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

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20
Rachael Smith
Chris Bourne

'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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Uh-oh, a guard. Despite his pike he won't pick a fight unless you're in the way as he patrols between doors. Then use fire as you parry and cut him to ribbons.

Problem: how to get your hands on the bottle when it's behind a locked door. To do so you'll need to leave this screen bottom right and climb outside to re-enter top right.

Pieces of floor like this just aren't so solid. In fact you'll tumble through them. But that works both ways - you can also leap up without crushing that lovely hat.

Here's the key to the door - that's simple - but the key to the screen is getting over the wall so you can get yup there.

I was always taught not to bounce on the furniture, but stand here and keep Up pressed to gain height, then add Right and you'll sail up to the next level. Sofa, so good.

A rolling stone gathers no moss but if you roll this boulder it'll cause the lift next to it to descend. That forces one up from the floor on the other side of the ladder, which it'll then roll onto.

Well, here's our hero, pondering just how to win the cup. Let's not question the presence of all those platforms and pulleys when their logic has such a loopy charm.

You'll need a counterbalance to raise the boulder on the second lift so that it can travel even further. Luckily there's one planted down here so you'll need all your trampolining skills to get it!

The eventual resting place of the stone. Its weight will left that door enough for you to slip under it so all you have to do now is workout how you get to that ladder on the far right.

No wonder the goblet's well protected. Like several other objects in the game it has magical properties.