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.