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_____________________________________________________________________________ ZANAC X ZANAC FAQ V1.02 (04/26/03 current) Wayne Yoshida, Ph.D. (email@example.com) and Zach Keene (firstname.lastname@example.org) _____________________________________________________________________________ Zanac X Zanac (SLPS03354) Original Price: 4980Y Developed and Published by: Compile System: Japanese Playstation # CD discs: One Released: 11/29/2001 # players: One (Zanac Original), One or Two Simultaneous (Zanac Neo) Supports Analog Controller: Yes Website: www.zanacxzanac.com Official Company Website: www.compile.co.jp Please see end of document for author information and legal notes. "In one technical and boring sense, of course, it's perfectly true that computers always follow their programs, since a program is nothing but a careful specification of all the relevant processes inside the machine. That, however, doesn't prove anything because a similar point might be made about us." ---"Artificial Intelligence: The Very Idea", by John Haugeland "Machines take me by surprise with great frequency." ---Alan Turing Game Description ================ Zanac X Zanac marks Compile's 15th anniversary of the release of its signature NES game, Zanac. The single-CD Zanac X Zanac package contains three different versions of the original NES Zanac, and the new game Zanac Neo. Zanac was an incredible advancement in vertical shooters. The graphics and sound were decidedly average, even for the time, but the game mechanics were brilliantly designed and of a level yet unmatched by many modern shooters. In particular, Zanac's auto-adjusting difficulty level and extremely deep powerup system won many fans, leading to a legacy of Compile shooting games, some of which reached America as The Guardian Legend (NES), MUSHA (Genesis), and Space Megaforce (SNES). However, none of these games were designed to be an update of the original Zanac. Zanac Neo was intended to be the official sequel of Zanac, and it has fulfilled its 15-year-long expectation for many fans. Zanac Neo is an update which remains very faithful to the original Zanac. This might be seen as a weakness, as the level designs are much more traditional than even Space Megaforce, and might seem positively outdated compared to Treasure's Radiant Silvergun. Graphics are likewise updated to about the SNES level. However, for those shooter fans who understand its unique gameplay, Zanac will remain enjoyable for months and years to come. Zanac differs from other vertical shooters in its ability to adapt to your strengths and to adjust the game to attack your weaknesses. Your performance during the game and your choice of subweapon will partially determine what and how much Zanac will send at you. For this reason, no two games are exactly alike. Unlike many other shooters which teach you pattern memorization, the game concentrates on quick adaptation and reaction. Because each game is different, and use of each weapon depends on its compatibility with the player's ideas, there is no such thing as a "walkthrough" for a game like Zanac Neo. This FAQ attempts to describe the rules of Zanac Neo and hints for gameplay, without implying that there is a best strategy or a best weapon for all players. The FAQ will also describe as many of Zanac Neo's hidden tricks as possible so that players can exploit these to help finish the game on its higher difficulty levels. What's New? =========== Version 1.02 - 26 April 2003 - No Item Clear tips added (Section [II.5]). - Notes on enemy appearence due to subweapon collection in Neo added (Section [III]) - Shot width and speed tables for Original Zanac added (Section [XV.5]) - Some more Original Zanac enemy point values were added and some descriptions were clarified. (Section [XV.8]) - Note about the 2-percent CP rule added to Section [V.4] - More minor typo and grammar corrections throughout. - Added a section of Original Zanac Score Trial strategies [XV.13] Version 1.01 - 20 February 2003 - Original Zanac enemy descriptions added (Section [XV.8]) - Notes on the appearance of boxes added (Sections [II.11] and [XV.5]) - Minor typo and grammar corrections throughout. Version 1.0 - 14 February 2003 - Everything, obviously, since this is the first version. :) _____________________________________________________________________________ TABLE OF CONTENTS _____________________________________________________________________________ [I] Zanac Background [I.1] Zanac Back Story (original) [I.2] Zanac Neo Back Story [I.3] Zanac Neo Characters [I.4] Zanac Neo Music List [II] Zanac Neo Basics [II.1] Default Basic Controls [II.2] Game Screen [II.3] Title Screen Selection Menu [II.4] Option Screen [II.5] Profile Screen/Player's Note [II.6] Important Items [II.7] List of Faerie Locations [II.8] List of Eye-eye Locations [II.9] Destructible/Indestructible Bullets [II.10] Zanac Neo Area Descriptions [II.11] Power Chip Boxes [III] Zanac AI [IV] Difficulty Levels [IV.1] Personal Assessment of Difficulty Levels [V] Scoring [V.1] Free Ships [V.2] Boss Battles [V.3] Combo System (simplified) [V.4] Combo System In Depth [VI] Two Player Mode [VII] The Main Gun [VII.1] Five Chip Bonus [VII.2] The Three Shell Game [VIII] Landers [VIII.1] Score Counting [IX] Zanac Invulnerability [IX.1] Rushing [IX.2] Invulnerability Jumping [IX.3] Caching Invulnerability [X] Charge Shot and Blast Mode [X.1] Charge Gauge [X.2] Charge Shot [X.3] Blast Mode [XI] Zanac Neo Subweapons [XI.1] Subweapon Powerup [XII] Zanac Neo Ship Analysis [XII.1] Knife-Edge (R) [XII.2] Scar-Face (B) [XII.3] Hammer-Duke (G) [XIII] Subweapon Description By Category [XIII.1] Weapon 0 [XIII.2] Weapon 1 [XIII.3] Weapon 2 [XIII.4] Weapon 3 [XIII.5] Weapon 4 [XIII.6] Weapon 5 [XIII.7] Weapon 6 [XIII.8] Weapon 7 [XIV] FC Custom [XIV.1] Obtaining the FC Custom [XIV.2] FC Custom Main Gun [XIV.3] Lander Progression for FC Custom [XIV.4] FC Custom Subweapon Descriptions [XV] Original Zanac [XV.1] Original Zanac Modes [XV.2] Zanac Menu Translations [XV.3] Comparison of Parameters by Game Type [XV.4] Score Trial Course Descriptions [XV.5] Zanac Basics [XV.6] Subweapons [XV.7] Scoring [XV.8] Objects in Space [XV.9] Fortresses [XV.10] Current List of Faerie Locations [XV.11] Current List of Eye-Eye Locations [XV.12] Current List of Warp Hole Locations [XV.13] Score Trial Strategies [XVI] Acknowledgments [XVII] Legal Notes [XVIII] About the Authors _____________________________________________________________________________ [I] ZANAC BACKGROUND _____________________________________________________________________________ [I.1] Zanac Back Story (translated from the manual, pg 5) ========================================================= The technology for faster-than-light travel was developed by humankind in only a short time. One of the expeditionary forces sent to investigate the stars near our galaxy believed they had found a relic of an intelligent extraterrestrial culture, and with this, the "Icon" (Holy Statue) was discovered. The Icon appeared to be intended to test the people who contacted it. If those people looked for the proper procedure, they would be able to open it in a nondestructive way and would receive beneficial knowledge in return. However, if they instead were impatient and used force to open it, it would reward them with destruction. The expeditionary force, each one of them suspecting that something was hidden inside, were impatient to make the discovery and turned their spacecraft's on-board weapons on the Icon. From the ruins of the destroyed Icon emerged a message which triggered the awakening of a huge battle "System," lying in wait in space. However, it seemed as if there existed another chance to make up for humankind's failed test by the Icon. Another expeditionary team, unaware of the danger to Earth, encountered another Icon separate from the one that was destroyed, and were able to open it correctly. The Icon transmitted this success to System, requesting it to halt its attack. But System, having remained waiting an extreme length of time that its designers could not have predicted, had degraded to the point where it would no longer stop until its target was annihilated and thus had become a simple instrument of mass destruction. Because of this, the order to stop was disregarded and the attack on Earth was begun. In spite of the overwhelming difference in attack power, humanity went out to meet the approaching machines. Fortunately, one of the Icons was still operating normally, and from information obtained from it, a proposal was made to save Earth. System was a tactical machine, designed to battle against countless enemies. There was little hope of an all-out attack succeeding, but if a very small-scale attack with very strong attack power was used, a hidden thrust with a needle, so to speak, System would not be able to cope with it successfully. Then, by striking at the core, System would be defeated. Thus, the AFX battle machine (commonly known as ZANAC), the hidden trump card against System, was constructed and departed for the battle to save humanity. [I.2] Zanac Neo Back Story (translated from the manual, pg 15) ============================================================== Humanity was just barely able to repulse the attack by the System bent on destroying the earth. However, the battle was not over just yet. System had used its long existence to multiply, and even though one System was destroyed, it was not long before another System took up the attack. That repeat battle has already been going on for 30 years. Even though humanity has been holding off System's attack, people are tired and exhausted. However, during the destruction of System's core, a pilot discovered the escape of a unit with the ability to transmit data. The unit escaped successfully, but as a result of analyzing who the signals were transmitted to, it was discovered that a host computer higher than the System existed. The investigation, along with discovering the location of this higher System, was able to establish its true nature. As the System was originally made as one part, this could be called its parent. If this "original System" could be destroyed, if it could be silenced, then the command hierarchy could be used to stop all other Systems, and finally the unending attack on the citizens of Earth could be ended. There was a big problem. The specs of the original System far exceeded that of the other Systems. If they raised a hand against it, humanity would certainly become a target for this original System. If they did not succeed on the first try, then it need not be said what the final outcome would be. Should they challenge it, or should they continue to endure? Faced with the slow decline of humankind, they decided to fight. And now, the Zanac unit heads out to begin the final battle. [I.3] Zanac Neo Characters (translated from manual Pages 16-19) =============================================================== -----Hokuto Yuki (page 16, left) Age 21 Pilot of Machine #1, Knife Edge Piloting the red machine #1, he is a young man filled with a sense of justice. In admiration of his commanding officer, his soul burns for the accomplishments of war. -----Noa Clonebit (page 16, right) Age 13 Pilot of Machine #2, Scar Face Due to her genius-level sense of aircraft control, a special exception was made to select this young girl as a civilian in military employ. -----Myctness Ikstess (page 17, left) Age Unknown Pilot of Machine #3, Hammer Duke A member of the Icon investigation team, he specializes in knowledge about the System. With his calm composure, he has overall the appearance of a clergyman. -----Maxis J. Vanguard (page 17, right) Age 45 Commanding Officer 20 years of defending against system's attacks has brought him to the point where he is a soldier of soldiers. In battle he exhibits the highest level of responsibility and duty. -----Gwen B. Hoban (page 18, left) Age 29 Mechanic A mechanic who is a genius in all matters related to machines. -----Sara Northland (page 18, right picture tall blond) Age 22 Operator (i.e. bridge babe #1) Skilled in many languages, she is a capable operator trusted relied upon for her excellent situational analyses. -----Suzuka Shinonome (page 18, right picture shorter Asian) Age 19 Operator (bridge babe #2) A recent graduate just out of the academy. She has a beautiful voice. [Note] You really don't see anything of the characters. It's not like Radiant Silvergun where you're constantly reminded they're there. Nobody talks, not even a popup text window. You don't even see the pilots in the ship selection screen! They're all in the manual, but you won't see anybody except in a loading screen or at the end of the game. [Note] Unless I translate this wrong, it really appears as if Suzuka really IS there as window dressing...at least Sara has some useful skills. [Note] Not to complain, but try playing two player and have the second person pick Hokuto (Knife Edge). Can you imagine the man of burning justice flying the pink plane? Not I. [Note] Who flies the FC Custom? Maybe Suzuka? :) [I.4] Zanac Neo Music List (adapted; see credits) ================================================= Title Artist Area ----- ------ ---- 00: Title (Virus Science Remix) Kou.Hayashi ZXZ Opening Screen 01: Title (Breaks Lose a Past Mix) Daisuke.Nagata Neo Opening Screen 02: Option Kou.Hayashi Neo Option Screen 03: Chosen Quietly Kou.Hayashi Neo Ship Select 04: Instant Replicant Katsumi.Tanaka Neo Area 0 05: Main Theme (Sawtooth Remix) Kou.Hayashi Neo Area 1 06: Blind Spot Daisuke.Nagata Neo Area 2 07: Green Kou.Hayashi Neo Area 3 08: The Air Current Daisuke.Nagata Neo Area 4 09: Filtering Sky Katsumi.Tanaka Neo Area 5 10: Snowfield Story Daisuke.Nagata Neo Area 6 11: Invasion Daisuke.Nagata Neo Area 7 12: Intruder Kou.Hayashi Neo Area 8 13: Some Bizarre Katsumi.Tanaka Neo Area 9 14: No Feel -Reply- Kou.Hayashi Neo Boss Theme 1 15: No Feel Kou.Hayashi Neo Boss Theme 2 16: Bottom of the Wheel Daisuke.Nagata Neo Last Boss 17: Driving Away Daisuke.Nagata Neo Boss Defeated 18: Stage Clear Daisuke.Nagata Neo Stage Clear 19: Spider to Sleep Daisuke.Nagata Neo Ending Screen 20: Score Ranking Daisuke.Nagata Neo Ranking Screen 21: Gameover Daisuke.Nagata Neo Game Over Screen 22: Zanac 01 -The Decade- Katsumi.Tanaka Not used in Neo _____________________________________________________________________________ [II] ZANAC NEO BASICS _____________________________________________________________________________ Zanac Neo operates in a manner similar to modern shooters, but has extremely deep game mechanics. This section describes the nuts-and-bolts basics of playing, while the following sections describe the game in more detail. [II.1] Default Basic Controls ============================= Directional Pad: Control Ship Left Analog Stick: Control Ship Square: Fire Main Gun Triangle: Fire Charge Shot/Blast Mode X: Fire Subweapon Circle: Fire Sub/Main Simultaneously R1: Fire Charge Shot/Blast Mode Start: Pause; Also Gives an Options Menu Start+Select+L1+L2+R1+R2 Abort Game [II.2] Game Screen ================== Meter in Lower Right: Charge Gauge Far Upper Left: # Ships Remaining Below # Ships: Combo # Hits Below Combo Hits: Jackpot Bonus Right of # Ships: Score Right of Score: Current Subweapon/SW Level [II.3] Title Screen Selection Menu ================================== Game Start Choose profile and start game Continue Continue at last level reached Score Trial Play through one level only for score. Only areas you have reached during the regular game will be available to select. Option Go to Option Screen (see below) Ranking 8-person high score list Return Title Return to Zanac/Neo game select [II.4] Option Screen ===================== Game Level Select difficulty: Easy, Normal, Hard, or Very Hard Key Config Set in-game controls Player Data Create a player profile to save game stats, or view or delete current profiles Data Save Save options to memory card Data Load Load options from memory card Auto Save Allow Zanac Neo to save options automatically Vibration Turn controller vibration on/off Sound Stereo or Mono BGM Test Music play test Exit [II.5] Profile Screen/Player's Note ==================================== The profile screen shows your profile data including total time played, ships destroyed, etc. If you press the "O" button, the Player's Note will be displayed. The Player's Note is a set of four screens which list specific accomplishments that you have completed, much like R-Type Delta. At the beginning all accomplishments are marked with "????" but they will fill in as you play more of the game. Strange that they don't tell you what they are so you can do them? Unfortunately, nothing happens if you fill in the whole Player's Note except bragging rights at the local vertical shooters bar. Entries in the Player's Note are listed below in order: Page 1 ------ Easy Mode Beaten - Pretty self-explanatory Normal Mode Beaten - Ditto. Hard Mode Beaten - Ditto. Very Hard Mode Beaten - And again... Beat Game with Machine 0 - That'd be the FC-Custom, and you can do this on any difficulty. All Bosses Destroyed - Don't let the time run out on you. Beat Game with No Mistakes - i.e., don't die. Ever. Difficulty doesn't matter, fortunately. Beat 1 Area With No Mistakes - That can be Area 0 on Easy with the FC- Custom, for all the game cares. :) Page 2 ------ No Item Clearing - Ouch. No chips, no subweapons, no Lander. Difficulty doesn't matter. All Faeries Collected - See section [II.7] All Eye Eye Collected - See section [II.8] All Items Collected - If it appears, you must grab it. 10000000 Points Achieved - Easier done than said... 15000000 Points Achieved - Self-explanatory. 20000000 Points Achieved - Ditto. All Subweapons Fully Powered - Yes, in one game. Page 3 ------ Get 100 Chips With No Mistakes- Not terribly difficult... Have 50 Ships Remaining - I think you have to beat the game, but you don't still have to have 50 ships at the end. Hit counter reaches 500 - Straightforward enough. Hit bonus reaches 5000 - Ditto. No Shot Play - Clear an area without firing a single shot. Use Charge Shot 100 Times - In one game, that is. No Charge Shot Play - Hello, FC-Custom! :) Chain Combo reaches 30 - Those box swarms in the last area are good for this. Page 4 ------ Wide Shot Acquired - Yes, all you have to do is hit an Eye-Eye. :) 3 Landers Acquired - See "point counting", above. 20 Landers Acquired - Ditto. Or use FC Custom's W6 trick. 500 Boxes Destroyed - Yawn... Item Received From Faerie - Keep a faerie is still alive until a boss battle is over (see "Rio/Faerie", below) Play Time Reaches 10 Hours - Everyone has this by now, right? :) Play Count Reaches 100 - If you really want this, you can just start a game, immediately pause and choose quit, repeat ad nauseum... Finish Count Reaches 20 - Not too hard, but it'll take you about 20 hours. [Note] For those of you who like a challenge, the hardest Player's Note appears to be No Item, which requires you both to dodge lots of unwanted items and to fight with very low levels of power. If you are up to the challenge, here are some tips: 1) The Eye-Eye is not considered an item. The first available one is at the beginning of Area 2, so you'll still have to fly through two levels at minimum power. (It's my understanding you can still pick up Rio as well, but I have not confirmed that.) 2) Don't die. That is not only obvious but also easier said than done, but let's examine the consequences of death in the No Item game: Loss of Life - Obvious, but since keeping combos can be difficult in the No Item game, you probably won't have many lives to lose. Loss of Power - Not a problem in the first two areas since you can't power up anyway. But since your only source of power is the Eye-Eye, you may find yourself a long way from the next one. (Especially if you die right after the Eye-Eyes in Area 4 and Area 7.) Box Creation - Zanac Neo always produces six Boxes after you die. In a normal game this is quite helpful, allowing you to quickly regain some power. However, in the No Item game, it just creates more targets that you'll have to shoot through in order to hit something more threatening, and possibly creating more Power Chips that you'll have to avoid. Regeneration - In what has to be the most frustrating aspect of the No Item challenge, it is possible for your ship to regenerate on top of an item after you die and before you regain control of your ship. If this happens, you _are_ disqualified from getting the No Item Clear on your Player's Note. Be extremely careful during Area 8 and the beginning of Area 9, as these areas are swarming with Boxes. 3) Choose your ship wisely. I had (relatively) little problem with the FC-Custom, but note that it has no offense* against the blue Carlas at the end of Area 8. Normally you could pick up an item and ram them while you were invincible, but obviously that's not an option here. (The three normal ships can Charge Shot them, but use them wisely... it can be a long wait for a recharge.) * - Except dying and ramming them, but see point number 2 above. When (not if) you do die, and are lucky enough not to regenerate on an item, you may as well clear a few of them out though. 4) Combos. They will be extremly difficult to maintain, for different reasons in different levels. Early on, your lack of firepower will make it extremely difficult to destroy everything (especially trying to deal with the splitting Amoebas in Area 0.) Later on, even after you've hit an Eye-Eye, the inability to speed up your firing rate will cause problems as large, multi-hit enemies will block your attempts to hit fleeing Carriers and various other enemies. And in any stage, sometimes the arrangement of onscreen powerups will conspire against you. (Especially in Area 4, where Carriers tend to clog the center of the screen... right where the ground turrets are.) IMO, the only Area worth attempting to combo in is Area 2 after you get the Eye-Eye (but if you can keep a combo before that, all the better.) It's relatively easy to keep a combo here with Eye-Eye support, and you can stall the battle at the end after destroying everything but the two Round Eyes to gain some more points and build up a fleet of extra ships. You're probably going to need them. 5) Enemy Erasers. Make every effort to _not_ hit Icons. Enemy Erasers creep extremely slowly, meaning you'll be dodging it for a long time. Ground based Icons that accompany some fortress will be set off once you defeat the fortress, so the best thing to do is set them off as you approach them before the screen stops scrolling. Hopefully you'll unleash the EE at the very top of the screen, where they will quickly disappear (and be out of the way in the meantime.) [Note] Slightly easier is All Items Collected. If you get everything, consider yourself an excellent player! [II.6] Important Items ====================== -----Power Chip Box (pg 31, upper left picture) A small blue box, appearing in sets of three. Destroy to reveal power chips. (more notes in section VII.2) -----Power Chip (pg 31, upper right picture) Small yellow sphere, appears after destroying boxes. Take power chip to upgrade main gun. (more notes in section VII.1) -----Subweapon Powerup Carrier (pg 31, second from top, left side picture) Small ship with arms holding a red or green number. Destroy to reveal subweapon powerup item. (more notes in section VIII.1) -----Subweapon Powerup (pg 31, second from top, right side picture) Small red or green box with a weapon number 0-7. Take to increase subweapon power level (if same as current weapon) or to change subweapons. (more notes in section XI.1) -----Icon (pg 31, third from top, left side picture) Small brown building located on ground. Shoot Icon multiple times to release Enemy Eraser. (In Zanac NES, continuing to shoot Icon would eventually destroy it, giving player a free ship. This does not occur in Zanac Neo) -----Enemy Eraser (pg 31, third from top, right side picture) White and pink flashing sphere, fairly large. Take Enemy Eraser to destroy all shots and small flying enemies on the screen. Does not affect ground targets or large flying enemies. Enemy Eraser can be "kept" on the screen but slowly travels up the screen as time proceeds, eventually leaving. -----Lander/Randar (pg 31, bottom picture) Blue or red face, sometimes appears when destroying Carrier. Take Lander to receive a free man (more notes in section VIII). -----Faerie/Rio (not shown) Hidden faerie that appears when you fire at specific points on the ground. You can keep Rio on screen but it slowly moves off the screen like Enemy Eraser. In Zanac Neo, touching Rio destroys everything on the screen, exactly like an Enemy Eraser. After that, Rio follows the player and guards the player from a single bullet which would destroy it (Rio disappears when this point of armor is used). If Rio is still following player when the next sub-boss or boss is destroyed, then Rio departs, leaving behind a bonus green subweapon powerup. The current list of faerie locations is below. -----Eye-eye/Ai-Ai (not shown) An Eye-eye is a small face on the ground which appears in fixed locations in various stages. Shooting the eye-eye until it triggers will give you the wide shot powerup and maximum level in your current subweapon. [II.7] List of Faerie Locations =============================== Area 1 - When the stage starts, immediately head to the far right side of the screen. Area 2 - Shoot the second green dome you find on the left side of the screen (the first green dome on the left will be halfway off the screen; you want to hit the next one.) Area 3 - Shoot the last floating platform that appears before the first fortress. Aim for roughly the center of the screen. Area 4 - Shoot the single tree on the far left screen right before you enter the forest portion of the stage. (There'll be another single tree just left of the center of the screen; this isn't the one you want.) Area 6 - Shoot the small platform on the far left of the screen opposite the Eye-Eye right before the final fortress. Area 7 - Shoot the far left side of the screen after passing through the area with a series of small destroyable blue domes on either side of the screen. Area 7(2) - Shoot the large red zone in the middle of the screen shortly after the second boss. Area 8 - Shoot the last floating island that appears slightly right of center just before the claw boss. Area 9 - Hmm... there is no really good way to describe this one... It's at the beginning of the stage, on the right side of the screen, right at the purple line where the "buildings" on the edge of the screen end. It's not terribly far into the level, appearing a little bit after the box swarms start appearing. Area 9(2) - After the long vertical drop after the second fortress, head to the far left of the screen. The faerie can be found at the first girder that appears. [II.8] List of Eye-Eye Locations ================================ Like in Zanac, hitting an Eye Eye will instantly give you the Wide Shot and boost your current subweapon to max power. Unlike Zanac, you can't keep shooting the Eye Eye for extra points. Also unlike Zanac, the Wide Shot granted to you by the Eye Eye is permanent (until you die), regardless of the state of your normal shot before hitting the Eye Eye. Again, hitting them all in one game is worth a mention in the Players Note. Area 2 - The first Eye Eye appears slightly right of center, not too long after the green dome that contains a faerie. Area 3 - The Eye Eye here appears on the right side of the screen at the beginning of the flying platform area, just after the Cube miniboss. Area 4 - An Eye Eye is partially obscured by the forest just after the first fortress. Area 6 - An Eye Eye appears at the far right of the screen just before the final fortress. (A faerie is hidden on the opposite side of the screen from the Eye Eye.) Area 7 - Two Eye Eyes appear at opposite edges of the screen after the first fortress. Area 9 - There's an Eye Eye at the right of the screen just as you approach the first fortress. - A second Eye Eye appears with the second fortress. [II.9] Destructible/Indestructible Bullets ============================================ The following text will reference "destructible" and "indestructible" bullets. In Zanac there are two main types of bullets. "Destructible" bullets are those that can be destroyed by normal subweapons or shots fired from the main gun. These bullets are normally shaped somewhat like white and blue elongated diamonds which spin as they fly, although there are exceptions, such as the large round blue bullets fired when going down the steel corridor in the last level. "Indestructible" bullets are those which cannot be destroyed by normal fire; the subweapons and main gun pass through them. Indestructible bullets are usually round dots, either glowing orange/red or purple/white. Indestructible bullets can be destroyed with "shielding" type weapons (see below). [II.10] Zanac Neo Area Descriptions ==================================== There are 10 separate levels of play in Zanac Neo, each called an "Area" and numbered 0 through Final (9th). The levels of play are each fairly long and the environments are pleasantly varied. Zanac is a traditional vertical shooter and there is generally no "terrain" that you can ram your ship into and be destroyed (unlike Space Megaforce, Radiant Silvergun, Ikaruga, and horizontal shooters in the vein of Gradius, R-type, and Darius). Most of the levels have one or two mid-bosses and a end-of-level boss, the corresponding timers and boss point values are listed below (values based off of Normal difficulty level). Area 0 - Flash Back - Mid Bosses: None End of Level Boss: System Core (i.e. the "Brain Trio") (90 sec/100K) The zeroth area of Zanac is intended to be a flashback of the destruction of the first System by the Zanac unit 30 years prior to the events of Neo, occurring on the last portion of the 12th level of the original Zanac. The level opens with a race down a corridor over an abyss filled with an evil red mist. Zanac makes its way past docked frigates in service to System, and fights its way to the center to once again destroy System's Core. The Core incongruously attacks with cute 'lil pink saucers until the brains are blasted to a certain level, then it begins to hurl out small swarms of indestructible bullets which are fairly easy to avoid. [Note] Strangely, if you are equipped to destroy the indestructible bullets during this battle, doing so will add to your Hit counter but you do not get a jackpot bonus for them. This is almost certainly a bug. Area 1 - Star Fleet - Mid Bosses: Asteroid Base (45 sec/50K) Battleship Turrets (60 sec/50K) End Boss: Hexapus, a roundish battleship with six independent turrets (90 sec/100K) Area 1 takes place among the litter of an asteroid field in which Zanac has to fend off flying asteroids along with a slew of enemy machines. After several seconds, the ship hits warp speed and hurtles through space, ending up near a planetoid where a rocky satellite midboss awaits. Following the destruction of the rock, Zanac finds itself in the midst of a gigantic fleet of enemy battleships. After taking out several large battleships, the end boss appears. Area 2 - Satellite Base - Mid Bosses: Black Manta Flying Wing (45 sec/50K) Small Fortress (60 sec/50K) End Boss: Mobile Ground Turrets (90 sec/100K) Area 2 opens with the Zanac ship flying low over a rocky satellite which has been mechanized by the System. Machinery shows through various rents in the earth, and later both the rocks and machinery give way to occasional patches of forest which mysteriously grows here. In the vacuum. The first mid-boss is a large flying wing known as the "Black Manta", the second mid-boss is a fortress of three ground turrets, and the boss appears to be a set of mobile ground turrets. Area 3 - Cloud Kingdom - Mid Bosses: Small Flying Fortress (45 sec/50K) Cube (60 sec/50K) End Boss: Flying Battle Tank (90 sec/100K) Area 3 is a battle in the clouds above a aquatic world. Several floating islands full of System's lackeys ensure that the battle will not go easy for the Zanac ship. The puffy white clouds give way to dark storm clouds and lightning strikes halfway through the level, but the sky clears just in time to bring out the Treasure-inspired Cube boss. Nearing the end of the level, the clouds begin to turn gold with the evening light, as the end boss approaches. Area 4 - Remains of an Ancient - Mid Bosses: Medium Fortress (60 sec/50K) "Sand Rats" Twin Hovertanks (60 sec/50K) End Boss: "Killer Eye" Battleship (90 sec/100K) Area 4 takes place above the dense forests of a distant planetoid. Nestled between trees are bullet-firing turrets that try to take out the ship. After the first mid-boss and a onslaught of Degid attacks, the forest gives way to a rocky blasted plain filled with roving tanks. Past this plain are what appear to be the titular remains of an ancient civilization, complete with rocky buildings and roads. Soon enough, the land becomes a rocky cliff and a giant lake appears. Here, a battle with a mechanized eyeball-equipped battleship (once again, shades of Space Megaforce) awaits. Area 5 - Storming Party - Mid Bosses : None End Boss : None Area 5, as the halfway point, is really a bonus level. Compile also used short levels as breathing room in Space Megaforce, and this is much the same idea. The entire level takes place over a frozen lake with huge icebergs floating in it. Here, powerups flow as freely as water...uh...well, like ice...or put another way, like water WOULD flow in this level if it weren't already frozen, but it is, so it can't, so it won't, but the powerups will. Yes. Anyways, the stage ends with a horde of frigates flying through the screen, so make sure not to get killed just after having taken the time to collect all of those powerups. There are no bosses or mid-bosses here. Area 6 - Blizzard - Mid Bosses : Lava Lake Medium Fortress (60 sec/100K) One-armed Battlecruiser (60 sec/100K) End Boss : Large Fortress (90 sec/200K) Area 6 takes place over the frozen tundra of a world which holds the Original System computer. After a short jaunt over System's refrigerator/freezer, the action pauses over a lake of lava where a fortress sits taking advantage of free geothermal energy. Sinking the fortress into the lava, the Zanac ship encounters a short while later a battle cruiser which appears to be protecting a series of ground installations. The level ends as the planet reveals its metal core and a large fortress attacks the ship. Area 7 - Hell's Gate - Mid Bosses : Medium Fortress (60 sec/100K) Twin Missile Crab (75 sec/100K) End Boss : Large Fortress (90 sec/100K) Armed to the teeth, the Zanac ship descends into the planet holding the the Original System. Area 7 contains a mass of weaponry installed in an attempt to thwart just such an attack. Through the layers of metal, the player will be able to spot the glowing green laser communication lines of the System far below. After a short dash of incredible speed, the ship is forced to stop to confront a crab-like boss sporting twin missile platforms. After this mid boss and several plateaus full of tanks the ship arrives at a entrance gate. Area 8 - Mystic Space - Mid Bosses : Hexapus (Area 1 boss) (45 sec/100K) Cube (Area 3 mid boss) (45 sec/100K) Killer Eye (Area 4 boss) (60 sec/100K) Twin Claw Boss (75 sec/100K) End Boss : Squid Generator (90 sec/200K) Not too clear on this one, but my best guess is that level is a gigantic area inside of Original System, which would explain the litter of space debris and the "fight the bosses again" motif. Perhaps this place is the factory where all of the earlier bosses were put together. If this is true, then the distant blue planetoid in the background is probably the floating Core, the final area of the game. This area also marks the return of the jellyfish, aka "the subweapon soaking squid, help!" The final boss is a literal squid generator. Final Area - Core of System - Mid Bosses : Mobile Ground Turrets 2 (90 sec/100K) Large Fortress (90 sec/125K) End Boss : Original System Core (infinite/0) The final battle consists of Zanac's rush down the corridor to the Original Core, much like the attack on System in Area 0. However, Original System isn't going down quite as easy. The journey takes Zanac down through layers of defenses which end in a steel corridor dropping straight down to the silent heart of the planet. The final defenses include an attack by Zanac clones which the Original System presumably adapted from data on Zanac's attack on the first System, 30 years prior. [Note] For the first incarnation of the Original Core, you must open the central shield to shoot the core by destroying the four "brains" on either side of the core. The brains regenerate, so you may have to retrace your steps if the shield closes before you destroy the core. [Note] For the second incarnation of the Core, you have the shoot the "tiara" of the giant head. The gem appears once every time you destroy a satellite, so remember you have to shoot both the satellites and the gem. [Note] Final incarnation of the Core: relax, this isn't Radiant Silvergun. though it may certainly look like it. [II.11] Power Chip Boxes ========================= In Zanac Neo, power chip boxes appear at regular frequencies, tied closely to the number of enemies destroyed. At the start of the game, an internal counter is set to 11 and counts up one with every enemy destroyed (producing the first set of boxes when 7 enemies are destroyed). When the counter reaches 18, then it resets to 0 and a set of 3 boxes is produced. As far as I can tell, each time 18 enemies are destroyed, Zanac Neo produces another set of boxes. SIGs, Broms, and other enemy destructible bullets ARE treated as enemies for the purposes of this counter. It appears that boxes and subweapon carriers are NOT treated as enemies by this counter. I suspect (but cannot yet confirm) that multishot enemies are also "one" enemy, but multipart enemies count as multiple enemies. [Note] Boxes also appear as "set" enemies in certain sections of the level. These "set" boxes do not change the timing of the counter, and indeed it is possible for the box sets to overlap. [Note] When your lose a ship, Zanac Neo conveniently produces two sets of boxes (6 boxes total) for you to regain your power. If at all possible, you should gamble on them for the 5-chip bonus (see below). _____________________________________________________________________________ [III] ZANAC AI _____________________________________________________________________________ Perhaps the most unique feature in the Zanac series is the ALC, or Auto Level Control (Japanese: Jidounanidochouseikinou). In both Zanac NES and Zanac Neo, ALC adjusts the game difficulty on-the-fly in order to compensate for player skill. The ALC works together with the difficulty level adjustment in the options screen. In general, if you perform well during a game then the difficulty automatically increases; if you perform poorly then it decreases. Not all the parameters of the Zanac ALC are given, but the following are confirmed in the manual: - As the number of shots you fire increases, the difficulty increases - Powering up your ship increases the difficulty level - When your ship is destroyed the difficulty level decreases a lot Here are other things which may influence the difficulty level, but are not confirmed: - Increasing score may increase the difficulty level - Difficulty level may increase the longer your ship (each ship?) survives - Destroying enemy ships/increasing combo counter may increase the difficulty level - Increasing ships in reserve may increase difficulty level - Finishing a level may reduce or reset the ALC counter AI advancement speed is much faster at harder difficulty levels such as Hard and Very Hard. At these levels you get a short break when your ship is destroyed but things quickly heat up to maximum levels. In addition to ALC, the AI also compensates for current subweapon type. Wielding certain weapon subtypes will cause Zanac Neo to put out more creatures designed to defeat that particular type of weapon. For instance, players building up Hammer-Duke's Banishing Laser (GW1) will find Zanac Neo starts to put out enemies that attack from the side (e.g. Degid) more often, which is a blind spot with this weapon. In fact, it has been suggested by other authors (see acknowledgments) that each weapon # is associated with one or more particular types of enemy, which appear in larger-than-normal frequencies when you have that weapon. The following is a table of Neo enemies that are associated with each weapon. These enemies are likely to appear when you have taken a subweapon powerup which matches your current subweapon...however, their appearance is not assured or immediate. In particular, enemy appearance does not hold during boss battles or in parts of the Area where enemy types are fixed. Table and ideas adapted from website referenced in [XVI] Acknowledgements: (http://isweb16.infoseek.co.jp/play/schk/Rev/Attack01/ZbyZ/) Subweapon # Enemy Type(s) =========== ============= 0 Crude 1 Back Degid 2 Degid and Degis Golgos 3 Drov 4 Brio Golgos 5 Lio Golgos 6 Effine (Mio barrier type) 7 Takawarshi It is thus possible to induce the appearance of certain enemies in score trial in order to score points. In particular, taking W3s can make Drov appear, and the divided shells can then be shot or charge shot for points. _____________________________________________________________________________ [IV] DIFFICULTY LEVELS _____________________________________________________________________________ The game's overall difficulty level can be set in the options screen. There are four levels of difficulty: Easy, Normal, Hard, and Very Hard. The difference between the levels are difficult to quantify because they affect the ALC in undetermined ways. Suffice to say that the obvious effects appear to be: - ALC goes up faster and to higher maximum levels at higher difficulty levels (i.e. the game gets really hard more quickly) - Enemies start to fire more bullets, sometimes in different patterns. - Subweapon losses change (see below) - In addition, on Very Hard difficulty level, you no longer get the complimentary bar of charge gauge when you die. The major visible effect of difficulty level is the loss of your subweapons when you lose a ship. - On Easy, when you lose a ship, your currently equipped subweapon drops by one level. You keep all "stored" subweapons at their last equipped levels. - On Normal, when you lose a ship, you lose all levels of your currently equipped subweapon (returning to level 0). All stored subweapons remain at last equipped levels. - On Hard, when you lose a ship, you lose all levels of your currently equipped subweapon, and one level of each stored subweapon. - On Very Hard, when you lose a ship, all subweapons return to level 0. Welcome to Zanac. [IV.1] Personal Assessment of Difficulty Levels ============================================== (Ignore this if you are using the FC-Custom, which is a definite advantage and deserves its own assessment) Because it is more difficult to hold combos (earning extra ships), and it is also more difficult to keep from losing ships at higher levels, the difficulty levels are NOT linear. My wild guess is that Normal is about twice as hard as Easy, Hard is about twice as hard as Normal, and Very Hard is twice as hard as Hard. Or more. Thus: Easy is about suitable for those who have not played vertical shooters to any extent. A skilled shooter fan can get through the entire game on Easy with very little problems. Normal is suitable for those who have played vertical shooters before. A skilled shooter can still get through Normal, but it might take a few tries. Hard is the normal level for skilled shooter fans. Hard can be won too but it may take some effort, and things will be pretty close near the end. Hard is fun. Very Hard is for very skilled shooter fans, or skilled shooter fans who have also played the original Zanac until their thumbs dropped off. Or masochists. I still can't beat Very Hard without the FC Custom, but I might have been able to if I was practicing instead of writing this FAQ! :) Also, I noticed that harder difficulty levels tend to shift me toward defensive weapons. For easy and normal difficulty levels, it is no problem to take full-offense, high-power weapons like W1s or W6s. However, for Hard and Very Hard, the difficulty eventually becomes too high for me to concentrate on keeping combos and thus I try to preserve ships instead. This is when W1s stop becoming good choices and W3s start becoming viable options. Don't be surprised if you have to shift strategies when you play on higher difficulty levels. _____________________________________________________________________________ [V] SCORING _____________________________________________________________________________ The scoring system in Zanac is not incredibly complicated, like Ikaruga or Radiant Silvergun. In simple terms, you shoot things, and they award you points. If you can shoot all enemies without letting any leave the screen, you will start building combo points. In terms of gameplay, you will need high scores simply because of the free ships awarded. Since Zanac is not a game of pattern memorization, there are pretty much no "safe spots" and it might be the case that you lose several ships during late game bosses. You will need reserve ships to absorb this loss, the more the better. Since high scores equals more resources, you have to balance your aggression level. Playing it safe can give you more mileage per ship, but being more aggressive can award you more free ships. [V.1] Free Ships =================== One of the main purposes of high scoring (besides bragging rights, of course) is that free ships are awarded with increases in score; a battalion of ships generally helps greatly in surviving the end game (Levels 8-10). The player is awarded a free ship at 50000 points, 100000 points, 200000 points, and every 200000 points thereafter. You will hear the characteristic "Zanac free man tune" when you receive one. [Note] The free man tune, if you like it, can be put onto your cell phone. For those of you with musical inclination, it's (quarter)G(eighth)ABAGB(up octave)E(quarter)D. In terms of Motorola, I can't get eighths, but you can play it half speed: 400 20 220 20 40 220 111 330 300. [V.2] Boss Battles ==================== When a boss or sub-boss is encountered in Zanac Neo, a counter will show up in the upper right corner of the screen, and the player will be given a set amount of time, to defeat it. If the boss is defeated, the player generally gains either 50000 points or 100000 points plus 1000 points per second remaining on the clock. See section [II.10] for details on boss times and rewards. It appears that you do not gain a bonus for destroying the last boss, nor do you receive a bonus for ships remaining at the game end. This is unlike Zanac NES. [V.3] Combo System (simplified) ================================= The combo system in Zanac is fairly simple. Basically, your combo counter and jackpot counter in the upper left increase every time you destroy an enemy. Every time you destroy an enemy you get the value of that enemy plus the value listed in the jackpot counter. The combo will end and the counters will reset if you ever let an enemy leave the screen. An "enemy" with respect to the combo system includes almost all flying enemies, including boxes and weapon carriers, but not destructible or indestructible bullets, Enemy Erasers, Faeries, Eye-eye, Icon, or the circular spinning enemies that some ground or air targets produce. [Note] In many stages, you can use the ground shadows to "see" some enemies before they actually appear on the screen. You can use this preview to position yourself to shoot (or not shoot) a series of boxes, for instance. [V.4] Combo System In Depth ============================ Each enemy has two score values: a regular point value and a combo point value (which from here on will be referred to as CP.) As a rule of thumb, the CP value of an enemy is usually 2% of its regular point value. Zanac Neo keeps a running total of the CP you've got from destroying enemies. This CP Total, however, is not the jackpot value you see at the top of the screen, but they are related. Here's how it goes: 0) At the beginning of each area (or when an enemy leaves the screen), the hidden CP total and the visible Jackpot are set to 0. 1) You shoot and destroy an enemy. 2) The visible Jackpot value is then set to the current value of the hidden CP total, rounded down to the nearest multiple of 10. 3) The enemy's regular point value and the current Jackpot value are then added to your score. 4) The enemy's CP value is now added to the hidden CP total. 5) Go back to step 1. Another way of looking at this is to assume the jackpot bonus you get came not from the enemy you just destroyed, but the one that came before it. An example would undoubtedly be of help right now. At the very beginning of Area 0 you face Terzas (300 pts/6 CP) and Cargo Carriers (100 pts/2 CP). Let's assume you destroy a Carrier, 4 Terzas, another carrier, then three more Terzas. Your score, jackpot, and hidden CP total would progress as follows: 1) Cargo Carrier destroyed (score: 100, CP: 2, Jackpot: 0) 2) Terza 1 destroyed (score: 400, CP: 8, Jackpot: 0) 3) Terza 2 destroyed (score: 700, CP: 14, Jackpot: 0) 4) Terza 3 destroyed (score: 1010, CP: 20, Jackpot: 10) 5) Terza 4 destroyed (score: 1330, CP: 26, Jackpot: 20) 6) Cargo Carrier destroyed (score: 1450, CP: 28, Jackpot: 20) 7) Terza 5 destroyed (score: 1770, CP: 34, Jackpot: 20) 8) Terza 6 destroyed (score: 2100, CP: 40, Jackpot: 30) 9) Terza 7 destroyed (score: 2440, CP: 46, Jackpot: 40) Hitting an enemy with a charge shot (of either level) seems award you with double the amount of regular points and CP, but the Jackpot bonus seems unaffected. Despite the multipliers that appear all over the screen when you set off a chain combo, this doubling appears to be the only bonus you get. A future revision will include a list of enemy point and CP values. _____________________________________________________________________________ [VI] TWO PLAYER MODE _____________________________________________________________________________ Zanac Neo is a two-player simultaneous game. Two player mode can be selected by pressing start on the second controller during the game start screen. Each player may select a different profile in order to keep their game stats separate. Players may select the same ship if they wish, even with the FC- Custom. The second player's ship color will vary slightly from the one-player color: Ship Player One Color Player Two Color ---- ---------------- ---------------- Knife-Edge Red Pink(!) Scar-Face Blue Green Hammer-Duke Green Yellow FC Custom White Dark Grey The game is over when both players run out of ships. When one of the two players runs out of ships, then he can take one of the other player's ships by pressing Start. Zanac Neo does offer the option for a second player to join in a current one player game. By pressing start, the second player will take one of the first player's ships, and will then be given the option to choose his ship type on- screen. In this case a player profile cannot be used. [Note] Two player mode is easier than one-player mode because both players use the same combo number, instead of having individual combos and splitting enemies between them. With twice the firepower, it is much easier to prevent any enemies from leaving the screen and thus run up a huge combo, awarding millions of points. This gives a tremendous amount of bonus ships to both players, increasing total resources available. If you want to compensate for this effect you can play at a higher difficulty level for a similar challenge. _____________________________________________________________________________ [VII] THE MAIN GUN _____________________________________________________________________________ The main gun on all three "standard" ships of Zanac Neo is a forward firing projectile (non-piercing, see below definitions) weapon. A maximum of three shots can be on the screen at once; no further shots can be fired until one of the three projectiles hits an enemy or leaves the screen. This means that firing at an enemy from close range does damage faster than firing at an enemy from long range. However, a built-in delay between shots prevents the gun from firing infinitely fast when you are hitting an enemy at close range. This delay can be reduced by obtaining red landers. The power per shot of the main gun is constant and cannot be increased. However, obtaining power chips (yellow spheres) from boxes (blue cubes) can increase the weapon's width and the velocity of the bullet. Having a large hit area is important; in the case of a miss, the bullet would have to travel to the top of the screen and exit prior to "re-use", thus slowing the gun down. A higher shot speed means you fire faster at long range targets, because the traveling time to the target is shorter. The age-old axiom of shooters applies here: dying in Zanac Neo means that you will go back down to 0 chips on your main gun. The following chart outlines the effects of gaining power chips from boxes on gun width measured in percent of ship width (e.g. 100 = same width as your ship), and bullet velocity in ship widths per second. Chips Req. Gun Total Bullet Required Type Shot Velocity Width ---------- -------- ----- -------- 0 Thin Single Beam 17 22.4 1 Thick Single Beam 27 24.7 2 Thin Double Beams 60 28.2 3 Thick Double Beams 70 31.3 4 Thin/Thick/Thin Triple Beam 77 33.9 5 Thick/Thin/Thin/Thick Quad Beam 113 36.8 32* Wide Beam (six beams) 157 40.3 ** Blast Mode Beam 113 40.3 * The Wide shot is a special weapon that can be obtained by getting an equivalent of 32 power chips without changing subweapons (five-chip bonus is allowed). You can power up your current subweapon without losing this count. An alternate way to get the Wide shot is to shoot an Eye-eye. ** The shot width in blast mode is fixed regardless of power chips collected. Yes, this means your shot width actually decreases in blast mode if you already have the wide shot. The chart indicates that when firing at long range targets, Blast Mode fires almost twice as fast as the starting gun, which is why it is often useful to switch to Blast Mode following ship death. When firing at extremely close range (see "rushing"), there is no shot travel time and thus all the guns deliver damage at a rate limited by your ship's built-in shot delay, which is approximately 100 milliseconds (10 bullets per second). Getting red landers decreases this shot delay (see below), allowing high-speed close range fire. [VII.1] Five-Chip Bonus ======================== Power chips are obtained from boxes that float down the screen sporadically during the game. The boxes always come in sets of three and require five shots to destroy. If you shoot a box four times, you will see it flash, giving a clue to the contents of the box: Box Appearance Effect when destroyed -------------- --------------------- Flashing Red When destroyed, the box lets out two destructible shots aimed toward the lower left and lower right of the box. Flashing White When destroyed, the box simply disintegrates without firing shots. Flashing Circle When destroyed, the box releases a Power Chip. Normally, when the player rams a box, the ship is destroyed. However, if the player intentionally hits a box that happens to contain a power chip in it, five power chips will be obtained instead of one. You will only get the five chips if you have not shot the box more than three times. The idea is to "gamble" on a box and get five chips in return. However, ramming the boxes when you are invincible *is* allowed and forms a major strategy of the game at high difficulties. [Note] Obtaining level 5 on the main gun is not difficult in Zanac. The mark of an veteran player is using the five-chip bonus to immediately regain lost power after losing a ship, preventing the loss of several ships in a row (i.e. the "R-type effect"). During the period of invincibility when you get a new ship, you should immediately ram all of the boxes in the immediate area *without* firing your primary or secondary weapon. If you are firing, you will hit the boxes as you advance on them, and negate the five-chip bonus. The five-chip bonus is also critical to getting the 32 chips necessary for wide shot if no Eye-eye is available. [Note] Possession of certain weapons that you can't "turn off" makes the five-chip bonus more difficult to get. Notably, that would be all W3 weapons, GW2, FCW2, and maybe GW6. [Note] In Zanac NES the WHITE boxes fired the bullets, and the RED boxes simply disintegrated. After ten years of Zanac, this was hard to get used to. [VII.2] The Three Shell Game ============================= So, how do you identify which box has the chip in it without being invincible? You can figure this out by shooting some of the boxes four times to peek at what is in them. The boxes appear to come in only three distinct patterns: Type I. One Red Box, One White Box, One Power Chip (most common) Type II. Three White Boxes (less common) Type III. One Red Box, Two Power Chips (less common) [Note] Given one set of three boxes, peek in each box one at a time by shooting them four times each. If the first box you shoot is a power chip, take it and use the invincibility to ram the remaining two boxes (and any other nearby boxes!) in the hope that it is Type III and you will get another power chip. If the first two boxes are red and white, then the trio is Type I and you should ram the last box for the power chip. If the two boxes are white and white, then they are Type II, so you can shoot or ignore the last white box. Finally, if you get one red box and one power chip, then grab the power chip and ram the last box. The last box will most likely be a white box (Type I) but there is a small chance of getting another power chip (Type III). As a final note, when there are so many boxes that they overlap on screen, you're much better off shooting until you find a power chip and then using the resulting invincibility to ram the whole mass of the boxes. In chart form: First Box Second Box You should... --------- ---------- ------------- Chip -> Take chip and ram other boxes Red Chip Take chip and ram other box Red White Ram last box for chip White Red Ram last box for chip White Chip Ignore last box, it's red White White Ignore last box, it's white [Note] Using these techniques, you can easily get the wide shot by picking six boxes during the zeroth level, if you are not concentrating on anything else (like combos or point counting). _____________________________________________________________________________ [VIII] LANDERS _____________________________________________________________________________ Under certain conditions (described below), destroying a subweapon carrier can produce a blue lander. A blue lander appears as a round blue happy face with huge eyes, which slowly travels up the screen. Shooting a blue lander a number of times turns it red, at which point it changes its motion to slowly travel down the screen. Touching a blue lander gives you a free ship. However, touching a red lander both gives you a free ship AND also decreases your fire delay. Red landers are extremely important because they increase the effective damage rate of your main gun (which you use all the time, regardless of subweapon), and their effects are *permanent* and remain with you the rest of the game regardless of ship destruction. For the three Neo ships, red landers stop giving positive benefits after the third lander. For the FC Custom, benefits extend beyond this. The following chart gives approximate weapon delays in milliseconds and the damage delivered in shots per second when rushing (i.e. you are on top of your target): # Red Landers Delay (msec) Shots/Sec ------------- ---------- --------- 0 100 10 1 85 12 2 67 15 3 50 20 4 " " etc. There are no apparent benefits from getting a blue lander besides the free man, so you should always attempt to turn it red before touching it. [Note] Neither blue landers nor red landers give you the complimentary period of invulnerability that other powerups do...so be sure not to try to ram things after taking the lander! [VIII.1] Score Counting ===================== Blue landers can be made to appear by hitting either a fixed (red) or random (green) weapon carrier with a subweapon (not the main gun). Landers only appear this way when certain parts of your score match the total number of shot you have fired with your main gun. Total means the sum of all bullets in the game; this number is also maintained between levels. Main Gun Lander appears when score is: Shots Fired ----------- ----------------------------- Zero 0-999, 10000-10999, 20000-20999, 30000-30999, etc. 1 1000-1999, 11000-11999, 21000-20999, 31000-31999, etc. 2 2000-2999, 12000-12999, 22000-22999, 32000-32999, etc. . . . 9 9000-9999, 19000-19999, 29000-29999, 39000-39999, etc. Thus, for the first nine shots fired in the game, landers will appear when you hit the weapon carrier with a subweapon when the thousands digit of your score matches the number of shots you have fired. After nine shots the pattern changes. We don't yet know what the new lander criterion is, but landers appear periodically through the game if you hit carriers with your subweapon. [Note] Obtaining your first red lander is easy: simply do not fire your main gun at the start of the game. When the first weapon carrier comes out (Weapon 0) then shoot it with your subweapon only. Continue to shoot the lander with W0 until it turns red, and then take it. After that, you can either start shooting with your main gun (ruining the score counting trick) or continue to use only your secondary weapon. If you can keep your score at below 1000, you can certainly get the next weapon carrier (W1) to turn into a lander. After your score goes over 1000, then you can either try to survive with just your secondary weapon until 10000, or fire shots on your main gun until it matches your score in the thousands digit again. Just remember that after nine shots, this trick stops working. If you want to try to get a bunch of free men, then you only have a few chances every 10000 points, but you can keep this up indefinitely as long as you don't fire your main gun. [Note] In Zanac Neo, the red landers quit increasing your firing speed after you get three, them so after that point they are just giving you free men. If you're a super dodger you can try get through the whole first level without firing your primary weapon, but unless you are playing on Easy or Normal this is probably not feasible. It is recommended that you go for the first three landers to maximize your firing speed; this will help in the late game. [Note] However, with the FC custom, the red landers keep giving firing speed increases to the fifth lander, and the fifth one increases your firing rate by an incredible amount. The FC custom turns into a killing machine at this point, so you may want to consider trying to keep the landers going until you reach this point. You may break even in ships, but you will certainly have the firepower advantage for the rest of the game. [Note] During the entire game, it is probably best to try to hit every weapon carrier with your subweapon rather than your main weapon, in the hopes of getting it to turn into a lander. _____________________________________________________________________________ [IX] ZANAC INVULNERABILITY _____________________________________________________________________________ A major feature of the original Zanac NES game was the short period of invulnerability which followed pickup of any power chip or subweapon powerup. This is also part of Zanac Neo's gameplay and understanding how to exploit this invulnerability is the most important point in the game. Invulnerability times have been vastly extended in Zanac Neo over Zanac NES. Picking up a power chip now gives you a short (2 second) period of invulnerability, and a subweapon pickup gives you a long (5 second) period. You are also given a short (2 second) period of invulnerability when you regain control after losing a ship. Along with the five-chip bonus strategies listed above, several other methods exploiting this invulnerability are suggested. [Note] If you pick up a subweapon (5 seconds) and then immediately pick up a power chip, your invulnerability time is cut to 2 seconds. And no, invulnerability times are not additive. [IX.1] Rushing ============== Rushing is racing forward with your ship toward a fixed target during a period of invulnerability to shoot the enemy from close range. For the primary weapon and for weapons in which only one set of bullets can be on the screen at a time, damage can be increased greatly by parking the ship point blank to the target, especially after several red landers are obtained. Obviously, this strategy only works with careful invulnerability timing. Time may be too short to approach the enemy, fire, and retreat, so you may need to pick up the invulnerability on the way up to the target, or use "jumping" (see below). [IX.2] Invulnerability Jumping ============================= Invulnerability jumping involves timing your item grab rate so that you grab additional powerups just when your last period of invulnerability is up, thus "chaining" the invulnerability together. If there are enough powerups and you have good timing, you can stay invulnerable for tens of seconds this way. During breaks in the powerup run, you can activate blast mode to keep yourself alive. When you are near a ground target, jumping can be used to keep you close to the target for several more seconds over simple rushing. While commonly jumping is done with power chips only (to keep your proper subweapon), occasionally it is used with subweapons too where you are completely overwhelmed but there are plenty of subweapons onscreen (Level 8, the section with the weapon-soaking "squid"). In this case, you would simply take whatever is available to survive, and switch back to your chosen subweapon when you reach the boss. Conveniently, there is a green powerup just before the level 8 boss for that purpose. [IX.3] Caching Invulnerability ============================= In later stages and higher difficulty levels, you can sit next to power chips instead of taking them immediately. When you really need the invulnerability (such as when rushing through a difficult enemy fire pattern) then you take the chip as necessary. This can save on use of Blast Mode and provides a small advantage during play. It's best to stay directly to the left or right of the chip rather than above or below or on a diagonal, this will reduce errors in grab timing. _____________________________________________________________________________ [X] CHARGE SHOT AND BLAST MODE _____________________________________________________________________________ [X.1] Charge Gauge =================== The meter in the lower left of the screen is the charge shot gauge, which is used to fire charge shots or activate blast mode. The gauge can hold up to two complete bars of energy. The first fill bar is green and the second (overlapping the first) is red. There are several ways to charge the gauge: 1. The gauge fills up slowly over time, at a rate of 4%(bar)/second 2. Destroying enemies of any size fills the gauge at 2.5%(bar)/enemy 3. Taking any subweapon powerup fills the gauge with one entire bar (100%) 4. BW2 Energy Charger will increase gauge by absorbing enemy bullets 5. When you die, if you have less than one full bar of charge then you will be awarded enough to make it one full (green) bar. 6. Shooting and hitting some multihit targets (such as bosses) increases your gauge. Thus, if no shooting is done, the gauge will fill to two complete bars in 50 seconds. Note that while you are in Blast Mode, methods 1, 2, and 6 of gaining gauge energy are disabled. [Note] On Very Hard difficulty (only), you do not get the complimentary free bar of charge gauge a la method 5. Method 5 holds only on Hard difficulty and below. [X.2] Charge Shot ================== If the gauge has at least one entire bar of energy, then pressing the charge shot button will fire a large shot of plasma which travels up the screen, absorbing bullets and causing chain explosions if it touches an enemy. This use of the charge shot consumes one entire bar from the gauge (100%). If the gauge is full with two complete bars, the charge shot will be much larger and the corresponding explosions will also be larger, making it easier to chain the explosions together. This use consumes the entire two-bar gauge (200%). [Note] If you want to fire a single-bar charge shot, enter blast mode by holding down the charge shot button, then immediately press the button again after entering blast mode. You'll fire only a single bar shot, and exit blast mode. [Note] Resist the urge to use Charge Shot with a single bar (especially right after you die) UNLESS YOU KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING, because it is easy to miss or have a very small effect. Even with two bars, there are very few times where Charge Shot is actually superior to Blast Mode for the average player. In particular, it is most effective when fighting ground enemies which emit swarms of those round flying enemies that move in a circular motion; the resulting explosions can cause lots of damage to ground targets. Also, Charge Shot is quite good halfway through Level 0 where the huge ship comes down with a swarm of smaller enemies. [Note] ...that said, videos by ZEX, which can be viewed on www.zanacxzanac.com, show how charge shot is used by an expert. Charge shot is important in score trial situations because of its property of doubling CP bonuses. ZEX shows that in a score trial situation, it is so important to increase jackpot that he regularly sacrifices ships simply to gain gauge charge through method 5 [X.1], and changes subweapons almost constantly in order to take advantage of method 3. ZEX attempts to hit as many things as possible with charge shots, using single bar shots against groups of enemies such as sets of boxes. His methods pay off; after a while his jackpot is so high that he is gaining free ships every few seconds, resulting in scores like 1,700,000 by the end of Area 0. Given this strategy, perhaps protection of a few ships by using Blast Mode might come in second to scoring. [Note] The real purpose of the whole charge gauge thing becomes more obvious when playing on Very Hard. Blast Mode serves as defense when you have offensive weapons. Likewise, Charge Shot serves as offense when you have defensive weapons (e.g. W2, W3). This occurred to me when fighting against fortress bosses on Very Hard; it is very difficult to actually damage such fortresses when you have W2 or W3 since the enemy destructible bullets block your main gun shots! When you are using shields, then the most potent weapon you have is by far Charge Shot, which produces explosions similar in power to a W6. The trick is that it doesn't do much damage when you fire into a single target. The best use of Charge Shot against bosses is fired into a group of Velos. An acceptable alternative is to fire into a group of boxes. If you want to do this, don't shoot the boxes; get on the other side of the screen; you can briefly use the blast mode "plasma shield" to cross the screen before firing. [X.3] Blast Mode ================= When the charge gauge has at least one entire bar of energy, you can enter blast mode by holding the charge shot button until the plasma bolt flies back into your ship. In blast mode, your gun changes to an arc the width of the ship, and it also blocks "indestructible" enemy bullets. In addition, your subweapons turn green and they gain the additional ability to block indestructible enemy bullets. While you are in blast mode the charge gauge drains at a rate of 20%(bar) per second; two full bars will last 10 seconds. You will leave blast mode under the following conditions: 1. You run out of charge gauge energy. 2. Your ship is destroyed. 3. If you still have at least one bar of energy in your gauge, you can fire a charge shot, consuming one bar and exiting blast mode. 4. The level ends. Blast Mode is an important part of Zanac Neo, and is generally more useful than the Charge Shot in higher areas and difficulties. Since most non-FC custom weapons do not block bullets, Blast Mode is necessary in order to avoid certain death from large amount of unblockable bullets (Very Hard mode, late game ground bosses come to mind!). Blast mode also creates a ball (very large when you have two full bars) which flies out in front of the ship a short distance before returning. That ball absorbs enemy indestructible bullets and can be used as a last-minute panic shield. Blast mode is best used in the following circumstances. 1. You have just died and you need a decent primary weapon in order to score some power chips 2. At the beginning of a boss battle, use Blast Mode to safely reduce the number of ground turrets, especially those close to you or far to the side (reducing the number of attack angles you have to concentrate on) 3. To save yourself versus a sudden fusillade of bullet(s) flying at the front of your ship (e.g. panic shield) [Note] It is often useful to immediately start blast mode when you lose a ship and return with a peashooter (0th-level main gun), starting right when your 2-second invincibility runs out. Blast mode will give you the equivalent of a 5-chip main gun for a few seconds. This might not be necessary if there are boxes nearby to ram (see 5-chip bonus, above), so you will have to make the call. [Note] During a boss battle, if you start a two-bar blast mode and then destroy a boss, then immediately hit the charge shot button and fire a single-bar shot. You will lose one bar of gauge but you will exit blast mode and immediately begin recharging the gauge during the dead time following the boss. This is preferable to waiting until your entire gauge runs out before recharging. You can also do this if you just want to use the ball as a shield; if you fire immediately after then you will be back to two full bars in 25 seconds. [Note] In blast mode, your main gun projectiles are piercing with respect to enemy indestructible bullets. That is, a shot will absorb and pass through indestructible shots. Curiously, destructible shots still block your blast mode shots, so anything firing indestructible bullets will still be hard to hit with the main gun. [Note] You can extend your gauge time while in blast mode by taking subweapon powerups. This does not end blast mode. However, destroying enemies does not give you extra gauge time. [Note] If you have a controller that vibrates (i.e. a Dual Shock or a Dual Shock 2) then the controller will vibrate when you fire in Blast Mode. I imagine this is to let you know when you run out of Blast Mode, so you can then get out of the way of shots heading toward you. ____________________________________________________________________________ [XI] ZANAC NEO SUBWEAPONS _____________________________________________________________________________ The most distinctive feature of Zanac Neo is the availability of a variety of subweapons. Eight different subweapons, numbered from 0 to 7, are available for each ship. Each ship has its own distinctive set of weapons, which vary from rotating shields to grenades to remote controlled energy balls. You can increase your subweapon's power level by taking numbered powerups during the game. Each weapon has a distinctive type of gameplay needed to maximize its benefits. You can either match your gameplay to a particular weapon type, or (better yet) change your gameplay to adapt to each particular weapon's strengths. Your ship can only carry one subweapon at a time. If you change weapons, then your old weapon goes into "storage". If you later change back to your stored weapon, then you will start at the last power level you gained. If your ship is destroyed, your current and stored weapons will drop in power; the type of drop will depend on the game's set difficulty level; see "Difficulty Level" for details. [Note] You do not gain any weapon power levels when you switch weapons, so it is usually a good idea to concentrate on one weapon instead of continually switching weapon types. To do this you will have to ignore or even avoid powerups of a different weapon number than your current weapon. Do this. [Note] Unlike in Zanac NES, you keep your current subweapon type if you lose your ship. In Zanac NES, you went back to Level 0, Weapon 0 every time you lost a ship. [XI.1] Subweapon Powerup ========================= Your ship begins the game with Level 0 of Weapon 0, regardless of the ship type. Occasionally, weapon carriers will travel down the screen carrying subweapon powerups. They appear as small ships with arms grasping numbers marked from 0-7. Shooting a weapon carrier will cause it to release its powerup; if you leave it alone for a few seconds it will quickly leave the screen (ending your combo if you have one). If you take a powerup which matches the number of your current weapon, you gain another level of that weapon. If the number does not match, then the powerup switches your weapon number to its own number, with no increase in weapon level. There are two types of weapon carriers: red carriers and green ("roulette") carriers. Red weapon carriers appear periodically on the side opposite to the side your ship is on. That is, if you are on the right side, then it appears on the left side and vice versa. The red carrier that appears at the start of the game carries weapon 0. Each red carrier that appears after that carries a weapon one higher; the next carrier will carry weapon 1, then 2, and so forth until it reaches 7. The next one will be a green carrier, then the cycle will start over at 0. This means if you want to build up a weapon you will have to wait through six other red carriers to reach your chosen weapon (but at least you'll get a green one along the way.) Unlike red subweapon powerups, the numbers on green powerups change. After the carrier is destroyed and the carrier is released, the on-screen powerup counts up in number slowly. The number on the powerup when you take it is the subweapon number that you get. At the point you destroy the carrier, the subweapon always reads two numbers below your current subweapon number, giving you some time to get to it if you want to improve your current weapon. [Note] From time to time a carrier (either red or green) will appear in the center of the screen. Their appearances (and the subweapon powerup they carry) are predetermined and are not affected (nor do they affect) the usual cycle described above. [Note] Ramming a green carrier (without shooting it first) will give you one level in your current weapon regardless of the number displayed when you hit it. Unlike in Zanac NES, ramming carriers does not cause you to lose your ship. [Note] If you want to improve weapon 0 at the beginning of the game, and you want to do point counting (see above), then you can simply ram the first red carrier. _____________________________________________________________________________ [XII] ZANAC NEO SHIP ANALYSIS (SUBJECTIVE) _____________________________________________________________________________ Nomenclature (These are subjective definitions) =============================================== Offensive: I consider "offensive weapons" as those that deal out a lot of damage quickly but leave the ship relative unprotected. Either weapon fires slow and/or covers very little area, and/or does not protect sides/rear of ship. Usually piercing. You can destroy armored targets faster with Offensive weapons. Defensive: Protects ship better by dealing smaller amounts of damage over a wider area. Fires fast and/or covers a lot of screen area and/or protects side/back of ship and/or blocks enemy indestructible bullets. I generally die less with Defensive Weapons. General Use/ Weapon is good for general use against either small or fast Combos: enemies or larger enemies. Weapon has wide enough area to keep up combos. [XII.1] Knife-Edge (R): For Expert Players ============================================ Ship Speed: Fast (10.4 ship widths/sec) Fast and built toward combos, but subweapons are generally weaker and more difficult to learn to use. Unlike in many other shooters, speed actually counts in Zanac because sometimes you need to get to the other side of the screen to keep your combo going. Use weapon 7 to hold combos. It is probably the best weapon of any of the three main ship types for combos, because it is fast firing and has a wide area (including rear and side attacks), the down side being that it takes a lot of pickups to power up. You can use weapon 4 for quick destruction of ground bosses or those moving relatively slow. Weapons 4, 5, and 6 have a good deal of power and can be used for boss battles. Weapon 6 has excellent power and decent area if you build it up, but relatively low defense. Weapon 5 is awkward to use due to slow shot speed but is acceptable if there are no powerful alternatives. Weapon 2 (like all shields) is good against some late-game ground-based bosses and enemies that fire hordes of bullets straight at you (such as when dropping down the steel corridor in the last level). However, neither the gun nor the shield is particularly effective (compared to other guns or shields), although it has a fast firing rate at upper levels. Weapon 1 is easy to use, decently fast, and relatively powerful, but it cannot protect you against side attacks. I general I avoid weapon 0; it's simply too difficult to use for anything but the most specialized of situations (such as when you desperately need to fend of attacks coming directly from the side). Weapon 3 is a decent shield at higher levels, but I get the feeling it tries to be an offensive shield and ends up not being as effective as it could be. Summary: Offensive <-> Defensive: 6 5 4 1 2 3 0 7 General Use, Combos: 7 Boss Use: 4, 6 Avoid: 0 [XII.2] Scar-Face (B): For Veteran Players ======================================== Ship Speed: Medium (8.5 ship widths/sec) Very versatile, but a little weaker on combo weapons. Use weapon 0 or 7 for combos, since they are versatile and fast (7 need a couple of levels to have any effect though). You will want to keep weapon 0 for a little while to point count landers. Bosses can be handled more easily with Weapon 5 or Weapon 6. Weapon 5 is easier to use in general situations but Weapon 6 probably does more damage, especially at higher power levels. Weapon 2 is an interesting weapon that is great fun for play but it's probably a little bit difficult to hold a combo with unless you are an expert; lots of bullet eating but you can use Charge Shot continuously. Weapon 3 is also very good for static bosses, but it is rather weak at low levels and it has very weak combo ability. It becomes more efficient at higher difficulties where everything is trying to kill you. Weapon 1, like W1 (R), has decent power, decent fire rate, and decent protection, but is fairly mundane except in blast mode and never covers that much area. I generally avoid weapon 4, which has practically nothing to recommend it except perhaps blocking bullets in blast mode (large area). Summary: Offensive <-> Defensive: 6 5 1 4 2 7 0 3 General Use, Combos: 0, 7 Boss Use: 5, 6 (Offensive); or 2, 3 (defensive) Avoid: 4 [XII.3] Hammer-Duke (G): For Beginning Players ============================================ Ship Speed: Slow (7.8 ship widths/sec) Lots of powerful weaponry, but slow speed and low firing rates/areas generally inhibit combos. Weapon 6 is quite amazing, use it for combos since it can shoot in any direction and fire rate is not bad since it is piercing. Weapon 7 is also a good choice due to area of effect, but it will be a little hard since fire rate is low. Hammer Duke has a powerful weapon 1, but it has pretty much the smallest area of effect; this makes it very dangerous (read: impossible) to use at higher difficulties. The AI also senses when you pick up a W1 and adjusts its strategy to attack from the side. Weapon 5 is powerful even at low levels, so it is a potential option against bosses, though it takes an expert to use it effectively against smaller enemies. It can fire in any direction as a straight shot so theoretically it's a replacement for the W0, which is quite ineffective. Avoid W0, it's seems really difficult to use effectively. I also avoid W4, since there isn't much you can do with it except perhaps block small enemies who are trying to ram you, or use in blast mode to block a large area of bullets. Much better options are available in either case. W3 has its moments, especially at higher power levels, but you still have to be careful because it doesn't block everything. W2 might be effective, but at lower levels it just runs out of juice too fast. I suspect the same situation would occur against higher level bosses that fire a bazillion bullets at a time. Plus W2 is not much of a combo helper. Summary: Offensive <-> Defensive: 1 5 6 7 0 4 2 3 General Use, Combos: Weapon 6 (G), Weapon 7 (G) Boss Use: Weapon 6 (G); or Weapon 5 (G), maybe Weapon 2 (G) (defensive) or possibly W1 Avoid: Weapon 0, Weapon 4 _____________________________________________________________________________ [XIII] SUBWEAPON DESCRIPTION BY CATEGORY _____________________________________________________________________________ Although it is certainly true that the three ships available in Zanac Neo have different weapon sets, it must be noted that weapons of the same number have similar philosophies in terms of area covered, damage, etc. For ease of description, this review will give the weapons as categories compared between ships. See the previous section for the analysis of which weapon out of the 8 is best for a *given* ship (much more useful I suppose). To save space, ship weapons are abbreviated by their color for the normal three ships (R=Knife-Edge, G=Hammer-Duke, B=Scar-Face), or "FC" for FC Custom. This is followed by "W" and the weapon number, from 0 through 7. For example, "RW0" stands for Knife Edge, weapon 0. Nomenclature ============ Piercing - Weapon goes through enemies and shots without being destroyed; hits multiple times. RW1356 BW13456 GW1356 FCW13457 Projectile - Weapon stops when it hits an enemy or destroyable shot, dealing a fixed amount of damage instantly. RW0247 BW067 GW047 FCW06 Shielding - Weapon absorbs or destroys indestructible bullets without Blast Mode enabled. This doesn't necessarily mean it looks or acts like a shield. RW23 BW23 GW23 FC0*1234567 Rear/Side - Weapon fires to rear or side. Important ability which often increases the defensive ability of the weapon and helps in keeping combos Shot Limit - Method of shot limiting. Either "Leave Screen" which means total number of shots on screen is limited to a certain number, or "Fixed Rate" which means the weapon fires at a fixed rate no matter how quickly the shot leaves the screen. Some "Leave Screen" weapons are better for rushing. Max Level - The maximum level of the weapon. The first pickup of a weapon is level 0, not level 1. Neo - "Neo Ships" refers to the three normal ships, Knife Edge, Scar Face, and Hammer Duke, excluding the FC Custom ship. Likewise, "Neo Weapons" are the subweapons of those three ships, excluding FC Custom. [XIII.1] WEAPON 0 ================ A versatile and quick multidirectional shot, all three ships start with power level 0 of this weapon at the beginning of the game. Powering up generally gives it a larger shot, increasing its area of effectiveness, and its power. All three ships can direct the shot in any of the eight directions simply by moving the ship as the shot is fired. Only one W0 shot can be fired at a time; the shot must leave the screen or hit an enemy before another can be created. W0 is one of the few directed weapons which can attack enemies which are approaching from the side. Since these enemies are some of the more difficult in the game to deal with, W0 can be considered a more "defensive" weapon. Since W0 is also one of the few weapons in the game that can attack behind the player's ship, it can be used to keep combos alive in expert play. -----RW0 Reverse Cannon Weapon Type: Projectile Rear/Side: Rear and Side Shot Limit: Leave Screen Max Level: 3 Level 0: 8-way reverse shot, small energy arc Level 1: 8-way reverse shot, large energy arc (increase shot area) Level 2: 8-way reverse shot, two large energy arcs (increase shot area & power) Level 3: 8-way reverse shot, two large energy arcs + 1 small energy arc (increase shot power) Knife Edge has the Reverse Cannon, a W0 that fires opposite of the direction the ship is traveling. If the ship is standing still, the weapon fires opposite to the last direction the ship moved in. This W0 is generally similar to but not quite as useful as BW0. Higher levels increase the shot area and power by increasing the size and number of energy arcs. RW0 is one of the few (R) weapons that defends the ship from the side, but it is difficult to use even for experts and perhaps RW3 would serve just as well. [Note] Firing opposite to the ship's trajectory is more conservative and allows you to retreat and fire at the same time, but under many circumstances you are traveling toward the enemy and thus you can't use the Reverse Cannon without some extra effort. Rushing for instance is particularly difficult. -----BW0 All Range Cannon Weapon Type: Projectile Rear/Side: Rear and Side Shot Limit: Leave Screen Max Level: 3 Level 0: 8-way straight shot, small energy arc (<1 ship width) Level 1: 8-way straight shot, large energy arc (increase shot area - 1 ship width) Level 2: 8-way straight shot, two large energy arcs (increase shot area & power - 2 ship width) Level 3: 8-way straight shot, two large energy arcs + 1 small energy arc (increase shot power - 2 ship width) Scar Face (B) has the All Range Cannon W0, the successor to the original Zanac's W0. The ARC fires a quick arc of energy in the direction the ship is traveling. If the ship is standing still, the weapon fires straight forward by default, which makes it much easier to use than the other two W0s. Like other W0s, higher levels increase the shot area and power by increasing the size and number of energy arcs. Although beginners may have trouble aiming the weapon at first, the ARC is practically the only precision weapon in the game, allowing one to hit specific targets but missing others (e.g. boxes); thus, it is perfect for experts. [Note] The All Range Cannon is overlooked by many players as a weak weapon, but in fact it is extremely powerful. Like all other W0s, the ARC can only have one "bullet group" on the screen at a time. However, it is more or less the best weapon for rushing, and if you are close to your enemy, the combination of BW0 and your main gun will quickly destroy any target. This is best used by making a sudden rush from the bottom of the screen to close range shortly after gaining invincibility. The combination of the forward weapon together with the quick shot of the ARC will do incredible damage. Rushing is the primary reason why I consider the Reverse Cannon to be the weaker weapon; rushing is considerably more difficult with that weapon. [Note] If you are going to make a precision shot at an enemy with W0, stop firing W0 for a split second before you do it. This assures that you will actually have a bullet to use when you make the shot, and you will be moving in the proper direction when you make the shot. -----GW0 Twin Cannon Weapon Type: Projectile Rear/Side: Rear and Side Shot Limit: Leave Screen Max Level: 3 Level 0: 8-way double shot, small energy arc (<1 ship width) Level 1: 8-way double shot, large energy arc (<1 ship width) Level 2: 8-way double shot, large energy arc, increased weapon speed Level 3: 8-way double shot, 2 large energy arcs, increased weapon speed Hammer Duke (G) has the Twin Cannon W0. At first glance, the Twin Cannon appears to be a combination of the All Range (BW0) and Reverse (RW0) Cannons. The Twin cannon fires two arcs of energy, one in the direction the ship is facing, and another directly opposite. Like with RW0, if the ship is standing still, the weapon fires in the last direction the ship was moved, rather than defaulting to a forward shot. Higher levels increase the shot area and power by increasing the size and number of energy arcs. [Note] The Twin Cannon is a significant defensive weapon against side opponents, as the ship can be maneuvered so that the Twin Cannons fire left and right and the ship fires forward, covering a great deal of area. If maximum damage is desired, the fire rate of the Twin Cannon is maximized if the ship is halfway between the target and the edge of the screen. [Note] Unfortunately, the Twin Cannon is significantly weaker than both other W0s because both shots must hit the enemy or leave the screen before another can be fired. Thus, rushing is impossible and this removes much of the offensive potential of this weapon. [XIII.2] WEAPON 1 ================ All W1s are forward firing lasers or cannons which are generally very powerful but cover very limited areas, providing little defense from side attacks. W1s are all piercing weapons and are not destroyed on contact with enemies but rather travel through them to damage all enemies in a straight line to the top of the screen. Using a W1 is generally a fairly risky proposition; since your main weapon also fires forward, this strategy puts all its eggs in one basket. Increases in power level generally add a little bit of width and a great deal of destructive power to this weapon. Sometimes when a W1 is taken the Zanac AI automatically releases a wave of side- attacking enemies in order to try to take advantage of the player's weak spot. -----RW1 Wide Crusher Weapon Type: Piercing Ball Rear/Side: No Shot Limit: Leave Screen Max Level: 4 Level 0: Slow, sinusoidal ball (straight fire, width of ship, sinusoid covers 2 ship width) Level 1: Fast sinusoidal ball (double shot speed/rate of fire) Level 2: Very Fast sinusoidal ball (~triple shot speed/rate of fire) Level 3: Two Fast double-helix balls (increase shot power, decrease rate of fire(?)) Level 4: Two Very Fast double-helix balls (increase shot speed) Knife Edge (R) has the Wide Crusher W1. This weapon simply creates a ball of energy and hurls it forward, much like Weapon 1 from the original Zanac. Wide Crusher has a slight sinusoidal motion which makes the effective area the largest of any Neo ship W1. Increasing power level means a faster fire rate, and at level 3 and beyond a wide shot of two energy balls (which effectively doubles weapon power). The weapon is generally fairly useful and not too difficult to use, but provides little protection from the side. [Note] At low power levels, the weapon is fairly slow; this means that targets must be chosen carefully...firing indiscriminately means that part of the time the subweapon is basically useless. One way to improve fire rate is to fire the weapon while your ship is higher up on the screen. This allows the bullet to leave the screen quicker. -----BW1 Slasher Weapon Type: Piercing Laser Rear/Side: No (but see notes) Shot Limit: Leave Screen Max Level: 5 Level 0: Thin cloak, thin laser (slow rate of fire) Level 1: Thin cloak, thin laser (fast rate of fire) Level 2: Large cloak, large laser (slow rate of fire) Level 3: Large cloak, large laser (fast rate of fire) Level 4: Huge cloak, laser (slow rate of fire) Level 5: Huge cloak, laser (fast rate of fire) Scar Face (B) has the Slasher W1. Slasher BW1 gathers a cloak of energy for a brief second around the ship before firing forward a beam composed of that same energy. The beam is thus fairly wide near the ship but gets thinner as it travels away from the ship. Increasing power levels increase both the cloak and the beam size, or increase firing rate. [Note] Although the beam speed (and thus firing rate) is relatively fast, the formation of the cloak means there is a significant delay between button press and firing of the beam. In addition, Slasher is rather thin, especially at lower levels. The thin beam and firing delay makes it nearly impossible to hit a small flying enemy accurately at lower power levels. The cloak can also damage and destroy enemies near the ship, which makes it somewhat effective as a defensive weapon, but until Slasher reaches higher levels, neither beam nor cloak will be large enough to be effective. [Note] The cloak remains where the subweapon button was pressed and the beam fires from that location. An advanced strategy is to use the cloak as a sort of portable shield. When an enemy approaches from the side, the cloak can be set and then the ship moved in order to escape the enemy. Many times, the pursuing enemy will simply run into the cloak and be destroyed. This gives BW1 some side defense potential. [Note] At the highest level (5), the cloak is large enough to actually cover all of the ship plus some. When blast mode is used, Slasher fires fast enough to actually be a decent all-around shield against bullets. -----GW1 Banishing Laser Weapon Type: Piercing Laser Rear/Side: No Shot Limit: Fixed Rate Max Level: 3 Level 0: Thin (1/4 ship width) forward-firing beam Level 1: Medium (1/2 ship width) forward-firing beam, increased damage Level 2: Large (3/4 ship width) forward-firing beam, increased damage Level 3: Very large (1 1/2 ship width) forward-firing beam, increased damage Hammer Duke (G) has the Banishing Laser W1. This W1 is a powerful laser beam emitted from the front of the ship, traveling nearly instantaneously to the top of the screen. The laser is fired continuously for about a second, after which it needs a short (less than half a second) amount of time to recharge. While the laser is on, it follows the left/right movements of the ship and thus may be guided to "sweep" across and through targets. Increasing power levels increase the beam width and power, and at the highest power levels the beam is wider than the ship. Unlike many other weapons, the firing rate of this weapon is fixed; moving closer to the top of the screen does not affect the rate of fire. [Note] The "sweep" aspect makes this weapon much easier to use against normal enemies than both Wide Crusher and Slasher. However, the ship must stay directly in front of the target in order to hit it and this aspect of the Banishing Laser might prove inconvenient against fixed enemies or bosses. [XIII.3] WEAPON 2 ================ W2 weapons are all forward shields. They remain very close to the ship and protect the ship's front from enemy attacks. W2 weapons and W3 weapons are the only Neo weapons that can normally block indestructible enemy bullets. Although these weapons are passive, they can be very powerful, since possession of a W2 means the ship is almost immune to frontal enemy attacks. In Zanac Neo, using a small personal shield might be good defense but will partly sacrifice the ability to keep combos in advanced play. Also, sometimes when a W2 is taken the Zanac AI automatically releases a wave of side-attacking enemies in order to try to take advantage of the player's weak spot. -----RW2 Reflector Weapon Type: Shielding (Projectile) Rear/Side: No (No) Shot Limit: N/A (Fixed Rate) Max Level: 3 Level 0: Forward shield. Upon absorption, fires single stream of fast shots (~4 on screen at once) Level 1: Forward shield. Upon absorption, fires stream of fast shots which spray in a 30 degree arc Level 2: Forward shield. Upon absorption, fires spray of ~1.5x speed shots, 30 degree arc Level 3: Forward shield. Upon absorption, fires spray of ~double speed shots, 30 degree arc Knife Edge (R) has the Reflector W2. The Reflector is a small flower- shaped shield which protects the front of the ship from enemy bullets; it does not block enemy ships. The Reflector is approximately the width of the ship and does not protect from attacks which come from the side or rear. Since the shield is very small, moving to the left or right can easily cause you to eat a bullet; the shield is most useful against fixed targets. When the shield is hit, it begins to darken in color as it absorbs enemy bullets. After the shield has collected enemy bullets, it can be used to fire a stream of bullets by pressing the subweapon button. The shield can be used to fire until its store of bullets runs out (maximum ~10 seconds firing time), and further power levels increase the spread and rate of the fired bullets. Although the bullets are somewhat weak, they fire with amazing speed and a prodigious rate...and so this shield is actually a fairly effective weapon, if not a particularly good defense. Unfortunately, while the shield is in attack mode, it closes up into a much more compact shape, lowering its protection, and thus the attack mode should be used with caution. -----BW2 Energy Charger Weapon Type: Shielding Rear/Side: No Shot Limit: N/A Max Level: 2 Level 0: Forward shield. Upon absorption, charges supershot meter (20% bar/shot) (estimate) Level 1: Forward shield. Upon absorption, charges supershot meter (25% bar/shot) (estimate) Level 2: Forward shield. Upon absorption, charges supershot meter (33% bar/shot) (estimate) Scar Face (B) has the Energy Charger W2. This W2 is almost exactly like the Reflector in that it is a small shield that protects the front of the ship. It is very common to unintentionally eat bullets with your ship instead of the shield, since the shield is so small, and so like RW2 it is best against fixed targets. However, when Energy Charger blocks enemy shots, it charges the Charge Shot gauge instead of charging bullets. Needless to say, this is an incredible ability and successive power levels charge the gauge more per shot absorbed. Although the shield itself is an asset, the ability to charge the gauge faster is invaluable. This is best used with the Wide Shot primary weapon, for additional side defense. The Energy Charger, like Reflector, also does not block enemy ships. [Note] One of the obvious uses of the shield would be to stay in blast mode indefinitely. Unfortunately, that is difficult, since firing in blast mode destroys bullets that are in front of you... [Note] Of course, don't forget that you can fire your charge shot almost continuously when you have this weapon equipped. It could be said that using Energy Charger is much like having your charge shot as a subweapon. -----GW2 Shield Sphere Weapon Type: Shielding Rear/Side: No Shot Limit: N/A Max Level: 3 Level 0: Two forward shield spheres (~2 ship widths), each takes ~2 consecutive hits to reach minimum size. Level 1: Two forward shield spheres (~2 ship widths), increased sphere toughness Level 2: Two forward shield spheres (~2 ship widths), increased sphere toughness Level 3: Two forward shield spheres (~2 ship widths), increased sphere toughness Hammer Duke (G) has the Shield Sphere W2. The Shield Sphere is larger than both other ship's shields, and takes the form of two rotating spheres which cover an area of about twice the ship width and give good protection from frontal attacks. Like the other shields, the Shield Sphere blocks indestructible enemy bullets, but when a sphere blocks a bullet it shrinks in size, thus reducing the protection afforded. An extended attack can leave the ship nearly shieldless, although the spheres regrow in time. Higher power levels allow the spheres to take more damage before shrinking; also, since sphere regrowth rate is constant, higher level shields can more easily handle multiple consecutive bullets. The larger shield size gives good frontal protection even from moving targets (unlike Reflector W2 and Energy Charger W2), and in addition the shield blocks small enemy ships as well as their bullets. [Note] Try to avoid hitting enemy ships or power chip boxes with the shield. The five simultaneous hits will discharge the shield almost immediately. [XIII.4] WEAPON 3 ================ W3 weapons are all rotating shields, and can be considered the sons and daughters of the NES Zanac's W3. Unlike W2s, they stay a distance from your ship and orbit around it, protecting it to varying degrees from enemy fire (including indestructible enemy bullets). Whereas they cover more area than W2s, they are also by nature unpredictable, and need constant monitoring to make sure bullets do not get through, especially at lower levels. W3s protect better when you are not moving around too much, since moving toward a bullet increases the chance that it will get through the shield. In order to maximize the shield's chance of intercepting bullets, you should tap the directional pad to slowly back away from enemy bullets. Never purposefully head toward bullets; that will surely cause a few to pass through the shield. High velocity or "spinning" bullets also have a high chance of penetrating the shield, so watch for and avoid those bullets. W3 weapons damage enemies they contact, but for some reason they do not damage ground based enemies, and some larger flying enemies. W3s are more valuable at high difficulty levels where you just want to cut down the total amount of stuff flying at your ship, and you're not worried about destroying everything on the screen. -----RW3 Neo Circular Alpha Weapon Type: Shielding (Piercing) Rear/Side: Rear and Side Shot Limit: N/A Max Level: 3 Level 0: Rotating shield, small ball Level 1: Rotating shield, large ball Level 2: Rotating shields, 2 small balls with independent offset orbits Level 3: Rotating shields, 2 large balls with independent offset orbits Knife Edge (R) has the Neo Circular Alpha W3. This W3 consists of a reddish sphere that rotates around the ship quickly, blocking enemies and their bullets. However, when the NCAlpha hits an enemy, it will slow down ("stick") in order to deal more damage to it. Higher power levels increase the number and size of the rotating spheres; since each sphere slows down independently, having two spheres is much more useful than one. [Note] "Sticking" makes the NCAlpha deal somewhat more damage at close range, but it can play havoc with its defensive capabilities. In general, this attempt to increase shield offense at the cost of defense makes no sense, but since the shield rotation rate is high to begin with, it is still a useful subweapon. -----BW3 Neo Circular Beta Weapon Type: Shielding (Piercing) Rear/Side: Rear and Side Shot Limit: N/A Max Level: 3 Level 0: Rotating shield, small ball Level 1: Rotating shield, large ball Level 2: Rotating shields, 2 small ball Level 3: Rotating shields, 2 large balls Scar Face (B) has the Neo Circular Beta W3. The NCBeta does not activate immediately, but when the subweapon button is pressed, a magenta/purple sphere flies out of the ship straight forward several ship lengths. After a slight delay, the sphere begins to rotate around the ship and continues to do so while the button is held down. When the button is released, the sphere flies back to the ship at the same speed. The NCBeta has a considerably slower rotation speed than the NCAlpha, which is a minus. Higher power levels of the NCBeta create increase the sphere size or add additional spheres. Having multiple spheres increases the apparent rotation rate (since one sphere comes around every half rotation instead of full rotation) and thus multiple spheres makes this weapon much more useful. [Note] The ability to throw and retrieve the shield ball is extremely valuable as an advanced strategy. By tapping the subweapon button repeatedly, an excellent frontal/rear shield can be formed. Because of this, BW3 is actually more useful as a shield than any of the W2s, especially at higher power levels or when fighting ground-based enemies. In addition, an advanced player can quickly call the shield back from its rotation and throw it out again to destroy bullets from the front, thus creating openings or protecting the ship. This is useful against stationary ground targets. -----GW3 Neo Circular Gamma Weapon Type: Shielding (Piercing) Rear/Side: Rear and Side Shot Limit: N/A Max Level: 3 Level 0: Single fast (small) sphere at medium distance from ship Level 1: As Level 0, plus one very slow rotating sphere right next to ship Level 2: Two fast spheres, medium distance; one slow sphere, adjacent to ship Level 3: Two fast spheres, medium distance; two slow spheres, adjacent to ship Hammer Duke (G) has the Neo Circular Gamma W3, which is similar to the Neo Circular Alpha W3, except the sphere is dark purple and does not slow down when it hits an enemy. However, at higher levels, the two weapons are extremely different. The NCGamma can power up to a total of four spheres instead of simply two as in the previous W3 weapons. Two of the spheres rotate quickly around the ship at a distance and two rotate at a snail's pace adjacent to the ship. GW3 covers the most area of all three W3s, but overall is not quite as versatile as BW3. [Note] While the slow speed of the inner spheres looks undesirable, the protection afforded by the slow sphere is actually very good. The slow rotation is predictable and you can "hide" behind it like a W2. At the highest power level the slow spheres protect almost 180 degrees approach to the ship. [XIII.5] WEAPON 4 ================ This weapon is different for each ship and does not have a unifying philosophy like the other weapons. There is a slow but damaging missile, a rotating ball that slowly creeps its way up the screen, and a dual cannon that fires a series of hard-to-aim rings opposite to ship movement. Unfortunately, I tend to classify these weapons in my mind as the "hard to use" set of weapons (except perhaps RW4). My best guess is that the missile is the odd-man-out, and the W4s are a set of area weapons. -----RW4 Drill Missile Weapon Type: Piercing Missile, but degrades (see notes) Rear/Side: No Shot Limit: Leave Screen Max Level: 3 Level 0: Two missiles Level 1: Three missiles Level 2: Four missiles Level 3: Five missiles Knife Edge (R) has the Drill Missile W4. This W4 is a slow projectile weapon that fires a fairly narrow missile straight forward. Shot speed is slow, but if the missile intersects a target, it stops and deals damage to that target until either the target dies or moves (at which point the missile continues) or the missile runs out of gas and disappears. The initial power level allows Knife Edge to have two missiles on screen at a time, and subsequent levels of power add on to the number of simultaneous missiles on screen. [Note] First of all, the Drill Missile is superior against fixed targets, since the missiles deal good amounts of damage; several missiles fired into a ground target means it is as good as dead and you can be elsewhere dodging while this happens. However, the slow speed and narrow width of the projectile makes hitting the smaller enemies a losing proposition until the higher power levels are gained. At that point, enough missiles can be used to have a moderate spread and the missiles can perform reasonably. Even though it has drawbacks, this weapon is one of Knife Edge's only high-damage weapons, and for that reason it cannot be ignored for some boss battles. -----BW4 Rolling Shot Weapon Type: Piercing Ball, but degrades (see notes) Rear/Side: No Shot Limit: Leave Screen Max Level: 5 Level 0: Slow rotating single shot Level 1: Fast rotating single shot (Power up) Level 2: Slow rotating double shot (Power up) Level 3: Fast rotating double shot (Power up) Level 4: Very fast rotating double shot (Power up) Level 5: Hyper fast rotating double shot (Power up) Scar Face (B) has the Rolling Shot W4. For this W4, a small fireball is released from the ship, and rotates in a circle around an invisible point which slowly moves up the screen, taking the shot with it. As the shot deals damage, the fireball "loses power" and shrinks, eventually disappearing if enough damage is dealt by it (a la the Drill Missiles). This weapon is practically identical to the rolling shot weapon which appeared in The Guardian Legend (also by Compile, published by Broderbund); like in that game, successive power levels increase the power, speed of rotation, and eventually creates a double rolling shot. [Notes] If used in blast mode, the BW4 blocks indestructible enemy shots and you can hide in or behind the weapon (at higher levels). [Notes] The best use of the Rolling Shot W4 is to fire it so that it will clear out one side of the screen, and then cover the other side of the screen using your primary weapon. In theory this is a good idea, but in practice the idea rarely works as intended. The shot is too weak to deal serious damage to larger enemies, and it is too small and slow at the lower power levels to be effective at all. Rolling Shot takes too many power-ups before it reaches a level where I would consider it very useful. In addition, the slow shot speed and agonizing wait when the shot is misfired (and it will happen) make this weapon a disaster for beginner and intermediate players. At the expert level perhaps it could be used to cover the screen for extending combos, but I was not able to figure out how to use this weapon effectively. -----GW4 Ring Shot Weapon Type: Projectile Rings Rear/Side: Side Shot Limit: Fixed Rate Max Level: 5 Level 0: Fire three rings from each side of ship, range ~4 ship lengths Level 1: Fire three rings from each side of ship, increase range Level 2: Fire three rings from each side of ship, increase range Level 3: Fire three rings from each side of ship, increase range Level 4: Fire three rings from each side of ship, increase range Level 5: Fire three rings from each side of ship, increase range (~80% vertical screen length) Hammer-Duke (G) has the Ring Shot W4. As the name implies, the Ring Shot fires two sets of expanding rings outward from the two sides of the ships. As the ship moves forward, the direction of fire rotates gradually so that soon the rings are firing almost backward to the left and right of the ship. If the ship moves backward, the direction of fire rotates so that the rings are emitted almost straight forward. If the ship stops or moves left or right, the rings fire in the last direction they were "set" in. Rings initially only travel a few ship lengths away before evaporating, but subsequent power levels increase the range of the rings. [Note] GW4 feels much like the Reverse Cannon RW0...with all the associated aiming problems. When you move forward to attack, they will be firing backward. Although the weapon is arguably a good area weapon and thus valuable for screen-clearing defense, the direction of ring fire is so sensitive and difficult to predict that aiming the weapon is an exercise in frustration. This is exacerbated by the fact that the ring range is extremely short at low power, so enemies can happily fire bullets point blank...which of course GW4 does not block. In Blast Mode this weapon works significantly better since bullets are blocked, but it is still difficult to control, and like Rolling Shot BW4 is recommended for advanced players. [Note] One strategy for use is to "set" the weapon to fire somewhat forward of the left and right of the ship. Then, you can sweep the screen by moving left and right; the firing direction of the W4 will not change. This gives you a pretty good area of coverage...until something fires at you and you have to move forward or backward. Ugh. [XIII.6] WEAPON 5 ================ Weapon 5, like W4, is another puzzle. There is a spreading projectile weapon, the yo-yo (a remake of Zanac NES W5), and a highly damaging remote control shot. If I had to describe these weapons the best description is that these are big guns...they can all deal significant damage in the right situation. -----RW5 Divide Cannon Weapon Type: Projectile (primary shot), Piercing Beams Rear/Side: No Shot Limit: Leave Screen Max Level: 5 Level 0: Crystal Shot spreads to 3 beams on impact (~30 degrees) Level 1: Crystal Shot that spreads to 3 beams (Weapon speed up (?)) Level 2: Crystal Shot spreads to 4 beams on impact (~60 degrees) Level 3: Crystal Shot spreads to 4 beams (Weapon speed up (?)) Level 4: Crystal Shot spreads to 5 beams on impact (90 degrees) Level 5: Crystal Shot spreads to 7 beams on impact (120 degrees) Knife Edge (R) has the Divide Cannon W5. The Divide Cannon fires a fairly large crystal, which travels forward at a medium-slow speed. When (and if) it hits a target, it divides into a number of beams that spread out into an arc of firepower behind the main target. Powering-up the Divide Cannon increases the spread of the arc (by increasing the number of beams). The crystal does unexpectedly high damage, and the beams are especially useful against groups of ground targets. [Note] Since the spread of the Divide Cannon's quick beams occurs AFTER the slow projectile hits the main target, it is imperative to hit a target with it...preferably lower down on the screen so that the projectiles can actually spread out to hit something. In theory, so far, so good. But in practice this proves to be less that optimal. The shot is slow, and only one shot can be fired at a time, so it is hard to hit small, fast-moving enemies. Thus, you have to save the shot for larger, slower enemies to have a shot at making it effective. But when is the last time you've seen a large enemy come down to the bottom of the screen, with smaller enemies gathered behind it? In fact, it rarely happens. Does it work against ground targets? Yes, if they're in groups it's particularly effective, but there are many other weapons that also work well against ground targets, c.f. Drill Missile RW4. During the flying portions of the stages, it appears as if the dominant strategy would be to fire point-blank into small ships (as is done with Zanac's W6 (Enemy Eraser)), creating a spread of beams as the small ship is vaporized. Of course, this means taking significant risks for a glorified spread-shot. Experts only. -----BW5 Neo Rewinder Weapon Type: Piercing Rewinding Ball Rear/Side: No (but see notes) Shot Limit: Fixed Rate (return to ship) Max Level: 5 Level 0: Slow spiral shot that rewinds Level 1: Medium speed spiral shot that rewinds Level 2: Medium speed rewinding shot, Medium power Level 3: High speed rewinding shot, Medium power Level 4: High speed rewinding shot, High power Level 5: Very High speed rewinding shot, High power Scar Face (B) has the Neo Rewinder W5, the direct successor to Zanac's Weapon 5. Like the old Rewinder, it throws out a reasonably large rotating ball of energy straight forward which gradually slows to a stop about a half a screen away. After pausing there for a short while, the ball flies back to the ship and disappears, homing in on the ship if necessary. Powering up the weapon yields a projectile that is bigger, travels faster, and is more powerful. Unfortunately, since the Neo Rewinder ball stays away from the ship for a long period of time before returning, especially at the lower power levels, it is less useful to protect you from getting rammed by enemies and destructible bullets. [Note] Although like all forward-firing weapons the Neo Rewinder tends to make your ship susceptible to side attacks, it is an excellent all-around offensive weapon, especially against ground targets. The goal is to have the weapon stop over your target, dealing massive continual damage to it before returning. Thus, for optimal use it is recommended that you memorize the distance that Neo Rewinder will fly before stopping. For non-boss use, it also performs decently, since it is reasonably fast and quite powerful, clearing a straight path of enemies where it is fired. [Note] The homing behavior of NR W5 can be exploited; if the ship moves out of the way of the Neo Rewinder, the ball of energy can be made to circle the ship. (Side Note: by continuously moving the ship in a circular direction, the ball can be kept out indefinitely, since Neo Rewinder turns slower than the ship can!). This behavior gives a little bit of side attack area if the ball is allowed to circle the ship at least once before firing again. Of course, too much circling is probably bad since you will not be able to fire Rewinder when you need it. [Note] Unlike Rewinder (original Zanac) Neo Rewinder does not become a laser at high levels. -----GW5 Remote Control Cannon Weapon Type: Piercing Ball Rear/Side: Yes Shot Limit: Leave Screen Max Level: 2 Level 0: Remote control shot, medium Level 1: Remote control shot, large Level 2: Remote control shot, very large Hammer-Duke (G) has the respectable Remote Control Cannon W5. GW5 throws out a fairly large, bright ball of energy in the direction the ship is traveling (or straight if the ship is stopped). The ball pierces through enemies and does excellent damage. If the subweapon button is held down, then the movement of the player can cause the shot to turn in any direction; it can even be turned around to travel back the way it has come. However, there is a catch: the ship moves at a sluggish half speed while the subweapon is held down and dodging is nearly impossible (since controlling the shot also controls the ship at half speed). If the button is released, the shot continues in whatever direction it was going before the button was let go (and the ship resumes normal speed). Higher levels of GW5 create a larger ball of energy, making it easier to hit targets. [Note] I believe GW5 is deadly in the hands of an expert. By itself it does excellent damage, and can be used as a powerful multidirectional piercing shot in a pinch (simply press in a direction and tap the button); thus, it is an obvious substitute for GW0. If the shot is controlled by holding the button down, it can be made to move in short strokes left and right across a target repeatedly, without leaving the screen. This does incredible damage, similar to the Rewinder. Finally, for the real expert, the subweapon button can be let go to dodge an enemy bullet...and by pressing the button again, control can be resumed before the RCC shot leaves the screen. This allows a player to get around the problem of dodging. Perhaps the best use of the RCC (though an expert touch is needed) is to do the reverse; fire the shot and take control of the shot for only the split second needed to change the shot's direction. If the player is skilled enough, you have a shot that turns right angles on command, while retaining the ship's ability to dodge. An easy way to start this is to fire the shot, and release the subweapon button. When the shot reaches the same vertical height as the enemy, press the subweapon button and the left or right direction simultaneously and release. The shot will make a single left or right turn, hit the enemy, and exit the screen. This will allow you to attack enemies with an angle shot. Finally, increasing the power level increases the size of the shot, and the weapon quickly powers up to the maximum level. If the weapon is used in blast mode, the RCC can be swept left and right across the front of the ship, clearing bullets from the front. [Note] Another interesting trick is to use the weapon as a shield. At the very bottom of the screen, hold back and continuously fire the subweapon into the bottom of the screen. You will form a shield around your ship with the weapon. This shield will make you immune to some destructible shots and some slow-moving enemies (watch out for fast enemies!). If you are in blast mode, the shield will also protect you from indestructible bullets. You can move right and left without breaking the shield by pointing diagonally down/left and down/right. This is perhaps not a killer strategy but it can help against with those claws (Degid) that come down the sides of the screen. [XIII.7] WEAPON 6 ================ All of the W6s are grenade-type or explosive weapons. The weapons are typically slow, very small area, very high damage weapons, and are suitable for a strong offense. However, the low rate of fire might make them difficult against faster enemies. -----RW6 Blast Bomb Weapon Type: Piercing Explosion Rear/Side: No Shot Limit: Fixed Rate Max Level: 4 Level 0: Tossed single grenade, small explosion at set distance Level 1: Tossed single grenade, large explosion at set distance Level 2: Tossed double grenades, small explosion Level 3: Tossed double grenades, large explosion Level 4: Triple grenades Knife-Edge (R) has the Blast Bomb W6. The Blast Bomb is a grenade that is tossed straight forward from the ship at a medium speed and explodes into a medium size transparent red explosion. The Blast Bomb always travels the same distance before exploding, and intervening enemies and obstacles neither impede nor detonate the bomb. Increasing the level of power of this weapon increases the size and number of grenades thrown simultaneously, up to three simultaneous explosions that cover much of the top of the screen. [Note] Like other W6 weapons, RW6 does excellent damage, but its complete lack of protective power might make the possession of this weapon a death warrant for the less skilled; hitting small or fast enemies with a low power RW6 is practically always by chance. At the highest levels, the situation improves since much of the screen is being covered. Even with this formidable power level, though, the weapon does nothing against enemies close to the ship and thus is primarily useful for larger or stationary targets on the top half of the screen. -----BW6 Spread Plasma Weapon Type: Piercing Explosion Rear/Side: No Shot Limit: Leave Screen Max Level: 2 Level 0: Single plasma bomb, small explosion (diameter=1.5 ship) Level 1: Single plasma bomb, medium explosion (diameter=3 ship) Level 2: Single plasma bomb, medium explosion (diameter=5 ship) Scar Face (B) has the Spread Plasma W6. This weapon operates similarly to the first three levels of Zanac's W6, without the screen-clearing explosion. The weapon fires a small ball from the front of the ship which proceeds to travel forward at a horribly slow speed. If, and only if, the ball contacts the enemy it explodes into a spherical blue plasma explosion which deals incredible damage. At the lower power levels, this weapon is fairly difficult to use, but increasing power levels means not only a larger explosion (up to 1/4 the screen in size) but a larger fired ball, so that hitting targets and causing the explosion becomes easier as well. [Notes] Like Blast Bomb RW6 the Spread Plasma has incredible difficulty hitting smaller targets. A good strategy is to fire your plasma balls near point-blank at the enemy, thus ensuring a) a protective explosion, and b) the ability to fire another plasma ball soon instead of waiting for the ball to float off of the screen. This means that unlike the Blast Bomb W6 (R) which is used primarily in the top half of the screen, the Spread Plasma is used more easily in the lower half of the screen. At long range, the weapon is too slow to effectively hit a non-stationary target. -----GW6 Auto Aiming Blaster Weapon Type: Piercing Explosions Rear/Side: Yes Shot Limit: Leave Screen Max Level: 5 Level 0: Three rotating reticles 120 degrees apart, maximum 3 explosions simultaneously Level 1: As level 0, but reticles rotate faster Level 2: Four rotating reticles 90 degrees apart, maximum 4 explosions simultaneously Level 3: As level 2, but reticles rotate faster Level 4: Five rotating reticles 72 degrees apart, maximum 5 explosions simultaneously Level 5: As level 4, but reticles rotate faster Hammer Duke (G) has the incredible Auto Aiming Blaster W6. The weapon appears as a series of aiming reticles which rotate around the ship, approximately a quarter to a third of the screen in radius away from it. If any of the aiming reticles pass over an enemy (or destructible bullet) then the cannon automatically fires a shell from the ship, causing a small explosion similar to the lowest level of Spread Plasma at the target location. No button press is needed to fire the weapon. Each reticle can independently fire a single one of these plasma bullets and as far as I can tell, this means that you can have as many explosions on-screen as there are reticles. Each level of power on GW6 alternately increases either the number of reticles (from three to five) or the speed of rotation. The subweapon button, if pressed, reverses the reticle rotation. [Note] If desired, pressing the subweapon button rapidly can force a reticle to remain over one target, firing plasma at a fixed rate. Other than this effect, I'm not sure what the rotation reversal button is for. [Note] GW6 is one of the stronger weapons in the game due to its omnidirectionality, power, and area of coverage. Unlike many other weapons, it is simultaneously easy to use and fairly effective. Its one weakness is that the range of the weapon is just a few inches too short for many battles, and using GW6 as effective offense requires virtually standing next to the target at times. This is especially apparent in some boss battles where the desired target is located on the other side of a bunch of indestructible bullets. Still, all things considered, the weapon is one of the most powerful in the impressive Hammer Duke arsenal and it is suggested that beginners try out GW6 first as a method of quick success. [Note] To hold combos, it is necessary to be able to move an empty reticle over the desired targets. Keep a view on the entire screen and move just enough to cover the target. Reverse directions if necessary. [XIII.8] WEAPON 7 ================ W7s are versatile and quick weapons with generally low power, and are generally very good for smaller, faster enemies, and maintaining combos, especially for Scar Face and Knife-Edge's W7s, which have high rates of fire. Hammer Duke's GW7 is much slower firing but covers a larger area. Due to their lower power, W7s seem to unfortunately take several powerups to reach useful power levels. -----RW7 Hyper Velocity Weapon Type: Projectile Rear/Side: Rear and Side Shot Limit: Fixed Rate Max Level: 5 Level 0: Small energy wave, low fire speed Level 1: Small energy wave, high fire speed Level 2: Medium energy wave, low fire speed Level 3: Medium energy wave, high fire speed Level 4: Large energy wave, low fire speed Level 5: Large energy wave, high fire speed Knife-Edge (R) has the Hyper Velocity W7. This weapon fires a wave from the rear of the ship which travels a few ship lengths backward and then turns around to fly straight forward up the screen. If the ship is standing still, the wave goes straight back and then forward, but if the ship is moving left or right, then the wave fires to the right rear or left rear of the ship and travels horizontally some distance before flying straight forward. This means you can "shake" the wave beam to cover more area by making quick left/right movements, much like Zanac's "High Speed" W7. Powering the weapon up alternately increases the rate of fire (important!), and the size and power of the wave. [Note] RW7 is probably one of the very best weapons to hold a combo with. It has pretty much the perfect match of powers for this: 1) fire rate is high, and it fires continuously, 2) the projectiles travel very fast, 3) the weapon can hit enemies behind the ship, and 4) the weapon can hit enemies to the side of the ship. By shaking the beam you can clear nearly the entire screen if the weapon is fully powered. In addition, the weapon passes through the ship's local area on the way forward, which allows a greater measure of protection than simple fire-and-forget weapons. When combined with Knife-Edge's high mobility, I believe this series of traits makes RW7 one of the more effective sub-weapons in the game. [Note] There are two weaknesses to consider. W7 has a long powerup curve and you will have trouble in situations where you are dying often (i.e. Very Hard) because level 0 is generally quite pathetic. It also has somewhat limited power and thus destroying certain late-game bosses and enemies can go slowly. Consider switching weapons if you are at a boss and you die. -----BW7 Rapid Cannon Weapon Type: Projectile Rear/Side: No (but has some left-right movement) Shot Limit: Fixed Rate Max Level: 5 Level 0: Four small energy bursts, large pause between firing Level 1: Four small energy bursts, medium pause between firing Level 2: Four medium energy bursts, medium pause between firing Level 3: Four medium energy bursts, small pause between firing Level 4: Four sets of double (i.e. 8) medium energy bursts, small pause between firing Level 5: Five sets of double (i.e. 10) medium energy bursts, small pause between firing Scar Face (B) has the Rapid Cannon W7. This weapon at first glance looks similar to Zanac's "High Speed" W7. The Rapid Cannon fires a series of bursts of energy from the front of the ship. If the ship is not moving left or right, all the bursts go forward, but if the ship is moving left or right the bursts fire in a sequential arc moving from the ship's front to about 30 degrees in the direction of the ship's movement. This spread fire allows the weapon to cover more area, increasing its effectiveness. Powering up the weapon increases the number and side of bursts. [Note] Although similar in idea to Zanac NES W7, BW7 has one large flaw: there is a long and dangerous pause between each sequence of bursts that it fires. Also, it is impossible to "shake" the beam instantaneously as can be done with RW7 or Zanac's "High Speed". Once the bursts start coming out, they do not change direction. However, the wide area of BW7 is at least equivalent or better than its alternatives, except for perhaps the extremely versatile W0 (B). At higher power levels, BW7 is a welcome addition to the arsenal, and it is not too shabby at lower levels. -----BW7 Viper Missile Weapon Type: Projectile Rear/Side: Rear and Side Shot Limit: Leave Screen Max Level: 3 Level 0: Two missiles, hourglass pattern Level 1: (4 missiles) Two missiles in hourglass pattern, two missiles in spread pattern Level 2: (6 missiles) Two missiles in hourglass, four missiles in wide spread pattern Level 3: (8 missiles) Four missiles in wide hourglass, four missiles in wide spread pattern Hammer Duke (G) has the Viper Missile W7. The viper missiles fire a small cluster of missiles from the rear of the ship. The missiles travel a few ship lengths backward, and then pause for a short while as they turn around to face forward. Then they dart forward at high speed, tracing out an interesting hourglass pattern which generally causes them to cover a wide column in front of the ship. Getting weapon power-ups increase the number of missiles from two to eight. The higher level missiles fire in a wider pattern, eventually covering a wide range to the back and side of the ship. [Note] GW7 is quite useful. Although the annoying pause makes the weapon fire much slower than either W7 (R) or W7 (B), the missiles themselves cover a generous area especially at higher levels, and thus compensate greatly for Hammer Duke's inherent lack of speed. For this reason it is important to have the weapon powered up as quickly as possible. If you wish to hit a single target with more missiles, you will notice that there is a "bottleneck" in the hourglass pattern where the missiles travel through on their way up the screen. Memorize the distance to the bottleneck and place the enemy at that point. The bottleneck also creates some holes in your firing pattern which you also have to take into account. [Note] An interesting fact of GW7 is that you can rush with it, much like BW0. However, in this case, you have to place the enemy just to the rear of the ship. Only one set of missiles can be on the screen at one time...but a new set fires as soon as all of the old set hits their target. If you place the rear of your ship on top of the enemy (hopefully while you are invulnerable) you can get a rapid fire effect. Unfortunately, it is difficult to position the ship correctly for this move, and when you are above the enemy your primary weapon is not hitting it either. Considering the risk, it's probably best not to use this unless you have just lost your ship...or you have plenty of power chips to jump from. ____________________________________________________________________________ [XIV] FC CUSTOM (Machine #0 = Zero Gouki) _____________________________________________________________________________ Ship Speed: Medium Fast (9.7 ship widths/sec) The FC Custom, or Machine #0, is a hidden ship in Zanac Neo, probably intended to be a reward for fans of Zanac NES. The ship's weapon set is a slightly rebalanced version of the weapons of the original Zanac NES ship. The appearance and color is also similar to that of the old Zanac NES ship. Unlike the newer Neo ships, the FC possesses no charge gauge and thus cannot use charge shots or blast mode. Instead, the gauge indicates energy remaining in the current subweapon (if necessary), emulating the weapon degradation existing in the original game. The FC custom is perhaps the perfect speed, below that of Knife-Edge, but above that of Scar-Face, allowing it to easily hold combos but not being too fast to maneuver. [XIV.1] Obtaining the FC Custom ============================== There are two ways to obtain the FC Custom ship: 1. Save game data from the original Zanac (you don't even have to play it), then create a player file in Zanac Neo and play 20 games using it. 2. At the ship select screen, press Left, Left, Up, Up, L1, R1, L1, R1, L2, R2. [XIV.2] FC Custom Main Gun ========================= The FC Custom ship has a different powerup progression, based loosely off of the original Zanac ship. Unlike ordinary Neo ships, a maximum of two or three bullets are allowed on the screen simultaneously, and there is no blast mode. Notice that bullet velocities of the FC Custom ship are lower than the Neo ships, thus it is expected to do less damage at long range. The following chart describes the FC Custom Main Gun (bullet velocities again in ship widths/sec). Chips Gun Type # Total Proj Bullet (FC Custom) Shots Width (%ship) Velocity ----- ------------------ ----- ------------- -------- 0 Thin Single Beam 2 17 18.3 1 Thick Single Beam 3 27 21.7 2 Thin Double Beams 2 60 24.3 3 Thick Double Beams 3 70 26.7 4 Thick Triple Beams 2 113 29.7 5 Thick Triple Beams 3 113 32.7 32* Wide Beam (triple) 3 243 (!)** 35.3 * As before, you must get 32 chips without switching subweapons, or hit an Eye-eye, to get the Wide shot powerup. ** Unlike the Neo ship Wide shot, the FC Custom Wide shot originates from points directly to the left and right of your ship, providing excellent protection from the side. The Neo ship Wide shot is still wider than the ship but originates from above the ship nose. [XIV.3] Lander Progression for FC Custom ======================================== The effect of red Landers extends beyond three for the FC Custom ship, as it did in the original Zanac. The weapon fire delays and shots per second while rushing are estimated below. # Red Landers Delay (msec) Shots/Sec (for FC Custom) --------------- ---------- --------- 0 100 10 1 85 12 2 67 15 3 50 20 4 35 29 5 17 58 6 " " etc. [Note] Level 5 of this seems a little insane (six times more powerful than normal shot, three times the highest speed of Neo ships), but that's what calculations tell me. And under practical use, Lander Level 5 does seem to allow me to destroy the Area 0 brains in under one second of sustained fire, so perhaps that's correct. [XIV.4] FC Custom Subweapon Descriptions ======================================= FC Custom weapons are updated versions of the original Zanac NES weapons, except they are hideously unbalanced in this game. It is not because of their destructive capability; while the FC Custom weapons have a great deal of power, so do for instance GW6 or GW1. I believe that FC Custom weapons are powerful primarily because pretty much all of them block or destroy "indestructible" bullets. It is easily seen that the Zanac Neo designers considered bullet-blocking as a major power; only shields (RW2, BW2, GW2, RW3, BW3, GW3) can normally do this, forcing the player to trade off offense for defense. Blast mode was designed to give the player limited ability to block bullets with an offensive weapon. In disregard for this tuning, weapons like FCW7 are piercing, fire fast, have strong offense, AND block bullets; a fantastic combination that is absent in the weapons of the three "normal" ships. Overall, a bit *too* excellent to provide a balanced challenge (compared to Neo ships). Like original Zanac weapons, FC weapons have a power gauge timer, which is displayed instead of the charge gauge of the Neo ships. Depending on the weapon, the gauge either counts down automatically when the weapon is being used, or holds a certain amount of "shots". When the gauge is exhausted, then the ship reverts back to FCW0. However, the current level of the exhausted weapon is retained and the player can switch back to that weapon at a later time. The gauge is recharged fully when a subweapon powerup is obtained, or the ship is destroyed. Unlike the original Zanac ship, the FC does not revert back to FCW0 when you lose each ship, but keeps the last obtained subweapon like Neo ships do. -----FCW0 All Range Cannon Weapon Type: Projectile (Level 0-2), Shielding Projectile (Level 3) Rear/Side: Rear and Side Shot Limit: Leave Screen Max Level: 3 Gauge: None Level 0: Fire one small energy ball in any of eight directions Level 1: Fire two small energy balls (adjacent) in any of eight directions Level 2: Fire two small energy balls (wide pattern, 1 ship width apart) in any of eight directions Level 3: As level 2, but destroys indestructible bullets FCW0 is the familiar All Range Cannon, almost identical to BW0. FCW0 can be used for "rushing" much like BW0. The upper levels of FCW0 are wider and thus easier to hit with. However, unlike BW0, the upper levels of FCW0 are still single projectiles and deal the same amount of damage as lower levels. Finally, like in the original Zanac, FCW0 gains the power to destroy indestructible enemy bullets at Level 3 (although it is still not piercing). -----FCW1 Straight Crusher Weapon Type: Piercing Shielding Ball Rear/Side: No Shot Limit: Leave Screen Max Level: 2 Gauge: Per Shot Level 0: Fire large slow moving energy ball straight forward Level 1: Fire two large, slow moving energy balls straight forward, wide pattern (1 ship width) Level 2: Fire single very large energy ball straight forward, increased shot speed FCW1, Straight Crusher, is an improved version of Zanac NES W1, with updated graphics, larger shot area, and better shot speed. FCW1 is very similar to RW1 in that it fires a ball of energy at a relatively slow speed, moving straight forward until it leaves the screen. Unlike RW1, it pierces through and destroys enemy bullets. The "sonic boom" and white wave graphics do not affect enemies, only the blue ball is destructive. Higher power levels increase the weapon area of coverage, and at level 2, there is a noticeable increase in shot speed (and thus shot rate). Shot gauge decreases very slowly and is generally not a concern. [Note] The wide pattern, Level 1, are two separate sprites and bullets can pass between them...possibly to your detriment. [Note] The wide pattern bullets also appear to the left and right of your ship. This actually provides some cover from the side, since they block indestructible bullets. Of course, the fire rate is pretty slow so it's not that good of a shield. -----FCW2 Field Shutter Weapon Type: Shielding (degrades) Rear/Side: Side and Rear Shot Limit: N/A Max Level: 3 Gauge: Per Hit absorbed Level 0: Shield bubble surrounds ship, 18 hits of shield power Level 1: Similar to Level 0 ? Level 2: Similar to Level 1 ? Level 3: Similar to Level 2 ? FCW2 Field Shutter is the equivalent of the Zanac "Shield" W2. Unlike Zanac NES W2 which protected the front and sides of the ship in an arc, the FCW2 protects the entire ship from enemy shots and one-hit enemies. Unfortunately, unlike the Zanac W2 which could have up to 140 hits, FCW2 does not last very long at all, and most of the time the player will end up protecting the shield rather than vice versa. [Note] Notice that while the shield is on, the player cannot take advantage of item invulnerability (ramming enemies drains the shield). This is a major limitation which makes this weapon one to be avoided. Ah, useless weapon 2: just like Zanac NES! [Note] In Zanac NES, powering up Field Shutter would give you more hits on the shield. This doesn't seem to be the case with FCW2, and I wonder why the Zanac Implementors did not take this opportunity to "fix" W2 over the original Zanac. Either that or I don't understand FCW2's powerup system correctly. [Note] In Zanac NES, getting enough Field Shutter powerups would give you a full-ship shield that made you invulnerable for 90 seconds, once per game. I have not yet identified whether this shield exists in Zanac Neo. So far, I suspect not. -----FCW3 Circular Weapon Type: Shielding (Piercing) Rear/Side: Rear and Side Shot Limit: N/A Max Level: 5 Gauge: Timed Level 0: Single small energy ball rotates around ship, low rotation speed Level 1: Single small energy ball rotates around ship, high rotation speed Level 2: Two (adjacent) small energy balls rotate around ship, low rotation speed Level 3: Two (adjacent) small energy balls rotate around ship, high rotation speed Level 4: Two (wide pattern) small energy balls rotate around ship, low rotation speed Level 5: Two (wide pattern) small energy balls rotate around ship, high rotation speed FCW3 Circular is nearly identical to the similar BW3, except the energy balls are considerably smaller. The powerup of FCW3 is a little different, each powerup alternately changes the speed and the shield's area of coverage. Like in BW3 and RW3, it is fairly easy for enemy bullets to slip through the shield and thus it must be used with caution even at higher levels. Like BW3, it does not hit ground-based enemies. It seems to rotate a little faster than BW3. [Note] Since most FC weapons already are shielding, FCW3's powers are relatively less special in this subweapon set. -----FCW4 Vibrator Weapon Type: Piercing Shielding Ball Rear/Side: No (but see notes) Shot Limit: Fixed Rate (but see notes) Max Level: 2 Gauge: Per Shot Level 0: Medium size energy ball flies forward and vibrates left to right Level 1: Large size energy ball flies forward and vibrates left to right, increased durability? Level 2: Very Large size energy ball flies forward and vibrates left to right, increased durability? FCW4 Vibrator. No, I didn't name this weapon, I'm just reading it out of the manual...so you can all stop thinking what I'm sure you're thinking. FCW4 is a difficult weapon to describe. When fired, an energy ball flies out of the ship and sets up a rapid left-to-right oscillatory motion at a certain distance in front of the ship. FCW4's energy ball stays in that oscillation until it absorbs a certain amount of hits and is destroyed (the ball will shrink to indicate power loss), or it will slowly exit toward the top of the screen if it is left alone for a number of seconds. Higher levels mean a larger energy ball, which covers more area and is also more durable. FCW4, like most FC weapons, blocks indestructible enemy shots. [Note] Careful observation reveals that FCW4 actually overshoots forward a bit, and then pulls back slightly to settle in its oscillation path. Memorize the firing distance and fire it so that it settles in a path over ground targets, dealing damage and blocking bullets simultaneously. [Note] Another use of FCW4 is to fire it on one side and let it cover that side while you cover the other side with your primary weapon. This works much better at higher levels of FCW4. Just like BW4, except it really works. [Note] At Level 2, the ball is large enough so the ship can hide in it or behind it, avoiding indestructible and destructible enemy bullets. -----FCW5 Rewinder Weapon Type: Piercing Shielding Yo-yo (Level 0-3), Piercing Shielding Laser (Level 4-6) Rear/Side: No Shot Limit: Fixed Rate Max Level: 6 Gauge: Per Shot Level 0: Medium size energy ball flies forward and returns to ship Level 1: Medium size energy ball flies forward and returns to ship, increased speed Level 2: Two (adjacent) medium size energy balls, increased speed Level 3: Two (adjacent) medium size energy balls, further increased speed Level 4: High speed laser, three ship lengths long Level 5: High speed laser, six ship lengths long Level 6: High speed laser, length of entire screen FCW5 Rewinder (Yo-yo ball to some) is almost the same as BW5, with some interesting differences. The weapon fires an energy ball that flies forward and slows to a stop 3/4 up the screen. After pausing for a short time at the end of its flight, it falls back toward the player's ship and is recaptured. Only one ball can be fired at a time. Unlike the fire-and-forget BW5, the FCW5 tracks the motion of the ship, so you have to be in front of the target to deal damage to it. Increasing the weapon levels alternately increases the area of effect, or the weapon flight speed. [Note] However, when the weapon reaches power level 4, it mutates into a laser. The laser is a thin (low area coverage) straight-firing beam weapon which also tracks with the ship, much like GW1. The laser can be raised to power level 6; successive levels increase the laser length (and thus the damage per shot). The laser is fantastically powerful and blocks enemy bullets like the balls. [Note] The energy ball returns to the ship much faster than it did in Zanac NES W5. This means it is a "safer" weapon but deals a little bit less damage than in that game. Zanac NES W5 was much harder to keep up until the laser because the weapon clearly lacked defense; when you were in the lower half of the screen, your weapon was in the upper half. Obviously the FC Custom has lessened that problem. [Note] This is the only weapon in the game that has a maximum power level of 6. The laser is powerful but it has little defense, so it is best paired with a wide-shot primary weapon. The best way to reach Level 6 is to get FCW5 right before a full-power face (Ai-ai), giving you maximum level and wide shot simultaneously. -----FCW6 Plasma Flash Weapon Type: Projectile Shielding Plasma Bomb(Level 0-1), Shielding Plasma Flash (Level 2-4), Projectile Shielding Free Man Bomb (Level 5) Rear/Side: The Whole Damn Screen Shot Limit: Leave Screen Max Level: 5 Gauge: Per Shot Level 0: Fire energy bomb, 13 shots Level 1: Fire energy bomb, 13 shots Level 2: Energy burst, 13 shots Level 3: Energy burst, 13 shots Level 4: Energy burst, 13 shots Level 5: Free man energy bomb (1 shot, limit 1 per game); after that, Energy burst, 13 shots FCW6 Plasma Flash is a near-perfect copy of Zanac NES W6, which was a radical gameplay addition and perhaps the most impressive weapon in that game. The weapon is simply a small plasma ball which is fired forward from the ship and travels extremely slowly. However, when it hits any enemy or bullet (destructible or indestructible), it explodes in a flash that destroys all flying enemies and bullets on the screen. In any other game, this would be known as a "bomb" but in Zanac it's simply another type of subweapon, you get 13 of them. At higher levels, no plasma ball is fired; the weapon simply destroys everything on the screen in a burst of energy every time the button is pressed. [Note] A qualification on "destroys everything on screen": Testing with FCW6 suggests that it deals two points (where 1 pt = 1 shot with main gun) of damage to almost everything flying on the screen. Some exceptions: FCW6 destroys boxes, which are worth 5 "points"; FCW6 doesn't appear to harm the asteroids in Area 1. Maybe they're "ground" enemies? [Note] There are a few limitations to FCW6: you have a very limited supply of bombs, and the plasma flash does not affect enemies on the ground and certain larger enemies. FCW6 is generally a defensive weapon, although it's screen-clearing flash helps to hit bosses hiding behind clutter of their own making. However, if you happen to have a full load of FCW6, you can use it to deal around 26 damage to each part of a multipart flying boss such as the hard-to-hit end boss of Area 8. FCW6 seems especially strong versus that boss; on Normal Difficulty, two full loads of FCW6 was able to pretty much destroy it. [Note] At lower levels, you need the plasma ball to hit something in order to flash the screen; if it doesn't hit something then it will simply float up the screen with excruciating slowness. To prevent this, don't fire it unless an enemy or bullet is almost point blank. Don't fire right at point blank; FCW6 is an autofire weapon and you will use multiple bombs, especially if you are firing at a bigger opponent. [Note] The infamous "free man bomb" is in the game! The first time maximum level is reached with FCW6, you will gain a single energy bomb which will turn every enemy currently on the screen into a blue lander (free man) when it strikes. Use it wisely, because only one such bomb can be obtained per game. After that, level 5 in this weapon acts exactly like Levels 2-4. [Note] In Zanac NES you got 20 shots instead of 13. Perhaps they felt it was too powerful after all? -----FCW7 High Speed Weapon Type: Piercing Shielding Wave Rear/Side: No (but see notes) Shot Limit: Leave Screen Max Level: 2 Gauge: Per Shot Level 0: Fire small energy ball wave; high speed, low area coverage Level 1: Fire medium energy ball wave; lower speed, higher area coverage Level 2: Fire large energy ball wave; lower speed, higher area coverage FCW7 has, in my mind, been slightly downgraded from its status in Zanac NES. The weapon fires a energy ball straight forward which can be "shaken"; i.e. if the ship is steered left then the weapon fire line leans ~30 degrees left and if the ship is steered right, the weapon fire line leans 30 degrees right. The functionality of this weapon is similar to BW7, but the firing is continuous, and FCW7 also blocks bullets. Higher levels slow down the fire speed but increase the ball size. [Note] FCW7 is an excellent general weapon; it can be steered in a certain direction but it does not have as much directionality as FCW0 and is thus easier to use. It also blocks bullets and powers up quickly to maximum level. You can move the joypad left and right rapidly to sweep the beam across most of the screen. This happens instantaneously, unlike BW7. [Note] You might notice that it appears that the ball "skips" between discreet sites on the screen. This is not a graphic error, the weapon actually can only hit certain spots on the screen, and enemies and shots can pass horizontally between these sites; you can confirm this yourself. Higher levels of this weapon actually add more "sites" but the ball stays in each site the same length of time: ergo, the weapon fires slower but covers more area of the screen. _____________________________________________________________________________ [XV] ORIGINAL ZANAC _____________________________________________________________________________ The original 8-bit version of Zanac NES can be played from the same Zanac X Zanac disk by selecting it from the menu which appears when the CD is first booted. Original Zanac remains generally faithful to the original versions of the game, complete with original graphics and synthesized sounds. In addition, a brand new remix version of Zanac has been included. For fans of Zanac whose NES systems have gone on the blink, this option alone is probably worth the purchase. [XV.1] Original Zanac Modes =========================== The first thing you'll notice upon selecting Zanac from the main title screen is that you're presented with four different versions of the game: * Disk Version * The original Famicom Disk System version. * ROM Version * The NES version that I'd guess most of the people reading this are most familiar with. There are some slight differences between this and the FDS version; so far I've noticed some differences in subweapon placement (notably some extra Plasma Flash and All Range Cannon chips in Area 1) and that mini- bosses now change colors as you damage them. The options menu for this version includes a "ROM Plus" setting. I have no idea if ROM Plus mode is meant to represent any actual previous Zanac release, but what it does do is increase the number of objects that can appear on-screen. (Read: enemies are now able to flood the screen with more bullets. Have fun!) * Special Version * A brand new version exclusive to Zanac X Zanac. This one has some differences in enemy patterns (well, more so than usual anyway :), and many subweapons have different behaviour as well. I especially love the fire-breathing Rio. :) Fortress battles also give you extra bonus points for time remaining on the clock in this mode. On the other hand, this mode has its enemy accuracy and max on-screen object parameters set higher than the Disk and ROM versions, meaning it is noticeably more difficult (given equal difficulty settings). [Note] In general it seems like the idea behind Special is to make you more powerful but the enemies more numerous and powerful as well. You seem to get a lot of stuff in Special, but you also have to deal with lots of enemies. * Score Trial * Select one of 16 different courses and try to score as high as you can! Some of the courses are familiar Zanac levels (or portions thereof); others are brand new challenges. * Edit Mode * Upon fulfilling certain conditions (which are unfortunately currently uncertain to those of us on this side of the Pacific), this mode unlocks. From the option menu you can alter many aspects of the game, such as enemy shot accuracy, enemy frequency, and subweapon set (your choice of the Disk Version set, ROM Version set, or Special Version set.) [Note] It is currently believed that finishing the Disk, ROM, and Special versions at Normal difficulty without continuing will unlock Edit Mode; this worked for me but it could be the case that you need certain statistics in Neo as well for this to work. Save after each victory before exiting to the main menu, just to be sure. If you turn off the machine and reboot, you must go into any other mode and perform a Load operation, otherwise Edit Mode will not appear. [XV.2] Zanac Menu Translations ============================== Most of the menus are in English, with the exception of the Option menus, which will be translated below. Note that there are no auto-save and auto- load functions in Zanac (unlike Zanac Neo), so you will need to load before each play session and save after each play session to keep track of your accomplishments. (Saving or loading in any one mode will save or load data from all modes.) [Note] It is worth mentioning that you can exit a play mode of Zanac by pressing Start, Select, R1, R2, L1, and L2 simultaneously. I don't think this is mentioned anywhere in the manual. [Note] New to the Zanac X Zanac versions of Zanac is the difficulty setting. The default Normal setting is where most players familiar with the old NES versions (or veterans of shooters in general) will want to place it. Very Easy makes several gameplay alterations. All weapons (main and subweapon) destroy indestructible enemy bullets, and the amount of invincibility time you get from picking up Power Chips has approximately doubled. (Strangely, the Wide Shot is disabled in Very Easy.) Everyone except the most inexperienced novice will probably wish to avoid this mode. Hard and Very Hard are there for those of you who can beat the Giga Wing games without dying. :) [WY: Or like seeing your ship's explosion graphics, there's plenty of that to be had.] Disk Version Option Menu ======================== Exit - Return to game menu Sound Test - Press O to start playing the selected sound bite or music track Game Difficulty - Alters difficulty of the game. Final Fortress Timer - Turn off to have unlimited time to defeat the final fortress. Button Setup - See Below Game Load - Loads previously saved data (for all modes) Game Save - Saves current game data (for all modes) ROM Version Option Menu ======================= Exit - Return to game menu Sound Test - Press O to start playing the selected sound bite or music track Game Difficulty - Alters difficulty of the game. Ship Speed - Alters the speed of your ship. ROM Plus - ROM Plus mode allows for more on-screen objects (read: enemy bullets!) Final Fortress Timer - Turn off to have unlimited time to defeat the final fortress. Button Setup - See below Game Load - Loads previously saved data (for all modes) Game Save - Saves current game data (for all modes) Special Version Option Menu =========================== Exit - Return to game menu Sound Test - Press O to start playing the selected sound bite or music track Game Difficulty - Alters difficulty of the game. Ship Speed - Alters the speed of your ship. Final Fortress Timer - Turn off to have unlimited time to defeat the final fortress. Button Setup - See below Game Load - Loads previously saved data (for all modes) Game Save - Saves current game data (for all modes) Score Trial Option Menu ======================= Exit - Return to game menu Sound Test - Press O to start playing the selected sound bite or music track Ship Speed - Alters the speed of your ship. Final Fortress Timer - Turn off to have unlimited time to defeat the final fortress. Button Setup - See below Game Load - Loads previously saved data (for all modes) Game Save - Saves current game data (for all modes) Edit Mode Option Menu =========================== Exit - Return to game menu Sound Test - Press O to start playing the selected sound bite or music track Game Difficulty - Alters difficulty of the game. Ship Speed - Alters the speed of your ship. Final Fortress Timer - Turn off to have unlimited time to defeat the final fortress. Button Setup - See below Set Rules - Go to the Edit Mode Rules Menu Game Load - Loads previously saved data (for all modes) Game Save - Saves current game data (for all modes) Edit Mode Rules Menu ==================== Exit Specify Rules - Press "O" to automatically select default parameters to make game equal to Disk, Rom, Rom Plus, Special, or any Score Trial game. (See chart below) Enemy Appearance Limit - Choose appearance rate of enemies and bullets, 21/32/42/54/80/OFF Enemy Aiming Accuracy - Accuracy of enemy aimed bullets, 16/32/64/256 Ship Weapon Type - Equipped Subweapon Set. Choose from 1st type (Disk), 2nd type (ROM), or 3rd type (Special) Map Type - Level layout from 1st type (Disk), 2nd type (ROM), 3rd type (Special), or 4th type (Score Trial) Enemy Type - Enemies from 1st (Disk), 2nd (ROM), or 3rd (Special) Timer Bonus - Set On to give remaining time bonus for destroying a fortress boss; Off for no bonus Score Trial Mode - Off for no effect, any other selects an score trial area to play; after the one level, the game ends. Button Setup Menu ================= Restore Defaults - Restores settings to default. Main Shot - Fires your main weapon Subweapon - Fires your current subweapon. Main + Sub - Fires both weapons at once. Shot Control - In Special Version, this button can be used to alter some subweapons' behaviour. Exit [XV.3] Comparison of Parameters by Game Type ============================================ By using Edit mode's "Specify Rules" you can identify the differences in parameters between the various game modes. They are listed below in chart form: +---------+-------+-----+--------+-----+-------+-------+-------+ | Version | Limit | Acc | Weapon | Map | Enemy | Timer | Trial | +---------+-------+-----+--------+-----+-------+-------+-------+ |Disk | 21 | 16 | 1st | 1st | 1st | Off | Off | |ROM | 21 | 16 | 2nd | 2nd | 2nd | Off | Off | |ROM Plus | 42 | 256 | 2nd | 2nd | 2nd | Off | Off | |Special | 42 | 256 | 3rd | 3rd | 3rd | On | Off | |Course 1 | 21 | 16 | 2nd | 2nd | 2nd | On |Area 1| |Course 2 | Off | 16 | 2nd | 4th | 2nd | On |Area 2| |Course 3 | Off | 16 | 3rd | 4th | 2nd | On |Area 2| |Course 4 | Off | 16 | 2nd | 4th | 2nd | On |Area 3| |Course 5 | 42 | 16 | 2nd | 4th | 2nd | On |Area 4| |Course 6 | Off | 16 | 2nd | 4th | 2nd | On |Area 6| |Course 7 | Off | 16 | 3rd | 4th | 2nd | On |Area 6| |Course 8 | 32 | 16 | 2nd | 4th | 2nd | On |Area 8| |Course 9 | Off | 16 | 2nd | 4th | 2nd | On |Area 9| |Course 10| Off | 16 | 3rd | 4th | 2nd | On |Area 9| |Course 11| 32 | 16 | 2nd | 4th | 2nd | On |Area 10| |Course 12| 32 | 16 | 3rd | 4th | 2nd | On |Area 11| |Course 13| 42 | 16 | 2nd | 4th | 2nd | On |Area 12| |Course 14| 54 | 16 | 2nd | 4th | 2nd | On |Area 12| |Course 15| 80 | 16 | 2nd | 4th | 2nd | On |Area 12| |Course 16| Off | 256 | 2nd | 4th | 2nd | On |Area 12| +---------+-------+-----+--------+-----+-------+-------+-------+ [XV.4] Score Trial Course Descriptions ====================================== To view these, place the cursor next to the course selector (it's the only Japanese option on the Score Trial mode's main menu.) Pressing left or right at this point will select a course (from 1 to 16), and pressing "O" will allow you to see the high score table for that course, along with a short description in Japanese. Course 1 - Identical to ROM Version Area 1. Course 2 - Battle with a lot of armored Giza. Course 3 - Stronger weapons version of trial 2. Course 4 - Trial where a lot of Icons appear. Course 5 - Trial where one fortress after another appears. Course 6 - Battle where a lot of "scissor"-like Degid appear. Course 7 - Stronger weapons version of trial 6. Course 8 - Jellyfish (Carla) confrontation. Destroy the jellyfish by ramming them. Course 9 - Battle with a lot of ground enemies. Course 10 - Stronger weapons version of trial 9. Course 11 - Like Score Trial 1, except with enemy reinforcements. Course 12 - Begin at the confrontation at the final fortress, entry level. A little difficult. Course 13 - Final fortress, level 1. Quite a challenge. Course 14 - Final fortress, level 2. If you can clear this, you have considerable ability. Course 15 - Final fortress, level 3. If you can clear this, you have amazing skill. Course 16 - Final fortress, final level. If you can clear this, you are superhuman. [Note] Course 16 is extremely difficult for gaming mortals. You get pretty much one Sart and one set of boxes (the chip is on the left) before the boss starts, so you'll have one red lander and a 5-chip blaster, with W0 Lv0. What makes it difficult is that you need to live a certain amount of time before weapon carriers start coming out (see below note on power chips and Sart), and you just don't live long enough to do it. You will have to live for some long seconds with W0, Lv0...by the time the carriers start to arrive then the screen is filled with stuff. Assuming you live that long. [XV.5] Zanac Basics =================== No matter which mode you select, your ship is the AFX-6502-ZANAC. Your ship has two sets of weapons. Your normal shot (controlled by the Square button) is your standard pea shooter, which can be powered up to a triple shot by collecting Power Chips. Power Chips are found by destroying the blue Boxes that appear during the game. Ramming into a box that contains a Power Chip is worth 5 Chips... but ramming into a box that does not contain a Chip is worth your instant death. Feeling lucky? Your normal shot can be transformed into the Wide Shot if certain conditions are met (which we'll get back to later.) The Wide Shot is actually somewhat wider than your ship, which obviously makes hitting things much easier. Like the FC Custom's weapon, the fire originates from directly to the left or right of the ship, providing good side protection. Your ship is also equipped with a subweapon system. By default you start with Subweapon 0 (All Range Cannon), but there are seven other different subweapons you can use. Subweapons can be changed or powered up by collecting numbered Subweapon Chips. This will be discussed in further detail in the next section. Much of the earlier material in this FAQ pertaining to Zanac Neo is also applicable to Zanac as well. Therefore, in the interest of brevity it will not be repeated here. Instead, refer back to sections [II.6], [II.11], [III], [VII.1], [VII.2], [VIII], and [IX] for further information. That said, keep the following differences in mind: From [II.6]: The "red" Subweapon Powerups are transparent in this game, and the green "random" Subweapon Powerups do not exist. (There also some differences in the effects of Rio and the Eye-Eye that will be addressed later.) Rio also acts differently, as described below. From [II.11]: In Zanac original, sets of three boxes appear every 16 enemies destroyed, and the counter starts at 14 (first set of boxes at 2 enemies). Boxes and Sarts that you turn into Landers do not count as a destroyed enemy, nor does activating an Icon or shooting a Tank to get a subweapon. Sarts that you actually destroy DO count as enemies. Initial tests suggest that dying does not affect the counter, nor does it get you extra boxes like in Neo. Enemy bullets that you destroy count as enemies as well. From [VII.1]: A note discusses needing 32 chips for getting the Wide Shot. In Zanac, the criteria for obtaining the Wide Shot are much more complicated. Zanac maintains a chip counter, the exact status of which is not visible to the player. It works as follows: - The chip counter begins at 0 at the start of the game, and does not change if you die. - The chip counter increases 1 point for every Power Chip you collect when your Main Gun is at least at its maximum non-Wide Shot power (i.e., the fast triple gun you get at 5 Power Chips.) Yes, if you ram a Box containing a Power Chip under these conditions, you get 5 points on the chip counter. - The chip counter decreases 5 points any time you grab a Subweapon Powerup from a Cargo Carrier. Picking up Subweapon Powerups released from ground objects imposes no penalty on the chip counter. If the chip counter is 5 or higher, Sarts will be replaced with Cargo Carriers. (This is your only indication to the status of the counter.) If your ship is using Subweapon 0 and this counter reaches _exactly_ 13, you will be awarded with the Wide Shot. Obviously, it's just easier to use the Eye-Eye. :) It may be tempting to try to keep this counter below 13 at all times (by avoiding Power Chips or changing subweapons unnecessarily) in order to easily (re-)gain a Wide Shot after you die. I would recommend against this, because near the end of the game your only source of subweapons will be the Cargo Carriers, and you can easily cut them off if your chip counter is low. (And Subweapons are much more vital to your survival when the going gets rough than the Wide Shot will be.) From [VII.2]: In Zanac Original, the WHITE boxes fire the bullets and the RED boxes just disintegrate. Also, you can peek in the box with only three shots but it still takes five shots to destroy it. You can still play the Three Shell Game but the box types are slightly different: Type I: One White Box, One Red Box, One Power Chip (~50% of all sets) Type II: Three Red Boxes (less common) Type III: Chip on Left, White in Center, Chip on Right (less common) Type IV: Two White Boxes, One Power Chip (less common) The general rule I use in this case is: if the set has a white box, it also has at least one power chip. Also, a Type III where the chips are adjacent has never (to my knowledge) been observed. Due to the sprite limit on the original versions of the game, it is possible for boxes to appear in sets of two or even one. Obviously, you can't play this guessing game with just one box. [Note] One game hint is that if you hit the first Sart and then two Dusters (rock-like flying ships) then the first box set is a Type I with the chip on the LEFT side. If you don't hit the first Sart, I think the chip is on the RIGHT side. It seems that the box type and chip placement may be tied in to the player's score, but the exact method remains a mystery. From [VIII]: You can pretty much safely replace all instances of "subweapon carrier" with "Sart or Cargo Carrier" throughout this section. A fair bit of the specific information there is Neo-specific, but the Score Counting method outlined there works in Zanac as well. Note that in Neo there may be no advantage to taking a blue Lander over a Red one, but there is in Zanac. The AI responds to the number of shots fired much more sharply than it does in Neo, and grabbing a ton of red Landers can cause the AI to launch a serious fireworks display if you are shooting indiscriminately. Also, Enemy Erasers can eliminate Landers in this game, giving you 30000 points in the process. This is usually not good from a survival standpoint, since extra ships are usually worth 80000 points. (This can be useful in Score Trial mode to squeeze out some extra points.) From [IX]: Zanac's invulnerability times are shorter than Zanac Neo's. In Zanac, power chips give you about 1 second of invulnerability, while subweapon powerups give you about 4 seconds. This means power chips give you half as much invulnerability than in Neo. [Note]: The chart of shot width and bullet velocity for Zanac's main gun (a la FC Custom [XIV.2]) is listed below. Note that the Zanac ship width is slightly smaller than Zanac Neo's FC custom, so apparent velocities may not match your expectations. Each type of beam (single, double, triple) makes a particular firing sound, with the higher levels having a lower pitch. You can easily tell what kind of weapon you have without looking at the screen. Shot widths are once again in ship width %, and bullet velocity is in ship widths/sec. Chips Req. Gun Total Bullet Required Type (# simultaneous shots) Shot Velocity Width ---------- --------------------------- ----- -------- 0 Single Beam (2) 24 14.3 1 Single Beam (3) 24 20.0 2 Double Beam (2) 76 22.7 3 Double Beam (3) 76 22.7 4 Triple Beam (2) 92 25.7 5 Triple Beam (3) 92 25.7 * Wide Triple Beam (3) 280(!) 31.3 * Wide beam obtained by methods outlined elsewhere in this section The real (cm/sec) speed of Zanac's bullets are in general 10-15% slower than the FC Custom, except for the 0 chip shot, which is 20% slower. This of course means that you have to get out of 0 chip as soon as possible. The corresponding chart for Red Lander shot delay reduction (in milliseconds) and shots/second while rushing is given as follows: # Red Landers Delay (msec) Shots/Sec --------------- ---------- --------- 0 100 10 1 82 12 2 66 15 3 50 20 4 34 30 5 17 60 6 " " etc. By all accounts, this is identical to the FC Custom Lander progression chart, if one accounts for experimental error and rounding. I believe that the delay with 5 landers is in the right range; anyone who has tried to destroy an Icon with the main gun can confirm that it is really much easier with the excess landers (several seconds instead of forever). However, the fast fire rate can cause your bullets to "pile-up" to a single projectile, which is bad especially for 0 chip shot, it will feel like firing one shot per second. In addition, you have to worry about the AI increase due to excessive shots fired. Like in Neo, the red lander benefits stay with you the rest of the game, regardless of ship destruction. [XV.6] Subweapons ================= As mentioned earlier, you start the game with Subweapon 0, the All Range Cannon. Your subweapon can be powered up or changed by collecting numbered Subweapon Powerups (woah), which appear when certain ground targets are destroyed or when a Cargo Carrier drags one onscreen. The four ships of Zanac Neo allowed you to "store" subweapons when you switched back in forth. Zanac does not allow you to do this; taking a new subweapon completely discards all levels in your old subweapon. Also, if you die, you not only lose all levels in your current subweapon, but you revert back to W0. In Zanac Neo, the FC Custom's subweapon set is basically adapted from the subweapon set in this game. However, there are a surprising number of differences, so it's worth another look at them. Nomenclature ------------ Zanac's weapon effect sizes are standardized sprites: (T) = Tiny - A tiny hollow bubble, 0.8 ship width in diameter (S) = Small - A small weapon "ball", diameter 1 ship width. This size of ball is a solid color, not a hollow "bubble" like all other sizes (MS)= Medium Small - A smallish sized weapon bubble, 1.15 ship widths in diameter (M) = Medium - A medium weapon bubble is 1.33 ship width (L) = Large - A large weapon bubble is 1.8 times ship width. (H) = Huge - A huge weapon bubble is 2.2 times ship width. -----W0 All Range Cannon Weapon Type: Projectile (Level 0-3), Shielding Projectile (Level 4) Rear/Side: Rear and Side Shot Limit: Leave Screen Max Level: 4 Gauge: None Level 0: Fire one (S) energy ball in any of eight directions Level 1: Fire two adjacent (S) energy balls in any of eight directions Level 2: Fire two widely spaced (S) energy balls in any of eight directions Level 3: As level 2 Level 4: As level 2, but destroys indestructable bullets. The All Range Cannon fires in the direction that your ship is moving (or straight ahead, if you're not moving.) It might not be the most powerful subweapon in the game, but it is quite versatile and has the advantage of having unlimited ammunition. At its highest level, it's quite useful. [Note] In Special version, you can lock the direction ARC fires by holding down the Shot Control button (R1 by default) when you've got it firing in the desired direction. (...shades of Space Megaforce) [Note] Because of the way the level 4 All Range Cannon fires, you can use it as a nearly perfect shield. You need to (continuously) press left or right at on the edges of the screen and fire straight into the wall. The continuous bullets will form a small sphere around your ship which will make you immune to: slow-moving 1 hit enemies (e.g. Degid), indestructible bullets, and destructible bullets. You should continue firing the main gun, preferably with the wide shot to help clear out enemies. If a fast moving enemy or a multihit enemy heads toward you, release the shield, destroy it, and continue using the shield. This technique can allow you to get through some difficult areas without losing a life. -----W1 Straight Crusher Weapon Type: Piercing Shielding Ball Rear/Side: No Shot Limit: Leave Screen Max Level: 5, [Disk: 2] Gauge: Per Shot Level 0: Fires one (S) ball straight ahead. (160 Shots) [Disk]: Fires one (S) ball straight ahead (200 shots) Level 1: Fires two adjacent (S) balls straight ahead. (180 Shots) [Disk]: Fires two adjacent (S) balls straight ahead, slightly faster but not as fast as ROM (200 shots) Level 2: Fires one (M)/(L) fast ball straight ahead. (190 Shots) [Disk]: Fires one (H) ball at high speed, straight ahead (200 shots), max power level for Disk. Not as fast as W1 Lv 1 ROM. Level 3: Fires one (L)/(H) even faster ball straight ahead. (200 shots) Level 4: Fires (H) ball straight ahead, extremely fast (210 shots). Level 5: Like level 4, but slower and the (H) ball rotates around an invisible point that moves slowly forward. Total coverage is a circle with diameter ~5 times ship width. (220 Shots) Relatively slow, especially since you can only have one onscreen at a time. However, it is quite powerful, clearing a path directly in front of your ship. Given that it can also take out most fortress parts in one or two hits (and take several of them out in one hit if they are vertically aligned), I usually grab one of these during fortress battles unless I have something better already. (On the flip side, this offers no protection from the sides or behind, so watch your back while you use this.) [Note] If you look at the changes made to this weapon between Disk and ROM, it's seems like the designers realized that W1 was underpowered in Disk. In Disk W1 probably does more damage by virtue of it being slower. However, it is difficult to get over the "hump" of slow, minimal area Lv 1 to the faster, wider Lv 2. The designers improved the fire rate in ROM, making it a slightly more defensive weapon. -----W2 Field Shutter Weapon Type: Shielding (degrades) Rear/Side: Side Shot Limit: N/A Max Level: 5, but see notes. Gauge: Per hit absorbed (Levels 0-4); Timed and per hit absorbed (Level 5) [Special] Per hit absorbed or timed (decoy) Level 0: Shield bubble surrounds front of ship. (50 Hits) Level 1: Larger bubble surrounds front of ship. (80 Hits) Level 2: Larger arc surrounds front of ship. (100 Hits) Level 3: Same as Level 2. (120 Hits) Level 4: Same as Level 2. (140 Hits) Level 5: Grants 90 seconds of complete invulnerability. A shield bubble surrounds your ship and protects the front and sides (or your entire ship, level 5.) An almost purely defensive weapon (you can ram stuff with it, but doing so will quickly drain your shield energy.) [Note] As your remaining shield strength decreases, so does it's size (i.e., a level 3 shield with 79 hits or less will have the same appearance as a fresh level 1 shield.) However, the shield generally still protects the ship from most side attacks, even if it appears like it would not. The cutoff points for the graphics are as follows: Hits Shield Size 1-15 (T) 16-31 (T)/(MS); the shield oscillates between these two states 32-47 (MS) 48-63 (M)/(MS) 64-79 (M) 80-95 (M) bubble/(L) arc 96+ (L) arc [Note] The Level 5 shield loses one second per hit, so you cannot act with complete impunity if you want your full 90+ seconds of invincibility. [Note] Collecting extra Subweapon 2's while having a Level 5 shield adds an additional 30 seconds to the timer. [Note] In Special version, holding down the Shot Control button will plant the shield bubble at the your ship's current location, and enemies will act as if your ship is in this location regardless if your ship has moved on or not. Enemies with fixed firing patterns will be unaffected, but those who aim at or attempt to follow (or ram, in the case of mini-bosses) your ship will attempt to take out the decoy. This makes the Field Shutter much more useful in Special version than in the other two versions. (You lose one hit per second while this is in effect.) Note that this ceases to work once you've acquired the Level 5 shield. [Note] When using Field Shutter, you can press the back of your ship against the lowest edge of the screen, preventing enemies from attacking you from the back. [Note] Interesting tidbit: You can "turn off" the Field Shutter by just touching the midboss-size enemies with it. As I recall, the shield will go flying off and will not reappear until you press the subweapon button. Of course, if you ram the midbosses, you will die, and you won't have a subweapon while it is turned off...so this is somewhat less than useful. [Note] AFAIK W2 is rarely used by most Zanac players due to its tendency to cause all sorts of nasty enemies (especially Degid "scissors") to appear every time you power it up. If you do want to use it, avoid touching it to boxes, multihit enemies, or huge chunks of bullets. -----W3 Circular Weapon Type: Shielding (Piercing) Rear/Side: Rear and Side Shot Limit: N/A Max Level: 5 Gauge: Timed Level 0: (S) energy ball rotates clockwise around ship. (250 seconds) Level 1: Same as level 0, except faster. (250 seconds) Level 2: Two adjacent (S) energy balls rotate clockwise around ship. (250 seconds) Level 3: Same as Level 2, except faster. (250 seconds) Level 4: Two widely spread (S) energy balls rotate clockwise around ship. (250 seconds) Level 5: Same as Level 4, except faster. (250 seconds) Mostly a defensive weapon, and preferable to the Field Shutter IMO. For one thing, it's guaranteed to last 250 seconds, no matter how many hits it takes. For another, it can protect your sides and back without getting it to the maximum level. Obviously it's not a perfect defense, as shots can still sneak in between rotations, so you do need to be careful. [Note] Two differences in Special version. First, the direction of rotation changes every time you power up the subweapon (so that Levels 1, 3, and 5 rotate counterclockwise.) Secondly, holding the Shot Control button will make the energy balls slow down upon contact with an enemy, causing more damage (but leaving you more open to attack.) -----W4 Vibrator Weapon Type: Piercing Shielding Ball Rear/Side: Well... Shot Limit: Fixed Rate, but see notes. Max Level: 5; [Disk: 2] Gauge: Per Shot [Disk]: Per Hit Absorbed, recharging Level 0: (L) size energy ball flies forward a short distance while vibrating. (160 Shots) [Disk]: (M) energy ball flies forward a short distance while vibrating (60 charges) Level 1: As Level 0, but (H) size ball. More durability. (170 Shots) [Disk]: As Lv 0, but (L) size energy ball (60 charges) Level 2: Same as Level 1, more durability. (180 Shots) [Disk]: As Lv 1, but (H) size energy ball (60 charges), max power for Disk. Level 3: Same as Level 2. More durability. (190 Shots) Level 4: Same as Level 3. More durability. (200 Shots) Level 5: Same as Level 4. More durability. (220 Shots) The Vibrator is yet another standard issue Zanac Energy Ball Weapon[TM]. This one flies forward a short distance, while vibrating left to right all the way. Once it has reached its maximum vertical distance, it stays there until either a certain amount of time has passed, or until it has dealt a certain amount of damage to enemies or bullets. (The energy ball will shrink as it takes hits to indicate how much durability it has left.) This can make a fairly decent shield of sorts, removing enemy shots from a good area right in front of you. (You could also place your ship in its path or right in front of it, providing some side or rear protection. I'd advise some caution in doing so, however.) [Note] In Disk version, A Vibrator shot will not disappear until it has been completely worn down (or you fire it off of the screen). That means if you shot it somewhere where this is nothing happening, you may be unable to fire it again (in a more advantageous position, perhaps) for quite some time. The gauge in Disk indicates the weapon's remaining hit absorption remaining for that shot, but you have infinite use of the weapon. [Note] In Rom version, the Vibrator will fly out to some distance, vibrate, and then slowly fly off toward the top of the screen after a few seconds, allowing you to fire another. The Vibrator has durability but there is no gauge, only visual clues (ball size). [Note] In Special version, once the Vibrator has flown forward its maximum distance, it will slowly fall back unless you are holding down a fire button (your choice of Main, Subweapon, or the the Main + Sub button.) Once it has started falling backward you can make it go forward again by resuming fire. -----W5 Rewinder Weapon Type: Piercing Shielding Yo-yo (Level 0-4), Piercing Shielding Laser (Level 5-10) Rear/Side: No Shot Limit: Fixed rate Max Level: 10 Gauge: None Level 0: (S) energy ball flies forward, stops, then returns to ship. Level 1: Two (S) adjacent energy balls fly forward, stop, and return to the ship Level 2: Same as Level 1, but faster. Level 3: Two widely spaced (S) energy balls fly forward, stop, and return to ship. Level 4: Same as Level 3, but much faster. Level 5: Narrow piercing, shielding laser fires straight forward, Laser beam length 2.7 times ship width Level 6: Laser beam length 4.5 times ship width (higher damage) Level 7: Laser beam length 6.2 times ship width (higher damage) Level 8: Laser beam length 8.0 times ship width (higher damage) Level 9: Laser beam length 9.8 times ship width (higher damage) Level 10: Full-screen length laser weapon, massive damage At a glance this seems similar to Subweapon 1; a slow shot plows through everything directly ahead. However, Subweapon 5 has unlimited uses, and if positioned correctly, can do a ton of damage. Ideally you'll want to place yourself so that the energy ball(s) stop right over your target. On the negative side, you can only have one shot at once, so this weapon fires relatively slowly (although the higher levels make up for this somewhat.) [Note] Successfully stopping W5 (at any power level) over any non-mobile enemy in the game will destroy it. It's that powerful. But it still does bounce off of armored mid-bosses. If you are good with the weapon, it is still useful against fortresses at its lowest level, so if you die during such a battle, consider taking it if one is available. [Note] That power comes at a price. W5 is the LEAST defensive weapon in the game, seeing as it spends most of its time far away from you. [Note] One sort of risky but mildly useful strategy is rushing with slow sub-laser W5. If you move the ship forward while continuously firing W5, the ship will overtake W5, "catching" it, and then immediately fire it out. This cycle will keep a W5 ball(s) over your ship. Since W5 has a small radius, this can make your ship almost immune to bullets while you continue traveling forward. The downside: once you stop moving forward, W5 will fly to the end of the screen and you'll be left with practically no protection. [Note] Levels 5-10 are completely different, firing a fast moving narrow laser directly forward. The laser is quite powerful (it can knock out a Drov shell in two hits) and eliminates otherwise indestructable enemy bullets. However, its narrow size makes it a bit difficult to use defensively. This is alleviated somewhat by the fact that it follows your ship horizontally, allowing you to sweep it across the screen somewhat. It can be safely said that the W5 Lv10 laser is the most powerful (damaging) subweapon in the game. [Note] The laser is the only subweapon which doesn't bounce annoyingly off of armored mid-bosses. At its highest level, 3 or 4 shots can kill fairly tough mid-bosses. -----W6 Plasma Flash Weapon Type: Projectile Shielding Plasma Bomb (Level 0-1), Shielding Plasma Flash (Level 2-5), Free Ship Projectile Shielding Bomb (Level 5) Rear/Side: Entire screen! Shot Limit: Leave screen, when there actually is a shot... Max Level: 5 Gauge: Per Shot Level 0: Fire (S) plasma bomb straight ahead. (20 Shots) Level 1: Ditto. (20 Shots) Level 2: Fire plasma flash (20 Shots) Level 3: Ditto. (20 Shots) Level 4: And again... (20 Shots) Level 5: (S) "Lander Flash" (1 shot, limit 1 per game); after that, same old regular plasma flash. (20 Shots) An excellent subweapon for getting out of sticky situations. Levels 0 and 1 fire a slow moving ball directly forward. If it makes contact with something (an enemy, bullet, box, whatever), all flying enemies and bullets currently onscreen are instantly destroyed. From level 2 and beyond, pressing the Subweapon button simply instantly zaps everything on screen. [Note] This weapon has no effect on ground enemies (like Barss and the various fortress parts), but it's still useful to clear out all the bullets that they like to spit at you. [Note] At level 5, you get one (and only one) shot of the infamous Lander Flash. This fires like a Level 0 or 1 Plasma Flash, but hitting something with it instantly turns all onscreen enemies and enemy bullets into blue Landers. You only get one use of this per game, and once you've used it, a level 5 Plasma Flash is identical to levels 2-4. [Note] One useful technique with W6 is the rapid-fire Plasma scoring trick, usable with W6 at levels of 2 and higher. When you have the Plasma Flash, then try to hold it until you can get another W6 powerup on the screen, keeping careful track of your bombs left. When you manage to get another W6 floating on the screen, follow it, waiting until the screen is nearly full of enemies and bullets, and then repeatedly bomb the screen with rapid fire bombs until you have only 1 plasma bomb left, and then take the powerup. When you flash the screen, the enemies will explode, awarding you points. However, you can also flash the explosions over and over, multiplying the points by a huge amount. When you get to the next W6 powerup, do it again. And again. On the other hand, I've found that using this trick makes the ALC go absolutely nuts. If you are able to pull this off several times then you'll start to see Zanac at its worst. [Note] ..but the rapid-fire Plasma scoring trick doesn't work with FCW6 because you can't flash enemy explosions. Compile must have noticed and fixed the problem. [Note] ..and the rapid-fire Plasma trick doesn't work in Score Trial modes either. I suppose Compile decided it would turn ST into a game of "who can get the most W6?" [Note] If you flash a screen with Giza on it (worth 1000 points each), Zanac will respond by stopping the production of Giza for a while. This is good if you want to clear the screen, bad if you want to see tons of Giza in order to score points, e.g. Score Trial 2. -----W7 High Speed Weapon Type: Piercing Shielding Wave Rear/Side Not quite (Disk and Rom); Side (Special) Shot Limit: Leave screen Max Level: 5 [Disk: 3] Gauge: Timed (but only while firing) Level 0: High speed (S) energy ball wave, covers small area. (160 seconds) [Disk]: Like Rom, but (200 seconds) Level 1: As Level 0, but fires slower and covers larger area (170 seconds) [Disk]: Like Rom, but (200 seconds) Level 2: As Level 1, but double (S) energy ball wave. (170 seconds) [Disk]: As Level 1, but even slower speed fire, covers even larger area. (200 seconds) Level 3: (L) single energy ball wave, speed as Level 2. (180 seconds) [Disk]: (H) single energy ball wave, but high speed as Lv 0 (200 seconds), max power for Disk. Level 4: (H) single energy ball wave, speed as Level 2. (180 seconds) Level 5: (H) single energy ball wave. (I didn't notice a difference from Level 4 except the extra time.) (200 seconds) A bit on the weak side, but makes up for that with its, well, high speed. Ordinarily this weapon fires straight ahead, but moving left or right will cause it to fire diagonally. It's not as versatile as the All Range Cannon, but since it can take out enemy fire at any level it is still quite useful as a general-use weapon. [Note] One thing to notice is that while firing, the energy balls only appear at certain fixed locations in a line. Indeed, these are the only places the High Speed can actually cause damage; any enemy or bullet flying in between these locations will come out unscathed. Some levels have more of these locations (I've labeled these as "faster" in the descriptions above.) The higher levels have larger energy balls, which also has the effect of reducing enemy safe zones. [Note]: In Disk version, Lv 1 and Lv 0 are about the same usefulness, trading off area for speed; Lv 2 is much worse than both Lv 1 and Lv 0, because it is so slow that the fire speed is like W0. This makes the weapon difficult to keep until Lv 3...but at Lv 3, both speed and area are superb. Be prepared climb over the "wall" in W7 at Lv 2 to get to the good stuff. [Note] Special version brings two changes to the High Speed. First, holding the Shot Control button allows you to lock which direction you fire, similar to Subweapon 0. Second, you can now fire the High Speed at a lower angle, almost straight left or right, by holding diagonally back/left or back/right while firing. [XV.7] Scoring ============== Unlike Zanac Neo, there are no fancy scoring methods like maintaining combos or blowing up the entire screen with a chain combo. You basically blow stuff up and get points based on what it was you destroyed. There are a few ways to be awarded bonus points, however. From time to time you will encounter fortress battles, where you are given a limited amount of time to destroy a set of ground-based artillery. If you manage to completely destroy the fortress within the given time frame, you will be awarded a set amount of bonus points (this amount varies from fortress to fortress.) Additionally, if you are playing in Special mode, you will also be awarded 500 points for each second remaining on the clock. Another source of bonus points is the 100000 per ship remaining bonus you get upon defeating the final fortress. (And thanks to the 2000000 bonus points you get just for defeating the fortress, you're guaranteed to have at least 25 ships at this point.) Extra ships are awarded at 20000 points, 80000 points, and every 80000 points thereafter. [XV.8] Objects in Space ======================= The following lists are descriptions of the various enemies and other things you'll encounter during your battle with the system. (I've listed the fortress parts in the next section about, appropriately enough, fortresses. :) Thanks go to www.zanacxzanac.com and the other Japanese site listed in the credits for the names. (I've followed the latter site's enemy groupings here.) Scoring data is based on ROM version at the normal difficulty (except in the case of Special version exclusive enemies.) [Note] Please bear with us as we try to confirm point values and find all of the enemy variants. Enemy Fire ========== Brom - Pink destructible balls emitted by Brains during the last fortress battle. 100 points. Lead - Your standard indestructable circular bullet. You'll be seeing quite a bit of these. You can get 10 points for destroying them, if you have a subweapon capable of doing so. Light Bar - The oval-shaped destructible bullet. 60 points. Mio - The rotating disc that often protects Effine. The mini-boss Somas can produce these as well. 0 points. SIG - The blue destructible missile. 60 points. SIGs occasionally appear by themselves, or in small groups (or large groups, in Special mode) Super Hard - Tough to destroy chunks left behind by the mini-boss Body Solayd. 1000 points. Velo - The rotating blob of doom generated by Round Eyes. Looks like a round bubble with a dark center, in which is a tiny glowing dot. Somewhat tough to destroy. 500 points. Airborne Targets ================ Back Degid - Degid appear to be small triangular "claw"-like ships, which appear in mirrored pairs, each half slowly ascending along the left and right sides of the screen. When they are horizontally aligned with your ship, they rush together in an attempt to ram you. Once connected, it leaves via the top of the screen. (It comes in yellow and red varieties; the red ones accelerate as they come together) 800 points, even if connected. Box - Blue cubes that passively float down the screen in trios. May contain a Power Chip... or it may just fire at you if you destroy it. "Red" disintegrating boxes are worth 300 points, while "White" trap boxes and power chip boxes are worth nothing. Power chips themselves are worth 170, though ramming a power chip box correctly is worth 850. See section [XV.5] and [VII.2]. Brio Golgos - Brio Golgos is a medium sized enemy shaped vaguely like a satellite, with a green central section bearing an eyeball connected to outer blue "wings". Brio Golgos looks more "solid" than Lio Golgos, and it fires a cascade of Lead which fall in parabolic arcs. 2000 points. Cargo - Small blue "ships" with long arms that grip large (bigger than Carrier the ship) numbers. These replace Sarts under certain conditions (see section [XV.5] for details.) Destroying them yields a Subweapon Powerup. 0 points. Carla - Annoying red pulsing jellyfish. Carla "cancel" subweapons; any physical manifestation of a subweapon vanishes the instant it touches a Carla. They cannot be destroyed by firepower, but you can safely ram them to kill them. (The Plasma Flash in projectile form can destroy them, but only if you hit something else with the bomb.) 1000 points. Degid - Degid appear to be small triangular "claw"-like ships, which appear in pairs, each half slowly descending along the left and right sides of the screen. When they are horizontally aligned with your ship, they rush together in an attempt to ram you. If the two sides meet they combine move straight down the screen until they exit. They come in blue and yellow varieties; the yellow ones accelerate as they come together while the blue remain at constant speed. Degid start appearing almost immediately when you take or upgrade Weapon 2. 300 points (even if connected.) Degis Golgos- Medium sized enemy with a orange, eyeball-bearing center flanked by twin white cannons. Degis Golgos launches SIGs in groups of five in your ship's general direction. Tends to appear more when you have W2. 4000 points. Drov - Blue teardrop-shaped enemy pod. When you get too close, it opens up and launches 3 SIGs at you, leaving behind two shells. A Drov is worth 300 points while still in one piece; the tough to destroy shells are worth 5000 points each. Duster - Small round asteroid with a cracked surface. The slow yellow ones are worth 60 points, and the faster blue ones are worth 170. Special version introduces the green Dusters which come in large clusters, still worth 170 points each. Effine - Effine look like tiny blue starships with two "Enterprise"-like thrusters attached to the main body. Effine rotate along their primary axis. Effine come in four varieties. The first type hides "underneath" the background, coming up from time to time. You cannot hit them when they are hiding. The second type crosses the top of the screen from one side to the other, firing Light Bars the whole way. The third type flies straight down, firing Lead to the left and right. The fourth type is shielded with the rotating Mio barrier. 500 points for types 2 and 3; 800 for types 1 and 4. Giza - Giza are circular enemies which resemble round jellyfish, with a glowing center. Giza slowly descends from the top to the screen bottom without much activity besides destroying your ship if you should ram one. It takes 16 hits to destroy one. 1000 points. Lio Golgos - Medium sized enemy that looks a lot like a "tie fighter." Lio Golgos has a blue central eye connected to two yellowish wings by a thin bar. Lio Golgos descends slowly, firing a three-shot Lead spread. 800 points. Loga - Small pear-shaped carrier ships with tiny rear wings, they "open up" in order to fire. Descends slowly down either edge of the screen. The yellow type launches Light Bars at regular intervals; the blue type fires one Light Bar when horizontally aligned with your ship. Special version includes a green version that flies forward a set distance, fires, than leaves. Also unique to Special are the red type, which is identical to the blue type except that it releases a Velo. 300 points for blue and green, 500 for red, 800 for yellow. Luster - A dart-shaped, twin-engined aircraft that opens up to fire, Luster comes in three varieties. The blue ones slowly descend down either edge of the screen, firing Lead at regular intervals. The yellow ones act similarly, except they oscillate on the way down. The purple ones take a curved, J-shaped path down to the bottom of the screen while aiming Lead directly at your ship. The purple variety fly engine-first, making them look like thimbles instead of like darts. Purple Luster are among the most annoying enemies in the game, having high speed and a habit of firing indestructible bullets directly into your ship at close range. 500 points for the blue and yellow types; 800 for the purple ones. Sart - Inoffensive white scout ships with round bodies attached to a pair of landing gear "legs" and two small antennae. Appears periodically on the edge of the screen opposite your ship. Destroying them weakens the AI. 500 points. Takawarshi - Small blue ships that look somewhat insectoid, sporting large wings and two front guns. Appears at the top of the screen, and attempts to vertically align itself with your ship. It launches a steady stream of SIGs straight downward. Special version includes a yellow version that does not follow your ship. Warning: Takawarshi is happy to flip over and fire at your ship from behind, should you happen to get in front of them. 2000 points. Terza - Terzas appear as small four-pointed stars that resemble flowers. These come in several varieties. The White/Blue ones enter from the left or right bottom, turn in a circle, then zoom of diagonally to the opposite side of the screen. The Yellow/Black ones oscillate while descending to the bottom of the screen, then they head for the center and zoom toward the bottom of the screen. The Red/Black Special version kind are similar to the Yellow/Black ones, except they zoom off the opposite side of the screen when they reach the bottom. 300 points. Umber - Small carrier ships with a large white diamond-shaped nose and small rear wings. Umber come in three varieties. The blue ones come down from the middle top of the firing a spread of Lead across the screen. Purples one do likewise, but fire two rotating Lead diagonally downward in both directions. 300 points for blue and purple, 500 for yellow. Valkyrie - Circular enemy that superficially looks like Giza, but with a red glowing center. Valkyrie phases onscreen, then homes in on your ship. Valkyrie "leeches" charge of Weapon 2 if you allow it to touch your shield. 500 points. Veybar - Veybar are manta-shaped ships with two separate wings connected by a small bright dot. Veybar flip over when they are ready to turn around and exit the screen. Veybar come in two varieties. The blue ones fly down either edge of the screen a certain distance, fire Lead, then zoom off to the opposite top edge of the screen. The yellow ones enter the screen flying diagonally. 500 points. Ground Targets ============== Barss 1 - Fires Lead in your general direction. Comes in pyramidal, diamond-shaped or invisible varieties. 800 points. Barss 2 - Roughly hexagonal ground installation that launches Light Bars. 1000 points. Barss 3 - Spiderish ground installation that launches Light Bars. Barss 4 - Small square panels that shoot Light Bars. They often accompany fortresses, but you can find them during other parts in the level in X-shaped formations. 500 points. Carw - Squares labeled with a number. Destroying them reveals the corresponding Subweapon Powerup. 500 points. Eye Eye - Smiley Face icons that upgrade your weapons when fired upon. Completely destroying one is worth 300000 points. Groc - Small golden squares that appear in Area 6. One of them conceals Rio, but the rest do absolutely nothing. 500 points Icon - Small buildings. The standard type release Enemy Erasers, the more face-looking ones release Warp Holes. They can be destroyed, but it takes an amazing amount of firepower to do so. It is extremely difficult to destroy one while the screen is scrolling. 100000 points. Tank - Colored bubble that releases a random Subweapon Powerup when destroyed. Otherwise does nothing. 800 points. Teria - The only one I know about is in Area 3, the small blue square near the beginning of the level that releases Rio. Mini-bosses =========== Mini-bosses can be annoying. Shots bounce off them and appear to do no damage, but looks can be deceptive. Keep firing at them and they'll eventually go down. Be careful though, since they spread shrapnel (in the form of SIGs) when they explode. Gired - Large white and blue creature with 8 arms, shaped sort of like like a big asterisk. Appears in area 6 and follows you, firing Lead in all directions. It is much faster than most other mid-bosses, thus it is pretty dangerous. 4000 points. Hum - Large green eyeball with thin blue X-shaped wings. They'll follow you around the screen trying to ram you, and they like to throw "spinning" Lead around as well. Find them in areas 5 and 9. The one in Area 9 seems much weaker (easier to destroy) than the one in Area 5, but you have to fight other enemies at the same time. 2000 points. Masel - The stealth bomber looking craft. They appear, shower you with Lead, then disappear, only to reappear somewhere else on screen. Look for them in areas 2 (one appears solo) and 11 (two appear simultaneously). 2000 points. Solayd - Solayd appears in Area 7. This miniboss is shaped like an "X" with extremely thin arms. The center and upper two arms are decorated with an ornate radial pattern with a central "eye". Solayd litters the screen with "Super Hard Bodies", which are essentially copies of this pattern. Luckily, Solayd is fairly slow. 4000 points. Somas - This large annoying mini-boss is a round yellow ball surrounded by huge blue/white folded "wings" of armor plating. Two antennae stick up from the top of the beast. Somas appears in areas 11 and 12. It follows you slowly, littering the screen with circulating Leads, Velos, and Mios. 8000 points. (Unknown) - These ships appear as large, yellow, roughly square shaped ships with a diamond shaped central "eye". Their folded armor structure is vaguely reminiscent of Somas, except in a much more compact form. No one knows what these are called, but they appear throughout several levels in Special version. They don't do much except toss a Light Bar at you once and again, but since they do reflect shots like other midbosses they can still cause trouble by slowing down your rate of fire. 2000 points. [XV.9] Fortresses ================= As noted above, fortress encounters happen periodically throughout the game. Upon approaching one, the screen will stop and a timer will appear in the top right corner of the screen. You have until the timer runs out to completely destroy all the parts of the fortress. Succeeding will net you some bonus points; if you fail, the screen will start scrolling again (allowing you to bypass the fortress) and the AI will be kicked up a notch. [Note] As you destroy fortress parts, the remaining ones will increase their rate of fire to make up for it. [Note] When a fortress part is destroyed, any bullets or Velos still onscreen generated by that part will vanish. [Note] When you destroy a fortress, everything remaining on the screen in destroyed in a flash of light similar to an enemy Eraser. While the score is being displayed (or the time bonus is counting out), your ship is invulnerable; this is only obvious if for some reason boxes or AI-triggered ships like Degids enter the screen at this time. [Note] Note that failing to destroy the Area 11 fortress will cause you to be warped back to the beginning of Area 11, instead of being allowed to continue. Fortresses will be assembled from the following list of parts. Big Eye - Looks roughly like a human eye. It launches a combination of destructible and indestructable bullets. Brain - These only appear at the last form of the final fortress. They shrink as you fire upon them, but if you stop firing before they are completely destroyed, they will regenerate. (Note that you will have to destroy the large flashing panels nearby before you can actually damage the brain.) They flood the screen with the pink Broms, which are destructible. Combination Eye - A set of four small eyes. They fire indestructable bullets in your general direction in sets of five. Mono Eye - A single small eye. Launches indestructable bullets one at a time at your ship. Panel Eye - Looks something like a grate, actually. Launches SIGs at you in groups of three. Round Eye - Opens up and launches Velos, the annoying swirling enemies that are tough to destroy. Generally you should try to take these out first; a screenful of Velos is bad news. Slit Eye - A set of four small round eyes, similar to the Combination Eye but smaller. Launches destructible bullets only. [Note] On occasion you will find many of these fortress parts scattered throughout non-fortress areas of the level. [Note] On the other hand, Fortresses are occasionally accompanied by Tanks (the bubbles that release a random Subweapon powerup) or various varieties of Barss (the most common being Barss 4, the small square panel that shoots destructible bullets.) Destroying them is not necessary in order to defeat the fortress. [Note] If for some reason you end up with a screen full of Velos, then you might lose ship after ship without a way to proceed. The general solutions are 1) use W6(s) to clear the screen, then destroy the Round Eye, or 2) Rush the Round Eye with invulnerability, sacrificing as many ships as it takes to destroy it. Don't stay far back from the Eye and try to take on the Velos conservatively; in general, you will not meet with success. [Note] Occasionally you will encounter Icons (buildings that release Enemy Eraser) on the ground near the boss. Although shooting them a short while releases the Eraser, continual shooting will cause them to explode, giving you 100000 points (which guarantees at least one free man). It will take an amazing amount of firepower to cause them to explode, so be prepared to wait a while unless you have an abundance of red-lander sponsored firepower. The following chart shows the constitution, time limit, and bonus value of each of the fortresses. (This list was based on ROM version at the Normal difficulty. +--------+-------+-------+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+ |Fortress| Timer | Bonus | BE | BR | CE | ME | PE | RE | SE | +--------+-------+-------+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+ |Area 1 A| 20 | 4000 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 1 | 0 | 0 | 0 | |Area 1 B| 40 | 8000 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 1 | 0 | |Area 1 C| 40 | 10000 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 4 | 0 | 0 | 4 | |Area 2 A| 60 | 20000 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 2 | 1 | 0 | |Area 3 A| 50 | 10000 | 0 | 0 | 1 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 | |Area 3 B| 40 | 10000 | 0 | 0 | 1 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 | |Area 3 C| 60 | 20000 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 3 | 0 | 2 | |Area 3 D| 90 | 30000 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 2 | 0 | 4 | |Area 4 A| 90 | 30000 | 0 | 0 | 1 | 0 | 4 | 4 | 0 | |Area 4 B| 60 | 15000 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 2 | 1 | 0 | |Area 4 C| 110 | 30000 | 0 | 0 | 1 | 2 | 0 | 2 | 2 | |Area 5 A| 90 | 30000 | 2 | 0 | 2 | 0 | 2 | 2 | 0 | |Area 6 A| 90 | 30000 | 2 | 0 | 0 | 2 | 0 | 2 | 2 | |Area 6 B| 80 | 40000 | 1 | 0 | 2 | 0 | 0 | 3 | 0 | |Area 7 A| 80 | 30000 | 0 | 0 | 2 | 2 | 0 | 2 | 0 | |Area 8 A| 80 | 40000 | 0 | 0 | 4 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 | |Area 9 A| 90 | 30000 | 0 | 0 | 2 | 2 | 0 | 2 | 0 | |Area 9 B| 80 | 20000 | 2 | 0 | 0 | 2 | 0 | 2 | 2 | |Area 9 C| 70 | 20000 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 2 | 2 | 1 | 0 | |Area 9 D| 90 | 20000 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 3 | 0 | 2 | |Area 9 E| 90 | 40000 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 4 | 4 | 0 | |Area10 A| 60 | 20000 | 0 | 0 | 1 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 | |Area10 B| 90 | 30000 | 1 | 0 | 2 | 0 | 1 | 2 | 2 | |Area10 C| 90 | 30000 | 0 | 0 | 1 | 0 | 4 | 4 | 0 | |Area10 D| 90 | 40000 | 0 | 0 | 3 | 0 | 1 | 3 | 2 | |Area11 A| 90 | 70000 | 5 | 0 | 2 | 4 | 1 | 5 | 1 | |Area12 A| * | N/A | 2 | 0 | 2 | 0 | 2 | 4 | 2 | |Area12 B| * | N/A | 2 | 0 | 2 | 4 | 2 | 2 | 0 | |Area12 C| * |2000000| 0 | 3 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 | +--------+-------+-------+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+ * - If you've turned on the Final Fortress timer, you have 360 seconds to defeat all three forms of the Final Fortress. Otherwise, take as long as you'd like. Special version has some different fortresses (any not listed below are identical to the ROM version as listed above.) +--------+-------+-------+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+ |Fortress| Timer | Bonus | BE | BR | CE | ME | PE | RE | SE | +--------+-------+-------+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+ |Area 3 B| 40 | 10000 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 2 | 2 | 1 | 0 | |Area 3 C| 60 | 20000 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 6 | 0 | 4 | |Area 9 C| 80 | 30000 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 2 | 8 | 1 | 4 | |Area 9 D| 90 | 30000 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 4 | 4 | 2 | 0 | +--------+-------+-------+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+ [XV.10] Current List of Faerie Locations ======================================= The faerie Rio is hidden at several different locations throughout the game. (Look for places where your weapons seem to be hitting some invisible object.) Touching Rio when she appears will destroy everything onscreen like an Enemy Eraser, and cause her to start following your ship. The next fortress you reach with Rio in tow will be instantly destroyed. [Note] Unlike Zanac Neo, Rio does _not_ protect your ship from incoming fire, or give you any subweapons upon destroying a fortress. [Note] In Special version, Rio will shoot homing fireballs at enemies after you use her "Enemy Eraser" power, until you reach the next fortress. :) Area 3 - Not long after you reach the forest area at the beginning of the Area, you'll find a blue square to the left. Shoot it to unleash Rio. Area 4 - Toward the beginning of the level, you will see two grey rectangular areas, each with four squares forming a "plus sign". Shoot the center of the plus sign on the left to reveal Rio. Area 6 - At the beginning of the level you'll come across several golden squares on the ground at both edges of the screen that can be destroyed (but otherwise do nothing.) The seventh such square on the right houses Rio. Area 10 - Right after the second fortress, you'll soon come across a fortress-like emplacement on the left side of the screen. (It consists of four Tanks and a Round Eye, just like the second fortress of Area 1.) It doesn't count as an official fortress though, and the screen will not stop for it. However, if you can take out the Round Eye, Rio will pop out. [XV.11] Current List of Eye-Eye Locations ======================================== Eye-Eyes are small "smiley-face" icons that appear on the ground from time to time. The first time you hit the Eye-Eye, your main gun will turn into the Wide Shot and your subweapon will upgrade one level, if possible. Additional hits will continue to upgrade your subweapon until it reaches its maximum level. (Contrary to popular belief, the upgrade is not an instantaneous complete upgrade, but in most cases you really have to go out of your way to get a partial upgrade from an Eye-eye.) [Note] If you continue to fire at the Eye-Eye, you can eventually destroy it for a 300000 point bonus. This is worth at least 3 free ships and is not terribly difficult to do, so I highly recommend doing this whenever possible. [Note] Occasionally, if you did not have the Wide Shot before hitting the Eye-Eye, picking up a Power Chip will revert your weapon back to its dinky pre-Eye Eye status. I am not yet sure what the exact circumstances behind this are. I believe you are safe if you have at least 5 chips (normal gun power "maxed out"), and will revert if you have 4 or less chips. Area 3 - Hang to the right when you reach the second large forested area after the first fortress. The Eye-Eye appears on the right side about halfway through this forest. Area 5 - It appears slightly right of center during the fast scrolling open area where you fight the mini-boss. (The mini-boss and the fast scrolling both make this one tricky to hit. Try draw the mini-boss to the lower left corner as long as you can, and then rush back to hit the Eye-eye.) Area 8 - Not too far after the Subweapon 5 that appears in the center of the screen toward the beginning of the level (in Disk Version a Tank appears here instead, and being reddish it blends in well with the surroundings), the Eye-Eye will appear on the left side of the screen. Area 11 - A difficult one to spot. It's on the right side of the screen about midway through the blue part of the level. The Eye-Eye itself is colored blue here, which makes it blend in with its surroundings quite well unfortunately. Area 12 - Keep an eye on the "yellow brick road" that appears right around the same time the mini-boss does. It first appears on the right, then stops while a second one appears on the left. It eventually stops, while a third crosses the screen from right to left. Once the fourth, larger one appears on the right, the Eye-Eye will soon appear slightly right of the center of the screen. (The screen is scrolling fast and more than likely the mini-boss will still be harassing you, so this one can be easy to miss.) Area 12(2) - Blink and you'll miss this one; right when the background turns completely yellow (with the odd green rows) toward the end of the level, you need to be on the left side of the screen, about halfway between the left edge and the center. [XV.12] Current List of Warp Hole Locations ========================================== You will become quite familiar with the Icons that are scattered throughout the levels, which produce Enemy Erasers when shot. (A picture of the standard Icon appears on page 11 of the manual.) However, not shown in the manual is a different kind of Icon, which looks somewhat more like an Eye-Eye, except with square eyes. At first these seem no different than the standard Icon, as shooting them produces a fully functional Enemy Eraser. However, these EE's are different; if you leave them alone for a few seconds, the middle "ball" of the EE will vanish, leaving a hollow ring. Flying into this ring will warp you to another Area. [Note] Nobody ever claimed that the warp would send you _further_ into the game. Mwhahaha... sorry. [Note] Once you touch the warp hole, you immediately become immune to enemies and their bullets for the few seconds it takes for the screen to fade out. [Note] Flying into a Warp Hole in Score Trial mode immediately ends the trial. Obviously, this probably isn't a good idea if you are trying for a high score. [Note] In Special version, the Warp Icons in the locations noted below have been removed and replaced with the standard Icons. I have not noticed any new Warp Icon locations. Area 1 - This one is on the far right side of the screen near the very end of the level. There's very little point in taking it, since the fortress isn't much further ahead and it only takes you to Area 2. Area 2 - This one is even more pointless than the Area 1 warp. It appears right in front of a regular Icon, even closer to the last fortress than in Area 1. It takes you to Area 3. Area 3 - Similar to the Area 2 warp. Right before the last fortress, on the right side of the screen, right in front of a regular Icon. This one takes you to Area 4. Area 5 - Appears slightly left of center on an asteroid "island" during the fast scrolling area, just a bit past the Eye-Eye. The combination of the fast scrolling and the fact you may still be dueling the mini-boss makes this one hard to catch. If you can get it though, it'll take you to Area 6. Area 6 - This isn't going to be a great description... There's an invisible Warp Icon on the far right side of the screen, quite some distance after the first fortress. This warp takes you to Area 8. Area 7 - While you're fighting the mini-boss of this level, two columns of Icons will appear. The first nine on the left are standard Icons; the next four on the right are Warp Icons. I haven't got around to checking them all individually, but most of them warp you backward. (The first takes you to Area 5, for instance.) The second to last one, however, warps you ahead to Area 9. Area 11 - There isn't an actual Warp Hole here (that I'm aware of), but this is as good a place as any to mention this. Unlike practically every other fortress in the game, failing to defeat the one at the end of Area 11 before the timer runs out will warp you back to the beginning of Area 11. (If you manage to completely destroy it after the timer runs out but before you actually get warped, you will still get warped anyway.) Unlike the other warps, this one still works in Special version. [XV.13] Score Trial Strategies ============================== As Zanac doesn't include the nifty scoring systems of its successor, squeezing the maximum amount of points out of a given level will take much more cleverness than simply shooting everything and timing your Charge Shots well. With that in mind, here are some tips. At the moment only Course 1 is covered, but more courses will be added to future revisions. Course 1 (Wayne's Record: 756170 / Zach's Record: 728360) ========================================================= Your basic strategy is judicious use of W6. Start by firing W0 at the Sart, wait until it got closer to the top of the screen, then turn it red. Fire two W0 shots at dusters (producing a set of boxes), hit the Icon for Enemy Eraser, ram the left box in the set, THEN touch the Enemy Eraser...without the Lander leaving the screen. Your score should be 32000, so fire two main gun shots to increment the score counter without hitting anything. Hang to the right side without firing, shoot the left Sart and then shoot W0, take it for the invulnerability, take the Red Lander, then take as many W2 as you can get (there are three following the W0). The W2 triggers more point-full enemies to come on the screen so you can shoot them. :) Your shield will last until the next Icon, at which point you pop the screen (hopefully catching a few Giza) and then take the two W6s along the right side, trying to flash the screen several times in between taking the first and the second powerup. The rest of the strategy centers around the use of W6. Basically, you must get enough W6 during the first level to get both the free man bomb and one other W6 powerup (or an Enemy Eraser, it might be possible if you "save" one) onscreen at the same time. Use the Lander Flash and then bomb the chunk of produced landers for ~30,000 points each. Don't take any, free men won't do you any good in Score Trial. You'll need six or seven W6 powerups. I think unless you get at least one extra W6 from the four tanks at the second midboss you will JUST get the free man bomb at the end of the level. Also, if you want the first Cargo Carrier W6 then you need to use the five-chip bonus a few times early enough to get the Wide Shot counter high enough so that Carriers will come out instead of Sarts...BEFORE the Sart that is supposed to be W6 comes out. Taking W6 reduces the counter but you can't help that. You get a lot of W6 in SC1. Basically you can pretty much use W6 at your discretion. Bomb whenever you see a Drov shell split for big points. Bomb rather than letting Giza leave the screen. Bomb whenever there are plenty of enemy bullets on the screen, or when you think there is a remote chance you will die. Drag out the sub-boss battles, detonating as many Drov shells as you can. The two times that you will be defenseless: If you see a W5 cargo carrier, that means that a W6 will be coming. If you flash the screen, you might destroy the carrier. So basically you have to live by the main gun and your wits...cache a power chip so that you can safely cross the screen and hit the carrier without bombing. Second time you are defenseless is when you get the Lander Flash and you have to carry it until you find another W6. Beating our current scores is probably a matter of getting the Lander Flash early enough and the AI mad enough so that you can get a ton of enemies on screen. Possible ways might be: never die, take W2 at least once or twice, fire continuously, and let those Sarts go tell System what a meanie you are. [XVI] Acknowledgments ===================== Compile, for this wonderful game. They tore themselves away from the rampant ten-year success of Puyo Puyo to listen to their old fans again. Thank you for bringing back Zanac, keeping what worked, and improving what didn't. It took 15 years but it was worth the wait. Lord Ghaleon - For being the first to bring the Area 11 fortress warp in original Zanac to my attention on the GameFAQs board. (Although Wayne Yoshida discovered this himself not long afterward...) ZEX - Japanese player whose play videos are located on the official Zanac website. Watching ZEX's videos forced me to reconsider my stance on the utility of Charge Shot. Andrew "Andy" T. An - First lent me (Wayne) his version of Zanac (Disk) years ago... eventually I ended up keeping it. Started me down the road of no return. http://zanacxzanac.com - The official Zanac site (especially bulletin boards) was used as source material for some ideas, including the existence and method of obtaining Edit Mode and the FC-Custom. Also provided in the site were the names of some enemies, which was very useful. Sadly, it appears to have been taken down. :( http://isweb16.infoseek.co.jp/play/schk/Rev/Attack01/ZbyZ/ - Japanese website containing much useful info; unfortunately I can not read Japanese, but Babelfishing this site allowed me to get the Players Note information you can find in this FAQ, as well as shedding a little bit of light on the original Zanac wide shot mystery. [W.Y: I can read some Japanese, and this site is a fairly good source of information about Zanac, but I was unable to establish who the author is. I borrowed the song track list and locations from here instead of using the BGM player in options. The site also clued me in to the idea of "Each subweapon causes Zanac to put out more of a particular enemy type". Thank you, unknown author!] [XVII] Legal Issues =================== This FAQ is jointly and equally owned by the two authors, Wayne Yoshida and Zach Keene, (C) 2003. This FAQ cannot be copied, paraphrased, translated, or published (in printed or electronic form, for profit or not), in whole or in part without express permission of at least one of the original authors. The authors are not affiliated with Kabushikigaisha Compile. Zanac and related trademarks are retained by Compile, and the authors make no claims to Compile's intellectual property. NES and Nintendo Entertainment System is (probably) a trademark of Nintendo as well, and we make no claim to that either. The authors give permission for this FAQ to be displayed electronically by Gamefaqs (www.gamefaqs.com) and the authors' websites ONLY. The most recent version will be placed on Zach Keene's webpage, at: http://www.geocities.com/arcanelore2001/faqs/zxzfaq.txt Material in this FAQ is original (derived from personal experience) except where credited above. If you're wondering, I sat with a stopwatch and a ruler for two days to get that weapon speed data, and it would not make me feel good if you steal it. [XVIII] About the Authors ========================= You may remember Zach Keene from other FAQs for games such as Einhander, G.Darius, and several Castlevania games. When not doing something important like playing RPGs, shooters, and Castlevania games, Zach is attempting to earn undergraduate degrees in mathematics and computer science. You can find his ramblings on various video games at http://www.geocities.com/arcanelore2001/. Wayne Yoshida is a newly minted PhD chemical engineer from UCLA. His research includes RPGs (especially first person), vertical shooters, driving games, anything 2-player co-op, and occasionally polymers and surface engineering. He first started playing Zanac 14 years ago on a Famicon system and is obviously still interested in it. This is his tenth publication, but marks his first video/computer game FAQ.