|Judge Dredd: Dredd vs. Death|
European cover art for Windows
|Platform(s)||Microsoft Windows, Xbox, PlayStation 2, GameCube|
Judge Dredd: Dredd vs. Death is a first-person shooter video game based on the Judge Dredd character from the 2000 AD comic series, developed by Rebellion Developments. It was released in 2003 in Europe, and was supposed to be released in March or April 2004 in the United States, but was held back until early 2005.
The game is played from a first person perspective. The singleplayer campaign is made up of eleven levels in which the player takes the role of Judge Dredd and battles a series of criminals and undead vampires. Easy, Normal and Hard difficulty levels are available, as well as a cooperative mode.
The game features a 'law meter' which gauges the player's adherence to the laws of Mega-City One. This is depleted by firing on those who have not fired first, failing to challenge enemies before firing and firing upon civilians or criminals who have given up. When the meter is depleted entirely the game is over. After each campaign mission, the player is awarded a ranking of Cadet, Rookie, Street Judge, Senior Judge, or Judge Dredd. Completing singleplayer levels also unlocks at least one playable multiplayer character or map, depending on the player's performance.
The game also features arcade and multiplayer mode. In the arcade mode, the player must complete various challenges, earning cheat codes for each one completed with a high rank. There are 12 arcade challenges to complete. In the multiplayer mode, players compete with up to 3 friends, and up to 12 computer-controlled players in a deathmatch game. Online play is only available in the Windows version of the game.
Mega-City One is filled with 400 million people, each holding the potential for criminal activity. Judge Dredd is the city's law enforcer, respected by all Judges and feared by all crooks. The Psi Judges sense a horrible plague approaching the city, and the Dark Judges are their prime suspects. The release of viruses that change the host into a "Vampire" or a "Zombie" is blamed on Dr. Icarus and Judge Death. Judge Dredd is forced to fight the insane Dr. Icarus (who almost becomes immortal, his original plan was to find a way to become immortal, not make vampires) and the Dark Judges. The last time Dredd fights Death, Death uses Icarus's immortal body to fight Dredd, but is ultimately defeated and Death flees into Judge Anderson's body, who had been held there against her will.
Gordon Rennie wrote a Dredd vs. Death novelization, published by Black Flame, as a tie-in to the game (October 2003, ISBN 1-84416-061-0). The novel alters the storyline somewhat in that certain events which in the game happened to Dredd are given to other judges such as Judge Giant and Anderson. Galen DeMarco also plays a prominent role.
Some areas of complaints were weak A.I., lackluster graphics, overly bizarre character models, and simplistic gameplay. However, the game was praised for its multiplayer and arcade mode, which contains over a dozen maps and several playable characters and modes, similar to that of TimeSplitters 2. The arcade mode was also noted as being superior compared to the campaign (IGN said it "adds some spice to an otherwise boiled and blanched game"). IGN concluded, "Fans of the fiction will finally appreciate a style that keeps its faith, but will wonder how this game could have done its source material the same sort of disservice the decade old movie did", negatively comparing it to the 1995 film Judge Dredd.
GameSpot were more ambivalent about the game, calling it a "short, simplistic shooter that's not worth even its budget price," and concluding that "It's not embarrassingly bad, but you're better off waiting for your next paycheck and then sinking in the extra cash into any of the much better full-priced shooters readily available on all four platforms." Many game magazine publishers gave early reviews on the game about a year before it was released in the United States.
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