Judge Death

Piranha

Status: Preview, Findability: 4/5

A 3D Op Wolf style blaster featuring 2000 AD’s Barbie lookalike Psi-Judge Anderson gunning down the evil Judge Death’s zombie hordes. Unlike previous games of this genre, Judge Death actually showed your hand clasping the lethal Lawgiver (gun favoured by Mega City One Judges), though aiming and shooting was via the usual cross hairs. The strange thing about this game is that a company called Novatrade is credited on this (full?) version ready to download. We think Novatrade was some kind of side label for Andromedia in Hungary.

It’s not a brilliant game by any means, but for its time it looked pretty good.   Interestingly Ross Sillifant found a screen which doesn’t seem to be in the game, which suggests there could well be more out there!  Can anyone confirm?

The main problem with the game was that they apparently used Koala Pad to design all the backgrounds, and unfortunately the C64 did not have the power to shift them around effectively. Piranha were actually quite pissed off with the conversion.

Graphic artist Stephen Robertson (SIR) was drafted in to make the graphics “Less clean”, and add some graffiti around the place. SIR did do some nice Dark Judges sprites in addition to his work, but these were sadly never used. Piranha software sadly went under with their debts, and this game was caught up in it all. A lot of publicity went into this game, and some of this you can see within the scans area.

Graeme Mason in November 2017 additionally had a wonderful article published on the 2000AD games, which mentions Judge Death and various other games from that era:  http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2017-11-19-a-brief-history-of-2000ads-8-bit-games

It’s all a bit of a mess, but certainly worth a look to see a piece of gaming history that has thankfully been preserved in some shape/form.

Contributions: Ian Osbourne, Jason Kelk, Mat Allen, Gaz Spence, Ross Sillifant

Supporting content

Available downloads

Creator speaks

SIR speaks about work on Judge Death… “As for Judge Death, well the game was developed in Hungary, but I remember the producers in London weren’t very pleased with the game. The original design for the game – done by a guy called Kevin Williams – was pretty good, but they hadn’t done a good job in coding it. They’d decided to develop it using bitmapped graphics drawn on a Koala pad (like I used for my loading screens). The problem with this was that the c64 just didn’t have the power to move those graphics around smoothly, hence the really jerky scrolling and sluggish controls. The publisher wasn’t very happy with the game or the graphics, and I was drafted in to help to try to get the game up to an acceptable standard. I remember visiting the publisher to discuss with them what we could do. To start with the graphics weren’t very good, and too clean – there was no detail. So I added all the grafitti and background objects you see in the game. I didn’t have much time so i couldn’t do alot. I did do some very nice C64 Dark Judges sprites, but unfortunately they didn’t end up in the game. The publisher were keen on an ST version, and I did some sample graphics to show how the ST version could progress, but again nothing happened.” SIR.

Update history

  • 10/03/17 – More scans added thanks to Ross Sillifant.
  • 29/05/14 – Previously unseen screenshot (unless you read CVG 74?) – thanks to Ross Sillifant

7 Responses to Judge Death

  1. The Games Machine claimed a Hungarian team by name of Hobbyte were ‘a fair way into’ developng this title.Mix up in names?.

    • Could be! Might be the Andromedia had contracted the game out to the Hungarian team. That name sounds familiar though!

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