Circus Atari

Atari 2600

Review by Al Backiel



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circusatari.gif (2586 bytes)The objective of this type of game is the same as in Breakout: knock out rows of bricks (in this case, balloons) using the paddle controllers. To do this, you jump on the high end of a teeter-totter and catapult a clown on the low end upwards to break the balloons at the top of the screen. The balloons are actually colored squares. They scroll in 3 rows in an alternating fashion. There are 2 trampolines (platforms) on each side of the screen to jump from. The big points come when you get the clown to stay aloft long for awhile and knock out multiple balloons. When you miss the see-saw, the death scene is a little sick - you land on your head with your arms and legs flailing in the air. A trace of Atari’s dark side, perhaps?

This game is probably the most primitive graphically to “clone” titles on other classic systems, but it’s still my favorite. Circus Atari is the only one that lets you switch the direction of the see-saw, which comes in handy when making last second adjustments. It’s also the only one with an “extra clown” bonus. The speed of the rebounding clowns can be either fast or slow by settting the switches. There is a wide-ranging game variation matrix here, too: you can have barriers that must be shot between or they will bounce the clown back sharply... there is a feature similar to the one in Atari’s Breakout, where you can break through the balloons right to the top of the screen... usually you have to take out one row completely before a new one appears but in another variation, ALL rows must be eliminated before you get a new set of balloons. The Atari version thankfully has the longest see-saw and is probably the easiest to control. Although you only get five lives at start, with bonuses it is possible to max out the score at 9,999!


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Last updated: Wednesday, December 10, 2003 02:17 PM