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Elite Systems Ltd
Arcade: Action
ZX Spectrum 48K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

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Rachael Smith
Chris Bourne

Give me a paper boy who's real flesh and blood. The sort of hunk who roars off on his BMX bike, breaking windows and swerving into the path of an on-coming car, just to avoid the old granny with her walking frame. That's the one for me.

From out of the arcades and into your heart comes the Hells Angel of the morning round. This paper boy delivers daily.

This is the game with the fast-pedalling peril, tossing off The Times and Telegraph in an attempt to nix the news speed record. And there's points in them than periodicals for pranging the postbox of a subscriber or opening the windows of an unbeliever with a well-aimed edition. Ker-ashh! Let the Daily Sun shine in! The road to becoming Rupert Murdoch is a rocky one, and includes every obstacle under The... err... Mirrorm from rolling wheels to rogue C5's. And if you don't deliver enough news it's bad news for you as the subscribers start to subside and down goes your income.

But it's not all work for the BMX bandit, and at the end of a hard day's slog he may have time left for the dreaded assault course, running up ramps and leaping streams to ram the targets with the readables, Robin Hood-style. This is another opportunity to wheel up those points, then celebrate with a wheelie.

In gameplay terms, Paperboy calls for quick reactions and a good memory, as you balance pedal power with your ability to make that speedy swerve in the nick of time. Will you stick to the path or gamble on a trip to the gutter? Perhaps a path across somebody's prize petunias would solve the problem, but please watch out for the railings or you'll go Guardian over Express.

Inevitably, more and more obstacles appear as the week goes by, and part of the fun is finding out what lies in wait next time you cycle down those mean streets of suburbia. By making the main display mainly mono, Elite has avoided graphic problems, and the diagonal scroll is just dippy, giving you enough warning to manoeuvre your way past the hazards. The sprites are delightfully detailed for their size, too.

All in all, Elite does it again. It's another classic conversion, true to the original. In terms of playability, Paperboy really delivers.


Screenshot Text

Wild on the street. You've got complete control of your bike. In fact your free to roam over all sorts of terrain. But you're at your safest on the pavement, maintaining a moderate speed. Be careful though. If you get into the gutter, the only way back up to the straight and narrow is up a ramp, outside a driveway.

The assault course is an assault on the senses, of course, and you only get one got at it. Mis-judge that ramp or take it too slow and you'll be in the swim - literally! The 'Splash' effects add to the cartoon quality of this caper, along with the scrolling speech messages whenever you lose a life.