Punchy is a clone of the 1983 arcade game Hunchback.
While using themes and elements from the classic puppet theater Punch & Judy, the game's protagonist is not Punch himself, but Police Constable Bobby.
For reference, in a classic Punch & Judy performance the constable is a common minor character who attempts to break up the domestic violence between the titular characters over Punch's lack of adequate childcare with their baby. Unfortunately, the constable (as with many other minor characters) is typically beaten senseless (or to death) by Punch in a violent manner.
The Game's Story/Basics
You are Police Constable Bobby trying to rescue Judy from her notoriously violent/abusive husband Punch, who (in this game) has locked Judy in a box. You are tasked with guiding PC Bobby across 16 stages (from both the theatrical and video game definition) to reach Judy's box. Along the way, you must rock the baby's cradle at the end of each stage to keep it asleep.
Throughout the stages are various obstacles that attempt to prevent you from accomplishing your goal. Contact with any of these will knock PC Bobby off the stage and cause him to lose a life.
- Flying Tomatoes
- Flying Custard Pies
- Pits (with and without alligators)
- Punch himself with his stick
There are also collectible sausages floating around some of the stages. Once three are collected, they can be 'activated' by pulling back on the joystick. This causes PC Bobby to shoot straight across the stage directly to the baby's cradle. Enemies/obstacles do not affect him during the use of sausages.
I'm not sure why sausages power Bobby across the stage in such a way....perhaps they have a high bean content that induces rapid and powerfully explosive flatulence???
This video contains gameplay portions only; loading time is omitted.
- Aims for fastest completion
- Uses hardest/fastest difficulty
- It is allowed to select level 1-5 at the beginning of the game, this simply affects the speed at which everything in the game moves. As 5 is fastest, it was selected
- No new obstacles/challenges exist at higher difficulty levels.
The biggest challenge in TASing this game was to determine on which stages to utilize the sausages. The first few uses were easy, as stages with sausages available alternated. For other uses it was necessary to determine how many stages existed between opportunities to collect sausages. Then when multiple stages existed between these opportunities, it was necessary to determine how long it took to complete each of those stages normally. The longest of these stages was then selected to be the stage the sausages were used in.
- All horizontal movement must be performed by direct controller input.
- Pressing the jump button only initiates movement of PC Bobby up and back down.
- Horizontal movement during jumps must be actively performed as there is no horizontal momentum.
- Horizontal direction during jumps is changeable at any moment throughout the jump.
- After rescuing Judy, the game loops back to stage one.
- The difficulty/speed remain at Level 5, thus only one loop of the 16 stages is necessary to experience all unique content and complete this game.
- As there is no retained horizontal momentum in the movement mechanics, it's not possible to end the run earlier by jumping into the end trigger.
While there are disk images of this game available, I could not find reference to an official release on disk medium. Thus this run is done using a tape image.
Region (PAL vs NTSC)
For what it's worth, many C64 games released in one region work perfectly well in the other region with no glitches or impact to gameplay. This includes real media, not just emulation; while there were differences in the NTSC/PAL hardware, media from one region could be used on a system from the other region. The only times games tend to have issues being run on an out-of-region system is if the game is specially coded to deal with a particular region's frame rate.
Punchy runs equally well using either PAL or NTSC sync settings with no obvious glitches resulting from being played in one setting over the other. As NTSC runs at a bit higher framerate than PAL, the game can be completed faster in NTSC mode. Other than gameplay speed, the only other notable difference is the pitch of various sound effects being slightly higher pitch in NTSC mode.
While I was able to find one reference
to a North American release of this game, I have (as yet) been unable to confirm this elsewhere; therefore the submitted file uses PAL sync settings. If the judge/staff feel this one reference is enough to warrant the game being run in NTSC mode for publication purposes, I have also created a .bk2 using NTSC sync settings which is available in userfiles
. The gameplay portion of the NTSC run is approximately 3:02 and the submitted PAL version is approximately 3:08. Total times including loading is roughly 10:21 for PAL and 9:58 for NTSC.
Here is a comparison video of the run two regions. PAL is on the left; NTSC is on the right.
: Replacing file with version that uses NTSC region settings for the reasons mentioned in this post
: Dropping claim due to personally finding improvements.
: Replacing movie file for a 14 frames improvement and adding Memory to the author list.
: I confirm that there is no difficulty available higher than the one cleared in the submitted movie. Also, the game counts as beaten because it reaches its supposed ending, according to the plot.
While there are little evidences pointing that this game was officially commercialized for the North American market, I have to note that on the other hand there is nothing that suggest the opposite. Also, the game plays perfectly fine and very similarly in both PAL and NTSC modes, so both are allowed.
For the rest, gameplay resulted very play and audience response was mediocre, so I'm accepting it for Vault.