Friday, May 25, 2012


Next on my list of Breakout clones is a game that has had a lot of ports and adaptions over the years, and that game is called Circus.  I have never played any of the "Circus" games, and the arcade original was my first.  I know the Atari 2600 version is pretty famous, but does the arcade version compare favorably?  I have not played the 2600 version either, although I will very soon, but I will try my best to sum up this arcade original. 

Let me just say, this game is tough.  I don't know how the 2600 version compares in terms of difficulty, but the arcade game is really hard.  The game starts with a clown veering off a platform and the other clown must catch him by moving his seesaw.  Upon the first clown hitting the seesaw, the other clown will veer into the air and pop balloons, and then land back on the seesaw, sending the other clown into the air, and so forth.  Hitting the balloons will translate into points for you.  The yellow is on the bottom (20 points), green is in the middle (50) and blue is at the top (100 points). 

That is pretty much the objective of the game.  Where the difficulty comes in, is that the game is really fast, and in some cases, it's impossible for the clown to hit the seesaw.  Often, the clown must hit towards the end of the side of the board that is empty.  Otherwise, the clown will usually die.  And missing the clown altogether is very common too, as the game is fast. 

As I've noted in those days, the monitors used were monochrome, so color overlays had to be used on the monitors.  The graphics and the sound, therefore, are very simple.  In some cases, the gameplay can overshadow the primitive nature of the technology involved.  Unfortunately, this isn't the case here.  Although it seems that the gameplay improved in later ports of the game, this arcade version is simply too tough and fast to recommend. 


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