Personal Computer News


Author: Simon Williams
Publisher: Amsoft
Machine: Amstrad CPC464

Published in Personal Computer News #078

Punch Lines

Punch Lines

This is the most original of all the versions of Hunchback. And it makes use of just about all the traditional characters and objects from the puppet booth. Mr. Micro, who converted the game for Amsoft, has tried to produce a program that is both challenging and charming at the same time.


Mr. Punch has kidnapped Judy and locked her in the Punch and Judy booth.

As the strong arm of the law, in the rather paunchy shape of PC Bobby, you make a valiant attempt to reach her by jumping, ducking and walking through all the hazards the evil Punch can put in your way.


In Play

The playing screen is drawn up as a traditional stage, complete with tragicomic masks and proscenium arch. The toy clouds roll above as your overweight constable marches across to the sound of his own squeaky boots.

The figure is a good size and moves realistically. The left and right cursor keys walk him in the appropriate directions, the Copy key makes him jump and the down arrow ducks him down into a suitably Dixonesque 'ello, 'ello, 'ello squat.


The audience obviously don't think much of his act however, since he is forever dodging their tomatoes and custard pies.

Getting through each of the 16 screens is essentially a question of timing, but fortunately the flying obstacles appear pretty much at the same point each time you play.

Points are scored for completing a screen and a bonus is awarded for completing five screens without losing a life. At the right end of each screen is a small cot, and Bobby 'rocks the baby' to the tune of Rockabye Baby.


Later stages involve jumping onto carpets to cheat crocodiles of a meal, avoiding the thrust of Mr. Punch's sword and numerous other well-executed obstacles. Every so often Judy will send Bobby a good-luck message in the form of a sausage (it takes all sorts) and if he jumps successfully for three of these, you can skip the difficult screen of your choice.

It would have been useful to have had a practice option to start at any screen, and the demo mode mentioned on the cassette insert didn't appear to work.


Although a derivative of the arcade game, Punchy is sufficiently original to stand on its own. Indeed, for my money, it is a better story and more enjoyable.

Simon Williams

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