It's funny how everyone gets nostalgic when you mention paper rounds. We all started off in the same way: trudging around the town in all weathers getting yapped at by nasty dogs of various sizes. Nick Roberts gets out his big orange bag and sets off for the shop...
The conversion of the original Paperboy, the classic coin-op, earned 88% back in Issue 33. And with a little help from Mindscape, the BMX bombers are back in an all-new game that has everything the original boasted and more!
The diagonally scrolling streets, pleasantly annoying obstacles and amusing headlines are still there, but the game's been enhanced by full colour graphics, two-way scrolling and the option to be either a paperboy or papergirl.
The job's to deliver the Daily Sun to the subscribers in each street. There's no time to jump off the bike and put the paper through the letterbox so lobbing it in the house's general direction is the best the paperperson can manage.
If the paper lands in the mailbox, everyone's happy. Miss the box and the moaning Minnys cancel their paper! Hardly surprising, though: smashed windows, broken fences and toppled dustbins are just a few of the mishaps that can result from a misplaced paper.
Completing the deliveries for the day earns a bonus trip around the local BMX track, complete with water jumps and targets to practise on. Surviving the first few screens of this obstacle course is a task in itself - reaching the end is something to only dream about!
On the second day of deliveries, the landscape scrolls in the opposite direction to the first and features new obstacles and strange homes to deliver to. Boring suburban houses make way for medieval castles, and there are increased dangers in the shape of homicidal vans that back unexpectedly out of garages, runaway prams (complete with babies - and no, you don't get bonus points for splattin' 'em!) and spooky ghosts!
Your boss back at the papershop won't be pleased if you lose all your subscribers so failing to deliver at least a few of the papers to the right place results in the big heave-ho! You discover who still wants a paper-throwing maniac coming to their house by studying a map of the street, displayed at the start of each level.
Over five years have passed since the first Paperboy and there have been many revelations in the world of Spectrum computing since. Some people would call the Paperboy style 'classic', others would simply say it's dated.
There's still plenty of fun to be had, even though nothing major's been added. The new obstacles and bonus track offer some playability but you could soon get fed up of Paperboy 2.
The new sprites and backgrounds are excellent - lots of colour and detail have been packed in. Having the choice of boy or girl is a thoughtful touch, the main sprite and status panel adapted as required.
Other neat additions are the newspaper headlines that appear between levels or when you fall, although I can't see the relevance of some of them!
Paperboy 2 offers more of the same for all fans of the original. Many Spectrum owners will never have played the first so this'll be a treat; people who've been playing the game since 1986 may soon find themselves getting bored. A nice follow-up, though.
I can think of nothing worse than being a paperperson - all those ridiculously early mornings, lousy weather and enamoured dogs trying to mate with your leg. But as coin-op translations go, this is a good version of an oldie. As well as graphically competent, it's well designed, fast and full of surprises.
Getting your paperboy/girl under control can prove difficult - the controls are less responsive than they could have been - but once you've got the hang of things you'll be hooked. There's loads of action at all times, with ever-increasing hazards to disturb your round and ruin your day - in this game it's permanently Friday the 13th.
Paperboy 2 is playable, addictive and has nice touches all over the place. There are trees and hedges I swear jump out and bite you and the BMX course is a goodly laff. The slightly unpredictable controls and perspective detract from the gameplay slightly but it's still impressive stuff.
More of the same for Paperboy fans, and a great arcade conversion for newcomers.