Genre: Platform Developer: Manley & Associates Publisher: Tengen Players: 1 Released: 1992
Back in 1984, when Paperboy was released in arcades, it was a really popular game. It was unique in the fact that it took a pretty boring job (I know, as I had a paper route as a kid for several years) and created a fun, but in my opinion, gimmicky idea for an arcade game. It was different due to the fact that you controlled your player with a set of bike handle bars to deliver newspapers to a crazed town full of wacky and demented customers. The game was so popular that it spawned ports to nearly every 8-bit console of the time.
My first experience with Paperboy was with the NES version, when a school friend lent me the game. I got home and was all excited, and my Dad and I sat down to play. We got some cheap and quick laughs out of it, but it wasn’t very long before the excitement wore off and I was left thinking that the game just felt dull. It’s been a feeling that’s remained with me to this day. I never did get a chance as a kid to play Paperboy 2 back in the day in any incarnation, but I had a couple other school friends that spoke highly of it, and I always wanted to see if it lived up to my expectations but never got around to finding out.
Fast forward to now when I’m a big collector, and I finally got a chance to play Paperboy 2 on a few different consoles, Game Gear included, which is why I’m writing this review. When I actually sat down to give it some decent play time, I actually made it reasonably far in the game, though I didn’t complete it. When I was done, I really didn’t have the desire to anymore. Despite the new additions to the game play and new levels, it doesn’t really have any new “features” to speak of, and quite honestly it feels like a “1.5” version and not actually like a true sequel like it should.
New to Paperboy 2 is the option to play as a Paper Boy or a Paper Girl. There is a total of three weeks to play through, instead of just one like the original, and three different difficulties with each extending the length of each daily route. The routes zigzag this time around. You’ll start out delivering papers on the left side of the road, but midway through the stage you’ll have to cross the other side of the street and deliver papers to the other side.
Unfortunately, there really aren’t any new elements to the core gameplay. All of the crazed neighbors and baddies feel like more of the same, and it made me feel like I was stuck trying to play the same old, boring game. Even the obstacle course at the end of each day makes its return but feels largely unchanged, without any upgrades or new features. By the time I was done, I never wanted to see another Paperboy game in action again, and I still don’t.
To add insult to injury, the graphics and music, and even the sound effects, really aren’t improved much either. The visuals are mildly upgraded, offering a bit more colors and more variety to the houses. The obstacle course looks a bit more real, but nothing looks better overall. The game plays a musical track that sounds like a derivative of the first one but sounds too similar. The sound effects also sound largely reused.
I know that the Paperboy series has its fans, but I just don’t understand just why it does. They remain repetitive, slow, and boring games to me that I don’t care to revisit. If you’re a fan of the series then have at it but don’t expect to find many others that share the same opinion as you. If you’re not a fan of the series, then move along. Even though this game isn’t horrid and does make good usage of the Game Gear’s controls and functions, it’s not going to carry the system. Quite honestly, it will just be lost in Game Gear’s library.
SCORE: 5 out of 10