A World of Games: The Punisher

The world of side scrolling beat ’em ups had their best entries in the arcades. Many of them saw successful home ports, but some remained exclusive in the arcade. Then there are some like Capcom’s The Punisher. The home port was nothing like the arcade port, which is a true shame because the arcade game is amazing.

The Punisher arcade game allows for two players to take on hoards of mafia type bad guys en route to dethroning the Kingpin. Frank Castle as the titular Punisher and Nick Fury are tasked with unloading clip after clip into foes as they travel across the city dispatching justice. It’s full of Capcom’s quality, and also captures the Marvel comic books feeling while in video game form.

The Punisher didn’t see a huge release in North American arcade, but it was more common that other cabinets. I feel like I never even saw this game until finding it in Galloping Ghost last year. The game looks like a moving comic book, and honestly if I saw this in arcades in the early 90s I would have loved to play it.

Capcom is a huge game developer, and I understand they are looking at making money. But why they would leave games like The Punisher as an arcade exclusive (kind of, sorry Genesis port) is beyond me. Maybe licensing issues are the reason we don’t see games like this re-release on modern consoles or, better yet, as part of an arcade bundle. But here’s hoping we can get our hands on this arcade gem in the future!

*Played at Galloping Ghost Arcade in Brookfiled, IL 2019

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– Jason J

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