Subtitled 'A Space Nightmare', Megamania looks more like a 60's drug induced flashback than a nightmare. Imagine a game where you fight waves of deadly Hamburgers, Steam Irons, Bow Ties, and even Space Dice (yes, Space Dice!). While I'm not sure what they were smoking over at Activision when they came up with the idea of Megamania, but the result was pure genius. Not only is Megamania wacky and entertaining to look at, but its a fun game to play as well.
The Hamburgers, Cookies, Bugs, Radial Tires, Diamonds, Steam Irons, Bow Ties, and Space Dice. What do all these things have in common? If you said "They're evil invaders that must be stopped at all costs!" then you need psychological help (but you're also correct). Megamania is a shooter loosely based off the 1981 arcade game Astro Blaster. However where Astro Blaster had waves of boring space ships, Megamania substitutes wacky everyday items. You don't know the meaning of humiliation until you've been destroyed by a flying bow tie...
One of the best things about Megamania is that the enemies each have their own personalities. Each type of enemy moves about the screen in a particular way, and its up to you to memorize these patterns. Some bob up and down, some move left to right, while others do strange looping patterns. Adding to the fun is the fact that enemies can move off one edge of the screen and wrap around to the other. Hiding in the corner isn't going to save you in this game.
The goal of the game is destroy each wave of items before your fuel supply runs out. Each time you shoot an enemy you are rewarded with a small amount of fuel, but be sure not to take too long as your ship is quite the gas guzzler. As you advance farther into the game, the enemies will begin to move faster and your ship will use up fuel faster. If you find that the game is a bit too difficult, you can switch between guided missiles and straight firing missiles on the options screen. But remember, true intergalactic space heroes just say no to guided missiles...
Although the concept behind Megamania isn't new or unique, the execution was fantastic. By taking an average space shooter and throwing in humorous enemies and an improved AI, Activision created a new and exciting game. The Atari 8-bit version is pretty much the same as the 2600 version, but with the standard upgrades to the graphics and sounds (the enemies look much better than they did on the 2600). So if you're ready to take down evil Cookies and Space Dice for the good of all mankind, Megamania is right up your alley.