By Ferry "Sadhonker" Adams on October 21, 2020
"The Earth is hungry. Its heart throbs and demands cleansing. The Earth is also thirsty..."
With these ominous words we were introduced to a game called Postal back in 1997. I vividly remember playing the game on my then awesome Pentium II PC and having an absolute blast (pun intended). Postal puts you squarely into the shoes of a postal worker turned merciless psycho killer and you have one job: Kill everything that moves...
Postal is an isometric shooter in which your goal is to obliterate a certain percentage of people in a level, before proceeding to the exit. This needs to be done without dying, of course, because this will force you to start over the level in its entirety. Nineteen years after the release of the original game, Postal Redux was released for PC, featuring remastered graphics, sound effects and voice overs, as well as more balanced gameplay elements and a new ending. Now, some twenty-three years after Postal first saw the light of day, this remastered version will be available for consoles for the very first time in its violent existence as Postal Redux is released for the Nintendo Switch.
Let me get this out of the way first; I really liked Postal back in the day and I still like it now. There is something quite fulfilling about its simplistic gameplay. And by simplistic, I mean that there's no unnecessary side quests and other stuff that clutters up the game. It is a straight forward twin stick shooter with no remorse for anything. The game's basic story is still the same; you are a disgruntled and thoroughly insane postal worker who just snaps one day and starts what he believes is the root of all evil; the rest of mankind. Of course, law enforcement agencies aren't too happy about his and will try their very best to stop you. They do this in the only way they know how, which means shooting you until you stop moving.
As stated, Postal Redux features remastered graphics, sound effects and voice cast. It also incorporates some changes in the weapon department, with certain guns no longer sharing ammo but having a ammo type of their very own. Your main weapon at the start of the game is a machine gun with unlimited ammo. You can pick up weapons that are scattered throughout the level and add them to your ever-growing arsenal. These weapons will require ammo, which can also be found during the game. If one of these weapons depletes its ammo supply, it can no longer be used. That is, until you find the right type of ammo, upon which the weapon can be happily wielded once more.
The weaponry in the game ranges from your trusty machine gun to powerful hand guns, to awesome shotguns. Apart from this, the Postal dude can also throw grenades and other explosives when the going gets really tough. When aiming at an enemy, a cross-like marker will appear over them. When that enemy is at full health the cross will be green, slowly turning red as you keep pumping them full of the proverbial high speed chunks of lead. Sometimes, an enemy will not die instantly, but will be in a downed state, screaming out for help and slowly crawling across the terrain. Now, you could wait for these enemies to bleed out and die on their own, but where's the fun in that, right? Luckily, Postal Redux features a whole range of executions, one for each weapon. So just walk up to the suffering individual and end his or her life in style.
As you go from level to level, the loading screens will show journal entries from our protagonist, revealing just how disturbed this individual really is. For the remastered version, the dates of these entries have been updated to a more recent version than in the original. And I although I know this is just a minor change, it does help to keep the game's back-story, however small it may be, more relevant. It helps to not think of Postal Redux as a port of an old game, but rather as something that has been updated to meet the criteria of modern times.
The game offers two separate game modes. There is a Rampage mode which replaces the Gauntlet mode of the original game. In this mode, you can play through the levels and try to achieve a high score, by dispatching your enemies with finesse. It is a fun mode to play, but not my favorite. This spot is still reserved for the Campaign mode, in which the story unfolds as you join the Postal dude on his quest for sick and twisted vengeance. The campaign mode is divided into three sub-modes: The Original, Super Delivery and Excess Postage. The first gives you exactly what its name implies: The original seventeen levels of the original game. Super Delivery combines the levels of both the Special Delivery and the Super Postal add-ons for the original game. Excess Postage combines the previous two modes into one twenty-three level long journey of gun-wielding violence and insanity. You can play all these modes on one of four difficulty levels: Easy, Normal, Hard and Nightmare, giving you the opportunity to tailor the experience to your preferred level of challenge.
Apart from the aforementioned changes to the game, Postal Redux also adds a series of special effects filters to the mix, each one giving the game a slightly different look and feel. The gameplay itself stays the same, no matter what special effect you select, so these additions, unlike some of the other upgrades the game has received, are purely esthetic. I, for one, still love playing Postal. And no, I'm not saying I'd love to go out on the streets and start shooting people in the face. This reaction is not what video games are intended to provoke and people who think otherwise might want to have their collective heads examined.
So, if you're into twin stick shooters without too many unnecessary frills, you should really give Postal Redux a try. It's a truly fun yet challenging game that is ideal for blowing off some much needed steam after a long day at work. I love the fact that I finally can play this game on a current gen console and the Switch is the one logical choice to do this on. The game doesn't feature in-depth character creation and intricate skill trees, so it's a perfect game to play on the go. The levels are fairly short, so even on a relatively short trip, you can still blast your way through a few of them, providing your opponents don't do the same to you first...
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