Commodore 64 version
Poor circus-themed game; unfair to new players
Every now and then, a game with that involves a circus theme pops up, and a few game companies have been doing this since the late '70s, with the first game being released on the Odyssey 2. The earliest of these I had played back when I had a Commodore 64 was Sammy Lightfoot, and it is the type of game that only deserves to be played once, on the basis that it is rather frustrating. You control a circus worker who needs to perform certain acts that will impress the audience, ranging from bouncing on trampolines to swinging over pits of fires. All the action is split across three scenes.
Before the start of each scene, you get to hear one of three circus jingles, and this really blends in well with the theme of the game. These tunes may not serve as the background music, and I am glad that this is not the case. Their quality would only ruin the game.
Each scene could be completed in under just a minute, if you spend a little time studying what obstacles you will have to deal with. As I said before, the first scene has you bounce on trampolines, jump over balls, and use the one swing to jump to your platform. The highlight of Sammy Lightfoot is watching Sammy perform a victory dance at the end of each scene. After the first scene, you have to jump across five blocks that disappear randomly, then ride a magic carpet to the final scene where you have to avoid more obstacles and swing across a pit of fire.
After completing all three scenes, Sammy Lightfoot starts to get more challenging. As long as you don't care about getting bonus points, it is worth the effect memorizing patterns so that you don't run out of lives quicker, and you don't get any extra after a certain amount of points.
Before the start of the game, you can customize the game to your satisfaction. You can do things like turn the music or sound effects on or off, or change the number of players and set the starting difficulty for those players.
Sammy is badly drawn. He looks a bit chubby as if he is not fit to perform circus stunts at all. When he loses one of his lives, he is able to rotate his head, Exorcist-style. Why didn't Sierra just let him collapse on the floor?
When I mentioned an audience back in "The Good" section, this is not exactly true. No audience can be seen, actually. You perform all the stunts over a black background. The addition of an audience would have looked good against the colorful graphics.
Every scene in the game present some problems for new players. The magic carpet in scene two, for example, doesn't move in a certain path that makes it easy for them to remember. It is so easy to fall off since the path is quite different as the difficult level increases.
The biggest problem that I had with the game are the swings. When I played other C-64 games that require me to jump on swings (eg: Pitfall!), I didn't know that you have to hold down the fire button if you want to stay on the swings. There's also the problem of Sammy getting off the swings in the wrong direction, and landing himself in danger.
The Bottom Line
So in conclusion, Sammy Lightfoot is Sierra's only circus-themed game, released at a time before the company started making adventures. The game has you doing everything circus workers normally do - you bounce on trampolines, swing or jump over obstacles, and ride magic carpets. What I like about this game is the increased difficult every time you complete all three scenes. Although the game can be annoying at times, it is a pain to new players who have not played before, and if those players are not very careful, their lives will run out very fast which may get frustrating enough for them to take it back to their game store.
by Katakis | カタキス (43051) on October 4th, 2011