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Circus Caper (NES) artwork

Circus Caper (NES) review

"Today, I take you to the wonderful world of Circus Caper. This is the place where maniac clowns do more than just honk their red noses at you. This is the place where something fishy always happens beyond the ring of giant elephants and angry lions. But it's even more than that... it's something sinister. "

Today, I take you to the wonderful world of Circus Caper. This is the place where maniac clowns do more than just honk their red noses at you. This is the place where something fishy always happens beyond the ring of giant elephants and angry lions. But it's even more than that... it's something sinister.

Let me fill you in on what happened. You see, a boy named Tim and his sister, Judy, wanted to go to the town circus; but they didn't have enough money to pay for a ticket. Never fear, a clown is here! Fortunately for the kids, the clown will give them tickets if they can roll the correct dice combination. Sure enough, Tim and Judy did roll the proper combination; but the clown realized that he had only one ticket left. Judy wound up with the ticket, supposedly because Tim was being a good brother (but I think it was because he has a fear of people painted with white faces and wearing size 36, Double D shoes). The circus show ended, but Tim's sister was nowhere around. It was then that Mr. Magic appeared and told Tim that he has kidnapped Judy. Tim wasn't going to let Judy go that easily, so he sneaked into the circus tent to rescue his sister. (By the way, last I heard, Tim had been arrested for invasion of private property; but I don't know how genuine this rumor is.)

In this side-scrolling platform game, you play little boy Timmy, who can jump around, punch enemies, and kick them, too. Every time you kill an enemy, an item will pop out for you to grab, which can either be a food to fill up your energy to keep you from losing the game or it can be a special weapon to use. Some of the special weapons you use are things like yo-yos that rotate around you, soccer balls that roll along the ground, and bricks that you can climb up. The biggest problem with these is the fact that there are so many different weapons and they are so easy to get that it can quickly dull the game. Oh, and you can't jump on an enemy to kill it, either.

You have to move along six levels of this game. At many spots along the way, there are bonus games you can play to gain points, such as by jumping over a moving flame of fire as many times as possible. During the rest of the level, there will be many enemies that will try to take away some of your energy; and there will be an end boss at the end of each level. The various enemies you will encounter are circus people and animals, such as acrobats, lions, bears, horses, and insurance salesmen. Just kidding, there are no horses in this game.

The controls in Circus Caper are decent, to say the least. The controls can be pretty responsive, especially when jumping. The boy must not eat a whole lot of sugar, though, because he moves slowly and he punches/kicks slowly, especially when you're trying to punch or kick rapidly. In addition, the bonus games aren't very responsive, the controls being very sluggish at times.

There's one thing that I think the writers left out of the story - I think that the characters, including Tim, were run over by a steamroller before the game began. The characters seem so stiff and unanimated. Tim just seems like a rectangle that was colored in an attempt to make it look like a human being. Even a lot of the enemies are square-ish and unanimated, as if they were sore all over. In fact, a few of the enemies are so blurred and distorted that you can't even tell what they are.

The rest of the graphics in Circus Caper are just okay. The backgrounds aren't really all that detailed; although, a few are pretty good. Some parts of the game don't even have a background, just a black screen. Some parts of the game are bright and colorful; but most are bleak and dreary, unlike something you should see in a video game like this. Some of the secret weapons hardly look realistic. For example, the yo-yo doesn't really look like a yo-yo; instead, it looks like a black and red circle that just flies around you when you use it.

The music in Circus Caper is just standard NES fare. No classic circus music is used, but some of it is just as good anyway. The happy music in the first level can be slightly entertaining, but not very catchy. Most of the other music is very bleak-sounding, which I notice is a bad trend in many cartoon-ish NES games like this one. The boss music is one of the better boss songs I've heard; although, I wouldn't really say that it's the type of music that's bound to get stuck in your head. The overall assessment of the music in Circus Caper reveals that, though the music may be good, some of it just doesn't fit in with the game very well.

The sound effects reveal the same problem in the game that the music does. While the sounds may be very good, they just do not fit in with their accompanying actions too well. For instance, the sound of Tim punching an enemy sounds somewhat similar to a marble being thrown into a plastic cup. The sound of Tim's jump, which sounds like some kind of strange children's horn, has got to be the worst sounding jump I've ever heard in a NES game, even though the sound effect may have been good. This lack in proper placement of sound effects is evident through much of the game. If the designers had stuck with their well done effects but gave different sound effects to the actions, this category could have had a very high rating.

Circus Caper really isn't all that hard of a game. The abundance of weapons and the simplicity of collecting them makes many of the levels easy to get through after only a few tries. There's also the factor of being able to continue your game as many times as you want when you lose all of your health. The enemies in the levels and the times that they appear can become way too obvious, making the game even more of a breeze to get through once you've practically memorized the arrangement of each level, which isn't very hard to do. This obviously makes a better game for NES beginners.

There isn't too much replay value that ruthlessly attempts to cling to the game. You may play it a few times, just for old times sake; but you definitely won't find yourself playing this game as if it were one of the greats. The flaws in the gameplay seriously chop away at the entertainment factor in Circus Caper. In fact, many times, you may find yourself getting bored of the game after the first level or two, like I do. This is just one of those games that should be classified as one that you can beat a few times and never beat it again after that because you don't even want to try.

The cartridge and storyline do look somewhat promising; but once you pass that, it doesn't seem to meet up to your expectations. The game design could have also been promising, had the designers rearranged things a little bit. The flaws in the gameplay, especially with the special weapons, and the simplicity of its gameplay make it a bit too dull to even be considered close to being an excellent game. What the heck, it may make a good game for a hardcore NES gamer; but I'm not going to make it a recommendation. And I'm not clowning around, either!


Story (8/10): It may not be the best plot out there, but it is very good for a game like this.
Gameplay (4/10): Too many easy-to-get weapons can make this game very unentertaining.
Control (5/10): Some of the controls are responsive, but the speed of walking and punching are slow.
Graphics (4/10): The characters look like they were run over, and the other graphics are too plain.
Music (6/10): The music is pretty well composed, but most of it doesn't fit in with a game like this.
Sound (4/10): As with the music, the sounds are above average; but they don't fit their actions well.
Challenge (4/10): After a few tries, the game becomes a little too predictable and easy to beat.
Replay (5/10): The major flaws in the gameplay can make this game a bore to play.

Overall (5/10): While others may enjoy it, Circus Caper is not a game I can easily recommend.

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Community review by royalranger (Date unavailable)

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