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Circus Charlie
Japanese arcade flyer of Circus Charlie.
Japanese arcade flyer of Circus Charlie.
Developer(s) Konami
Publisher(s) Konami
Distributor(s) Centuri
Designer(s) Matthew Barnard
Platform(s) Arcade, Commodore 64, MSX, NES
Release date(s) 1984
Genre(s) Action
Mode(s) Two players alternating turns
Input methods 2-way joystick, 1 button

Circus Charlie (サーカスチャーリー Serikuso Chari?) is an action/platform game originally released by Konami in which you control a clown named Charlie. The game was a hit arcade game in 1984, which also had a successful release on the MSX in 1984, the Nintendo Famicom in 1986 by Soft Pro and on the Commodore 64 in 1987. It was released along with other Konami classic games on the Nintendo DS compilation Konami Classics Series: Arcade Hits.

Contents

Gameplay

File:Circus Charlie.PNG
Screenshot of Circus Charlie (arcade version).

In the game there are six regular stages (plus an extra stage) of differing tasks that are to be completed by Charlie. Grabbing money bags, performing dangerous tricks, avoiding enemies, completing stages, etc., earns Charlie points. After the sixth stage is completed, the game starts over again but with a faster pace and more difficult (but the exact same in terms of task to be completed) levels.

Charlie also races against time. Bonus points are awarded according to the time remaining, but running out of time won't cost the player a life.

The six stages for the arcade and Commodore 64 versions:

Stage 1 - Flaming Hoops: Charlie rides a lion through the stage jumping through flaming hoops and over fire pots. Money bags and hidden coins help players to increase their score. Touching the fire roasts both Charlie and the lion, losing a life.
Stage 2 - Monkey Jump: Monkeys try to knock Charlie off the tightrope but he can jump over them. Jumping over a brown and purple monkey at the same time will yield bonus points. Running or falling onto a monkey will make Charlie fall and he'll lose a life.
Stage 3 - Trampolines: Charlie must jump and somersault through the level, while trying to avoid the knives and flames being thrown by other circus performers. If Charlie jumps straight up on the same trampoline 4 times, he will fly through the top of the circus tent, losing a life.
Stage 4 - Ball Walk: Charlie must roll on a ball and jump onto oncoming balls. Bumping onto a ball will make Charlie fall and lose a life.
Stage 5 - Horse Hurdles: Ride the horse and try to jump off its back onto springboard hurdles scattered across the level. Charlie scores extra points for every consecutive bounce. Falling from the horse or missing the landing platform at the end results in the loss of a life.
Stage 6 - Trapeze (features a sample of Strauss's The Blue Danube waltz): Charlie must negotiate several swinging trapezes to make it to the goal platform. Charlie can skip a trapeze and use the trampoline to get the next and score extra points. Missing the trapeze or hanging on one for too long will make Charlie fall and lose a life. When Charlie reaches the platform, he is kissed by the girl waiting there and then performs a neat trick -- he splits into several clones of himself and dances for the cheering crowd.
Extra Stage - Dolphin Trampolines: Every time the player completes ten events, the player is treated to a special bonus stage. This stage is entirely similar to the ordinary Trampoline stage, however it is set in a flooded circus ring that contains "killer" dolphins. These dolphins like to jump over one trampoline, swim under the next, jump over the next one, and so on. They are the only threat to Charlie, but they are fast and must be watched carefully in order to avoid them. In general, it is a good idea to jump at least once for every dolphin that comes towards Charlie. Sometimes the dolphins will come in pairs, one going up and the other going down. The player will usually avoid both of them by jum ing twice before moving on. As with the regular Trampoline stage, there are money bags positioned in the air. Collecting each one awards an increasing number of points.

Different Versions

In the "Level Select" version of the game, the player can choose any of the stages to play, but only a limited number of times each, whereupon the level will become unselectable. There is no "ending" to the game -- after the first five levels have each been played to their limit, the player then repeats the trapeze stage until all his lives are exhausted.

In the Famicom version, the trampoline stage is omitted, but it has a "B" mode, in which all the levels are repeated with added difficulty. The game often shows up on Famicom clone systems and multicarts, usually with its title screen altered to remove copyright, some versions also have the levels split up to make up separate games in multicarts.

Tricks

On the Flaming Hoops stage where Charlie rides a lion, when the level begins immediately back up all the way to the left and jump straight up 3 times. Then move right. The first hoop will have changed to a Charlie doll. Jump and collect it for an extra life. Or, jump backwards through a hoop, and jump through it again, and a Charlie doll will appear. Also, a randomly-placed bonus coin is in one of the fire pots in the level. Jump over it, then backwards over it and a coin will flip up into the air. Jump again to collect it for 3000 points. And lastly, if you collect all the money bags in the small flaming hoops and complete the level without a miss, a bird will drop bonus coins down on you.

On the Monkey Jump stage, jump backwards over a purple monkey for a 5,000 point bonus. If you only make perpendicular jumps -- that is, jumping straight up and letting the monkeys walk under you, you will get an extra life when you finish the level. Also, if you walk to the far right of the level and touch the hook past the goal platform, money bags will appear on the platform -- then, jump to the goal platform for 5000 points.

If you collect all the money bags on the Trampolines stage, a bird will come and drop bonus coins.

In the Ball Walk stage, skipping a ball is worth 500 points.

In the Horse Hurdles stage, you will get an extra life if you bounce from the springs one time each time you jump.

In the Trapeze stage, skipping a trapeze is worth 5000 points.

If you collect every single money bag by the time you reach the goal in the Dolphin Trampolines stage, an eagle will fly by and shower you with coins for bonus points.

Other appearances

In Mikie, another Konami arcade game, headbutting the teacher's desk from below three times in the classroom stage will make Circus Charlie appear, giving the player extra points.

External links

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Strategy wiki

Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From StrategyWiki, the free strategy guide and walkthrough wiki

Circus Charlie
Box artwork for Circus Charlie.
Developer(s) Konami
Publisher(s) Konami (JP)
Centuri (US)
Japanese title サーカスチャーリー
Release date(s)
Genre(s) Action
System(s) Arcade, Commodore 64/128, NES, MSX
Players 1-2
Circus Charlie marquee

Circus Charlie was an arcade game developed by Konami in 1984. According to the flyer, Konami billed the game as "the first authentic circus game in history!" Whether that's true or not could be debated, but it did feature a clown who had to perform death-defying circus tricks for the amusement of the audience. With six different events to tackle, Circus Charlie was something of a Track & Field for clowns without the button mashing.

Charlie has to complete six different circus stunts for the crowd's amusement. He must ride on the back of a lion and direct him to jump through hoops of fire, and over burning pots. He must walk a tightrope while jumping over monkeys headed the other way. He must bounce from trampoline to trampoline while avoiding fire breathers and knife throwers. He must jump from one oversized ball to the next without touching the ground. He must stand on the back of a horse and hurdle a series of springboards. And last but not least, he must swing from one end of the circus to the other entirely by trapeze.

A few different versions were released into the arcades. Some allowed you to select which stage you would like to play at the very beginning of the game while others only allow you to select a stage after you completed all six in order. Konami converted the game for play on the MSX home computer, and licensed the game to Soft Pro who converted it to the Famicom. Parker Brothers obtained the rights to bring the game home in America. While they had plans to release it for the Atari 2600 and the ColecoVision, the video game market crash of 1983 put an end to that idea, and they ultimately only released the game for the Commodore 64 in 1987. It was contained in the release of Konami Classics Series: Arcade Hits in 2007 for the Nintendo DS.

Contents

Controls

Title screen
Image:Circus Charlie cpanel.jpg
  • Joystick: Use the joystick to direct Charlie to the left or to the right in most scenarios. In the Horse Hurdle stage, the joystick is used to control the speed that the horse runs at, and in the Trapeze stage, the joystick influences Charlie's momentum. Up and down are not used in this game.
  • Jump: Press the Jump button to make Charlie jump in most scenarios. It is not used in the trampoline stage. In the Trapeze stage, it is used to make Charlie let go of the Trapeze he is currently holding.
  • 1-2 Players: Press either button to begin a one or two player game.

Circus Events

Flaming Hoops

Flaming Hoops

In this event, Charlie must ride on the back of a tamed lion, which is no challenge for a practiced clown like Charlie. What is a challenge is making him jump safely through the blazing hoops of fire and over the burning pots of oil. In some cases, he has to do both activities at once, which makes his timing critical. The hoops slowly advance on their own while the pots are stationary. In this, the easiest of the six events, it pays to be patient and wait for hoops to line up with burning pots of oil to make clearing them at once easy. Also be on the look out for two hoops that must be leaped as one. Occasionally, you will see a higher small hoop with a money bag in it. You are not required to jump these hoops (Charlie will pass safely beneath them), but the money bags provide bonus points, so consider grabbing them if there are no other threats in the way.
Hidden Bonuses

  • If you jump forward through a hoop, and then (very carefully) backward through the same hoop, and forwards once more, a 1-Up Charlie clown will appear for you to collect as an extra life. (Only works once per stage.)
  • Alternatively, if you stay to the left at the very beginning and jump three times before advancing through the first hoop, you can also collect this 1-Up
  • If you jump forward over a certain oil pot, and then backwards over it, a coin will fly out of the pot. Leap forward to collect the coin (and jump over the pot, and probably a hoop by this time as well) for 3000 points. The pot that contains the coin will not always be the same one.
  • If you manage to collect every single money bag from the small hoops by the time you reach the goal, an eagle will fly by and shower you with coins for bonus points.

Monkey Jump

Monkey Jump

In this event, Charlie is made to walk the tightrope. Again, however, being the exceptional clown that Charlie is, the tightrope present no challenge to him. Rather, it's the monkeys that are coming at him from the opposite end that are making things difficult. A stream of brown monkeys walk towards Charlie along the tightrope and Charlie must jump over each of them without touching any. To make things more difficult, an occasional purple monkey will appear, running much faster than the other monkeys. If the purple monkey reaches a brown monkey in front of him, he will leapfrog the brown monkey. There are many bonus points to be earned by jumping over a leapfrogged monkey, but you must time your jump over the set of monkeys very carefully. Jumping over one purple and brown monkey earns you 1000 points, while jumping over a pair of purple monkeys will earn you 2000 points (the second monkey will not leapfrog as the first does.)
Hidden Bonuses

  • When you make it to the end of the tightrope, your jump will change and you can flip on to the podium to end the stage. However, if you walk underneath the podium and touch the right side of the screen while still on the tightrope, a pile of money bags will appear on the podium, which you can collect for a 5000 point bonus.

Trampolines

Trampolines

The Trampolines may appear easier than they actually are at first. Without using the jump button, you simply direct Charlie to the left or right, from one trampoline to the next. If you choose to remain in place, you will continue to jump higher and higher until your fourth bounce, which will jettison you through the top of the tent and you will lose a life. Move off your current trampoline after the fourth bounce, even if it's back to the left. You can't miss the next trampoline, but you can get hurt jumping between them. A fire breather spits balls of flame into the air, and a knife thrower tosses knives around. You must take special care to avoid jumping into either obstacle when leaping to the next trampoline. To avoid getting hit, bounce at least once before proceeding to the next trampoline. This is a general strategy, but it won't always work, so judge the situation accordingly. As a bonus (or to distract you) money bags as positioned above certain trampolines. You must bounce three times in order to bounce high enough to collect them. Be sure to move to another trampoline immediately after, or you will be sent through the roof. The last money bag before the goal is especially problematic. After you collect it and attempt to leave the trampoline before you lose your life, you will trypically hit either the knife of the fireball on either side of you.
Hidden Bonuses

  • If you manage to collect each and every money bag by the time you reach the goal, an eagle will fly by and shower you with coins for bonus points.

Ball Walk

Ball Walk

Though not the hardest event in the game, Ball Walking can be especially challenging for beginnings. Charlie must leap from one ball to the next without missing a ball and falling to the floor. The trick to this stage is understanding how Charlie jumps. When moving at full speed on the balls, Charlie can clear a distance that is roughly equivalent to three ball widths. If he stops and backs up, and then chooses to move and jump forward, that distance is shortened to two ball widths (it's actually the same distance, but the balls move slightly differently when you change direction.) Charlie has two options in this stage; jump from one ball to the next, or potentially skip a ball if the next ball is immediately behind. Jumping over a ball entirely to land on the next will earn you a 500 point bonus. You must be extra careful not to bump one ball into another, or try to jump from one ball when the next ball is too close. Back your current ball up until enough space exists between the balls before jumping. The trick to this stage is to jump very early. Because of the way Charlie lands, you stand a much better chance of bringing the ball under your feet if you jump too soon than if you jump too late.

Horse Hurdles

Horse Hurdles

In this especially challenging stage, Charlie must ride on horseback while standing up. The problem is that he must also jump on top of, or clear over, a set of springboard hurdles. To help him out, Charlie can direct the horse to travel at three different speeds. Hold left on the joystick to make the horse run slowly, or hold the joystick right to make the horse run at its fastest. You can even change speeds every time you land on a hurdle, but not before, and not after until you land on the horse or another hurdle. Points are awarded to you based on the height of the springboard, and the number of consecutive jumps you've made. The biggest danger in this stage is misjudging the speed of your horse and the length of the upcoming springboard. The most common way to die is to jump over a springboard entirely when you meant to land on it, and slamming your head against the following springboard. In general, you're safest at the normal speed, and you should only adjust speeds when absolutely necessary to make corrections. As with the Ball Walk stage before it, jumping early tends to help you jump successfully. Remember that you need to jump from the horse successfully on to the goal platform at the end of the stage so don't get excited and run into it.

Trapeze

Trapeze

The final challenge that Charlie must face is to travel from one end of the circus to the other entirely by trapeze. This is no easy feat. The joystick helps control Charlie's momentum. So pressing right helps Charlie swing forward more, and pressing left helps him swing back. Moving the joystick in time with Charlie's swinging helps him build up more height. Once you have the right motion established, you must time you jump from one trapeze to the next extremely carefully. It is best to make the switch from one trapeze to the next when both trapeze are swinging towards one another at the same time. The moment you let go of the trapeze is important as well. If you let go before the trapeze is at a forty-five degree angle, you will fly very far, but not very high. If you let go after the trapeze is at forty-five degrees, you will fly higher, but not very fast. Either is okay, as long as you judge the trip to the next trapeze accordingly. Occasionally, you will spot trampolines on the floor. It is very risky to attempt to use them, but if you manage to let go of one trapeze, bounce off the trampoline and pick up the next trapeze, you will be awarded a 2000 poit bonus. You are also awarded bonus points for consecutive immediate trapeze swings (meaning, you transfer from one trapeze to another on a single swing.) The timing of the trapeze swings rarely allows for this, but it can happen.
Hidden Bouses

  • If you manage to let go of a trapeze, hit a trampoline, and connect with the second trapeze after the one you let go of (skipping the next trapeze in the process), you will receive a 5000 point bonus. Not really hidden, but extraordinarily difficult to do.

Bonus event

Dolphin Trampolines

Dolphin Trampolines

Every time you complete ten events, you are treated to a special bonus stage. This stage is entirely similar to the ordinary Trampoline stage, however it is set in a flooded circus ring that contains "killer" dolphins. These dolphins like to jump over one trampoline, swim under the next, jump over the next one, and so on. They are the only threat to Charlie, but they are fast and must be watched carefully in order to avoid them. In general, it is a good idea to jump at least once for every dolphin that comes towards you. Sometimes the dolphins will come in pairs, one going up and the other going down. You will usually avoid both of them if you jump twice before moving on. As with the regular Trampoline stage, there are money bags positioned in the air. Collecting each one awards you an increasing number of points.
Hidden Bouses

  • If you collect every single money bag by the time you reach the goal, an eagle will fly by and shower you with coins for bonus points.

Home conversions

The Commodore 64 version that was developed by Parker Bros. contains all six events. While the look of Charlie is close to the arcade, the screen resolution does not allow for as much detail around the circus. The MSX and NES versions contain a slightly different design for Charlie, and they also omit the Trampoline stage, leaving the other five stages in tact.


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