Written by  :  Lawnmower Man (145)
Written on  :  Jun 07, 2008
Rating  :  1.6 Stars1.6 Stars1.6 Stars1.6 Stars1.6 Stars

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As fun as a light-gun game... without the gun

The Good

The main draw of The Punisher is that it is a shooter on Game Boy so it has a pretty small crowd of competitors. And for the most part it can be very entertaining proving the age old theory that no matter how mediocre a game, shooting bad guys never gets old.

Punisher also taps into our inner nerd with a cameo by Marvel Comic hero Spider Man. Although his appearance is limited to just a few levels, just the fact that Spider Man has a cameo is enough to get you mildly amused about this title.

The Bad

Punisher's largest flaw is its old school punch-you-in-the-face difficulty. Although every enemy can be killed with one shot, many enemies are behind hard to hit places like bullet proof trash cans and behind shattered glass. Boss battles are near impossible: it took me 7 grenades and countless shots to put away the first one.

Like other games from back in the day, Punisher is light on player assistance. Health drops are rare and your energy never refills after each level (even some of the hardest games around, like Double Dragon 3, refill your health after every level). And if you die 3 times you are finished, no continue screen, no password, nothing, just back to the miserable start of the game (and the high score screen doesn't save your name after you shut the game off).

Punisher's other flaw is that it is an on-rails game (meaning you have no control over your movement but instead control where the cross-hairs go). This doesn't make Punisher immediately bad (several games that use the light-gun are rail shooters), but in Punisher you have to use the directional pad to direct the cross-hairs -- which is painfully slow. And since the game doesn't have rumble or a flashing screen, you can never tell if you are being hit unless you have your eyes glued to your (rather small) health meter (there's also no way to protect yourself from bullets).

The Bottom Line

Punisher is one of those games that could have been much better then they turned out. Instead of a super tight light-gun game we get a painfully difficult Game Boy rail shooter.

Despite its draw backs, Punisher is at least playable and if you happen to thrive on insane difficulty then this game will give some entertainment. It can often times keep you distracted for a few minutes before you shut it off.