Demo: Alpha Black Zero: Intrepid Protocol Demo
Playable demo v1.0 (Dark Citadel area Parts 1-3).
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- File Instructions:
- Alpha Black Zero ReadMe
by Jason "Rodzilla" Rodzik
Posted on May 1, 2004
Alpha Black Zero - Intrepid Protocol
Dark Citadel Part 1 - Demo
2. Full Game
3. Walkthrough, Controls, Keys
5. Known Issues
Thank you for trying the Alpha Black Zero Demo, please keep in mind that the
demo is not fully representative of the final product, but should give you a
good idea what part of Alpha Black Zero's gameplay is about. ABZ is a third
person tactical shooter with an emphasis on action. Basically it's up to you to
play the game as a tactical shooter, or an action game. Dark Citadel Parts 1
through 3 are located halfway through the full game and are considered medium
2. Full Game
The full game contains 17 in and outdoor locations. A rich background story
with ingame cinematics in which Kyle Hardlaw stands trial for a tribunal court
for his actions as the leader of the first Alpha Black team. Progressive AI
becomes tougher as the game progresses. Varying types of gameplay;
+ you will be traveling through hugh outdoor environments
+ escort SolGov personnel
+ defend SolGov Military installations
+ stealthily infiltrate enemy strongholds
+ place and dismantle bombs on enemy and friendly installations
+ co-op multiplayer lets up to 4 players control a team mates along side
3. Walkthrough, Keys and how to play.
It has been our intention to make Alpha Black Zero intuitive and simple to
play. Most of the tactical and team features can be ignored during the earlier
levels of the game, as you practice and hone your skills. The demo level comes
about halfway into the full version of the game’s just about to get a
little more complex. In the full game, the first level acts as an introduction
into the game and is relatively easy to play.
During the levels leading up to Dark Citadel, the enemies AI has gradually
become more complex and since you need for only one member of your team to
reach the end of a mission, it's possible to approach it as a one man army,
letting the AI handle the rest of your team; or giving orders and setting up
the team in a tactically advantageous position before an encounter. If you play
the game like the later, you are able to keep the entire team alive, but it
requires a bit more thought. If you play it like an action game, the AI will
handle your team and you need only ask them to regroup. It is likely though
that playing the game as such will not make optimum use of the terrain and
failing to setup your team in the most strategic or defendable position before
engaging a group of enemies could length the fight considerably, which means
there is an increased change to loose members. Each member you loose means a
5'th reduction in firepower as all members contribute in a firefight.
Depending on how you like to play you can go through Dark Citadel playing as if
it where a shooter, or can be approach more strategically by sneaking past
enemies and finding less obvious paths around their patrols. It's entirely up
to your own playing style how much strategy you use to reach the end.
First choose the difficulty at which you want to play Alpha Black Zero.
Choose this if you do not have a lot of experience with third person shooters
or would like to learn how to control the team fist. Enemy encounters are short
as their stamina is low, they also shoot less precise.
The 'normal' mode of play. Encounters are longer and enemies are more active,
they will shoot more precise and perform evasive actions more. The mercenaries
you meet have only limited military training and unlike some of the games more
deadly opponents they hardly regroup, tactically retreat or outflank you. Their
weapons though pack a good punch and they come in numbers. You can choose to
let the AI handle your team or strategically place the member yourself before
each confrontation. In both modes of play you should be able to reach the
Enemies have more stamina and their aiming is a good match to your own,
firefights last much longer. Try finding routes where you evade the enemy,
rather than meeting them head-on. To finish in hard you must know how to
control and strategically place team members before confrontations. This is the
mode in which the AI runs at full steam. You are advised to save often
A word on the AI
Alpha Black Zero's AI is not scripted, this means that although enemies are
usually occupying the same area in the terrain, how they behave is dependent on
your actions. In the full game, as you progress the enemies behavior will
gradually become more challenging. The colonists that populate the first few
levels hardly have military training and their weapons are weak in comparison
to your own. They are easy to scare and will run away in terror if you shoot
enough of their buddies. They do not co-ordinate their attacks and basically
come at you in great numbers. This is a huge contrast with the game's finally
enemies that have the same military training as your team. In the final levels,
enemies will duck, run for cover and outflank you if they can.
The mercenaries found in Dark Citadel part 1 are the games second enemy type
you'll encounter. They carry strong weapons such as machine and shot guns and
grenade launchers. The later ones are especially tricky as they can decimate
your team in minutes. Always keep an eye out for their launchers black smoke
trails and retreat your team to higher ground or a more defendable position if
grenades impact close by. Once your team gets caught in a firefight against
machine guns and grenade launchers, it’s best to try and take out the
grenade launcher from a distance first, using the sniper rifle or snub gun.
Since the AI is not scripted, how you play influences the game play. If you
want to test this, try the different difficulty settings and see how it varies,
try sneaking instead of running and attacking the enemy.
How to play?
As said before, Alpha Black Zero can be played as both a tactical game, where
you set up team members by hand to deal with a situation, or as an action game
where you run and shoot and let the AI assist you in handling what the rest of
your team does.
When you start a game, your team mates are set to hold their position. You can
give individual team members a command by pressing their corresponding number
(1 through 5) or you can issue a group command by pressing the F key. When you
do so, a menu will appear at the top of the screen. This menu disappears after
2 seconds, after which time you will have to press F or a number again. At
first you will probably not even have time to read all possible command, simply
press repeat the previous step to bring it up again. Since there are only four
commands, you'll learn to use these commands blindly after a while. Regrouping
will make team members try and find a path towards you.
Since you can mountain goat yourself to places where no one has gone before, in
some cases they'll have a hard time reaching you and might take a little while
to get there. If they get stuck, they'll try a different route after a while.
When marines are in a firefight, they will finish the engagement before
attempting to regroup. Bots that are regrouping show a red circle in their icon
bar (top menu). Team members that have regrouped show a square in the icon
bar. If you move, they will once again regroup untill you issue the order to
Hold Position. They will not move unless they are within a grenades blast
radius or under fire. The icon bar will show three vertical lines for bots that
are holding their position.
If you want to sneak past an enemy that you cannot spot, try setting one of
your members in such a place that it can see the enemies patrol path but is not
within sight himself. When this team member spots an enemy, you'll notice a
white icon in his icon bar. When it turns red again, the enemy has gone out of
sight and if set up correctly you should be able to sneak past. Enemies do not
have eyes in their back, but can hear you if you run by close enough. Once you
have crossed the enemies patrol path and have retreated to a safe position, you
can order the entire team to regroup if the enemy is still out of sight. When a
marine sees an enemy, it's location is marked with a red dot in your bottom
right radar. Using both the white icon and radar are essential for spotting
bots hiding in high growth. It is generally good practice to take control over
a team mate that shows the white icon, as an enemy is probably near to it.
To take control of a team mate, hold down SHIFT and press a number (1 through
5). A triangle appears behind the number of the team member you control.
Whenever you switch to another team member, the person you 'where' playing
before this switch will automatically hold position. It will of course defend
itself if it is under attack. If you order the team to regroup, and then switch
to any member of the team, the rest will continue to with their regroup.
Since switching means that the person you where playing is holding it's
position, it is advised to regroup often if you want to keep your team close (F
You can make subgroups by jumping to a bot and giving individual regroup
commands, for instance:
* switch to Kyle by holding down SHIFT and pressing 1
* press 2 then 2
* press 3 then 2
* Kyle has now given member 2 and 3 the order to regroup.
* Switch to member 4 by holding down SHIFT and pressing 4
* press 5 then 2
* Marine 3 has now given marine 4 the command to regroup.
* Now you can switch between Kyle (SHIFT + 1) and marine 3 (SHIFT + 4) and
both will have a group following them.
Instead of carrying around a great variety of firearms yourself and switching
between those, in Alpha Black Zero you switch to the team member holding a the
weapon you would like to use. Each team member thus carries two weapons, a hand
weapon and a primary weapon. Some carry grenades, some weapons have a special
function like zooming. In the top of your screen you can find 5 status fields
indicating the five members of your team. A more detailed status display for
the person you are playing can be found in the right bottom corner. Scoped
weapons have a special feature that makes enemy bots appear in bright red, this
is handy for spotting prone enemies in high grass, or enemies hiding in the
Ammo is always in short supply, and the only way to replenish both stamina and
ammo is by finding supply crates. These appear as green dots on your radar.
Whenever you come close to one, a red icon with a hand will appear, pressing T
will replenish the marine. You MUST perform this procedure for each member of
your team that requires it.
Since the primary weapons are usually the first to go empty, it is advised to
let team member use their side arms first unless resistance demands more
firepower. Switch to a member (SHIFT + 1 through 5). Change their weapon using
C until the side arm icon appears in the bottom of your screen. Unless the
marine runs out of ammo for this weapon it will continue to use it.
Setting the firing mode in the menu to precision fire makes your team will
fire less more precise shots, which saves on ammo. The downside of precision
firing is that the enemy sees you shooting less and thus the entire enemy group
will perceive you as less of a threat. Their moral will stay rather high
because of that and they will attack more ferociously. Experiment with
different settings for different situations. If many enemies approach, it's
sometimes best to set firing to oppressive as your team will keep firing on
enemies until they are down. In this mode you'll loose a lot of ammo fast, but
your team's stamina generally suffers less as enemies come less close.
Keep an eye on your teams stamina, loosing a member means loosing firepower
and whatever weapon it was carrying!
Most weapons allow you to zoom in using the right mouse button, though aiming
like this will greatly reduce your maneuverability. If grenades land close to
you, don't expect to get away quickly enough when aiming like this.
You'll get much more accurate firing when crouching or going prone (Q to
crouch, then press Q again to go prone) get up again by pressing E
Holding down SHIFT while moving makes you walk instead of run (toggle walk by
using CAPS LOCK), this also increases your accuracy. The white rectangle
displays the accuracy with which you are firing. The greater the distance over
which you are firing, the more inaccurate your fire is. Short bursts are
usually more accurate then holding down the fire button.
If a weapon is empty, press R to reload or C to switch to another weapon. The
SPACE bar functions as a melee attack and is most deadly if the enemy has not
yet spotted you. Sneaking up from behind and pressing it when near enough will
fell any enemy silently.
The team will follow your example if you go prone, the rest will go prone, if
you walk instead of run, they will do so also. If a team member is regrouping,
it will do so as quickly as it can. So, if you want the team to sneak, make
sure the team is nearby before doing so as team members far away will come
running towards you, and as such attract more attention.
Grenades are a great way to disperse an enemy group. Use the G key to throw a
grenade, provided that you have them.
There are a number of things you can do to make Alpha Black Zero run faster on
- defragment your drives if you experience long loading times.
- close background programs
- use a lower resolution and color depth. Running Alpha Black Zero at 800x600
with 16 bit colors instead of 32 will increase the game's running speed.
- turn the shadow of, set the range to Near.
- choose a lower terrain detail setting.
- choose direct sound as the audio driver.
5. Known Issues
We have seen Alpha Black Zero crash on PC's that have a Pentium 4 multi
threading processor (Hyper Threading) in combination with ATI cards. If you
encounter problems playing ABZ on a similar machine, try turning multithreading
off in your bios before playing or update your hardware drivers to a
If you have an ATI card, the catalist 3.4 driver is the most stable release and
should resolve a multitude of crashing problems in a variety of games.
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