Judge Dredd, Atari ST

The Atari ST version of the 1990 Judge Dredd game from Virgin Games is pretty much identical to the Amiga version – and the 8-bit versions – which means that it’s another failed attempt to bring the famous 2000AD comic character to life in a video game.

You take control of Judge Dredd in six different scrolling levels, set in Mega City One, with him trying to find and activate switches which will open the door to the next level. When Dredd reaches level six he must then confront the four Dark Judges and send them back to their own dimension using ‘dimension bombs’…

Dredd‘s objectives are hidden among a series of platforms and ramps and the idea is to reach them before crime levels in the city reach epidemic proportions. To keep crime levels low Judge Dredd must arrest or shoot criminals (“perps”) that attack him while he’s going about his business. Dredd can call his bike and ride it to speed things up, but in general he walks around everywhere. He can jump, but can’t jump up to higher platforms – he must walk up ramps to reach them. Which is a pain in butt and contributes to the frustration when playing this game.

I did find the ST version of Judge Dredd to be more playable than the Amiga version. Mostly because the game actually gives you health-replenishing power-ups (occasionally dropped when you shoot an actual perp, which I didn’t see at all when playing the Amiga version), and also because it seems possible to keep the crime rate down, whereas in the Amiga version it would grow out of control quickly. I can only assume that the developer, Random Access, led development with the ST version and didn’t manage to debug/polish/balance the Amiga version properly.

Virgin‘s Judge Dredd was released for the Amiga, Atari ST, Commodore 64 and ZX Spectrum. An Amstrad version was in development but never made it out. Frankly, all four versions of the game are poor and sully the name of Judge Dredd. They’re not really worth your time or effort, but if you are going to play one of them I’d recommend the ST version over the other three. At least the ST version has a modicum of fairness and gives you a chance to make some headway.

See also: 2000AD Special.

More: Judge Dredd (1990 video game) on Wikipedia

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