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Monday, 1 March 2010

Mega lo Mania - Atari ST

This was one of the best games ever to grace the screens of the 16-bits.  Deceptively simple, this featured an epic campaign of battles over a series of islands, each divided into different territories.  You built up your army, mined resources, researched new technologies etc... but the added strategic component, you could ally yourself to opponents - as long as more than two of you were still alive on that island.  Your opponents could also seek alliance with you.  I think I'm right in saying that Mega lo Mania was the first computer game to ever feature speech samples from professional voice actors.  Each computer opponent had its own personality - in terms of style of play, and type of voice...  The Yellow King, Oberon, would have a very camp voice and say "Do you want to come on my team?", while if you proposed an alliance and he didn't feel like it, you'd get an even camper "no I don't think so".  Sensible Software imbued tiny sprites with great personality, and here showed similar skill in using small snippets of speech to create memorable characters (only Rick Dangerous' "Wah!" when he got killed sticks in the mind with greater clarity).

Combined with all this, your starting population at the final level ("The Mother of All Battles") depended on how frugally you'd used your people throughout the earlier levels.  Therefore you could get to the end but find it pretty much impossible to win.  Eventually you realised that on the very early levels you could afford to take time building up your population - and that though very slow, it was actually possible to do this even starting with just a single inhabitant!

Whichever way you look at it, Mega lo Mania was a classic game.

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