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Punchy


Title: Punchy
Programmer: Evan Parton
Publisher: Commodore
Year: 1984
Language: English

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Review by Sixteen Plus

This game was part of the showcase package bundled with the Commodore 16 back in 1984, and what a great start this was.

For those who are unaware, this is based on the classic puppet show adventures of Punch & Judy you sometimes see at fairs and beach resorts. You the protagonist play the role of a british-bobby named ummm PC Bobby. Your antagonist is of course Punch the wife beater, who has locked poor battered fishwife Judy away in the booth. Your mission is to go and rescue her by completing 14 different stages of all I can assume is on top of a castle turret wall with a stage setting.

This is a standard left, right & jump affair. Bobby starts from the left and he has to reach the right of the screen before the timer runs out. Reach the baby’s crib and a small lullaby jingle plays summoning on the next level and any remaining time gets added to your score.

Hmm, 14 levels equals 14 baby cribs.. Heheh, Punch & Judy has been busy.

…Back to the game. Each level has different obstacles to avoid. The first level is simple, no holes to jump over but you have to watch out for the flying custard pies and rotten tomatoes, they come flying at you from either the left or right, high or low depending on the level. If they hit you, you lose a life. If the time runs out, you lose a life. You get 5 lives in total.

Other levels include small pits you need to jump over, on some levels the pit will have Punch standing inside below each of them one at a time thrusting a nasty sword up and down to try finish Bobby off. He’d get life imprisonment for that nowadays. Other levels require a large pit you need to cross via a magic carpet which moves left & right.

Sounds familiar?

Well apart from the rope swinging section being replaced by a flying carpet, what we have here is a clone on the arcade classic “Hunchback”, and Evan Parton who produced a few titles for the Commodore 16 has done a fine job of it. The graphics are large, bright clear and colourful. Bobby is well-defined and Punchy himself fittingly has a Quasimodo hump. The control of Bobby is responsive and smooth, the missiles are nicely placed that with practice you can work out how best to avoid them. As an added touch, there is a nice rolling cloud scenery at the top of the screen which gives the game visuals that little bit more pazazz.

The sound, umm well it’s a just basic one channel noise. Simple plodding walk FX, a woo noise for jumping and a simple rock-a-bye lullaby for end of level which would quite honestly annoy any baby. For some reason though, the death sad woo FX always makes me chuckle.

The learning curve isn’t steep, it’s an instant pick up and play. The levels get progessively more difficult but no way impossible. With lots of practice it really shouldn’t take too long to complete. Your only reward though is Punch suddenly appearing guarding the booth where Judy is held with his sword up in offence. All I can assume is that PC Bobby thought better of it and so came back a little later to try again, and hence back to the start.

One small gripe with this game. In Hunchback, collect 5 bells and you get an extra life. But the bonus here doesn’t seem to go beyond the first police helmet. This might just be an emulator bug issue. I will update this bit when I know more. It’s easy enough that it’s not essential anyway.

Anyway, all I can really say is that this is definitely the best Hunchback clone on the C16. In fact it’s the only real true Hunchback clone. Punchy was also released on other 8-bit systems and the C16 version is by no means the worst, in fact I would call it one of the better ones. It was the second C16 game I ever played which came second on the showcase tape after the brilliant Xzap. Punchy is a fun addictive little platformer based on an arcade classic, a perfect way in introducing us to such an under-rated system.

Presentation: 5
Keyboard control. Simple title screen 14 challenging well presented screens. Hi-Score. A possible harmless bonus-life bug which doesn’t work, but just might be an emulator issue.
Graphics: 7
Large, crisp and colourful. Well detailed. Collision detection and movement is good and the cloud effect is really nice.
Sound: 5
Not a lot to it, just a few silly spot FX and an annoying lullaby, and it gets really annoying.
Playability: 8
The good collision detection and smooth control makes this instantly easy to get into very quickly.
Lasting Appeal: 7
This will keep you hooked at least long enough to finish the game. After that, you will want to come back for the hi-scores.
Overall: 7
It’s Hunchback but with a lot of Punch. A game guaranteed not to give you the hump. Doh!

A short review by Admin Chris

Punchy was released with the C16 Starter Pack. with a variety of other software titles.  The aim of the game is to guide the police man from Punch & Judy across a Pitfall style of game.  The difficulty levels of this game are quite good. starting of relatively easy. with simple obstacles to over come.  Slowly teaching you how to overcome these as the levels increase. From avoiding things that look like dogs speeding towards you. jumping onto magic carpets in order to cross large canyons.  Lots of running and jumping to do on here. the keyboard configuration works alright too.

The graphics and sound are very good considering this was one of the fist titles to be released for this machine.  I couldn’t have asked for a better game to be packed with the Starter Pack.

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