Zero Tolerance (video game)
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Brazilian cover art
|Distribution||Sega Mega Drive/Genesis cartridge|
Zero Tolerance is a 1994 video game developed by Technopop and published by Accolade exclusively for the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis video game console. It was one of the few Mega Drive/Genesis first person shooters, besides Bloodshot and the Duke Nukem 3D port. Due to the limitations of the hardware, the player's view of the 3D environment was restricted to a fraction of the screen, with the player's HUD, a map of the surrounding area, and the player character's ID card comprising the rest of the screen space. Still, it featured impressive visual effects for its time and especially for the Genesis, a system with hardware that lacked much of the necessary scaling and rotation technologies normally needed to create even the most rudimentary appearance of 3D environments (such as rival Super NES' built-in "Mode 7" technology and "Super FX Chip" add-on). In fact, the smoothness and speed at which Zero Tolerance ran was said to rival many of the lower-end versions of Doom available at the time.
In the future, mankind has made great advances in interstellar travel and subsequently colonised the Solar System. The extrasolar settlements, research outposts, mines, commercial colonies, and spacecraft and space stations throughout the Solar System are protected over by a mighty, interstellar military conglomerate named the Planet Defense Corps.
When Europa-1, the flagship of the Planet Defense Corps, is attacked by an unknown yet lethal aggressor of apparently extraterrestrial nature, the Planet Defense Corps call in Zero Tolerance, an elite strike squad of five speciality-trained commandos. A recording of the last transmission from Europe-1 reveals extensive fire damage to the warship, almost total casualties and otherworldly creatures hunting the few remaining survivors of the attack. Also, the nuclear cooling system of Europa-1 has been damaged by small arms fire, and core breach caused by overheating will destroy the starship in a matter of hours.
As a member of the Zero Tolerance squad, the player is ordered during the crisis briefing to infiltrate Europa-1 before it explodes. His mission is to completely eliminate the mysterious alien aggressor from within, and also the transformed humans of Europa-1 they have "infected", in the next few hours to erase all evidence of the attack and the alien intruders.
Zero Tolerance is made up of 40 levels spanning three separate areas: the space warship Europe-1, an abandoned merchant freighter, the heavily fortified central command building for the Planet Defense Corps, and the sub-basement areas of that building. The object of the game is to kill all of the enemies on a level and then proceed to the exit, which is either a staircase or elevator leading down to the next level.
However, nothing prevents the player from heading straight towards the exit without killing all of the enemies. If this is done, the player is simply not given any passwords until the entire area is finished.
Once a character is killed that character will be listed as "deceased", and becomes unavailable for playing. The player can choose from a total of five different characters; once they are all deceased the game is over.
Link cable support
The game supported connecting two Mega Drives via a special link cable using the second joypad ports for a multiplayer mode. The cable was originally supposed to be shipped along with the game. However this was changed in a last-minute decision and a coupon for ordering a free cable was added instead.
Zero Tolerance features five different characters from which the player can choose to play, each one being a member of a crack commando squadron of the Planetary Defense Corps, an elite group codenamed Zero Tolerance. Each individual character has a unique ability which has a slight effect on gameplay, as well as different items they start with at the beginning of the game. All characters are named after the game's developers.
Captain Scott Haile
Codenamed "Psycho", and an imposing physical specimen, African-American Haile was an institutionalised pyromaniac as a youth, and originally made out his military career with the Explosive Ordnance Disposal of the United States Army. As such, Haile has extensive specialty training in explosives, demolition, ballistics, bomb defusal, and countermeasures. Haile's hot-headed nature is often a cause for concern for his fellow soldiers, he has received a small number of disciplinary actions from his superiors, and he is also something of a mystery to even those who serve under him in the Zero Tolerance squad: Haile's personal profile is classified, and much of his background is considered top secret. Nonetheless, Haile's tenacity and efficiency is beyond question, and this coupled with the fact that he has a recorded 100% mission success rate has earned Haile the rank of Captain of the Zero Tolerance squad.
Captain Satoe Ishii
Codenamed "Soba", Ishii, a Japanese-American servicewoman, is a former captain in the radio operator division of the special forces. Although her specialty is in communications and communication technology, she is nonetheless a highly decorated servicewoman with extreme physical prowess, hearing and eyesight, traits which have enabled her to quickly rise through the ranks, and eventually she received the rigorous extreme combat training fitting of a member of the Zero Tolerance squad; in her case sniper shooting. Ishii is a highly accurate marksman who can consistently hit a target with a size of 2 centimetres (0.79 in) at 100 metres (330 ft); accuracy at such targets is 100%.
Major Justin Wolf
Codenamed "JJ Wolf", Maj Wolf is also an imposing physical specimen of Scandinavian origins, has a highly decorated former career with the Army Medical Corps before becoming the team doctor and surgeon for the Zero Tolerance squad. Since his speciality is as a medic, Wolf can make the best out of medicines, medical apparatus, first aid kits and pharmaceuticals and can patch himself up better than most. Being a member of Zero Tolerance, Wolf does also have a combat speciality in extensive small firearms training, and he is an expert pistol shooter.
Major Tony Ramos
Codenamed "Weasel", Maj. Ramos, before becoming a Zero Tolerance commando, originally came from another squadron in special forces who specialised in counter-terrorism, reconnaissance, and sabotage. As such, Ramos is a specialist in infiltration, information gathering, stealth and evasion. Despite his specialist training in these non-combat specific areas, and also despite Ramos' slight physical build and his glasses, Ramos is not to be underestimated on appearance; Ramos is actually the best trained commando of the Zero Tolerance squad in hand to hand combat. Ramos has lightning-quick speed and studied extensively in over fourteen different martial arts. This means he is best character in situations where no firearms are available, and is capable of quickly dispatching an opponent with his bare fists.
Major Thomas Gjoerup
Codenamed "Basse", Maj. Gjoerup is the electronics expert for the Zero Tolerance squad. Basse is also a specialist in security and surveillance systems, reading of schematics and blueprints, radar, and electronic mapping, scanning, and guidance systems. An army psychiatrist has deemed Basse the most psychologically unstable of all the members of the Zero Tolerance squad. Basse has received multiple disciplinary actions for insubordination, refusal to follow orders and conduct unbecoming an officer.
Zero Tolerance was widely considered an enjoyable game with great visuals and a unique addition to the Genesis' library. Even though it was overshadowed by the other big first-person shooters of its day, most notably Doom, it is a cult favorite and there is still currently a large presence of Zero Tolerance fans amongst the retro gaming community. The game, as well as its unfinished sequel, have been deemed by developer Technopop to be publicly distributable as freeware.
2005 trademark issues with Eidos
In October 2005, Eidos Interactive announced a game titled Zero Tolerance: City Under Fire for PS2 and Xbox. Technopop's former president and owner of its assets, Randel B. Reiss, made a statement in which he held the copyright for the title Zero Tolerance, and also announced that he was working on an updated version of the classic Zero Tolerance under the same title which was being developed for the PSP; the statement alleged trademark infringement on Reiss' trademark and sent a "cease and desist" notice to Eidos Interactive in using the title Zero Tolerance. Eidos later renamed their game Urban Chaos: Riot Response. There have been no further updates on the PSP version of the game Reiss had said to have been in development.
- Ellie Gibson (16 November 2005). "Eidos comes under fire from developer over trademark issue". gamesindustry.biz.
- Tim Surette (7 February 2006). "Zero Tolerance overtaken by Urban Chaos". GameSpot UK.