Continental Circus (Virgin) Review | Zzap - Everygamegoing


Continental Circus
By Virgin Games
Amiga 500

Published in Zzap #55

Continental Circus

If you've visited the arcades within the last year you'll probably have seen and played one of the hottest driving games around: Taito's Continental Circus. The main innovation for the arcade machine was the stereoscopic 3D used - the screen is viewed through a pair of special LCD glasses.

No such gimmicks for the home version but otherwise the game is the same. In your super-fast Formula One-type car, you must race around the track, reaching the checkpoints within the time limit.

Of course, you're not the only car on the track - contact with computer cars or signs at the side of the track causes your engine to smoke - if you don't get to the pits in time, the car will catch fire and blow up. If you're smoking (very bad for your health) and suffer a second collision, the car spins out of control, exploding into a welter of fireballs. Miraculously, this does not cause your death but slows you down as you have to start accelerating again from a standstill.

Starting in Brazil, you race around eight tracks all over the world, finishing up in Japan. On later tracks an added hazard are the occasional rainstorms which makes the track slippy. To qualify for these later circuits you must complete the lap within the time limit and overtake enough computer cars to achieve the required rank. Fail to do this and you lose one of your credits.

So put your foot on the accelerator and your hand on the gearstick to be first to reach the gorgeous redhead waving the chequered flag!


Converting yet another racing game whose only unique feature, the 3D, would be lost might seem a silly idea. But while the finished game is completely unoriginal, it's been programmed well enough to be both attractive and fun to play.

The 'extend' part of the game works well, providing a welcome diversion on fairly long tracks which don't change that much. Amiga owners benefit from a slightly faster game, but the C64 version is still very fast and much better value for money. All in all, two extremely competent and enjoyable conversions.


This was great fun in the arcades, especially with the stereoscopic 3D which heightened the excitement. Even though this is obviously missing from the home versions, they retain the coin-ops fast, addictive action.

Technically, both versions are fast enough but lack any graphical frills - I was especially disappointed by the feeble smoke and explosion effects. The driving itself isn't that realistic, especially cornering where there's no need to slow down unless it's a really tight bend - on tortuous circuits like Monaco you can even take short cuts across the grass! But it's the pace and simplicity of the action that draws you in and keeps you playing.

Unfortunately, I found it just that bit too easy to complete the first few tracks and it doesn't get that much harder on the later levels.

Verdict: C64

Presentation 81%
No multi-load. Good circuit diagram showing progress after race.

Graphics 74%
Okay car sprites, nice side graphics and hills.

Sound 76%
Fine engine drone, good 'Extend' and level-end tunelets.

Hookability 81%
Instantly playable...

Lastability 70%
...but not much variety.

Overall 74%
An extremely playable coin-op conversion.

Verdict: Amiga

Presentation 70%
Some attractive, digitized pictures between games.

Graphics 78%
Fast 3D scrolling and fine car sprites.

Sound 68%
Dull engine drone and okay tunes.

Hookability 80%
Typical coin-op, simplicity makes it easy to get into...

Lastability 68%
...but changing courses and background graphics don't add enough variety.

Overall 73%
Simple, addictive Formula One fun.