Pages: 1 2
Review by: Emil Pagliarulo
Published: November 14, 1997
“He’s going postal!” If you’re ever in a McDonald’s and someone starts screaming that, you might as well kiss your ass goodbye. “Postal” has become the ultimate catch phrase for the 90′s. Thanks to a rash of United States Postal employees going completely bananas and taking to their respective workplaces with shotguns and automatic weapons, the term has become a colorful euphemism for losing one’s mind and going on a homicidal rampage. In fact, the phrase is so popular it’s been popping up in just about every area of American pop culture: a recent episode of Seinfeld had Kramer “going postal” when the mail carrier insisted on jamming his mailbox full of Pottery Barn catalogs, and even LucasArts got into the groove a couple of years back in their game Dark Forces…the cheat code for full guns and ammo was “lapostal.” So maybe it was just a matter of time before some enterprising game developers took the idea and ran with it, turning psychotic rage into a fun gaming experience. Enter Ripcord Games’ Postal.
There’s no two ways about it — Postal is a game about murder. You play a man who has gone totally off the deep end. After a string of bad luck (think Michael Douglas in Falling Down) you arrive home only to be greeted by a phone call informing you that you’re about to be evicted. And that’s when it happens. That’s when the gears in your head start spinning so fast they jump their pins, and the machinery of your mind come crashing down. From that point on, you’re a bona fide homicidal maniac, killing anyone and everyone who stands in your way. Right from the get go, however, your paranoid delusions start to manifest themselves in the form of a weird, X-Files kind of conspiracy, which in turn acts as the game’s plot.
The character you control, the “Postal guy” if you will, is convinced that everyone everywhere has been infected with some kind of infection, and it originated at some Air Force Base. You know that no matter what the cost, you must reach the Air Force Base and find out why the whole world has turned insane, and turned against you.
If you were allowed to just jump on a bus and head to your destination, Postal wouldn’t be much of a computer game. Needless to say, that’s not how events transpire. The action picks up right at your little shack of a house; police and federal agents have you surrounded, and the only way out is through a hail of bullets. There are sixteen levels in the game, and your little maniac will travel from his house to: the truckstop and sheriff’s station; a filthy hovel; a parade, complete with flammable marching band; a bridge and the entrance to a mineshaft; the mines themselves; a salvage yard; the Thunderbird Trailer Park; a train station; the Paradise Ostrich Farm; a construction site; the ghetto; the city; Central Park; a huge industrial complex; and finally, the Air Force Base.
Instead of attempting this campaign, the player may opt to take part in one of four Challenge games. These include Timed levels, Goal levels, Capture the Flag levels, and Checkpoint levels. If that’s not enough, Postal also includes a multiplayer mode, and a Game Editor that allows you to build your own gruesome scenarios.
No matter which gameplay option is selected, each level is crawling with people, all of whom can be blown away. Guys in tank tops throw bundles of dynamite, cops shoot at you with their revolvers, and innocent bystanders run around screaming, just waiting to be shot. Many times, your victims will be merely immobilized, and either make a last desperate attempt to try and crawl away, or simply lie on the ground “doing the fish.” They’ll die from their wounds eventually, but each can be conveniently executed at close range with a few slugs, simply by hitting the “x” key. Likewise, if things just get too much for you, you can always tap the “q” key and blow your own brains out.
There are plenty of weapons to choose from in Postal, and most are of the neighborhood gunshop variety. Your default weapon is a sub-machine gun with unlimited ammo, so it works out well in just about every situation. There are shotguns, landmines, hand grenades, molotov cocktails…just about everything an aspiring loony could hope to have.
Yet for all the hype surrounding the game (not to mention the lawsuits from angry U.S. Postal Service employees), Postal is pretty simplistic. It’s a mouse with a huge roar, a run-of-the-mill little shooter with an incredible advertising campaign behind it. You run around, kill people, chuckle quite a bit, get killed, and then repeat the process. Yup, that’s it. Sure it’s funny, and great for letting off some steam, but most gamers will probably want more from their $2000 computers. I know I do.
Pages: 1 2