Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Postman Pat 3 (Amstrad CPC review)

Developer: Alternative Software
Publisher: Alternative Software
Released: 1992
 

Postman Pat 3 is an action game that was also released on the Commodore Amiga, Commodore 64 and ZX Spectrum.

 
Your job is to drive around Pencaster and deliver all the telephone directories within five days. To do this, you simply throw them at houses marked with a numbered doormat, while avoiding obstacles such as cyclists and road works; if you crash too many times your damage metre fills up and it's Game Over. You can also meet the same fate by taking too long, running out of petrol (refuelling at the garage is essential) or by missing multiple deliveries. It clearly takes inspiration from Paperboy (1985, Arcades) but adopts a top-down perspective instead. There's both Easy and Hard modes, and the former is (as you would expect) not very challenging, as you can pretty much stick to the left side of the road to avoid everything. The slow gameplay never excites and feels more like a leisurely, scenic drive than an action-packed adventure. Each of the five working days is exactly the same so once you've memorised spawn patterns the whole game is a breeze; not that it's worth it anyway as there's no ending screen to reward you for your hard work! The Hard mode introduces more obstacles and speedier drivers that constantly try to crash into your vehicle. It does make things moderately entertaining, but even then the simple spawn patterns and mundane action force you to lose interest rather quickly. The controls can't be faulted as they work perfectly and offer a great level of precision for quick-second movements. The hit detection is good too and you'll never miss a delivery throw to anything other than bad aim. There's a competent version of the theme tune, but there's no option to turn it off and it has some weird speed issues during gameplay!
 
Postman Pat 3 is a mediocre title that you'll most likely play once and then never touch again. It does have a few bright spots and shows some initial promise, but ultimately the desperately sluggish gameplay combined with repetitive level design is never a good formula for an enjoyable action game.
 
 
 
Random trivia: The next game in the franchise wouldn't appear until 2007 when Postman Pat and the Greendale Rocket was released on the Game Boy Advance.

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