Montezuma's Revenge (Databyte) Review | Zzap - Everygamegoing


Montezuma's Revenge
By Databyte
Commodore 64

Published in Zzap #20

Montezuma's Revenge

All you ever wanted was to prove that anything Harrison Ford could do, you could do better. And now look where you've ended up. This place is dangerous - but the rewards are great... if you survive. Playing the part of porky Panama Joe (a kind of poor man's version of Indiana Jones), you have to wander around a series of underground caverns collecting valuable jewels while avoiding the members of the monster menagerie that live there.

The caverns are designed so that each 'level' is several screens across. Each screen may or may not offer a way down to a lower level. All of the screens contain some kind of obstacle or a thoroughly unwholesome nasty.

Nasties come in several forms: skulls, spiders and snakes. Only the snakes stay put. Skulls roll around in obscene ecstasy, relishing the prospect of knobbling the odd prospector. Some of them bounce too, in a way only skulls can. Spiders are altogether more gruesome as they can climb or descend ladders within a screen. They're fast too.

Then, of course, there are obstacles to be overcome. Doors are colour-coded and need the correct key to open them. Fires burn away, patiently waiting to turn your little character into a rapidly dissipating puff of smoke. Shimmering floorboards are extra deadly; they have a habit of disappearing at the most inopportune moments.

Strange energy barriers that switch themselves off and on can only be negated with care. Then the screen may simply be arranged so that it may only be traversed from a particular direction or involve jumping.

Despite his ever evident bulk, Panama Joe can jump. But if he falls too far, he lands on his head and loses a life.

Joe has five lives to begin with and these can be protected. He is limited to carrying five objects at any one time and these can include swords and scrolls. Scrolls are rare but, when carried, they make nearby nasties quite harmless. This effect is only temporary.

Swords permanently despatch an offensive nasty, but at the cost of one sword per nasty, this is an expensive process. They are best saved for when absolutely necessary.

Eventually, after sliding down poles, climbing and descending ladders and coping with rope climbing, Joe will find that to go any lower, a torch is needed as the levels are suddenly plunged into darkness. Once the torch has been acquired, the journey may continue. The lower levels are more difficult to get through but your efforts are well rewarded at the end. A giant pit, filled with jewels looks most inviting. Sure enough, if you dive in, there are jewels for the taking and no hazards to slow you down. It's best to get as many jewels as possible, as fast as you can. After a short time, Joe lands on a pole and slides back to the beginning. Only this time it's harder...

There are three difficulty levels as well. Although the three cavern patterns are almost identical, the optimum route to the final screen is changed. Even if, during the course of a level, all Joe's lives are lost, play may continue with a new set of lives at the cost of the score so far. This may only be done once, however - so keep your eyes peeled!


Montezuma's Revenge is great fun to play and, as that is the most important aspect of a game, I wish it well. However, it is overly expensive. The game doesn't realty warrant a ten pound price tag. At around a fiver, it would represent great value for money. The graphics aren't astounding but they're colourful and fun.

Watching Joe get reduced to a puff of smoke is almost worth losing a life for. The sound isn't brilliant either but again, it's fun. The on-screen presentation is good and the screen layouts are demanding and imaginative. If it wasn't for the price tag, I'd recommend it without hesitation. As it stands, I recommend caution.


Beneath the rather crude exterior of Montezuma's Revenge, there lies a highly playable platform game. It doesn't look or sound like anything special, and certainly isn't original, but it's addictive, challenging and above all, fun.

I thoroughly recommend it to anyone who likes a decent platform game.


Presentation 69%
A few options but no title screen as such.

Graphics 60%
Poorly drawn and animated, but colourful and quite effective.

Sound 54%
A couple of jolly ditties and suitable spot FX.

Hookability 90%
Immediately addictive.

Lastability 82%
Three challenging levels with many different routes to explore.

Value For Money 77%
Fun, but still overpriced for what's on offer.

Overall 83%
A highly playable platform game, marred by its price tag.