A rail-shooter The Punisher is relentless in its delivery of this sole arcade style mechanism. There are a lot of levels, but the game play is consistently “shoot it all”. The player can dodge and duck and change weapons, but machine-gun is the weapon of choice in this rapid-fire scenario. Shooting out windows, rubbish-bins, enemies and other key targets may net the player some more health, more ammo and other resources. The controls for shooting and dodging are polished and responsive. This cannot be said for the beat-em mode boss fights which are not very responsive or rewarding and are designed to cost a player a lot of health. The sound design resembles an old-style arcade game and most of the gameplay is accompanied just by the pop and rattle of gun fire. A strange saxophone soloist appears now and then on the streets till the player shutsdown their soulful lament down with some well-timed gunfire. The Punisher is rather gleeful execution of a limited palette of gameplay. 

Marvel fans can appreciate the ‘accurate’ representation of the character whose answer to almost any encounter is an exchange of rapid gun fire. The game’s boss fights are all-star cast from the comics featuring Jigsaw, Hitman, Sijo and Kingpin. 

The Punisher is an example of how skilled Beam Software was at delivering an acceptable product on time and on budget. It may not make it into the annuals of game history as a game changer.It is, however, a good example of the kind of licensed title that underpinned that Australian Games Industry of the era when small local development teams met publisher demands of tight budgets and timelines to deliver games that kept players busy and the cash flowing.

Version Information

Its a LJN published title so you know it’s probably going to be licence tie in. That said there is no real resemblance between Beam Software’s game and the Dolph Lundgren movie of the same name from1989. Nothing but the motivation for a licensed NES game for a holiday market by LJN. It was created in an era where Marvel was struggling for survival and perhaps did not get the respect it deserves for its world building. Rather Marvel seemed happy to be very profligate with its catlougue of titles.

The Punisher is a favourite with NES Lets Plays as it offers the simple pleasures of a manic arcade style rail shooter and is one of the more fun LJN games. LJN being the publisher that all NES fans love to hate.

Other “The Punisher” titled Videogames of the 1990s  – In 1990 UK Company the Edge developed and published a first-person shooter game called The Punisher for the Amiga and the Atari ST. Also, that year Paragon Software in the US designed a top down shooter driving game called The Punisher for DOS published by MicroProse. Later in 1990 they released an extension for this game The Punisher: Eternity Disk which include 50 new missions and a game editor. In 1993 Capcom Japan joined the global “The Punisher” club developing and producing both an Arcade game (by far the most gorgeous looking of The Punisher games) and a version for the Sega Mega System. These were side-scrolling shooters with a beat-em up mode. 

Game Meta

Other Names  
Release Year 1990
Country Australia     Victoria
Genre Shooter     Licensed                
Format NES Cartridge
Creators Gregg Barnett Design     Paul Kidd Design     Russel Comte Graphics     Eve Marks Graphics     Holger Liebnitz Graphics     Grant Arthur Graphics     Tania Smith Composer     Gavan Anderson Sound Effects     Anne Davie Producer
Additional Creators  
Company Beam Software Developer     LNJ Ltd Publisher                
Platform NES                    
Collection 1990s Australian Videogames
Value Chain Work For Hire model Design and Develop



Box Art


Manuals & Walkthroughs

The Punisher NES Manual