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        Some of the first thoughts that come to mind when thinking about a circus might be clowns, jugglers, tightrope walkers, animal trainers and acrobats all performing astonishing feats before a large audience.  The smell of cotton candy, popcorn and peanuts fill the air while your senses are bombarded with excitement.  Many of the dangerous acts required strength, skill, timing and agility that kept us at the edge of our seats in suspense.  The ringmaster orchestrated of all these wondrous performances as his narration set the tone for the show.   

        The designer John Popadiuk has managed to incorporate the same thrills into Cirqus Voltaire.  Cirqus Voltaire probably has one of the most radical designs and color schemes seen in the pinball industry.  The back glass has no digital display but is full sized with anCirqus Voltaire Boom Balloon interactive orange cannon ball inside that the player can fire.  Speaking of which, the display has been ergonomically lowered onto the playfield to keep your eyes closer to the action.  This and Capcom's 1996 Flipper Football were the only pinball machines with this feature.  Bold flowing and ornate artwork adorn the game with many small details.  A bright 4-foot neon tube runs nearly the entire length of the right side of the playfield and contours alongside a ramp plastic.  Near the neon on the bottom of the playfield are pop bumpers.  Their proximity to the pins 2 flippers makes for fast play and is usually a signature feature of Pat Lawlor pins.  To make space for shots to the upper portions of the playfield, Popadiuk included a disappearing pop bumper called the BOOM Balloon.  Not used in pinball for decades, this pop bumper retracts flush into the playfield when not in use.  Directly across from the pop bumpers is the menagerie ball, a large plastic ball trapped within a cage above the left kicker.  The giant ball disrupts pinball direction for more randomized play.  The big toy on the playfield is the ringmaster himself as a giant head represented ala Funhouse – “Rudy style”.  Mounted on a spring with green face and blue hair, the ringmaster is also hidden flush into the playfield.  Once players spell WOW the glowing ringmaster raises from the playfield with the pinball held in place with a magnet.  He randomly hurls the pinball onto the playfield to start one of the 9 multi-ball modes in the game.  Popadiuk favors magnets in his games for dramaticCirqus Voltaire Ring Master effect and this one is no exception including 3.  Game rules and features were later upgraded to speed up game play and correct software bugs known as 2.0H.   Cirqus Voltaire features a deep rule set with the objective to complete 9 marvels (modes) to join the Cirqus. Once you complete that, a multi-level wizard mode automatically begins.  To join the Cirqus, you have to complete the Juggler, Acrobats, Ringmaster Frenzie, Defeat all Ringmasters, Spin, Boom! Menagerie, Highwire Multiball and Side Show. These modes make use of the entire playfield well.  The true identity of the ringmaster will be revealed to you once everything is completed. 

        Cirqus Voltaire’s speech, sound and music package are equally well done as the rest of the game.  Little details like the sounds of gears cranking away when the ringmasters raises from the playfield to the surreal familiar circus march as the main tune.  The display animations are excellent and detailed but sometimes too long.  The home ROM 2.0H allowed players to cancel out of many of them giving the game new legs amongst collectors.  The release of the home ROM has transformed the game from being problematic and slow into a fast flowing and fun game.  Cirqus Voltaire has a lot to offer players and onlookers of all ages just as its real Circus counterpart.  


Did you know

Some of the obstacles in the Video mode are cows and at rare occasions a "3" is one of the obstacles.

One of the judges in the bonus sequence is a cow and another judge is called DOHO.  Scott Slomiany (aka. Scott Matrix) "created" the DOHO and it stands for Doris Ho, Scott's wife.

Sometimes when you hit the Ringmaster, a moo is heard.

A cow sometimes fly away as debree in the DMD animation for hitting the Ringmaster. Other debris are bolts and pigeons.

There's a cow on the backglass, above the acrobat to the right.

The Attract mode sound is a moo.

Enter MOO for initials in the high score table and the Ringmaster will pop up and say "moo!". (Game ROM rev. 2.0 home)

Sometimes the pie that hits the clown in the match animation is replaced with a cow, similar to the ones that Rooney jumps over in the Video mode.

Sometimes the 1´s digit on the display flips to a skull, a cow, a frog from Scared Stiff or a Tommy Ticket (from Ticket Tac Toe).

In the Attract mode's history of the circus, a cow is mentioned in two places.

John Popadiuk can be seen as the Fabio-looking acrobat on the backglass.

In Attract mode, press one of these codes:
B, 3L, 10R, 19L, 1R (that spells CJS)
B, 16L, 1R, 2L, 1R (PAB)
B, 13L, 15R, 15L, 1R (MOO) Start a game directly after entering this code and the sound effect for hitting the first Ringmaster will be "moo".
B, 18L, 3R, 19L, 1R (RCS)
B, 7L, 7R, 3L, 1R (GGC)
B, 6L, 18R, 14L, 1R (FRN) Will perform a system reboot.
B, 13L, 1R, 2L, 1R (MAB, works only on 2.0 ROMs)
B, 3L, 19R, 19L, 1R (CSS, works only on 2.0 ROMs)
Please note that the L & R are reversible on all the codes to this game.

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  Habo's Cirqus Voltaire



Back to Habo's Arcade Home PageBack to Habo's Arcade Home Page


Manufacturer:  Bally

Production Run: 2,704

Released: October 1997

Design Team:
Game Design: John Popadiuk, Cameron Silver
Mechanics: Jack Skalon, Lous Toy
   Artwork:  Linda Deal (aka Doane)
Software: Cameron Silver
Sound and Music: Rob Berry, Dave Zabrinkie

Cirqus Voltaire DMD


My Circus Voltaire

Date of Manufacture: 

Serial Number: 

Condition:  Shopped, Working 100%

Purchased:  2006

Sold:  2009


Circus Voltaire Quick Links


Owners Page

Cliffy's Protectors

Rule Sheet


Cows and Easter Eggs

Promotional Video


Habo's Gone but not forgotten


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