The Making of Judge Dredd - Dredd Vs Death

Authors: Jamie Boardman and David Walsh
RRP 19.99, US $32.95

ISBN 1 904265 24 3
Available now

Over two years in the making, Vivendi Universal's Judge Dredd: Dredd Vs Death video game is certainly the most fully realised version of the popular 2000 AD character's world to have hit the small screen to date. Now fans can go behind the scenes and examine the making of the game in minute detail...

The Making of Judge Dredd - Dredd Vs Death is a fairly strange subject for a book. It is only going to cater to a niche market - those that like Judge Dredd, have played the game and liked it enough to want to know how it was constructed. So already the odds are not on Rebellion's side if they were planning to make their money back on this title.

However, I really hope Rebellion does make a profit from this release, and that this style of book becomes popular. Because when it is done well, as it is here, the results are well worth £20 of anyone's money.

The book starts off looking at the history of 2000 AD and Rebellion and then moves on to examine the history of Judge Dredd (and other 2000 AD strips) computer games, before (starting at page 55) looking at the Death Vs Dredd title.

The game itself [see our review] had critics split. Some didn't rate it, while others recognised the effort and attention to detail that went into bringing the world of MegaCity One to life. But, there is no arguing that whatever you thought of the game it was visually breathtaking.

But, will people who shell out £20 for a book on a specialist subject really need to know about the "History of MegaCity One" or "Who is Judge Dredd"? Or will they feel patronised by such basic facts? Yes, there are sections that cover basic elements that any real Dredd fan will think he/she already knows. But they should take a look. They may learn a few things - I did.

Personally, for me, this is still a game that I play on a fairly regular basis. Sure, I finished the main game a few days after I started playing it, but there are a ton of other games that are unlocked along the way and a whole heap of characters that you can play (even though your regulation green Judge's gauntlets don't seem to change no matter which character you are).

And so, reading this book made me appreciate some of the complexities that the games designers had to tackle to bring this to the small screen. There are also some great chapters including a look back at previous versions of Dredd, and other 2000 AD characters, as they have appeared in computer games over the years.

The repro is also visually very impressive, with some beautifully rendered artwork to accompany the text. Anyone who sits down and plays a video game without thinking of the years of hard work and sleepless nights the developers have had are advised to have a look at this. You'll be amazed at how many elements, that you take for granted, took so much time to get just right.

An excellent book that details the origins of a first rate game. Droking impressive!

Nick Smithson

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