by Al Giovetti
Genre: action (side scrolling platform)
History: This 2000 AD British comic book character , and starring in his own DC book, has spawned a movie starring Sylvester Stallone as the Judge, pinball machines, hard cover books, signature clothing, toys, cards, and all manner of stuff. Characterized by a slavering thirst for dark comedy and social commentary carried to the absurd, comics featuring Judge Dredd ran for over 15 years in both the United States and the United Kingdom. Many Dredd grognards feel that Stallone was a poor choice for the sci-fi thriller movie, but judging by the response to our on-the-spot justice star, his choice is vindicated.
Plot: The year is 2139, the world is a "nihilist CyberPunk dystopia" and the Judge is in. The trend toward swift and decisive justice, nuclear holocaust, poor economic conditions, lethal weather, population concentrated in immensely large cities, and the ever popular crime wave has resulted in Judges that are law enforcer, judge, jury and executioner rolled into one. Just be careful not to double park, they donít tow in the third millenium.
Judge Dredd, played by you and not that other guy on Steriods, is responsible for keeping the peace in Mega-City One, which was built on the nuked remains of New York complete with the Statue of Liberty at ground zero. The judges have a real problem, since crime seems to be the most popular pastime. Not only does our favorite magistrate have to content with the omnipresent riff raff, but there is also an ABC Warbot, lethal Sky Surfers, and a panoply of futuristic high-tech bad guys on the loose.
You, as Dredd, are accused of murder, and the first part of the game is spent trying to clear your name, just like the movie. There are more than a dozen levels, and you better clear yourself before level six or you will be dog meat.
Game play: Nothing new here, but if you want a third person, side scrolling shooter, and you are just a little bit tired of the Doom Quake movement that seems to be taking over gaming, this is a good solid game. Run, crouch, jump, crawl, climb ropes and ladders and everything a platform game does.
There are ten weapons and all types of ammunition caches. There are primary and secondary objectives which include destroying all of a particular type of item, finding someone, and many others. Health, points, lives, and ammunition status are shown in a bar across the top of the screen.
Access local computers, a unique first for platform games, to get an idea about your progress, opposition, and tactical situation. Opposition briefings include a picture of the criminal on the left one-third of the screen and a several paragraph description on the right of the weapons, strengths, weaknesses, and moves of the law breaker.
Graphics: The mood is dark, demented, dingy, dirty, and depressing and the graphics are right on target. The flat two dimensional VGA graphics are far surpassed by almost every other current game graphics platform. Super VGA would have been more the norm. But then graphics do not a game make.
Animation: Smooth and slick, but what do you expect in VGA? Sprites and colors are clearer on the SNES and Genesis.
Voice actors: Unfortunately Sly Stallone will not grace your computer speakers with his dulcet tones. Yo Acclaim!
Multi-player: This is a single player game.
Future plans: The company plans to make a movie sequel to the game, featuring Jordan Prochnow, Joan Chen, Armand Assante, Diane lane, Max Von Sydow, Rob Schnider, Balthazar Getty, and the Sly one. (I think that you mean Cinergy Pictures and Hollywood (Disney) Pictures have already done the movie which was released months ago. - Ed.) Russell and Jessica feel the judge is cool.
Kevin J. McCann, Computer Player, volume 3, number 4, September, 1996, pg. 95, 7/10, (70%).
Oliver Menne, http://w3pca.pcaction.de/PCG0796/review/dredd/ (50%)
Russell Hopkinson & Jessica PostT, http://hyperactive.com/games/vault/jdredd/, (72%).
Judge Dredd links: http://188.8.131.52/zaepfchen/jd/judge.htm
http://www.star.le.ac.uk/~des/jwz/judge.html (nice paper to put behind review)
http://www.discountgames.com/manufacturer/HALx4y5z269.dat.html, buy a Dredd figurine