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Zone 66 is a top down shooting video game released in 1993 for DOS as shareware. The game was created by a North American Demo Scene group called Renaissance, and was published by Epic MegaGames (now Epic). Because demoscene programmers frequently worked to maximize hardware performance, the group developed a 386 protected-mode (PMODE) extender to enable the game to play on a 386 processor clocked at 16 MHz with full screen updates.
Two different soundtracks were available for the game. The first, included with the game, was the Sound Blaster soundtrack, consisting of a mix of FM synth and tracked samples. This particular method of music creation and playback was unique to the Renaissance demogroup.
A second, separately downloadable soundtrack was available for owners of the Gravis Ultrasound sound card featuring high quality music. Some songs in this soundtrack, such as the title theme, are completely different, while others are different arrangements of the same compositions.
The reason for the separate "GUS" music download was due to the size of the Gravis music: as it was nearly as large as the original game, users who only had a Sound Blaster didn't have to waste time downloading music they would never hear. Disc versions of the game included both, as players did not need to download the game.
The game takes place in the 22nd century. An ex-GSA pilot has been tipped by a stranger that his hometown is in danger, but by the time he reaches the city limits, a nuclear bomb destroys the city along with his beloved wife and baby girl. The pilot uses a ship on a landing pad to meet with the stranger at a certain location. When the pilot reaches the location, he finds the stranger is dying but gets some vital information. The pilot then gets a fighter plane and heads to a group of islands to begin his vigilant revenge.
As the pilot progresses from nation to nation destroying each base, the plot thickens and he begins to understand who and what he's dealing with and why the terrorism started.
Before starting the selected mission, the player must choose a type of plane. Different planes have different engine, turning, speed, firepower, fuel, vitality and payload statistics. The player can also play as an enemy plane by pressing the right directional key. In the shareware version only two planes and three enemy planes are selectable. When the plane has been selected the player can decide how many missiles and bombs to take on the plane until the payload limit is reached. More powerful bombs take up more payload and have bigger destructive ranges. After the plane inventory has been arranged the mission can begin.
The player launches a plane from a supply bay. Bombs and maneuvers can cycled through. Air targets can be destroyed with projectile firepower. Missiles can be used to seek enemy planes at short range. Ground targets can only be destroyed with bombs. A target indicator is right in front of the plane used to indicate where a bomb that is launched will detonate once it lands in seconds. The target indicator has a further range from the plane when the plane goes at faster speeds. The first type of maneuver makes the plane temporarily invulnerable to enemy fire and use up some of the engine power. The second type of maneuver temporarily supercharges the speed of the plane for a quick getaway, but sacrifices larger amounts of fuel.
The plane takes damage from enemy fire or crashing into enemy planes. The plane is destroyed when the vitality metre or the fuel metre is depleted. The player has infinite chances unless all the supply bays are destroyed. When one supply bay is destroyed the plane will come out of the next nearest supply bay. A supply bay can be landed on when the plane hovers across it at slow speeds to refuel and resupply inventory, to change plane type and to change choice of inventory.
The player has a radar to seek and watch out for various targets. Enemy planes are indicated as yellow dots. Enemy planes will infinitely respawn until all the launch bays have been destroyed. Anti-air ground targets are indicated as red dots. Special ground targets are indicated as light green dots. Main ground targets are indicated as white dots. Hidden ground targets don't have a radar indication but are shown as grey dots on the mission map. All main ground targets must be destroyed to complete a mission.