Before becoming Marvel Comics' iconic vigilante crime fighter, Frank Castle was a United States Marine who fought in Vietnam. When he returned home, he and his family visited Central Park for a picnic, where they witnessed a mob execution. As a result, his wife and children were murdered, but he survived. From that moment forward Castle became the Punisher, a vigilante dedicated to stopping crime at any cost and by any means necessary.
The Marvel comics version of The Punisher is the original iteration of the character. The character doesn't operate with the same moral code as standard heroes because he kills criminals. However, he does have a moral code and feels obligated to protect the innocent from criminals. His methods do often put him at odds with superheroes like Captain America, Spider-Man, and most often Daredevil. However, he has often teamed up with these heroes for various reasons. Some heroes in the Marvel Universe like Daredevil recognize that The Punisher isn't a villain while still opposing his methods. The Punisher's neverending war on crime has given him a wide array of villains from the Marvel Universe such as The Russian, Bushwacker, Bullseye, The Kingpin, and of course Jigsaw his arch-nemesis. The Punisher has proven to be a mainstay in the Marvel Universe.
The Max version of The Punisher is often regarded as being the definitive version of the character. This version of the character much like his Marvel counterpart doesn't have the same kind of moral code most heroes do. This Punisher still kills bad guys and protects the innocent. However, this Punisher's methods are far more sadistic and brutal than his Marvel counterpart. This Punisher has dismembered criminals as punishment for their actions. Also, many Marvel heavy hitters like Spider-Man and Daredevil are nowhere to be found in the Max universe. Instead, the only other Marvel hero this Punisher runs into is Nick Fury, a Punisher friend. Marvel villains like Jigsaw, Bullseye, and the Kingpin are adversaries of the Punisher in the Max comics, but the Max continuity also added many new faces to the Punisher's rogues gallery like Barracuda, Finn Cooley, and William Rawlins. Ultimately, this rendition of the Punisher is what most adaptations of the character outside of the comics are based on.
*Max is a Marvel sub imprint that publishes comics geared towards an adult audience. Their stories often feature extreme violence and nudity.
The Punisher has appeared in many forms of media since the character was created. Movies and video games have been made bearing the signature Punisher skull and the character has made appearances in other Marvel entertainment properties, such as the 2000 release of the Spider-Man video game.
There was a multiplayer-based online shooter called 'The Punisher: No Mercy' that was released on the Playstation Network and was developed by Zen Studios, using the Unreal 3 Engine.
The Punisher (NES)
The Punisher is an arcade-style third-person shooter which sees the Punisher take on New York's criminal underworld. The Punisher faces off against old foes like Jigsaw and the Kingpin in his war on crime. The game was made by the much-maligned LJN and unlike most of their games was actually well received and is often considered one of LJN's only good games.
The Punisher (Genesis/Arcade)
The Punisher is a side-scrolling beat-em-up where the Punisher goes to war with the criminals that killed his family, the Costa Crime Family. After the Punisher kills Bruno Costa, he learns that Costa was working for the Kingpin. That causes the Punisher to do everything in his power to bring down the Kingpin. The game features Nick Fury a playable character in the co-op mode who helps Frank Castle avenge his family. Players can access the Punisher's arsenal of weapons while beating up criminals. The Punisher was initially released as an arcade game, but later got a port for the Sega Genesis.
The Punisher makes a brief appearance in Spider-Man. The Punisher is initially seen looking at Spider-Man through the scope of his sniper rifle before Spider-Man takes the rifle out of his hands. He offers to help Spider-Man takedown Dr. Octopus, but Spider-Man declines because he's not a fan of the Punisher's brand of justice. Then the Punisher is seen playing cards with Captain America, Daredevil, and Spider-Man at the end of the game.
The Punisher (PS2/XBOX/GameCube)
The Punisher is a third-person shooter based on the 2004 movie of the same name. The game takes place after the events of the movie which sees the Punisher raid a crack house afterwards a car tries to hit him and kill him. That sends the Punisher to a chop shop owned by the Gnucci Crime Family and then proceeds to kill the Gnuccis. Then the Punisher goes to war with General Kreitkopf's Russian Mercenary Syndicate. Both gangs lead the Punisher to the Kingpin and there he learns that the Kingpin wasn't behind the attempts on his life. The Punisher learns that Jigsaw wanted him to take down the Gnuccis, Kreitkopf, and the Kingpin and proceeds to go after Jigsaw. This version of Jigsaw is named John Saint in order to tie the game into the movie. The game is mostly disconnected from the film including in its setting. The film was set in Miami, Florida while the game was set in NYC, so changing Jigsaw's name to match that of a character in the movie's was an effort to tie it to the film. The gameplay is similar to that of many third-person shooter made at the time. The Punisher can dual wield assault rifles and shotguns in the game. The game features special kills and interrogations in order to let loose the Punisher's violent nature. Rage mode is also featured in the game to give players a chance to be creative with the ways they kill their enemies. The game has become a cult classic because of how the gameplay makes players truly feel like they're the Punisher and it has Thomas Jane provide the voice of the Punisher in the game.
Punisher: No Mercy
Punisher: No Mercy is a first-person multiplayer game where players can play as the Punisher and his enemies and allies. The game features a short storyline which is told comic book panel cutscenes. The story sees the Punisher face off against his rogues' gallery from the Max Universe. The game was mainly supposed to be a multiplayer experience exclusively on the Playstation Network. This is the last Punisher solo game made to date, since then he's been featured as a playable character in Marvel Universe games but has never had a solo game since No Mercy.
Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order
The Punisher is featured as a playable character in Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order. The Punisher was added to MUA3 in the Marvel Knights DLC pack. The Marvel Knight's Pack introduces gauntlet mode to the game and that's the vehicle it uses to tell the Curse of the Vampire story through. Morbius has a mysterious curse that's harming him and the Punisher, Moon Knight, and Blade are trying to help him.
-You work for the Devil, be ready to die for him.
-Why does man sin? Because he wants to.
-I have a bad reputation as a senseless killer. Let me point out that I am a very sensible killer.
-They laugh at the law. But they don't laugh at me.
-Do not fall in New York City. No one is going to catch you when you do.
-Sic vis paccum, para bellum. "If you want peace, prepare for war".
-There are times I'd like to get my hands on God.
-9 Millimeters away. I'm never further than that.
-He who does not punish evil commands it to be done.
-Sometimes the law is helpless to act, even when it identifies the guilty. It follows, therefore, that sometimes it is necessary to act outside the law, to shame its inadequacy, to pursue natural justice. I'm not talking about vengeance. Revenge is not a valid motive. It's a tawdry, emotional response no better than the act that provokes it. I'm talking about... punishment.
-Try hiding in plain sight. It works.
-sniper rifle, simple. it's not a weapon it's a surgical tool... for long-distance brain surgery.
-Four dead, and my pulse is still under 80. Not bad for a warm-up.
-Once upon a time there were a bunch of evil ****s.
-If I die tonight a world of F###'s goes unpunished.
-One nice thing about prison, though... there are lots of criminals there. Lots of them.
-I have a forty-five. He has a machine gun. My night goes downhill from there.
-See a few familiar faces. Break a few familiar necks.
-He'll be fine as soon as his head grows back.
-There's a dream I have from time to time. And in the dream, I don't stop. I kill the soldiers and the hitmen, the extortioners, and racketeers, the dark old f**ks who sent them out to fight--I hold the trigger until they're all gone--and I don't stop. The innocents are watching, just like always. The slack-jawed thousands, gazing at the beast. My family lies red and shredded in the grass. I face the crowd and bring the weapon to my shoulder. 'If my world ends,' I told them, 'so does yours. The recoil starts and I wake up. It's just a dream, I always tell myself.
-"There's a limit to revenge, you know." -Gianni Franco
"I guess I just haven't reached mine yet." -The Punisher
-Come on God, answer me. for years I'm asking why, Why are the innocent dead and the guilty alive? Where is justice? Where is punishment? Or have you already answered, have you said to the world here is justice, here is punishment, in me?
-The scum in this city needs a wake-up call.
-Now and again, some **** pops up and tries to fill the vacuum. And I remind them why it pays to be afraid.
-"Yakuza is going to free all the inmates and escape in the confusion." - Castle
"What are you gonna do?" - Soap
"I'm going to kill all the inmates, and escape in the confusion." - Castle
-I'm a man trapped inside of a killing machine... He's a killing machine trapped inside a man.