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Digital Fantasia
Brian Howarth
Adventure: Text
ZX Spectrum 48K

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Chris Bourne

Circus is another in the Digital Fantasia series of graphics and text adventures by Brian Howarth.

In this jolly sounding story you are a motorist whose car is stranded in the middle of nowhere having run out of petrol.

What else can you do but get your empty petrol can from the boot and set off in search of the juice of life? Darkness is settling about you when you stumble across an unexpected sight in a deserted valley - a Circus. The music and laughter emanating from it suggest a Performance in full swing. Despite the strangeness of the situation, you are obviously in luck - petrol cannot be far away. More fool you!

As you open the gate in the outer fence around the Circus all sounds abruptly cease - and all that's left is an eerily deserted tent in the middle of nowhere. As it says in the intro, a long, long night is ahead of you. Will you survive and get the petrol, will you get to the bottom of the Circus's secrets and escape.... ?


'Another typical Digital Fantasia adventure with lots to do and pick up. And picking up things in the right order is essential if you are going to get anywhere at all. I really thought my wits were being tested to the extreme with this one. The usefulness of some of the objects littered about did not become clear until it was really too late to do anything about remedying the situation. Stumbling around for too long in the tent caused my trusty flashlight to go on the blink - further stumblings caused me to die. . . . But I'll try again with the helpful advice sheet you may send for. Maybe I'll get further - although Brian Howarth is a devious helper.'

'Circus is quite intriguing, but I felt it lacked a little excitement and overall the Circus tent has very few locations to explore, unless hidden places went unnoticed. Word recognition is a little on the meagre side, and the graphics may look cute but don't add anything - which is probably why they can be switched off. Altogether, just a little pricey for what you get.'

'A fast, fun adventure this - I managed to get into the tent, swam with friendly sealions, tried unsuccessfully to wake a sleeping tiger and after a lot of exploring made an explosive flying escape from the otherwise closed tent and reached my car with the necessary petrol - only to find that I couldn't drive off and leave the Spirits behind to languish. I must have missed a plot twist somewhere! But I couldn't get back into the tent and that was that. Great fun!'

Use of colour: simple and effective
Graphics: average, may be switched off to speed up adventure
Sound: nothing to speak of
General Rating: An above average lively adventure with cunning plot but a bit pricey.


Screenshot Text

Roll up! Roll up! The Circus is in town!

Inside the Big Top, nothing is as it should be.