Zorro (Spanish for ‘fox’) is an 8-bit platform game developed by Datasoft and published by US Gold in 1985. It was written by James Garon, with graphics by Kelly Day, and is based on a fictional character created by American writer Johnston McCulley.
Zorro is typically portrayed as a dashing masked vigilante who defends common people against tyrannical officials and other villains, and that is the case in this game. He wears a signature all-black costume, with a hat, a cape, and a mask covering the top half of his face. His first appearance was in the novel The Curse of Capistrano (first published in 1919), which was originally meant as a stand-alone story. After the success of the 1920 film adaptation, starring Douglas Fairbanks as Zorro, McCulley continued to write more Zorro stories, which he did for approximately the next four decades until his death in 1959.
Zorro the game is similar in some respects to The Goonies and Bruce Lee, both also developed by Datasoft, and is a relatively simple platform game where you must jump, climb ladders and vines, bounce off bellows, shimmy across ropes, and basically work out how to make your way through a variety of screens in order to rescue a senorita who is carried away by the evil Sergeant Garcia at the start of the game.
You sword fight with hostiles who get in your way, carry keys to unlock doors, solve a few simple physics puzzles, and find secret underground areas that lead to items that you need to complete the game.
Zorro is a short game, with only sixteen different screens in total to discover, although it is challenging to work out what you’ve got to do to progress. It’s also a very low point-scoring game (meaning: you get very few points for killing enemies), and the majority of the points available come from completing key tasks quickly so that you’re awarded the points counting down from the bonus timer.
The in-game music is a bit too short and over-simple for its own good and will probably get on your tits within ten minutes. Thankfully it can be switched off by pressing the ‘s’ key during play (in the Hokuto Force version anyway).
Overall, Zorro is not a bad game, but it’s not a classic either. It’s just an okay platform game with well-designed levels, good mechanics and middle-of-the-road graphics. If it were bigger, with a bit more do, and had better music and graphics, then it might be worthy of more praise.