Zorro is considered by many to be the first modern superhero. He was invented as a character in a 1918 pulp fiction story, “The Curse of Capistrano”, by Johnston McCulley. Historians disagree about the inspiration for the Zorro character. The two names most often cited are the possibly fictional Joaquin Murrieta and the historical Juan Cortino. But everyone agrees that Zorro has inspired generations of superheroes including Batman.
The Zorro story has evolved in many ways since McCulley’s story was first published in 1919. It was quickly adapted into a film by Douglas Fairbanks, Sr. in 1920 and to date nearly 50 movies have been made about the character or characters directly based on Zorro. He has acquired a family including uncles, brothers, wives, sons, daughters, and even multigenerational descendants who have all played roles in the many adventures involving the name “Zorro”.
Until 2015 the intellection property rights around Zorro have been fairly well documented. McCulley sold all the rights to Zorro to the Gertz family in the late 1940s. They, in turn, sold the rights to Walt Disney in the 1950s. After the Disney Company was no longer able to profit from Zorro the company sold some of the rights back to the Gertz family in the 1960s and eventually sold the trademarks and other remaining rights back to them in the 1980s. Ironically, that sale was part of a new project, Zorro and Son, which was to involve Guy Williams, who had played Zorro for Disney in the 1950s. But Williams left the project after a dispute concerning the first script.
Since the 1980s Zorro Productions Inc. had sold merchandising licenses for thousands of different Zorro products; and Sony acquired the film and television rights to the Zorro name, leading the company to pursue cease and desist actions against various productions they felt weakened their franchise. The most notable cease and desist was enacted against Fireworks Entertainment, which produced a syndicated television show called “The Queen of Swords” in the 1990s. The show was often compared to Zorro.
In 2005 Australian gaming company Aristocrat Limited released a video slot game named Zorro. The game bears little resemblance to “The Legend of Zorro”, the 2005 film starring Antonio Banderas in the title role, or its predecessor film 1998’s “The Mask of Zorro”. Instead, the slot game combines elements of the Disney television show and a 2005 Chilean novel; the game features Zorro, his horse Tornado, Dona Juliana (an early love interest from the novel), and Zorro’s nemesis Captain Monastario (from the television show). The game quickly became popular in the United States and by 2008 several million dollars had been awarded to US gamblers through progressive jackpots.
In 2013 Aristocrat entered an agreement with NYX Gaming to bring a number of their titles to the online gaming world, including Zorro.
Zorro is an unusual slot game in that you can play two wagers at the same time. You first set how much you want to bet per spin. But then you can activate the Zorro Bonus feature, which adds 10 more credits to your total bet (the value changes depending on how much you bet per line in the basic game). When the Zorro Bonus feature is active black letters are overlaid on some of the tiles. If Zorro’s name is spelled out as the result of any spin you win the bonus feature. The basic game pays prizes as normal so this is like playing two slot games at once.
The Zorro video slot game is played with 5 reels and 3 rows of symbols. There are 25 pay lines, which must all be active for you to take advantage of the Zorro Bonus. All prizes are paid from left to right except for the Scatter prize.
Zorro himself is the Wild symbol, substituting for all other symbols in the basic game except for the Scatter. Zorro pays 5000 times bet per line for five of a kind, 500 times bet per line for four of a kind, 100 times bet per line for three of a kind, and 5 times bet per line for 2 of a kind. Zorro does not substitute for any of the “ZORRO” bonus letters (see below for details).
Tornado, Zorro’s black horse, is the Scatter symbol. The Scatter prizes are 50 times total bet (bet per line times active pay lines) for five of a kind, 20 times total bet for four of a kind, and 5 times total bet for three of a kind.
Juliana is the next highest value symbol in the game. She pays 2000 times bet per line, 250 times bet per line, and 50 times bet per line respectively for five of a kind, four of a kind, and three of a kind.
Captain Monastario pays 1000 times bet per line, 100 times bet per line, and 50 times bet per line for five, four, and three of a kind respectively.
The Barrel and the Bag of Gold are the mid-value symbols. The Barrel pays 500 times bet per line, 100 times bet per line, and 40 times bet per line for five, four, and three of a kind. The Bag of Gold pays 400 times bet per line, 100 times bet per line, and 40 times bet per line for five, four, and three of a kind.
The remaining symbols in the game are the standard “A”, “K”, “Q”, “J”, and “10” symbols you find in many slot games. The Ace pays the highest maximum prize of 300 times bet per line for five of a kind. The “J” and “10” symbols pay a maximum of 150 times bet per line for five of a kind.
When the Zorro Bonus is active the “A”, “K”, “Q”, “J”, and “10” symbols will be overlaid with a “Z”, “O”, or “R” depending on which reels they appear. The “Z” symbol only appears on reel 1. The “O” symbol appears only on reels 2 and 5. The “R” symbol only appears on reels 3 and 4.
However, the overlays only contribute to winning the ZORRO bonus.
All of the game controls either line the playing reels area or they are positioned beneath the reels. The game uses space above the playing reels to display random prompts and tips for activating the Zorro Bonus feature.
Thirteen colored, numbered buttons line the left side of the playing reels window. Twelve similarly colored, numbered buttons line the right side of the playing reels window. These buttons set the number of active pay lines. Clicking on any button activates all the pay lines up to and including that button’s number while deactivating all higher numbered pay lines.
When the Zorro Bonus feature is activated one of five games is randomly selected for you.
This bonus merely awards a random prize to you. Zorro rides across the bottom of the playing reels area. Tornado rears on his back legs. And then you are awarded a cash prize.
This bonus presents you with a screen filled with coins. You are prompted to click on coins until you have revealed two matching prizes. The prize is multiplied by the bet per line for the game that triggered the bonus. But you could also reveal a multiplier, which is also applied to your bonus prize amount once that is determined.
This bonus awards you three free spins. During each spin Zorro rides Tornado across the screen and he slashes one of the tiles with a “Z”. This “Z” locks the tile in place for the remainder of the bonus round and turns that tile into a Wild symbol which substitutes for all other symbols in the game except for Tornado (the Scatter).
This bonus displays four barrels. You choose one barrel to decide how many free spins you win. Each barrel also applies a multiplier to any prizes in which Zorro is part of the winning combination. You may win 5 games with high multipliers for Zorror or 20 games with a times 2 multiplier for Zorro. The game estimates that the theoretical Return to Player is approximately the same for all four Barrel Bonus options.
This bonus presents you with three doors. You choose one door to reveal one of the three main characters (Zorro, Juliana, and Monastario). This character becomes special during the 5 free games this bonus round awards you. If the special character appears during any of the 5 spins you click on that symbol to win a prize in addition to any prizes awarded for winning combinations on the free spin.
Although the graphics and sound effects are a bit dated Zorro is actually a fun game to play. The five Zorro Bonus games enhance this slot’s play-ability by a huge factor. Some players complain that you have to place an extra bet to be eligible for the Zorro Bonus but even if you don’t pay the extra money the Gamble feature gives you a chance to increase your prizes. The uncertainty and the risk of the Gamble outcomes make the game more interesting and exciting.
Although Zorro’s is the only animated tile, no one will complain if five Juliana tiles roll up on a pay line. The bandito himself shushes you and flourishes his cape.
On Big Wins coins spray out from the screen. The game thus combines standard slot features with the clever bonus animations. It’s the animations that make the game really interesting. Seeing Zorro ride across the screen is both fun and rewarding. There are more complicated slot games to play but Zorro holds its own against most of them. This is a well-designed slot.