The fact that this very funny game was created by a woman is surprising enough, and the fact that it was created by a free games engine makes it even more interesting - well, to me, anyway, as I've always wanted to produce an adventure game. (This engine is available for download HERE)
I was constantly surprised by this game and chuckled at the dialogue, something that doesn't happen often while playing computer games. The interface is similiar to the Lucasarts Monkey Island and Indy games, with the usual quest thing going on; but something about Cirque De Zale struck me as unique and more life-like than the usual game plots. The main character, Zale, wasn't on a heroic quest to save anyone or anything. This cheeky Simon The Sorcerer like character just wanted to create his own circus.
I've been looking around the web at other reviews of this game, and there were mixed opinions to say the least. Some have gone so far as to suggest that it's a work of genius, while other reviewers were disappointed by the graphics, simple puzzles and the ending.
However, Andail, of the AGS site (which hosts the games engine that created the game), made this game the pick of the month for July and said that even though 2004 was a strong year in the games department, this might be the favourite title so far.
Cirque de Zale is a fun snack-size adventure game from Rebecca Clements that is reminiscent of Monkey Island in all respects: wacky sense of humor, polished graphics, and fun puzzles. Created with Adventure Game Studio, the game uses a typical point-and-click interface that fans of classic LucasArts games will be familiar with. The interface at the bottom of the screen contains simple verbs like LOOK AT, USE, TALK TO and so on, and inventory area to the right that shows objects you are carrying.
The game casts you as a circus worker who was banished to an unknown land by the magician, his employer. Your goal is to start up your own circus on this strange new land - who cares about rescuing maiden in distress anyway? ;) The graphics is very polished and match the quality of Monkey Island, and anyone who has played Monkey Island 2 will find more than a few locations familiar. Although Cirque de Zale is a relatively short game you can finish in 3-4 hours at most, it is very fun while it lasts, thanks to superb dialogue writing that drew more than a few chuckles from me. The cast of NPCs you will meet is diverse, and are characterized very well. Puzzles are a bit on the easy side, but you will have so much fun you won't notice :) For anyone who misses early Monkey Island games, Cirque de Zale is a delightful "old school" adventure game that pays homage to that classic.
People who downloaded Cirque de Zale have also downloaded:
City of Lost Children, The, Case of the Cautious Condor, The, Countdown, Corruption, Chewy: ESC from F5, Conspiracies, Circuit's Edge, Chaos: A Fantasy Adventure Game
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