The Hunchback's Castellations Really Get You
It is not often that a piece of software changes your life, let alone a game. However having been exposed to Hunchback, I am sure my life will never be the same for a long time.
For the last six months, first thing every morning, my young son Alec (two at the moment) has demanded: "See little man", and nothing will suffice but we load up Hunchback and send a score of little men plunging to their deaths.
The fact that this is not the object of the game doesn't seem to bother him. The excellent sound and graphics hold his attention and bring out gales of laughter as if he were being tickled.
That notwithstanding the Superior Software offering is a very good game. The object is to rescue Esmeralda, who is captive in a tower.
Before you reach her you have to run along the battle ments avoiding the castle's formidable defences.
You have three controls "Run left", "Run right" and "Jump" which can be operated from the keyboard or from a joystick. There are 12 screens, each containing a different combination of hazards.
The game starts with your "little man" at one end of a wall and a bell with a long rope attached at the other.
As you make your first strides towards the bell a rasping thud rings out and a cannon ball Hies towards you.
Judging the correct moment to jump over it is not so tricky and is rewarded with a very satisfying exuberant "weeeee" noise.
However if the cannon ball so much as clips you. you plummet off thc wall with an elongated "arrrrr" noise.
When you reach the rope you grab it and the bell rings, then thc screen scrolls lumpily sideways to the next section of thc wall. This reveals a large chasm with a swinging rope. You have to judge your run and jump very finely to grab the rope and swing across.
Next you face a series of castellations in the battlements which you have to leap over. In the next wall the castellations are filled with guards raising and lowering their spears.
No prizes for guessing where they get your "little man" as he leaps over them.
The remaining walls consist of a mixture of these hazards with cannon balls and arrows coming from both directions and varying heights.
The final wall throws the lot at you with Esmeralda waiting at the top of the final rope. Having never got through thc final wall I can't tell you what happens when you reach it.
To allow you to keep track of your progress there is an insert showing your overall position and distance from Esmeralda.
The scoring is simple. For each section of wall there is a bonus score that keeps ticking away, the longer you take to complete a wall the lower your score.
The usual high score table keeps track of the best score. You can play the game at three levels of difficulty which mainly affect the speed of the action. There is also a special feature to allow you to practise on any of the wall sections, which is useful as it allowed me to see what the further wall sections looked like.
All in all, this game has excellent graphics and sound blended in a way that is remarkably good.
It has a good addiction factor and is fun into the bargain. As Alec puts it: "See little man AGAIN"!