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First-Person Shooter
April 20, 2004

Judge Dredd: Dredd Vs. Death

Sylvester Stallone did a great job as the stern Judge Dredd from the 2000 A.D. comic book. In the standard comic book dystopian near-future Americans are ensconced in Mega-cities which protect them from the desolation of the world outside, and the “Judges” keep the peace. This elite group who upholds the "Law" is police, jury, and executioner all in one. Judge Dredd, the most formidable and revered of the Judges, is convicted of the murder of a snooping reporter. With the help of a prisoner who he himself convicted, Dredd sets out to clear his name while leaving a trail of destruction, snappy catch phrases, and dazzling special effects in his wake.

That's just the movie. This game looks to appease those who played, and left fearing the PlayStation game, Judge Dredd. Continuing, in console fashion, a new breed of evil, the Psi-Judges, is predicting a terrible plague. Could this be the sudden outbreak of vampires in the city? What's more, could they be the work of the malevolent Dark Judges? It's up for you to decide the fate of others.



Like the movie, the game takes place in Mega-City One, a city of over 400 million people -- every one of them a potential criminal. It’s the third decade of the 22nd century, unemployment is widespread, boredom is universal, and only the Judges can prevent total anarchy. Empowered to declare and initiate instant justice, they are the judge, jury, and executioners all at the same time. However, previously mentioned, the most feared and respected of all the Judge’s is you, Judge Dredd. Like the movie, you are able to patrol the streets and call justice as you see fit.

The hero isn't without his evil counterpart, who obviously is part of the game's title -- Judge Death. While he's Mega City One's most fearsome villain, Judge Death is also the leader of a group of undead law enforcers from an alternate dimension. He's fairly evil and just as resourceful and powerful as Dredd; making him to be a frightful, and a rather awesome rival. So without giving away the title, this rivalry gives premise to Judge Dredd: Dredd vs. Death -- as Death has unleashes his squad of undead buddies upon the people of Mega City One, he forces Dredd to clean up after him and finally put an end to his enemy's crap.

The first thing one will notice about this game are the graphics -- Judge Dredd is running on the custom-built Asura engine, which was designed specifically for the Dredd vs. Death experience. Unfortunately, it borrows rag-doll physics, but the results should be great. Environmentally, Judge Dredd looks to be pretty impressive. It's doesn't manage to have wonderful textures as seen in Halo, but it can contain a large number of enemies on screen at a single time and offers many lighting and particle effects to keep things pretty. Also, some objects can be destroyed, possibly borrowing from Red Faction's geo-mod technology. The developer has even given a "shout-out" of sorts to fans of the comic book series by including several familiar locations from the Judge Dredd universe.

The game spans 11 story-based chapters. While Dredd vs. Death seems to have typical enemies -- zombies, vampires, thugs, baddies, killers -- the game refreshes us in this first-person shooter with better interaction and world perception of yourself. For example, Dredd has a limited reputation system called "The Law Meter." It analyzes your actions, and gauges the players on how strongly they're being perceived by the world's inhabitants -- being undead, human, or robot. When you decide to shoot a fellow Judge or an innocent bystander, your law meter goes down, which encourages enemies to be less cooperative and making other Judges less trusting. Do it too often, and your own men will be out to get you. Shooting enemies accurately and making arrests often actually moves the law meter up, however, and thus it also changes how the world reacts to you as well. An example would be a thug surrendering you a lot easier than if it were your Law Meter was low and other Judges will have a higher chance to protect you.

There are 10 different weapons in total including laser guns, pulse rifles, and sniper guns just to name but a few. Several of these weapons also include multiple fire-types and secondary purposes with the default weapon boasting as many as six different alternate fire methods. Flame bullets, ricochet ammo, and freeze shells affect enemies in different ways too, giving a broader way to kill. Also included is a melee attack and grenades.

On the multiplayer side of things, the game has a four player mode and LAN capabilities which allows two-player, co-op split-screen. You have 12 different maps and more than 60 different types of player models to choose from. You can also add up to eight bots to increase the fun and challenge of the deathmatch and other multiplayer modes. I should note that the game supports no more than 4 players, however.

word on the street

The game seems to be holding its own as far as impressions are going. It seems to boast quite an impressive multiplayer mode, and what could be a really interesting and unique single-player campaign. People seem to be happy with it so far, and FPS nuts should be really looking forward to this title.

press release notes

  • 11 chapters of the first-person law-bringing! Be the judge, jury, and executioner of Mega-City One's scum!
  • Use a horde of weaponry like the lawgiver -- equip it with incendiary bullets, armor piercers, stun gas grenades, ricochet rounds and more.
  • Over 50 unique characters; battle zombies, undead judges, wraiths, crooks and demons as you blast your way to justice.
  • Intense Multiplayer action with 1-4 players battling head-to-head in a dozen maps.
  • 16 different multiplayer modes let you frag your friends, and enemies, in so many different ways.


The game is turning out to be a breath of fresh air in the console FPS arena. My hopes are for a high framerate and the entertainment to stay fresh. If the final outcome is anything like TimeSplitters 2 we’ll be blessed with a truly wonderful treat. FPS nuts and action gamers (such as myself) should keep their eyes out on what's probably going to be a sweet, but overlooked title. Don't let the name fool you, do your job and uphold the FPS law by purchasing this title when it releases!

Staff Avatar Alex Sankowich
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"It's only after we've lost everything we're free to do anything."

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