Zorrrrooooo! Be prepared to hear this furious exclamation many times throughout your adventure if you choose to take on the mantle of that dapper, Robin Hood-ish rogue, Zorro, in his (or her) latest adventure, Zorro The Chronicles!
Based on the kid’s show that aired in 2015, Zorro The Chronicles drops you into the early years of Diego – aka Zorro – and his twin sister Ines, as they fight against ruthless corruption in Mexico. If you have any experience or prior knowledge of Zorro, then you know the basics of his story – a boon as the game itself is very light on narrative of any sort. The game is, you see, squarely aimed at young kids and fans of the show. So, if you’ve come into the game having watched it, then you’ll know who the characters are, both good and evil, and why you should care.
However, if you haven’t watched the show, can you still jump into this? Completely – though there’ll be less context to some of the encounters. The game – and Zorro’s history – gives you just enough explanations at the start of each mission to know why you’re there and what you’re expected to do. Irrespective of the reasons you’re there to steal back a lockbox, free innocent prisoners, or just humiliate the bad guys, the game is an exercise in simplicity. A design that’s to its credit, rather than a detriment.
Levels start off small, with few objectives, but grow in size and add multiple tasks in later missions. The objectives themselves are rather simple but it’s how the game lets you tackle them that matters. Zorro The Chronicles allows you to play as an in-your-face brawler or as a stealthy rogue. At the start of each level, you can choose between a stealth insertion or a combat one, which changes where you begin each level. Regardless of the option you choose, you’re not actually locked into that specific playstyle if you change your mind or want to mix it up.
Zorro and Ines are proficient in both combat and stealth, and both of these systems are simple and work perfectly fine. Combat takes a page from the Batman: Arkham games, surrounding you with multiple enemies at a time. Zorro/Ines have a series of combo-based attacks at their disposal, though button mashing will get you far just as easily. They can counter enemies’ attacks when the button prompt shows up above their heads, and they can dodge roll and flip over enemies’ heads. All these skills have their uses depending on the various enemy types you’ll face.
Stealth works just as well. Enemies have a vision radius though you get a lot of leeway before they’re fully alert to you. You can crouch down, hide behind objects and, most importantly, use the whip as a grappling hook to reach specific objects and ledges – letting you brood and stalk from above with the best of them. You’ve got a “death from above” attack at your disposal and a one-shot stealth attack if you can successfully sneak up behind someone.
The difference between using Diego or Ines, beyond character models, is down to how much health they have and how many special, instant KO’s they can use. Ines has more health, while Diego has more specials. As is par for the course these days, defeating enemies and breaking objects grants you XP that you can use to purchase new abilities and more health.
One lovely thing about the combat is that the levels are filled with potential environment KO’s. You can push enemies into barrels, get them kicked by horses, and knock them into fountains or firepits. It’s an instant KO for anyone and it’s these moments where Zorro The Chronicles shows its personality. The environment KO’s and your specials are all, honestly, cartoony and goofy in the best way possible. Zorro carves his mark on enemies, drops their pants, or gets Tornado to kick them, leaving bunches of enemies sitting on the ground with their pants around their ankles while you swagger onto the next encounter. Importantly, no one dies here.
The game does challenge you with specific objectives in encounters, such as taking out guards without getting noticed and spending your time putting up humorous posters in each level. You’ll have to clear all the bonus objectives and bland poster activity if you want to 100% a level, which earns you an XP boost.
Visually, the game reproduces the style of the show well enough. It’s all fully stylised, with levels that grow larger and more complex. It’s a nice, albeit spartan take on Mexico that won’t have your jaw-dropping but it still looks good enough to make the game aesthetically pleasing. Audio-wise, there’s very little voice work on display, with our protagonists and antagonists mostly grunting or saying a word or two. Cinematics are also devoid of dialogue. As an official tie-in title, it betrays its budget status but, yet again, doesn’t hurt the gameplay experience either.
The game isn’t without issues though. The camera can be a pain as it doesn’t always frame the action correctly despite zooming out quite a bit for encounters. The biggest issue with controlling Zorro or Ines is their speed. They move very slowly by default and you have to hold down a button to run. Worse still is that triggering a run will pull you out of stealth mode when you want to move quickly. Honestly, the run should have been their default speed to make the stealth approach less tedious. Another issue is that the protagonists could get stuck on objects or in animation cycles, unable to move from where they were standing regardless of what I tried. I’d have to quit the mission to fix this – but it only happened three times through my playthrough.
Overall, Zorro The Chronicles feels like a tie-in game that could have been developed sometime in the late-PS1 or PS2 generation, back when tie-in games still had a decent level of quality behind them. With eighteen missions to tackle, Zorro The Chronicles provides plenty of content and is perfect for the younger gamers to delve into, even if some repetition does begin to set in before the end. All in all, it’s a fun but unremarkable way to pass the time.
A review code for Zorro The Chronicles was provided to Gameblur by the Publisher.
Zorro The ChroniclesZorro The Chronicles
- Stealth and combat is simplistically effective
- Visually appealing
- Humorous KO’s
- Gets repetitive towards the end
- Zorro can get stuck in place