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Game Over Online ~ Hyperspace Delivery Boy!

GameOver Game Reviews - Hyperspace Delivery Boy! (c) Monkeystone Games, Reviewed by - Fwiffo

Game & Publisher Hyperspace Delivery Boy! (c) Monkeystone Games
System Requirements Windows, Pentium II 200 MHz, 32MB RAM, 68MB HDD
Overall Rating 85%
Date Published Tuesday, July 30th, 2002 at 10:46 AM


Divider Left By: Fwiffo Divider Right

Coming into this review, I have the unique position of reviewing this title on its original platform, the Pocket PC handheld. Monkeystone's Hyperspace Delivery Boy, on the PC, possesses little change in terms of content. It tracks the story of a courier, Guy Carrington, in his voyages on the HDS Colby Jack, a space-faring starship. What better vehicle than this to establish the time old traditions of situational comedy; the rise in fortune of a sympathetic, but ordinary, character. Hyperspace Delivery Boy is crafted by the primary creators behind Daikatana and Anachronox. One unique feature about both those games is their homage to the console titles made from overseas; Daikatana, with its Miyamoto character, and Anachronox, with its Final Fantasy nods. Hyperspace Delivery Boy is no different in its console lineage. Its Vortexian save points and emphasis on secrets hunting is testament to the fact.

With developers of this caliber, there is no doubt they must have made a conscious decision to present the game with a simple birds-eye 2D view. But they shouldn't be shunned for that. Just as there are films that continue to present themselves in black and white today, so too should Hyperspace Delivery Boy be admired for its simplicity. Cartoons like The Simpsons or South Park eschew modern trends to make their worlds more realistic. Why, I begin to ask, does advancement in technology necessarily mean more realism?

The tone of the game, which doesn't take itself too seriously either, matches the overall presentation. Most of the people on screen are static and the only important characters, in terms of the plot, are the ones who give you quests. Hyperspace Delivery Boy includes a healthy dose of Fedex style quests but they're all completely warranted since Carrington, the protagonist, is supposed to be, for all intents and purposes, a courier lackey anyway. Like most stories based around a hapless delivery boy motif, Carrington is tasked to delivery simple packages but ends up going (very) wayward and bending over his back in numerous sidequests to get the job done. Sidequests may involve things like finding items but these are usually guarded by obstacles that need solving, either through things like crate puzzles or dodging electrical charges. While there is an action mode in this game, Carrington is not much of a fighter and the action hardly ever heats up into a trigger-fest.

Luckily, all the questing is done easily and effectively. On the right hand side is a graphical representation of what Carrington has to do. Its graphical icons make it easy to know what items goes to who and you are never at a loss as to what to do because the game is constructed such that you can't aimlessly wander into other parts of the plot that you shouldn't be touching. That's something every quest-laden game (the recent Morrowind comes to mind) could learn from. The only minor gripe I found was with the game's puzzles. Because some puzzles, like pushing crates, can be fouled up hopelessly (i.e. you got one stuck in a corner), there are chances for players to potentially to fail but not know when to stop. Veterans will know instinctively when to hit the reload button. The game, on the other hand, isn't forthcoming on that matter. Luckily, it saves automatically before each major puzzle segment, so you won't be terminally handicapped if you manage to corner yourself into a hopeless situation.

The pièce de resistance of Hyperspace Delivery Boy is in its humor. The situations Carrington gets himself stuck in are funny right from the beginning and even the non-characters offer a good dose of sarcasm: non-entities around a Star-Trek like engine warn, "We get paid to watch the Hermacher-Mendelson drive parameters - to make sure it doesn't go nuts." Carrington also has an ongoing love interest in the ship's engineer, Dolly, but our protagonist comes off as pretty pathetic, kind of like the relationship between Fry and Leela in Futurama. Even the secrets, which are opened up by collecting Monkeystone idols throughout the game's levels, are tongue in cheek in-jokes on the developers' previous titles.

The dialogue is strengthened by the use of voiceovers, which is a significant one-up over the handheld version. While it isn't professional acting, they fit well. Carrington's half nonchalant, half pathetic tone is perfect. The vacuous maps, a fault I found with the 320x240 presentation of the handheld, don't seem so big on the PC, probably because the view distance is more expansive. There's a run feature now that speeds up travel between places significantly. Furthermore, a queue system lets you use the mouse to assign mini-waypoints. Unfortunately, you can't do so in between doors but it's definitely a timesaver, despite the fact that like Grim Fandango, using the keyboard gives you a better feel towards your onscreen persona.

Speaking of Carrington, Hyperspace Delivery Boy continues to remind me a lot of Futurama. Unfortunately, like the television show, Hyperspace Delivery Boy is an abbreviated outing. It doesn't take long to complete and repeated play will likely be only to unlock the many secrets embedded within the plot. However, I liked the characters, the dialogue and the sly way it takes a look at the sci-fi future. It has a running supply of gags and references aimed at veteran (mostly PC) gamers but its humor, I think, will appeal to open-minded newcomers as well. A few names in the credits of this game could spawn their own multi-million dollar games. For sure, it isn't Monkeystone's magnum opus on the PC. But that doesn't change the fact that Hyperspace Delivery Boy is cheerful, sarcastic and energetic fun.

 

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Rating
85%
 

 

 
 

 

 

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