The first of many Capcom games to be based on a Marvel Comics license, The Punisher is a Final Fight-like Beat 'em Up, in which two players can have The Punisher team up with S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Nick Fury. (The two characters are identical in gameplay, though they have different dialogue when played alone.) Originally a 1993 Arcade Game, a port for the Sega Genesis developed by Sculptured Software was released in 1994.
This game contains examples of:
- Absurdly-Spacious Sewer: Stage 5
- Ambidextrous Sprite: Averted. Nick Fury's eyepatch stays on his left eye no matter which way he's facing.
- And the Adventure Continues: Punisher has defeated Kingpin, destroyed his hotel and his criminal empire falls in pieces, but his mission will continue as long as there is a single criminal around.
- Arm Cannon: Bushwacker, the boss of "Death on Rails", can fire missiles from his hands.
- Ascended Extra: Chester Scully, a minor villain from the comics (he died in his second appearance) is a mini-boss (and later a Degraded Boss) here.
- Bait-and-Switch Boss: Bruno is replaced with the Kingpin's Guardroid as the boss of Stage 2.
- Batter Up!: The mooks Dylan and Shone attack with wooden bats, which you can pick up and use.
- Blue Oni, Red Oni: Nick Fury and The Punisher respectively. Fury behaves like a By-the-Book Cop who's would rather keep the collateral damage and body count to a minimum if possible (And as a representative of S.H.I.E.L.D., who could blame him?). Frank Castle on the other hand is more than happy to blast cannon fodder point blank in the face once he's satisfied with any information and leads he's given.
- Bonus Stage: Shooting up barrels between stages 3 and 4.
- Boss in Mook Clothing: Jigsaw, Punisher's iconic arch-nemesis from the comics, makes an appearance in the final stage, but the game treats him like a regular underling. Notably, he has a completely unique sprite (that's significantly more muscular than most versions of Jigsaw).
- Breakable Weapons: All the weapons that can be used by the player have limited durability that is displayed when wielded. After the limit has been reached, the weapon will no longer be usable (some guns may still be used as clubs or thrown after running out of bullets). Some of the melee weapons, such as the baseball bat and the pipe, will break in its last use.
- Button Mashing: Some attacks involve this.
- Cast from Hit Points: Just like Final Fight, pressing both attack and jump performs a "Megacrush" that knocks down everyone around you at the cost of your health. The Punisher does a 360 sweep kick, while Nick Fury swings his holstered gun around himself. If performed in mid-air or at low health, however, both characters will instead chuck a grenade as long as they have one left.
- Damsels in Distress: The two "Barbara" women locked up in the Punta Verde mansion in Stage 2.
- Dark Action Girl: The kunoichi enemies.
- Degraded Boss: The first boss Scully reappears as an ordinary grunt in the final stage.
- Demoted to Extra: Along with the aforementioned Jigsaw, there's Pretty Boy, an individual villain in the comics who is a Mecha Mook in this.
- Desperation Attack: The screen-clearing grenade attack can only be used when life bar is near zero.
- Elaborate Underground Base: The underground cave (Stage 4).
- Executive Suite Fight: The final battle with the Kingpin.
- Expy: The kunoichi enemies are loosely based on Daredevil's on/off love interest Elektra.
- The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You: Punisher aims his weapon to the player. Then all the screen goes red. "If you're guilty, you're dead".
- Game Gourmet: To heal yourself, you'll come across flan pudding, cheese, pizza (both slices and whole pies), hot dogs, roast chickens, and barbecued ribs.
- Game-Over Man: Of a sorts. The Continue screens have at least someone related to Frank or Nick trying to bring them back to life: David "Microchip" Lieberman tries to revive Punisher, whilst Alexander Pierce tries to revive Nick, with an anxious Kathleen Neville watching in the background.
- Giant Mook: Gus, Red and Scully.
- Head Swap: Not only were most of the enemy grunts head-swaps of each other, but the two sole female NPCs (a bystander in Stage 1 and a hostage in Stage 2) are head and torso swaps of each other. They both wear the same type of skirt and high-heel pumps, but one of them is wearing a white blouse and the other a halter dress.
- Human Hammer-Throw: You can do a Megacrush while holding an enemy, and the result is this trope.
- Hyperactive Metabolism: Pick up food on the street to recover health.
- Improvised Weapon: Almost any item can be used as a weapon.
- In Case of Boss Fight, Break Glass: The robot boss has some glass panels in its head but those go first and breaking them is no impediment - you have to literally punch the thing into scrap to win (It somewhat resembles the car-wrecking bonus stage in Street Fighter II - the thing keeps losing more and more parts as you beat it up.)
- Joker Immunity: Kingpin is the Big Bad of the story and the final boss. By the end of the story he has been killed and King building razed down. Still, the final text clarified that the police searched through the debris the next day, and Never Found the Body.
- Jousting Lance: Available as a throwing weapon that will pierce and knock over anyone in its way without stopping until it hits a wall. You can find it either by itself at random, or in the hands of a destructible suit of armor (mostly found in the Kingpin's building).
- Kiai: The karate mooks' "WAI-YAH!" and Frank and Nick's "MRARAARRRRRUGGH!" when performing their specials.
- Martial Arts Uniform: The male karate mooks (Saxon, Hawke and Yan Lee).
- Mecha-Mooks: The cyborg Pretty Boys.
- Never Found the Body: After defeating the Kingpin, Frank waits for Fury to leave then drops a grenade by the Kingpin's body before destroying his penthouse. The police dug up the rubble but could not find the Kingpin anywhere.
- Ninja Run: The Kunoichi enemies (Midori, Mizuki, Luna, Misa). And they do this in high heels.
- Pistol-Whipping: In a variant of this trope, Nick Fury can wield his holstered pistol as a weapon, swinging it by the belt for his Megacrush attack.
- Sean Connery Is About to Shoot You: The Origin Story narrated during idle time (when the game is waiting for players to insert the coin) shows Punisher aiming his weapon to the screen.
- Spin Attack: Both characters get a Roundhouse Kick and a radial throw to hit all nearby enemies at the cost of some health.
- Spinning Piledriver: The Izuna Drop.
- Super Window Jump: Middle of Stage 1 onto a bus and in Stage 2 to get into Bruno's red-carpet mansion with a rousing "KA-BLAM!"
- There Was a Door: Why bother going into the King building through the door? Let's open a new door with a bazooka!
- Traintop Battle: Stage 4, "Death on Rails"
- What the Hell, Hero?: Much of the dialogue in two player mode involves Nick Fury trying and failing to get through to Frank Castle about toning down the body count and collateral damage.
The next morning, the police searched through the rubble of the King building. They found over 296 ex-criminals.
But they could not find any body that could be identified as the Kingpin.
Vengeance burns eternal.