UGO

Game Reviews
Postal: Special Delivery
by Running With Scissors


Postal generated a lot of controversy when it was released, for it's violence and political incorrectness. Some of the very reasons I liked it, in fact. They took the theme to an extreme level, all the while keeping a keen sense of humor. Running With Scissors has now released Special Delivery, an add-on pack for the game. With new levels and variations on multiplayer gaming, Special Delivery is more of a fine-tuning of the original game rather than an expansion.

The new levels designed for Special Delivery are of the same quality as the original levels. Take that as you will, people have had vastly differing opinions of the artwork in Postal. Personally, I like it very much. The problem is that there are only four new single player levels - that's it. I managed to play my way through them in less than a night. They're nice levels - the EZ-Mart, Shanty Town, an Earthquake-ravaged landscape, and a Resort - there just aren't enough of them! The new levels come complete with new victims: rescue workers, homeless, elderly, and nudists to name a few. No new weapons were added to the pack, which was also a disappointment for me.

Despite the shortcomings of the single player game, there are quite a few updates to the multiplayer game. You may now spawn a game instead of requiring each player to own a separate CD. An in-game chat mode allows you to taunt your opponents. Some fine-tuning of network play has been introduced as well. But most importantly, cooperative mode has been added. Now you and a buddy can wipe out a town side by side. I'd call this the best new feature of the add-on.

Performance-wise, the pack has its good and bad points. The multiplayer tuning is appreciated, but I still found some overall flaws. One of the better implementations of the original game was the ability to see through walls as you walked behind them. While the ability still exists, I found some areas in the new levels where that didn't work properly. Certain buildings or structures just didn't allow the transparency to work. While navigation was affected a little, the real problem arose when a hostile was hidden behind one of these structures. If it was sufficiently large enough, the enemy was nearly impossible to pick off, you just didn't know where to aim. Normally, I'd just run past him quickly to zero in on his location (or if he had a rocket launcher, run right up to him - no distance means he can't hit you). While this didn't happen everywhere, it was noticeable enough for me to feel I should mention it.

Installation of Special Delivery also has its share of problems. I reinstalled the entire game fresh to evaluate it. A known problem with the installer occurs when you install the original Postal in a non-standard directory (anything other than "c:\Postal"). The initialization file for the add-on updates incorrectly, causing the expansion to fail to load properly. I encountered the problem even when using the recommended directory. I had installed the minimum required files of the original game, then allowed the expansion to proceed. A similar problem occurred, where the pointers to the hard drive and CD got confused. There is a simple fix detailed on Running With Scissors' web site that requires only a simple edit of the .ini file. While the fix works perfectly, I thought it best to warn people about the bug.

Special Delivery features the same politically incorrect gameplay as the original, but not nearly enough of it. Multiplayer fans will appreciate the fine-tuning done under the hood, and cooperative mode is much appreciated. I still can't recommend this pack, as I don't feel that the updates outweigh the expense.

Graphics
Sounds
Gameplay
Interface
Overall Impression

Bottom Line: Only four new single player levels. Transparency problems exist in a few locations. Multiplayer mode has been fine-tuned, and cooperative mode has been added. Installation bug can cause frustration, but is easily fixed.

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