DSI Games has paired Paperboy and Rampage, two of Midway's best-known classics, together on a single GBA cartridge. The conversions are far from arcade quality, but they should reasonably fit the bill for anyone who wants to experience the gist of these two games on the go.
Paperboy is, hands down, one of the most unique video games ever produced. Half action game and half puzzler, you have to maneuver a paperboy down the sidewalk on his bike and toss papers into paperboxes and onto doorsteps while dodging angry neighbors, rabid dogs, rampaging lawn mowers, and speeding automobiles. Not only do you score points for successfully delivering papers to subscribers, but the game also rewards you for smashing the windows and property of homeowners who don't subscribe to the paper. To win the game, you have to make it through seven days without losing all of your subscribers. Like the original 1984 arcade game, this GBA version includes three difficulty options. However, it doesn't come with the awesome handlebar controller that the arcade game had. That's understandable, but still too bad.
The second game included in this pack is Rampage, a pure action destruct-a-thon that lets you trash cities with monsters that resemble King Kong, Godzilla, and the Wolfman. You get points for climbing and punching buildings, eating humans, and smacking the cars and helicopters that get in your way. Army helicopters and tanks will try to blast your monster with explosive shells, which gradually deplete its stamina meter. Once you run out of stamina, your monster will shrink back to its human form and run off. In all, there are 128 levels to try to get through. There's always so much going on, what with buildings falling down and helicopters and gunfire flying all over the place, which helps hide the fact that the buildings and environments aren't very detailed or diverse. The version of Rampage included on this cartridge plays pretty much the same as the 1986 arcade game, with a few minor differences. Primarily, tanks and helicopters fire at a much faster rate in this version, which gives them the ability to juggle your monster to death if they pin you to the edge of the screen.
Although both of the games on the cartridge play fine for the most part, the conversions are far from arcade quality. The graphics have been scaled down to the point that little details such as graffiti and bullets are hard to see. By the same token, a lot of detail and animation have simply been removed. In Rampage, for example, there are fewer people in the buildings and they don’t wave or gesture as much. Since there are so many frames of animation missing, the characters and objects in both games move at a choppier pace than their arcade counterparts. As for the audio, both games contain a good assortment of digitized voice samples. They're a little muffled but mostly identical to the voice clips from the arcade games. The music, on the other hand, seems to have gone through a blender. Paperboy's theme song is butchered to the point that the familiar one-two-three, one-two beat is unrecognizable. The GBA is certainly very capable of handling both of these 20-year-old games perfectly, so the fact that these conversions are less than perfect is quite a disappointment.
The other problem with this compilation is that it doesn't keep track of high scores. Bragging rights were always an important aspect of classic arcade games, so it's somewhat of a bummer that you can't fire up your GBA and see your top scores each time you load up this cartridge.
If you want to bring the best versions of Paperboy and Rampage home, your best bet is the first volume of Midway Arcade Treasures for the Xbox or PS2. However, if you absolutely must play them on the go and don't mind downgraded graphics and music, then Paperboy/Rampage for the GBA might be worth a shot.