Paperboy 2. (computer game) (Software Review) (Evaluation)
by Steve Hudson
Admit it. When you were a kid, you dreamed of that noble calling . . . that ultimate challenge . . . the thrill of being a paperboy!
Didn't you? I did. I dreamed of riding my bike through the neighborhood, launching papers with tactical precision toward each front porch. Now and then (heh-heh-heh!) I'd target a mud puddle or a roof--or (dare I say it?) maybe Mr. McGillicuddie's window!
But I never realized the dream. Just didn't have the right stuff, I guess, And I certainly lacked the nerve to launch one through Mr. M's front panes, whether he deserved it or not.
Till this morning.
Yes! This morning I cracked. Went absolutely nuts, I did. I splashed papers into Mr. Smithers' pool! And I blasted the news through McGillicuddie's window over and over again!
And thanks to Paperboy 2, new for PCs and compatibles, I was able to get away with it scot-free.
Paperboy 2, unlike its predecessor, is politically correct and lets you specify paperboy or papergirl. The object is simple: Deliver papers. Your BMX bike speeds up, slows down, and goes left, right, and straight ahead. That's fortunate, since the neighborhood is full of treacherous obstacles and bike-eating vehicles that must be jumped, dodged, or otherwise avoided. It's all under joystick or keyboard control for either one or two players.
Your basic score is tied to how many papers you deliver. But it's extra points that give this game its wholesome appeal. For example, using a paper to stop a runaway baby stroller earns 1000 extra points, while beaning the fat lady at the fair brings 250. You can also lay one on zombies, ghosts, and mummies at various theme houses, albeit for a paltry 50 points each.
The biggest thrill comes when you go for the breakage bonus. Wow--extra points for breaking things! You can break windows, of course, but beyond that the idea is interpreted pretty loosely. For example, breaking--and, in the process, freeing--a barbecuing pig earns 300 points (and the pig's undying gratitude), while breaking the garbage man only earns 200. You can also break baseball players, a waiter in a trendy restaurant, and a sunbather (with startling results). The list goes on and on.
At the end of your route, you can earn still more points on a bonus course complete with jumps, fancy turns, and all sorts of bicyclic derring-do. Who knows? Your initials might even make it to the coveted Top Ten.
Paperboy 2 is instantly playable. It'll take you all of five minutes to master the interface. Sound effects are effective even on the tiny PC speaker; with Ad Lib or Sound Blaster, they're great.
Is it fun? Yes! I found it vicariously thrilling. My nine-year-old, ordinarily well behaved, got a gleam in her eye as her papergirl roared through the neighborhood. Interestingly, though, some of the paperboy's all-in-fun destructiveness genuinely bothered my three-year-old--and I found it hard to explain to him why I was laughing so hard at something he really shouldn't find funny at all. Ah, parenting.
Child-rearing questions aside, Paperboy 2 is unexpectedly appealing. It's not educational or socially relevant or anything like that. But that's OK. Paperboys just want to have fun. IBM PC or compatible; 512K RAM, EGA, VGA, or Tandy 16-color; supports Ad Lib and Sound Blaster--$49.95 MINDSCAPE 60 Leveroni Ct. Novato, CA 94949 (800) 234-3088 (415) 883-3000 Circle Reader Service Number 362