Cirqus Voltaire (Bally, 1997)

Cirqus Voltaire

Pinside rating

This game received 621 approved Pinsider ratings and currently rates 8.370 /10


Top 100 ranking

This game ranks #21 in the Pinside Pinball Top 100.

Score breakdown

Score breakdown in the 4 main categories:

Game design: 8.34

Artwork: 8.738

Sounds/Music: 7.889

Other Aspects: 8.324

Rating comments

There are 306 rating comments for this game.

Pinside staff rating

This is how we, the very knowledgeable (wink wink) staff & moderators rate this game. 7 of us have rated this game.


Your Rating?

You need to be logged in before you can rate pinball machines. No account yet? Registering only takes a sec!

Ranking history

An overview of this machine's ranking over the last years. Lower is better.

Rating history

An overview of this machine's rating over the last years. Higher is better.

Found 306 ratings (with comment) on this game

There are 306 ratings (that include a comment) on this game.
Currently showing results page 1 of 13.

List options

10 days ago
"Cirqus Voltaire" is basically the third part of my "Showmanship Trilogy" which, for me, consists of "Theatre of Magic", "Tales of the Arabian Nights" and this game. I name it such because they all share a penchant for grandiose melodrama that wraps around the player and consumes them completely. Each one has outlandish toys and gimmicks as well as epic, cinematic musical scores and game audio. Here, "Voltaire" goes over the top with a game about a mythical circus run by a mysterious "ringmaster" that you need to defeat while activating various portions of the circus in order to put the big show. The game is smoooooth with shots and ramps that recall "Creature From the Black Lagoon". They're easy to hit in succession and it's satisfying when you do. The "sideshows" are a lot of fun and unpredictable and one such mini-game involves the backglass and a catapult system which is ingenious. The design is excellent with a colorful playfield and a really cool neon ramp on the right, something we'd later see expanded on Stern's "TRON Legacy". The main gripe I have with this game is that it's too simple: wake the Ringmaster, beat him, repeat, just like "Attack From Mars". Additionally, gaining pieces of the "Cirqus" is pretty easy to do and you can finish the game fairly quick if you know what you're doing. Even still, "Voltaire" is a lot of fun and rewarding.
12 days ago
A huge favorite for me, and I have my fingers crossed for a CGC re-make! Ringmaster one of pinball's greatest creations, art truly sublime. DMD just above playfield fantastic!
40 days ago
Best circus themed pin, fantastic artwork and lighting effects. Plays smooth and fast, ramps are fun. I don’t like the video modes.
The cannon in the backglass is cool, and the placement of the DMD is fitting.
45 days ago
What an innovative pin. Nothing quite like it out there. It embraces the circus theme perfectly and uses it for gameplay. The menagerie combined with the whip sound effect is great. The ringmaster is a perfect adversary, with some cool tricks up his sleeve (neck). And thank you for playfield jet bumpers! Everyone seems to want to hide these things in a corner. The giant neon tube is unique and has different colors (as well as the menagerie balls). I like the "Volt" buttons in the playfield and the unique open outlanes. Hard to find these anywhere, play or own one if you can!
57 days ago
Kind of a one trick pony. Call up the ring master then bash him. Anything else is risky and worth less points. Artwork is... abrasive.
3 months ago
A most original game. With ringmaster a very unique toy. Game has a lot of variation and neat automations like the juggler and back glass. A fun game to play. You do need to get past the strange look. Fun game to play but would not want in my collection
4 months ago
Its a beautiful pin and a good playing machine.
5 months ago
I love this game - I hated it when I first saw it and played it. It looked too gaudy and I didn't like the theme. I let if pass and purchased a Theatre of Magic instead. I picked one up years later and with the Home version of the rom the game plays really well. It's fast, it's smooth, the sound, lighting and animations are great - the Ringmaster is a clever toy as well. It has a whole lot of multiballs as well. It's not the deepest game and it's quite easy to get through to the wizard mode - but there's quite a few of them as well and with the home version you get different wizard modes on the second run through (although I haven't made it through those yet). All up a very fun game and one I keep going back to play a lot.
5 months ago
My parents owned one of these for a while growing up. Beautiful machine, but the game was really repetitive over and over. For a 90s game, I suppose it was very good, but it is pretty static and gets boring pretty fast in my opinion. I love the look and the overall theme, but the shots are at really odd angles and can be difficult to hit from the perspective that the angles appear to be just a bit off.

It is not a game you want to keep coming back to — especially when compared to a lot of the newer pins.
6 months ago
Hands down the most beautiful pinball machine I've ever seen. If it weren't for those stupid, stupid outlanes, I would love this machine more than my mother. If that wasn't clear enough, let me just say it again: The outlanes are stupid. Take one look at 'em, you'll see what I mean. Other than that, this machine is truly a piece of art. It's like Mardi Gras and a fever dream had sex and this pinball machine was their offspring. Too much fun in a box. Just fantastic. A collector's item for a reason.
6 months ago
Cirqus voltaire is a fun game it has good artwork and many cool toys.
7 months ago
fun game but a bit overrated and repetitive. i love the lighting and the callouts are spot on. however the shots are kinda random, and the playfield is not especially fun over a lot of games played. i like how random the games become, but accomplishing much in the way of modes is a bit difficult. perhaps i am just not that good, but other pins are funner because the shots/modes are attainable without too much effort and thinking. overall i will play everytime because it is a beautiful machine, but it shouldnt be ranked so high.
7 months ago
This game will never leasve my collection..Why it is just not my favorite game but also my wifes...This game has so much going n it is scary...The dmd on the playing field is genius..The ringmaster gets on my nerves but so does my wife. Always come back for more...
9 months ago
Great game. Music is great and the ringmaster is fun to shoot at. Joining the circus is a difficult and fun challenge and the 2 multiballs are fun. Great playfield and backglass artwork, but the cabinet artwork looks bland to me. Great gameplay and lots of great shots.
9 months ago
Is CV the ultimate case of "style over substance"?
9 months ago
Beautiful game, decent amount of fun. Maybe i'm just not familiar enough with some of the deeper rules or strategies. It gets boring after three to five straight games.
10 months ago
Get ready for the greatest pinball on earth!

John Papadiuk and his team managed to create one of the greatest and most inovative pinball machine that walked the earth. I wish to thank em for this !

What is so special with this pin u asking ?

From ringmaster, to great callouts , music and sound , amazing multiballs, playfield dmd , canon backbox and educational things (you can read entire history of cirqus after you done with playing ), artwork etc.

There is some bad reviews on this game, that i cant and would not agree, people either are haters or think they are very smart and good pin players so game is easy and boring for them.

Well, if you are fun of pins and love and enjoy playing em this is game for you.

As i said above , game have great callouts , they are also not repetitive and you are not going to be bored cose everytime you will hear something new.

Have great gameplay and good rules , game is fast and challenging and not so hard to learn , allowing you to enjoy it . So very nice gameflow .

Ringmaster is not that hard to beat , in same time nor easy to beat cose shots might be very risky. Also ringmaster battle can be very very hard , so gl with that :).

Boomballon, jugglers , neon ramp,various multiball modes, good video modes , and other things will be only cheery on top for anyone that playing game.Volts spot on playfield when you cross with ball over it you feel like electric shock trough flipper buttons which is one of the greatest gimmicks in pins(along with bony beast heartbeat on scared stiff).

Ramps are also hard to hit and give bit challange to even expirienced players .

Did i mentioned that game have one of the most beautifull artwork from all pins ?

Mentioned all things above and not having one single downside ill give it 10!

"Au revoir, arriva derci, adios, goodbye!"

i am just a fan of pins , i am not pro player, love this hobby (love to play pinballs) and every review is based on my personal feeling and emotion. I am in this game only for FUN and to have stress free ;).
11 months ago
Ok, wow, this game is incredible, off the map, probably one of the best. The playfield layout, the rules, the lights, the toys, the music and callouts – are awesome. Something else I really like about CV, but something I think may disturb other players, are the features which increase the randomness of the ball movement – the captive ball of the menagerie, the pop bumpers on the lower right side above the slingshots, the ball being flung by the ringmaster magnet, even when the ball is being fed from the ramps to the flippers it can do something unexpected (not 100% sure if this is intentional or not, but I like it) – the ball is going every which way much of the time.
The ball is visible almost always (except when it goes into the subway system). This is part of the genius of this very unique layout. And at the same time not having anything blocking the DMD display which is under the playfield glass – is quite a design achievement. CV has two separate ball lock systems (highwire and juggler) – both are cool, but the high wire multiball lock… - one of the coolest ball locks ever ! And how about that big sink hole under the completely raised ringmaster? – it’s like hitting pinballs into a golf hole – so nifty and fun.
And the multiballs – so many different ones – they can be stacked, this can get really exciting (definitely easier to achieve than on BSD !).
And the wizard mode – I’ve yet to complete it, but it’s clever.
Ok, ok, I’ll admit, the sideshow award “Fire that Cannon” is pretty lame. And “Amazing Roonie” and “Copy Cat” (Homerom 2.0) – yuck – two separate video modes…, but once you accept them they’re both kind of challenging – Copy Cat gives you an extra ball if you can keep your stuff together – that’s a motivation, right ?
11 months ago
Very unique machine, lots of colour and great themeing. Ringmaster is a great bash toy, and the way in which different marvels are collected offers up plenty of variety as far as rules go. Not a huge fan of the inlane/outlane arrangement, but it does offer an additional challenge. The playfield layout is great with the exception of the upper left corner with the juggler mechanism, more could've been done there. But overall, it's a classic game with a quirky theme, great art and good audio, well worth a play whenever you see one.
11 months ago
What a beautiful machine, all is perfect on it. 100%, very fun.
1 year ago
I love it really good and fun gameplay !the artwork is awesome for the all pinball!amazing flow!just perfect..
1 year ago
I'm not a big fan of JPop games, other than admire his ability to create fantastic lighting and colors. This game is just sorta fun, the shots are repetitious tending towards being tedious. Circus theme becomes grating quickly, unless you really like the circus. Make sure you play this game a lot before you buy one--it gets old fast, just like TOM.
1 year ago
excellent game, with an excellent wizard mode
1 year ago
The game is a work of art. The fun factor is through the roof.

The only problem I see with the game is a flaw in the rule set. The bobbles: menagerie, spin, boom, and sideshow are too easy to accomplish. You can't play a game without incidentally achieving these goals. If I could change code in chips, I would adjust the difficulty of these particular goals. Aside from this flaw, the rule set of the game is good.

Don't get me wrong, it is one of my favorite machines, and will never leave my collection.
1 year ago
This is only the greatest pinball on earth. Joining the circus is an amazing wizard mode. JPops best effort in my opinion. Beautiful, deep, fun, rare. Wow.
There are 306 ratings (that include a comment) on this game. Currently showing results page 1 of 13.

You too can add your own comment by rating this game! Click here to rate the machine.

Hey there! Got a moment?

Great to see you're enjoying Pinside! Did you know Pinside is able to run thanks to donations from our visitors? Please donate to Pinside, support the site and get anext to your username to show for it! Donate to Pinside