Zone Battle is a game mode introduced in Wipeout HD Fury and one of the two exclusive game modes in the game, the other being Detonator. Zone Battle is a multi-contender Zone event where the goal is to reach the Zone target before anyone else.
Built on the principals of Zone while introducing new gameplay mechanics, Zone Battle is a race of eight contenders in an attempt to see who reaches the target Zone first rather than who completes a certain number of laps first. If no one is able to achieve the target Zone after a period of time, the game automatically starts to lower the target Zone until a player reaches the new lowered target Zone.
Players can use standard controls and airbrakes to navigate their ship around the track. Like Zone, the ships have no way of slowing down and gradually gain speed as they progress through the Zones. However, unlike Zone, boost pads, also known as Zone Pads, also fill up the Zone Gauge. They are positioned similarly to the ones in races but play a big role during Zone Battle.
As players go over the boost pads, they act like normal boost pads and give players a small boost of speed. As players continue to go over the pads, they also accumulate an amount of energy in the gauge that can be used to either "Boost", advancing the number of indicated zones without having to gradually build speed (and dropping a Zone Barrier behind), or activate a protective and energy restoring "Shield".
Ships can be destroyed in Zone Battle, but this does not result in elimination. When destroyed, they will respawn with a little amount of energy, but will be brought down 5 zones and must work again to recover lost ground. The Zone Gauge is also completely depleted when this happens. This makes Zone Battle intense as destruction is easy to come by due to Zone Barriers and slamming into walls once players reach the higher zones. In hopes of achieving victory, players must achieve a balance of "Boosting" and "Shielding".
To win, a player must reach the target Zone either by slowly building speed into the Zone or "Boosting" into the target Zone (The in-game annoncer tells players, "Target Attainable", when they have the ability to "Boost" into the target Zone). Once a contender reaches the target Zone, the event ends and the result screen comes up. From here, players can view their stats such as "Boosts" used, Perfect Zones and Perfect Laps. Loyalty points are also awarded to the player based on how many Zones cleared, perfect Zones, perfect laps, and eliminations.
Going over Zone pads charges up the Zone Gauge, which is gathered into the ship. The energy can then be used to "Boost" or "Shield". Players cannot use them until energy from two Zone pads has been accumulated. Players can then use either of the abilities or conserve the energy. If conserved, players can accumulate more energy as they traverse over other boost pads. Conserving has its advantage, as the more energy used when either "Boosting" or "Shielding", the stronger the effect. Zone energy cannot be rationed. Once used, all of the energy accumulated will be used up when either "Boosting" or "Shielding". A portion of the accumulated Zone energy will be lost if the ship collides into a Zone Barrier unshielded.
Boosting and ShieldingEdit
When "Boosting" into the next zone, the player will go further into the next Zone. They will also drop a Zone Barrier behind them. A Zone Barrier is a hazardous transparent barrier. If it is collided into unshielded, it results in a devastating loss of both ship energy and a portion of Zone energy that has been accumulated. Barriers can only be destroyed by colliding into them unshielded. To "Boost", use the "Boost" power-up function.
When "Shielding", a shield activates around the deployer's ship, allowing the player to harmlessly pass through Zone Barriers with no consequence. The shield also regenerates ship energy that was lost as a result of colliding into a Zone Barrier or hitting the wall or an opponent ship. Beware though, as passing through Zone Barriers shielded does not destroy the barriers and will remain until someone unshielded collides into them. To activate the shield, use the "Absorb" power-up function.
Zones are not infinite in Zone Battle, and once the target Zone is attained, the event ends. In Campaign Mode, preset Target Zones are already in place and cannot be changed unless changing the Campaign difficulty. In Racebox, the player can place the Target Zone from 15 to 55. If no contender is able to reach the set target Zone after a period of time, the target Zone starts decreasing by one every two seconds until someone manages to either "Boost" into the target Zone or it is low enough that the fastest contender reaches it.
All tracks in both Wipeout HD and Wipeout HD Fury are playable for Zone Battle. They have the same appearance like in Zone mode with the only difference being how they change color and the equalizer. Rather than changing as progress is made through the speed classes, they change whenever a Zone Boost is used regardless of whether or not a change is made in the current speed class. Once the player has seen all of the speed class colors, then they will loop around and start again.
Unlike Zone, where the player is given the identical standard Zone AG Unit, the player is offered the Fury AG Units of each team instead. However, they have the maxed out stats of the Zone ship. They are modeled after each team's Fury ship model. The model is Tron-like, with the upper hull being semi-transparent (covered with glass plating) with the teams' livery and logo painted on. These ships can be unlocked for use in the other modes by progressing through the Fury Campaign, but will have their standard Fury stats.
Zone Battle HUDEdit
Zone Battle has a unique HUD not present in the other game modes. The HUD maintains the player informed on three separate things.
- Top - The player's current Zone/Target Zone, Ship Energy remaining, and current Speed Class
- Right Top/Right Middle - At top is the Target Zone, below it are the contenders' names and current Zone numbers they are in, along with their current positions in the race
- Bottom - Zone Gauge. As players accumulate Zone Energy the bar fills from the middle towards left and right simultaneously. Players cannot activate "Boost" or "Shield" until the middle hexagon becomes white, indicating that energy from two boost pads has been accumulated. Once the bar is filled up, it becomes glossy, indicating it is full and can no longer gather new energy anymore. The player must then use "Boost" or "Shield" to gather new energy
- The left end of the bar is the label Boost. It indicates how many zones will be "Boosted" through and added to your current zone number.
- The right end of the bar is the label Absorb. It indicates how much energy will be restored to the ship if "Shield" is used.