The Recreation Tools Listing: (Pa)

By qaxio

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Don’t be fooled – Papergirl isn’t actually praised

Pac-Attack (1994)

I would argue that the somewhat aggressive title Pac-Attack suggests a Pac-Man experience that this tepid puzzle game doesn’t really offer. I’m sure Pac-Attack has its fans but I just can’t count myself as one of them. Good things first – it’s tailored to the Game Gear very nicely, offering the game window-with-a-window and surrounding it with information, while also making sure the proceedings are as clear as possible. Indeed, if you enjoy this game already, what you’ve got here is inarguably a solid version, with a classic endless mode featuring multiple difficulty levels, and a password-saving puzzle mode. The problem for me, at least, is that Pac-Attack just isn’t very fun. You’ve got to make lines as well as set up chains of ghosts for the Pacster to hungrily consume and in my view it just lacks the simplicity of a really good puzzle game. I think I’m just comparing everything to Baku Baku, which is a problem because pretty much nothing out there is as good as Baku Baku. Your mileage may significantly vary. A very good Game Gear cart, but not a game I personally enjoy. Nonetheless I will charitably give it three stars, because they clearly put the work in. ***

Pac-Man (1991)

I remain incredulous that Pac-Man has ever existed in a form wherein the entire maze is not visible at once. This is so self-evidently absurd that I really don’t feel the need to comment extensively on it. I’ll try to be fair; the controls feel less sticky than in Ms Pac-Man and the ghosts seem to behave correctly. Unfortunately, as mentioned, you still can’t see the whole fucking maze so it’s a total crapshoot whether or not you get dropped by one of the ghosts, basically. It totally transforms the way you play and makes everything much, much harder than it needs to be. Yes, it would look very small on this screen if they made the whole maze visible, but at least it would be playable! This is not acceptable. ** (Edit: Retronauts Discorder Ubersaurus has informed me that both this and Ms. Pac-Man in fact do allow you to see the entire maze by pressing right on the D-Pad on the title screen. I have verified this and when it comes time to compile the Game Gear Directory, I will edit this entry to reflect the new information.)

Panzer Dragoon Mini (1996)

It seems to me that the Saturn classic Panzer Dragoon is a game of ethereal spectacle. Panzer Dragoon Mini, unfortunately, is a noble effort that ultimately fails. Rob Panzer Dragoon of its visual style and what you’re left with is its gameplay, which has never been much more than a simplistic rail shooter. There’s nothing wrong with the genre, but rail shooters – in this writer’s opinion – need spectacle to succeed, and what we have here is just too limp, too sparse. It plays okay – there’s no slowdown and plenty of enemies to blast, with bosses that can genuinely impress a little. There’s no scenery to speak of, just a short loop that changes colour between stages, which means things quickly get rather boring. I don’t know, maybe I’m being a little unreasonable, I just don’t think there’s much spark to this game despite its valiant effort to translate one of the Saturn’s flagship series to the Game Gear. I’m glad they made the effort, but I don’t really want to have to play it. **

Paperboy (1991)

Who’d be a paperboy? Well, me. I was. When I was a teenager, because I wanted to save up the money for a PlayStation 2. And I did! Though it took a really, really long time. Of course, once I had the PlayStation 2, I had absolutely no further desire to play Paperboy ever again, but here I am. You cycle along, dodging various wacky obstacles and throwing newspapers onto people’s doormats or into mailboxes to score. You can also go apeshit and smash stuff, throwing copy after copy of your periodical through the windows of non-subscribers. The aim, though, is to deliver every paper to subscribers and then score high on the obstacle course that ends each stage. I don’t hate it, but it’s just not very interesting. Graphically it’s pretty good and reasonably close to the arcade original, though it suffers from a little screen crush as per usual. Not bad, but nothing to write home about. ***

Paperboy 2 (1993)

Oh for goodness’ sake, what happened here?! It’s just Paperboy but worse in every respect. The presentation is bland, the music is awful and the graphics are a huge step down. You can see what you’re doing a little better but it barely matters because the level design is now so slapdash, switch perspective on you repeatedly and hiding mailboxes off-screen in places that require precognition to find. The only nice thing is that you can now play as a “Papergirl”, replete with pink-wheeled bicycle, but besides this it’s a hot mess. A very disappointing effort, especially since it’s positioned as a follow-up to Paperboy despite being a profound step back from the appealing simplicity of its forebear. It’s not totally horrible – I like that you can now throw papers in both directions – but overall I suggest you avoid this cartridge. **

(Next: Pe-PG)


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