Saturday, April 6, 2019

Retro Video Game Review - Carnival for the Intellivision

Carnival for the Intellivision
Fixed Screen Shooter
(Images Courtesy of


Get ready for some old-fashioned shooting gallery action with Carnival for the Intellivision, which is based on Sega’s 1980 arcade cult classic. You control a gun that moves across the bottom of the playfield as yellow ducks, red owls, white rabbits and other horizontally moving targets advance assembly line style down the screen. When a duck reaches the lowest of the three rows, it can break from formation and fly down to gobble up ten of your bullets. Shoot the fiendish fowl if you can.

Other moving targets include numbers and letters. Shooting the numbers 5 and 10 will gain you extra bullets. Shooting the letters B-O-N-U-S in order will net you the amount of bonus points displayed in a box at the top right side of the screen.

A plus-minus target is situated on the left, above the moving targets. Depending on whether a plus or minus symbol is currently on display, shooting this target will reward you with or take away a certain number of points or bullets.

You'll waste a bullet and not score any points, but if you want to turn off the circus-type music that plays throughout the game, you can shoot a little musical note. Hit it again to turn it back on. More importantly, a wheel of rotating pipes turns continually at the top center of the screen, and you must shoot all these pipes before you can finish a level. If you leave even one pipe unharmed after you destroy all the targets, ducks and more ducks will begin filling the playfield.

After you complete each level, you take part in a bonus round in which you must shoot a bear (or bears) as many times as you can before he walks or runs off the screen. Every time you hit him, he will change directions and begin moving faster. After the bear gets away, you enter a new level of play filled with targets and a fresh set of pipes. The game ends only when you run out of bullets.


During the early 1980s, Coleco ported eight of their ColecoVision coin-op conversions to the Intellivision: Carnival, Donkey Kong, Donkey Kong Junior, Lady Bug, Mouse Trap, Turbo, Venture, and Zaxxon. Of these games, Carnival is arguably the most arcade-like in its faithfulness to the design and playability of the original game.

Although less aesthetically pleasing and clunkier to control (the gun pauses for a split-second when you press left or right on the disc) than the original game and the ColecoVision version , this rendition of Carnival is an acceptable copy, considering the relative limitations of the Intellivision. It looks about as well as can be expected, and it comes with all the proverbial bells and whistles. The Atari 2600 version of the game lacks the bonus rounds, in which you must shoot a bear that walks faster and faster across the screen, but the Intellivision game has all the elements of play in place. The Atari 2600 game is also lacking in difficulty levels, which this version thankfully keeps intact from the ColecoVision port.

Unlike most shooters of this type, which give you unlimited ammunition, Carnival makes you earn additional ammo by firing at extra-bullet targets. This aspect of the game is crucial in that it makes the aiming and timing your shots very important. Adding to this are the pipes, which rotate on a wheel at the top of the screen. These are tough to hit, but you should take them out as soon as possible as new targets continue pouring out as long as at least one flag remains standing.

The ducks, which increase in number the deeper you get into the game, can fly down to eat your bullets, and you can add or take away from your score or ammunition dump by hitting a plus-minus target. Also cool is the fact that you must shoot the letters in BONUS in the correct order to rack up the extra points.

Carnival is more than an ordinary, mindless shoot-'em-up thanks to these features, and the Intellivision version of the game is about what you'd expect: a blockier and clunkier, but competent rendition of the arcade and ColecoVision semi-classic.

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