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Meat Circus

My memories were bad enough. This is just gross.

Razputin

The Meat Circus is a level in Psychonauts. It is a unique mental world that resulted from the brainwaves of Razputin and Coach Oleander becoming intertwined, and is made up of the childhood memories of both of them mashed together.

Description[]

The Meat Circus is a combination of Razputin's memories of growing up in his family's circus, and Coach Oleander's traumatic memories of his father's butcher shop. As a result, it takes the form of a circus featuring several enormous tents and a carnival, where most of the infrastructure is made up of pieces of meat. Various circus performers can be seen around this world, including Knife Throwers, Fat Ladies, an animatronic Fortune Teller and some sentient pieces of meat doing balancing acts, but its only patrons are figments.

Because the Meat Circus only came into existence due to Raz and Oleander's brains ending up in the same Brain Tank, and they are untangled after Raz completes the level—not to mention that he manages to sort out many of the personal issues that gave rise to its existence in the first place—this world can no longer exist after the end of Psychonauts.

Points of Interest[]

  • The Caravan: Raz spawns here when he first enters this world. It is a dark void with a mental version of Razputin's family's caravan, which is also seen at the start of the Brain Tumbler Experiment. This time, however, it overlooks a little field of grass with several rabbit hutches, representing Coach Oleander's childhood memories. The caravan now also has an ominously undulating tunnel of meat in its doorway.
  • Tent City: The first area of the Meat Circus proper, once Razputin passes through his family's caravan. It is the area around the first tent's entrance. In this area, Raz can find a fortune teller who will redeem the collectibles Raz has found but not yet turned in for PSI-Cadet experience. Some food carts and floating posters are also in the area, some of which advertise the Aquatos and the Galochios.
  • Entrance Tent: The first of three large tents at the Meat Circus. Inside, several large meat grinders endlessly churn out Bunny Demons. The way to progress is upwards, past an elaborate route made up of tightropes, ladders, grind rails, bone trapezes, and many platforms made of meat.
  • Tunnel of Love: The one carnival attraction visible outside of the tents. Its entrance looks like a butcher shop storefront. The attraction itself consists of a series of grind rails that snake around the area, through floating tents and ribcages and tunnels shaped like Oleander's father and a pig. Near the end of the rail are a set of sculptures of lions. Finally, it leads directly to the entrance to the Big Top. In the void surrounding the Tunnel of Love, sentient pieces of meat and pillbugs can be seen performing on tightropes.
  • The Big Top: The second large tent at the circus. This is where the Butcher hangs out. Though this tent is enormous, it's mostly empty, its only notable feature being an enormous meat grinder in the floor's center.
    • The Vortex: Once the Butcher and Evil Augustus are defeated and “Killed for good” from the grinder; giant piles of meat along with the Two-Headed Dad Monster emerges from it. While not seen in the cutscene it implies that this event provoked that the tent broke apart and with the fusion of the two dads the mental world started to lose control of its own existence (hence generating a vortex beneath the grinder which would start sucking up everything right after the final boss is taken down).
  • Razputin's Trial: The third tent at the circus, Raz reaches this one when he is flung through the side of the Big Top. Inside is a difficult obstacle course he is forced to climb, made even harder by Evil Augustus throwing flaming juggling pins at Raz while he's trying to climb it, and water rising up constantly, representing Razputin's fear of water. At the end, there's an incredibly long ladder that goes in all sorts of directions as Raz is sliding down it.

In Psychonauts[]

After confronting and incapacitating Oleander's Brain Tank, Razputin still gets hit with Sneezing Powder, which causes him to sneeze out his brain. Razputin's disembodied brain uses Telekinesis to throw itself into the broken container Oleander's brain is also inside of, which causes the two brains to mingle.

Immediately afterwards, Razputin wakes up in the dark void that houses his family caravan and a field with rabbit hutches. A young Oleander greets him, and after a short conversation, runs into the caravan to chase after his pet rabbit. From here, a ghostly face will sometimes appear in midair wailing Razputin's name. Raz follows into the meaty tunnel in the caravan and enters the twisted Meat Circus. Pursuing "Little Oly" further into the Entrance Tent, Ford Cruller pops out to explain that Oleander's father was a butcher, and that Raz had better protect the young version of him, as what happens to Oly will happen to Razputin as well.

While Oleander runs after his pet rabbit, Raz must go after him, climbing various obstacles in the tent (notably including targets the Knife Throwers will throw knives at, which Raz can then jump up to and swing from), and protect him from the Bunny Demons. Eventually, Oleander catches the bunny and flies out of the big top using his propeller beanie. Raz follows him out, and then through the tunnel of love, at the end of which he reaches the Big Top. Entering here starts the final section of the game, so there are no more collectibles past this point.

After entering the Big Top, Raz gets up off the middle of the arena, as a panicking Little Oly rushes past him. Raz tries to reassure Oly that it's safe now, but Oly tells him his dad is coming. Sure enough, the Butcher soon makes his appearance—a huge, aggressive projection of Oleander's father who tries to slaughter them both. Raz faces the butcher in combat, which mostly amounts to dodging and guarding against his blows until he can climb up his shoulder and get a hit to his face in. After a few of these hits, though, the Butcher simply slices a hole into the side of the tent, picks up Raz with his meat cleaver, and throws him out, then throws a package wrapped in butcher paper that was on the floor nearby after him as he laughs maniacally.

Raz now finds himself on the floor of yet another tent, where the package that's next to him unwraps itself to reveal a mental projection of his own father. This false version of Razputin's father is disgusted to see that Razputin has been associating with psychics, and challenges Raz to prove his worth as an acrobat to survive the family's curse. Raz climbs another difficult obstacle course, this time while the tent is flooding and with the evil father throwing flaming juggling pins at him. When he does reach the top, Evil Augustus simply fires back that he cheated, as he opens a portal back to the Big Top.

Back in the Big Top, Raz finds Oly again, and the two watch in horror as the two evil fathers get along great. Another fight against the Butcher ensues, where Evil Augustus now throws his flaming pins and the Butcher's meat cleavers are also on fire. This time, Raz can use Telekinesis to hit the Butcher with the pins and set him up for another hit. This eventually ends with the Butcher being toppled into the meat grinder at the center of the tent.

At this point, Razputin's real father, Augustus, breaks through into his mind after having tried since the beginning of the stage to get in (resulting in the ghostly wailing that could be heard throughout the level). Augustus is confused and disappointed at the absolute chaos he walked in on, including several unconscious people and his son's brain in a tank with another brain. All of this makes way for concern when the Evil Augustus approaches them, yelling about hating psychics and his son. The real Augustus tells Raz he's been trying to train him to keep him safe, and PSI-blasts his fake into the meat grinder as well. Just as he tells Raz that his and Oleander's psyches need to be detangled as soon as possible, however, both evil fathers reemerge from the meat grinder, grotesquely put together as the Two-Headed Dad Monster.

Augustus reminds Raz that this is his own mind, and that he is strong here. He then transfers all of his own psychic power to Raz for the upcoming battle. As the Big Top breaks down in a swirling orange vortex, Raz must run away from the monster until he can activate Augustus' power, which temporarily gives him a gigantic orange aura and makes him powerful enough to beat down the Dad Monster as it's cowering behind its cleavers. After defeating them, the entire world collapses around them. Raz and his father run out into the void, and find themselves outside the caravan. Young Oleander thanks Raz for saving all the bunnies and for talking to his dad. Raz's mind and Oleander's mind are then separated.

Strategies[]

The Meat Circus is infamous for being very difficult and giving the player very few hints about how to clear it the first time around. Here are a few helpful strategies that may not be immediately obvious:

  • Throwing a confusion grenade at Mr. Bun will stun him long enough to be picked up. Alternately, Telekinesis can be used to hold him in place.
  • Evil Augustus won't be able to see Raz if he uses invisibility on the tightropes, meaning he won't throw the juggling pins.
  • Using Shield will bounce the knife thrower's blades onto the spinning target wheels in just the right place, meaning there's no need to jump for it and risk the blades ending up in a position that makes it difficult to use them as poles to swing from.

Collectibles[]

Figments[]

The Meat Circus contains 94 figments, most of which are naturally themed around the circus or butchery. For a full list of figments and their locations, see the unofficial Psychonauts figment guide.

Figments of Interest[]

Among the figments in this world, some that stand out include:

  • A poster advertising the "Great Galachios" [sic].
  • A kangaroo with boxing gloves.
  • Muscleman, a circus strongman who fits the level's theme but also appeared in Scott C.'s comic series Double Fine Action Comics, featured on the Double Fine website from 2005 onward.
  • The 2 Headed Baby, part of Double Fine's company logo and also a character in Scott C.'s Double Fine Action Comics, wearing swimming caps on both heads.

Emotional Baggage[]

  • Dufflebag
    • Bag: At the end of the tunnel of love.
    • Tag: On the tunnel of love slide.
  • Hatbox
    • Bag: On the first meat platform in the big top.
    • Tag: On the broken road to the left of the entrance.
  • Purse
    • Bag: Next to the tunnel of love entrance.
    • Tag: On the top platform of the big top.
  • Steamer Trunk
    • ​Bag: To the left of the entrance.
    • Tag: On the top of the big top entrance.
  • Suitcase
    • Bag: To the very left of the big top exit.
    • Tag: In the bottom level of the big top.

Mental Cobwebs[]

  • Blocking the passage to the Meat Circus (mandatory).
  • The second cobweb blocking the passage to the Meat Circus (mandatory).
  • After exiting the big top, to the right and against the tent.

Memory Vaults[]

Enemies[]

Trivia[]

  • This is the only mental world (excluding the Collective Unconscious) in Psychonauts that has only one Memory Vault.
  • On the Steam version of Psychonauts, there is an achievement for completing the Meat Circus, called "I Thought That Was Unbeatable!", in reference to how the Meat Circus was infamously considered unnecessarily hard for its escort section, difficult platforming, limited lives, and sparse checkpoints.
    • For the Steam, Xbox Live, and PSN releases, the level was slightly edited to decrease its difficulty, and more frequent checkpoints were added.
    • That said, while this update was meant to increase Oly's health in the escort section, it only does so for the first part, and his health resets to its original values when he takes off for the second time.
  • The fanfares in the level's music sound like laughing. The music itself is extremely reminiscent of the soundtrack from Tim Burtons Beetlejuice.
  • On the Playstation version of Psychonauts, the cutscene after defeating the final boss will present a different sky; passing from an orange color to a more blue tone.
    • Other cutscenes from this specific version of the game changes on other things as well; the infamous rise of the milkman cutscene in the Playstation edition has less lightning.
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