If you’re that strapped for cash, I’d suggest a part-time job. How ’bout a paper route? It builds character. It did in my case.
– Joe Friday (Dan Aykroyd)
Having a paper round in the 1980s must have been part of the middle class American dream as it seems to have been the thing that 12 year olds did; at least according to countless vomit inducing family movies that Hollywood seemed to chuck out back then. I wouldn’t know as in the 1980s I was barely a few years old living in a working class British town where the main topic of conversation seemed to be “What are we going to do when Thatcher closes the last mine?” I don’t want to get in to politics so I will get on with this review.
Paperboy is a real classic of a video game. Starting out in arcades it was hugely addictive and earned enough revenue to warrant a home console port making its way on to numerous consoles most significantly the NES and the Sega Master System. Given its success then it came as no surprise that a follow-up would be released. Paperboy 2 was released on to the 16-bit market on the Mega Drive (Genesis) and the Super Nintendo to name a few. The game was intended to build on what made the original game so much fun and address some of the criticisms.
One of the biggest changes made to the game was the option to play as “Papergirl” in an attempt to give the game more of a unisex appeal. There are no differences in how the game plays regardless of gender and is a purely aesthetic feature. Another change is that now you have to deliver to houses on both sides of the three streets your route is on and each of these streets represents a different level of difficulty – Easy Street, Medium Way and Hard Road. As in the previous game the aim is to deliver at least one paper to each house on your route. A perfect round results in more subscribers but miss one and that person unsubscribes. Miss them all and it’s game over.
This game is a lot of fun. It looks pretty good but its graphics won’t blow you away. The controls are certainly challenging to master and require practice to learn the right angle you have to be at in order to hit the mail box or the door mat. If that wasn’t tough enough then there are a plethora of things such as dogs, runaway prams, cars and killer bees that try and block your throw and/or knock you off your bike. You also have a limited number of papers and so have to pick more up along the way and you can guarantee they will be in awkward places. Lightning quick reflexes are needed at times to get the bike through the obstacles to pick up fresh papers. At the end of each street is an obstacle course that you don’t need to finish in order to complete the game but just gives you more points.
Yes it is challenging but it is a lot of fun. There’s just something about this game be it charm or the craziness of the street that keeps making you want to try harder. There are so many bonus points to be had by hitting things with your papers such as the fat man off the diving board in to the pool, the bikini off the sunbathing girl or knocking the car jack down trapping a guy underneath whose legs wriggle in pain – actually I am beginning to wonder if “Paperboy” is actually a character from any of the Grand Theft Auto games in their youth. It would make sense given his penchant for violence.
This isn’t a casual game as at times you really have to be paying attention at what you are doing even if on the surface it does seem that way. The premise is simple but the original Paperboy was notoriously difficult and this sequel doesn’t let up. It’s the enjoyability that keeps you coming back. My biggest gripe about the game however is that it is somewhat repetitive. You only have the three streets I mentioned earlier and while your week on each street does get more difficult as you progress it does make the game feel rather short.
This is definitely one for the collection and if you spot it – get it!