Written by  :  Skeet (6)
Written on  :  Sep 24, 2001
Platform  :  DOS
Rating  :  2.33 Stars2.33 Stars2.33 Stars2.33 Stars2.33 Stars
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A disappointing entry in Infocom's lineup.

The Good

There were a few amusing moments in the game and interesting puzzles, like the lion training bit. It tried hard for an authentic circus atmosphere.

The Bad

In general, the game was a big mess. When playing the best IF, you're never at a point where you have no idea what in the world you're supposed to do next or how to do it -- there should always be clues, no matter how subtle, as to what's expected next. In several places in Ballyhoo, however, there is simply no indication of why you should explore an area, such as the hypnotist's area or the fat lady's tent. Once you do, it's quite obvious that there are puzzles to solve, but no hint of why you should bother.

Also, the storyline was mediocre -- the circus owner's daughter has been kidnapped, and the investigator he's hired is an incapable drunk. It's just used as an excuse to explore every possible aspect of a circus, from tightrope walking to dressing up as a clown.

The Bottom Line

You should play Ballyhoo if you're an absolute IF/Infocom junkie (like me), extremely interested in the detective genre, or a complete maniac about things related to the circus. Otherwise, it probably isn't really worth your time.