Video Game / The Punisher

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A Third-Person Shooter released in 2005 by THQ based on Marvel's The Punisher. The game starts with Frank Castle in a interrogation room in Ryker's Prison and the whole game is a series of flashbacks to the present.

A lot of the gameplay mechanics would later be seen in Volition's own series, Saints Row.

For the Arcade and Sega Genesis game, see The Punisher (Capcom).


Tropes featured:

  • Arm Cannon: Bushwacker has a literal one.
  • Armor Is Useless: Heavily Armored Mook will die instantly if you quick-kill them. Averted if you attack them without quick-kill, however.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: "Now that I know the nuke is back on Grand Nixon Island with Kreigkopf, I need to rearm, patch the holes in my kevlar, and finish the rest of Joan's cookies."
  • Badass Longcoat: The Punisher in most of the levels.
  • Bad-Guy Bar: Frank non-chalantly walks into a bar full of mob thugs, none of whom recognize him until he pulls his guns and kills them all. In a bizarre coincidence, a cop was hanging out at the bar but not killed because he was in the bathroom.
  • Big Bad: Jigsaw ( a.k.a., John Saint), who has been seeking revenge on Frank and been manipulating him into taking out rival crime syndicates.
  • Black Humor: The story is written by Garth Ennis.
  • The Blade Always Lands Pointy End In: It certainly does when you enter Slaughter Mode.
  • Boisterous Bruiser: The Russian.
  • Bond One-Liner: Frank delivers these frequently.
  • Broad Strokes: The game is kind of a sequel to the 2004 Thomas Jane film, due to Jigsaw actually being John Saint, son of Howard Saint. However it now takes place firmly in the Marvel Universe (Iron Man, Black Widow, Nick Fury, Matt Murdock, and Bullseye are in this game, too, if you want to know), and even features a rematch between Frank and the Russian.note 
  • Bulletproof Human Shield: The Punisher can grab mooks and use them as this. Several mooks also do this with the most notable example of Bushwacker who uses his own minions as shields.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: There's quite a bit of swearing in this game. Frank himself doesn't curse though.
  • Composite Character: In this game, Jigsaw is John Saint, son of the villain from the 2004 film. Presumably this was done to give him a more personal connection to Frank.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Frank does quite a bit of snarking in this game.
    Black Widow: (After Frank kills a bunch of bad guys interrogating her) "What the hell are you doing here, Castle?"
    The Punisher: "You're welcome."

    Frank: (Commenting on Soap's disguise) "Nice disguise. Subtle. Inconspicuous"

    The Punisher: (Talking about Bullseye) "Tossed him out the window."
    the Kingpin: "Are you planning the same fate for me?"
    The Punisher: "No, you I'd have to roll."
  • Deliberately Monochrome: During Slaughter Mode everything except Frank and still living enemies turn black and white. The censored versions of the game do a black-and-white Gory Discretion Shot whenever Frank goes too far with a Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique.
  • The Dragon: Bushwacker for the Gnucci's, Bullseye for The Kingpin and The Russian for... the Russians.
  • Dual Wielding: In Slaughter Mode Frank uses several pairs of knives. It's also possible dual wield any combination of firearms (including two shotguns or two M16s).
  • Emergency Weapon: The Punisher can use "Quick Kills" on nearby enemies which involve killing them in several over the top ways.
  • Enemy Chatter: Mooks talk a lot in this game.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: During the prison riot, a few inmates are planning to throw a child molester into a bonfire.
  • Fisticuffs Boss: The first fight with the Russian.
  • Flamethrower Backfire: This is how you defeat the Russian (he throws Exploding Barrels at you).
  • Gorn: This is one of the few games that got the AO rating purely for gratuitous violence.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: A Deliberately Monochrome close up of the Punisher's face occurs whenever you kill someone with the Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique.
  • Guns Akimbo: When using two weapons it's up to the player which one to shoot, making it possible to either go Woo-style, shoot both at once of pull a 'New York Reload'.
  • Hand Cannon: One of the handguns is literally named this.
  • Heroic Bystander: In the zoo mission a few workers, when rescued, will take guns from dead enemies and help Castle as much as they can: one explains that, after witnessing the Gnuccis killing many animals senselessly, he wants to protect the ones left.
  • Hey, Catch!: One of the "Quick Kills" the Punisher can perform, is to toss his longarm at an enemy who will reflexively catch it, distracting him. The Punisher then shoots/stabs the guy in the face while he is distracted.
  • High Voltage Death: In the Rykers Island level Frank comes across a inmate strapped into an electric chair. After interrogating him the player can then choose whether or not to fry him.
    • Not long later, he has to destroy a generator on the roof to cut the power and open a gate inside. Instead of wasting bullets, he can just grab an enemy and throw him on the generator - killing two birds with one stone, as they say.
  • Immune to Bullets: The Russian.
    The Russian: "Bullets are like mosquitos to the Russian!"
  • Infernal Retaliation: Using the flamethrower will occasionally cause flaming mooks to run into and damage you. Also The Russian during the final phase of his boss fight.
  • Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: One of the main selling points of the game is the ability to inflict this on every mook you come across. Did we forget to mention that successfully breaking a mook is one of only two ways (three with a very expensive upgrade) for Frank to regain health?
  • The Joys of Torturing Mooks: One of the game's main features is the ability to torture mooks for information, and the game gives you a wide variety of ways to do so.
  • Katanas Are Just Better: Takagi will ask that you kill him with his ceremonial katana.
  • Knife Nut: Bullseye and Frank himself during Slaughter Mode.
  • The Mafia: The Gnucci family.
  • The Mafiya: Kreigkopf's Russian mercenaries.
  • The Mole: Detective Soap.
  • Mythology Gag: There's a lot of references to The Punisher's history scattered throughout the game, both pre- and post-Ennis.
    • The Russian, the Gnuccis, Frank's neighbors, Soap and Molly are all taken from Garth Ennis' run.
    • Two of the supervillains Frank fights, Bullseye and Bushwacker, are two he's fought in his comics as well. Damage is also a previous villain, who ended up as a cyborg in the comics.
    • The line "How many people have you killed?" "Not sure. There were a lot of explosions" is taken verbatim from a scene in one comic where Frank is confessing his sins.
    • The boss fight with the Russian looks like it might have been inspired by a short story from one of his issues where he's interrogating a child kidnapper. At least, a lot of the methods Frank uses on the Russian are the same he used in that story.
    • The name of the Yakuza group "The Eternal Sun" is taken from a group of criminals Frank once fought.
    • The Eurohit story arc had Frank killing a Russian mobster by knocking him into a bear trap on a wall, and you can do the same during the level at Ma Gnucci's mansion.
    • You can gain two special interrogations per level: the first centering on Frank losing his family and something his hostage says making him remember, replete with a comic still, with the second recalling Vietnam or past (or even future) events.
  • Oh Crap!: Most of the dialogue of the mooks consists of this.
  • One-Handed Shotgun Pump: If you dual wield shotguns, this is how Frank works them.
  • Puzzle Boss: The Russian.
  • Ragdoll Physics: In additional to standard ragdoll physics, there's an unlockable cheat that'll cause the enemies to practically fly into the air when you shoot them.
  • Revolvers Are Just Better: The revolver and the Hand Cannon are both very accurate.
  • Retirony: Many mooks claim they were about to retire/are married/have kids/whatever. It's possible to leave them alive (but not as much fun).
  • Role Reprisal: Thomas Jane reprises his role from the 2004 film as the title character.
  • Sequel Hook: The last scene of the game is The Kingpin swearing vengeance on Castle while Bullseye's broken body is wheeled away.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Suddenly Voiced: The Russian didn't speak any single word in the 2004 film. Here, he talks, a lot.
  • Super Mode: In "Slaughter Mode", the Punisher regains health and uses a limitless supply of dual throwing knives.
  • Throwaway Guns: When the Punisher is wielding a pair of two handed weapons (assault rifles, shotguns, machine guns, etc.), rather than try to reload both weapons at once he just tosses aside the second weapon.
  • Trigger: Mooks saying certain words (Family, married, outnumbered, etc.) during interrogation will trigger flashbacks made out of comic book panels. Frank will normally have a witty retort.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: The game's big draw was the Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique, wherein Frank could beat, threaten, or otherwise pry answers out of enemy grunts he manages to grab. Combine that with environment specific actions (piranha tank interrogation anyone?), and you have this trope.
    • Video Game Cruelty Punishment: If you go through with killing an enemy with said interrogation, you end up getting points deducted from your final stage score.
  • Vigilante Man: Frank, as always.
  • The Yakuza: The Eternal Sun.
  • Your Head A Splode: It's entirely possible to blast off the heads and limbs of enemies.

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