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SCORES EXPLAINED:

5.0 Perfect
4.5 Excellent
4.0 Very Good
3.5 Good
3.0 Fair
2.5 Weak
2.0 Poor
1.5 Bad
1.0 Terrible
0.5 Atrocious
0.0 Your Mom


Funkmaster V Reviews


7800 Rank: Not Ranked

Genre: Puzzle (Brick Buster)

Awards: None
These Clowns Need to Unionize Pros: Tons of Modes/ Easy to Pick Up and Play
Cons: Even on Easy Mode, This Game is too Difficult to Get into a Groove
Is Compound Fracture Covered Under Our Healthcare Plan?


Overview: Pac Man Plus's first forray into designing a "Brick Bustin'" video game for the Atari 7800 was devoid of bricks, and that may be where he got off on the wrong foot. Super Circus Atari Age is a poorly titled but extremely polished spiritual sequel to the Atari 2600 game
Circus Atari. So, childs... Do we need a sequel to Circus Atari? As Rosa Parks once said, "Naw." Do we want a sequel to Circus Atari? As an elderly person with IBS says "Depends." Do we have a sequel to Circus Atari? Who sings the song "Owner of a Lonely Heart?" Yes. Let's dive deeper into what I consider a rare misstep for good ole Bob Decrescenzo.

Graphics: Though flexing some nice sprites for the clowns on the menu and in the game, SCAA appears to be quite plain. Even the opening Atari Age splash screen seems uninspired, and if it could yawn, it would. The menu is easily read but very basic, and when the game cranks up, we see a very wide play field with colorful balloons racing to and fro. There is a clown at the bottom of a teeter-totter (or see-saw, at southern circuses), and even his facial expression and posture seem to be exuding "oh sh*t, not again". Flailing clown body parts and thudding bodies that hit the floor appear to be well made, although the barricades, flying bonus items and platforms are all pretty bland. You can play in Classic mode, utilizing original Atari 2600 graphics with a blueish/ lavender background, and Hey... that sucks.

Sound: The game loves this circus-y "Oom-Pa-Pa - Oom-Pa-Pa" organ tune, and it plays at different volumes throughout gameplay. This is a Pokey chipped title, meaning it has the ability to play terrific sound. This song sounds better than the shrill TIA trainwreck tunes featured in some games like Donkey Kong, but this upgrade is not worth the expense or the effort. Save your Ballblazer carts for something else.

Gameplay: Instead of busting bricks, we be poppin' balloons. This sounds safer and possibly more fun, and OSHA originally loved it, but believe me this is not safe or fun. This game is BRUTAL. I hate clowns, but I start to feel bad for these two aholes after the merciless beating these two kids take. Your clown starts the game by jumping off the ledge onto your teeter-totter (hopefully). If he lands near the edge of the see saw, the other clown will be rocketed up into the rows of baloons, popping as many as he can before rocketing back down towards terra firma. A skillful clown will position the contraption underneath his falling ass, but way too often, the clown lands on the floor, breaks his legs, bones shoot from his thighs as children in the stands are scarred for life. The game is simple, but too difficult. The screen is too wide and the lardass clowns fall fast and sometimes richochet at unpredictable angles. It is almost impossible to maintain ANY long term human volleys. I can play a game of Crazy Brix by Bob for 25 minutes easy. Games of Super Circus can (and often do) last 25 seconds or less.

Originality: I'm all for a new game for the 7800 that isn't a Pac Man hack or a space shooter, so this adds a polished brick bustin' game to the library, which is nice. There's a lot of modes to explore and gameplay options to horse around with, but at the end of the day, it comes down to how good do you wanna get at saving clowns from broken teeth and ankles? There are power ups galore, and the best one is a safety net that can save your poor poor acrobat when you misjudge his landing. Those are plentiful, and thank PT Barnum in the sky for them because i burn through them like a smoker at an NA meeting.

Value: Bob loves adding modes and options in most of his games, and they are oozing out of cracks of SCAA. You have classic mode, which looks butt ugly but features all balloons moving at the same velocity. There's an option to have your rows of balloons fill back up per row, or only after all the balloons are popped (like Breakout, eg). The first option is easier, but the second option features the unholy "BOSS BALLOON" fight after each level. Don't get too excitied, you'll probably never see it. I've been playing this game for 6-7 years and I have never gotten close. Difficulty switches can render ugly barricades underneath the balloons, ya know... if you figure 15 seconds per game is too long. On a 2 player game, your opponent can control the barricades on your turn, to instill bad will and fist fights. There are two player options (my daughter bemoaned, "ohhhhh.... don't make me be the brown clown") You can play 2 player alternating or simultaneous. On 2 player simultaneous, your teeter totter stays on the screen and you can use it to confuse your opponent and taunt him/her... ya know... because this game is too damned easy to begin with... we all need some subterfuge to shorten these 22 second play sessions. We have lives to get to. Are you noting my satirical tone? The game includes options to play using a joysick (2600 or 7800 Pro-line), paddles, or even the old school DRIVING control that came with the 2600's Indy 500 game! What the hell! What a reach. Nice try game, but I still don't like you.

Overall: In short, this is an expensive, well made game that I never play. I feel like if Bob pinched the screen at the sides like he did with Crazy Brix, reducing the incredibly wide playfield, this game could be a hair easier and therefore more fun to play. Even on Easy Mode, this thing is a killer. If I'm gonna get my ass kicked in a video game and be made to feel like a loser, it's not gonna be by Bozo the Clown and Cookie. If you wanna good brick buster made by the hands of a master... try Bob's Crazy Brix. It came out a year later, is more fun to play and is streamlined like a mutha. Send this shiz back to the circus.



Additional Info: I would like to take this time to thank Atari Age for allowing the use of his screenshots for this review.