All is not well in the pueblo of Los Angeles, where the dastardly Colonel Garcia has kidnapped a fair Senorita, spiriting her away to his fort on the other side of town. Not one to sit idly by when a damsel is in distress, Zorro, expert swordsman and champion of the people, leaps into action, setting out on a rescue mission that will see him solving puzzles, crossing swords with the colonel's guard and plundering subterranean catacombs.
The puzzles mostly revolve around collecting an item from a specific room in the town, then taking it to and using it in the correct location. The graphics are well drawn and it's pretty obvious to work out what most of these items are, but where to actually use them is not always so obvious (the horn is a good example). The items themselves are held in storeroom (well, that's what I guess it is at any rate) behind a locked door and Zorro must take the key and find his way to the top floor to unlock the door. It's at this point where I suspect a lot of players will learn how fiddly and precise the controls can be when it comes to jumping; it's very easy to mistime the jump after unlocking the door, falling to ground level and having to repeat the whole process again.
It's inevitable that, sooner or later, Zorro will cross paths with one of the city guards. Pressing the fire button will cause Zorro to press the attack, forcing the aggressor into retreat, but the only way to actually win the fight is to dispatch them whilst both swords are pointing downward. Pushing down on the joystick at just the right moment will result in Zorro striking the guard down, who subsequently disappears with a swishing sound, leaving behind nothing but a 'Z' floating in the air, a nod to Zorro's famous signature move. Fail to act quickly enough, however, and it will be Zorro who ends up wearing the guard's sword like a shish kebab, so be warned!
|The fair damsel|
Players will notice that there is a 'Bonus' counter located to the top right of the screen that starts counting down the moment the game begins. Solving a puzzle or collecting special bonus items will increase the counter back up to it's highest value, with the aim clearly being to finish the game in quick order so as to rack up a high score when the adventure ends. The reality, on the other hand, is that the counter decreases so rapidly that finishing the game with any actual bonus is impossible, which is a bit silly when you think about it; it might as well not be there at all!
Considering it's release in 1985 (making it an earlier C64 title), I think the graphics are actually pretty good, particularly the main Zorro sprite who is clad in suitably black attire, replete with cloak, hat and a tiny set of spurs if you look closely enough. The landscape, buildings and backgrounds are all daubed in high contrast yellows and mottled browns in effort to convey the sense of a hot and dusty environment.
|Unlocking the storeroom|
I think it's fair to say that audio probably isn't the game's greatest strong point here. There are but a couple of very short tunes that play throughout the whole game, both of which are about 10 seconds long and just loop continually. Whilst I guess they do try to demonstrate a touch of the Latino flair, it's not long before the constant, repetitive sound starts to get a little old.
According to Zzap64, the game was released at £9.95 on cassette, a price that seems a little ridiculous if true, especially given the size of the actual game. I personally owned the game as a budget release at the much more reasonable sum of £2.99 - at this price point, it would actually have seemed like pretty good value. I don't think it's the sort of game that's going to make any 'Top 10' lists, but there's a certain charm to the game that's hard to deny and it's certainly a title that's worth taking for a spin.