ZX Spectrum Hunchback 2
Well ZX Spectrum gamers loved Hunchback by Ocean Software - which is strange because it was, in the main pretty much crap.
With it being popular a sequel was on the cards, and out came this follow up platform game in late 1984. Was this incarnation any better and would it contain any decent arcade action?
Well sort of. Once again poor Esmerelda had been captured and was impisoned in a castle stronghold - so you would play out your rescue over seven screens.
The game was of the classic platform game variety, with our hero having to collect bells in order to progress to the next screen. As well as being able to jump your game character could also grab onto moving ropes and use them to travel upwards and downwards.
There were the usual items to avoid such as arrows flying across the screen, bouncing fireballs, bats, large rats and moving platforms atop pulleys had to be negotiated with care.
The menu screen was quite nicely presented and had a synthesised version of the William Tell Overture (which was quite good before the advent of plip plop music). It certainly had that 'Ocean' feel to it anyway.
You began the game with five lives - and you needed them. The game was all about timing your jumps and waiting for the right moment to move upwards or downwards.
You had to collect all of the small bells (by walking over them) on each screen before making your way to the big bell (usually at the top of the playing area) where you would be transported to the following screen.
It would take a while to master, but once you knew the pattern it was easy to work your way through the current level you were on.
The worst part was that if you were killed at any point the current screen was re-set and you had to do it all again - as in re-collect all of the items. A bit of a bummer that.
All in all Hunchback II was an improvement on the first game, and it was a decent enough platform / arcade game. The traversing and climbing of ropes was a nice feature that made it stand out from other platformers a litte. Even so, it was never in the same league as the likes of Manic Miner, Jet Set Willy or Chuckie Egg.
This game was highly anticipated due to the popularity of the first title. I reckon it was a big improvement on the first offering and was more playable. The graphics were improved also - although the main character could have been animated better (especially when he jumps). Still, this game was playable enough and sold plenty of copies.
The Test Of Time:
It hasn't aged at all well. I just can't get into it and can't be bothered to re-learn the patterns to each screen. It all get's pretty frustrating due to some dodgy collision detection and having to re-do each screen from scratch every time you lose a life. I'd rather play many other arcade games of this type - even the uber difficult Fahrenheit 3000 grabs me more than this. I do like the high score table entry though. Not bad - but not one of the best.
It used to be classic arcade action.... but now it's so so:
Classic Games, Arcade Games and ZX Spectrum Games