The Punisher 1993 is a beat-em-up game from Capcom which holds up quite well, standing tall as a solid Marvel video game to this day.
Noritaka Funamizu is a Japanese video game designer who directed The Punisher, though it is far from his only work with the Marvel brand. Capcom and Marvel have a long and storied history together, with some titles more beloved than others.
Funamizu’s work outside of The Punisher 1993 includes planning on X-Men: Children Of The Atom, producing Street Fighter Vs. X-Men, Marvel Super Heroes Vs. Street Fighter, producing on Marvel vs. Capcom, just to name a few.
THE PUNISHER 1993 IS DIRECTED BY NORITAKA FUMIZUMA
The Punisher 1993 is one of the only games I have played with creative input from Noritaka Fumizuma, but his directorial vision here worked wonders. This 1993 beat-em-up is considered by some video game critics to be one of the best games within the genre, and while I am not knowledgeable enough to go that far myself, I can confidently say that this game is just about everything you could want a Punisher adaptation to be.
Frank Castle’s brutal origin story (the mob murdered his family in New York shortly after he returned from US military service) is recapped quickly, efficiently and tragically. I played the two-player coop, and my friend played as Nick Fury. Fury is a character akin to the Joker, where sometimes the less you know, the better. Realizing this, his history is tossed aside in favor of many a cigar-chomping cutscene or hardened, militant quip.
The chemistry between Fury and Castle makes for several laugh-out-loud moments, especially for longtime fans of these Marvel icons. Their masculinity is so toxic, so over-the-top, so brazenly badass that even a femboy such as myself can’t help but revel in all of the TNT. This is excess to the extreme, machine guns ripped, bodies dropped and supervillains punished, of course.
THE PUNISHER 1993 PUTS THE POWER TO PUNISH IN YOUR HANDS
There are 5 levels to play through, which follow a similar pattern. The Punisher and Nick Fury follow the trail of crime, mowing through bad guy after bad guy, eventually culminating in a boss fight against an oversized enemy. I was a bit disappointed to see Chester Scully made into a boss while Jigsaw was relegated into a more traditional, low-level enemy. But that minor nitpick aside, the combat is engaging, the villains colorful, and the level design moves fluidly. You gun through ninjas, take down street-level thugs with bats, and throw way too many grenades. And it is wonderful.
But that is the path of The Punisher, and his video game stories should reflect that. We’re talking about a character who epitomizes the need for gun reform in our country and serves as a cautionary tale for what happens when we abuse and abandon our veterans. His story is terribly sad, but dishing out revenge as this broken, battered warrior hits the spot every time. The Punisher 1993 is revenge fantasy, simply put, and getting behind the wheel in this oft-overlooked arcade gem is an experience like no other.
THE PUNISHER MAY BE KINGPIN’S TRUE ARCHENEMY
The final fight against Wilson Fisk, the kingpin of crime is an unforgettable battle, and the conclusion to Fisk and Castle’s path together leaves you wanting more. It doesn’t rival their interactions in the MCU, but it is a totally enjoyable and standout story on it’s own merit.
The Punisher (1993) isn’t a particularly challenging game, nor is it time consuming to complete. With access to unlimited lives, I was able to tear through the game in just under an hour, playing co-op. The brevity was perhaps my biggest grievance with the game; That is to say that I would have gladly played for hours more, and that says something about the replay value of this title.
I was able to play this almost 30-year old classic earlier this summer while in attendance at Momocon, one of Atlanta’s premier anime and gaming conventions. They had numerous arcade cabinets of all shapes and sizes available to play, offering free play for a huge selection of games to all attendees. Outside of The Punisher, I was finally able to give Super Smash Bros 64 a run, thanks to Momocon’s love of retro gaming.
They even had competitive gaming for games like Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and Rivals Of Aether. One of my favorite offerings was the area presented by Player One Arcade Services. They had around a dozen cabinets available for gamers to play on, from Centipede to Super Asteroid to Ms. Pac-Man. They even had a couple multi-game cabinets with literally hundreds of options to play, all without the need for quarters. The “Multicade Cocktail” is the nifty little device which granted me access to The Punisher (1993).
Player One Arcade Services is local to the Atlanta area, and they offer rentals, repairs and diagnostics to classic gaming aficionados. They have a wide variety of games to choose from, and their customer service is personable, engaging and helpful. I’d highly recommend Marvel and/or beat-em-up fans give The Punisher Capcom game a chance, especially if you have the opportunity to check it out on the Player One Multicade Cocktail.
What do you think of The Punisher 1993? Does it stand the test of time, or is an outdated piece of history? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below or on our social media!