Over the years many American super heroes have graced the published pages of the two most famous comic book stables in the States – DC and Marvel. While it’s true that these characters have provided role models for generations of readers who grew up with them, sometimes their super-powers can distance them a little from your average Joe. If they’re not lucky enough to be bitten by a radioactive spider or kidnapped and modified in the name of some shadowy, Cold War military operation, they’re using themselves as the last resort test subject of their scientific research after the plug gets pulled on funding. Or they are simply an alien.
Batman didn’t have any preternatural powers per se, unless you count being a billionaire playboy industrialist, but that alone is enough to prevent many of us identifying with him that closely. If there’s one chap who, muscles aside, can theoretically be seen as a physiological equal of a bog standard Homo Sapiens comic fan, it’s Marvel’s Punisher.
When Frank Castle’s entire family was killed by mobsters, he went a little crazy. Crazy enough to devote the rest of his life to punishing organised criminals. Famously, back in the day at least, the most violent of Marvel’s comics, The Punisher didn’t - like DC’s Batman - shun conventional weapons in favour of ingenious gadgets developed at his moneyed leisure. Regular guns, bombs and fists were good enough for him, and good enough to inspire two action movies, one in 1990 and one in 2004. Funnily enough, this is just the sort of weaponry that delights many a video gamer these days, so surely it wasn't going to be long before somebody brought the franchise to a console near you.
In this case, it’s THQ who present us with this title, developed by Volition. As you'd imagine it's a suitably violent romp, played in the third person to best show off its eponymous protagonist beefcake. You can, as you’d expect, build up a huge and frightening arsenal just like the hard-drinking, slum-dwelling Castle, but the game’s real unique feature comes in the form of an interrogation and torture function. You can grab any perp, and subject them to shocking and degrading routines, squeezing any information you can out of them before leaving them for dead. Skull emblems denote the malefactors most likely to ‘assist’ you. And there are over a hundred of these ‘hot spots’, often situated conveniently close to a vat of acid or industrial drill…
With a script penned by Garth Ennis and Jimmy Palmiotti, including all the most infamous villains from the comic books, this game looks set to delight Marvel fans and video nasty aficionados alike.