Postal

Moby ID: 2924
Windows Specs
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Description official descriptions

You've just gone off the deep end, and in your deeply demented mind, you've decided that this little peaceful town no longer needs peace and quiet. You gather your arsenal as you plan your next move...

Postal is best described as a three-quarter view isometric shooter with a disturbing theme. Instead of shooting at demons, monsters, bad guys and terrorists, your targets are typical citizens like a high school marching band, ordinary pedestrians, and even Santa Claus! You are provided with an arsenal of diverse weapons to choose from, ranging from good old fashioned guns to flame throwers.

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Credits (Windows version)

45 People (34 developers, 11 thanks) · View all

Producer
Head of Quality Assurance
Quality Assurance
Testing
  • Absolute Quality Inc.
  • ST Labs
Ripcord Animation
  • cobra sessions
Special Thanks
Executive Producer
Project Director
Art Director
Level Design
Postal Programmers
Visual Effects Programming
Associate Producer
[ full credits ]

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 68% (based on 24 ratings)

Players

Average score: 2.8 out of 5 (based on 49 ratings with 4 reviews)

More shock value than anything else.

The Good
I've always had and always will have a love for dark, violent and edgy videogames. It started during my youth when I played games like DOOM, Wolfenstein 3D and Mortal Kombat. I still play these games today and along with more recent games like Hotline Miami and Max Payne my appetite for extreme (and not to mention violent) entertainment gets well satisfied. With the latest video game controversy magnet called Hatred being released on Steam this week, I decided to review a game that's pretty much the same as Hatred in terms of story, setting and gameplay. I'm talking about the cult classic POSTAL. Just to mention, I'm reviewing the Steam version of this game, which is basically Postal Plus optimized for modern systems and with achievements added.

Let's start with the game's story. You're a simple, unnamed guy the developers and fans of the game call the "POSTAL Dude." He's a depressed, sadistic lunatic who, one day, discovers that the entire world wants him dead. Whether this is true or just a serious mental delusion is certainly debatable, but what is true is that the game starts off with the Postal Dude's house surrounded by cops, locked, loaded and with intent to kill. Therefore, he starts a relentless rampage throughout the country, killing everyone and everything in sight. No matter if they are police officers, hobos, soldiers or just regular folks minding their own business. In between the levels, you get to read a little, disturbing entry in the Postal Dude's diary. These entries feature plenty of black humor. My favorite of these phrases is this one: "I will don the eviscerated organs of my enemies as party hats, wear their shredded entrails as neckties, and oh, how I shall dance!" Yeah, very wicked, isn't it? The title screen is also pretty sick, as you see a hellish environment with the POSTAL Dude standing on a "island" of human skulls! Imagine a kid growing up in the 90s (like me) watching this, nightmares for the rest of the week definitely guaranteed!

POSTAL is a 2.5D top-down isometric shoot'em up wherein you go through a variety of locations including a trailer park, a military air force base, city slums and even an elementary school. In order to progress, you need to kill a certain percentage of the area's hostiles (mostly 80 up to 95% of them). In other words, you only have to kill people who are shooting at you. Killing unarmed civilians isn't required for completion but the game does give you a few moments wherein killing these people gets very tempting. For instance, there's a level early in the game that features a fanfare and yeah, I'll admit, throwing a couple of Molotov cocktails towards them and watch them running around screaming and burning does give me some sadistic satisfaction. Another situation is a scene with a group of protestors shouting and holding signs in front of the Running With Scissors office. Probably they are protesting against violence in video games. So, in a delicious sense of irony, you can just grab your machine gun and drop them like flies!

As for weapons and enemies, you start the game with an M4 machine gun with great range, low damage but unlimited ammunition. As you go through the game, you'll get other death dealing stuff like a sawed-off shotgun, grenades, proximity mines, a heat-seeking rocket launcher and a flamethrower. Enemies are armed with similar weapons. Especially be careful around the guys carrying RPGs, Molotov cocktails and dynamite as these guys can eat through your health like candy.

Music-wise the game only features ambient noises adapted to the level you're playing in. If you're in the train level, you will hear train bells and in the mine level you can hear mine carts rolling around the place. Other frequent ambient noises include dog barks and wolf howls, fitting very well with the game's creepy atmosphere. Sound effects are pretty good, the guns sound nice (although I've already heard better ones in games such as Blood and Duke Nukem 3D). The enemies, civilians and the POSTAL Dude himself have some dialogue in the game. POSTAL Dude is voiced by Rick Hunter who also voiced the character in the sequel and he helps giving the character a sarcastic personality. Kill some people and he'll say "only my weapon understands me" or have him throw a Molotov while he's shouting "shake it up, baby." When someone's lying on the floor (ready to be executed or to be left to die, your choice), they mumble some silly phrases like "I'm have a really bad day," or "must get first-aid." I've got to say that the dialogue in the game does give it a little bit of humor among its dark and ultra-violent content.

The Bad
One missing thing that could've have made POSTAL's gameplay better is crosshairs. The game doesn't have that and that makes aiming your gun and throwing grenades or Molotovs very difficult. Speaking about throwing weapons, your thrown projectiles always travel the same distance. Usually, you hold down the throw button if you wish to throw the grenade farther. Not in POSTAL, so more often than not, your grenade gets thrown too close or too far from your targeted enemy.

The enemy AI can be very dumb. Don't be surprised to see enemies just run towards or past you without shooting at you, making it pretty easy to kill them. They are, however, smart enough not to run into fire even if you're right behind it. They'll wait until the fire is extinguished and then continue to chase after you.

When you look at the game aspect to aspect, POSTAL is pretty mediocre. Aside from the aforementioned aiming difficulties and questionable enemy AI, the game also has low-detail graphics (yes, even for 1997), no soundtrack and almost no story whatsoever. But POSTAL has a unique charm to it, it's hard to describe but it's one of those love it or hate it type of games.

The Bottom Line
POSTAL is a great example of the philosophy that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. It may not have great graphics, deep gameplay, a compelling story or a memorable soundtrack, but the game has a unique style and atmosphere that make POSTAL rise above the average gore fest into the cult-classic series that it eventually became. POSTAL isn't a game for everyone (and definitely not for children), but if you can take the game's dark and violent content, you'll find it to be a fun guilty pleasure.

Windows · by Stijn Daneels (79) · 2015

The screams of the damned

The Good
Okay it might sound a little disturbed, but I really did enjoy the shooting of innocent people and when they fell on the ground running up to them and finishing them off. The sounds in this game where really....well....quite disturbing actually but that is what they are meant to be and so this game does its job well. Like when you shoot one of the female cops and she is crawling around on the ground saying "help me" and "I cant breathe" and then you have your character having a good old laugh about it, this is the stuff that makes up a really good atmosphere for a psycho killer game. Even though the game can get repetitive at times and you might even get sick of shooting rockets at civilians or throwing moltov cocktails at cops, it is still fun to every now and then to go around your home town spilling blood (in the game.) The arsenal you get in the game is not that extensive, but there are weapons that get the job done and they are also fun to use (especially the mines). The difficulty of Postal can get very hard. If I remember correctly the last level is a military base and saying that in itself should make you realize how hard that damn level can be. Running around with your little machine gun while all these military boys have ago at you can get pretty hard at times. The levels in Postal are great, they range from your hometown, to truckstops to as I said before military bases so there is allot of variety in the levels which the "missions" take place. There are also little mini-games that you can play if you get bored of the real game. In most of them you do things like see how many ostriches you can kill in a certain time limit etc.

The Bad
Even though the levels vary allot there is still only one thing to do..kill. This gets a bit boring after awhile and even though the levels do get very hard the only thing that makes them harder is because there are more enemy's.

The Bottom Line
If you like games that have mindless violence which I think all of us do =) then you will like this game. And even though the game says that it should only be played by 18 and over I think that the game should really only be 15+.

Windows · by Horny-Bullant (49) · 2003

One of my guilty little pleasures.

The Good
Everybody gets to have one game that they absolutely love despite the fact that it's puerile, mindless, technically unimpressive, and overall just not very good. Postal is mine.

The premise is very simple: You have a gun. You run around shooting people with it. Along the way you acquire better guns to shoot more people and cause greater mayhem. Oh, sometimes there's a voice in your head, too, that talks to you. ("He never liked you." "Let's blow something up!" "Only my weapon understands me.") Postal is an equal-opportunity employer: You murder both men and women (never children); whites and blacks; cops, military personnel, and civilians; and even the flightless, non-human residents of an ostrich farm.

The game is so ridiculously violent it's funny. Launch an incendiary weapon into the ranks of a marching band or a group of protestors, and watch them all scatter, waving their instruments and picket signs, screaming while on fire, until they collapse as charred corpses. Twisted, depraved fun. If your bathrobe-clad postal dude catches on fire himself he'll run around screaming too, unable to shoot, but you can attempt to run him into other people and engulf them in flames as well. The game also seems to have an uncanny sense of comic timing. At one point I was in the middle of a huge shootout, gunfire ringing all over, explosions, people screaming and dying... then it all goes silent, and after a perfect one-second pause, you hear this total redneck voice call out: "Whut'n the hell's goin' on here?" I almost asphyxiated from laughing so hard.

The Bad
Well, like I said above... It's puerile, mindless, technically unimpressive, and overall just not very good. The graphics are dated (even for the time) and the gameplay behaves like what you might expect from a typical shareware title. The AI is particularly lame at times. Sometimes a guy will just stand still and not even react while you pound him with bullets. Aside from a few standouts (truck stop, parade, protestors, ostrich farm, military base), there's a bland sameness to most of the levels.

I didn't care for the expansion pack at all. The additional levels were entertaining, but the new screams of anguish from your victims come across as too forced, trying too hard to be funny. And what's worse, it overwrites the original sounds, so you have to reinstall the game to get them back.

The Bottom Line
While not a particularlly well-made game by any standard, Postal is an excellent stress reliever. How many times have you wanted to do something like this, but your conscience got in the way? Postal is a unique simulation of the experience of being a mass-murderer. And isn't that the whole point of computer gaming, to be able to experience something you never could in real life?

P.S. I understand there's a 3D-based sequel in the works.

Windows · by Ye Olde Infocomme Shoppe (1674) · 2003

[ View all 4 player reviews ]

Trivia

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In an advertising video for the game, as the main character throws a molotov cocktail into the middle of a marching band, a voice-over says; "They're out to get you... or are they? It doesn't matter!"

Android release

The Postal release for Android was rejected by Google Play due to "gratuitous violence". The reason for rejecting became an age-rating system which was added in Google Play in March, 2015.

In April, 2015 RWS, Inc. released the Android version of Postal on Amazon App Store.

Controversy

This game received a lot of attention since it was released at the height of the media's crusades on violence in gaming. It was banned in over ten countries, including Australia, and the developer was allegedly sued by the US Postal Service for misappropriating the term "postal".

European version

The European release misses the executions and the "Elementary School" sequence. An official uncut patch was released by Running With Scissors on their website http://www.gopostal.com/ (under the name "Euro Violence")

German index

On June 30, 1998, Postal was put on the infamous German index by the BPjS. For more information about what this means and to see a list of games sharing the same fate, take a look here: BPjS/BPjM indexed games.

Graphics

Many people think that the game characters are sprites, but they are, in fact, flat-textured polygon models put into hand-drawn landscape. This becomes obvious if one tries to repaint them in the editor.

Source Code

On December 28, 2016 the source code of Postal was released to the public under the GPL2 license. It can be downloaded here.

Information also contributed by Adam Baratz, Blood, Chentzilla, Jason Musgrave, Xoleras and Ye Olde Infocomme Shoppe

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Related Games

Postal²
Released 2003 on Windows, 2004 on Macintosh, 2012 on Linux
Postal²: Complete
Released 2009 on Windows, Linux, 2012 on Macintosh
Postal Unlimited
Released 2007 on Windows
Postal III
Released 2011 on Windows
Postal Plus
Released 2001 on Windows, Linux, 2013 on Macintosh
Super Postal
Released 2000 on Windows
Postal: Redux
Released 2016 on Windows, 2020 on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4
Postal²: Shtopor Zhzh0t!
Released 2005 on Windows
Postal: Real Edition
Released 2000 on Browser

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  • MobyGames ID: 2924
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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Kasey Chang.

Android added by SiberiumSkalker. Macintosh added by Yearman. Dreamcast added by Maztr_0n.

Additional contributors: Jeanne, Patrick Bregger, SiberiumSkalker, PHBaretta.

Game added January 6, 2001. Last modified February 10, 2024.