Classic Computer Magazine Archive COMPUTE! ISSUE 74 / JULY 1986 / PAGE 60

The Goonies And Zorro

Karen McCullough

Requirements: The Goonies--an Apple Il-series computer with at least 48K RAM and a disk drive; Commodore 64 or 128 (in 64 mode) with a 1541 disk drive; or an Atari 400/800/XL/XE with at least 48K RAM and a disk drive. Zorro--same requirements, except Apple II-series computers must have at least 64K RAM. Color monitor optional but recommended. Joystick required. The Apple versions were reviewed.

Are you tired of shooting aliens and centipedes in arcade-style computer games? Bored with piloting helicopters and drilling holes in brick walls? Does it seem like you've done it all--dodged the best of them, shot the worst--so that it's all a bit of a drag now? Don't give up yet. Datasoft/IntelliCreations has some new challenges for you: games with a smooth blend of arcade action and adventure-like puzzle-solving.

Help the Goonies (that famous band of adventurers from the movie of the same name) negotiate an underground labyrinth to find pirate treasure and save their parents' home from foreclosure. Or perhaps you'd rather be Zorro, using cunning and a sharp sword to rescue a lovely princess from Sergeant Garcia.

Whichever fantasy you choose, you'll need the standard arcade equipment: a keen eye and quick reflexes. But in these games, there's more to negotiating an underground maze than jumping over cannonballs and dodging bats. What do you do about steampipes that block your path? And how can you scale new heights without a ladder? If you consider it unreasonable to have to think about a problem rather than shoot your way out, you'd better consider another game.

Still interested? Good. These two games have a lot to recommend them: excellent graphics and animation; smooth, fast screen changes; and accurate control. At the start of each session with the Apple version, the program asks you to calibrate your joystick by moving the stick to the right-, left-, top-, and bottommost positions. Thereafter, the game adjusts itself to your stick settings, resulting in control as tight and as precise as found in most coin-operated videogames. (Joystick calibration isn't necessary with the Commodore and Atari versions.)

Inventive Puzzles

One of the best features of these games is their interesting and inventive puzzles. There's a lot happening on each screen, and it may take some time to figure out what it all means. In The Goonies, the solution to a problem often requires getting the two characters on the screen to cooperate. In Zorro, you may need a special object, lots of curiosity, or just a bit of luck to solve a puzzle.

The two games are similar in concept but not identical in execution. The Goonies has a stronger arcade action feel, as befits its descent from that exciting (if not very memorable) movie. Zorro plays more like a graphic adventure. There are objects to collect (some may have magical properties), a town to map, secret passages to find, and visual puzzles to solve. The Goonies has a hint sheet to help you figure out solutions; in Zorro, you're on your own.

Good as they are, though, neither game is perfect. Zorro could benefit from a hint sheet of its own--even with a good-quality color monitor it's difficult to tell what some of the objects are. One screen has something that looks like (but surely isn't?) a Coca-Cola bottle. A lantern, perhaps? A club? We aren't sure.

The Goonies needs a way to allow a player to practice on upper-level screens without going through all the lower ones. It takes some 20 minutes of playing time to get to the last levels; you arrive with only one or two lives left and promptly get zapped. That's acceptable at an arcade where the real objed is to entice you to spend another quarter, but in a home computer game, it can be frustrating. It would be nice to have an option similar to the one in Lode Runner which allows you to play on any level you wish, but prevents you from setting an official high score without progressing through the levels in proper order. Of course, high scores aren't much of a consideration in The Goonies or Zorro, since neither game saves these scores--another minor flaw.

One final quibble concerns the lack of an option for keyboard control, particularly in the Apple version. Many a white-collar computer runs games during lunch hour, but wouldn't dare be caught with anything so unprofessional as a joystick hanging out of its side. Most Apple games have a keyboard option for this reason.

Overall, however, The Goonies and Zorro are attractive games--fun, interesting, and entertaining. Due to the level of difficulty, they're not appropriate for children under ten, but older kids and adults will have a good time with them.

The Goonies
Datasoft/IntelliCreations, Inc.
19808 Nordhoff Place
Chatsworth, CA 91311
Commodore and Atari versions $29.95
Apple versions $39.95