• Many thanks to Ian Longstaff for his lovely table roundups, posted on YT. And here is... TABLE ROUND UP 14!

    Also, here's our browser games collection, for those who are playful.
Cirqus Voltaire (Midway, 1997) VP9

VP9 Bally SS Recreation Cirqus Voltaire (Midway, 1997) VP9 v1.0

No permission to download
Cirqus Voltaire (Midway, 1997) VP9 v1.0
by JPSalas
IPD No. 4059

Based on the Bally/Midway table from 1997.
v1.0 Released October 2009

Tips and Bugs:
- If the Ringmaster doesn't move down at the start of the table press "END" twice and it will start moving. This is a vpm bug.

- Ignore the error about the switch 16, I can't get thet switch to behave.

- Press "R" for a complete set of rules. Press any key to close the window.

- The table is angle independent, so change the view as you like. Here are some examples:
(the numbers are the values of the backdrop's settings)

59, 32, 360, 1.13, 1.13, 0, 16

FS (delete the rails first)
45, 0, 270, 1,9, 2,25, -380, 405

These numbers are suggestions. The table can use any angle you want.
OBJECT - Complete all nine MARVELS to light CIRQUS and JOIN The Troupe Voltaire.
SKILL SHOT - Shoot the ball into play, Hit The Ringmaster’s RING.
RINGMASTER - Spell WOW then shoot the RINGMASTER while he’s up.
MARVELS - Complete MARVELS in a line to light CIRQUS letters.
MULTIBALL - LOCK balls up the HIGHWIRE ramp, then start HW Multiball.
JACKPOT - During Multiball shoot the lit ARROWS or inside RINGMASTER.
VOLTS - Rollover Buttons and VOLTAGE to CHARGE the BOOM BALLOON.
EXTRA BALL - Shoot Left Lane when lit for Extra Ball.


Rulesheet by Matt Magnasco, version 1.42


Going clockwise from the center drain:

* Left flipper. Standard.

* Left slingshot. Narrower than usual, to accommodate for the left "inlane".

* Left "inlane". This is not your typical inlane. Instead of being clearly
divided by a wireform, it is an area the size of an inlane and outlane com-
bined. Where the wireform would normally curve to feed the flipper is a
post. There are two other posts to set the size of the "outlane". All
in all, there is a *lot* of rubber in this area; according to Scott
Piehler, this game is ideal for learning how to nudge a pinball machine.

Normally, there would be a wireform extending most of the way up from
the #2 post to the top of the slingshot. Instead, this area is one big,
open space.

* Menagerie. In about the same spot as the MAR martian in AFM is a large cage
with a racquetball ball trapped inside. It takes the term "captive ball" to
a new dimension. Adjacent to the wall is a swtich which scores the
menagerie. If this switch, which looks like a slingshot but isn't, is
broken, the left inlane and outlane will compensate.

Also used to increase the bonus X.

* White standup. Used to award rings, counted toward the Bonus X, and
award hits on the Menagerie.

* Left loop. Feeds the juggler and side show. Awards the extra ball.
One of the jackpots during Highwire Multiball.

* Left ramp. Used for locking balls, starting Highwire multiball,
spotting marvels, and starting Strike-an-arc multiball.

* 2 standups on either side of the left ramp. LIGHT and LOCK respectively.
Can you guess what they do?

* Lock queue (Highwire). Parallels the left ramp. Where locked balls go. Wea
shots up the ramp and lucky flings of the Ringmaster magnet may send balls in
here when the lock is not lit, and a "sneaky lock" (with a ball
tiptoeing across the DMD) is then awarded. If the "sneaky lock" would be
lock 3, Highwire multiball starts. Officially called the Highwire by

* Juggler Drain #1. One of two drains from the juggler locks, drains
second juggler ball.

* Magnet. Ideally, it catches balls to lock them in the juggler for juggler MB
or for awarding extra balls.

* 2 saucers. Ball locks for juggler multiball. There is no "sneaky
lock" analogue for the Juggler, however, shooting a "sneaky lock" into
the Juggler will award the Sideshow (q.v.) if lit.

* Secret Passage lane. Awards nothing; feeds the left Juggler lock.

* Backward-facing-and-hidden scoop. Diverts balls to the side show.
Used for starting the Sideshow and starting wizard mode.

* Skill shot target. A sideways-facing target used for the skill shot.
Worth 200k x # of successful skill shots (200k, 400k, 600k, etc.).
The skill shot maxes at 1,000,000 points; each addition skill shot
will award 1M plus the comment, "Show-off."

* Juggler drain #2. Drain used for releasing juggler ball #1.

* Ringmaster loop. It's the same loop that's on Theatre of Magic but only
on the right side of the playfield. Used to light the spin marvel. One
of the jackpots during Highwire Multiball. Weak counterclockwise
shots may drain SDTM.

* Hidden Ringmaster. The main toy of the game. Normally recessed
beneath the playfield. The idea for the ringmaster, IMHO, was taken
directly from AFM's saucers or MM's castles. Hit the ringmaster 6 times
to allow you to blow him up. Any Ringmaster you defeat after the
first one will start a 2-ball multiball.

* 2 yellow "Ballyhoo" standups. Used to light the side show, and to award
hits on the ringmaster when up.

* WOW targets. Spell W-O-W to raise up a Ringmaster. Each target does
not have to be hit individually (like WhoDunnit, unlike AFM). Also
used in Neon Multiball.

* Right ramp. Used to light the acrobat marvel. Strong shots feed the left
flipper, weak shots dribble out in the 2nd juggler drain. One of the
jackpots for Highwire Multiball.

* Right loop. Feeds the right ramp

* Suspended (elevated from playfield) magnet. Diverts balls to the lock

* Neon habitrail. Feeds the right flipper from non-ball-locking shots
to the lock (left) ramp. Paralleling it is a neon tube. Pictures and
flyers have shown this tube to glow a greenish-blue, but on the game I
play, it's orange. According to Williams, the colors of the tube and
the color of the Menagerie ball are random.

* Hidden BOOM baloon. A recessed jet bumper that becomes activated during
the Boom! marvel. Hit it enough times while it's up (~10 sec) for an extra

* 2 other jet bumpers. Between them and the boom bumper, they form the stan-
dard triangle. Used for bumping up (no pun intended) the Boom! value;
each hit raises the Boom! value by 5000 points.

* Right inlane, slingshot, and flipper. Same as on the left.

The right inlane *briefly* (2-3 sec) lights the left ramp for "spot marvel".
Only one marvel may be spotted per ball.

* Both outlanes. Always lit is the alternating "Load Cannon" light. Tripping
its switch (lit cannon alternates each flipper hit) awards a random amount
of points and 1 cannon ball. Points range from 1000 to 4M points.
Load Cannon is not available during a multiball.

Other stuff not on the playfield:

* Dot Matrix. In the playfield area (protected by some thick
plexiglass) as opposed to on the backglass.

* Backglass. Full-sized, as there is no DMD. Following a recent
mini-trend of interactive backboxes on Williams games (Scared Stiff,
NBA Fastbreak, Safecracker), there is an orange cannonball in it. The
cannon fires:
* whenever you complete a marvel
* during Cannonball Run
* whenever the Boom! bumper is hit
* When the Load Cannon switch is tripped
* After getting a jackpot in any multiball


Your task is to complete all 9 marvels to join the Cirqus. Once you complete
that, a multi-level wizard mode automatically begins.

To join the cirqus, you have to get all of these marvels, in any order:

1. Juggler
2. Acrobats
3. Ringmaster Frenzie
4. Defeat all Ringmasters
5. Spin
6. Boom!
7. Menagerie
8. Highwire Multiball
9. Side Show

2.1. Juggler. Shoot the left loop 3 times to light the Juggler, and three more
times to lock three balls and start juggler multiball. The jackpots are
worth 500k. If you can shoot two balls into the juggler within
about a 10-second period, you'll get a 1M double jackpot. If you can
shoot a third ball in there within another 10 seconds, you'll get a 2M
super jackpot. If you fail to get the double and/or super jackpot
within the allotted time, all balls are ejected from the juggler
locks and the jackpot value resets to 500k. Spotting this marvel
does not start Juggler Multiball

2.2. Acrobats. Shoot the right ramp 4 times. Shots do *not* need to go
around the full length of the ramp. As long as they make it up about
the first four inches or so of the ramp, the switch will trip and
score an acrobat. Completing the acrobats will light Super Spinner
on both spinners, where each spin is worth 10k. The switch is
mounted at the beginning of the ramp, flush with a wall, so, more often
than not, you'll score acrobats with incomplete ramp shots. The switch
will score from either direction. Spotting this marvel will light
super spinner on both spinners as well.

2.3. Ringmaster Frenzie (RMF). Play the multiball associated with defeating
Ringmaster #2. RMF is a 2-ball multiball and the ringmaster raises himsel
up a few inches to allow access to the hole. Each shot to the ringmaster
during RMF awards 250,000 points.

If you have can hit the ringmaster in QUICK succession, you will get
a larger award: If you can get one in then another you get 250k +
500k. It seems if you have a 4 ball multiball, it's quite easy to get
the 500k jackpot often, sometimes even 750k or 1M. "Quickly" is defined a
"while the jackpot animation is playing, and for an infinitesimal amount
of time thereafter."

2.4. Defeat all ringmasters. Defeat 4 Ringmasters, playing Frenzie, Razz, and
Special multiballs. Spell WOW to raise up each Ringmaster, and then hit
each one five times to defeat each one. The two standups on either side
of the Ringmaster will spot hits on him. To raise the first
Ringmaster only requires one hit on any of the WOW targets; all
other Ringmasters require 3 hits (any target is okay).

Defeating the first Ringmaster awards 1M, the second awards 2M,
the third awards 3M, etc. Once you have completed Ringmaster
Battle (see section), you cannot defeat another Ringmaster until after
you have played Join the Cirqus (the wizard mode; see section).
Once you have played Join the Cirqus, the first ringmaster you defeat
will start Ringmaster Frenzie. The next starts Razz, etc.

After spelling WOW, a magnet built into the Ringmaster's head will catch
the ball, hold it while the Ringmaster taunts you, and then randomly fling
it around the playfield. There *is* a ballsaver after each fling,
lest the Ringmaster fling the ball SDTM. If he flings it onto the lock
queue, the game will award a "sneaky lock". Unfortunately, a more
common occurence is that the Ringmaster will weakly fling the ball off,
and it will end up sandwiched between the back of the Ringmaster and the
WOW targets. This problem should resolve itself after one ball search.

NOTE: A ball will frequently get trapped behind the left standup and next
to the Ringmaster. Semi-vigorous shaking will free the trapped ball, as
will waiting for the ball search *and* giving the game a gentle nudge for-
ward. Method 2 has an advantage in that it will award a Ringmaster's Hide
out, worth 100k.

There are two models of the Ringmaster: the thin one and the fat
one. The thin one was Williams' original model; to solve the
ball-trapping problem Williams made him fat. Balls will still get
trapped with the fat Ringmaster, although supposedly less often than
with the thin Ringmaster. Nevertheless, even with the fat
Ringmaster balls get stuck there all the time. Williams has created a
service pack which will resolve this problem, as well as two other
locations where balls get trapped. See the Williams tech support page
for more info. Actually, even *with* the service pack, some balls
still get wedged in between the Ringmaster and the standup.

2.5. Spin. Shoot the inner loop (the one surrounding the Ringmaster) four
times to spell S-P-I-N. On prototype versions this marvel is called
the Crank, and is awarded slightly differently. "Spin" requires four
*consecutive* spins of the spinner. Once the ball has gone through
the loop, you have about two seconds to send it through again to
complete the remaining spin(s). The spinner itself does not award
the spins; the two rollover switches in the loop do. Consequently,
incomplete shots may award letters, much like how incomplete shots to
the right ramp may award acrobats.

2.6. Boom!. Spell V-O-L-T by rolling over the red rollovers (a la WCS) to
charge up the Boom! balloon. I believe that you either need to roll over
each rollover once or roll over only the lit rollovers to spell V-O-L-T.
The ballon/bumper is raised for about 10 seconds (the timer stops if the
ball is temporarily out of play by being in the side show, on the Ring-
master's magnet, etc.), and if you hit it enough times, you'll light an
extra ball. The Boom! EB count is cumulative, per player, throughout the
game (e.g., Boom! one yields 6 hits, and Boom! two yields 12 hits. You
have 18 hits toward an EB). Each subsequent raising of the Boom!
bumper requires spelling V-O-L-T multiple times.

2.7. Menagerie.
To the left of the racquetball ball's cage is a pseudo-slingshot.
Hit it enough times, or the white standup just above the cage, to spot
hits toward the menagerie. It awards different things at different
levels, and the idea was taken from Pat Lawlor. After shooting the
requisite shots to award the Menagerie marvel, the next level is spot
marvel, then light extra ball, etc. Think of what Bear Kicks, Robots,
Blasts, etc., award from your favorite Pat Lawlor game and you get the
idea of the Menagerie. Don't hold your breath trying to get the
Menagerie extra ball. From what I have seen, the awards are:

1. Award Menagerie
2. Spot Marvel
3. Light EB
4. Spot Marvel
5. Spot Marvel
6. Big Points (see "Bugs")

Regardless of what the next award should be, the first award after
having completing wizard mode will ALWAYS be Award Menagerie.

2.8. Highwire Multiball. Lock three balls on the left ramp queue by hitting
the LIGHT and LOCK standups. Once one lock has been lit, hitting the
targets again will light another lock. IOW, lit locks may be stacked.
However, only for the first multiball may locks be stacked.
Multiballs two and higher require that each lock be lit individually,
and the number of times you have to hit the LIGHT and LOCK standups
increases as well. Jackpots are worth 1M and are the Juggler,
Acrobats, and Ringmaster loop. The Ringmaster loop jackpot ONLY
scores from the left entrance to the loop.

After a few jackpots, however, the jackpots will start moving, so
that you don't sit and rape the Ringmaster loop.

Spotting this marvel does not start Highwire Multiball.

2.9. Side show. After hitting the yellow Ringmaster standups enough times,
the Side Show becomes lit just past the Juggler magnet. This is the
equivalent of the Stroke of Luck in AFM, and it awards:

* The Amazing Roonie (video mode)
* Cannonball Run
* Popcorn Mania
* Neon Multiball
* Big Points: 500k
* Big Points: 250k
* Go For the Hat Trick
* Light Spot Marvel
* Light Lock
* Extra Ball

The Sideshow is lit at the beginning of the game, and is re-lit
after every 5-6 hits on the yellow BallyHoo targets on either side
of the Ringmaster.

2.9a. Video Mode: Roonie is a kangaroo, and you need to jump over
objects just like on Dr. Who. It is 20 seconds
long, and you have to survive all 20 seconds of
it. Unlike in Dr. Who, though, Roonie has only
one size of jump (long), instead of Dr. Who's
short and long.

Completing video mode awards a total of 2.9M.
Each jump is worth about 180k, and there is a 1M
bonus for successfully completing it. If
Roonie falls down, there is only a 100k bonus
(in addition to all previous successful jumps,
of course.)

Video mode is extremely boring, and not worth
much. There is no extra ball available. Also,
there is a display bug where a '3' might be an
object for Roonie to jump over. Like in AFM
and ST:TNG, the '3' scores nothing and, for all
intents and purposes, is invisible to the game.

2.9b. Cannonball Run: Fire the cannon in the backbox. You have
10 seconds to fire as many cannonballs as
possible, and those which make it to the top
"Cirqus Luck" switch are worth an additional
per hit, so the first Cirqus Luck is 250k,
the second is 500k, etc. I don't think
that there is any skill involved in
shooting the cannonball, so don't be disappointed
if you don't get any Cirqus Luck. Expect
to be able to fire a cannonball about once
every 2-3 seconds.

Cannonballs fired during this round do NOT
count in the game total. This is not a
bug, either (ask voltaire@wms.com why).

2.9c. Popcorn Mania: Each switch scores 30,000 points. After
enough switch hits, the DMD will fill up with
popcorn and then award a Popcorn Jackpot. Go
for those spinners and jet bumpers!
Popcorn jackpots start at 500k and increase by
100k each time.

This mode, if started, is active during any
multiball(s). There is a 20-second timer.

2.9d. Neon Multiball: Taken verbatim from AFM's strobe multiball. The
neon tube paralleling the right habitrail is the
only thing lit, and you have a 3-ball multiball to
hit the WOW targets (any one will do) 10 times to
light an extra ball. There is an average-length
ballsaver at the beginning (~6-7 sec), and a short
ballsaver at the end -- taken directly from

The next award, at 20 hits, is a puny 1M.

2.9e. Big Points: Self-explanatory. Worth 500k or 250k.

2.9f. Hat Trick: The Ringmaster will raise up to his full height
and your task is to shoot three balls into
him within 20 seconds. Shots 1 and 2 are
each worth 500k, and shot 3 (the Hat Trick) is
worth 1M. During Hat Trick, you can not
hit nor defeat the Ringmaster.

This mode, if started, is active during any
multiball(s). There is a 20-second timer.

2.9g. Light Spot Marvel: Lights Spot Marvel permanently on the
lock ramp (lit until collected).

2.9h. Light Lock: Ooh, a toughie.

2.9i. Extra Ball: Another toughie. (Note: I have never seen
this award; the Cirqus Voltaire web page claims
it exists.)


As I stated before, this game has eight multiballs, plus an additional
four from wizard mode. The eight are:

* Juggler
* Highwire
* RM Frenzie
* RM Razz
* RM Special
* RM Battle
* Neon
* Strike-an-Arc.

Up to three multiballs may occur concurrently. The flyer says that
there are only six; Williams counts all four Ringmaster multiballs and
all four wizard-mode multiballs collectively as two.

3.1: Ringmaster Razz and Ringmaster Special (RMR and RMS)

RM Razz is like RM Frenzie, except that the jackpots are worth at least
250k and there is an extra ball lit. RM Special is, anticlimactically, nothing
special. There is *no* special (unlike its name implies), and jackpots are
worth at least 500k.

The jackpots in RMR are a hurry-up. When you first start RMR, the
Ringmaster is lit for a 500k hurry-up, which counts down to 250k relatively
slowly. Whenever you stop the hurry-up (250k if it times out) is the
jackpot value. Jackpots are increased in RMS by shooting the spinner;
once the ball falls under the Ringmaster, however, the jackpot can not
be increased further. During RMS, the Ringmaster will inch his way up;
to get him to full height requires about four or five hits. Double, triple,
and quadruple jackpots are also possible in both RMR and RMS as they were in

3.2. Ringmaster Battle (RMB)

RM Battle occurs when you defeat the 5th ringmaster. First of all, it is
not marked on the playfield, unlike Frenzie, Razz, and Special, so you have to
know it exists. Once you defeat the 5th Ringmaster, another ball is kicked
into play, and your task is to defeat the Ringmaster. I'm not sure, but I
think this MB requires about 15 to 20 hits on the Ringmaster to ultimately
defeat him (you don't need the final, under-the-playfield shot however).
There is a short ballsaver. Once the ballsaver times out and a ball
drains, however, RM Battle does *not* end. Instead, the ball is
re-served into play, but as a penalty, the Ringmaster grows stronger, and
you have re-weaken the Ringmaster. Upon defeating the Ringmaster, the DMD
will go crazy (a la Scared Stiff), the game will award you 10M points, and
light an extra ball. If/when you defeat the Ringmaster, the flippers will
automatically go dead and both balls will drain.

Having both balls in play -- i.e., not having one trapped in the Sideshow
or behid the Ringmaster -- is essential to defeating the Ringmaster.
After about 5 seconds of not hitting the Ringmaster, he will take away
your most recent hit. After another 5 or so seconds, he'll take away
another hit, etc. If he takes away enough points, you will lose.
If and when you lose, you have to start all over again with Ringmaster
Frenzie. If you win, you cannot defeat another Ringmaster until you
have played Join the Cirqus; if you lose, you can keep defeating
Ringmasters until you beat him.

OTOH, if you want to rack up the score, parking a ball/getting a ball
trapped is the way to go, and then just go against the Ringmaster
one-on-one, and if he takes away hits, who cares? Just make sure that you
hit the Ringmaster often enough to keep yourself from losing! Including
the 10M completion bonus, I scored about 50-60M just on Ringmaster Battle
by getting a ball trapped. Eventually, after about 15 or 20 minutes,
the Ringmaster will give up and won't take away any more hits. At this
point, you are guaranteed to defeat the Ringmaster.

Completing RMB will award about 50M:
* 5M for starting RMB
* 10M for completing it
* About (varies on your skill of battle) 35M in the actual

Hits on the Ringmaster during RMB score 1M each.

An extra ball is available after *every* RMB victory.

If you start another multiball prior to starting RMB multiball, the
Ringmaster will recess back into his hole when he would normally raise
himself up for the "blow-up" shot. Starting RMB is then delayed until
after the present multiball(s) is(are) complete. In other words, the
Ringmaster Battle multiball is not stackable.

Ringmaster Battle takes precedence over everything else; nothing else
occurs. In other words, once you start Ringmaster Battle, nothing else may
start until you have defeated the Ringmaster. RMB may only be started if
the "Defeat All Ringmasters" marvel is not the last one to be completed,
because if it is, the game will automatically begin wizard mode without
giving you a chance to pound away on the Ringmaster. If you are
battling the Ringmaster and you spot the last remaining marvel (which would
normally start wizard mode), wizard mode does not start until RMB is
over. However, if you are still in the "hit the Ringmaster 5 times"
stage -- i.e., you have _not_ started the Battle itself -- and you do
spot the last remaining marvel, Join the Cirqus wizard mode
automatically starts, the Ringmaster goes back into his hole, and you
start over (provided you've completed wizard mode) at Ringmaster

The logic for RMB has been rewritten in v1.3 ROM's. The Ringmaster is
MUCH tougher to beat, and he takes away hits at Warp Factor 9. So if
your game has 1.3 ROM's, expect _not_ to be able to defeat the
Ringmaster in Ringmaster Battle. This accomplishes two things: one, it
prevents you from just raping the Ringmaster for 1M/hit, and makes RMB
more of a wizard mode than the wizard mode!

3.3. Strike-an-Arc

Strike-an-Arc occurs after shooting the the left ramp enough times. It is
a 2-ball frenzy; jackpots are awarded after enough switch hits. Each
switch hit helps charge up an arc by a few percentage points, and at
100%, ZAP! Jackpot! Jackpots start at 500k and increase by 100k for each
additional jackpot, like during No Limits on No Fear or Total Annihilation on
AFM. Keefer says, "As far as I can tell, each switch adds 10% to the
charge for the first jackpot, and this value decreases by 1% each jackpot
down to as low as 4% (requiring 25 switches for a jackpot)." Since it
will take more and more switch hits to strike the arc (get a jackpot),
the way to rape this round is to shoot for the spinners!

Strike-an-Arc is available multiple times during the game if you keep
looping the ramp. Balls which are locked toward Highwire Multiball
count toward starting Strike-an-Arc. Each successive multiball requires
5 more ramp loops than the previous one (ie, S-a-A #1 requires 5, S-a-A
#2 requires 10, etc.) The ramp count resets to 0 after starting every

3.4. Neon

Neon MB is stackable with Juggler Multiball if and only if Juggler lock
#3 is lit and the Sideshow awards Neon MB.

Neon and a Ringmaster multiball, Highwire multiball, and/or Strike-an-Arc
multball are mutually exclusive.

3.5. Concurrent Multiballs

Juggler and Highwire MB are 3-ball mutlbialls, and the Ringmaster MB's are
2-ball. Strike-an-Arc is also a 2-ball. Stacking any of them yields a
4-ball multiball, with a fresh ballsaver. By all means, try to stack your
multiballs! Getting twenty or even forty million just off stacked
multiballs is not uncommon.

Here are the combinations for stacking multiballs:
(given in the order required to stack them)

{disclaimer: these are what I've seen on my machine, so YMMV}
* Juggler, Strike-an-Arc, Ringmaster
* Highwire, Strike-an-Arc, Ringmaster
* Juggler, Ringmaster
* Highwire, Ringmaster
* Strike-an-Arc, Ringmaster
* Highwire, Strike-an-Arc
* Neon, Juggler (rare but it happens)

Only Ringmaster Frenzie, Razz, and Special may be stacked. Ringmaster
Battle may not.

Stacking Highwire and Strike-An-Arc can occur if and only if the act of
locking ball three would normally start Strike-an-Arc as well. Again,
if the Ringmaster multiball is Battle, it will be delayed until the
current multiball(s) end. Upon starting Battle, the current
multiball(s) will run concurrently with Battle, and there will be four
balls in play.

3.6. Voltaire's Multiple Jackpots

If you have concurrent multiballs, shooting the lock ramp will
award "Voltaire's Multiple Jackpots", which will award 1 jackpot from
*each* active multiball. This award is available only after the
concurrent multiballs have ended, i.e., during the 3-4 second "grace
period" immediately after multiball.

4. WIZARD MODE: Join the Cirqus

Much like on John's previous game Tales of the Arabian Nights, Cirqus
Voltaire also has a multi-leveled wizard mode. There are five levels of
wizard mode, in contrast to TOTAN's two. After you complete each level,
all balls drain or go out of play, the flippers go dead, etc., telling
you that you have advanced to the next level and giving you a chance to
watch the DMD's animations. Seeing what is on the DMD is very
important here, and with it on the playfield, seeing what shots need to
be shot (especially during the "Spell Cirqus" and "Meet the Cirqus"
levels) is fairly easy.

There is no "You Rule the Universe"-type animation after completing the
last level.

4.1. Level 0: Start Wizard Mode

Shoot either the left (Juggler) or right (Acrobat) loop. The diverter
on the acrobat loop will open and feed the juggler. Starting Join the
Cirqus requires a ball to be *physically* locked in the Sideshow, so if
your game's Sideshow post is broken, you'll need to shake the machine in
hopes of getting the ball to land in the Sideshow.

4.2. Level 1: Spell Cirqus

3-ball multiball with a 20-second ballsaver.

Spell C-I-R-Q-U-S by shooting the Menagerie, the Juggler, the lock ramp,
the Ringmaster loop, the WOW targets behind the Ringmaster, and the
Acrobats, in any order.

Successfully completing this level awards 10M points.

4.3. Level 2: Unmask Voltaire

3-ball multiball with a 20-second ballsaver.

Shoot the Ringmaster and then shoot the lock ramp. Repeat three more
times, and then shoot the Ringmaster one last time. In short, you have
to shoot the Ringmaster five times and the lock ramp 4 times,
alternating after each shot.

Successfully completing this level awards another 10M points.

4.4. Level 3: Meet the Cirqus

Initially 1 ball. Shoot jackpots to add more balls (up to 3). A short
ballsaver is lit during the first few seconds of every plunge of a fresh

Make 6 jackpots. They are the same jackpots as in Highwire Multiball
(Juggler, Acrobat, Ringmaster loop). Jackpots are random.

Successfully completing this level awards yet another 10M points.

4.5. Level 4: Party Multiball

A 4-ball multiball where both ramps, the Juggler, the Ringmaster, and the
Ringmaster loop all score 1M jackpots. The 3 jet bumpers score the Boom!
value. This mode is a lot like Monster Multiball on Scared Stiff. There
is a short ballsaver in the beginning.

This round continues as long as there are at least two balls in play.
Warning! When ball three drains, *you are still playing the game*. It
is not like on WCS or TOTAN where the flippers die if you lose;
conversely, there is nothing to win, so, like I said, there is no "You
Rule the Universe!"-esque lauding.

The person whose Party Multiball score is the highest gets to enter
their initials as the party champion.

4.6. Wizard-mode Multiballs don't end when the third ball drains!

For at least Levels 1, 2, & 3, once three balls drain and the ballsaver has
timed out does *not* end the wizard mode. It continues with only one
ball. Especially for Level 2, I think playing with 1 ball instead of 4 is
preferable. So if you see ball 3 draining, don't panic. You'll still
continue the wizard mode with a monoball, ball 4.

That is true only on production ROM's (v1.0 and higher). For beta ROM's,
it's different: Mark Phaedrus says, "On the local machine [Seattle], it
works like this: When you're down to one ball, a timer counts down from
10. (It stays at 0 for a few seconds when it gets there, and there's a
grace period even after that, so the timer is actually at least 15
seconds.) The timer resets to 10 every time you do something that makes
progress towards completing the level. (On Level 1, it resets whenever you
shoot a new Cirqus shot; on Level 2, whenever you hit the lit Ringmaster
or ramp; etc.)" {Ed. note: At which point, pretend you're playing Royal
Madness on Medieval Madness}

4.7. Member of the Cirqus

When the game ends, you get to enter your initials as having joined the
cirqus if you made it to at least level 1 wizard mode.


* Ringmaster Razz (once per game) [1]
* After about 50 hits on the Menagerie (presumably once per game)
* After 10 WOW hits in Neon Multiball (once per game)
* After 15 hits on the Boom! jet bumper (once per game)
* After defeating the Ringmaster in Ringmaster Battle (available after
every defeat)
* As an award from the Sideshow

[1] If the machine is set to 5-ball play, the Ringmaster extra ball is lit
during Ringmaster Special instead of Razz.


Bonus is the sum total of:
* # of Perfect Scores (10-10-10 from the three judges), worth 500k
* # of cannonballs x 20k
* 50k x the judges' average

All times the bonus X.

There are three judges' awards: for the Ringmaster, for Juggler
Multiball, and for Highwire Multiball. The Ringmaster judges' award is
usually given; The Highwire and Juggler judges are awarded only on the ball
in which that (those) multiball(s) occurs. The perfect-10 bonus is only
available on the ball in which the perfect 10's were awarded.

The bonus X is increased by getting rings. Spell "RING" to increase the
bonus X, up to 4X. "RING" is spelled by hitting the Menagerie twice (R
and I) and the red standup just above the right slingshot (N and G).
Once you spell RING, all ring lights unlight and you can begin the
process anew. Even with the 4X max bonus X, I've seen boni over 10M
before. Why can you only increase the bonus X three times? Because
it's a three-ring cirqus!

There are many judges, including all of the design team for Cirqus
Voltaire ("John", "Cameron", "Adam", etc.). The design-team judges tend
to be stingy with their scores, while the DOHO and Hefer judges tend to be very
liberal. Other judges to look out for:

0110011 (or whatever the sequence is)
Marvin (the AFM Martian, not the Warner Bros.)
Tommy the Ticket
Tommy the Pinball Wizard (wearing a mask and sunglasses)
A duck (forget his name)
Hefer (a cow...see below)
A cat (forget his name)

Marvin is the stingiest judge around. I've had games where two judges
have given me 9's and 10's, while Marvin has only awarded 6's.

Getting Highwire multiball + another multiball and/or Juggler multiball
+ another multiball will almost guarantee perfect 10's from those


Note: this is not a complete listing of all the bugs. These are only
the ones that I have seen. For a listing of what bugs the various ROM
revisions have corrected, please go to Williams' tech support page at

-- MAJOR BUG: If you're playing a multiplayer game, your game may DISAPPEAR.
If your score doesn't disappear altogether, it may reset to some amount much
less than what you should normally have. Fixed in ROM v1.1.

I was playing with Chris, Brian, and Jonathan, and I had scored several
million on my first two balls. When I got up to play my ball 3, my score
was 60,030. I shot the skill shot and it awarded 400k, so, at the very
minimum, my score should have been 200k. Several games later, after
Jonathan played his ball 3, Brian's and my scores *disappeared entirely*!
The game had no record whatsoever that we had played. Jonathan's score,
BTW, was also severely munged as well, as he finished the game with an
alleged 5M, when it should have been about 20M. Jonathan had started
Juggler Multiball, and, well after starting Juggler, he shot the lock
ramp, and the game awarded him Highwire as well (lock 3 was lit prior to
starting Juggler). Go figure.

-- If you tilt during Ringmaster Battle, the game will infinitely autoplunge
balls. Fixed in ROM v1.3.

-- If you stack Neon and Juggler multiballs, you will not receive credit
for completing the Juggler marvel. Fixed in ROM v1.3.

-- If the Boom! balloon is active for the first time, and you spot your
first marvel during the Boom! round, the marvel spotted will be Boom!.
AFAICT, re-spotting Boom! only resets the Boom! timer to 10. Fixed
in ROM v1.3.

-- (NEW) MAJOR BUG: At 200 menagerie hits, the game power cycles
instead of awarding Big Points. To be fixed in ROM v1.4.


* Q1: Why did I just shoot the loops to start wizard mode, but the game is
still saying to shoot the loops?
Q2: Juggler lock 3 is lit, and I shot the Juggler, but Juggler Multiball
didn't start. Why?

A: I emailed voltaire@wms.com those same questions, and here is Cameron
Silver's (the software designer for CV) response, quoted with

"I think what your seeing is Juggler multiball ready at the same time as
the Side Show is lit. The loop will not start juggler multiball until after
the side-show, so it relies on the ball making it into the trough [the
Sideshow/Ringmaster under-the-playfield trough, not the
end-of-ball-storage trough], running the side-show, then starting the
multiball. If the post doesn't divert the ball correctly, then the
side-show never starts, and the multiball doesn't happen.

"What I think might be happening in your case is that the POST is not
working as well as it should be. When the final mode is ready, (and
side-show, extra ball etc) the post pops up and diverts the ball behind
the display. The shot is only considered 'made' when the ball is IN the
trough, as all those shows require that the ball is held. I can't do them
while the ball is in play, so I can't spot them if the post is not

In other words, the ball must be stopped, either in the Juggler or in the
Sideshow for all of the animations to start.

Strangely, if you backhand the Juggler, the ball will almost undoubtedly
end up in the Sideshow. So if you're good at backhands....

* Cows:

Oy! Are there plenty!

* Roonie jumps over several in video mode
* A judge in Fun With Bonus (Hefer)
* Something the original performers in the REAL Cirqus Voltaire
hurled (yeah...uh-huh...) [2]
* Something in the ancient Roman circus which ate fire
(yeah...uh-huh...) [2]
* A moo occasionally can be heard whenever you hit the Ringmaster
* Occasionally seen behind the 1's digit "0" as it turns around on
the DMD
* One of the animals printed on the backglass, just above the
right acrobat (see below for more)

[2] only visible in the attract mode spiel about the history of the

* There are two ways to display scores in this game. The first is the
standard 9-digit format (e.g., 256,486,190). The second is to display 8
digits and use a series of bars to display the hundred millions' digit,
as in:
[100M] [100M]

* In addition to the standard high scores, you can enter your initials
* Joining the Cirqus (starting level 1 wizard mode)
* Being Party Champion
* Being Cannonball Champion (like Martian Champ on AFM)

Being Cannonball champ may or may not award a free credit (my CV, which I
think is set to "easy", awards a credit; your mileage may vary).

* If the game goes into ball-search mode, after about 4 or 5
unsuccessful searches it will eject a ball from the lock (either the
Highwire lock or the Juggler lock; the game will warn where the ball is
being kicked out from), if there is one in there. The idea is that by
putting this ball into play, it will eventually collide with the stuck
ball and unstick it. If this ball drains, and the ball is still not
unstuck, the game will release another ball from the lock, if available.
This is one place where Sega machines beat Williams machines hands-down:
on a Sega machine, after 4-5 unsuccessful ball searches, it flags the ball
as missing and serves a new one to the plunger, as opposed to Williams
games which will usually ball-search for a l-o-n-g, l-o-n-g time.

I have seen balls get stuck *everywhere* on this game. I've even had
balls carom off posts *into* the Ringmaster/Sideshow kickout!

* Semi-hidden DMD secret: occasionally the 1's digit will flip around
revealing a skull or a cow. I think it just happens randomly.

* If you get three of the marvel lights in a line, the game will light
the corresponding Cirqus letter. Consequently, if and when you complete
all the marvels, all six letters will be lit.

* The acrobat on the backglass who looks like Fabio is John Popadiuk

* Williams has named the Ringmaster "Jack." There's something I
must be missing, as I don't get the joke. A "Jack"-in-the-box,

* There is no physical replay knocker in this game. So free credits
have a Sega-like electronic "toink!" instead of the classic "Thwack!"

* If you match, the clown will give you a thumbs-up.

* If you don't enter any initials for the high-score board or having
joined the cirqus, the game will default to the initials of the game's
programmer, Cameron J. Silver (CJS).


* Go for Ringmaster Battle, and keep it going for a l-o-n-g time.

* Get the Boom! value up high, especially if you're coming close to
Party Multiball. In my 80M Party Multiball game, my jet bumpers
scored 605k each -- almost as much as a Ringmaster or loop jackpot (1M).

* Try to stack as many multiballs as possible.

* Don't worry about boosting the bonus X; getting a multiball or two
will do it naturally.

* For some reason, I don't feel like extra balls are really that
important to this game. Don't get me wrong; get as many EB's as you
can, of course, but they're not necessary to making it to wizard mode.
IMHO, this game has one of the most accessible and easy-to-get-to wizard
modes around. I've made it to wizard mode before on ball 1! Games like
Twilight Zone, AFM, and Medieval Madness make getting EB's vital; CV,
for some reason, doesn't give me that same sense of urgency. Go figure.

* Learn to backhand the juggler if/when your Sideshow diverter is

(flyers & backglass below)​
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This is the 2009 version by JP Salas, he later made some improvements to it
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