Personal Computer News

Bigtop Barney

Author: Mike Gerrard
Publisher: Interceptor Micros
Machine: Commodore 64

Published in Personal Computer News #102


Roll up, roll up, ladies and gentlemen, 'cos the Commodore Circus has come to town, starring Bigtop Barney: see him leap through those flaming hoops, see him jump over those blasted chimps, and all without the aid of a safety pin let alone a safety net. You thought you'd seen it all with the three-ring circus, well this is a four-screen circus, so roll up, roll up.

Barney obviously wants to steal the show - there are four acts for him to choose from, graded from easy to hardest, and each act has three separate skill levels as well. You can also give Barney any number of lives from one to eight, and decide how often you'll earn a bonus life, so even if you find the toughest screens easy you can still make it as hard as possible for yourself.

Screen one is the tightrope where Barney must walk 100 metres, jumping over the chimps and through the hoops, leaping to collect the bonus points as well. You can speed Barney up or slow him down: the fire button makes him jump. I could hardly get ten metres down the tightrope on the easy level, and when I tried the had level with chimps coming at me in twos and threes I was down in the crowd with a "Drat!" every time.

Barney's second act is to collect ten balloons from a network of platforms where he's also being pestered by Otto the circus strongman. He can leap around a little but this diminishes his own strength, and he's also got to keep an eye out for the sea-lions' balls. Act three is unicycling and jumping on and off platforms... can be painful if you mistime a jump, while act four is a trampolining sequence where you bounce round collecting keys and avoiding the fire-eaters who are trying to breathe flames up the legs of your baggy trousers.

Even taken individually the games are better than average, though the graphics could perhaps be improved a little, but they are excellent value for money, and addictive even without that music compelling you to keep playing. Definitely should be a Big Top seller.

Mike Gerrard

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