Amstrad Action


Paperboy
By Elite
Amstrad CPC464

 
Published in Amstrad Action #25

Paperboy

Elite, the original masters of the arcade conversion, have finally produced an Amstrad version of the massive arcade hit Paperboy. It's been immensely popular on other machines and shows every sign of dominating the Amstrad charts as well. Your task as the paperboy is to deliver papers to your subscribers in the streets of America. [That's a lot of streets - Ed]

You climb on your bike, pull on your cap and with a bag of papers set off into the suburbs of America to deliver the news. Your route is fraught with dangers which can knock you off your bike, and if you don't deliver well enough you'll lose your subscribers and your job.

The screen shows you pedalling your bike along the street with the houses scrolling diagonally towards you, top right to bottom left. The game is divided into two stages, the first is the paper run and the second is the practice track which your employer has thoughtfully provided according to the instructions. It's like the editor providing me with extra games to review at home!

Paperboy

In the paper run, you ride along the street throwing papers into the mail box or at the door of the house. More points are scored for getting them into the mail box! Missing a house with a paper or throwing it into a window or other object results in losing that house as a subscriber.

There are two sorts of hazard in the street: static and moving. The static hazards are things like fences, walls, grids and kerbs. Collision with these causes you to sprawl all over the place and lose one of your five lives. There's a reasonably easy route around all of these, but it's complicated by the moving hazards that also interfere.

There are lots of moving hazards including: cars, skateboarders, workmen, drunks, Sinclair C5's and tyres. Most of the objects and people can be hit with newspapers for bonus points. You can knock people over or cause things to explode, but be careful not to waste too many papers. Points are also scored for breaking windows or hitting the dustbins in the houses of non-subscribers. You can even hit the gravestones in the churchyard!

Paperboy

If you manage to do a perfect run (delivering to all of your subscribers) then you regain a subscriber. When you've got a lot of subscribers, you'll run short of newspapers so you've got to collect piles of them en route to keep up your supply.

The second part of the game is the practice track where you have a time limit in which you can gain valuable bonus points. You have to jump over ramps and throw papers at targets while avoiding the walls and water ditches across the course. Crashing on the practice track doesn't lose a life but it does exit you from the track. A bit of careful riding will take you to the finish giving a higher bonus. After the practice track, there's your daily report which informs you of any loss or gain of subscribers by showing your route. If you can memorise this, it will make economising on papers much easier on the next run because you'll know where not to deliver and where to attack people.

The game then cycles round to paper delivery again with things getting a little more difficult. The second time around, lawnmowers and radio controlled cars appear. Burglars and house owners appear later as you progress further into the game.

Paperboy

The first thing you'll notice when this game loads is the silence. There is no sound at all (which is due to lack of memory according to Elite). Perhaps a hacker out there could produce a routine to give sound using the extra memory on the 6128 - we'd love to print it. The scrolling of the screen is a bit jerky but this is only a minor problem because there's good use of colour with bright and clear scenery. The inhabitants of suburban America may be a little chunky but they are detailed enough and come in plenty of interesting varieties.

The game plays well and although it's a little repetitive it has something basically addictive about it that hooks you. Lack of sound is a bit disappointing so you'll just have to listen to your favourite music while playing.

Second Opinion

It's been a long wait for this conversion but they've definitely come up with the goods. The lack of sound is disappointing, but the most important thing is the gameplay - and that's there in plenty!

Paperboy

There's the thorny issue of repetitiveness but I think it's got the right level of difficulty and variety to keep most players happy. I've never played the arcade version or any other and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Green Screen View

The streets are clear in green.

First Day Target Score

10,000 points

Verdict

Paperboy

Graphics 80%
P. Lots of colourful backgrounds and characters
N. Slightly jerky scrolling

Sonics 0%
N. Not a sausage John.

Grab Factor 84%
P. Good variety of features to cope with.
P. The practice track adds a nice element.

Staying Power 78%
P. Route gets mare difficult as hazards are added.
N. Only one delivery route.

Overall 81%
A good arcade conversion and no game like it on the Amstrad.

Gary Barrett

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