Struggle and juggle with the plates, balance and spin them or crash them on the floor.
Your task is to collect plates, place them on poles and keep them spinning. This is the main theme throughout, though there are variations on each level.
The graphics are among the best produced for the Commodore 64. A curtain lifts to display the oriental juggler and take you through the demo mode. Ocean seems to have forgotten nothing in this game - response time, movement, music, graphics and colour are all good.
The game needs a joystick in port two. In Level 1 you must collect the plates singly and spin them on the poles. There are eight poles, so you must be quick.
To pick up the plates, position the juggler alongside a plate and press the Fire button. Then move to an empty pole and press the Fire button again and hey presto you have a spinning plate. There are two problems with this - the juggler's position must be absolutely accurate and the game gets faster after each plate has been positioned on a pole.
The plates are different colours, denoting different spinning times. For instance, white is the longest and purple the shortest. The player may change the colour of the plates by tossing them in the air. Be wary when doing this as a plate is lost if it turns black. A time limit adds to the manic flavour of the game.
The action is substantially different after the first level. On level two you must pick up a specific colour plate. If the colour you're after is not available you must pick up one of four plates and toss it in the air until it turns to the colour needed or it turns black and is lost. Spin the plates already positioned and the colour of the next plate you need to pick up changes.
At each level the game speeds up considerably. I managed to complete five levels and struggled with the sixth (score 35,000 approx).
After each level you complete you're rewarded by an amusing little display. The first two displays are juggled around in varying combinations when you complete levels three, four, five and six.
Chinese Juggler has many original and exciting features, and true to Ocean's style, the programming remains excellent. A high quality game that will provide hours of fun and frustration.