The Destiny of Zorro Review for Nintendo Wii

The Destiny of Zorro Review for Nintendo Wii

Over the years, there have been many movie and TV tributes to the legendary character Zorro, with the last couple of major titles starring Antonio Banderas as the masked swashbuckler. Zorro has seen several other incarnations, as well, including George Hamilton as The Gay Blade, and an adults-only telling entitled The Erotic Adventures of Zorro. Now, the Mexican do-gooder makes something of a video-game debut on Wii in The Destiny of Zorro. Is this an epic rebirth of the mythos, or does our hero succumb to disaster?

The Destiny of Zorro screenshot

One might ask, why now? And why Zorro? There’s no movie releasing that this game is in support of, and it’s not as if Zorro has been on the tip of every gamer’s tongue as of late. Truly, it seems an odd choice, but perhaps the developers felt that the relationship between the Wii Remote and a sword was enough to justify a game.

If, for some unknown reason, you’re unfamiliar with Zorro, he is a masked hero from Mexico who aids the weak and feels compelled to challenge the crass and ill-mannered. The character goes way back to the beginning of the last century, and though he was a hero folks could get behind in the 40s and 50s, he seems a bit impotent in today’s world of assault rifles and area magic. Nonetheless, 505 Games wants to bring players back to Mexico of the Wild West, even if the prose are incredibly prude and out of date.

The Destiny of Zorro tells its tale by way of still images and a vocal recollection by the masked hero himself. The game is broken up into missions, and the presentation, overall, is incredibly barebones. But let’s jump into the gameplay….

Both the Wii Remote and Nunchuk are used for this game. You’ll move Zorro with the analog stick. Basically, you’ll be running from Point A to Point B, fighting a bunch of really stupid enemies along the way. Combat consists of swiping the Wii Remote sideways for regular attacks and thrusting forward to lunge. For a guy who’s supposed to be a swashbuckler, Zorro attacks excruciatingly slow. It takes a bit of practice, but eventually you can get the timing down to perform a combo of three attacks, which will stun enemies for a short time. Since your lunge attack is an even slower, sort of charged attack, the lunge is best used when enemies are temporarily immobile.

The Destiny of Zorro screenshot

In addition to your regular attacks, you can overpower enemies when an energy gauge is filled up. As a matter of fact, you don’t actually do any damage to enemies with regular attacks. You have to first build up your energy gauge, and then hold the B button while swinging the remote to overpower enemies.

Another way to do actual damage to baddies is to use one of Zorro’s signature attacks. Once your energy gauge is full, you simply press the Z button and a design appears onscreen which you then have to draw using your sword. Drawing Zorro’s Z symbol usually works without fail, but some of the other moves are impossible to get down. Of course, considering his Z move instantly kills most enemies while simultaneously replenishing 100 percent of your health, there’s no real incentive to fiddle with his other specials.

The Destiny of Zorro screenshot

Though Zorro can’t jump, he does pack a whip, which will allow him to both knock back enemies and swing across obstacles. Use of the whip is pretty straightforward, though object detection is less than stellar. You’ll need to point the Wii Remote where you want Zorro to whip, with specific areas of the environment highlighted green when you’re on target. However, you’ll often be forced to edge Zorro about the screen in order to find the perfect sweet spot where he can lasso onto things. In missions where a timer is ticking down or enemies are waylaying you, it becomes incredibly frustrating to have to doddle around.

This isn’t just an issue with the whip mechanic, either, as you’ll constantly find yourself stuck in parts of the environment due to terrible collision detection. A funny side effect to this, though, is that enemies, too, will often get stuck, becoming cannon fodder for their own riflemen.

The Destiny of Zorro screenshot

There are some neat and fun ideas in Zorro, however. Whipping your way across levels is an inspired way to use the pointer functionality, if only it were more responsive and forgiving. The swiping mechanic for using Zorro’s sword is also somewhat fitting, but again, executing attacks is slow and there’s absolutely no feedback from the Wii Remote. Many of the level elements make great sense in how they flow, but the developer forces you to repeat sections over and over. When you’ve got collision detection that is literally all over the place, enemies that are mindless yet still manage to chip away at your health while you’re stuck in some pocket of a level, and Zorro fights with the agility of an old lady, all the interesting ideas become a moot point.

If the gameplay is a wreck, the presentation and visuals here are the comic relief. Environmental textures are blocky and low res, the character animations are archaic, with each enemy showing off but one or two movement techniques, and the camera… the camera is a total mess. The developers have opted for a “cinematic” camera, and it flips and flops wildly anytime you move slightly about a level. I could almost say The Destiny of Zorro looks like a first-generation PS2 game, but that would be a disservice to the PS2.

As bad as the game looks, it still manages to chug and lag along. We can’t make heads or tails out of it, but it even managed to lock up several times in spite of pushing graphics that are from two generations ago. To make matters worse, you’ll be forced to sit through load screens of up to 40 seconds just to play what is, unarguably, a terrible adventure.

The sound and music are a little bit better than the game’s visuals, but that’s only because they don’t try to do much. The music consists of short, repetitive loops that are completely transparent, and the voice blurbs Zorro mutters are unintentionally laughable. The voice actor, however, seems competent, even if his lines are out of touch with gamer sensibilities. Additionally, don’t bother turning on your sound system for this game, as the fidelity will sound equally poor regardless of what you listen to it through.

Once again, we have to ask, why? Why Zorro? Why now? And why has so little respect been shown to this mythology. Granted, it’s going to be difficult for anyone to make an interesting Zorro game in an age where fragging rules, but The Destiny of Zorro is a total mess of a game. There are glimpses of neat ideas, and occasionally you’ll sense the promise of fun. However, after just a few short hours, you, too, will likely wonder just what the makers of this game were thinking. Better to savor the memories of this legendary hero than to sully his great name. 505 Games has, with this one, opted for the latter. Don’t buy the game, don’t rent it, and think upon it no more!

Ugly. Uninspired. Blocky. Funny because they’re so bad. 2.0 Control
The game is mostly playable, but after just a short time, you’ll wonder why you’d want to. 2.0 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Probably the game’s best feature, which is truly sad. The music is repetitive and themes get lopped off at the end of each loop. 1.5

Play Value
505 Games wants $40 for The Destiny of Zorro? No… just no.

1.8 Overall Rating – Avoid
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • Strong lead character in an engaging storyline with fast-paced, heroic gameplay action.
  • Challenging environments in both daylight and nighttime scenes.
  • Swashbuckling action for the whole family to enjoy using the Wii Remote to recreate Zorro’s signature ‘Z’ slash moves.

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