game Cover
game HuCard
Unipost, 1991
Release : 1991-04-06 (¥5400)
Hucard (2 Mbits) JP91001
Action / Puzzle game
Circus Lido is a quirky puzzle/action game by Uni Post Company and Planning System. Like most action/puzzle games, the goal of Circus Lido is both deceptively simple and dauntingly complex. The star of the show is a green and cute chameleon-like creature called "Leon" who must progress through devilish levels, killing all the crawling (or flying) insects that populate them in order to reach the exit. The levels are not timed though, and the core gameplay has an unique and challenging twist - although the Chameleon can shoot his tongue to capture enemies, he can't actually eat them... instead, he must carry the captured foes in his mouth and spit them out into carnivorous plants scattered around each level. This particular technique has also many other useful applications, and the chameleon can spit an enemy at another in order to stun them, or use a stunned bug as a temporary platform... Additionally, the green lizard comes with another serious limitation - he can't jump. So the only way for Leon to reach higher grounds is to use his retractable tail and to shoot it upwards in an attempt to wrap it around special logs/legdes. Once all the enemies are defeated, the exit door unlocks and the chameleon can proceed to the next stage. Circus Lido consists of forty levels and a password system allows the player to save his progress.
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Circus Lido Circus Lido is notoriously known among classic game enthusiasts, not for its (average at most) qualities as a puzzle game, but for the unusual circumstances of its release. Although the game was (quietly) advertised in several Japanese video game magazines at the time and officially released on April 6 1991, it was nowhere to be found in stores and went completely unnoticed. Because of this, Circus Lido was considered as one of the rarest PC Engine HuCard in the late 1990s, and the few rare copies that surfaced on the collectors' market snapped up for thousands of dollars (some even argued that the game was never commercially released). However, in 2000, this situation was about to change dramatically. For what seemed like obscure reasons, an increasing number of Circus Lido began to appear and the game's inflated value started to melt away... And the truth, being finally revealed in 2001, is one of the most memorable moment (and most painful for some) of PC Engine collecting history. Although Circus Lido was virtually impossible to find in the wild, several Japanese forums started to leak out that the game was available for its original retail price (¥5400) on Amazon Circus Lido - key chain Japan! To fully understand and explain this unexpected twist, we have to go back to 1991 - in reality, Circus Lido did see a commercial release, yes, but not in toy/game stores, but in libraries. It is not really clear as to why Uni Post company decided to only release this game in libraries, but this certainly explains why it went completely unnoticed and was nowhere to be found... until 2000, when someone discovered that Amazon Japan still had a large stock available at the original retail price. Circus Lido shows how incredibly volatile the collectibles market can be, and how speculation can cause the mighty to fall (and yet I feel for those who paid thousands of dollars for the once-rare and elusive Circus Lido).

Interestingly, a special medal/key chain was made to commemorate the release of Circus Lido (picture on the right). 500 were made and given away to the first players (as long as they ordered it) who cleared the forty levels (see the Omake section for more information). It is however hard to tell how many were actually given away, considering how badly the game sold...

Circus Lido comes with a outer cardboard box (similar to the ones which came with SuperGrafx games). Each copy also includes a numbered user's card which gives additional information about the game:
A "CIRCUS LIDO" Card is a UNIPOST PC Engine game card. Can you help the chameleon's "Leon" to escape. There are 40 mazes. The enemy is formidable. keep trying until the day you help him escape.


Circus Lido manual Advert
Click on picture to enlarge

Level Passwords:
Level 01 - AAAA
Level 02 - DRMH
Level 03 - NEOT
Level 04 - ESCR
Level 05 - EETE
Level 06 - HRSY
Level 07 - TSOA
Level 08 - STPL
Level 09 - RHIP
Level 10 - EGND
Level 11 - HIUO
Level 12 - TRTO
Level 13 - OLHG
Level 14 - ELGY
Level 15 - HAIR
Level 16 - TMLE
Level 17 - DEYV
Level 18 - NTPA
Level 19 - ASOE
Level 20 - AYCR
Level 21 - SSGA
Level 22 - UGNU
Level 23 - GNIO
Level 24 - IIYY
Level 25 - ANA!
Level 26 - SNLS
Level 27 - AAPN
Level 28 - MLRO
Level 29 - IPUI
Level 30 - JDOT
Level 31 - AEYA
Level 32 - TTRL
Level 33 - FIOU
Level 34 - FMFT
Level 35 - AIUA
Level 36 - TLOR
Level 37 - SYYG
Level 38 - DNDK
Level 39 - EANO
Level 40 - VPAC
Boss - ZYMA

Add your Pov here !

Circus Lido is such a strange game... at least the developers tried to keep the player's interest piqued - there is no time limit, no lives and a password system allows you to save your progress after every level. I say it's a nice touch. However, the puzzles are brutally hard and five levels in, you realize that it's going to be a long and difficult road. Circus Lido is a tricky game with fiendishly-designed levels, and I must warn you right here - the game is more oriented towards puzzle solving than platform action, so don't go in expecting another Bubble Bobble (levels are designed in a way that require a lot of thought and reflection). All in all, Circus Lido is not as bad as some people say - the graphics are correct, the controls are generally ok (they are slightly clunky though, and Leon often doesn't aim and shoot where you want him to) and the game definitively has some intense "scratch your head" moments. Overall, Circus Lido drops squarely into average territory.

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