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Video Game / Net Zone

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NetZone, stylized as NET:Zone, is a computer game developed by Compro Games and published by GameTek in 1996 for the PC. It is a Cyber Punk, puzzle, and point-and-click adventure game wherein the player explores a 3D cyberspace environment created by a company named Cycorp.

You play as Newton Winters, looking for signs of your missing father, Zel Winters, who had disappeared some time ago after the company Cycorp went under. After cracking Zel's password, it turns out he left an urgent message on his laptop, asking whoever found it to use his neural interface to enter Cycorp's Genecys Zone and help him before his enemies threaten the security and computer networks of the planet.


NetZone contains examples of:

  • All There in the Manual: The game box included a booklet containing Newton's diary entries before the game starts, and news clippings around his dad's disappearance, some of which can be seen in the intro.
  • Artificial Intelligence: Cycorp produces Artificial life forms, known as CY-11s.
  • Big Bad: Walter Sayle, your dad's colleague and founder of Cycorp, having since gone rogue and created the Cyberworm.
  • Brain Uploading: Zel's memories were backed up before he died, per Cycorp's policy for all senior members. This comes in handy when providing data to revive him as a CY-11.
  • Cool Airship: The Zeppelin, used to reach Cycorp's floating Design Center.
  • Computer Virus: Midway through the game, you have to play a Hacking Minigame to get rid of a couple viruses blocking your way to some systems, and Walter's big plan is to use Cycorp's systems to create a "Cyberworm" to hold all the world's data for ransom.
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  • Cyberspace: The Genecys Zone is this, with all of Cycorp existing within it.
  • Data Pad: You get a virtual PDA to perform tasks and operate machines around the Genecys Zone. It also doubles as your inventory, map, notepad, and game options.
  • Digital Avatar: Zel and Walter's look like floating gray CGI busts, with varying animations inside each one.
  • Disconnected Side Area: The Central Intelligence Core, a radio tower-like structure in the middle of the Central Dome, reached by a tram called the Cabletron. It remains inaccessible up until the endgame, when Zel gives you an override code for the Cabletron.
  • Extreme Graphical Representation: The Genecys Zone runs on this, with each wing of Cycorp shown as huge elaborate buildings in differing environments, with its functions controlled through virtual computers and holographic projections.
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  • Fire and Brimstone Hell: The Elimination Zone, where unwanted CY-11s are sent to be deleted. It's even shaped like a volcano, and your transportation there is a rocket named the Vulcan.
  • Game-Over Man: In the bad ending, the last thing you see is Cycorp's CY-11 spokesperson, saying, "Thank you for choosing Cycorp, where, 'virtually' anything is possible!" before the screen goes black and your PDA warns you of being unable to log you out of the Genecys Zone.
  • Guide Dang It!: Due to its technical-based puzzles and lack of guidance, many players will often be reaching for a guide. Some examples include fixing the Zeppelin the right way, or some of the puzzles in the Testing Facility.
  • Huge Holographic Head: Walter's first recording depicts him as this, covering a door into the maze.
  • The Maze: There's one in the Manufacturing Center, separating the entrance from the rest of the building. Passing through it involves first entering a code to lay down the proper path, thankfully provided by your PDA's auto-map.
  • Mooks: In various flavors, ranging from generic security robots to Walter's personal Disciples.
  • Multiple Endings:
    • If you manage to run a copy of the Cyberworm at the Core in time, Cycorp detects this and has both versions deleted. Zel then logs you out and asks you to keep his existence secret.
    • Conversely, if the timer runs out, the Cyberworm gets loose, Zel and all of Cycorp are deleted, and you end up brain-dead courtesy of your neural interface.
  • Sequel Hook: After Newton logs out in the good ending, another urgent message pops up on his laptop, from someone saying that Zel has gone mad. The game then closes before any further details can be shown .
  • Solve the Soup Cans: A heavy chunk of the game's puzzles, some of which are deliberately set up by Walter to make your quest harder
  • Story Breadcrumbs: With Zel's databank, you're able to download flashbacks of what he and Walter did together in Cycorp. Walter also left his own recordings to taunt you on your progress.
  • Themed Cursor: Your cursor is a "Cy-Prod",a metal finger that points in directions you can go, and darts around randomly when near something interactive.
  • The Three Trials: The Testing Facility's main purpose, with four test chambers meant to test CY-11s, and humans, on moral choices and navigation.
  • Timed Mission: At the endgame. Once the cyberworm gets loose and your dad is ressurected, you have 20 minutes to build a copy of the worm so Cycorp isolates both, before the original completes its ransomware function. This means repeating the steps you did to build a CY-11 within that time limit.
  • 20 Minutes into the Future: The game takes place in 2016.
  • Underwater Base: The Manufacturing Center is underwater, with a submarine called the Atlantis used to reach it.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: It's never explained what happened to Walter after he set up his plan, just that "[he'll] be long gone" by then. The endgame message may have alluded to this, if a sequel had been made.

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