Starshot: Space Circus Fever

a game by Infogrames
Genre: Action
Platform: Nintendo 64Nintendo 64
Editor Rating: 6.3/10, based on 8 reviews
User Rating: 8.0/10 - 1 vote
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Starshot: Space Circus Fever
Starshot: Space Circus Fever
Starshot: Space Circus Fever
Starshot: Space Circus Fever

In this cartoony exploration game, you play as the title character. Starshot. a juggler who roams the galaxy with a group of circus performers in search of adventure. The game features seven bizarre worlds set in a non-linear 3D environment. As you journey through these worlds, you'll interact with over 300 zany characters. Starshot promises "Cartoon Skin" and "Total Distortion" graphical systems, which will make you feel like you're playing a cartoon, along with a jammin' space-symphony rock soundtrack. The intergalactic circus should be coming to town this fall.

Download Starshot: Space Circus Fever

Nintendo 64

System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

Game Reviews

Colorful, fast, and graphically dazzling, Space Circus is hard to describe literally--think of it as a cross between Blasto and MDK. You control a character named Starshot, who's looking for his lost inter-galactic juggling troupe. Along the way, you'll encounter hundreds of well-rendered enemies and explore a huge 3D world filled with cartoony backgrounds. Only PC screens were available, but Infogames claims the N64 version will look very similar. We'll give you a live report straight from the Circus in the near future.

Sure, Space Circus is a stupid name, but the game itself actually looks pretty cool. This ultra-silly platformer has you guiding Starshot, the star juggler of the Space Circus, on a quest to recruit otherworldly performers to save his beloved deep-space big top from a competing circus.

OK, so the story's ridiculous, too.

Anyway, Space Circus is set in seven universes, each divided into different levels. One level, for example, has you returning to Earth--which has been destroyed by Martians--to track down the last human and get him to join your circus. The stages sprawl in every direction and are similar to those in Rare's Banjo-Kazooie, except much more psychedelic. Some areas are composed of narrow walkways suspended above bottomless chasms, others have you using springboards to hop from place to place, still others have you racing up spiral roadways.

You'll have close encounters with more than 300 characters over the course of the game, many of whom you'll cooperate with to reach certain areas and platforms that would otherwise be off-limits (again, as in Banjo-Kazooie).

  • MANUFACTURER - Infogrames
  • THEME - ACTION
  • NUMBER OF PLAYERS - 1

Visually appealing, Space Circus is. nevertheless, a by-the-numbers 3D platformer that's been pre-dated by the much better Banjo. Pity.

Starshot? Think there's a vowel wrong there...

Didn't this come out months ago, you ask? It certainly did. However, since Infogrames never sent us a review copy we haven't got around to it until now. We wish we hadn't bothered.

Star Bores

Put it this way. Starshot: Space Circus Fever, to give the game its full title, so desperately wants to be Banjo-Kazooie that it probably dresses up in yellow shorts and a blue backpack when ifs alone. It's got a bonkers plot, lots of cartoony characters who wibble on like Jawas on speed when they talk, a sidekick who allows you to fly for short periods by collecting tokens, several wackily-themed worlds to explore, and platforms. Lots of platforms.

Sadly, the similarities end there. Where Banjo-Kazooie has condensed, well-designed levels where any slip means you only have to go back a short way, Starshot has sprawling worlds filled with lots and lots of tiny platforms where any slip either forces you to trudge up dozens of platforms all over again... or kills you outright. Which means you go back to the last restart point and have to trudge up dozens of platforms all over again.

Even then, you'll probably slip and have to do it all over again anyway. Starshots controls are as responsive as a brain* damaged tree sloth after downing a bottle of vodka. Starshot's curious mincing run (and the over-finicky analogue control) makes it hard to keep him moving in a straight line, and as for the jump control... what control? You gear up for a running jump to reach a platform, race at the abyss, push the jump button... and Starshot hurls himself into the void without even the slightest attempt to put a little spring in his step.

Camera Obscura

The true nail in Starshots coffin is the camera. If you thought that the camera in Castlevania was the height of uselessness, think again. Ifs Steven Spielberg in comparison to Starshots spasmodically jerking affair. The combination of Starshot's loping gait and the hopelessly wandering camera (which seems to be attached to Starshot by an elastic band, causing it to play catch-up in sudden bursts) start to induce nausea after playing for a while.

Even if you've got a strong stomach, the camera is still a nightmare because ifs never where you need it to be. It stays still when you want it to move, teleports to a new position when you need it to stay still, pulls back for miles when you're trying to negotiate a series of tiny platforms and zooms right in when enemies start shooting. It's as if the camera designer hates all of humanity and wants to make us suffer. And what's the point of having a user-controllable camera if the game seizes control again after you take two steps?

The few high points in Starshot are all graphical. Although not quite as sharp, the scenery is not far short of Banjo-Kazooie in terms of texture design, and the animation of the various characters has an amusing cartoon look. The cut-scenes are well done too, although a way to speed up the burbling speech (as per Banjo) would have been appreciated.

However, that's about it on the good stuff front. The sound effects are uninspired, the music is awfully annoying, and the aforementioned control and camera problems - coupled with the insanely tricky platform sections you're required to navigate - make Starshot a very poor contender in the N64 platform game market, which already has Mario 64 and Banjo-Kazooie dominating it. I'd rather watch Mary Chipperfield sticking chimps with a cattle prod than pay another visit to the Space Circus.

2nd rating opinion

I had high hopes for this game, but after playing it for about five minutes I couldn't stand it any longer. It took four people holding me down to make me go back to it, and it just got worse. Starshot should never have been released in this state. It's awful!

The Universe Has A New Hero

And flys. And swims. And he's set to become the biggest star since Super Mario. He's Starshot. the ace star juggler. And the only one who can save Space Circus from the rival Virtua Circus. To succeed, he must collect new circus acts and rides before the evil Virtua Circus. Seven unbelievable planets to explore. Over 300 weird extraterrestrial characters to meet. All In glorious 3D graphics. This has to be the best game in the universe.

Didn't this come out months ago, you ask? It certainly did. However, since Infogrames never sent us a review copy we haven't got around to it until now. We wish we hadn't bothered.

Competent 3D platformer. Comes nowhere near Banjo or Mario, though.

Snapshots and Media

Nintendo 64/N64 Screenshots