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Article #12 (24 is last):
From: ah292@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Robert Krynak)
Newsgroups: freenet.sci.comp.atari.product.lynx.hints
Subject: LYNX: Zendocon hints
Reply-To: ah292@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Robert Krynak)
Posted-By: xx004 (aa399 - Len Stys)
Date: Wed Dec 30 09:44:03 1992


                      Atari LYNX:  The Gates of Zendocon

This file lists all the levels in Gates of Zendocon, and gives some
hints for playing the game.

SPOILER WARNING: If you enjoy discovering things for yourself, you
should probably stop here.  This file takes a lot of the fun out of it!

General Strategies
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
GZ's monsters are completely predictable:  Every time you play a level,
they will appear in the same places, in the same sequence.  In addition,
the "alien helpers" and other objects  in the level appear in the same
places.  Thus, the key to mastering a level is to first explore the
level.
Move your ship up and down, up and down, as you proceed through the
level,
so you can see everything that's there.  You might have to sacrificing
your
ship lots of times before you manage to get the whole level explored.

   After you know what's there, you can develop the best strategy for
getting through the level.  This might involve moving your ship as
little
as possible to reduce risk, or it might involve moving it as much as
possible so as to blow away more aliens.

The Levels
~~~~~~~~~~
In the listing for each level, the gate(s) which exist on that level are
indicated with a letter, an arrow "->", and the name of the level which
that gate leads to.  Different letters indicate different possible
positions of the gate, as shown in this diagram:

     +--------------------------+
     |             B            |
     |           A   D        E |
     |             C            |
     +--------------------------+
This is meant to be a schematic representation of the level; your ship
starts out at the left and proceeds towards the right.  For example, in
the first level ("BASE"), it says "A -> ZYBX, E -> RAZE".  This means
that
there are two gates: one at position "A", and another at position "E".
You
have to go through two "waves" of alien attack to get to a gate at
position "E".

Each level's entry also tells which "friendly aliens" can be found on
that level, and where.  The symbols used are as follows:
@: "Floating Eye".  Hovers below your ship and shoots a fireball
horizontally.
*: "Plasma Ball". Hovers above and behind your ship, until you fire, at
    which point it wanders off (usually towards the closest enemy) and
attempts to destroy enemies by touching them.
^:  "Death Arising".  Hovers above your ship and shoots a red "laser
     beam straight up.
>:  "Sonic Dart".  Hovers above and slightly ahead of your ship and
shoots a
    vertical white "sonic pulse", which moves to the right and enlarges
as it
    moves away.  The result is a continuous triangular wave of pulses
    which "sweeps out" virtually everthing in front of your ship.

The description also tells where the alien is found.  Note:  You won't
find the alien if your ship is already accompanied by an alien of the 
same type.

The levels are numbered in such a way that the gates always lead you to
higher-numbered level.  Also, whenever possible consecutive levels 
have been given consecutive numbers.  (Most levels only have one gate.)

1. BASE: A -> ZYBX, E -> RAZE

2. ZYBX: B -> NYXX, C -> XRXS, D -> NEAT

3. XRXS: A -> ANEX

4. ANEX: A -> NEAT, E -> BARE

5. NEAT: A -> YARR

6. YARR: B -> EYES.  *: Near bottom, at end.

7. EYES: A -> NYXX, D -> BARE

8. NYXX: C -> ZYRB.  @: Near top of screen.

9. ZYRB: A -> SRYX

10. SRYX: A -> BARE

11. BARE: A -> STAX, D -> XRAY
As soon as possible, move the ship straight up to the top of the
playfield.
Do *not* move left or right.  The dragon will fly into your tailjets and
get killed instantly.  A description of the "real" strategy for killing
the dragon is given below under level "NERB".

12. XRAY: A -> RATT.  *: Near top of screen.

13. RATT: A -> NYET

14. NYET: A -> RAZE
One easy way to get through this level is to stay on the bottom and
never shoot.  Of course, you don't get many points this way!  (-:

15. STAX: A -> SZZZ

16. SZZZ: A -> RAZE.  *: Middle of screen, at beginning.

17. RAZE: A -> TRYX, B -> ROXX, C -> TRAX, D -> TERA

18. ROXX: A -> NERB

19. NERB: A -> TREY.  @: Stay above partition, after dragon.
The dragon in this level is like the one in "BARE":  It can be killed
only
by having its "head" contact your tailjets.  None of the alien helpers
affects the dragon.  To slay the dragon, note that it travels on a grid
of circles.  It will always stay in this grid.  Here's a rough sketch:

   :       :       :       :
    '.   .' '.   .' '.   .'
     .'''.   .'''.   .'''.
   .'     '.'     '.'     '.
   :       :  xxx  :       :
   '.     .'.     .'.     .'
     '...'   '...'   '...'
    .'   '. .'   '. .'   '.
   :       :       :       :

The dots, quotes, and colons represent the path of the dragon.  The key
is
to get your ship into the position marked "xxx" in the center of one of
the
circles.  Avoid the dragon until you can see where the "center of the
circle" is, and then put your ship there when the dragon is out of the
way. 
Once in the center of the circle, your ship is entirely safe.  After a
while,
the dragon's path repeats; when it comes round the circle again, it will
fly
through your tailjets and die.  (Actually, this doesn't always happen. 
Sometimes your ship is a little too far to the right and the dragon will
just "chirp" a little as it goes by.  If this happens, move your ship to 
the left a *tiny* bit and wait for him to come around again.

Note:  This strategy has to be modified somewhat in "SSSS", where you
get more than one dragon at a time.

20. TREY: A -> STAR.  >: Third set of partitions, top.

21. STAR: D -> SSSS, C ->BYTE.  @: First set of partitions, bottom.
The "B" gate is under the second partition.  It's also sort of hard to
enter.

22. SSSS: A -> BREX
The dragons in this level come in groups of two or three.  This makes
things
more difficult, because they don't always travel on the same "grid".
The
strategy is the same, but since the dragons travel on different grids,
you'll
have to keep moving your ship.  If you can't move fast enough, use your
shields -- they will get you out of the way much more quickly.
(However,
you'll be dead if you're caught between two dragons or caught between a
dragon
and the edge of the playfield.)  Dodge the dragons repeatedly until you
see what pattern they follow.  Each one follows a repeating path.  Then,
kill them off one-by-one, using the method described in "NERB".

23. TERA: A -> BYTE

24. BYTE: A -> BETA.  >: Near bottom of screen.

25. BETA: B -> TRAX, E -> NEST

26. TRAX: A -> ZEBA

27. ZEBA: A -> TRYX, E -> ROXY.  @: Near top.

28. TRYX: B -> STYX
In this level, the "floor" restricts the ship to the top half of the
play-field.  However, there is a "hidden feature" or "easter-egg" which
allows you to access another gate "below the floor".  Here's how you 
find it:

Immediately put on your shields and move the ship down, to kill the
alien
tanks.  Then, start dropping bombs (using your shields when necessary to
kill
newly-appearing aliens).  You will notice at one point the bombs appear
to go
through the floor.  At this location is an invisible "hole" through
which you
can fly your ship.  It will probably take a few tries before you get
through,
because the hole is rather small.  Once you get through, you maneuver
through a
couple of minor obstacles and then find the gate.  It leads you to the
"easter-egg level", whose name is "    ".  (Four blank spaces: this
level,
therefore, can't be accessed directly as the others can because its name
cannot
be entered.)  The easter-egg level is fun.  It also gives you all four
alien helpers: @, *, >, and ^.

29. STYX: A -> YARB

30. YARB: A -> BREX

31. ROXY: A -> NEXA

32. NEXA: A -> NEST

33. NEST: A -> EBYX

34. EBYX: A -> BREX.  *: Middle of screen (can't miss it).

35. "    ": A -> NERB.  *, @, ^, >: all near bottom, near beginning.
This is
the easter-egg level.  Description of level "TRYX" above tells you how
to get
here.  Since this level leads back to an "earlier level", it is possible
to loop, and thus (in theory) to play Gates of Zendocon forever:
NERB->TREY->STAR->BYTE->BETA->TRAX->ZEBA->TRYX->here->back to NERB.

36. BREX: B -> ZEST, C -> SEBB, D -> STAB.  ^: Near bottom, after a long
sequence of towers with yellow-and-gray pyramid-shaped tops.

37. ZEST: A -> ZORT.  *: Bottom of screen, under stalactite.

38. ZORT: B -> STAB, E -> BRAN

39. BRAN: A -> BROT

40. STAB: A -> BOXX.  @: Middle of screen, at beginning.

41. BOXX: C -> SEBB, E -> TENT
Here's a map of this level.  "[]" represents a box which is hard to
shoot,
"<>" represents one which is easy.  "C" and "E" show the locations of
the gates.

(left half:)
+--------------------------------------------------------/
|     <><>  []  <>  []  []  <>    []    <>    []    <>  /
|     [][]  []  []  []  <>  []    []    []    []    []  \
|       <>  <>  <>  []  <>  []    []    []    []    []   \
|     [][]  []  []  <>  <>  []    []    []    <>    []   /
|       []  []  []  []  []  []    <>    []    []    []  /
+-------------------------------------------------------\

(right half:)
   /-------------------------------------------------------+
  /  <><><><>    <>    <><><><><><><><>[][][][]    []      |
  \  [][][][]    [][][][][][][]  <>[][][][][][]    []      |
   \ [][][][]    <>[][][][][][][]  <>[][][][][][]  []    E |
   / [][][][]          [][][][][][]  <>[][][]  [][]        |
  /  [][][][]       C  [][][][][][][]  <><><><><><>        |
  \--------------------------------------------------------+

42. TENT: A -> BROT.  *: Near middle.

43. SEBB: A -> SNEX.  ^: Near bottom.

44. SNEX: C -> ZAXX
Yes, the "tank/truck" objects can be destroyed!  However, it's a very
complex operation.  1: Wait until the first tank is about halfway across
the screen.  2: Move behind its cannon, then down behind it after the
2-legged walker is out of the way.  3:  Follow it closely, and
simultaneously
maneuver the ship so that it's 3 pixels off the floor.  Move almost all
the way to the edge of the screen.  4: Keep the lasers on continuously.
This
should kill additional walkers as they approach.  5: As each additional
tank
piles up behind you, the score increments by increasing amounts.  When
the
the score is incrementing 10 at a time, the one's digit will be constant. 
Shortly after this happens, you will kill a walker.  Just after the
walker is
killed, move up slightly, wait for a missile to fly just under you, then
move
back down into position.  6: Continue to the end.  When the screen stops
scrolling, leave your ship still for a bit; the tanks will all
simultaneously destroyed.

45. ZAXX: A -> BROT

46. BROT: A -> STOB.  >: Near bottom.
So-named because of the Mandelbrot Sets used in the background?

47. STOB: A -> XTNT

48. XTNT: A -> BOTZ

49. BOTZ: A -> SNAX

50. SNAX: A -> ZETA, D -> NEAR

51. NEAR: A -> ZETA.  *: Near bottom.  @: Near top, immediately after *.
>: Near bottom, shortly after @.

52. ZETA
This is the "penultimate level", as it were.  The object is to shoot at
the object which slowly moves up and down along the right edge of the
screen. 
Every now and then, this object will "open its eye"; this is the only
time
when it's vulnerable.  The second time you successfully hit it when its
eye is open, everything on the screen blows up and you are sent to the
endgame.
NOTE: If you have alien companions, they will be destroyed along with
everything else!  (However, they still help you get through this level.)

The consequence of this is that when you face Zendocon, you always face
it alone.

53. endgame
In the final screen, you fight it out with Zendocon itself, the evil
spider-monster which rules all the other aliens you've been fighting.
To make it through this level, use the following procedure:  Zendocon
appears
on the right edge of the screen and moves horizontally towards you.
While
firing the lasers continuously, move your ship down slowly.  You will
eventually find a point at which your lazer-fire makes "explosions"
appear on the monster.
When Zendocon is getting close, move your ship to the left and *up* out
of the way.  It can touch your ship without hurting you, but you want to
avoid
having it cover your ship entirely.  Use your shields if it's a close
call.
When it starts heading back towards the right, move your ship back down
to
fire at Zendocon's "soft spot" again.  Use your shields when necessary
to keep the "eyeballs" from hitting you.  After the first couple of
left-right
"cycles" of Zendocon's movement, you'll be able to position your ship so
that
you can hit the soft spot and also avoid touching the eyeballs (because
Zendocon slowly drifts up as it moves back and forth.)  Using this
technique,
you should be able to hit Zendocon enough so that it dies after five or
six
repetitions of its left-right path.  If you don't, it will start moving
around
the screen diagonally.  This means it's probably too late -- but in a
last-ditch effort, put on your shields and fly into its "mouth".  This
might
do it in.  If you kill Zendocon and then "commit suicide" by crashing
your
ship into the floating eyes, you're given another ship and have to kill
Zendocon again.  If you lose your last ship in this way, you lose the
game.
Killing Zendocon multiple times doesn't increase your score all that
much, but
it's something to do if you have lots of extra ships at the end of the
game.

Shortest Route From Start to Finish
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Fifteen screens, plus Zendocon.  There are three equally short paths
from BREX
to BROT:

                                   ,->ZEST->ZORT->BRAN-.
BASE->RAZE->TRYX->STYX->YARB->BREX--->STAB->BOXX->TENT--->BROT-.
                                   `->SEBB->SNEX->ZAXX-'       |
                             ,---------------------------------'
                             `->STOB->XTNT->BOTZ->SNAX->ZETA->endgame

At BASE, take the second gate.  At RAZE, take the first.  At TRYX, STYX,
and YARB you have no choice (disregarding the easter-egg in TRYX).  At
BREX,
choose whichever path you like best (if you choose the upper path, take
the
second gate at ZORT; if you choose the middle path, take the second gate
at BOXX.)  From BROT to SNAX you have no choice; at SNAX take the first
gate. 
A typical final score for the "shortest route" is around 100,000.  (Or
10,000,000 in the "hard" mode -- good luck!)
 






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