Fiendish Freddy's Big Top o' Fun / Mindscape 1990
Screenshots: play/stop

Roll up! Roll up! The circus is in town – a circus with a sinister twist that is...

Welcome one and all! You have arrived at Fiendish Freddy's wonderfully colourful Big Top o' Fun. However, all is not well. The ringmaster has found himself in deep water, and owes a loan shark a hefty sum of money – which happens to be due today. The loan shark will not make this easy for you as he has other plans for the circus site. Expect to take part in some hair-raising stunts as you attempt to raise $10,000.00 to repay the loan and save the circus from collapse!

At the starting screen you are asked to choose the number of players. Player characters are humorously referred to as "beasts" although there seems to be no obvious reason for this. The game is multiplayer, and there may be anything up to five players taking part interchangeably. Each player must pick a beast from the following selection; a monkey, an elephant, a lion, a tiger and a bear. The other option is to choose the practice level first.

Once inside the big top, players must take part in the following death-defying acts: knife throwing, juggling, diving from a board, the tightrope and a human cannonball show, and try to survive! Be warned: the acts are by no means easy and take some skill to master. Thankfully, there is ample opportunity to practice before you start. Unfortunately the loan shark's flunkey Fiendish Freddy is set on intercepting the circus acts in many inventive and downright sneaky ways. He is there to distract the players from their goal. You must stay ahead of the game in order to defeat him and successfully complete each act.

The diving board act takes concentration to master. This is because you must stay within a relatively small space, whilst attempting to roll through the air in a straight line, performing the occasional special move mid-air. After all that, you must land in a tub of water on the floor that becomes smaller each time you dive.

The tightrope act takes a steady nerve to keep balanced. You must keep the balancing pole that you are holding vertical otherwise you will fall. Of course, Freddy will be there to cause mischief, so be cautious. The juggling act requires quick reactions and multitasking. It's by far the hardest of all the acts. The knife-throwing act also needs a good deal of concentration as there are distractions here too. Lastly, the human cannonball act calls for accurate timing above all.

Throughout the game, you need to dazzle the judges with your talent. Comparisons could be drawn with the judging panel on X-Factor... a line of clowns with a tendency to disagree with each other! It is these very same clowns that you must impress in order to win their cash before the circus is demolished. At the end of each act you will be judged by them and shown how much money they felt you were worthy of. To win the game you must raise the full $10,000.00.

The games' graphics are superb both in terms of attention to detail and style, and really make the game. The urgent, energetic and bold sound used in the game certainly adds to the atmosphere in the circus. This is a thoroughly entertaining and challenging game for the C64 that you cannot afford to miss.

Enjoy the show!

Reviewed by Emily Mack.

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  Fiendish Freddy's Big Top o' Fun
Mindscape 1990
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