Z - OFFICIAL PLAYGUIDE: Single Player
by Martin G., Eric M., Steve K.
03 September 1996
In Z the computer player does not play a pre-set strategy but reacts in
real-time to the decisions that the player makes. Therefore it is not possible
to define a sequence of orders for each level which will guarantee winning a
battle. However there is a basic strategy that should be employed which will
establish a good foothold from which the player can win a level.
All the one player levels are designed so that the two halves of the
battlefield mirror each other. This means that both the computer and the
player each have the same resources available to them in their half of the
map. It therefore follows that as long as you have control of your half of the
map you will be level with the computer. Managing to capture one more
territory will give the player a slight advantage both in resources and the
time taken to manufacture units in the buildings owned. Understanding this
basic principle is fundamental to developing a winning strategy in any of the
At the start of the game there are some basic moves that you should make. Give
orders for your units to capture the territories in your half of the map, and
any uncaptured hardware contained within it. Whilst your units are carrying
out these orders, use the time to set up any captured buildings to make the
required units. Once these territories have been captured, you should locate
the connecting roads between your territories and the computer's. Units must
be moved up to this front-line to defend against the computer trying to enter
territories which you control. As units are manufactured you should bring them
up to support this defence. Always scan the map to see what the computer is
doing to react to any planned attacks. Find territories which the computer has
either left undefended or which have little defence. Attack these territories
only when you have units which exceed the power of the computer's defending
units. Do not believe the battle is over if you manage to gain the territory
advantage over the computer. He will fight hard to regain control of any lost
territories. Of course this is also true for the human player. Losing one or
even two of your territories to the computer does not mean the end of the
battle. Playing hard and recognising those territories which are easily
re-captured will get you back into the game.
1. Capture your half of the available territories as quickly as possible so
that your manufacturing speed matches the Computer.
2. Note the position of uncaptured hardware and send appropriate units to
those territories (e.g. Do not send a light tank to capture a flag that has an
uncaptured medium tank sitting by it).
3. When you capture territories containing factories, remember to specify what
you want to build. It is often better to build cheaper units initially and
then to change to building more powerful units once you have established
4. Watch what the CPU does with his resources and move your forces to provide
an adequate line of defence.
5. Do not move into contested/enemy territories (even if they are uncaptured)
too early. This will leave other territories weak or undefended. Always have
some backup available and consider placing units in positions where they can
move quickly to reinforce several areas of the map.
6. As units are manufactured give the new units appropriate orders quickly. Do
not leave them hanging around without orders.
BASIC STRATEGY - Advanced techniques
1. If you are about to lose a territory containing a factory which is about to
produce a new unit, change the unit being manufactured to the weakest
possible. In this way, the CPU will not benefit from the time you spent
2. Even if you cannot take and hold a territory, try capturing the flag just
before a factory completes its manufacturing.
3. Remember that robots run towards flags and uncaptured hardware. This can be
an advantage but a robot running to take a flag will not return fire whilst he
is doing it.
4. Use a series of small movement orders to manoeuvre vehicles with precision.
1. Rushing across the map to capture territories: Capturing
territories in the
computers half of the battlefield at the beginning of the game may give the
player the initial advantage, but this is unlikely to be a winning strategy as
the players units will be spread to thinly over the battlefield.
2. Sending units into attack without considering the units they are attacking:
Players must learn the strengths and weaknesses of all units and use them to
their advantage. It is pointless sending a unit to attack if it has no chance
3. Grouping units together: Sending more units than you need to complete an
objective is wasting your resources and is more than likely to leave
1. Initially a good way of giving orders is to select a unit and then use the
mini-map to move quickly to the location that you want to send the unit to.
2. As you become more proficient with the system learn to use right hand mouse
button scroll. Being able to use this well will enhance your ability to move
quickly around the map and react to conflicts which break out.
1. Sending an additional unit into a combat will enhance your chances of
winning. E.g. sending even just a unit of Grunts in with a medium tank to
attack an opposition medium tank will draw his fire or even confuse your
opponent and will increase you chance of victory considerably.
2. When you use multiple units as described above, avoid letting them get too
close together. Use quick mouse work to perform pincer movements or set up a
ring of units to surround the enemy.
3. Remember that different units move at different speeds. Do not assume that
grouped units will arrive at their destination at the same time. If they are
moved carefully and do arrive simultaneously, they will be much more effective
than if they arrive one after another.
4. Static lines of defence can be very effective. For example, you can defend
a road by placing units either side of it. The aim being to catch enemy units
in the crossfire as they move down the road.
5. Vehicles move more quickly on roads than any other terrain. This can be
used to your advantage during combat. A vehicle on a road will be able to
manoeuvre quickly to avoid enemy fire.
6. By using multiple robot units (especially Snipers) sent in simultaneously
from different directions against vehicles you can greatly increase your
chances of shooting the driver.
COMBAT - Advanced techniques
1. When you target an opponent with a tank/gun etc. the turret is locked in
place. Make sure your turret is pointing in the correct direction when you
give the order to attack. In this way you stand a better chance of shooting
first when the combat begins.
2. By combining the above technique with a rapid retreat, light and medium
tanks can be very effective against Light Guns.
3. Artillery units can often be placed in a position where they can bombard
the enemy fort without being in range of the defending guns.
4. Tanks and Guns can fire over buildings to take out robots with rifles or
5. Units can be ambushed as they emerge from Factories. Target the entrance a
second or two before the unit emerges.
6. Units which are given an order to go somewhere when under attack accelerate
but do not return fire. You can use this to your advantage to avoid shots,
particularly from units with a slow fire rate.
7. Destroying a bridge whilst units are going across it will take out both the
bridge and the units on it. Pre-damage bridges so that units crossing them can
be taken out with a single shot.
COMBAT - UNIT STRENGTH AND WEAKNESSES
Robots Strengths Vulnerable to
Grunts Distracting enemy fire Everything
Psychos Sniping Jeep drivers Tanks
Toughs Attacking Snipers. Good in APCs Jeeps
Snipers Sniping Gatling, Guns & Vehicle drivers Toughs
Capturing vehicles due to high intelligence.
Pyros Attacking Slow vehicles, buildings & bridges. Jeeps & Lt. Tanks
Good in APCs.
Lasers Sniping Gatling, Guns & Vehicle drivers Toughs or Pyros in
(especially if two or more units are used). an APC
Vehicle Strengths Vulnerable to
Jeep Attacking Toughs & capturing territories quickly. Psychos & Snipers
Lt. Tank Attacking Howitzers. Good in pairs against Powerful
vehiclesMobile Missile Launchers if carefully positioned.
Med. Tank Attacking Lt. Tanks, Guns & Howitzers Heavy Tanks
Hvy. Tank Attacking Gatling & Guns & Other tanks Pyros, MML
M. Missile Launcher Attacking Heavy & Medium Tanks Pyros in APCs &
APC With Pyros or Toughs, APCs are effective Light & Medium
Tanksagainstall robots and slow moving vehicles.
Crane Repairing broken buildings/bridges Tanks
Gun Strengths Vulnerable to
Gatling Attacking Jeeps Tanks
Gun Attacking weak infantry, Lt. Tanks Snipers, Heavy Tanks
& Mobile Missile L'.
Howitzer Attacking slow vehicles Med. Tanks
Dbl. Missile Attacking Tanks Multiple Laser Robots.