The GTA series has been the bane of over protective parents since ’97. It’s violent missions and utter disregard for the value of video game character, errr um, human life has been called one of the most violent games of all time. GTA has been blamed for kids being numb to violence by one too many news stations.
Now I love me a good shoot ‘em up game, don’t get me wrong, but I wanted to see where this genre actually crossed the line of wtf because GTA hasn’t really done it in my opinion. Yes it’s violent, but there are lots of games out there that are more grotesque. One of those games is the infamous Postal.
Postal is a game that consists of one guy who has, you guessed it, gone postal. It was released the month after GTA I on PC and Mac. It’s sick, twisted and even a little deranged, but somehow it managed to dodge all the negative publicity that GTA got. Maybe it’s because this game has no plot, though there are these weird phrases before each level that seem to part of some evil ritual. Seconds into the game starting, the postal dude is already mowing down innocent civilians. In most cases, the first few shots aren’t enough to kill the unarmed people, so they crawl on the sidewalk screaming for death. WTF!? The postal guy can then stand over the helpless person and deliver the final blow. Now I know that Gears of War has the curb stomp and all that jazz, but at least the people being stomped on are armed and not even human.
Control wise, this game handles kind of odd. The character can only turn in 15 degree angles, so if a civilian finds this weakness you’re in trouble, though few do. That’s my other problem with this game, it’s way too easy. GTA is a challenging game unless you are using cheats. I remember throwing in the fireman cheat so many times on the early GTAs just to make sure my player wouldn’t light on fire. Postal is literally just killing mainly unarmed civilians or people with an ability to aim comparable to that of a storm trooper. Not much of a challenge.
The thing that really made this game cross that line of WTF?! for me was the final official level. After going through the postal guy’s work, supermarkets and suburbs, the game ends with your character murdering every child on an elementary school playground. Okay, so I’m not a psychiatrist, but I think it’s safe to say that is messed up. I know you can do this kind of stuff in GTA, but the fact that the very goal of the level is to kill a group elementary school kids is just a little too messed up for me.
If this is your kind of game, don’t worry, there is a second game and many expansion packs to continue the mindless killing. While I haven’t played any of these expansion packs, I’m kind of tempted to play the one called “Special Delivery” just because it is too perfectly named to hate. Running with Scissors is currently working on a Postal III which is due out sometime this year. It will probably fall through the cracks with all the other shooter games since the genre has moved to FPS and there’s a billion games just as violent out there by today’s standards. For a game made back in ’97, this is some messed up game. Heck, it still is!