Circus Caper (NES)

Circus Caper Box Art

Circus Caper

System: NES

Release Date: July 1990

Developer: Advance Communication Company

Publisher: Toho

Genre: Action

Evil carneys are your enemy in Circus Caper! You and your sister are at the circus and want to check out the clowns, but you have no money. An offer is made, if you win a roll of the dice, you can get a comped ticket! But there is only one left. Being a good brother, you let your sister have a good time, but when it’s time to go home, it’s revealed she’s been kidnapped! It’s up to you to fight off six circus freaks and their lackeys to save her.

At its heart, Circus Caper is a relatively simple platformer. There’s not a lot to it, jump with the A Button and attack with the B Button. Your power meter depletes as you take hits from baddies. As you defeat enemies, they will throw items in the air for you to catch. Burgers and cakes will replenish your life. The others are weapons or a utility item. The hammer throws straight forward. The soccer ball follows the contour of the ground. The bomb is dropped to do damage. The yo-yo spins around you damaging anything it hits. The brick is used to give an extra boost to your jump.

Levels are full of enemies and hazards. Some levels are glorified mazes with tons of teleporting doors, so have fun with that. Some levels have carnival games that are not fun or entertaining in the least and only give you useless points. There are occasionally helpful dropping hazards that become items when they hit the ground. (52:15) If you’re low on health, stock up.

The end of each level is a boss. These take a lot of hits and if you try punching and kicking, you’ll find yourself in trouble. Instead, just use the yo-yo and get a ton of hits in quick succession for the win. Each boss is supposed to have your sister, but they’ve passed her off before you could get there. The final boss, Mr. Magic has you run through a boss gauntlet before he fights you. But he dies easy and you save your sister from being target practice.

Graphics: 1.5

The graphics, color, and animation aren’t horrible, but the flickering isn’t helpful.

Sound: 1.5

The sound effects (specifically jumping) and music got on my nerves, but there is a variety of tunes.

Gameplay: 1.0

Jumping is questionable. Attacks miss more than they hit. Lots of BS to avoid. I hope you get a cake.

Difficulty: 1.0

The damn crocodiles put me into the feeling that this game would not be fair and I was right.

Fun Factor: 0.5

This is a boring action title, not befitting of the genre.

Overall Rating: 0.9

Circus Caper earns a D. This is a pretty crappy game. It doesn’t play well and isn’t satisfying at all. Skip it.

Circus Caper Video Review on YouTube