game, the player's weapons system is based on the Halo concept; (unfortunately) you can only carry two different types of weapon at a time. Therefore a bit of strategy and combat management should be developed here.

Which leads me to another fact in the game that is worth mentioning: ammunition is not as abundant as you might expect from a shooter game. So don't go blasting your way around being trigger happy. Conserve and plan your ammo otherwise you'll end up trying to arrest the zombies as their food. Apart from the Lawgiver there's a limited selection of other weapons available including 2 types of machineguns, a shotgun, grenade launcher etc. but I guess that emphasis is given on the use of the Lawgiver throughout most of the game. I mean, what is Dredd without his trusty Lawgiver?

Generally as I said earlier on the whole game resembles the comic, either in look, action, or more importantly, in feel. It captures the great Dredd and Megacity One's atmosphere (these two are one really, you can't have one without the other!) quite well. Not only the level design helps that, but every little detail that sources from the comic series. For instance, every time you arrest someone and the moments before Dredd shouts lines that come straight from the comic. The whole cosmos where you'll be digitally incarnating Dredd, is having bits and pieces referencing from the comic. I think that the Rebellion guys did a great job here in their research about the subject of the game, and this is showing very much indeed throughout every of it's levels! That is why the game is the closest interpretation to the Dredd illustrations.

On the sound front the game performs equally well. Here we have an abundant use of punch lines straight from the comic series, something that adds up very much to the consistency of the atmosphere. One thing that I found extremely funny was in the level where you have to defeat Judge Fire (in the Smoker Club), he shouts "Heeeeeyyy Dreeeedd! Welcome to the party ooooooold frieeeeeend!" using a voice similar to the vocals that some black metal singers use in their music (fans of bands like "Immortal", "Mayhem" etc. will know what I'm on about here), but this sounded really funny to my ears. Regarding the soundtracks, I already mentioned the superior menu orchestral tune. The other action accompanying tracks are equally well done. Now we couldn't possibly have references to what the soundtrack of the real Judge Dredd would sound like, cause it's just a paper depiction, so the music here does the job really well, if not getting a tiny bit too repetitive at times, but I think I'll let it go cause it's not a problem here after all!

The Bad
Well, the main drawback of the game is that sometimes the difficulty level gets ridiculously high. For instance, defeating Judge Fear is a reason for partying when you're done with him!!! Whereas defeating Death is fairly easy compared to Fear!!! In fact, the whole final level "The deadworld" where Judge Death is situated, seems like it's been done in a rush to get the game released. So here you will see an averagely done level that ends such a great game... It's a bit disappointing really. At least, I've been expecting throughout the game to fight with Mr. uglyteeth and "garden fence for helmet visor" (aka. Judge Death) himself face to face, not him incarnated to some bully monster!!!

Regarding the defeating of the the evil Judges, nobody gives you a clue what to do in order to weaken their entities and capture their souls... And you're supposed to have support from the Psy department!!! Hmmm... For instance, after wandering for hours in the rooms of the Smoker Club listening to the black metal singer that speaks for Judge Fire, accidentally I stumbled upon a switch that would turn on the water showers for fire extinguishing, thus leading Judge Fire to escape from it (he hates water! lol!) and get trapped to the upper level of the Club where you could defeat him after wasting some serious quantities of ammo. And as I said before, Fear is another long story... He seems unbeatable, but he's not! Just pack a few dozens of rockets or grenades on his head and you're done, as long as you know how to teleport yourself from one spot to another, cause he's all over the place!

The Bottom Line
Well, as one can expect, a game cannot possibly cover in full the context and depth of a character that's been illustrated in various adventures for almost two decades now! That would have been impossible and quite naive to be expected from this game. I believe that Judge Dredd vs Death takes one of the most crucial challenges in Dredd's career and portrays it as an enjoying gaming experience for all of us who've been reading and liked the comic series. I also believe that it's still a good shooter game, even if one doesn't know who the Drokk Dredd is!

Finally, I could say two things about Judge Dredd vs Death, one is that if you're a Judge Dredd fan get it now if you haven't done so far, no questions asked - no questions answered, he is the law!

On the other hand if you're one of those unlucky guys (or gals!) that haven't got a clue who Judge Joe Dredd is, I can tell you a few things: first, he doesn't fly or defeat one dozen baddies with just one punch, he's not afraid of cryptonite, he doesn't climb on walls or buildings and he doesn't ride a batmobile, generally he doesn't do any kind of super-stuff! And if that still doesn't gives you a clue about Dredd, there's always this great series of comics which comes way back a few decades now, that you should check out sometime. Regarding the game now, it's a very good cyber-punk themed shooter situated in a futuristic metropolis, in the lines of Halo, only more interesting and not as boring and repeating as Halo. Give it a try, It's good fun guaranteed!

Finally, I sincerely must apologize cause I've used a bit of terminology from the comic series, that many people are unfamiliar with. I'm terribly sorry but I couldn't avoid it! :)

Windows · by SifouNaS (1309) · 2004

A little bit of justice for Dredd

The Good
Dredd vs Death could be called the first real game about Judge Dredd, considering the other previous games were based on that incestuous mess called “The movie” which is better left unmentioned. And as far as first try go, the game isn’t exactly a homerun, but it has it’s inspired moments and offers a sufficiently entertaining gaming experience.

The first obvious thing that Dredd vs Death does right is capturing the darkly humorous tone of the Judge Dredd comics. The game stars you as “The law” himself, Judge Dredd. In case you didn’t know, his entire persona is a sarcastic take on the neo-fascist, bloated cesspool that society seems to be turning to in these days. “Judges” are special enforcers that are able to execute bank robbers on the spot and put away for life someone for having an unlicensed pet hamster! This distopian world is brought to life with comedic billboards, cutscenes, funny one-liners (by Dredd and several other characters) and assorted graphic details like character models that depict persons so fat that they have to use a mini-cart as they walk around to hold their bellies up!, etc.

Gameplay-wise the game is your average console-inspired FPS game (read: Halo-clone, complete with recharging shields, primary/secondary weapons, etc.). The progression of the game takes you initially through all sorts of urban peacekeeping tasks like deposing a peaceful gathering of citizens that clamor for freedom of speech and other crap like that, or stop a band of vandalizing graffity artists with ANY means necessary. Sure, you get a better rating if you play a nice boy and peacefully reduce the offenders, which adds a nice layer of cop-sim gameplay, but you can just as well let them have it with a nice burst from any of your lawgiver’s bullet-configurations and rejoice in your iron-fisted approach at justice. As mentioned how you treat the criminals counts against your rating, but can also instantly end your game as a pack of internal affairs-like judges spawn if you let your “law-meter” drop to low by shooting everyone in sight.

How do you peacefully bring in criminals? You have the option to yell a “cease-and-desist”-like warning that cycles through a collection of funny Dredd one-liners, and when they kneel down and stay still you can put a pair of ‘cuffs on them while getting another one-liner and as a list of the charges and the sentence given flashes-by on screen with all sorts of sarcastic counts (ie. 14-56: unlawful possession of a goldfish: 20 years, no parole). However criminals rarely give in without a fight, so you have a pack of gas grenades to persuade them otherwise, or you can try shooting the guns off their hands, or just mow down a couple of their friends and see if the violence knocks some sense in their little anarchistic heads :D.

If you do decide for the “I kill for peace” approach you’ll be rewarded with a hefty dose of action gaming that thrust you in the middle of massive firefights against criminals, undead monsters and even vampires that try to take over Mega-City One from it’s law-abiding citizens. For the most part the game presents a moderate challenge (though it won’t ever be an issue for the experienced player) and the enemies often work togheter to kick your butt and hunt you down. The most interesting enemies by far are the (generic looking unfortunately) vampires, which remind me of the howlers from Clive Barker’s Undying, as they jump around and run at you from every direction often catching you off-guard.

To take care of these menaces you have a selection of Department of Justice-sanctioned weapons and civilian models that cover every ground of the fps-weapondry spectrum, the fact that you can only carry 2 weapons at a time makes for a nice limitation and adds a touch of strategy to the game as you often run out of ammo for your “good guns” and have to scrounge around for the best replacements you can find and in the process leave what could possibly be a desperately needed weapon laying on the ground.

The graphics for the most part make a good job at what they do. They are not the best you have seen but they do their thing effectively. There’s lots of nice lightning and particle effects, as well as other refinements such as rain, fog and other nice details. Most importantly the character models were all modeled and textured following the distinct look of the comics, complete with disproportionate juggs for the ladies, Dredd’s nasty mug, and his gigantic motorcycle (which unfortunately you can’t ride in the game, big letdown). I did have somewhat of an annoying issue which involved way too much specular gloss in some of the models (particularly the judges) which made them all look glaced and as if they had all been coated with wax, but it could have been my outdated videocard.

Another good element for the game comes from the sound department, I’m talking of course, about it’s bitching soundtrack. I don’t have with me right now the names of the record labels involved, or the artists, but their work lifts the game to considerable levels of enjoyment as their hard rock/industrial tracks pound on in the middle of firefights turning the whole thing into a bitching action frenzy. Not to mention that the industrial tracks go hand in hand with the game’s setting and mood.

The Bad
Dredd’s problems mostly arise from the lack of attention to some details that could have added that “right stuff” so needed for a game of this type to gain triple-A class status. First the game has a pretty shoddy storyline, there’s a somewhat clever attempt at the end to fuse two parallel sideplots into the main story, but basically the game boils down to “bad guys have released the Tribunal of Death, hunt them down (killing/arresting all other criminals that cross your way) and rescue your fellow Judges… that’s it... Yawn...

Another problem might arise if you just went “uh??” when I mentioned the Tribunal of Death… as the game does a pretty shitty job of introducing you to any of the characters, locations and relationships between the characters that populate the gameworld. In fact, all the info you get comes your way through a brief text placed on the loading screens and which usually boils down to stuff like: "Judge Death is very very bad, it’s good for everyone if you kill him." In other words, previous knowledge of the Judge Dredd universe is not only a major help, but also a necessity if you want to somehow cover up in your head the glaring plot holes and omissions that the game has.

Another big problem is the lack of variety in the gameplay and the level design. After a while the game is just a shooting gallery which boils down to you shooting everyone in sight, and while some of the levels are truly interestingly crafted locations, (such as the underground New York) most of the others are your generic sci-fi crap that has been around since the days of Quake 2. And I know I’m always game for a mall level in which you have to shoot down zombies a-la Dawn of the Dead, but are you? The arcade levels and multiplayer deathmatch modes that can be unlocked are a poor substitute as they simply add more of the same: shoot-down-everything-that-moves exercises that while appreciated should have been a brainless complement to a more interesting gameplay premise, not just more of the same.

Oh, and did you even use half of the lawgiver’s bullet modes? Neither did I, except when it came to watching the enemies bounce around from my explosive rounds thanks to the ridiculous drag-doll physics that send them flying miles into the air and make them bounce off walls as if made of rubber. And let's not even talk about the boss fights... I seriously have no idea what I did to defeat Judge Fear for instance.

The Bottom Line
A funny and worthwhile shooter that provides a respectable amount of action gaming and brings the first real adaptation to the videogame world of Judge Dredd and his universe. Unfortunately a moderate case of lazyness from the developers knocks the game down to “average fps” status to the trained eye, but that’s still entertaining enough to warrant a look, and the cop-angle and it’s dark sense of humour make it a good first effort for Dredd and co.

Windows · by Zovni (10504) · 2004

Trivia

German version

In the German version all blood effects and decapitations were removed. Also the corpses of enemies instantly disappear after reaching the ground.

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Timo Takalo.

GameCube added by Xoleras.

Additional contributors: Zovni, Unicorn Lynx, Klaster_1, Patrick Bregger.

Game added October 25, 2003. Last modified May 10, 2024.