The Punisher

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a game by Marvel, LJN, THQ, and Volition, Inc.
Genres: Action, Fighting Games
Platforms: XBox, PC (2005), Sega GenesisGenesis, Playstation 2, NESNES
Editor Rating: 6.2/10, based on 14 reviews, 15 reviews are shown
User Rating: 8.3/10 - 18 votes
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See also: Action Adventure Games, Action Games, Third-Person Shooter Games

Here's a "punishing" title for all you hardcore comic book fans! That's right! The Punisher! You are hard-boiled crime fighter Frank Castle on a mission to exterminate the Kingpin and his men whose drug and weapons trafficking are scrumming up the streets of New York City.

Tough Turf

The Punisher is an uncomplicated, straightforward game that won't tax your brains. You start off by choosing one of four minor crime bosses to eliminate. Once you've selected a boss to hunt, you're armed with your famous Automatic Machine Pistol, 300 rounds of ammunition, and three grenades.

ProTip: Shoot everything in sight to find hidden objects such as the Automatic Assault Rifle, grenades, extra lives, Kevlar bullet-proof vests, and even a first aid kit.

This game's run and shoot all the way. Each boss rules a rough piece of turf, which you have to fight through to get him. For example, Jigsaw has taken over Ryker's Island Prison, which is located in the middle of a bay. The other three bosses, Colonel Kliegg, Hitman, and Sijo control separate parts of New York's streets. Only after defeating the four minor bosses do you get a chance to eliminate Kingpin.

Get Punished

If you liked shoot-em-ups such as Operation Wolf, Cabal, and Dynamite Duke, then give this one a try. Who says crime doesn't play?

Download The Punisher


System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP
  • Game modes: Single game mode

Player controls:

  • Up, Down, Left, Right - Arrow keys
  • Start - Enter (Pause, Menu select, Skip intro, Inventory)
  • "A" Gamepad button - Ctrl (usually Jump or Change weapon)
  • "B" button - Space (Jump, Fire, Menu select)
  • "C" button - Left Shift (Item select)

Use the F12 key to toggle mouse capture / release when using the mouse as a controller.

Playstation 2

System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP
  • P-200, 32 MB RAM

Game Reviews

This Was going to be the one where I drew the line. As much as I love violent games, I was all ready to get on my high horse and declare this the ultimate sign of moral decay in our industry. Torture! Mutilation! Cold-blooded cruelty! All part of the race to exploit our wayward youth and capture a bit of free publicity in the pages of the Daily Mail.

And then, a few months prior to release, THQ went and toned it all down. The Soldier Of Fortune-style dismemberment was removed. The vicious torture scenes - taking in everything from a Fargo-style encounter with a wood chipper to a kerbside homage to American History X - were burnt out, solarised into a mere suggestion of their former brutality. Marvel's misanthropic antihero, an NRA poster-boy with the most vicious sense of justice this side of an American detention camp had been tamed.

Which is great if you're concerned with the moral turpitude of the industry, but it does leave me in a bit of a quandary. You see, toning down the game's sick side has, in a sense, ruined this comic-book shooter. Without its depraved raison d'etre the game's essential flimsiness is exposed, and the resulting action is as hollow as the tips of The Punisher's vengeful bullets. Ultimately, it's just another generic third-person shooter.

To state the obvious for a second, the game casts you as Frank Castle, aka the Punisher. He's your classic pissed-off psychopath out for revenge on the world because his family was slain by the Mob. Basically, not a happy bunny. The plot occurs in flashback, from a prison cell, as the police reconstruct a particularly violent chapter in the Punisher's life, slashing and burning his way through a crime family in an effort to rid the world of scum.

No Payne, No Gain

At this point you might be noticing some parallels with Max Payne 2 (to which the game has frequently and generously been compared) but The Punisher doesn't enjoy any of that game's finesse: the physics, the slow-motion choreography, the delicately arranged domino explosions. Instead, Volition's effort consists almost entirely of unsubtle room clearing, as you cut your way through hordes of criminals on your way to uncertain revenge.

Admittedly, things are spiced up to some degree by an occasional outburst of cruelty (no longer graphic but still nasty) and an insubstantial reward system. This revolves around a 'punishment metre' that fills up according to how much pain you dish out in each level and how you go about it.

You're rewarded for saving innocents, letting a criminal go when he succumbs to interrogation and not getting shot, but also for being as sadistic as possible in your variety of killing techniques. Options include shooting people, throwing them out of windows, performing quick executions, knifing them through the face in 'rage' mode or torturing them to death in the show-stopping interrogation scenes. As a concession to decency, the latter actually loses you points, though in some cases you're rewarded with a brief cut-scene, so it goes both ways.

Ironically, The Punisher may have been a better game if it were more offensive. As it stands, the only affront is how bland and repetitive it is and how heavily it relies on violent gimmickry. It's attempted to follow in the footsteps of games like Manhunt, but it hasn't even managed to get the controversy right, and the result is not worth getting worked up about in any fashion.

  • Manufacturer: Acclaim
  • Version: Nintendo

Crime. The stench is everywhere. But now Jigsaw and his band of drug lords will be taught a lesson in justice - Punisher-style!

There's nowhere for them to hide. Packing his M60 machine gun, nitro-charged grenades and heat-seeking rockets, The Punisher will hunt them down from the urban New York jungle to the voodoo-infested wilds of South America... destroying everything evil in his sight! With Spider-Man at his side, hundreds of enemies will be given the Ultimate Payback!

  • Manufacturer: Capcom
  • Machine: Genesis

This arcade translation is in the mode of a Final Fight, you take your character and run from left to right beating up all in sight. You can also play a two-player mode, where you can the cigar smokin' Nick Fury. We haven't played this one yet, but when we do we'll let you know if The Punisher deserves a good spanking or not.

  • Machine: GAME BOY

Right from the start, you realize this isn't a game for wimps. As Frank Castle, alias "The Punisher", you embark on a hunt for drug dealers at the local shopping mall. Pretty soon you're embroiled in a furious gunfight with bullets and bodies flying everywhere.

The Punisher (subtitled "The Ultimate Payback") is based on a Marvel Comics character who seeks perpetual revenge for the gangland murder of his family. But this game is really a carnival-style shooting gallery. Rather than ducks and rabbits on a conveyor belt, your targets are gun-toting drug thugs at a suburban shopping mall, a marina, an airport, a jungle, and a secret enemy hideout. Everything takes place from a first-person point of view - you never see your own character. Instead, you move a gun sight around the screen to aim your shots and throw grenades. And like the targets in a shooting gallery, the action scrolls steadily from right to left.

At first you're armed with a slow-firing pistol. But some bad guys leave behind power-ups when they're shot, so you can collect ammo clips, grenades, machine guns, bulletproof vests, first aid kits, additional lives, and rocket launchers. The bulletproof vests reduce the injury you suffer from enemy gunshots, and the first aid kits restore your energy.

In fact, power-ups are hidden everywhere in this game, so you're encouraged to spray bullets at shop windows, elevators, parked airplanes, wooden crates, storage barrels - you name it. However, don't shoot the innocent bystanders, who are weirdly unaware of all the gunplay. At the mall, for instance, you'll see women shoppers looking for bargains; at the marina, fishermen are sitting lazily on the docks. If you gun down a bystander, you're penalized half the energy on your life meter.

Spider-man, another Marvel Comics character, makes a cameo appearance in stage 1 to help you rescue some hostages. If you accidentally shoot a hostage, the web- slinger will scold you.

The Punisher offers good graphics and lots of fast action. If the high body count doesn't bother you, this is one of the best shooting games you'll find for the Game Boy.

  • Machine: Nintendo

When mobsters gunned down Frank Castle's family, he pledged vengeance. Now his pledge has expanded into a one-man war against crime.

An ex-Marine and former police investigator, Castle is now The Punisher. Equipped with the best weapons money can buy, this avenger's hallmarks include a bad temper and high body counts. The justice he dispenses is rude and brutal.

In The Punisher, the popular Marvel Comics character is the star of his own fast-action Nintendo game. He's pitted against Kingpin, a gangster who is at the core of crime in the Big Apple. Before The Punisher can tackle Kingpin, however, he must first dispose of four other crooks: Colonel Kliegg, Hitman, Sijo, and Jigsaw.

On his way to Rikers Island, where Jigsaw is waiting, The Punisher has to rid New York City of a wide variety of nuisances - tanks, helicopters, soldiers, and ninjas. Fortunately, our modern-day Lone Ranger has hardware that even Rambo would envy - grenades, rockets, a machine gun, and countless rounds of ammunition.

As you fight your way through the game, you must also keep an eye out for first aid kits, bulletproof vests, extra ammo, and additional lives. To grab them, all you have to do is what comes naturally to The Punisher - blast 'em as soon as they appear.

Unlike the comic book series, the Nintendo game features no intrigue, which means there's little need for strategy or thoughtful deliberation. All you really have to do is keep your finger on the trigger and destroy everything that pops up. Brute force rules the day.

When facing Kingpin's henchmen, ignore the advice offered by the instruction manual: Don't engage in hand-to-hand combat, despite The Punisher's reputation for fisticuffs. Fire from a distance whenever possible.

The crisp graphics, though not stunning, are good enough to let you identify what's happening on the screen. That's crucial, since detecting enemies as soon as they appear is your only chance of survival.

Overall, The Punisher is a good-quality game with no major flaws. But if you already have a favorite shooter, you'll find no new territory here.

Prepare to be punished!

You are Frank Castle, a.k.a. the Punisher! Your family was wiped out by drug lords, and you've dedicated your life to getting revenge - Punisher style! The worst of them all, Jigsaw, has started a huge drug operation that affects even young children at the local mall. Bring down your own brand of justice with the help of your friendly neighborhood Spider Man! It's time to show these drug pushers who's really the boss!

Master tip #896

  • Shoot everything in sight! 1ups are hidden everywhere!

  • Clean up the town with two of the best heroes in the business!

Show No Fear

After local crime figures gunned down his family, the Punisher has become a one man crusade against evil! Help him fight the drug lords and gangs that are terrorizing the city. Even Spiderman is willing to give you a hand!

The Punisher, by LJN, has a first-person shooting perspective. Power up icons are hidden in objects scattered throughout the levels, as well as on the enemies themselves. Shoot everything (except the innocent bystanders) on the screen to uncover tons of weapons, health, and 1-ups! Be sure to shoot all of the enemies! After each level, you will receive a tally of the number of enemies shot. If you get 100%, you'll receive a free man! You may be outnumbered, but you're not outgunned!

It's the not too distant future and crime lords and drug pushers are running rampant. You're the last person who seems to care about law and order. Set out to clean up the city and go for the boss himself - Jigsaw! Spiderman comes to help you in the supermarket and after the hostages are rescued, move on to the marina, airport and Jigsaw himself. Grab more ammo and stronger weapons as you progress.

People say:


Based on the comic book character and modified from the NES version, The Punisher on Game Boy has our anti-hero blowing the place to bits, with an assortment of weapons that are indeed - very deadly. Not much new here in this Operation Wolf clone and too repetitive!


Operation Wolf Jr. is an OK GB game. The cameo appearance by Spiderman is a great idea (sounds like one of our April Fool jokes) and perhaps we'll see more. As a shooter it's tough to see everything on the tiny screen. Great graphics and plenty to shoot at though.


I don't like this game because the sounds really annoy me and playing this type of shooting game on a little screen is a real punishment on the eyes. The graphics are above average as far as GB goes and it has a few cool features. Just an average black and white Operation Wolf.


Set in the first person perspective, Punisher is unique as a GameBoy shooter. Its main difficulty would have to be the horrible sound quality, but the game's play ability was good and the graphics are okay. It was really cool to have a special guest appearance by Spiderman, too.

The Punisher is back on the streets, doling out his particular brand of justice. Unfortunately, he must be cruising on the Streets of Rage because this game is almost identical to that classic series.

They Must Be Punished

It seems that The Punisher is married to the mob. He tracked them down by investigating their money-laundering scheme in the Cayman Islands, and now their trail leads him back to the city for average beat-em-up action.

ProTip: Almost anything can be used as a weapon.

Besides standard punching and jumping, there is a series of special moves, such as the Power Dive and Head Slam. But getting these moves to work requires a lot of frustrating button pressing. Throwing a grenade is easier in real life. You can also invite a friend to play as Nick Fury, the S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, in a two-player simultaneous mode.

Comic-Book Look

The graphics never come close to the coin-op game that this game is based on. You've seen the enemies in Streets of Rage, so don't expect anything spectacular. Even the bosses seem puny.

The music and sounds aren't any better than the graphics. Weak enemy groans and minimal auxiliary sound effects just add to the Punisher's misery. Capcom's The Punisher is limited in creativity, which makes it limited in appeal.

  • The gun's targeting device is automatic, so fire away.
  • Break barrels Instead of throwing them to reveal power-ups.

Fans of the skull-on-the-leotards hero will definitely groan when they see what's been done to their vigilante. The only satisfied gamers might be Streets of Rage fans who haven't had enough.

They killed his family. They destroyed his career. Someone's gonna pay.

The Punisher is a hard-charging beat- em-up game, starring two of Marvel Comics' toughest heroes. The Punisher, of course, is Frank Castle, a self-appointed vigilante with a major attitude about crime. Teaming with him is Nick Fury, Special Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. Together they wage a two-player war against the henchmen and minions of the Kingpin, a rotund criminal mastermind.

Six levels of intense beat-em-up action pit you against a never-ending gang of street creeps. Each level also features a famous Marvel Comics' villain, such as the Bushwacker and Jigsaw.

The Punisher and Fury toss a flurry of flying kicks, throws, and high-and-low punches. For heavy-duty fighting, you can pick up and use a variety of weapons, including baseball bats, flamethrowers, and Uzi submachine guns. To keep up their strength, the Punisher and Fury regain lost vitality by eating food, which appears randomly throughout the game.

The action's the show, but this game's outstanding feature is its gorgeous graphics, which capture the dark, somber mood of the Punisher comic books. If you're an arcade rat who likes to take justice into his own hands, check out the Punisher.

I'd never considered a game too violent before I played The Punisher. I still don't, technically, but if any game pushed my limits, it was this one. Based on the popular Marvel comic of the same name, The Punisher is a brutal story of vengeance, justice, and punishment, with its narrative tapestry painted in varying colors of arterial spray. My first, strongest, and only warning is that at his best, the Punisher could be considered a heroic vigilante who is capable of going that length that others are not; he executes the criminal element. At his worst, he's a sadistic sociopath who is only a hero by virtue of the lens through which he is shown. This game makes no judgments in how you play him, but it will allow you to play him as dark as you'd like.

That aside, this is one of the more satisfying games I've played recently. The gameplay system is good and visceral, but lacks a certain smooth feel that'd make it really intensely satisfying. The crosshairs give you a good idea of what the spread on your weapon will be like, and you can usually carefully aim the guns, changing to a crosshair control that's reminiscent of Timesplitters or GoldenEye. There's a large collection of guns, from pistols to revolvers, rifles, law rockets, and yes, even a flamethrower. Plus, there's any number of melee weapons you can pickup to deliver a quick kill with. The game also features body armor in the form of human shields, who can also be able to interrogate for useful information. Using people as shields is particularly important to the point based upgrade system as you'll lose your special score multiplier each time you get hit. This makes taking and using hostages very important.

Finally, this game features excellent audio, with the voice of Thomas Jane playing the Punisher. You may remember him from the recent Punisher film. The visuals, while not what I'd call excellent, are none the less quite well done, with characters models that are nicely detailed, and levels thick with attractive scenery. From a more meta-game perspective, interrogations are where the morality of the game is played out, as you don't get a real reward for sparing someone's life, but also don't need to worry about suffering much of a drawback for killing your subject during the interrogation. While many of these interrogations let you interact with the environment, my favorite part is definitely how the game doesn't really point you in one way or the other, whether to be somewhat good or despicably bad, a feature that something like Manhunt should've included. All in all, even with it's more violent and sadistic aspects, if you can take a game that deserves its M rating, The Punisher is definitely a good choice.

The Punisher has been around for some time now starting in comics years ago and moving to movies. Unfortunately, both movies had a difficult time representing the Punisher and ended up struggling to say the least. So that leaves you with a successful comic book hero but sub par movie character. That doesn't exactly give a strong vote of confidence for a successful video game but The Punisher manages to put together a respectable action game but is short on gameplay depth.

The Punisher is the story of Frank Castle who's family is killed by the mob. After the experience, Frank turns vigilante and becomes the Punisher whose sole purpose is to kill those responsible for his family's murder. The game starts out with the Punisher being captured by police who promptly start interrogating him on his recent 'activities'?. As the game progresses, you relive the Punisher's recent encounters and find out why he's called the Punisher. It's a decent way to progress a story line and the plot unfolds well, giving reason to see the game through till the end.

The gameplay is rather straightforward as generally it's a run and shoot type of action game. There are a number of minor to moderate problems with The Punisher but nothing that makes the game unplayable. Issues like a loose aiming system and camera angles that are not always ideal plague the gameplay but can be overcome. Other features like the Punisher's interrogation methods help break up the run and shoot action but don't offer much of a challenge either. Basically when a specific enemy with information is captured, certain creative methods can be used to make him talk (drill press, buzz saw, ect). The goal is to keep a meter within a certain range for three seconds or your prisoner may have an unfortunate accident. That should be rare however as generally getting him to talk doesn't require much skill.

Overall, The Punisher is a decent game but isn't going to be on a top ten list. The graphics and audio follow suit with the gameplay by not distracting but not giving an impressive showing either. If you liked the comics and movies, The Punisher should meet your expectations but otherwise, be cautious.

Continuing with their line of licensed titles for the Nintendo Entertainment System, LJN brings the Marvel comic book hero, The Punisher, to the video game screen!

Modeled after similar "from behind" target shooters like the arcade Dynamite Duke, The Punisher puts a machine gun in your hands and plenty of bad guys in your line of fire. While the screen slowly scrolls by, presenting different environments filled with equally hostile enemies, The Punisher takes aim (via moving crosshairs) at the bad guys and lets go with his weapons of destruction. In addition to tracking down the other characters in the game, you are also able to interact with street signs, windows and other parts of the background for bonus points and items. The game increases the incentives of looking for these hidden "targets" by releasing additional forms of weaponry like a bazooka and M-16 machine gun for rapid fire action. With these extra power-ups, The Punisher can become even more powerful, something that is especially helpful when confronting the game's Boss characters.

When The Punisher manages to reach any of the Bosses guarding each of the different levels, the play action changes to accommodate the one-on-one battle action. Besides boasting some mean machine guns, Mr. P. can also take advantage of his powerful punch and kick abilities to vanquish the Bosses that appear.

The Punisher is very similar to Dynamite Duke and other scrolling target shooters, and comes out as one of the better in this breed. While the main activity: shoot, shoot, shoot, does remain constant through most of the game, the Boss encounters help break up the pace while retaining the challenge. The Punisher remains active from beginning to end.

Marvel Comics most unique super hero is coming to your Nintendo. Battle criminals in your own special way and dish out justice as you see fit. Designed in an over the shoulder first person perspective it is your job to clean up the streets of all the scum which is roaming around. If it moves shoot it as if you don't they will. Armed with an automatic rifle and a few hand grenades you must singlehandedly go where the police won't even venture.

Snapshots and Media

PC Screenshots

Sega Genesis/Mega Drive Screenshots

NES/Famicom/Dendy Screenshots

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