Paperboy/Rampage (GBA)

Paperboy / Rampage
GBA (2004)

In both Paperboy and Rampage, you can break glass. I had to think a long time to come with something these two games have in common, and other than both currently being owned by Midway, that’s all I could come up with. Despite the unlikely pairing, both games were fun in the arcade and remain fun on the Gameboy Advance.

In Paperboy, players must guide a bike-peddling newspaper delivery boy through what can only be described as the world’s most dangerous neighborhood. If the inattentive drivers and open manholes weren’t bad enough, this particular street has roving lawnmowers, rabid dogs and a full roster of characters and obstacles that would send most newspaper boys straight to the unemployment line. Your goal is to pick up bundles of newspapers and throw them into the mailboxes of your subscribers. Miss a house and they’ll drop your services; hit all of them, and you’ll pick up new customers. The game ends when you loose all your Paperboys, lose all your subscribers, or make it through all seven days without dying.

One of the most challenging things about playing Paperboy was that due to the games isometric presentation, the area where your Paperboy resides is actually a small corner of the screen. This problem is multiplied on the Gameboy Advance’s small screen. The small play area means problems will present themselves quickly and often, testing your reflexes constantly. The original game’s controls (which were included on a real pair of bicycle handlebars) ported over nicely to the GBA; A pedals, B brakes, and either trigger button tosses newspapers. Many of the game’s speech samples made it to the conversion, and the original music, while simplified, is also there. The game’s only major annoyance is that your bicycle constantly drifts to the right, making “going straight” a constant battle.

Rampage, in contrast, is much simpler. After choosing the mutant of your choice (King Kong, Godzilla, or the Wolf Man), the goal of Rampage is to simply tear stuff up. Smash buildings, bash cars, and eat anyone who gets in your way. Each mutant has a stamina meter that goes down as your take damage; lose all your stamina and it’s goodnight, Gracie.

This version of Rampage has been watered down slightly. Kicking has been removed from your monster’s repertoire, while punching and jumping have been retained. Destroying the buildings seems to be easier in this port, although that may be intentional as the original videogame allowed three players to team up against cities. As with Paperboy some of the sound effects and graphics have been watered down, but there’s so much going on in Rampage that it doesn’t take away from the overall experience.

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