C&VG1st September 1989
Published in Computer & Video Games #94
Fiendish Freddy's Big Top O' Fun
There's never been a circus quite like the Big Top O' Fun, but it will never stage another performance unless it earns enough cash to keep it going. This is because the bankers and lenders, Dewey, Chetum and Howe (boo! hiss!) have loaned the circus £10,000 - and they want it back *tonight*.
This is where you come in. By taking part in six performances, you can earn enough money to save the big top from ruin. It's not that easy, though: you're got no previous circus experience, and some of the events are *very* tricky. Just to make things worse, Fiendish Freey - a clown gone to the bad - has a vested interest in your failure; if the loan isn't repaid, he can build a condominium on the vacant land. That means his twisted mind is constantly dreaming up dastardly schemes to foil your performance just when things are going well...
Up to five players can help you save the circus, but because of the overall target you're aiming for, the action is just as much fun on your own. Each event has its own selection of tunes and is multi-loaded; this is fine if you've got a couple of drives, since only one disk change is needed; if not, it's a bit irksome.
The first performance is the high dive. Playing a mustachioed strongman, you plummet from a great height into a little tub of water, adopting any one of eight very silly poses on the way down.
Juggling involves... juggling. A seal tosses you (a clown on a unicycle) various objects which you have to keep airborne until the time limit expires.
The trapeze is a good old-fashioned expertise in timing. Let go of the rope too soon and you plummet to a squishy death; hold on too long and our fiendish foe comes along and cuts you off.
In the Knife-throw event, you toss daggers at a helpless female strapped to a revolving wheel, scoring points for popping balloons.
The last two events are the most tricky: the tightrope needs fast reactions and the human cannonball requires a great anticipation; if you aren't anywhere near the £10,000 by then, you've got no chance! Success in each event earns money - but how much is decided by a panel of five loony judges, who hate one another as much as they despise poor performances. If their antics don't make you laugh, nothing in a computer game will.
Fiendish Freddy is a very enjoyable game: it's simple to understand but difficult to master, is brilliantly animated and has a great sense of humour. However, there are some poor points: the price is a bit steep, the loading system is annoyingly slow, and one or two presentation scenes before tiresome after extended play.
Apart from that, take a look. It's everything all the previous circus-based games should have been and lots more besides.
A bit pricey - but the zany humour, brilliant animation and simple addictiveness make this a worthy addition to anyone's software collection.