As much of a Punisher fan that I am, I have to admit that I had never played the arcade game before. I knew it was a side scrolling beat ’em up-style game, it was pretty well-regarded among those who played it, and the second player was Nick Fury, but not much else.
Tonight, I decided on a lark to find this game and give it a shot. My god, it’s beautiful. They should have sent a poet. This game made me feel like a kid again. It’s Frank beating up wave after wave of 90s-tastic thugs, female ninjas, homeless karate guys, and cyborg gangsters (???), and that’s just the first three or so levels that I played. It also pulls a lot from the actual Punisher comics, where Frank is on a one-man rampage to chase down the Costa family, the mafia that was responsible for the death of his family. It also has the signature Mike Zeck look of Frank (who always looks SO ANGRY in this game), and I just beat up Bushmaster on a poppy seed train. I’m actually looking forward to seeing Jigsaw, just so I can beat the hell out of him.
Those elements alone make this game fun, but it’s also a really good arcade beat ’em up. It’s got a fast pace to it, the controls felt responsive, and there was a crazy selection of weapons to pick up. My favorite so far has got to be the battle axe, because when I think of the Punisher, I think of Frank carving up punks valhalla-stlye. I mean clearly, come on. Sure sometimes a pistol or an M-16 gets dropped, but what are you, some kind of sissy? And at the end of almost every level, Frank jumps up ten feet in the air and karate kicks himself through a window, even when there’s a door right in front of him. It’s all gloriously batshit insane.
I stopped playing it because I want it to surprise me if I play it in an “official” capacity. It’s been requested that Jake and I play this game for the show like a Youtube Let’s Play. I can’t make a guarantee that we’ll do that because I don’t have the know-how of having guys in two states play an emulated arcade game together. But then again, a year-and-a-half ago I didn’t know how to make a podcast either, and my brief research on the topic shows that others have done it. Once again, no promises, but I’m looking into it. If you have any advice for how this game can be played with two players over long distance, shoot us an email.
But beyond that, it’s just a great game and if you haven’t played it yet, you’re missing out. It takes all the elements from the PS2 Punisher and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles arcade game we played as kids and then cranks up their elements to 11. I used the MAME emulator, and then found the ROM with a simple Google search (e.g. “Punisher arcade game download”).
Have fun, and remember, this isn’t revenge. It’s punishment!