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Circus Charlie (サーカスチャーリー Sākasu Chārī ) 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.
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 exactly the 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.
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.