Colorado is an icon-driven arcade adventure. You play the part of one David O'Brian, a trapper, womanizer and drunkard in the American South at the end of the last century. After an uncharacteristic act of bravery, you were rewarded with a treasure map which you believe will lead to the location of a lost gold mine.
The game is viewed side-on, for the most part, and the idea is to explore the land, solve mysteries and fight unfriendly Indians. You are armed with a gun, tomahawk and knife and fighting involves holding the fire button down and moving the joystick around - as you would expect. When in non-aggressive mode, you are in direct control of Dave and can decide where to go and what to do.
At the start of the game you are standing on a river bank having just climbed out of a canoe: a pathway heading off screen leads to adventure. Clues and objects found scattered along the way can be picked up and carried.
Once an area has been explored to your satisfaction and you wish to move on, simply jump into your canoe and enter an arcade game. As you paddle downstream you must avoid boulders, logs and unfriendly Indians before pulling at a new location. Wander around, solve the puzzles, and maybe in the end you will make it rich.
GRAPHICS AND SOUND
A very nice-looking game. The backgrounds are very well drawn, the sprites are nicely animated and the overall look of the game is good. The sound effects and music are not so memorable but they do their job perfectly adequately.
The problems and puzzles require quite a bit of thought and some of it lateral as they are not as logical as they might be. It will take a long time to solve, but fortunately the game will save your position every time you pitch camp.
This could have been a lot better. The control of your character is awkward and frustrating which spoils the enjoyment. The basic game structure is not much more advanced than old Spectrum games like Pyjamarama and the thousands of similar games around in the early Eighties. Definitely one for those with immense patience and determination.
Old age is bad enough with rickety joints, wrinkly skin, and not being able to hear the TV properly, but the Red Indians had a sure way of making it worse. According to Silmarils they used to take their old folk out into enemy territory, tie them to a stake, and leave them so they could die the 'death of a warrior'! Makes your average, gestapo-run OAP home seem quite charming, doesn't it?
You discover this strange custom when trapping beavers in 1880 USA. Stumbling across a group of Indians you shoot them all, except for an old man who promises to give you a treasure map if you give him a proper ritual death. You oblige and start the game searching for a lost gold mine in a flick-screen arcade adventure of 100-plus screens.
Besides moving left/right and into the screen, you can also swap between having bare hands or holding weapons such as a musket, axe, and knife. You can also use, or if appropriate read, any special objects you might find via the function keys. In addition, if you find Mac Biggle the storekeeper you can barter anything you might find for the various items he has. You cannot save at will, but only at special locations.
Besides the core beat-'em-up, arcade-adventuring action there's an impressive canoeing section. To get to various locations you can jump in the canoe to zoom down the Mississippi river. But watch out for logs, rocks, and boulder-throwing and canoeing Injuns who'll try and stop you reaching dry land.
Colorado is a fairly standard arcade adventure, but its 'Last of the Mohicans' style setting and its careful treatment merits more than a passing glance. A hunter saves an old Indian from torture by a rival tribe. Though mortally wounded, the chief gives him a map of a gold mine for saving his soul.
The characters and the backgrounds are impressively drawn. The big pictures are individualized in the same way they were in one of their previous games Manhattan Dealers. The lush American scenery is also well drawn which encourages you to explore.
A strip of information at the bottom of the screen allows you to see what you are carrying and what items you have selected. Your hunter is joystick controlled, although I found the numeric keypad more precise for accessing the direction commands the game requires. Your character can walk in and out of the screen as well as left and right: he can use weapons whilst crouching and standing and he will leap and climb too. You also have to reload the rifle after each shot which is a bit of a pain but fairly authentic I suppose.
There is more than enough variety in this game, although the action is slowed by employing a flip screen system. These days that is unforgivable.
The action is hardly frenzied, but the arcade elements are enjoyable enough and the canoe section is quite entertaining. Colorado's real appeal lies not in its components which deviate little from any other arcade adventure (with a bit of trading thrown in) but in its different subject matter and a nice attention to detail. There could have been more effort put into the sound, but it is certainly a step further on from their previous efforts (Targhan being the last) and, I am informed, merely a taster for greater things in the shape of a forthcoming release entitled Starblade. Until then there is gold in them there hills if you want it.
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