Big Doings Under The Big Top!
How good are your reflexes? As the clown bounces around in the different directions, you try to catch him on the teeter-totter. Send him up to the top of the big top to pop red, yellow, and blue balloons worth different points. The harder the "pop", the more you score!
Score as many points as possible by breaking all of the balloons, catching all of the power-up balloons that occasionally drop from a popped balloon, beating the 'boss balloon', and catching one of the bonus items that periodically float across the screen.
Catch your clown on the high end of your teeter-totter (located at the bottom of the screen), so that the clown on the opposite end gets flung into the air! Catching your clown on the outmost edge of the teeter-totter causes him to fly higher.
You have three rows of balloons at the top of the screen; each a different color and each moving at a different velocity. There are also two sets of bumpers that will bounce your clown in different directions when hit. You start the game with three reserve clowns. Each time you miss catching a clown with your teeter-totter (or land a clown on top of the other), you lose a reserve clown. If you lose all of your reserve clowns, your game is over.
- 2 Game Modes
- 1 or 2 Players, alternating or simultaneous
- 3 Difficulty Settings
- Joystick and Paddles supported
- 8 different Power-Ups
Super Circus AtariAge uses an on-board Atari POKEY chip for sound effects and music. Unfortunately, the POKEY is a custom chip produced by Atari. This means that the only POKEY chips in existence are those that were manufactured for Atari 8-bit computers (400/800, 800XL, 130XE, etc.), the Atari 5200, certain Atari arcade games, and the two Atari 7800 games Ballblazer and Commando. There are very few sources of new, unused POKEY chips. Many are removed from Ballblazer carts, as they are relatively common. These chips have not been produced in 30 years!
This means that we do not have many POKEY chips. The price of the game reflects the additional expense in adding a POKEY chip to the game (which often requires desoldering them from an existing board). If this item is out of stock (you cannot add it to your shopping cart), we have an alternate option where you can send us a POKEY chip or Ballblazer cart and still obtain a copy of Super Circus AtariAge.
Super Circus AtariAge includes a box, game cartridge, and a full-color, 4-page manual. Super Circus AtariAge is available in NTSC and PAL television formats. Please choose above (if you don't make a selection, you will receive the NTSC version by default).
|Number of Players||1 - 2|
|Controller||Joysticks or Paddle Controllers|
|Code and Design||Bob DeCrescenzo|
This game has been anticipated for many years, and I had given up hope of release until it was announced that this game was finally coming out. It was worth the wait. I loved Circus Atari in my youth, though admittedly I absolutely stunk at Paddle games (and honestly, I still do). Luckily, this game grants the option of joysticks for those folks like me who are too lazy to disconnect the Edladdin Super 78s to plug in the ol' paddle controllers. I have to admit, I still love the clown "death" scene of the original game, which I can see in classic mode. (I know it sounds bad. I just found the flat head they got when you missed them funny as a kid.)
There isn't much more to say. The sameplay is very solid, and the addition of powerups in this modern version is a nice addition to this challenging game. This is another great edition to my 7800 Homebrew collection.
Many though with color televisions enjoyed the default color upgrade presented by the VCS port of Circus better known as Circus Atari to those well acquainted with the 2600 console.
It's not 10, 20 or 30, but the 40th Anniversary of the original Arcade release. It is indeed something to celebrate as the port delivered to the 7800 provides everything a fan of the Arcade or 2600 version could want and more. Newcomers to the game (concept) will also thoroughly enjoy this fantastic upgrade to its forerunners.
Off the bat, 2600 fans rejoice, the option to play with the original box balloon and stick figure clown graphics, and simple launching platforms as well as seesaw is available. It is truly a very nice option and treat for those holding fond memories.
Where this game truly shines though is the upgrades. Several power-ups are available that will clear balloons, adjust balloon movement speed, physics of the balloon and clown interaction, extra life, and even a safety net.
A plethora of options include 2-players alternating or simultaneously playing. In an alternating game it can even be decided whether both players will share the same set or have a different set of balloons. It can be decided if balloon replenishment is on a row or an entire board cleared basis.
The entire screen/all balloons replacement holds an added bonus. As if the game is not exciting enough keeping a player constantly on their toes respecting the movement of the seesaw, clown placement, and power-up item from the sky, there is also a boss with its own little entourage - we'll keep the exacting meaning under wraps; just watch for cameos.
Also quite excellently, Super Circus Atari supports a few different control schemes. Of course there is the paddles and joystick; also a driving controller can be utilized as well. The amount of thought and options evident is tremendous.
A delightful background melody plays in the background driven by a POKEY chip. The graphics, particularly the clowns are very well done. Love their playful animation. The truly important part, and passing with flying, spectacular colors are the controls and physics. This was really tweaked exceptionally well. So well in fact, even those without the definitely preferred paddles or driving controllers, still have a blast with a joystick. I found gameplay to be still quite fun and managed very well with a 7800 Proline joystick in hand. Make no mistake about it though; while the game is great with a joystick, a paddle controller makes it excellent.
So whether it is a great or excellent gaming experience desired Super Circus Atari Age is one to play and one to own on the system.
Now, in 2017, a new and exciting update to Circus Atari has hit the homebrew scene for the Atari 7800 - Super Circus Atariage. Programmed by the great Robert Decresenzo who has made, hands down, the best Atari 7800 homebrews, Robert has created another instant classic with his new updated take on Circus Atari.
The game plays the same as the original but like all great video game sequels, Super Circus Atariage adds new features, colorful graphics, better sound and music and fun options that the original didn't have.
When you turn the game on you are greeted with the atariage logo followed by a colorful options menu. Once you choose your options you are ready to play. As mentioned, the gameplay is identical to Circus Atari in that you control two clowns in their suicidal bid to pop all the balloons on the screen while trying to avoid broken bones, skull fractures, spinal injuries or even death. Unlike Circus Atari's stick figure clowns and square balloons, Super Circus Atariage give you two adorable little clowns with big red noses, who's arms flail about and who do flips in the air and balloons that look more like, well, balloons.
One new feature that sets Super Circus Atariage apart from the original are power ups that fall randomly from popped balloons and there are several:
A "T" Clears the top row of balloons, a "C" clears the center row of balloons while a "B" clears, you guessed it, the bottom row of balloons. In addition to these there is an "S which slows the balloons speed across the screen while an "F" increases balloon speed. "N" give you a nice screen wide safety net that appears at the bottom of the screen and gives you a mulligan if you miss your clown. Once the net is used, it disappears and your clowns need for full medical coverage is once again in play. The final two power ups are a "U" for a kind of breakthrough mode which allows your clowns to continue through rows of balloons and finally a "P" is an extra player.
Super Circus Atariage also gives you an array of options to choose from at the beginning of every game. First is a nice option to give you a "classic" look and feel to the game, making it reminiscent of the original Circus Atari in all it's blocky glory.
The "refill" option allows you to choose how the balloons reappear on the screen. If you choose "row" the balloons will reappear once each individual row is cleared with an associated bonus score for said row clearing. If you choose "all" the balloons won't regenerate until every balloon is cleared. In addition, this mode allows for a "boss" balloon to appear on screen. Coming in the form of the Atariage logo, it must be hit 10 times to beat it. There are also bonus items that you can hit for points, such as the bat from Adventure. Depending on which refill option you choose will also affect when you get a bonus clown. In "row" option you receive a bonus clown after clearing the top row of balloons and the "all" option nets you a bonus clown when the entire screen of balloons is cleared.
The difficulty option allows you choose from easy, medium and hard which will affect the speed increases, if any, which your clowns will be subjected to. There is also the requisite option for one player, two players alternating or two players simultaneous which although I wasn't able to try, looks and sounds like it would be a blast to play with another person. Finally you can choose between using a joystick, paddle or driving controller. Of course a paddle or driving controller would be the recommended suggestion but it is a nice option to have if you only have a joystick.
If all that wasn't enough, the difficulty switches are utilized on the 7800. The left difficulty switch is used to determine whether two players share or have their own set of balloons in the 2 player alternating game. The right difficulty switch allows you to choose between having moving barriers in the game - an option that also appears in the original Circus Atari under certain game variations.
In addition to the colorful updated graphics and animations, Super Circus Atari has much better sound and music. This is due to the use of a Pokey sound chip which adds a nice bouncy circus themed diddy that adds a great little musical backdrop to the game.
Overall if I were to rate a game like Super Circus Atariage it would get a grade that probably doesn't exist. I love it too much to give it a pedestrian A or 100%. Bob Decresenzo has done things on the 7800 that convince me that if he worked for Atari in the mid-80's, he might easily have kept the 7800 a viable system during those years when it was otherwise floundering.
Super Circus Atariage is without a doubt my favorite Atari 7800 homebrew. It is a worthy addition to your 7800 homebrew collection and a fabulous remake of a beloved Atari 2600 classic.