Hyperspace Delivery Boy!
The name is Carrington. Guy Carrington. Intergalactic courier at your service.
That’s the premise behind John Romero and Tom Hall’s latest project, Hyperspace Delivery Boy!, a retro PC (and Pocket PC) game that pays homage to the simpler days of gaming’s yesteryear.
In this top-down adventure — which more or less resembles the state of PC games in the late ’80s — Carrington delivers varied parcels, mail, and memos throughout the galaxy, on behalf of a wacky gallery of space denizens.
Much of the gameplay involves throwing switches, pushing crates, collecting gems, and steering clear of baddies and electromagnetic charges. In the optional Action game mode (as opposed to the main Puzzle mode), enemies can be attacked instead of just avoided.
Playing HDB! is like taking a trip back to the game mechanics of Legend of Zelda. One of the first tough puzzles involves pushing nine crates into a teleportation machine, but with the need to strategize as far as what order in which to approach the crates, what path to take, and how best to avoid obstacles in the process. One wrong move and Carrington is S.O.L. — thankfully, you can save and load games virtually anywhere, limiting the frustration of the old “platform” style.
What seriously detracts from the otherwise fun retro setup is the sophomoric dialogue and embarrassingly cheesy voice-acting. The game is supposed to be campy, but the juvenile voices sound like they were recorded by a few teenagers trying to imitate Sol from the Jerky Boys. (I actually suspect the culprits are Hall and Romero themselves.)
While HDB!’s a fun diversion with a few challenging puzzles, the action grows repetitive after a short while, giving you little incentive to finish the game. Veteran PC gamers may find some nostalgic solace here, but take it for what it is — an inexpensive and silly throwback.
— Marc Saltzman