Zero Tolerance

From Sega Retro


Zero Tolerance Title.png

Zero Tolerance
System(s): Sega Mega Drive
Publisher: Accolade
Sound driver: GEMS
Peripherals supported: Link-up cable
Genre: Shoot-'em-up

Number of players: 1-2
Release Date RRP Code
Sega Mega Drive
$59.9559.95[2] T-119146
Videogame Rating Council: MA-13
Sega Mega Drive
Sega Mega Drive
Sega Mega Drive
£39.9939.99[3][5] T-119146-50
Sega Mega Drive
Sega Mega Drive
$129.95129.95[6] FZER01SMC
Sega Mega Drive
Tectoy: 13+

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Zero Tolerance is a first person shooter developed by Technopop and Accolade and published by Accolade for the Sega Mega Drive in 1994. It is notable for being one of the few first person shooters available for the system, a demanding genre seen by many to be outside the capabilities of the Mega Drive's hardware. Another unique feature was the ability to link two Mega Drive consoles to play a two player cooperative game .


Gameplay in Zero Tolerance is similar to other first person shooters of the era, with the player controlling one of several characters navigating map from a third-person perspective, shooting enemies while trying to find an exit. (the player cannot continue to the next level without clearing all enemies) Unusually for the time however, the game contains primitive stealth elements as player can crouch, jump and has several different melee attacks such as punching and even flying kicks can be executed. Weapons include firearms and explosives such as dynamite and bouncing grenades. the player can hold only five items at a time, including weapons and inventory items. rooftop levels have snipers that cannot be taken out, and many of the HQ levels have security cameras that can be destoyed or avoided.



Zero Tolerance and its unfinished sequel, Beyond Zero Tolerance, were released by the developers as freeware.

Production credits

Technopop, Inc.
  • Producer: Randel Reiss
  • Assistant Producer: Desmond Crisis
  • Design: Thomas Gjørup
  • Art Direction: Scott Haile
  • Programming: Justin Wolf, Thomas Gjørup
  • Lead Artwork: Sheryl Knowles
  • Level Designs: Tony Ramos
  • Music: Dezso Molnar
  • SFX: Dezso Molnar
  • Voice Over: Maya Daniels
  • Conceptual Art: Curtis E. A. Karnow
  • Additional Support: Lasse Faabeng, Satoe Ishii, Jo Ellen Reiss, Patrick McEnvoy, Paul Puey
  • Special Thanks: Steven Ackrich, Nick Laveroff, David Bamberger, Kelly Flock
  • Producers: James Kucera, Troy Sheets
  • Lead Tester: James A. Vitales
  • Testers: Richard Gangwish, Alex V. Cabal, Ty Johnson, Randall Hauser, Seth Friedman, Daniel P. Dunn
  • Marketing: Karen Safran, Megan Humpal, Larry Wiesler
  • Executives: Alan Miller, John A. S. Skeel, Brenden Maloof, Jim Barnett, Peter Harris
  • Art Director: Bob Busick
  • Artists: Patricia Pearson, Craig Marshall, Dale Mauk, John Xu, Shawn Monroe, Scott Burroughs, Ken Capelli, Chris Peterson, Tom Denmark
In-game credits

Magazine articles

Main article: Zero Tolerance/Magazine articles.

Promotional material

Print advert in Electronic Gaming Monthly (US) #62: "September 1994" (1994-xx-xx)
Print advert in Sega Visions (US) #21: "October/November 1994" (1994-xx-xx)
also published in:
Print advert in GamePro (US) #64: "November 1994" (1994-xx-xx)
also published in:
Freak 26 IL SMD advert.jpg
Print advert in Freak (IL) #26 (1994-xx-xx)
Print advert in Velikiy Drakon (RU) #60 (2002-09-05)

Physical scans

Sega Retro Average 
Publication Score Source
80 №36, p110
85 [3]
82 [10]
80 №5, p16
86 [11]
88 №25, p44-47
77 №51, p104
83 №9, p82/83
91 №58, p40-43
84 №38, p54/55
60 [12]
Sega Mega Drive
Based on
14 reviews
Mega Drive, US
ZeroTolerance MD US Box.jpg
Zero Tolerance MD US Cart.jpg
Zero Tolerance MD US Manual.pdf
Mega Drive, EU
Zero Tolerance MD EU Box.jpg
ZeroTolerance MD EU Cart.jpg
Mega Drive, PT
ZeroTolerance MD PT cover.jpg
Mega Drive, SE (rental)

Mega Drive, AU
ZeroTolerance MD AU back.jpgNospine.pngZeroTolerance MD AU cover.jpg
Mega Drive, BR
Zero Tolerance MD BR front.jpg
ZeroTolerance MD BR Cart.jpg

Technical information

ROM dump status

System Hash Size Build Date Source Comments
Sega Mega Drive
CRC32 23f603f5
MD5 54427136beee5a270232445bbfd0341f
SHA-1 d6d9733a619ba6be0dd76591d8dec621e4fdc17e
2MB 1994-08 Cartridge (US/EU)

Rendering engine

In terms of technology, Zero Tolerance lies somewhere between 1992's Wolfenstein 3D and 1993's Doom - rooms two dimensional as the height never changes (although the player's height can change slightly), and maps are "boxy", with walls are rendered as textured, flat surfaces positioned at 90 (or, unlike Wolfenstein 3D, 45 degree) angles.

Floors and ceilings are not textured, but primitive skyboxes are introduced and if the player shoots a wall, the texture will change to a "damaged" variant, in effect creating primitive interactive scenery. Enemies are rendered as sprites, and, also impressive for Mega Drive standards, are scaled in real-time. Shooting enemies will also create "gibs" similar to more modern shooters.

The consequence of all this is that the 3D view is constrained to a small portion of the screen, with the rest being taken by the game's HUD. The frame rate and draw distances are also lower than in both Wolfenstein 3D and Doom.


In a similar manner to the Taisen Cable for the Sega Saturn released months later in Japan, Zero Tolerance is the only known official Mega Drive game to support linking 2 Mega Drive consoles to play a cooperative game between two players using a proprietary link cable plugged into the Genesis second controller port. This mode required each console to be plugged to their own television and running their own copy of the game. The original 3rd party cable could only be obtained by sending off the order card which was included with the game. It is possible to build your own cable using two 9 pin D-SUB male connectors or a pair of 9-pin controller cables wired accordingly:- Pins 1 to 1, 2 to 2, 3 to 3, 4 to 4, 7 to 9, 8 to 8 (via cable shield or wire) and 9 to 7 (pins 5 & 6 are not used).

The cooperative game works very well with little or no apparent lag and since players can be damaged by friendly fire it is possible to have a death match of sorts after a level has been cleared of enemies. Further, all previously cleared levels will always remain cleared and can be accessed freely via elevators at any time.