Sega Master System / Mark III / Game Gear
Atari's Paperboy first appeared in the arcades around four and a half years ago, and cast you as a paper deliverer whose round takes him to the very strangest parts of town. In this Sega conversion, virtually all of the original coin-op's features have been included as you battle against the odds to get your papers delivered.
At the start of the game there are three streets to choose from, effectively giving three difficulty levels. Each level is split into seven sub-levels, each of which represents a day of the week. The object is simply to survive until Sunday.
At the beginning of each round you're shown a map of your delivery route. You must deliver papers to every subscriber, by throwing them either into their mailboxes or on their doormats as you cycle past.
Non-subscribers should be treated with the contempt they deserve, so throw spare papers through their windows and ride all over their nice flower beds for bonus points.
If you fail to deliver a paper to a subscriber, he cancels his subscription - a perfect round of deliveries, however, results in new customers!
Things are complicated by the presence of various obstacles such as lawn mowers, buggies, cassette players, and even ghosts! If you hit any of these, a life is lost - so careful with those handlebars.
The perils that await you on your route are numerous. First off, all stationary objects such as mailboxes and traffic cones must be avoided, which is fairly straightforward. Other dangers are trickier, for example poodles that come scurrying towards you and out-of-control motorised toy cars, tyres and even breakdancers that zoom around in set patterns. They're all deadly - so you have to be pretty nifty with your bike to avoid them all!
The original Atari coin-op appeared in early 1986 and wowed arcade goers with its combination of great graphics, sampled speech and unusual handlebar controls. However, it did have one flaw - right at the end of the bonus round, cycling between the grandstand and the fence sent the scoring system crazy, and you'd end up with well over a billion points!
There's a bonus round at the end of each day which not only helps improve your aiming abilities - there are targets all along the course to hit for bonus points - but also lets you practice maneuvering, with ramps and tight turns to keep you on your toes. These skills are important for when you progress from Easy Street to Medium Road or Hard Way (the three different levels).
I remember crowding around the coin-op all those years ago - and this version captures that "can't leave it alone" feeling! The originality of the arcade game coupled with the brilliance of this conversion makes this a real winner as far as I'm concerned: It's the best translation onto a home machine there's been. It's difficult, but doesn't seem to be while you're playing it - that's the beauty of this game! Whether or not you are a fan of the coin-op, this will keep you happy for a long time, so don't delay: buy Paperboy and get delivering!
This conversion captures all the humour, originality and playability of the arcade machine. It seems very straightforward at first, but once mad dogs, nutty street dancers, runaway tyres and even rogue drivers enter the fray, things start getting very tough indeed. It's great fun trying to get all the papers in the mailboxes, but my favourite part of the game is causing as much damage to non-subscribers' properties as possible! With its fantastic graphics and faithful arcade tunes, Paperboy should find a place in any arcade fan's cartridge collection.