In 1992, Midway developed an arcade scrolling beat-em-up based on the popular British comic series, Judge Dredd. The reason Judge Dredd came about was primarily because Midway was having such great success with Terminator 2, they were looking for other movie licensed IP to work with. The Judge Dredd movie had just been announced and so that's why they picked it up. The actual premise of the game was it was supposed to be a cross between Mortal Kombat and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
The game ran on the same hardware as Mortal Kombat II, and utilised a similar digitised graphical style. The digitized approach was there simply because they had such success with Terminator 2, MK and NBA Jam, it was a Midway signature. Midway actually pioneered the new way of capturing video in real time that MK II used to create such clearer imagery than MK I had. MK I used a video camera and taped all the action, then it was captured later. This time they actually captured directly on the bluescreen stage and got MUCH better results (MK II used the same approach).
Judge Dredd had the first ingame sprites of any Midway game to use 3-D graphics. The designer used an Amiga in the back room to make the animations for the Willis Power Tower. Realizing that the Amiga was on the way out, he wanted new software since he had been making 3-D graphics and requested the order of Autodesk 3-D Studio. They found a local dealer of that powerful art software, he organized a demo, got approval and Midway was officially in the business of officially using third party 3-D software for the rest of their games.
According to the designer, only 4 machines were made. The game reached a near-complete state, with some odd glitches here and there, but with 3 stages finished, and 3 bonus stages after each main level. The game never reached mass-production, it failed at location test.
LOCATION TEST REPORT - Why did it fail ?
1) Total approach not right for time of release. Kids all want to fight/compete against each other, not work with each other. Sideways punch kick/path games not popular at this current time.
2) First wave way to long, gets monotonous too quickly.
3) Should be at least two more enemies to fight in wave one. There should be more diversity of behavior between enemies.
4) Only new thing as you go on through wave one is the background.
5) Not enough special moves on Dredds part.
6) The eight angle attacking is sometimes confusing, almost as if too much control is given to the player.
7) The game gives you no feeling of accomplishment. When the wave is over the player is left feeling 'so what ?'.
8) There is not enough 'overboard' activities going on. The animations are not exaggerated enough, not enough is made of explosions etc.
9) There are no skills to the game. One player doesn't feel like he is getting better. What is there to learn besides where the secret shields are ?
10) The control of Dredd doesn't feel quite right, either he doesn't react fast enough or he reacts too fast. Also the physics of the jump and jump kick are not right.
11) The background is too detailed and 'busy', the players eyes are drawn to what is going on behind them rather than on the play itself.
12) Too much memory was spent on the backgrounds rather than the principle characters.
13) The colors on all the principle characters were washed out, not bright enough.
14) The background colors were not dark and foreboding enough, Mega City 1 is supposed to be a dark, Gothic place not bright with pastel shades.
15) The balance for one player is off, it is far easier to play with two or three players than just with one , which is by far the majority of play.
16) The first boss, Fink Angel is neither fun to play nor is he a challenge. Also, it is not explained who a half naked scrawny runt is beating the crap out of a trained law enforcement officer. This doesn't make sense.
17) The sewer wave is not necessary and hinders the action.
18) The holographic target shoot out is fun to point, but serves no purpose in the game.
19) The citizen walking across the back of the street does not respond to all the violence and mayhem going on in the play area. The only reaction is when she is hit. This does not make sense.
20) There is not enough interaction with the background. What there is is hidden and there is no clue (or incentive) to work it out.
21) The block war flying characters look wrong and don't make much sense.
22) The licence has not bought the game anything. Not enough people know who Judge Dredd is and what the world he inhabits is like. The game is full of little points which Dredd officadoes will pick up but are meaningless to the average game player. Whilst the fighting is better than Turtles or X-Men, they have a much more readily identifiable player image, which helps them along. Also, this licence prevents the player from fighting other Judges since it is a primary requisite that the Judges never be seen to do anything which might be construed as breaking the law.
In Wave 1, it has been planned you could smash up most of the store fronts in the original implementation. It had to go because of memory constraints.
The last level was planned, it was basically Judge Death in Resyk, he was reanimating corpses that were rolling out on a conveyor belt at the back of the screen and you were shooting them and him. You'd have your gun but it could be knocked out of your hand and you'd be manno e-manno until another one dropped into the level. The development team actually had most of it running but it was never finished.
There was another level we had which got cut: the motorcycle chase. It was a top down thing, where you were on his bike and you had to chase a car on a high ramp over the city. The ramp was damaged so you had to jump sections. It was originally designed to be like Spy Hunter. They cut it because it was no challenge (a few jumps, some left and right and that was it). Looked gorgeous though, but all that really nice Mega City At Night imagery took up way too much image space, so they cut it entirely. The idea was to have a shooting gallery, then a real game level, then the bike chase, then a real game level, then the shooting gallery, etc.
In Wave 1, some of the civilians you can protect are walking with miniature Goros (from "Mortal Kombat
") as pets.
The rat [from the sewers in Wave 1]: You just couldn't grab some public domain digital image of a rat off the internet in 1992. All images worth scanning are in print, so the design team couldn't flat scan anything due to fear of copyright infringement laws. So they got a Rat. They got the rat from a pet store, he was to be snake food. RATTO. They filmed it. Then they had a rat. In the office, a designer (Eric Kinkead) ended up adopting and keeping the rat in a cage at its apartment.