The Retro Critic


So there’s a new Judge Dredd movie out and it’s…


As if that wasn’t weird enough, there also exists a decent Judge Dredd game on the Sega Genesis and it’s based on a movie that, at best…

… is a ridiculous, albeit fun, Sly-fest.

But wait…

A game tie-in that’s not a complete waste of time?


Good! Let’s take a look.

The game begins like the film itself, with a scrolling text outlining the general time and setting followed by floaty head people telling you more specifically what you need to do, etc. Basically some Block War is going on and Dredd is sent out to destroy all the ammunition supplies, stop what’s going on and arrest pretty much everyone that comes his way.

All that on his own.

No rookie, no backup this time: He’s THAT awesome.

You start in the block in question, ironically called Heavenly Haven (right next door to Happy Happy Place, I believe), and although it’s one of those where-do-I-go? type of games, it’s fun to run around, shoot enemies and make your way to where you actually need to go. Wherever that may be. The game looks great and is pretty darn detailed, the animation on Dredd and the bad guys is pretty cool, although the Judge looks admittedly kinda goofy when he stands on the edge of boxes…

Top of the world, ma!

You can shoot up, down, anywhere, Contra-style, and the controls are super-smooth, making the game an enjoyable play both visually and in terms of the gameplay itself. It’s also got just the right amount of blood and violence, definitely a good thing, much like Dredd’s latest movie outing. The maps tend to get a bit busy with those detailed backgrounds, so much so that sometimes you miss gaps or ladders and have to retrace your steps. It’s a bit distracting but you do get used to it pretty quickly.

Villains sometimes surrender but be warned: They are a sneaky bunch. Arrest them quickly or just get rid of them because as soon as your back is turned, they won’t hesitate to shoot ya. It is cool that the game cares about the subject matter enough to include little unique touches like this, thereby differentiating it from most other run and gun side-scrollers.

Somehow you find your way underground and you’re soon running around knee-deep in radioactive sewage (because everyone LOVES sewer levels, right?). You do make your way outside eventually but only after defeating Arnie here:

But then the game becomes Cool Spot!

Damn crabs.

Wait, that’s a dude.

My bad.

The plot develops and starts to follow the film a bit more: Dredd has to find a way to clear his name after being framed. Still no Rob Schneider though, so we’re safe for the time being.

Then again, that means no Joan Chen either.


Anyway, you end up in a somewhat more futuristic-looking setting where you’re battling other judges, again, still trying to clear your name (while breaking the law countless times lol). I should mention that when you do arrest someone they kneel down, a little metal birdy shows up and carries them off-screen. It’s pretty adorable and it happens A LOT. The music throughout the game is hit and miss. Some of it is kinda good, some of it a tad irritating, depends on the level. Cool sound effects, though.

Turns out the cloning lab you’re looking for is located under the Statue Of Liberty, so on you go to an entertaining bike chase level you can usually teleport your way through by sticking to the bottom right corner and shooting. You get to fight those big, silly robots from the movie (like, loads of ’em) before finally doing a Ghostbusters II and climbing up to the top of the statue, even though the lab was… under, wasn’t it? Never mind.

There are lols along the way like when Dredd is made to fight his own evil clone and actually warps to another world where he fights fiery skeletons with pitchforks and ultimately Judge Death, whom I’m pretty sure ends up as just a floating head. The game doesn’t so much jump the shark as it becomes AWESOME. Just when you thought there was nothing left but sewers and more tower blocks, it throws you inside a Rob Zombie album cover and never looks back, completely forgetting the logic of the film it’s based on in the process!

And rightly so (it’s a game).

Great, great stuff.

The game sorta reminds me of RoboCop vs The Terminator on the Genesis, one of my favorites. It’s not quite as satisfying as that one but it’s a worthy companion piece I would say. There are various versions of the game including an equally decent SNES outing and inevitable downgrades such as a badly rendered Game Gear version and…

… Game Boy? Really?

Honestly, don’t bother with that one. It’s foul.

But there are loads of other Dredd games out there on various consoles: Some of them good, some of them not. This Genesis effort, however, is most definitely one of the good ones and is well worth giving it a go.

Thanks Judge.

(what, you don’t think Dredd reads my online reviews?)

 “I knew he’d write that.”