Continental Circus

Arcade Video game published 34 years ago by Taito

Continental Circus screenshot

Listed and emulated in MAME.

Continental Circus © 1988 Taito.

Continental Circus is a Formula One racing game in which the player races over a number of International Grand Prix circuits, trying to complete each lap before the time limit expires. The game features Pit-stops and dynamic weather; the latter in the form of rain.

If the player's car is hit by either a rival car or strikes a trackside barrier, the car will be damaged and begin to smoke. The player must 'pit' at the earliest opportunity to get the car repaired, otherwise the fire will spread and the car will eventually explode. Should the player's car have a second collision before the Pit-stop is reached, the car will explode, wasting precious time before a replacement car appears.

Continental Circus' Grand Prix tracks are as follows :
BRAZIL / Brazil GP - Qualified Rank 80
AMERICA / U.S.A GP - Qualified Rank 60
FRANCE / French GP - Qualified Rank 50
MONACO / Monaco GP - Qualified Rank 40
GERMANY / Germany GP - Qualified Rank 30
SPAIN / Spain GP - Qualified Rank 20
MEXICO / Mexico GP - Qualified Rank 10
JAPAN / Japan GP - Qualified Rank 3

Goodies for Continental Circus
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Taito Z System hardware
Board Number : K1100351A
Prom Stickers : B33

Main CPU : (2x) Motorola 68000 (@ 12 Mhz)
Sound CPU : Zilog Z80 (@ 4 Mhz)
Sound Chips : Yamaha YM2610 (@ 8 Mhz)

Players : 1
Control : Steering wheel
Buttons : 8


Even if the title screen says 1987, Continental Circus was released in March 1988 in Japan.

Like Nintendo's 1981 classic, "Donkey Kong", Continental Circus was the victim of a mistake during the translation from Japanese to English. The game was originally to be called 'Continental Circuits'. All the artwork on the US games was later corrected to say 'Continental Circuit' but the original Taito PCBs are clearly labeled with the epithet, 'Circus'. Note : F1 is often called the 'F1 circus' because it is like a big circus that travels to different cities across different continents.

Continental Circus was unique at the time in that certain cabinets came supplied with a '3D visor', through which the player viewed the action. The visor, similar in outward appearance to the one used in Atari's "Battlezone", produced a simple but effective 3D effect. This effect could be disabled by the arcade operator via the dip switch settings.

This game was released outside the US a year later (in 1989).

The race car driven by the player is the 1987 Camel-sponsored Honda/Lotus 99T Formula 1 car as driven by Ayrton Senna (1960-1994) and Satoru Nakajima. Sponsor names such as 'Camel' and 'DeLonghi' are misspelled deliberately to prevent copyright infringement under Japanese law.

Pony Canyon / Scitron released a limited-edition soundtrack album for this game (Kyukyoku Tiger : G.S.M. Taito 2 - D28B0008) on November 21, 1988.


Fast Start : Hold Speed Low+Accelerator, tires will smoke.


[EU] Microsoft XBOX (oct.14, 2005) "Taito Legends"
[EU] Sony PS2 (oct.14, 2005) "Taito Legends [Model SLES-53438]"
[US] Microsoft XBOX (oct.25, 2005) "Taito Legends"
[US] Sony PS2 (oct.25, 2005) "Taito Legends [Model SLUS-21122]"
[KO] Sony PS2 (jul.18, 2006) "Taito Legends [Model SLKA-15056]"
[JP] Sony PS2 (jan.25, 2007) "Taito Memories II Joukan [Model SLPM-66649]"

[EU] Sinclair ZX Spectrum (1989)
[EU] Amstrad CPC (1989)
[EU] Atari ST (1989)
[US] Commodore C64 [EU] (1989)
[EU] Commodore Amiga (1989)
MSX [EU] (1989)
[EU] PC [MS Windows, CD-ROM] (oct.14, 2005) "Taito Legends"
[US] PC [MS Windows, CD-ROM] (nov.10, 2005) "Taito Legends"


Game's picture.
Game's ROMs.
Game's screenshots.
See goodies section.