Personal Computer News24th November 1984
Published in Personal Computer News #088
Fancy your hand at feckless feats of prestidigitation? Well here's your chance. If you've ever played Chinese Juggler on the Commodore 64, then you've probably been waiting for the Spectrum version, and you won't be disappointed.
Chinese Juggler is one of the few truly original games. None of your platforms or shot-'em-up variations here. The idea is quite simple, the game itself difficult and appealing.
You control a rather nicely animated Chinaman, complete with pointed hat. The action takes place on a stage and there are eight stands at the front, some of which have a coloured plate resting on them. There are also two rows of white canes.
All you have to do is take plates from the front stands and keep them spinning on the canes. You have to be right next to a stand to pick up a plate. Positioning is equally tricky. Actions also include rocking canes to speed up the spinning plate and thus keep it aloft.
There are tricks you can perform with the plates, like throwing them over your head and making them change colour, thus earning bonus points - the white plate gets the most points and spins longest.
The animation throughout is superb, with very few attribute problems and smooth movement. There's a time limit so you can't take it easy, and as time passes the plates slow down, becoming increasingly unstable and eventually falling off.
The first screen is really for practice. You're through it as soon as you manage to get plates spinning on all eight canes. The second and subsequent screens are essentially the same, but harder. For a start, the action's faster, and the Chinaman makes more mistakes.
It gets to be quite a feat of attention, keeping an eye on the canes, dashing for another plate and getting in as many tricks as possible. It's fantastic fun at first, but this tails off as all the screens are more or less the same and all that changes is the speed and difficulty. Even so, the animation's good, the theme original, the fame difficult - what more could you ask?