Double Take: Paperboy 2

Everybody knows about Paperboy – at least everyone that knows about the history of arcade games. It stood out on looks alone in the arcade, it was quite fun to play and was (mostly) ported properly on to the majority of consoles throughout the years. I had the Genesis version when I grew up, as did my next-door neighbor and my cousin. It’s a very popular game; there’s no argument about that. There also seems to be no argument in gaming circles that every other game with the word “Paperboy” in it has sucked.

I however, take extreme offense to this, as I was the sole owner in the neighborhood of today’s game: Paperboy 2. I will agree that it is not a GREAT game per se, but I will give it credit and explain to you my reasoning behind thinking it’s an okay game. I think that this sequel is an enigma in gaming, a proverbial “lost in the attic” game, and I think that it will pleasantly surprise people fans and non-fans alike. Before I start my diatribe, I will state this: I know that it can’t hold a flame to the arcade classic; I’m not arguing that. I just write here today to stand up for a game that I feel hasn’t gotten any love that I liked back in the day.

Lets look at it on a completely independent focus for a second – is the game fun to play? I think it’s a blast to play, but incredibly tough to finish. Has anyone ever made it through Sunday with a reasonable amount of customers in this game? I tend to use the Burr Doctrine – the “leave just one customer and focus on them to get to the end” play. I think that the road is too narrow, and there are too many of the same obstacles to avoid. For example, the baby carriage always tries to woo you onto the road. And that house with the open gate on the road…! That’s the worst one. Always gets me in there with the promise of more papers, and then I don’t go fast enough for the jump. I do like the humor that this game uses; I think that it goes way over the top compared to the first one. I mean, you can knock a pretty woman’s top off! How about tipping grandma and grandpa off the rocker!? One more, and you can knock the jack out from under a car and crush a man! Tengen, you’re ruthless!

I do really like the leopard skin monster truck that comes down the way, too. There are an awful lot of obstacles, and I find that if you go too fast the game can be over before you reach the halfway point on EASY STREET! The coolest thing that Paperboy 2 adds is the “middle of the road” obstacles, such as the market/gas station with the robber or the amusement park with the various jugglers. It sure beats the fast cars from the original. The number of different houses in this game is impressive too. It seems like with every house there are various things you can do that never seem to get old. I really like the various number of things you can do; it’s really an original extension of an already established (and quite famous) theme.

Click to see some of the stage obstacles!

The voices in this game aren’t too bad either! And we haven’t even mentioned paperGIRL, yet! I think this game has enough new in it to interest a lot of people who might not know about it – but here’s why I think Paperboy 2 never caught on for the most part: It doesn’t have that “I remember this from the arcades!” nostalgic factor and thus didn’t get a great deal of attention. It’s kind of like a major movie that is closed-ended, yet somehow a sequel comes out with hardly any of the original stars. It tries to be like the first but doesn’t come close to generating the same amount of attention. Does anyone remember The French Connection 2? I didn’t until I read Wikipedia. But, I say pop this game in for a few minutes and see what you’ve been missing. I like it, and you should too.

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