Red Zone

From short lived developer Zyrinx, an internal development team of Scavenger, Inc., came an action based war game of both the air and ground.

Released Europe and US in 1995 it was a late entry into the fledging 16-Bit market and never reached a large audience which is unfortunate since Zyrinx really managed to push the hardware with their graphics engine, so much so that prior to the FMV opening the game opens with a screen detailing all the features they have achieved...and this is no idle boast.

Zyrinx Impress
Zyrinx Rez Zone's Effects

This was their second game on the Mega Drive having also created superb shoot'em up Sub Terrainia acclaimed for its high quality visuals. They then produced some impressive 32X work in the form of a demo though never released any games. Discussions to this day continue in forums about how impressive their work was.

Unfortunately they dissolved shortly after but reformed under the name of Reto-Moto and went on to create IO Interactive who's most popular franchise to date is the Hitman series of games.

Accompanying the impressive graphics engine is an attempt at a funky soundtrack though this is probably dependant on personal taste made of mostly of synthesized tunes.

Red Zone MP3Red Zone - Main Theme: Spinner

Alien Soldier European Case
Red Zone European Case

"Red Alert! In a former Communist state, the ruthless Ivan Retovitz has led his fanatical Zyristian Party to absolute power. Now in control of awesome nuclear weaponry, Retrovitz has issued a chilling threat - to turn the world into 'a radioactive desert of death.' Can he be stopped?"


A radical party has succeeded in a cruel military coup in a small former communist country. The leader, Ivan Retrovitz and his Zyristian Party, have taken over the old Russian nuclear weapons creating a dangerous threat to new world order. With newly acquired military firepower, Retrovitz's Zyristian Party issues an ultimatum to the rest of the world.

The world will recognise the newborn Zystrian state and its leader as the emperor of 'The Fourth Empire' or become a radioactive desert of death.

In a last desperate attempt to overthrow Retrovitz's Zyristian Party, a team of the world's elite troops assemble to devise a covert plan. The team consists of "Shades", "Rocco" and "Mirage". Each has been trained in martial arts, heavy weapons operations and vehicle reconnaissance. Intelligence has recommended that a small aircraft enter enemy air space. Once there, the team must destroy Retrovitz's command centres and all Zystrian nuclear capability. To accomplish this, the elite team secretly builds a special three-seater (Pilot, Gunner, Navigator) Apache fighter chopper. The Apache has a full set of functioning controls including a satellite radar system, an advanced weapons system (30mm chain gun, Hellfire tank killer missiles, 70mm rockets and Stinger missiles) and an automatic night tracking system. Spy satellites have detached nuclear stations hidden underground, so the team must navigate the Apache through enemy fire, knock out their radar, and then fight their way underground to destroy the core of Retrovitz's command centre.

Taken from European Manual


Red Zone consists of two 2 types of gameplay: actions you must complete using your Apache helicopter and those you must complete on the ground as a human commando.

The game is mission based played from a top-down perspective controlling either your Apache or a commando (human). All action takes place at different locations in the area of the Zyristian State.

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Though similar to Urban Strike because of the mix of helicopter and ground action, it is significantly different in style and presentation with a more difficult learning curve and ultimately more challenge not to mention the technical implementation. There is much more emphasis on strategy which can lead to making many attempts at a mission before being successful. This has lead to some unfavourable reviews.

What can be off putting initially is that your Apache does not provide much in the way of protection and the view can take a small amount of time to adjust to as the landscape rotates around you. After a short time both aspects become accustomed to.

The game is mission based and prior to each mission will be a briefing. These can consists of several screens and will also contain tips.

More initiative is needed before blindly proceeding to the next mission location. It usually pays to check the map for any nearby radar installations.

Missions in your Apache

Apart from serving as your mode of transport from one location to the next, other objectives typically include destroying ground targets such as radars and enemy aircraft.

The landscape will be full of units out to destroy you. They will just open fire on site and there is small chance of out manoeuvring. Threats range from personnel to sub-marines.

For most missions you are against a tight time limit so it simply is not worth engaging everything you see unless you have been specifically told to.

The red spot shows you which direction the primary mission target, objective or location is. Sometimes there may be more than one so pay close attention to the briefing as to the sequence of events.

Inevitably parts of your chopper will become damaged resulting in control becoming more difficult. Having the stringer (tail) damaged makes for some control issues. A collision with another aircraft will always be fatal.

You also need to re-fuel, repair and collect ammo. The locations of these items are found on a map accessible at all time through the Apaches console. Next to these items will be a landing site (brown circle). Simply come to a halt above these to land and collect. Beware that you can still be damaged when on the ground so best to clear anything near the landing site.

Also beware that these containers can be destroyed by your weapons fire.

The default controls are:

D-Pad is used to manoeuvre your Apache. UP and DOWN are used for throttle (forwards and backwards) and LEFT and RIGHT are used for steering.

Button A fires your chain gun. Hold for rapid fire.

Button B launches your selected missile.

Button C selects between different missiles. Choices are:

Rocket - used for ground based targets.

Hellfire - used for destroying air based targets.

Stinger - used for taking down air targets. You can carry a maximum of 4. You will only have less than 10 seconds to aim and launch in order to hit the target.

When your crosshair is red a positive lock is established.

Pressing START displays the console. The first screen will be the Apache Intelligence Grid Map. Pressing any button will display the Apache Intelligence Options. Pressing START again returns to the game.

Onscreen will be a column to the right visible at all times. It will show the following essential information:

Red Zone

Apache Action

Radar - Shows your direction and XY co-ordinates. Red spots are enemy vehicles. White spots are structures on the ground.

Damage Report - Any red locations on the graphic is damage to you Apache. Your currently selected weapon and compliment are also displayed. Any alerts such as damage and fuel low will be displayed here.

Red Bar - Shows your armour level. You will take damage by incoming enemy fire and hitting objects such as pylons. When you have no armour and hit the Apache explodes. Note, this is not a huge amount.

Green Bar - shows the current fuel level. This will need to be replenished frequently.

Console Functions

Apache Intelligence Grid Map (Screen 1) - will show the locations of Fuel, Ammo, Repair and Enemy Complexes. Your current co-ordinates are also displayed.

You need to land next to these items in order to collect them. Sometimes you maybe under fire whilst attempting to land.

Apache Intelligence Options (Screen 2) - will display a wealth of information; ammo inventory, a video screen, a reconnaissance map of the surrounding area, a damage report and radar that pin points your location, a computer monitor that displays important mission and spy information.

Mission - This option details the missions. Select with the D-Pad and press Button A to view text. Button C returns to the console.

Sat Map - Shows detailed views of the ground. Use the D-Pad to target and area on the map. Button A zooms in. Press again to zoom in further. Button B zooms out. Button C returns to the console.

Info - Displays information about objects on the map. Use the D-Pad to target an area (with a box). Button A displays information about the object. Any button to release the info. Press Button C returns to the console.

Map Sat Info Map Sat Info Map Sat Info

Ground Missions

Ground based missions take place inside enemy installations you infiltrate with your selected commando. Your view will switch to be directly above them. Choices are:

The Red Zone Commando's
Shades' Profile

Joe "Shades" Becker

Before the war, Lieutenant Joe "Shades" Becker was a Covert Operations Coordinator for the Government. His brilliant days in the field were a thing of the past, but he and his superiors made the effortless decision to put his intense expertise back in the field. His leadership and split-second decision-making would give the team the best chance for success. He's seen it all and done it all in every location on the planet, but this mission has hit home; it's the test of his life.

Rocco's Profile

Ralph "Rocco" Stratton

Senior Sergeant Ralph "Rocco" Stratton has been Shades' 'tower of strength' in almost every covert operation he's coordinated. Rocco's fearless demeanour and robot-like military execution made him an indispensable member of Shades' previous team. In turn, he was the first choice to join the Apache attack team. His incredible physique slows him down a bit, but his strength and firepower strike fear into the enemies he encounters.

Mirage's Profile

Jade "Mirage" Takao

As Shades was forming his attack team, he was careful to select the most physically and mentally tough military personnel. His decision to enlist the services of Mirage was uncontested and considered brilliant by his superiors. She's fast and fierce, and her stealth ability to take out enemy personnel was a necessity in the field.

A commando dies when his/her energy has gone. Damage is taken by being shot or near explosions, touching toxic liquids or touching electrical fields. Being near your own grenades when they explode will have a slight repelling effect. You can then continue using one of the remaining until there are none left and thus Game Over.

On ground missions you will typically encounter soldiers, some of which walkabout trying to shoot you and some protected behind sandbanks. Walking over any bodies will slow you down significantly.

You can push some objects about which can be stood upon. This is a useful technique for protection against incoming fire. Others may explode if they begin smoking after being shot several times. Beware, the resulting explosion will damage or kill anybody nearby including your commando. Other hazards include trip mines and collapsing floor panels.

Some installations will have multiple floors requiring you to find elevators or holes in the floor/ceiling.

You may need to interact with computer consoles supplying/obtaining passwords or activating systems and crates for supplies.

The default controls are:

The D-Pad moves your character about the screen in all directions.

Button A - Fires your main weapon such as machine gun or flamethrower. Note your character will stop moving when firing.

Button B - secondary weapon. Shades is armed with grenades, Rocco with rockets and Mirage with daggers.

Button C is Jump. You can jump onto objects for extra height.

Button A+B sets an explosive charge that has a delay of approx. 4 seconds

START Button pauses the game.

As before, on the right of the screen will be your essential information. For ground missions it will display the following:

Ground Action

Ground Action

Ammo Stock - Your current stock of weapons. The grenade/rockets/daggers count changes depending on character selected.

Time - How much time is remaining when an enemy complex is set to self destruct.

Map - your location within the complex. It starts off dark and then lights up as you gain more detailed information.

Health (Red Bar) - displays how much health your commando has. No health = death.

Green bar has no function in ground missions.

Supplies are stored in crates. They are pushed open by pressing the D-Pad TOWARDS + Button C to open.

+ First Aid - restores characters health by 50%.
(A)mmo - will give an extra 25 rounds for the machine gun.
(E)xplosives - gives 5 explosive charges.

Game Options

Game Over

The Rather Bleak Outlook with Game Over

There are no options to tweaks that can be made to the gameplay. There exist some other selections from the title screen. They are:

Password - Input a password to resume a game or other goodies.

Music - Listen to the various tunes in the game.

History - Read the background story to the game.

You will have Game Over if all your commando's die, your Apache explodes or you fail to meet a mission requirement.


The game consists of 10 Missions in total with 8 being accessible via password system. Each will consist of at least 2 phases and will get progressively longer and more difficult.

Upon Game Over you are given a breakdown of your activities via a statistics screen.

Red Zone Game Over Stats


Red Zone Screenshots

Mission 1

Mission 1 Mission 1

Mission 2

Mission 2 Mission 2
Mission 2

Mission 3

Mission 3 Mission 3
Mission 3

Mission 4

Mission 4 Mission 4
Mission 4

Mission 5

Mission 5 Mission 5
Mission 5

Mission 6

Mission 6 Mission 6
Mission 6 Mission 6

Mission 7

Mission 7 Mission 7
Mission 7

Mission 8

Mission 8 Mission 8
Mission 8

Mission 9

Mission 9 Mission 9
Mission 9 Mission 9

Mission 10

Mission 10 Mission 10
Mission 10 Mission 10


General Tips

Before proceeding into any mission, be sure to check the route and surrounding areas using the zoom on the map for radar installations. Destroying these can reduce the chances of being intercepted by enemy aircraft which are a bugger to shoot down.

Try to destroy ground targets with a single pass as slowing down or circling them allows them to open fire and this is lethal fighting groups.

Some structures can be booby trapped destroying your Apache when flying under so remember where they are.

Enemy troops on ground missions can only fire in angles of 45o.

When on ground missions, the canisters and barrels are explosive and can be pushed about. These can be used as protection. Push these in front of enemies and then use a few shots to make them explode taking the enemy down with it! especially useful for enemies hiding behind sandbanks.

Mission Tips

Since this game is rather tricky, here are some tips for individual missions.

Mission 1 Tips

Head for coordinates x09, y04. Here you will find a power station and a radar. Destroy these for less effective opposition.

Mission 3 Tips

Follow the right spot first to gain air superiority.

During the next step, head for coordinates x06, y11. Here you will find a radar station. Destroy this for less effective opposition.

During the next step, head for coordinates x03, y06. Here you will find another radar station. Destroy this for less effective opposition.

Mission 4 Tips

Before heading into the corridor, head for coordinates x10, y03. Here you will find a radar station. Destroy this for less effective opposition. Then fly around the side of the corridor and destroy the three missile launchers with Hellfire's before heading into the corridor. This will allow you to proceed slightly slower and avoid damage.

When in the main dock, go left around the centre structure. This will allow you to destroy the missile launchers on the island next to the sub safely.

When the mission is complete exit the corridor to the West. Wait for a few seconds before going under the bridges otherwise they will fall onto the helicopter and destroy it. There will also be a missile launcher right at the exit.

During the next step, head for coordinates x04, y06. Here you will find another radar station. Destroy this for less effective opposition.

Before returning to the base, head for coordinates x06, y11. Here you will find another radar station. Destroy this for less effective opposition. (Repeated!)

Mission 5 Tips

To reach the landing point during the first phase, when entering the depot head in the direction where you can sight enemy helicopters and the small white points on the floor. Before heading to the landing point, destroy the two rocket launchers with Hellfire's on the outside and they are well situated to inflict heavy damage.

When inside the fuel depot, use Shades as the use of grenades will make killing the enemies inside much easier.

The missiles must be destroyed quickly and those emerging from the launchers must be shot before the others.

Mission 6 Tips

Mission 6 Tip

If continuing from mission 5, At the start circle the runway and destroy the four large radars at coordinates,

At coordinates X03, Y02 destroy the large radar.

At coordinates X04, Y01 destroy the large radar.

At coordinates X04, Y02 destroy the large radar.

At coordinates X03, Y00 destroy the large radar.

Then refuel.

At coordinates 07,07 there is an array of radars.

At coordinates 08,07 there is an array of radars.

At coordinates 05,07 there is an array of radars.

In phase 2, conserve the ammo in your gun for the field generators. Use explosives on the conduits.

In phase 3, do not forget to push the president out of the building!

Mission 9 Tips

Do not attack the convoy early as it will also be supported by many ground installations. Wait until it has travelled around halfway down the map. Beware you will probably take a beating.

Mission 9 Tip (x07,y06)

There is a massive radar array at coordinates x07,y06.

Before landing and firing ensure that the Super Canon is at the top of the screen with the compass pointing North. This will make targeting the Bunker in the North West much easier.

Button A will fire and Buttons B and C will leave the Super Cannon without firing.

Mission 10 Tips

Use Mirage to make it over to the other conveyor running in the opposite direction. Beware this is a very tricky jump.

Mission Passwords


Mission 1 with Invulnerability: BAABAACBCBA
Mission 2 with Invulnerability: ABBBABACBBC
Mission 3 with Invulnerability: ACCCBCABBCA
Mission 4 with Invulnerability: ABBBABACBAC
Mission 5 with Invulnerability: BAACAABAACA
Mission 6 with Invulnerability: ABBCAACACCC
Mission 8 with Invulnerability: ABBCAACACBC

Hidden Asteroids Game

Enter password ABCACACBCAC to play a rendition of the classic game Asteroids. It uses the sprite of the main ship from Sub Terrainia.

Secret Ateroids Game

This can also be found on the first console of the ground phase of Mission 8.


Perfect! Play this with KEGA Fusion, Gens and Gens32 Emulators. You can download these from the SEGA Mega Drive/Genesis Emulators page.



Games of The Month Archive (November 2002)


Review of Red Zone.


Soundtrack in VGZ Format.

Red Zone at Old Game Plus

A selection of videos showing various sections of the game.

Red Zone at Hardcore Gaming.

An interesting article with information about Red Zone and the other games from the same developer.

Mega Drive/Genesis SEGA!

SEGA Mega Drive/Genesis Feature

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