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Megamania

Megamania cart

BackgroundEdit

At the time of its release, Megamania was one of the very few bottom of the screen shooters for the Atari 2600 where objects that the player(s) had to shoot down had their attack patterns change with every new enemy that was introduced. And rather than the common sci-fi theme where players faced aliens and/or spaceships, a more whimsical route was taken this time around, as players faced the everyday items of Hamburgers, Bow Ties, Steam Irons, etc. instead.

GameplayEdit

Players controlled a mobile blaster at the bottom of the screen as enemy objects appeared overhead. Their attack patterns varied, as many objects would horizontally scroll from the left to the right side of the screen, although with every other wave, other objects (such as Cookies) would travel horizontally for a few seconds, then dip down closer to the player’s(/s’) blaster(s) and reverse direction. Also, if not all of these objects were destroyed by the time they reached the bottom of the screen, they would reappear at the top (which this act was known as the “MegaSphere”).

Once players faced all enemy objects and made it past the final wave of Space Dice, the game would start back over at the first wave (which was known as a “MegaCycle”), but at a higher level of difficulty, as attack patterns would change, such as the Hamburgers would start pausing during a wave, then move across the screen at a faster rate for a second or two, rather than just scrolling across the screen horizontally without stopping as they did originally. Other enemies that moved downwards from the top of the screen (like the aforementioned Cookies) would dive down this time around, Space Dice would no longer travel straight down vertically any more, but at about a 45 degree angle, etc. And if players could make it through the MegaCycle a second time, dive-bombing enemies began traveling even faster towards the bottom of the screen, along with their shots moving faster as well.

Players also had an energy bar that would constantly drain during a wave, which, if the bar became totally depleted, the player would lose that mobile blaster. Successfully completing a wave would recharge the bar though. If a player’s(s’) blaster came in contact with any enemy or their missiles they would also lose a blaster and the game would end if there were no remaining blasters in reserve.

Game/fire variationsEdit

Games 1-2 allows players to guide missiles after they have been fired, which game two is for two players alternating turns. Games 3-4 allows players to fire straight missiles (with game four being for two players), although players have to press the controller button every time they want to shoot, as holding down the button to fire does not work in these variations as they do for games 1-2.

The players’ firing rate can also be slowed down by setting the Difficulty Switch(es) in the A position.

Fun factsEdit

  • The full title of the game is Megamania (A Space Nightmare).
  • The game was ported to the Atari 8-bit and Atari 5200 platforms, along with being included in many compilations (Activision Anthology, Activision Hits: Remixed) on various additional modern platforms (Game Boy Advance, digiBlast, PlayStation 2, etc.) years later.
  • Pirated versions of the game were released by CCE, Digivision, Dynacom, H. E. S., Polyvox, Tron and Zirok. And due to Hack-o-Matic and the like programs, people can change graphics and even play elements of video games nowadays, which several hacks were done of Megamania. A few include Ventrra Invaders 2002 (changing Megamania enemies into various Space Invaders incarnations), Intellivision Lives? (players control an Intellivision Blaster that must rid Atari characters), and Nitemare (giving the game a Halloween theme).
  • Megamania programmer Steve Cartwright was reportedly influenced by Astro Blaster.
  • During the game’s original release, players that could score 45,000 points or more for both the Atari 2600 and Atari 5200 versions could send a photo of their score to Activision to receive a Megamaniacs patch. Some virtual patches can be earned with the modern re-release of the game nowadays as well.
  • This original version came in a picture and blue label, the latter of which is a bit more rare.

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