A pilot is warned by a mysterious stranger that something terrible is about to happen in his town. Rushing home, the pilot discovers that his wife and baby daughter were murdered. The stranger who tried to warn the pilot is gravely wounded; however, before dying, he passes some information to him. The hero is back on his plane, determined to avenge the deaths of his beloved ones, alone against terrorist forces whose true goals are yet unknown...
Zone 66 is a top-down shooter in which the player controls an aircraft, eliminating other planes as well as ground-based hostile units (tanks, etc.). The player-controlled aircraft is able to move in any direction, avoiding enemy fire or preparing a better angle for the next shot.
Epic Games' Zone 66 takes place in the future after the United Nations' decision that the world would be better off if it wasn't so nationalist.
Regions that were once countries were changed into sub-states and granted some autonomy, while the new organization replaced by the UN, known as the World Council, dealt with matters on a global scale. Unfortunately, the new governing system didn't go over as planned. Riots and wars among people of different countries paved the way for organized criminal and terrorist groups, and so the World Council created the GSA--Global Security Agency, a military police force tasked with restoring peace and order to the world.
You were once a pilot for the GSA until an accident you caused unintentionally killed innocent people. Although you were not punished for this, you swore never again to fly for the GSA or anyone else. That changed one night when your home city was wiped out by a nuclear warhead, taking your wife and firstborn infant child with it. You vowed to get revenge and embark on a quest to find out who ordered the destruction of your city.
Zone 66 is a rather difficult 3rd person overhead flight simulator. As the story progresses, you fly missions against this mystery organization. The mission of Zone 66 is to destroy all enemy missile bases scattered throughout tropical islands; to do so, you must choose an aircraft, fit it with missiles and bombs then search for the buildings to destroy them.
Unlike many scrolling flight simulators, Zone 66 incorporates one large map which you can fly around. Your mobility is almost unlimited, as you can fly anywhere except outside the region that the mission takes place in. Your airplane has a limited supply of fuel, and from time to time you may need to land at a friendly base to refuel and rearm, or even switch aircraft. If you are destroyed, you can continue as much as you like, but your score will be reset to 0.
Also, you cannot strafe ground structures; you need to drop bombs on them in order to take them out. Before starting a mission and when reloading, you choose the weapons your airplane is loaded with, based on its cargo capacity. Each bomb type is better than others in certain situations; for example, an ordinary bomb is perfect for bombing individual undefended structures due to its small blast radius, while the megabomb is effective at wiping out several ground defenses and structures at once. Dropping bombs requires a good deal of precision and timing, as near-misses usually aren't enough to destroy a target. It's not as easy as it sounds, unfortunately, as trying to drop a simple bomb on an artillery weapon at high speed while under heavy enemy fire is really hard to do. Unlike your air-to-air guns, you only have a limited armament of bombs, so you will have to go back to a base to reload.
Throughout the missions, you will be constantly fending off enemy aircraft and avoiding enemy artillery and surface to air missile launchers while destroying your targets. Your aircraft has two abilities to help it out when it's in trouble: the shadow mode, and the escape mode. The shadow mode uses a portion of your fuel to make your aircraft immune to damage, which is helpful when trying to drop a bomb on one last target among a group of enemy artillery. The escape mode also uses fuel, but it gives your aircraft a temporary burst of speed, which is useful for carpet bombing enemy targets.
Enemy fighters will constantly try to distract you from your mission and shoot you down. Even on the easiest setting, they are a force to be reckoned with. Your aircraft may be outfitted with missiles to help shoot down the airplanes, and you can also try to find enemy airbases to bomb. With every airbase you bomb, the amount of fighters engaging you decreases.
You can fly missions using a keyboard, but you can also use a joystick or game pad (which the creators recommend). Playing Zone 66 with a keyboard doesn't seem to be a real step down from playing with a joystick, however. In fact, it may be easier to use a keyboard since your airplane does not change altitude, and your direction is changed by pressing left or right; speed is controlled with the up and down keys. People who have played Traffic Department 2192 will have little difficulty getting the hang of flying an aircraft as the controls are the same. The bombsight, which marks the spot where your bombs will hit when they are launched, may cause some confusion with controlling the airplane's speed, but it doesn't take long to get used to it.
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