Commodore User

Judge Dredd
By Melbourne House
Commodore 64

Published in Commodore User #40

Judge Dredd

Judge Dredd has been in a lot of tough and strange situations. There were the Apocalypse Wars, then he was caught up in the Cursed Earth. He's been lost in the rad zones, attacked by a tyrannosaurus, beset by kneepadders, fatties and street surfers. The last thing I think he ever expected to turn up in was a platform game. Drokk! That must be some kind of offence!

It all adds up to another wasted chance to put together a good cartoon strip-style of game. There's nothing wrong with an adapted platform game as long as there's some interest in it, but Melbourne House have failed to realise that.

Once the game has loaded, you head straight for the option screen which allows you to choose which current crime to deal with. Since Mega City is a pretty violent, lawless place there's plenty to do. Mind you, even blowing your nose is a crime if you drop the paper hanky when you've finished with it.

Judge Dredd

After selecting a crime to deal with, you'll be thrown into the cauldron of activity that goes on in Mega City 1. That's when you see the platforms and the figure walking up and down. Once you begin to explore a bit, you realise it's all a bit samey.

Just about everything is an energy-draining nasty. Clubbers, punks, robots, robodogs, cats all get in your way. The Justice Dept frowns on your shooting innocents (so your manual says) but doesn't seem too concerned one way or the other if you do. So, of course you run around the levels and blocks shooting anything that gets in your way rather than avoiding it.

You shoot suspects/citizens with your trusty Lawgiver pistol. Just as in the story, you can select from among different types of bullet to use in different situations. So you can hit the numbered keys for heat-seeking increndiary, and high explosive, bullets for example.

Judge Dredd

A status display at the bottom of the screen gives you information on the type of bullet loaded, the response level you're on, stamina, ammunition, score and location.

Response level is recognisable by the reaction of Dredd to other objects. He'll shout 'Halt' bubble style if you want to follow strict procedure. This would have been nice had it been more useful, but as I said it gets dispensed with pretty quickly.

Your position in the city and the location of the crime are detailed on the display by a name and the level. Thus 'Bobby Heinlein Block 2-3' means that you're on level Two, screen three of that particular block.

Judge Dredd

The major problem with Judge Dredd is that you run around pretty aimlessly. The crimes and their perps are rather unexciting. An arson attack, for example, never seems to be accompanied by any actual evidence of fire or smoke whatsoever.

The sound is limited to a particular whiny tune which plays constantly throughout the game and will have you reaching for the lawgiver with an intention of blowing the TV speaker away for creating a disturbance.

The game itself is a crime, there's some nice graphics and touches but no absorbing gameplay to go with it. In my view, the programmers could do with a good spell in the iso-chess.

Mike Pattenden

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