The Gold Of The Aztecs

Publisher: U. S. Gold
Machine: Amiga 500

Published in Zzap #66

The Gold Of The Aztecs

Bret Conrad is another one of those Vietnam vets with a slight psychological problem. Apparently when bullets fly 'I kind of lose control' - a bit of a drawback in a Special Forces commando. His latest adventure begins in the USA: bored and penniless Conrad is staying with his great uncle Milo. Unfortunately, the tension of living with a maniac who goes into a fit at the slightest noise gets to old Milo and he croaks. Bret is a little upset at this, but with the apartment free it's a great opportunity to throw a party. A few days later Bret turns the apartment upside down in search of cash. Instead he finds some secret notes behind a framed Playmate picture!

Apparently Milo was really interested in the Aztecs and had uncovered the story of Don Juan, not the famous seducer of legend but rather a Spanish nobleman who invaded Mexico in 1615. He was as much a psychopath as Conrad, and slaughtered hundreds of natives on his way to a tomb dedicated to the god Quetzacoatl. The tomb was brimming with treasure, but Don Juan's forces were decimated by a native attack and only he survived to tell the tale. Now Conrad's got a map and he's not hanging about, a vet friend promptly flies him into South America.

Conrad's quest is a flickscreen arcade adventure. He can walk, jump, make long somersaulting jumps, duck, climb ladders and ropes. He's also armed with a Browning pistol, drawn with a short tap on the Fire button; you can then swing the gun in an arc. Other actions are accessed via the Space bar: the icons at the bottom of the screen show the Gun option, Reload (usually automatic, but you might want to top up before nasty screens), Machete (hack at enemies at close range) and Pull Lever. There are also four special options which become available at certain places in the game.

The Gold Of The Aztecs

Also at the screen base is the status bar, which shows treasure collected, bullets remaining in the gun, lives and percentage completed.


This is the world's first 'Computer Aided Game' - 'Without the aid of computers, this product would not exist'. Fairly unique for a computer game that, isn't it?!

More impressive is the claim that the game includes four Megabytes crammed onto two disks, 7,000 frames of animation and 140 different hero actions with 1,500 frames of hero animation. So it's rather amazing he moves so slowly and jerkily!

The Gold Of The Aztecs

The graphics are generally very good, but you'd expect that of a flick-screen game and everything acts as if it's in treaclue with even the bullets taking their time to move. Of course, Psygnosis's Barbarian suffered from the same problem and was still extremely playable.

Each screen was a puzzle requiring deft use of the icon system to beat. Gold provides the same feel of slow, but extremely tough and unforgiving gameplay which demands both careful thought and very fast reactions. Later levels provide plenty of graphic variety and fresh puzzles so it rewards persistence.

Without a save game it would be much too frustrating, as it is this is well worth considering for Barbarian fans.


The Gold Of The Aztecs

Very reminiscent of Barbarian this one, not just because of the wealth of graphic detail but also the rather jerky animation and sluggish movement of the hero.

Things happen a lot faster than it takes to move out of the way or to get your gun out and blast the approaching danger. I'm sure with time you can get somewhere in it but to be honest I was driven up the wall with frustration. It requires far too much precision to make for satisfying gameplay. Yeah, it's worth a look for the excellent and highly varied graphics, good tunes and all-round gloss but you'll need quite a bit of patience to stick with it.


Presentation 86%
Music/sound FX on/off, tiny preview of next game, disk save option, in-game map, gruesome death sequence and parachuting intro.

The Gold Of The Aztecs

Graphics 84%
Varied, detailed and imaginative but also sluggish and flick-screen.

Sound 83%
Good sound FX and a nice, moody soundtrack.

Hookability 69%
It starts off very tough indeed with sluggish control responses and very tough traps...

Lastability 81%
...but there's a big challenge made enjoyable by a save/load option. Lots of graphical variety rewards perseverance.

Overall 79%
An extremely demanding game where every screen is packed with traps.