US Gold Ltd
James Software Ltd
1986
Arcade: Platform
£7.95
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

37
John Gilbert
Chris Bourne

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

***

3/5