A&B Computing

Circus Games

Author: Dave Reeder
Publisher: Tynesoft
Machine: BBC/Electron

Published in A&B Computing 6.06

Despite the fact that I'm writing this on the first day of April, Tynesoft really has produced a trick-horse riding simulation for the BBC Micro - no joke.

Also tightrope walking, trapeze work and tiger training - all in the (full title) Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Circus Games, henceforth to be known in these pages as straight Circus Games. However, I don't expect we'll be talking about this simulation much in the future as - gasp! - it's rather poor.

Not the gameplay - that's great fun with somersaults on the high wire, corkscrews on the trapeze, handstands on the back of the horse and so on - but the graphics which, not to put too fine a point on it, are atrocious. In fact, I'm sure they're even worse than the shots on the packaging.

Circus Games

What this means, in essence, is that for some reason the game takes an interminable amount of time to load, leading one to expect dynamic graphics. However, no such luck. Any excitement the events might create is dulled by the fact they're both flat and unsharp.

This is a pity as the gameplay could be great - on the Amiga version, which I've also played, it is wonderful - and there is still a lot of enjoyment to be had from the game. It's unusual, to say the least, and each event is split up into various sub-events, making the game richer than you might at first think. Take the tightrope, for example - first, you must cross the wire and perform a somersault; next, cross the wire and do a handstand and a cartwheel; lastly, ride a unicycle across the wire. And back.

So, there's fun there. It's just such a pity about the look of the thing - we've come to expect rather more from Tynesoft. After all, any company who can come up with such a zappy new logo, ought to be more rigorous about the games it releases. Especially rigorous about the tiger-training where the version on my screen bears very little relationship with the screenshot on the packaging? It may be my machine, of course, as I had already disabled every ROM in it apart from BASIC and the DFS - now there's unfriendly software!

Incidentally, did you know that the phrase "the greatest show on Earth" is copyright? Strange world. And, as a final thought - how can we have games set in a circus and no clowns?

Dave Reeder

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