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Mega Lo Mania

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Sensible Software
1991
Genre:
Strategy
Theme:
War / Myths and Mythology
Language:
English, Francais, Deutsch
Licence:
Commercial
System:
Amiga (OCS/ECS)
Views:
22253

Rating [?]

Mr Creosote:
4/6
Overall:
4/6
Popular Vote:
4.3/6
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Local Reviews

Mr Creosote (2002-11-18) [hide]

Avatar Imagine a mixture between Populous, Powermonger, The Settlers and Civilization. What you get is Mega Lo Mania. This is of course not overly correct. Some of the games are older than the game we're talking about here (Populous, Powermonger) and can therefore be classed as role models. Civilization was developed at the same time and The Settlers was released significantly later, so it was inspired by Mega Lo Mania and not the other way round.

From the choice of other games to compare it with, it should be clear that Mega Lo Mania is one of these 'global strategy' games. Sensible Software is better know for their sports games (Microprose Soccer, Sensible Soccer, Sensible Golf) and their later smash hit Cannon Fodder. All these games have one thing in common: cute little sprites running around chaotically.

That is one thing you'll of course also find in this game. It was not the first one to break with the unwritten law that strategy always has to be presented in a very 'dry' way, but it was certainly another step to abolish to piece of prejudice once and forever!

I can already hear you thinking "get to the point". Alright, alright. So you're controllling these cute little people who are living on a small island. Unfortunately, you are not alone on this island, another godlike creature has sent his or her minions, too. Your followers' development can be compared to cavemen, so there is not much you can threaten your competitor with. He/she is not in a much different situation, so you both settle on different ends of the island (which is divided into fixed territories) and let your people build some buildings (a stronghold, later also mines, factories and so on), do research to come up with new and better weapons and of course build these weapons.

You're on the right track, your people are prospering and their numbers are growing. You send a group of settlers to the next territory, and the whole process of technical advancement begins again which is a bit strange because for what reason should people lose their knowledge when they move to an adjacent territory? But that's the rules of the game I guess. Anyway, when you think you have the upper hand on this island, you send your soldiers to the by now of course heavily defended fortress of the enemy and (hopefully) wipe him out.

This basic concept goes on through the whole game, you hop from island to island, what varies is the number of enemies at once (up to four sides per island), the number of historical periods to go through (at the beginning, you will only be able to advance to the early middle ages with stone fortresses and archers, later you get to modern times with planes and everything) and the level of difficulty.

One level ( = island) rarely takes longer than 30 minutes (only the last ones do), Mega Lo Mania is a very fast paced game. Even though you can always adjust the speed (very useful at the beginning of a level when you're just waiting for your scientists to achieve something), you will never be able to have it so slow that you have much time to think or plan! And if you're trying to do this is pause mode, you'll quickly understand that this will not do you any good because your plans are most most likely to be shattered to small pieces again as soon as you let the game run again - and something unpredictable happens. I'm not saying you can't plan and everything is random anyway, but you really need different 'thinking patterns' in Mega Lo Mania than you're commonly using in round based strategy games ;)

The game combines basic economics (mining natural resources, processing them in different ways which will decide about the course of the level) and basic military action (drafting men from scientific / mining work to defend the buildings or form an attack force) into what appears to be a quick snack at first, but later turns out to be a complete meal consisting of several tasty courses: the easy appetizers are followed by epic and heavy main parts which will, if you're trying to take too much at once, make you sit helpless in your chair and still make you want to have more - even though intellectually, you should know it was enough. With this completely messy and unclear methaphor, I'd like to close this review - and leave you all confused >:)

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Comments (10) [hide] [Post comment]

fretz (2007-12-09):

So have you had a go at the Fewest Men Possible challenge yet?

I havent played it for a while but thought Id give it a crack with the Megadrive version in Gens, managed to get down to 5 after a couple of attempts. 4 is eluding me though.

Mr Creosote (2007-12-07):

As you can read here on the site, I'm not too fond of Cannon Fodder. It just takes too long, too much effort and too much frustration to reach the parts which could potentially be interesting (i.e. driving vehicles and that stuff).

Quote:
Fighting to victory when youve been nuked before you have built your own first missile is near impossible, and Ive never seen the AI come back and win once it has been nuked.
Surprising realism in such a game, isn't it? The weapon to end all wars ;)

fretz (2007-12-07):

Yeah those biplanes are probably my favourite, one of the coolest things ever :) I like a lot of the Sensible Software stuff for their character though, Cannon Fodder is another great one, although that didnt convert as well to the consoles as Mega-lo-Mania did. I can play Mega-lo-mania on the Megadrive better than I used to as a kid on the Amiga with a mouse, I cant get anywhere near as far on the Megadrvie version of Canon Fodder as I did on the Amiga.

The thing about the nuke is this - whoever gets its first wins (im sure there are exceptions, but thats the usual case, ive never experienced it any different)

That isnt the case with the earlier technologies and its possible to fight on to victory from a worse position. Fighting to victory when youve been nuked before you have built your own first missile is near impossible, and Ive never seen the AI come back and win once it has been nuked. This isnt the case for the earlier epochs.

Mr Creosote (2007-12-07):

Quote:
its just a simple race for the nuke on the 9th Epoch giving you enough of an advantage on the 10th to spank them.
Yes, but that's basically the same for every epoch, isn't it? Atomic weapons might give you even more of an advantage than some other advances, but the whole game is a huge rush!

In any case, I like the planes best. Don't ask why, they just do it for me graphically :)

fretz (2007-12-07):

I think it probably does cheat in a similar way to how Civ cheats with production and/or resource bonus.

The reason why you cant do the 9th and 10th Epoch is because you are not doing Aloha-Ibiza with 6-12 men :)

I dont really like the later levels though, not becasue of their difficulty (even with a massive reserve of men they are tough) its just a simple race for the nuke on the 9th Epoch giving you enough of an advantage on the 10th to spank them.

I should add I only play this on the Megadrive these days as I dont have an Amiga set-up at the moment. From what I remember of the Amiga version though the conversion is pretty damn good. One of the few strategy games that works well on console with a joypad.

Mr Creosote (2007-12-07):

Quote:
I cant win the 9th and 10th epochs unless [...]
Same here, without the 'unless'. The AI is really tough (although I must say I suspect it's cheating in some way).

P.S. Sorry for meddling around with this, but I really have to test the forum functions, and this gave me the opportunity to test splitting, moving and merging of topics :D

fretz (2007-12-07):

Look on it like a mini-game - if you only have a spare half hour to play with just try to see how few you can do it with :)

Also, I cant win the 9th and 10th epochs unless ive saved up a huge amount of men by starving myself on the first few epochs and can therefore throw a good 150-200+ men to each Island.

Once it becomes a race to the nuke it really helps having done those early levels with as few men as possible.

Mr Creosote (2007-12-07):

Uh... I can't say I've ever played in such a perfectionist way. Especially since I tend to get impatient on the first islands anyway, because the real fun only begins with higher technology levels ;)

fretz (2007-12-07):

Has anybody ever beaten Aloha starting with only 3 men or less? I can do it with 4 but hit a brick wall with 3.

The Rumpled Academic (2002-11-18):

There is a certain maternal pleasure that comes with this game. You watch your people, you let them (ahem) reproduce, you share every toil and hardship in their lives, then send them off to get killed. At the beginning, i.e. the first 3 Epochs, you doubt your little minions will ever become advanced, but beware! As you get up to around the 6th Epoch, your little men start messing around with nuclear power! Suddenly, a Pike is old-fashioned, and Stealth Bombers are the order of the day.
I think that this is a great game because every level is an entire planet just like Earth. It gives you a powerful feeling to create and destroy worlds at your will, while also bringing up the question, "Is Earth just a plaything for REAL Demigods?" After all, those cute little anarchic men runnig around down there aren't all that different from us.

I strongly advise you to download this game. (Come on, it's only a Megabyte, and I can almost gurantee you'll like it enought to get past the 1st Epoch.

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