GETTING AROUND THE CIRCUS
Hurry, hurry, hurry! Step right this way, ladies and gentlemen, to see the
wonders of the ages. Witness death-defying feats of derring-do and digital
dexterity! Behold the fascinating freaks of fiendish fortune, fettered with
fantasies far from the furthest feelings of the fortunate few! Experience
elephants, learn from the lions and make a monkey out of yourself! All this
for one thin dime, one tenth of a dollar! Hurry, hurry, hurry! (Get away
from here kid, you bother me!)
Infocom's latest mystery game is far from what you might expect if you've
played WITNESS, SUSPECT or DEADLINE. In fact, it has more in common with
the adventure series, where you have to find the right items and do the
right things with them in order to solve the game.
So let's begin. As always, mapping is a key to playing through successfully.
All the action takes place on the grounds of THE CIRCUS THAT TIME FORGOT,
INC. At the start of the game, there are only a limited number of places
you can visit, so your first job is to find out how to get to those other
places that are currently blocked to you.
You begin In the Wings. The Big Top lies to the north, and the rest of the
circus grounds south. So head south.
You are in the Connection, a kind of crossroads. You will see a midget. If
you have read the Official Souvenir Program, you will recognize him as
Comrade Thumb, a Russian emigre clown. A word of advice: You will find few
people here on your side, so make friends where you can. "Lift the midget"
to help the poor guy get a drink, then note where the fountain is for later.
There is a temporarily impassable turnstile to the east, so go south again.
You are now Near the White Wagon, the business office. The door is locked
and you have no key, so leave this for later. But do take the pole that is
sticking out from under the wagon. Read the banner to the south. "Egress"
is not a wild beast, but stay away from it anyway if you don't want the
game to end. Instead, head west.
You will be by a second turnstile. Two clowns will get through, but you
can't yet. Be sure to watch and listen to everything they do and say. If
you look into the cage by the turnstile, you will see the blind guard,
Harry. Harry is a veritable encyclopedia of information, and about the only
friend you can talk to. Be sure to applaud when Comrade Thumb finishes his
act, wait for him to pass through, then head west again.
You are now in the Prop Tent. Leave everything you see, and hide behind the
cardboard cutout of William Howard Taft, then listen to the whole
conversation. The owner's daughter, Chelsea, has been kidnapped! By the
sound of him, this detective that Mr. Munrab (spell it backwards) has hired
is no Sam Spade. There's only one person who can find Chelsea, and that's
After they leave, head east into the Back Yard, then north to Beside the
Big Top. Pick up the mask, and then go east back to the connection. Head
north again into the wings. A portion of the bleachers has been pulled away.
Head northeast, search the garbage and take the ticket you find there. Then
head southwest and north.
You are now in the Performance Ring, ready to perform your first death-
defying act. The roustabout with the headphones you saw leave as you
entered the Big Top (remember him!) has removed the safety net. So drop
everything but the fiberglass pole, and climb the rope ladder. Keep going
east until you reach the other platform. Now that was easy, wasn't it? Take
the balloon, and go west until you get back to the first platform. Try to
go down. You'll drop the pole, but never mind. Then down again and pick up
everything, then go south twice back to the Connection.
Punch either the red or blue dot on your ticket, then "insert ticket in
slot." You'll get your ticket back and you can go east through the
turnstile into the Midway. You must repeat this every time you use this
Examine the pitchman and the detective (and the monkey). Then go south into
the Menagerie, and southeast into the Menagerie Nook. To the north is a
cage. Look inside it. Use the pole to get the key ring, then unlock the
cage, open the door and go north into the cage. Take the headphones and the
bucket, go south, northwest, north, and west back through the turnstile.
Make your way back to the Prop Tent. I found it a good place to leave
everything until you need it. Drop everything but the balloon. Go east.
Now "open the balloon"; then "inhale helium" and say "Harry, hello." Your
high-pitched voice will make him think you are Comrade Thumb, and he will
buzz you through. Go south.
You are now in the Camp (East), west of Gottfried von Katzenjammer's
trailer. Head west to Camp (West), with Clown Alley to the South. Leave
both of those until later. Instead, it's time you learned the fine art of
"sidewalling." "Sidewall" or "crawl under" the canvas, and you'll find
yourself back in the Prop Tent.
Aha! What is this? A piece of wood? Examine it. Seems harmless enough, so
pick it up. When prompted, try entering an obscenity; if shy, just say
"ow." Drop the mousetrap, take the piece of meat out of the bucket, and
then drop the meat.
Timing is crucial here. Go east out of the Prop Tent, then west back in.
You'll hear scurrying. Go out and back in again. You will see a mouse.
"Catch mouse with bucket."
Now take the ticket and the bucket and head back to the Menagerie. The real
fun is about to begin!
MAKING YOUR PRESENCE FELT
Okay, you're back at the Menagerie, armed with your ticket and a bucket
with a mouse in it. Try going east. You have just met Hannibal, the
elephant. Take the mouse, then show the mouse to the elephant twice.
Hannibal will blow the mouse out of your hand. Wait. The petrified
pachyderm will break loose from his chains in fright and plow through the
fence to the southwest. Go through the elephant-sized hole to the southwest.
You have returned to the White Wagon, only this time you notice a ladder
attached to the rear. Climb up the ladder until you are On the Wagon. Turn
the crank, then look in the wagon. Mr. Munrab is hard at work. The poor man
is so tense, you shouldn't bother him. But you have to get in there, so you
must get him to leave first. From your perch, knock on the door. He will
open the door and, quite perplexed at finding no one there, he will leave.
Time is of the essence now. Go "in" and lock the door. Ignore the books and
the sheepskin; just examine the desk and take the spreadsheet you find
there. Now, move the desk and "up". You will be back on top of the wagon
and Mr. Munrab, none the wiser, will close the panel. Go down to the ground,
making sure you pick up anything you might have dropped, and back northeast
to the Menagerie.
Now, go north, east, and east again till you reach the Far End of the
Midway. Go north, then northeast or southeast around Tina, and take the
stool. Ignore Tina for the moment; she will certainly ignore you. Make your
way back to the Midway and return to the Prop Tent, either through the
turnstile or by way of the elephant-sized hole southwest of the Menagerie.
Once you have side-walled a tent, you only have to type a direction to go
under it again, so go south from the tent and east to Katzenjammer's
trailer with the skeleton key in hand. Examine the trailer. Unlock and open
the compartment, then take the bullwhip. Go north through the turnstile and
then ask Harry about the lions. He will tell you that only Elsie responds
to the whip. Return to the Prop Tent and make sure you have all of the
following: the key, the stool, the whip, and the meat. Now go east twice
and north three times into the Performance Ring.
Unlock the cage with the key, open the door, and go west into the Lions'
Den. The male shaggy lion is Nimrod; the smooth-bodied female is Elsie.
Keep cracking the whip at the smooth lion until she lies down and yawns,
then open the grate. The stool will keep keep the shaggy lion at bay. Throw
the meat into the passage, then go east. Go back into the cage and close
the grate. Move the lion stand and you will find a cigarette case.
Return to the Prop Tent. Carrying your ticket and the cigarette case, go
east. Ask Harry about Andrew and Jenny, then be sure to give him the
cigarette case. He will feel it and tell you it belongs to Andrew. Go north,
east, insert your ticket, and east again through the turnstile, then east
once more. Now go south.
You are in Jennifer's Boudoir. Show the case to Andrew. Show the case to
Jenny. Observe the fracas that follows with amazement and listen to what is
said about the meeting later that night in Katz's trailer. Now go up the
stairs into the Wardrobe Closet. Take the dress/suit combination and search
it. Take the veil you find. Take the shawl/jacket combo and go up and out
of the closet and north. Make your way back to the Prop Tent and relax a
For the next series you will just need your ticket. It's time to visit
Rimshaw the Incomparable. Return to Midway of the Midway and north into the
Hypnotist's Parlor. You must give him your ticket, which he will return.
You can say "Rimshaw, read my palm" and "Rimshaw, read my head" for fun;
but you're on serious business here. Say "Rimshaw, hypnotize me," and he
In your dreamlike state you will return to your seat high up in the
bleachers, with a terrible hunger. Stand up. Now go east, up, east, down,
east, up, east, and down. On the way, ignore the hawker. He will relieve
you of $1.85 without your lifting a finger. As soon as you find yourself
back In the Wings, a monkey will land on your back. Go south to the
Connection, then get in line at the concession stand. Wait till the second
line starts. You will have to type "get out of line" twice, then "get in
short line." Wait until Jerry's friends all arrive, then get out of the
line. When asked if you really want to surrender your place in the long
line, say "Yes." Get in the short line, get out of the short line then get
in the *long* line. Reverse psychology pays.
Now you have a chocolate-covered banana. Bite it. Hmmm, someone else is
hungry, too. Drop your hard-won prize and go north Into the Wings. Say
hello to the hawker you see taking a break there. Then go up. Some stranger
will hurl a granola bar at you and you'll wake from your trance. Stand up
and go south, then west.
Now side-wall the tent, and you're Under the Bleachers. Search the garbage
and you'll find the granola bar. Take it and go south.
Who do you know that might appreciate a granola bar? Yes, go east and east
again, then north. Examine Tina. She is holding a radio. Go northeast or
southeast around her, then give her the granola bar. That got her
attention! Say "Tina, hello." Take the hand she offers you, then kiss it.
Go northwest or southwest, and you will find the radio. Take it and go
south. Return once again to the Prop Tent.
You are once again in the Prop Tent, and it's time you got on with the
actual business of solving the crime. You have already obtained a clue: the
spreadsheet. Examine it. It describes the steadily deteriorating financial
condition of one Eddie Smalldone. Unfortunately, this is not much to go on.
Examine the headphones. Rewind the tape and then play it until you hear the
subliminal voice. So Rimshaw is in on this! Rewind the tape again.
For the next series, you will need your ticket, the key, the radio, and the
headphones. But first, pay a visit to Harry. Go east and ask Harry about
Eddie Smalldone, then ask him about the circus and the gorilla. To tame the
gorilla, you will need soothing music, and all you have is Jimi Hendrix and
a static-producing radio. Consult your souvenir program again, then turn
the radio to WPDL, 1170 on your AM dial. Not much of an improvement, I'm
afraid. You will have to improve your reception noticeably.
Make your way to the Menagerie Nook. Drop your ticket and the key, then
climb the cage. The static will miraculously disappear. "Record music" and
wait until the tape stops, just to be sure. Rewind once again to the
beginning, then go down.
Oops. You seem to have died. Naw! Try typing "restore," then "wait." Take
the key and ticket, then go northwest. Unlock the cage with the key, open
the door and go west. Behold Mahler the Gorilla! (Just for fun, you might
try this wearing the gorilla suit!) Search the straw. A trap door! Now play
the tape. Mahler will leave you alone so you can open the trap door and
take the ribbon that is in there. Go east and close the door behind you.
Make your way back to the Prop Tent.
Drop off everything. Take the mask, then go south. Wear the mask and knock
on the door of the trailer. When Chuckles lets you in, go south. Examine
the ash tray, move the ash and take the scrap of newspaper revealed.
Chuckles by then will see through your disguise, but his careless tongue
will have revealed "the grift" (i.e., illegal gambling), and that to reach
it you must shove "Annie Oakley" (i.e., your ticket) under the front by the
elephant tent. (See the souvenir program for translation of circus lingo.)
Go back north into the Prop Tent, and make sure you have the bucket and
your ticket. Then make your way to the Menagerie Nook. Slide your ticket
under the front, then go east through the secret panel. Take your ticket
Now it's time to play a little blackjack. There is a $2.00 house limit, and
it doesn't really matter if you win or lose. Play a couple of hands, then
type "open panel." Instead of obeying your command, the game will suggest
you play another hand. This time, however, something has changed. You will
feel someone tapping on your foot. If you pay attention, the number of taps
indicates the value of the dealer's hole card. Try to look under the green
tablecloth. The game's odds have swung about to your favor, so play as long
as you like until Billy Monday 86's you from the Blue Room. Go northwest,
You will see the body of the detective. Is he dead? He sure is: Dead drunk,
that is. You will have to revive him. Go west through the turnstile. About
this time, you will run into Comrade Thumb again. By sign language, he will
advise you to return to the Blue Room. First, you must deal with the
detective. Pour water on him. This will revive him, and bring on sudden
feelings of shame and remorse. You must exploit those feelings while you
have his attention. Say "Detective, give me the ransom note." He will
produce the note and a trade card for Dr. Nostrum's. (You have one in your
BALLYHOO package; it has a picture of a cute blonde girl with a red ribbon
in her hair.)
Return to the Menagerie Nook, and drop the bucket. You won't need it again.
Once again, slide your ticket under the front, and go east into the Blue
Room. Look under the tablecloth, and take the suitcase. Open the panel
and...too late! The suitcase is ripped out of your grasp and the culprit
dashes west through the open panel. You must stay hot on his heels! Go west,
then up and up again. Which way did he go? Which way did he go?
Never mind. You've got more important things to worry about, like the
elephant prod that comes bursting through the tent near you! The tip is
deadly, but only the tip. So go in any direction until the second time the
prod is pushed through the tent. Grab the shaft, then pull it or push it.
You are now out of danger. Go down and down again. The cowards have
vanished. But you have gathered all the clues you need. It is time to take
stock of your position, so return to the Prop Tent again. You are almost
SAVING THE DAY
Take the trade card, ransom note, ribbon, spreadsheet, and scrap of
newspaper. Examine the scrap. Read the ransom note. Compare the scrap to
the ransom note. Aha! Examine the ribbon. It appears to match the one worn
by the girl on the trade card.
Let us now marshall our facts:
1) The circus is not doing well financially.
2) Eddie "Chuckles" Smalldone is involved because the scrap you found in
his trailer matches the scraps used to make the ransom note.
3) Rimshaw the Incomparable is involved, because of the hypnotic voice of
the headphones. His unwilling accomplice is the roustabout you saw wearing
the headphones early in the game.
4) Andrew is involved, because Jenny told you so. But you are not likely to
see either of them again.
5) Billy Monday is involved, because you assume that Chelsea was in the
suitcase he took from you.
6) Gottfried von Katzenjammer is involved, because you know a meeting is
set for his trailer this evening.
Take the five clues, go south, and east. You will find Chuckles "polishing"
the lion tamer's trailer. Say "Eddie, hello." Then show him the clues in
this order: the spreadsheet, the note, the scrap, the ribbon, and the trade
card. Guilt-stricken or scared out of his floppy shoes, he will beat a
Now, how to get into the trailer? Once again, you must disguise yourself.
Return to the Prop Tent, then get and wear the following items: the dress-
suit combination, the shawl-jacket combo and the veil. Drop everything else.
Go south and east, then knock on the door. Katzenjammer, mistaking you for
Andrew/Jenny, will leave you alone by the trailer. Time's a-wasting! You
don't know when he'll return, so go east into the trailer.
Close the door. You will find a crowbar. Take it. Now move the moosehead.
It will reveal a one foot square crawl space which is too small for you to
enter. Now who could fit in there? Hmmmm. (Light bulb!)
Open the door and go west twice. Examine the door. It is slightly warped
(but aren't we all!). Open the door with the crowbar, then go south into
Clown Alley. Fortunately, Comrade Thumb is there. Lift him and carry him
back to Katzenjammer's trailer. Put him in the crawl space and wait. He
will hand Chelsea out to you!
Now to reunite the poor girl with her distraught father. Go west and north,
receiving Harry's congratulations, then east to the White Wagon. A happy
ending seems to be within your grasp.
Unfortunately, Mr. Munrab misunderstands your sudden appearance with his
daughter and goes screaming northeast for the detective. Follow him. A
tense moment ensues, but before you can explain, you are blind-sided by a
berserk simian. Go north, west, north, and north again after Munrab and the
This is the scene that confronts you in the Performance Ring. Munrab and
the roustabout stand aghast looking at Mahler holding the helpless Chelsea
high up on the tightrope platform. What is worse, you can no longer reach
the rope ladder. Is all your work for naught?
Stay calm. This is no time for panic. You need unquestioned obedience
immediately. Clap your hands! This will trigger Rimshaw's post-hypnotic
suggestion and make the roustabout your willing slave. Tell him to get the
safety net. This is an opportune time to get out of all of Andrew/Jenny's
clothes you are wearing.
Go west to the Lions' Den and take the lion stand, then go east and drop it.
You will now be able to climb the stand and reach the rope ladder. But
experience has told you what you need to (a) cross the tightrope and (b)
calm the gorilla. One last time, return to the Prop Tent and get the
fiberglass pole and the transistor radio. Return to the Performance Ring.
Climb the stand, then the rope ladder, with just the pole. This will drive
Mahler into the guy wires above the platform. Try to climb the wires. You
can't, but this will drive Mahler to the far platform. Drop the pole and go
back down for the radio. Go up again. Confident in your proven tightrope
walking ability, and reassured by the soothing strains of classical music,
head east slowly across the tightrope. Easy. Easy. Step by step, inch by
inch. Almost there....
Suddenly, the music is interrupted by a pledge break. AAAARRRRGGGGHHHH!!!!
You must go back west to the first platform. Drop the pole and radio, and
go down. Where is a phone? Go south three times and east into the White
Wagon. Take the phone and call WPDL, then return to the Performance Ring
and climb back up to the platform. Pole and radio once again in hand, you
gamely venture east one more time.
This time you make it all the way! The assembled throng cheers. This
unnerves Mahler once again, and you suddenly find yourself hanging from the
tightrope high above the oblivious crowd who have rescued Chelsea below.
You feel your hand beginning to slip. All seems lost, but at least you have
accomplished what you set out to do; you have not only saved Chelsea from
her kidnappers, but you have shown that you have what it takes to make it
in the sawdust and tinsel world of the circus. Such a pity you won't live
to enjoy it.
Your weary hands lose their grip and you plummet earthward! Fortunately,
the grateful circus folk notice your predicament, and in the nick of time
save you from a terrible fate. As you plunge into oblivion, your last
thought is of the circus, and you know that someday you'll have one helluva
story to tell your grandchildren.
They'll never believe a word of it.
BALLYHOO is published by Infocom, Inc.