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Video Game / Cirque De Zale

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Cirque De Zale is a 2004 Adventure Game by Rebecca Clements. The game starts with a man named Alexander Zale, who works shovelling elephant dung at a circus. One day, Alex gets fed up with being bossed around by the circus's stage magician, the Great Astoundo, and decides to get his revenge by pranking the magician by putting dung in his hat. Understandably pissed, Astoundo reveals that he actually possesses real magic powers and decides to punish Alexander by banishing him to another dimension.

There, Alexander learns of an Evil Sorcerer who has kidnapped the king's daughter. The king makes a deal: if Alexander rescues his daughter and defeats the sorcerer, as foretold by prophecy, the royal wizard Jack will arrange to have Alexander returned to his home realm.

However, Alexander wants none of this, and just wants to stay in this strange new world and start his own circus. What follows is a story about destiny versus free will.


Cirque De Zale is freeware and can be downloaded here. A full playthrough featuring commentary from Rebecca Clements can be found Here.

Tropes found in this game

  • Evil Sorcerer: Dimos, who uses his magic to terrorize the land and capture and enslave its citizens.
  • I Choose to Stay: Happens during the game's intro. Justified since Alexander's life sucked in his previous world, so having a chance to start anew seemed quite appealing to him. Later on in the game, Alexander chooses to stay again, this time on a deserted island.
  • Magicians Are Wizards:
    • Played straight with The Great Astoundo, who is just a normal circus magician, but still magically banishes Alexander to another dimension.
    • Inverted/parodied with Adrastos the Non-Wizard, who was raised learning the art of magic, but prefers doing sleight-of-hand illusions, which he specifically refers to as "non-magic", because it requires actual skill compared to just casting a spell.
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  • Screw Destiny: A major theme of the game. Alexander does not care at all about the prophecy saying that he is destined to be a hero. No matter how hard fate tries to force him to save the world, he just does not want to be anything other than a circus ringmaster, even going as far as to deliberately ignore the imprisoned Damsel in Distress when he could easily save her.
  • You Can't Fight Fate: It seems that fate is quite determined to have Alexander become the hero who will save the world. Once Alexander gets his circus together, he is kidnapped by the sorcerer he was supposed to stop, and once he ends up on a deserted island and decides to just stay in the fancy mansion that another inhabitant of the island built, said mansion ends up destroyed. In the end, Alexander destroys the device of destruction, but claims that he just did it because he wanted to, not because he was destined to.