Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Paper Kids

OK, let's not bullshit ourselves. It's called Paper Kids, but we all know this is Paperboy. People of a certain age will remember Paperboy. Hell, it was a popular game, everyone must have heard of it.

Yeah, well, if you were a big fan of Paperboy (like me), prepare to have all your great memories trod upon by this plodding, boring excuse for a tribute.

At first, it looks promising. Everything is there: the paperboy (I mean, paperkid), the letterboxes, the random obstacles. And it looks nice too - all primary colours and bright tones. So what's the problem? Maybe the fact that it's so fucking slow.

The objective of Level 1 is to get five newspapers into letterboxes. Well I did it - and I'm still less than half way through the level. Now what do I do? I keep cycling at an incredibly slow pace and deliver more newspapers.

And that's another thing that annoys me - all you do is deliver the papers. Remember how you could score bonus points in Paperboy by throwing newspapers through the windows of people who don't subscribe to your paper or by knocking down passers-by? Well you can't do any of that in Paper Kids. The original Paperboy has been stripped down to a single objective of getting the newspapers right into the letterboxes. And it's not like that's hard - you're moving so slowly that you get the hang of it very quickly.

There are bonuses, of course. Extra lives, just in case you were stupid enough to cycle into a pothole, and extra newspapers, just in case you felt like even less of a challenge.

Oh wow, I did it! I did it, just like a fucking chimpanzee could do it, it's that easy. So then we go on to Level 2, and there's really no point in me showing you screenshots because it's the same shit as before. Maybe there's more stuff that really poses no risk, but that's it. And when the fuck will it speed up?

To get a shot of what it looks like to crash, I had to purposefully cycle into the pavement. And I was so bored, I enjoyed it. At least it meant I didn't have to throw newspapers for five seconds.

OK, I know the original Paperboy featured lots of newspaper chucking too, but it had little extras like the obstacle course between each level and the fact that you could go fast. I'm sorry that I keep coming back to it, but seriously, seriously - this game is incredibly slow.

How about that - 18 succesful hits and not a single miss. I was never this good on the original, partly because I was a child, and partly because it was challenging! Paper Kids is just boring - a horrible cycle of plodding, uninspired gameplay.

By the time I got to Level 3, I couldn't take it anymore. I wanted to see what happened if I missed too many letterboxes. So I started missing on purpose. And do you know what happened?

Nothing. Nothing happened. The little paper kid just kept going, oblivious to the fact that he had just fucked up.

I'd had enough. I started throwing newspapers at random, laughing maniacally as I cycled headlong into traffic cones, parked cars and the pavement. I just wanted it to end. And that's how I came across a little glitch. You see, after crashing, you're put back on the bike and you flash for a few seconds, so that you're momentarily invincible. If you cycle up onto the pavement in this state, you can ride your bike across the houses and lawns.

Unfortunately, it only works until you hit concrete, then you get sent back out onto the street. What's most depressing is that this glitch is the most interesting part of the game. I was worried that I wouldn't be able to find something for today's review, but then along came this piece of crap down the sewer line, so thanks to the developers for helping me update the blog. Oh, and thanks for ruining the childhood memories of my more innocent game playing days. Look, it's not hard to download a Spectrum or Amstrad ROM and just play the old Paperboy. Why waste your time on this poor copy when the original is still so good?

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