[Arcade]  

Title: Circus Charlie
Author:Konami
Rom Player: MAME
Reviewer: Ragey

Synopsis: Circus Charlie, a game about a clown who looks way too human and has a standard name instead of something like "Bozo", "Rover" or "Toilet Duck", so to prove his clownliness he does six daring performances to impress his clown friends. Okay, I made that up, but I'm pretty pleased with it. It's just another retro game with no plot but still fun.

-Gameplay
There are six difficulties in shows to do, Easy, Normal, Normal (again), Hard, Harder and Hardest. Let's see what each game is...
Easy: You ride a lion around the circus while jumping through flaming hoops and leaping over pots also spouting flames. The smaller hoops usually contain some cash which is worth bonus points for our clowny friend.
Normal: Tight-rope walking! Now, since this is another side-scrolling one (all of the games are), it would be pretty hard to fall off. Thankfully, Konami plopped some monkeys that walk slowly towards you on the tight-rope, if you come into contact with them, you fall down on your bum while the crowd pities you. There are also purple monkeys which leap over the standard brown ones, these miscoloured monkeys are blindingly fast, but award you with points if you leap over it while it's also leaping over a standard monkey.
Normal (again): Bounce from one trampoline to another, you can't fall off your trampoline, you can only fail if you stay on one trampoline too much (you bounce higher and higher until you rip through the circus roof) or get stabbed and burned in mid-jump by the fire-breathers and homicidal maniacs below. Occasionally you'll spot some cash floating just below the roof, maybe it's part of someone else's trick? :0
Hard: Ball rolling. My least favourite of the games, you roll around on top of a ball from one to another to reach the end. Stay on a ball for too long and you fall off, bump into another and you fall off, and if you miss jumping onto another ball? Failure. You get additional points for leaping over a ball and onto another.
Harder: Horse riding is pretty fast and fun, you ride your horse which you can change it's speed via pressing the joystick backwards and forwards. You have these bouncy platforms which you have to leap over or leave your horse without a rider. Depending on your speed, it determines how far you bounce off the platforms, so some strategy is required. Be sure to land on the platform at the end!
Hardest: In the final event, you swing on ropes, hold onto clowns who are swinging on ropes and bounce off trampolines to reach the skank at the end. This one's really difficult, especially since if you fail near the end, you're sent two or three ropes back. Once you reach your skank, you make out while Charlie's pants fall and come back up again (don't ask), then he splits into about 10 clones of himself, jumps up and down, then reform again. Weird.
With all those games, although I only enjoyed two of them, I rather like this game and it's actually one of the very few games where I focus on getting a high score!

-Graphics
For it's time, the graphics seem pretty good, they're nice, colourful, and are big enough to allow you to know what they are. Some have a good few frames of animation, too.

-Music
Well, it's pretty standard clown music, in low-quality form. There are some good tunes like the horse-riding theme and the "you fell on your ass!" music, but everything else is just Satanic and evil circus music, thankfully in midi form, but still enough to torment you.

-Originality
I don't know of any games related to circuses, clowns, or under-dressed women who sit around on girders, and back then it must have been more original than it would be now. A good ol' 8 for originality.

Overall
I really enjoyed this game, but it has little replay value other than racking up a score or seeing how long you can withstand the Hardest event music, and it reminds me far too much of childhood events I'd rather forget. However, it's still a fun game, and especially with it's teeny-weeny size, it's worth a look.

Best Cheats: Cheats? Clowns don't cheat. All they do is use magic and advertise vomit-inducing high-fat foods.

Game Play: 7
Graphics: 8
Music/Sound: 2
Originality: 8
Overall Rating: 6

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