Zero Tolerance

From Sega Retro


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

Number of players: 1 or 2
Release Date RRP Code
Sega Mega Drive
$59.95[1] T-119146
Sega Mega Drive
£39.99[3] T-119146-50
Sega Mega Drive
?F T-119146-50
Sega Mega Drive
DM ? T-119146-50
Sega Mega Drive
?Ptas T-119146-50
Sega Mega Drive
?PTE$ MD119146
Sega Mega Drive
$129.95[4] ?
Sega Mega Drive
R$? ?

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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.

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 propietary 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 cable could only be obtained by sending off the order card which was included with the game.



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
Source: In-game credits

Magazine articles

Main article: Zero Tolerance/Magazine articles.

Promotional material

EGM US 062.pdfEGM US 062.pdf

Print advert in Electronic Gaming Monthly (US) #62: "September 1994" (1994-xx-xx)

SegaVisions US 21.pdfSegaVisions US 21.pdf

Print advert in Sega Visions (US) #21: "October/November 1994" (1994-xx-xx)
also published in:

GamePro US 064.pdfGamePro US 064.pdf

Print advert in GamePro (US) #64: "November 1994" (1994-xx-xx)
also published in:
  • EGM² (US) #5: "November 1994" (1994-xx-xx)[6]
  • Electronic Gaming Monthly (US) #65: "December 1994" (1994-xx-xx)[7]

Freak 26 IL SMD advert.jpg

Print advert in Freak (IL) #26 (1994-xx-xx)

Physical scans

Sega Retro Average 
Publication Score Source
80 №36, p110
85 №155, p85[3]
82 №21, p36-38[8]
80 №5, p16
86 №24, p84-86[9]
88 №25, p44-47
77 №51, p104
83 №9, p82/83
91 №58, p40-43
84 №38, p54/55
60 №71, p128[10]
Sega Mega Drive
Based on
14 reviews

Mega Drive, US
ZeroTolerance MD US Box.jpg
Mega Drive, EU
Zero Tolerance MD EU Box.jpg
ZeroTolerance MD EU Cart.jpg
Mega Drive, BR
Zero Tolerance MD BR front.jpg
ZeroTolerance MD BR Cart.jpg
Mega Drive, SE (rental)