Review by Retro

Reviewed: 05/10/01 | Updated: 12/23/02

A good delivery for the Game Boy

Being a paperboy isn't an easy job. Think about it. You have to get up early, you have to throw the papers just right, and you don't get paid much. But the paperboy in Paperboy is different. The Daily Sun reports that the paperboy ''earns honors, big bucks!'' He might think he's good, but we'll see how good he really is when he's assigned a road full of subscribers that has every hazard in the world except for gunshots and kitchen sinks.

Starting on the hectic day of Monday, you, the paperboy, must ride your bike and successfully deliver a newspaper to each of the subscribers. But it's not like a walk in the park on a peaceful Sunday afternoon. You must stay away from such obstacles as people mindlessly break dancing in their yard, running ninety-year-olds, tornadoes, speeding cars, dogs that look like Toto from The Wizard of Oz, dudes on skateboards, and so much more. It goes without mentioning that you have to be a good enough rider to avoid the stationary objects like houses, fences, and trees. If your bike comes in contact with any object other than the smooth ground, you'll fall over dead instantly.

The subscribers pay good money to get a newspaper each and every day of the week. If they go just one day without finding a newspaper on their front doorstep or inside their mailbox (the two places you can throw a newspaper for their pleasure), they will no longer subscribe to your paper the following day.

Non-subscribers don't care anything about receiving a paper to read, but you could always throw one through their fragile windows anyway for some bonus points. You can also knock down trash cans and trees (with newspapers, not your bike :-P) if your mind is set on racking up points. But don't be too trigger happy, because one, your top priority should be to deliver a newspaper to your customers, and two, your supply of newspapers can run out. If the latter happens, you'll have to run over what appears to be a flashing window to obtain more papers.

Eventually, you'll reach the end of the lively sidewalk and come upon a sort of fun training course. There are no enemies to be seen lurking around in this training course, but there are tons of square targets and big, round bullseyes waiting for you to hit while cheerful music plays in the background. Your riding skills will also be put to the test with both stationary ramps and ramps that move side to side.

Once you reach the end of this ever so short (you're given only 45 seconds to reach the end of it) training area, a few people will clap for you for a few seconds before a screen pops up showing how consistent you were with your deliveries. This screen color-codes all of the subscribers and non-subscribers. The subscribers that you failed to deliver a paper to will stand out like a sore thumb as they flash on the black and white screen of your Game Boy. On the contrary, if you were good enough and fortunate enough to send a paper to each and every subscriber, you'll get a brand new subscriber! Then it's on to the next, slightly more challenging day.

Riding a bike down a hectic street while you try to throw newspapers into mailboxes from several feet away might not sound like much, but it never ceases to be fun. With things like old, old women running at you with murder in their eyes and the idea of throwing a newspaper through a brand new window of a non-subscriber, Paperboy has a good bit of comedy relief while it also manages to be challenging (it's not too hard or too easy; it's just right) and even a bit frustrating. That's a good combination when you mix them together.

The graphics range from the pretty good to the pretty bad. The cars, the houses, and the screen that shows a newspaper cover praising the paperboy have a surprising amount of detail, while the paperboy looks kind of like a limber scarecrow on a bike and the newspapers look like giant capsules. Paperboy's sounds and music are pretty good, but they suffer from a lack of variety. There are only a handful of sound f/x and only two music tunes in the whole game.

The controls are real easy to manage after a few games. However, it will take awhile to successfully judge the thin line between life and death between your bike and certain objects such as fences and certain enemies. Also, while the controls are responsive, it would've been nice to be able to steer to the left a bit faster. My only big complaint about Paperboy is that you can't see very far ahead of you; you're stuck having to remember when that dopey skateboard kid and the fast cars show their deadly faces.

All in all, Paperboy, even with its few downfalls, is definitely worth adding to your Game Boy collection. When all else fails, its replay value is always beating strong and you'll find yourself going back to it almost as much as any of your other games.

Rating:   4.0 - Great

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