The Punisher on the NES is one of those games that I feel is an underrated gem of a game. Some people may already be familiar with The Punisher, who originally was a Marvel Comics comic book hero. That is what this game is based on, which I think is appealing because right now we are seeing an explosion in comic book heroes in movies and video games , well this game was doing just that nearly 30 years ago!
The game is primarily a shooting game, with you playing as The Punisher. This game is one of the earliest quality shooting games you can find. The Punisher stands at the bottom front of the screen and strafes side to side while the screen scrolls to the side and your primary goal is to shoot all of the bad guys. I would not recommend this game to a younger audience because it is a very violent and adult themed game. Anyone who is familiar with The Punisher knows this is fitting to the game because The Punisher was always one of Marvels more 'edgy' comics.
I gave this game a 7 for the graphics. For me a 7 rating is right around average which is where I feel this game would stand in the graphics department. One of the good things this game does in the graphics is having the environment respond correctly when you shoot things in the background. If you shoot a wall , you will leave a bullet hole, if you shoot a car , it will continuously take more damage , until you leave it a pile of rubble. You are also rewarded for these sorts of things , as you will quickly find, a lot of this games 'secrets' come by way of shooting things in the games background.
I gave this game an 8 for sound because I think it is one of the things this game does very well. From the sound of your gun as you upgrade it from a hand gun to a machine gun to the ultimate super gun, or the sound of your grenades as they fly through the air and hit your enemy's, to the unforgettable tune of the local saxophone player. (game tip: the saxophone player is the only person in the entire game you don't want to shoot) The boss battles also have a unique soundtrack that adds a lot of intensity to the fights.
I also scored highly on this game for addictiveness because my family had a cartridge of this game since I was a young child and I've gone back to play this game more times than I can remember. The game nearly requires you to play it over a few times just so you can get a good feel for each stages layout so you are able to beat the entire game eventually. After that , the game contains so many secrets and such a challenge for highscore that it continues to be fun after you've beaten the last boss. One great aspect of this game, is that it has a tremendous amount of potential for highscore competitions on vizzed.
This is where the game suffers a lot in my overall rating of the game. The plot for this game is very brief and only a few paragraphs long. What you do get from those few paragraphs is not all to original either and is a pretty overall bland story. Basically , I'm The Punisher and I must Punish criminals, that's the story! I'm not sure though , that it is fair the games overall score is dropped by the lacking story because it is one of those types of games that is not played for the story. ( like most shooting games)
I rated this game a 7 for depth because once you beat the last boss , the biggest thing to do after is play for highscore. Once you are pretty good at the game and know the layout of the stages, the entire game doesn't actually take very long to complete , right around 1 hour.
The difficulty of this game is a good balance of not too hard not too easy. If you have never played this game before you probably wont have much trouble beating the first boss or maybe the 2nd but you also probably wont get much further than that. It is a good balance that its not too hard that it is frustrating , but its not so easy that their is no sense of reward or accomplishment for completing it.
The 6.8 overall score is an average from all the above category's. I think the 6.8 overall score is a good indicator that this is a fun game but it's not the end all be all of games. I think most people who enjoy NES and retro games could enjoy this game but it probably would not be very many peoples all time favorite game which is why I score it a 6.8/10
Graphics 7 Sound 8 Addictive 8 Depth 7 Story 4 Difficulty 7
The Punisher Description: The NES version of The Punisher is an on-rails shooter tracking behind Frank Castle as he trades fire with the gangs of some of his classic enemies. Aside from being one of the few NES rail shooters, the game features an uncommon amount of destructible items in its levels. You also have the ability to move Frank to the left or right of the screen to dodge incoming fire, or to hold down the fire button to lock him in place and move the aiming cursor.The game features six "missions" with a number of varying environments and levels within them. Standard pickups of armor and increased firepower are present, as well as grenades which can be launched with the B button. Earning a 100% kill rating (as The Punisher would surely try to do) gives an unlimited "Super Gun" upgrade for the next stage.