Punisher for PS2
reviewed by Jay Pipkin

Before we had Dirty Laundry to follow up the Thomas Jane Punisher movie this little gem came out for the PS2. It's sort of a cross breed of the Welcome Back Frank series in the comics and the previously mentioned theatrical release. Changing one bad guys origin story to make the plot work? Normally something I'd bitch about but this just really works.

You start off seeing Castle getting bust by the cops and soon after in an interrogation room at the prison. Most of the story is told in flashbacks as Frank explains how he got to where he is now. This leads to a set up before he enters the level to give you a quick screen prepping you for the action. On future playthroughs you can even change your starting weapons. The story is intense but it'd be kinda hard to say more without major spoilers.

Gameplay is very stylized. You can, at ANY time, hit the square button to kill an enemy right by you. Even while reloading. There's also no reload button, Castle just does that if you pause(stop, not pause the game) for a second or haven't shot anyone recently. You want to score big in levels to buy upgrades for your body armor or guns. You do this by killing bad guys without getting shot yourself. How? Human shields of course! Let those drug dealers and terrorists take bullets for you. Also, if you get a moment alone with one of the dirt bags you can interrogate them with many methods. Sometimes there's even environmental ways to do so. I mean, if there's a drill press or table saw just sitting there unused. Also look for goldfish orange skulls. These are for special kills which range form "Meh" to "Oh damn!".

The graphics are that middle of the PS2 era comic book style. Great at the time but nothing special anymore. We really shouldn't be hung up on graphics anyway. Hence, why this will be the last time I mention them in any review. A great game can have dull graphics. I played the hell out of Pac-man back in the day and nobody was talking about graphics then.

Voice over gold! Thomas Jane nails it as Castle and the supporting cast does really well too. Steve Blum is even in it, though not as Wolverine. A bunch of other Marvel characters do show up though. A few even get mentioned in passing dialog. On that note...No Yakuza guy, Sunfire could NOT beat Captain America in a fight. Sorry, had to get that off my chest.

The Armory, pure awesome. Thomas Jane reads a description of each weapon you unlock. The music is pretty bad ass too, well, I could do without the end credits song. It is during the credits though and you can skip it.

Merits: Thomas Jane bats it out of the park. The game is for both comic book and movie fans. Good length and a lot of bonus content to unlock like comic book cover art.

Flaws: Sometimes you might get tired of walking with a human shield.

All in all: a 4 out of 5

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