by James Garon, Kelly Day, Roger Loveless, John Ludin, Roy Langston, T. Shakespeare
U.S. Gold Ltd
Crash Issue 26, Mar 1986   page(s) 32

Producer: US Gold
Retail Price: £7.95

With a swish of sword and leap and a bound, Zorro arrives on the Spectrum after a brief sojourn on the Amstrad and Commodore. For those of you not terribly au fait with early Hollywood attempts at adventure and excitement, the legend runs thus:

It's very simple really, Zorro is really 18th century Los Angeles equivalent of Batman. Defender of the innocent, scourge of evil, dreadnought of chicanery, you know the sort of thing. Anyway, Zorro is innocently strolling down the boulevard when his keen super hero eyes spot the evil Colonel Garcia abducting a fair maiden. This is not the sort of thing that Zorro allows to go unnoticed but it soon becomes obvious that there's no way of catching up with the bloated villain so a plan must be decided upon. First on the agenda is the retrieval of the fair lady's handkerchief that she carelessly dropped during her kidnapping. The overall plan is to get to Garcia's jail and release her. To do this quite a few essential objects need to be collected and the first is the handkerchief.

Zorro is in fact one the now numerous arcade adventures, the sort where you have to collect an object to be able to get another object and so on until your ultimate aims are met. The important items designated for collection flash and are picked up by just passing over them. These are automatically added to the inventory. There are other artifacts around the different screens. These can be picked up, but only one item may be held at any time.

Zorro's repertoire of movement is quite broad. In classic arcade adventure style he can go left, right and jump. Fighting is also possible and more than probable when you encounter some of Garcia's henchmen.

The view of Zorro's immediate area takes up nearly all the screen. As Zorro passes off one side of the screen another view flicks into the scene. The main difference between Zorro and other arcade adventures is its ability to have the main character happily interacting with the background. Most of the different aspects of the background scenes can be employed in the most heroic of fashions. There are curtain rails that can be clambered along, trampolines to be bounced on and various other active props and pieces. The problems presented though are not the sort to be wholly solved by a deft hand and a quick eye. To get to greasy Garcia's stronghold a number of complex and not immediately obvious puzzles need solutions. The main obstacle is the underground cavern system. It's through here that the apparently useless items that have previously been collected leg the damsel's handkerchief) can be used as keys to get past normally impassable doors.


Control keys: 2/W up/down; O/P left/right; Z to activate
Joystick: not stated, though options available
Keyboard play: good
Use of colour: limited
Graphics: above average
Sound: poor

So, the valiant sword-thruster of television fame strikes the Spec, eh? A lot of strategy is needed to get anywhere in this game. To me, initially, it was far too hard to make any major progression through the screens and if I hadn't had to write this review, I doubt I would have persevered long enough. The graphics on most of the screens are quite good, and Zorro himself walks, pumps, fights, and bounces around in quite a respectable manner. The loading screen is nothing special, and more could have been made of the game generally. It's good fun to play for a while, but then gets a bit tedious for my liking.

At first sight Zorro seems a little like Bruce Lee but don't be taken in by first appearances. Zorro isn't half as playable or compelling as Bruce Lee. The tasks are very logical (get key, open door) so the game will be fairly simple to complete after a little thinking. Graphically this game is sub-average, the characters are jerky and the backgrounds are often a little garish. The sound is poor with an awful tune on the title screen and next to no spot effects during the game itself. Generally I wouldn't recommend this game as for eight quid it just isn't worth it.

En Garde Monsieur, or should that be En Garde all tape buyers. If US Gold had kept up to their good standards Zorro would have been a good, addictive game, it turned out to be a waste of time, and not all that good. The graphics are small and some of the screens need a lot of time before you pass on to the next. You would have more fun watching black and white episodes of the films on the box than you would playing the game.

Use of Computer: 64%
Graphics: 59%
Playability: 54%
Getting Started: 54%
Addictive Qualities: 55%
Value for Money: 52%
Overall: 53%

Summary: General Rating: A good idea with some nice touches, that fails eventually in presentation.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 4, Apr 1986   page(s) 20

US Gold

'Zee' is for Zorro - not 'zed' and I'm not zorry to zay to because Zorro is an all-American hero. To protect the poor and innocent he dresses in a floppy hat, cape, black silky shirt with ruffles, tight trousers... and are you sure this is 'all-American'?

Though he isn't so well known in this country, Zorro is a sort of trans-Atlantic Robin Hood, vanquishing villains along the Mexican border and carving his initial into their chests by way of a calling card. He's swashed his buckle in films and books and now it's time for Zorro to meet the Z80 in an arcade adventure.

The plot. Evil Sergeant Garcia (Boo, hiss - never trust these Hispanic types - he probably already has a 128K Speccy too) has kidnapped a beautiful Senorita and before you can say Ole he's holding her captive in his castle. In fact you get the whole drama played out before you as this fair Sprite-orita is hustled to the hacienda. So you grab her hankie as it floats to the ground (hope it's a clean one) and set off to rescue her.

It's important to say right from the start that Zorro won't win any awards for its graphics. Unlike the Commodore version, which looks rather nice from the screen shots on the box (naughty), all the characters are silhouettes, scuttling around a primarily black on yellow landscape. It's a pity the setting couldn't have been more atmospheric because the game itself plays rather well.

What you have is a platforms and ladders game but with some rather clever puzzles. Many of these involve doing things on one screen then backtracking to another to benefit from their effects. It gives you more of a sense of place and less of a feeling of just clearing screens. There are objects to pick up. though what they're used for is unlikely to be immediately obvious, plus lifts and even trampolines that guarantee Zorro will always bounce back.

Combat comes when you meet the guards. And sword play or driving them off ledges leads to a ghostly 'zee' appearing. Actually they're not at all hard to hack and you're more likely to need your four lives to experiment with tricky leaps. Here's the game's other potential failing. Once you've solved the problems all you can do is race against time for a higher bonus. That said though, Zorro is fun to play and surprisingly addictive.

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Graphics: 5/10
Playability: 8/10
Value For Money: 8/10
Addictiveness: 8/10
Overall: 8/10

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 49, Apr 1986   page(s) 37

BACK IN THE DAYS when the only attribute flicker was the flash of a hero's teeth, Zorro roamed the barbarous frontiers of Mexico, righting the wrongs done to innocent peasants by roguish soldiers.

The cut of his sword and his painful trademark - a Z slashed with the tip of his blade - were famous throughout the state but his aristocratic background was hidden behind a black mask. The authorities put a price on his head but the large peasant population aided his capers.

One soldier, Sergeant Garcia, set out to capture Zorro and stopped at nothing - legal or illegal - to catch his quarry and claim the reward. In US Gold's arcade adventure he has captured a pretty senorita and locked her up at the fort.

Zorro must battle his way through a series of screens, solving a puzzle on each to get to the maiden in distress and defeat Garcia.

He starts at the well outside the Ole 6 Hotel. Garcia struggles with the senorita on the balcony and a hankie flutters earthward. It is caught on the handle of the well and Zorro must collect it. There are several solutions to the problems and puzzles. For instance, movement between one partitioned part of the Ole 6 Hotel can be achieved by a climb and a jump or a bounce on the settee and a jump to the right. To gain height using the settee you must hold the up key down for at least 30 seconds. Then push the right key and Zorro will leap into the second part of the hotel.

From there he can go past the cemetery - which contains only one grave stone, a few crosses and a ruined church crawling with enemy soldiers - and onto the fort screen.

As you first get to the fort the drawbridge is raised and you are denied access to your love who waves forlornly from her prison cell.

Zorro is encouraged by the huge heart beating above her head - is this romance or horror? - and bounces off to the hotel, over the partition and onto the puzzle screens where the objects - including a useful key and a bottle of wine - can be found.

For some odd reason there is a bull in the livery stable. He stands guard over a lucky horseshoe. If you try to jump onto him and grab the object he will bounce you off his horns. You've got to be logical about the puzzles and branding the beast will make him more docile. All the equipment you need - forge, irons and bellows - are in the stable, so the solution should be easy.

There's also trouble underground which can be reached by one of a series of wells. Once past the balls floating on the lake - more bouncing involved there - Zorro must negotiate the catacombs and release a group of peasants who also have been imprisoned by the evil Sergeant Garcia.

Only after you have done all the good deeds can you rescue your love, and to make things more difficult Garcia's soldiers are after you. Between doing good deeds Zorro must fight duels with his sword, which is fairly frisky even when he's not in a fight.

Unfortunately, sword fights only deliver a paltry number of points. The big points are scored when the problems are solved.

Zorro is like Jet Set Willy with a sword. There are less rooms than the Willy game and the graphics are worse - yellow and black coupled with attribute flicker is not my favourite combination either.

The game also bears a resemblance to Hunchback, with its leaping hero and the Esmerelda figure who is the prize at the end of the game.

The problems in the game are not challenging enough and there are few surprises.

John Gilbert

Publisher: US Gold
Price: £7.95
Memory: 48K
Joystick: Kempston


Overall: 3/5

Transcript by Chris Bourne

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