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Updated March 10, 2005

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


 FINAL VERDICT
PC Gamer 61%

   

100% - 90%
EDITORS' CHOICE - We're battening down the hatches and limiting our coveted Editors' Choice award to games that score a 90% or higher. It's not easy to get here, and darn near impossible to get near 100%. Games in this range come with our unqualified recommendation, an unreserved must-buy score.

89% - 80%
EXCELLENT - These are excellent games. Anything that scores in this range is well worth your purchase, and is likely a great example of its genre. This is also a scoring range where we might reward specialist/niche games that are a real breakthrough in their own way.

79% - 70%
GOOD - These are pretty good games that we recommend to fans of the particular genre, though it's a safe bet you can probably find better options.

69% - 60%
ABOVE AVERAGE - Reasonable, above-average games. They might be worth buying, but they probably have a few significant flaws that limit their appeal.

59% - 50%
MERELY OKAY - Very ordinary games. They're not completely worthless, but there are likely numerous better places to spend your gaming dollar.

49% - 40%
TOLERABLE - Poor quality. Only a few slightly redeeming features keep these games from falling into the abyss of the next category.

39% - 0%
DON'T BOTHER - Just terrible. And the lower you go, the more worthless you get. Avoid these titles like the plague, and don't say we didn't warn you!


Drakan: Order of the Flame  69%
Driver  78%
Drome Racers  59%
Ducati World Racing  28%
Duke Nukem: Manhattan Project  75%
Dune  25%
Dungeon Keeper 2  89%
Dungeon Siege  91%
Dungeon Siege: Legends of Aranna  80%
Earth & Beyond  80%
Earth 2150: Lost Souls  80%
Echelon: Wind Warriors  79%
Elder Scrolls III: Bloodmoon  84%
Emergency Fire Response  70%
Emergency Rescue  24%
Emperor: Rise of the Middle Kingdom  72%
Empire Earth  85%
Empire of Magic  68%
Empire of the Ants  56%
Empires: Dawn of the Modern World  80%