Circus Caper (NES)

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Circus Caper
Circus Caper- NES.jpg
Platform: NES
Year: 1989
Developer: Advance Communication Company
Buy: Amazon

Circus Caper is an action adventure game developed by Advance Communication Company and published by Toho. In this game, you play as a young boy named Tim with his sister Judy. You win a ticket into the circus, but only one of you can get in since you get the last ticket. You let your sister go in. Later, when Tim comes to pick his sister up, he notices it is quiet in the big top tent. The main antagonist of the game, Mr. Magic appears and tells you he's taken your sister and you have no chance of rescuing her. It is up to Tim to defeat Mr. Magic and his cronies and rescue his sister.

Circus Caper is actually an Americanized version of a Famicom game called Moeru! Oniisan which is a different game based on the Japanese anime The Burning Wild Man, but still contains the same levels, bosses, and bonus games as the US version, just in different order. In Moeru! Oniisan, Yukie (called Princess Yukie) has been kidnapped by a dragon simply known as Dra Gon. Kenichi, Rocky, Hidou, and Shiranui must partner up and save Yukie from Dra Gon.

The game is mostly linear and each of the six stages can be completed in 5-10 minutes. However, a couple levels have different passages leading to different areas, so process of elimination is required for those stages to progress. Each level ends with a boss battle. Like other games from the same developer, there are infinite continues. However, no matter how far you get in a level, if you die, you must go back to the start of the level.

Circus Caper received some mixed and negative reviews. Some critics criticized the game for its boring gameplay and clunky controls. In Japan, gamers who have played it usually refer to it as Kusoge (bad game).

Moeru! Oniisan was translated into English on January 4, 2023 by BlackPaladin, Ratty, cccmar, and nf6429.


Circus Caper NES - Title Screen.png

The title screen.

Circus Caper - NES - Cutscene - 1.png

How convenient that whenever you roll you win...

Circus Caper - NES - Cutscene - 2.png

The guy behind all of this mayhem.

Circus Caper - NES - Gameplay 1.png

The clowns in the background spell out 'Circus Caper'.

Circus Caper - NES - Bonus Game - 1.png

Beating one of the bonus games.

Circus Caper - NES - Boss Battle - 1.png

What kind of boss is this?!


The game has nice carnival-esque music to it. It even features a couple jazzy anthems. Some of the songs from the Japanese version were ported to the USA version. The music is tuned at 449.2 Hz which is pretty off-key for an NES game. Usually, NES games were tuned at 440.4 Hz or 442.1 Hz. We have listed Michiharu Hasuya as the composer for Circus Caper due to a musical comparison. For example, the Cutscene Theme 2 song uses a very identical part from the title music from Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (NES). According to Michiharu, music had to be entered in hexadecimal. He was also responsible for programming the game's sound driver.

The Japanese soundtrack also has a nice fitting soundtrack. The first level has sort of a funk theme to it, plus some nice rockesque anthems for the other levels. A few of them are under minute long so they tend to be annoying from playing the same level over and over again, but they are catchy nonetheless.

The US soundtrack starts with a '1' and the Japanese soundtrack starts with a '2'.


# Title Composer Length Listen Download
01 Title Screen Michiharu Hasuya 1:48
02 Cutscene 1 Michiharu Hasuya 0:44
03 Cutscene 2 Michiharu Hasuya 0:45
04 Stage 1 Michiharu Hasuya 1:40
05 Stage 2 Michiharu Hasuya 1:31
06 Stage 3 Michiharu Hasuya 2:50
07 Stage 4 Michiharu Hasuya 1:51
08 Stage 5 Michiharu Hasuya 1:20
09 Stage 6 Michiharu Hasuya 2:02
10 Bonus Game 1 Osamu Kasai, Masaaki Harada 0:36
11 Bonus Game 2 Osamu Kasai, Masaaki Harada 0:39
12 Boss Battle Osamu Kasai, Masaaki Harada 1:19
13 Final Boss Osamu Kasai, Masaaki Harada 1:44
14 Game Over Osamu Kasai, Masaaki Harada 0:03
15 Lose Minigame Michiharu Hasuya 0:03
16 Win Minigame Osamu Kasai, Masaaki Harada 0:03
17 Boss Defeated Osamu Kasai, Masaaki Harada 0:04
18 Stage Clear Osamu Kasai, Masaaki Harada 0:03
19 Ending Michiharu Hasuya 1:47
# Title ComposerArranger Length Listen Download
201 Cutscene Osamu Kasai, Masaaki HaradaOsamu Kasai, Masaaki Harada 1:36
202 Dreamy Dreamer Yuko IshikawaOsamu Kasai, Masaaki Harada 2:38
203 Stage 1 Osamu Kasai, Masaaki HaradaOsamu Kasai, Masaaki Harada 1:53
204 Stage 2 Osamu Kasai, Masaaki HaradaOsamu Kasai, Masaaki Harada 0:48
205 Stage 3 Osamu Kasai, Masaaki HaradaOsamu Kasai, Masaaki Harada 1:53
206 Stage 4 Osamu Kasai, Masaaki HaradaOsamu Kasai, Masaaki Harada 1:26
207 Stage 5 Osamu Kasai, Masaaki HaradaOsamu Kasai, Masaaki Harada 1:17
208 Stage 6 Osamu Kasai, Masaaki HaradaOsamu Kasai, Masaaki Harada 0:52
214 Lose Minigame Osamu Kasai, Masaaki HaradaOsamu Kasai, Masaaki Harada 0:03


  • Game Credits (Japan):
    • おんがく (Music): Osamu Kasai credited as かさい おさむ
    • おんがく (Music): Masaaki Harada credited as はらだ まさあき
    • スペシャル サンクス トゥ (Special Thanks To) Sound Routine 4 Gou credited as サウンドルーチン4ごう
    • Not Credited Composer Yuuko Ishikawa

(Source: 1, 2, 3, Musical comparison; USA version lacks credits.)

In Circus Caper, you are treated to an ending sequence but no staff credits. However, when you beat Moeru! Oniisan, you are not only treated to a longer ending, but credits as well which are in Japanese. The Japanese version not only credits the two main composers at ACC Osamu Kasai and Masaaki Harada, but it also credits Sound Routine No. 4, the name of the sound software used at Advance Communication Company. It is unknown why the developers left the credits out of the USA release, but seeing as ACC usually didn't put credits in their games, we should be lucky that they put them in the Japanese version.

We had Michiharu listen to the music for Circus Caper, but he says he doesn't remember if he worked on it. We have compared the music with his other works on the NES which also have a similar musical style, different than Osamu and Masaaki's.

The title music in the Japanese version is the theme song from the anime, Dreamy Dreamer, which was composed by Yuuko Ishikawa.

Game Rip



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  Japan.svg   Japan
Moeru! Oniisan - FC.jpg
Title: 燃える!お兄さん (Burn! Older Brother)
Platform: Famicom
Released: 1989-08-08
Publisher: Toho Co., Ltd.
  USA.svg   USA
Circus Caper- NES.jpg
Title: Circus Caper
Platform: NES
Released: 1990-07-??
Publisher: Toho Co., Ltd.