Circus Charlie (NES) (Old Review)


Roll up, Roll up! Put that dank blunt down and have fun at the circus, we have drunken miserable clowns, endangered animals being tortured by the owners, the acrobats have fallen to their deaths and the Chinese somehow do a better job than anyone else.

And if that made you laugh, then you might want to leave because the jokes are drier than the saharra desert. This is a short little oddity in the world of gaming and it’s called Circus Charlie, developed and published by Konami it was an arcade game released in 1984 which had a very successful port to the MSX that same year. But I’m going to talk about the Famicom port by Soft Pro in 1986.

This is one of those titles that appeared in many bootleg machines. My Dad actually had one and I first played it many years ago. They had some good games and all but the most fondly remembered was Circus Charlie. But I remember the game for me being quite sadistic.


The first stage where Charlie rides a Lion and jump on rings of fire, whenever Charlie lands on the fire you’d see the painful reaction to the Lion and I remember laughing at it so much, causing pain to an animal and seeing the animal’s reaction to it was hilarious, yep, if you thought GTA or Call of Duty was desensitising children, the same applies to a game from the 80’s.

You play as Charlie the Clown as you perform six circus tricks (or five since one was removed from the Famicom port) the first stage consists of riding a Lion and jumping on rings of fire…hehehe (NO ME, YOU’RE NOT SEVEN ANYMORE!). The second stage consists of tightrope walking whilst jumping over monkeys, jumping from ball to ball, ride a horse and jump over trampolines and finally the trapeze level and if you thought I missed the trampoline level that’s because it wasn’t in the Famicom version.


This was a really difficult game to play as a child, now it’s a cakewalk, though I still can’t do the trapeze stage. It’s one of those games where easy to play but hard to master, but with enough practice it’s a really easy game to play. The graphics are good enough for a Famicom game, it is a port of the arcade version and it’s a very faithful port in terms of game design. The music really tries to replicate the circus experience and while it does an OK job at it, it’s still too tingly and I pass it because of limitations of the machine.

Overall, it’s a little time waster but for what it is it’s a fun title to try to master and it doesn’t take long to do so, as in the poster says it’s ‘The First Authentic Circus Game In History’, in my opinion, it maybe the only authentic Circus game out there, and I think that’s why this game is unique, I recommend it if you want a fun experience that near enough replicates the craziness of the circus.

You can get it in the Arcade, Commodore 64, MSX and the NES/Famicom.

Well Done Every Gamer! You managed to write a review of a circus game without referencing The Joker! Conglaturations!



2 thoughts on “Circus Charlie (NES) (Old Review)

  1. Cool to read about Circus Charlie again. I used to play the MSX version (cartridge) as a kid and I still have the game and computer today. It was great fun back then, but I don’t think I’d play it much if I tried it again to be honest.

    1. Thanks for reading, I would love to have an MSX, mostly for Metal Gear, I would like to review that before I get to the beefy stuff (case in point, Metal Gear Solid). I played this game for a few years and it was hard, but only now when I had to review it, I was pretty good at it until the final level.

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