Amstrad Computer User

Fiendish Freddy's Big Top O' Fun

Author: Adrian Pumphrey
Publisher: Mindscape International Inc
Machine: Amstrad CPC464

Published in Amstrad Computer User #61

Save the circus from the clutches of the greedy bank, but watch out for that clown with the evil smile.

Fiendish Freddy's Big Top O' Fun

Save the circus from the clutches of the greedy bank, but watch out for that clown with the evil smile.

When the greedy bank calls in its debts, it takes no chances. The circus must pay back $10,000 or lose everything. The land upon which the circus stands is worth a fortune and the bank means to have it. To prevent prompt payment by the circus, the bank have sent along a representative in the guise of the clown Fiendish Freddy. As the circus goes about its business, Freddy goes about his with bomb, knife and a devious sense of humour.

The game starts as it means to go on, with a laugh. A cartoon-style animation sequence shows the circus owner receiving the ultimatum from the bank and the arrival of Freddy. After selecting the number of players, it's on with the show. There are six performances with which you must raise the money. After each performance a panel of judges decides the worth of your efforts in hard cash. The judges themselves put in a pretty good performance as they make rude noises, throw pies and commit a variety of violent acts against one another. At first, the events may seem a little on the hard side but a practice mode allows a few dry runs before the show begins.

Fiendish Freddy's Big Top O' Fun

The game starts with a splash as Horace risks life and limb in the high dive. As Horace hurtles through the air, performing various manoeuvres he must keep his sights firmly on the water container below. Missing the container not only results in the end of the event, but a flat Horace. As the performance goes through its paces the container reduces in size from a large tub to a tea cup. Freddy pops up occasionally in this event with a fan which he uses to blow Horace off course.

My favourite act is the juggling which, to my mind, is the funniest and most demanding of the events. Jeffy-Joe balances upon his unicycle juggling the objects thrown to him by the sea-lion but when Freddy tempts it with a fish, things become a little hairy. Juggling chainsaws and babies is relatively easy but when Freddy introduces bombs and torpedoes, you drop them at your peril.

The trapeze act reminds me of the rope scenes in the game Hunchback. Initially you must swing on each rope to gain momentum then it is an act of faith as you let go, do a somersault and make a grab for the next rope. After a few ropes you get to leap through flaming hoops and so on. Hang too long on a rope and Freddy will come along and cut it, introducing Finola the Flying Fuller to her fans the hard way.

Fiendish Freddy's Big Top O' Fun

Next comes a performance not to be tried at the dining table: knife throwing. As Knancy Knife rotates on the wheel you must hurl knives in her general direction hoping to burst the balloons and not Knancy.

Freddy attempts to distract by throwing smoke bombs between you and Knancy. When the final blade has been thrown Freddy unbolts the wheel and Knancy spins off the screen.

Tony Tiptoe finds life hard enough trying to balance on the trapeze but Freddy is making life downright fatal. On the first crossing Freddy tries to blast Tony off the rope with a cannon and on subsequent crossings with a hail of circular saw blades. When Tony falls, Freddy walks out to where he is hanging from the tightrope. Depending upon his mood Freddy either peels back Tony's fingers or hits them with a mallet.

Fiendish Freddy's Big Top O' Fun

The final act has more bravery than brains as the human cannon-ball enters the ring. His lovely assistant puts a variable amount of powder in the cannon and then Fernando climbs in.

You must set the angle of the cannon and the distance of the target and pray. Missing the target can be painful but not as painful as the spanner Freddy throws in the works if you take too long.

If at the end of the show no player has managed to raise the $10,000 then the circus is doomed and... Well I'll let you discover that for yourselves.

Fiendish Freddy's Big Top O' Fun is an original game with some superb black comedy sequences. Without Freddy the game would be good but with him it is superb. This is one character that could catch on and we at ACU hope to see him again soon.

Adrian Pumphrey

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