Review of Punisher: War Zone Slots
The only comics I read as a kid in the 1980s that involved the Punisher was when he was teaming up with Spider-Man in one of his issues. Like most people I found Frank Castle to be quite violent and ruthless, which was of course kind of cool to a young boy of my age but I could never shake the feeling that it was weird to like him. The character is definitely unique because he doesn’t have any superpowers whatsoever – he’s a just an angry ex-marine who is highly skilled in using firearms.
Whether you’re a fan of the graphic novels or not, most will have to agree that the Punisher War Zone movie from 2008 was pretty terrible. It had most people running for the exits before it was even over.
This exclusive review of Punisher: War Zone Slots will try to forget about the lame source material and focus solely on the game itself in order to properly rate and categorize it. Unfortunately, it’s just as bad.
Fans will know exactly what the mood of this release will be and the rest of you can assume that with a name like “Punisher” it’s going to be a bit on the violent side. Below are some screenshots that will confirm these suspicions, and spoiler alert, it is in fact quite creepy and dark.
Sadly, these are some of the most interesting images that you will come across. There really isn’t a lot to draw from because it doesn’t have any unique special features besides a free spins mode. As Gordon Ramsay would say after tasting a disappointing risotto, what a shame.
Thugs in the Marvel Universe fear many superheroes but it’s The Punisher who terrifies them the most. He’s the only one who doesn’t care about the morality of his methods and will resort to anything to stop bad guys. Frank Castle is a man who’s only concerned with one thing – dishing out justice and making criminals pay a hefty price for their actions. Everyone knows that he is indifferent to how that justice is achieved and he will kidnap, torture, and murder to combat the evildoers of the world.
The Punisher wasn’t always this way but after the death of his wife and two children who were caught in the crossfire of a mob shootout, he was ready to resort to anything that criminals do in order to extract revenge. He originally wanted to battle Spider-Man in the mid 1970s to bring him to justice for the murder of Norman Osborn but he ended up taking Spidey’s side when his partner, the Jackal, revealed himself as being an immoral psychopath. Since that time, Punisher has teamed up with Daredevil, Nightcrawler, and Captain America to help them fight evil throughout the land.
The movie that this release is based on centers around a plot involving the Punisher spraying a mob boss’ party with bullets and killing everyone there. The one person who wasn’t turned into Swiss cheese escapes to a recycling plant where he is found by Castle and is then involved in a hideous accident with a glass crushing machine. Ooops! Billy “The Beaut” Russotti had now been transformed into super-villain “Jigsaw”.
This Marvel title from Playtech focuses on the characters from the War Zone movie but unfortunately there’s nothing tangible regarding an actual storyline. It’s just constant spinning reels with characters and creepy images so you’ll have to have quite the active imagination if you want to experience anything resembling a “story” in this game.
It should come as no surprise that all of the symbols involve weaponry and violence, with a heavy emphasis on firearms. The entire feel of the machine is quite bleak and depressing with dark colors accentuated by blood-soaked numbers on the reels.
One of the first disappointments that you will experience with this creation is that Punisher uses the 9 to the Ace to fill in for truly unique symbols. This is especially frustrating since there were a ton of cool characters from the movie that Playtech could have added like Maginty, Arm Candy, or even Wayne Knight as Microchip. Here’s what they settled on:
- J (Jack)
- Q (Queen)
- K (King)
- A (Ace)
- 9mm Handguns
- James Russoti (Loony Bin Jim)
- Billy Russoti (Jigsaw)
- Punisher Skull Symbol (Bonus)
- Punisher Logo (Scatter)
- Frank Castle The Punisher (Wild)
The best to be found is the Punisher Wild which gives you 10,000 coins for 5 of a Kind. However, the payouts then plummet with Jigsaw only paying 1,000 coins and Loony Bin Jim giving you 500 for five in a single result. These are some pretty bad returns to the player, which of course means that there’s not a lot of easy money to be made.
As is the case with all Marvel Slots, there is a Punisher War Zone Jackpot which is linked to the Marvel Mystery Jackpot Network. All of them offer four progressive prizes that can be triggered at any time, on any title. The size of the various amounts is always different, with the largest one starting at the equivalent of €100,000 each time after it has been won.
In what is ultimately this game’s worst crime, Punisher Slots does not have a proper bonus round and they rely on their free spins mode to satisfy people’s thirst for unique action. This is terrible news for those of us who like a bit of variety in our gambling machines and can easily get bored just staring at reels whirling without a break.
This omission is even more offensive when you consider that an earlier version of Punisher Slots that came out a few years before this one had a proper bonus round and was actually quite fun to play. Although it really doesn’t matter because that old one is looking like an antique these days.
A small nugget in War Zone is that if you hit two or more Scatters anywhere on the board you are guaranteed a winning result. Obviously this doesn’t make up for the omission of a proper special feature and the win amounts can be very small in size.
At the bottom of each reel are four skull outlines and every time a “Collective Bonus” Skull symbol lands on it, one of the outlines fills up. Once all four outlines have been filled at the bottom of a specific reel you get 4x whatever your wager amount was, plus you get 5 extra spins with a 2x multiplier on all of your winnings.
Don’t worry, if you’re lucky enough to fill the Skull symbols on more than one at a time you’ll be awarded all of the prizes that you’re owed. So 2 full reels gives you 10 extra spins, 3 full ones give you 15, etc. However, the multiplier doesn’t increase so you are unfortunately stuck with a 2x multiplier no matter what you hit on the board.
Players who like to constantly switch up their bets will probably find this machine very frustrating because every time you change your wager you have to start collecting Skulls from scratch all over again. The good news is that it will remember how many symbols you had for each reel and for every different wager amount that you’ve gambled. So if you do want to alter your bet size, whenever you return to a specific bet amount your Skulls will still be there. Although, obviously it could take you forever and a day to win any free spins like this.
Lastly, if you are freerolling and the Skull falls on the board again you will be awarded with an additional 5 spins. It’s not the greatest thing of all time but in a game that has as little features as the Punisher, we’ll take it.
“Super cool” graphics are nonexistent here but the few animations it does have are fairly decent. They mostly involve the characters used in payline wins during the freeroll and they will become animated and shoot at you, or swing an axe at your screen and “break the glass”. In fairness, these visual effects were nicely done, it’s just that there’s not enough of them to keep casual fans interested.
And if you haven’t figured it out by now, Punisher is an extremely violent game. So if you don’t like fake guns pointed at you or digital axes swung at your face, you will definitely want to skip this one in favor of something a little more tame.
Audio & Soundtrack
The soundtrack appears as if it was made sometime during the 1980’s by dudes with big hair and jean jackets. Just think of any action show on television between 1983 and 1988 and you’ll have a good idea of what this machine is going to give you.
The main song comes complete with screeching metal guitars and pounding drums, with the whole production becoming even more intense during the freerolls. The music is so out of place it seemed like maybe this game was actually based on the 1989 Punisher film staring Dolph Lundgren and Louis Gossett, JR. and not the 2008 remake.
In regards to the other sound effects, it’s basically just the shooting of guns…lots and lots of shooting guns. Also, when the reels stop it sounds like a car door slamming, but maybe that’s just the paranoia talking.
All of the other audios like spinning and wins have an electro-retro flare that complete the ’80s vibe. Make sure to enjoy this game wearing your acid wash jeans and high top sneakers to achieve the full effect.
Frank Castle’s world is dark and this release certainly reflects that with its grim images and bleak design. It’s actually kind of depressing to play it for long stretches of time because it’s just a constant barrage of bullets and pounding music with no storyline and no pay off.
Most people will want to pass on Punisher: War Zone Slots due its omission of a bonus round, sparse unique symbols, and the general lack of fun or interesting reel features. At best, there’s barely enough in this machine to keep hardcore fans of Punisher entertained for any longer than ten minutes so if you doubt your commitment to the Marvel bad boy you’ll want to play it for free first to try it out.
Don’t be another victim of the Punisher. Run away now or your bankroll could end up looking as disfigured as Jigsaw when he fell out of the glass-cutting machine – and that’s one heck of a punishment.
Random Video of Punisher
For those of you who haven’t seen Punisher War Zone yet and don’t want to waste the time to do so, here’s a quick five minute recap that tells you everything you need to know about the film. Rabid Punisher fans will want to pass on watching this since these guys don’t have a lot of nice things to say.