A directly TRON-inspired (though unlicensed) variety of the snake game, Zona 0 puts the player in control of a "light cycle" that zooms across an enclosed grid with other bikes, each leaving impassable lines in their wake. As the play field gets cluttered up with these trails, it gets more and more difficult to avoid accidentally driving in to one, veering sharply with 90-degree turns. The player's goal is to outlast the computer-operated light bikes, proceeding to the next level.
~ from MobyGames
Considering the game tie-ins made more money than the movie, it comes as no surprise that there were many rip-offs of Tron. Released in 1990 for DOS, the Amstrad CPC and ZX Spectrum Zona 0 is an obvious take on the cult classic, doing just enough to be legally distinct.
It completely copies the infamous lightcycle scene, right down to the wall of light they leave in their wake. There's a whole official arcade game based on the concept, but Zona 0 plays a little differently. Competitors aren't controlled by a random AI, but their movements and reactions are pre-scripted to the point where it plays more like a puzzle game than an arcade racer. Think Snake or Qix and you have the right idea.
Levels are completed through trial and erroring different tactics, but new hurdles and enemies will force you try various other options. Splitting off half of the playfield to trap the others will only work if they don't have the special ability to jump. Racing parallel with an opponent will not succeed if they are faster than you. Each enemy has unique abilities that change up the formula nicely, preventing tedium from setting in, but it doesn't lessen the frustration of the inevitable - death. You have five lives to get through 14 stages in one sitting, so the trial and error aspect becomes a chore when you have to repeat the earlier stages multiple times.
Out of the three ports, the one on DOS looks the nicest, though the plinking of the PC speaker leaves a lot to be desired in the audio department. The Amstrad CPC and ZX Spectrum sound a lot better, but the lack of resolution in both and colour in the latter hold them back, not to mention the fact that these port never left Spain. You don't need to know the language, though, with the menus being exactly the same for all three and they're not exactly complicated.
All in all, Zona 0 is a decent way to spend a few minutes. It won't be as memorable as the movie that inspired it, but if you have good reflexes and are into some puzzle action, you might want to jack in.
To download the game, follow the link below. This custom installer exclusive to The Collection Chamber uses DOSBox 0.74 and Retroarch with the Caps32 and Fuse cores to emulate the DOS, Amstrad CPC and ZX Spectrum games respectively. Spanish manual and its English translation (thanks to yours truly) included. Tested on Windows 10.
File Size: 158 Mb. Install Size: 317 Mb. Need help? Consult the Collection Chamber FAQ
Zona 0 is © Topo Soft
Review, Cover Design and Installer created by me