There are very valid reasons why I no longer take my breaks in the nurse’s rest area any more. Firstly it gets too much when you’re the only male nurse on break and your surrounded by incessant droning and bitching. And secondly because some random guy wouldn’t stop harping on about how he loved Paperboy in the arcades as a child. All because he saw me reading a copy of Retro Gamer Magazine with an article about it. So he would wait in hopes that I would return so he could ram more information about it into my uninterested ears.
Shame because I liked that room….
In any case it reminded me that I had a C64 port sat in my collection. A game that I have never played since I got it in a bundle from eBay. Which would have probably been for the best.
Paperboy was a successful arcade game from Atari. I remember many friends at school saying how good it was and what their highest score was. So it was inevitable that someone would want to bring out a home conversion of it in order to rake in the pennies. That someone would turn out to be Elite. A company that had a well established track record of poor arcade conversions.
So I loaded it and, absolutely not to my surprise, we have yet another title to add to the list. Although they did a slightly better job with this one than some of their other conversions. So I am not even going to skirt around the issue with this title and say it’s a little bland and mediocre. Playable, maybe slightly enjoyable, but still mediocre.
The graphics are bland, repetitive and use a very basic colour pallet. The sprites look terrible with some really simplistic animation. The backdrops are drawn in such a way that they throw off the perspective at times. The collision detection is poor to say the least and many times I found myself falling off my bike from something a distance away. Or thinking I have cleanly missed an obstacle only to find the detection area is off and I actually clipped it. Also there doesn’t seem to be enough playing area meaning on more than one occasion I was wiped out by a car or obstacle that basically appears from nowhere.
Audibly it’s nothing to write about. While there is some alright music, though not the same used in the arcade original, in this game the spot effects kind of spoiled it for me. Not the best the mighty SID has ever had to produce.
Controls seem responsive though.
I never really saw the appeal of Paperboy in the arcades. To me it seemed a very basic game with some nice graphics and sound. Which is why I probably felt so cold and uninterested with this conversion. As I mentioned earlier it is playable and enjoyable. But this soon wears off after the first day and you realize that it is just a bland, poorly done and mediocre game.
The only ray of light from this game is that they have cheekily put a sprite in of the Sinclair C5. Which tries to side swipe you and take you out. It kind of just amuses me that a Sinclair product is in a game for the Commodore system.
*Authors note: The video has lots of the sprites and background in black. I am unsure as to why this is as my original copy seems to work fine. I think it might have to do with the emulation used.*
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