IMG Archives
Archives  Reviews  Postal  

Publisher: Running With Scissors    Genre: Action
Min OS X: 10.2.8

August 14, 2007 | Samuel Slesinger

Click to enlarge
In addition to normal gameplay are the challenge maps. Having conquered the “story” mode relatively quickly, I was really looking forward to a fresh challenge. Unfortunately, the challenge never materialized. These levels did not work. In addition, my copy did not include the level editor or multiplayer function mentioned in the instructions. Disappointing.

Preceding each level are Postal Dude’s diary entries, which fall into a category that I would like to christen “death poetry.” Here’s a sampling of the more notable snippets:

“The earth is hungry. Its heart throbs and demands cleansing.

Blessed are the meek for they make easy targets.

The air ripens with the odors of the dead and dying. Its smells like… victory.

A glorious symphony of slaughter.”

As you can clearly see, this game is not suitable for children.

Modern Art
Postal’s visuals are a satisfying mixture of camera angles and graphic techniques. All of the environments appear hand-drawn and painted, and the game’s characters and items are horribly pixelated 3D sprites. It may sound far-fetched, but these two styles complement each other quite well. The detail of the backgrounds give the game a depressed art-student feel, and the lack of detail in the characters and items allow the player to distinguish between the two.

Strangely enough, I was able to pinpoint the two games that struck me as parallel to Postal. The first is no surprise. Also released in 1997, the original Grand Theft Auto featured a top-down perspective. In Postal, this view is executed well, and allows the player to navigate easily. The other game, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 for the Game Boy Advance, featured an isometric perspective that was simultaneously attractive and frustrating. Postal is no different. The majority of its levels utilize this camera angle, and it makes for some irritating gameplay. In combination with the awkward default controls, the view renders skillful navigation a virtual impossibility. On top of this, many enemies can hide themselves behind the slanted buildings, picking you off before you can accurately determine their position. Although the game does include a “halo” effect that illuminates Postal Dude when he maneuvers through these blind spots, the hostiles are not illuminated, giving them a significant advantage over the player.

Although I tried my hardest not to weigh Postal’s graphics against those of today’s games, this is a truly a matter of presenting the customer with crucial purchasing information. Postal’s graphics are decent—for its generation. Really, it was akin to watching a movie that your GRANDPARENTS classified as risqué. The gore is child’s play in comparison to say, Postal 2.


Archives  Reviews  Postal