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 Post subject: Megamania (Atari 2600 - PlayStation 2 - Nintendo Wii)
PostPosted: Fri May 22, 2020 8:34 am 


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Joined: 11 Oct 2008
Posts: 250
Location: Autobot City, Sugiura Base
Time for a retro-review. This time is Megamania on the Atari 2600, like all Atari-themed shmup reviews, it might be a short one.



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It's Captain Kirk VS the Space Burgers.


For any "Today's gamer" the word Megamania would sound like an old magazine specialized on Megaman. But actually it is the name of one of Activision's shmups.

The plot of this game is about the wild dream of a space pilot caused by eating "To deluxe pepperoni pizzas and a quart of chocolate mint ice cream" (Apparently, space food was made with illegal substances, or the pilot was up on something).

Megamania, also called Megamania (A Space Nightmare) is what we can consider a Space Invaders clone. Like said game, Megamania limits your ship's movement to only left or right and its fire rate is the same: 1 bullet at a time until it goes off screen or hits an enemy. At first, the main objective looks identical to Space Invaders; prevent the enemy from reaching the bottom of the screen, but actually they can reach it without killing you. The only way an enemy can kill you is if it collides with your ship. Also, the enemy formations have a variety of movements: From the traditional left to right scrolling, moving one side to another, waving up and down, and moving left or right and stopping in midair and then going down.
Enemy collisions are the least of the problems in Megamania, since enemies reaching the bottom doesn't kill you, the game adds a time gauge shaped like a lifebar that depletes. This lifebar is also the bonus factor after completing a level as the remaining energy adds extra points. So, naturally you'll be on a constant hurry which will contribute to the room for error.

The first port of Megamania out of the Atari 2600 was on both the Atari 5200 and Atari 8-Bit where the gameplay was virtually identical the original 2600 version. It would take decades later for Megamania to come back in two forms: The first one was on the PlayStation 2 as part of Activision Anthology, and the second one on Arcade Zone for the Nintendo Wii, where the game added a Multiplayer where the game can be played up to 4 players.



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Behold the Cold Sandwiches of Death.

In terms of graphics, the game breaks with the common use of aliens or military themed vehicles and aims to a more fantasy-delirious theme: Burgers, Ice Cream Sandwiches (also called Cookies), Refrigerator Magnets, Diamond Rings and Dice, while your ship looks like a clone of a Y-Wing from Star Wars or the Enterprise from Star Trek, or probably a nod to the player ship from Galaxian. So, we can say this game is a predecessor to the parody shmup genera where Konami's classic shmup Parodius emerged. The Activision Anthology port includes additional views that distort the image in several ways, along with unlockable commercials which I've mentioned in my River Raid review.

The Nintendo Wii port from Arcade Zone features a major graphic overhaul, as it features user avatars and multi-colored ships.

The sound department is your basic Atari 2600 4 sounds library. The "VHHHHHHHHM!" when your energy refills, the bullet fired by your ship, object exploding and your ship disappearing when its destroyed. As part of Activision Anthology it has a bunch of licensed songs bundled like Twister Sister's "We're not gonna take it", "Walking in L.A." by Missing Persons, "No More Words" by Berlin, A-Ha's "Take on Me" among other songs. If we compare the Wii port, it lacks of music variety, but tries to compensate on the visual department.


MEGACURIOSITIES
- The band featured in the commercial was The Tubes, a San Francisco-based rock band.
- Steve Cartwright was the designer and programmer of the Atari 2600 version, while the Atari 8-bit / 5200 port was done by Glyn Anderson.
- If the player exceeds the 999,999 points, the game ends.
- Activision offered a "Megamaniac" patch to any gamer who were able to reach 45,000 points. This became an unlockable achivement/medal in Activision Anthology.


In the end, Megamania is a shooter that tried to survive the pass of time and died. The Wii version is a proof of that since its once addicting gameplay has become outdated and rapidly becomes boring for the new generations.
Do I recommend this game?, If you're into vintage shooting action, better give the Activision Anthology port a try, since the music adds a little extra to the shooter's atmosphere.
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