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The UKFF Retro Gaming Thread

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LoNCQWNZPyU

 

It's not going to be often I can start a review of a game with a title track from a nearly completely unrelated soundtrack album, but you cant have everything right? Initially the album was meant to have hints and tips regarding the game but I guess it got lost in translation. I've still got it somewhere.

 

Well Mega-Lo-Mania where to begin? It was the summer of 199x when I first came across the game, I had read about the 'miggy version and must have rented it from the local video emporium (this would be back in the days when there was lots of skull duggery and shenanigans between our video shop and our short lived games shop). It was either that or the video games man who had a Prince's Trust Grant to get his mobile video and video game service off the ground. but I digress.

 

Upon putting the cart in the slot and flicking the switch the dulcet tones of the theme tune kick in, a relentless and doom laden march to the title screen that sets the tone for the game with a story about gods fighting to the death using their subjects to win or lose their battles. Well it should, it should be uber serious but doesnt always pan out that way as can be seen later. Once the the title screen is up, there is still very little in the way of a clue as to what will happen in the game other than will be a fight to the death. How this death will take place is another thing entirely.

 

"Do you wanna come on my team?"

 

The 'title' screen allows you to pick from 4 gods, Scarlet, Oberon, Caesar and Madcap to fight the good fight. None of them particularly has any strengths or weaknesses that I can see other than from an in game AI perspective where some will wage war whilst others will nest and form alliances. For the player the choice is merely that of colour and what anecdotes and sayings you want to hear in game.

 

I usually choose Madcap, because he is part augmented and looks a bit like Doc Terror from Centurions but in blue. Ive no preference for the colour but he looks pretty cool. Upon choosing your god you are thrust into the realms of battle in an era in time. The first battle is for Aloha in the first Epoch. It is a small island of two squares this is the perfect introduction to the struggle to come. You chose where to place your tile, add how many men you think you will need to win that particular battle (from a pot of 100 total for each epoch though you dont have to use them all and they will carry over) and then the whole thing begins. It is your god versus another 1 on 1: there is no space to manoeuvre, no alliances to be formed and no where to hide.

 

"You got it, buster"

 

The game field itself takes up 3/4 of the screen. You have a hut (castle) which is your main hub some muddy looking ground as well as a few trees. You start in Aloha at 9500BC. To the left you have your options. It looks like a spider but it' is a very straight forward way of playing the game ( note the Snes version complete messes this up with the slowest menu system known to mankind utterly ruining the game) form the main screen you can see how many men you have in the castle. These will multiply slowly at first up to a maximum of 999 per hub in order to succeed you will deflect resources off to research weapons, build, mine or produce them as well as build and fortify your positions. how many men you devote to each task is up to you. however the less men in the pot the slower everything becomes. Part of the battle is micromanaging your men so that you can defend, and innovate as well as attack and destroy.

 

As you research and build new weapons your technological age advances and you hub that starts off as a stone age shack morphs into a castle 3,000 BC and then ultimately for Aloha a Roman Villa type thing at 300 BC. As this happens it becomes easier to develop lower level technologies as your civilisation is now better than it was and should do better. In some instances later in the game you have no choice but to retro fit technologies, choosing the wrong start square and you will be fighting with some rubbish weapons in the weirdest of time zones. You men's clothes also change fitting the era in which they find themselves. Also a whole will appear that can be used as a mine.

 

 

Once you have amassed a battle group you can then raise an army using your minerals and developed designs to equip your soldiers. If your minerals run out you can some times redevelop the plans for that weapon using other available resources to make sure you have a fully equipped army who's mission is to destroy their opponents and/or colonise other sectors to increase your empire ( later on you can hibernate your men in various hubs for the final battle) Once all of the opponents for that map have been destroy you win that island and then move on to the next. Each Epoch has 3 islands, each has there own sweet spots, poor spots and down right suicidal spots and it takes much skill and panache to raise yourself to wards the final battle.

 

"We've won!"

 

Mega lo Mania is a fantastic game, sure it looks dated and is a little bit simple, but it was made in different times. The little figures from this are a Sensible Software trade mark and appear in Sensible Soccer and Cannon Fodder. The graphics are bright and breezy and amazing detailed for what they are and the whole thing looks polished and a step above. Its easy to appreciate the care and effort that went into it.

 

For what it is, the game is suprisingly deep, and you will find that sometimes you care about your little men a bit too much. Scuttling rubbish hubs and transferring unarmed men to the next nearest one or to start over is fraught with difficulty and you are left to hope that you are not ambushed in the interim or it is game. There is also the urge to get to the next epoch to see what new weapons and tech you can get your hands on to destroy the other gods using your little men.

 

The sound effects and specifically the speech is spot on and for the megadrive is very clear and not blighted by the same garbled mess that usually is speech on the system. Its also (whether intentional or not) humourous, The telephonist putting you on hold when you pause the game is on such deft touch but some of the Gods responses are also chuckle worthy.

 

There is even another game included. Go to the password system and type in the password 'Jools' and you will be playing Mega Lo Mania 'Sinistar' just to add to the game.

 

This game has attracted me back to it time and time again over the years its brilliant for playing for a quick blast or a prolonged slog. It can get a bit samey and some of the things such as nuke attacks later on are just unfair, but other than that its a fantastic introduction to retrogaming that holds up well today.

 

 

9/10

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Can we find another way to choose games from now on? Perhaps people who write reviews can pick the game on a rotational basis? The past two games have clearly been ones that you enjoy and possibly even own - I'm not suggesting you're rigging things or anything, but I think there's less scope for fairness when the games we play are chosen in such a way. If we all take turns everyone will get to experience a wide taste of games and tastes. Some weeks we might have some obscure gem, another week we might have the chance to revisit a known classic.

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Can we find another way to choose games from now on? Perhaps people who write reviews can pick the game on a rotational basis? The past two games have clearly been ones that you enjoy and possibly even own - I'm not suggesting you're rigging things or anything, but I think there's less scope for fairness when the games we play are chosen in such a way. If we all take turns everyone will get to experience a wide taste of games and tastes. Some weeks we might have some obscure gem, another week we might have the chance to revisit a known classic.

 

 

It's there for all, so I'am always open for suggestions. As to how these things proceed as is a forum thing and not a vanity project. Ill keep doing it as long as there is interest.

 

To pick the game currently I use a random number thingy. The completely random way of doing it is to ask the missus for a number between 1 and however many games are nominated and using that number. I did this so that I wouldnt be accused of 'nepotism' as it were (if it were my sole choice I would have picked Benefactor having never played it) and was something that I was keen to not have during the Retro League (hence the 2nd place thingy to choose the next one). Doing that on this maybe a bit more difficult here hence the revised system.

 

The nominations thread and polling on each nomination would have been great but would have clogged up the forum and as nudged by Neil here have had to bring everything in thread

 

The way you suggest sounds okay, but how do you do it so that everyone doesnt pitch in with a new game after inspecting/reviewing another? Get round that and we have a winner.

 

For the record though,

 

Mega Lo Mania was Mike Castle's nomination (The post is here)

Edited by patdfb

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Sure. It's difficult with a thread like this for sure. Maybe we could work through games in order of nomination, or something? You could be entitled to one nomination at a time, and we work through the games in a order of pick? Then when your game has been played you get a new nomination to add to the "to play list" (or something like that. It's not a huge deal, but it just means that we all get a turn to potentially not fork out for a new game each time! (I know some people use emulators, but I don't really like to do that)

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Sure. It's difficult with a thread like this for sure. Maybe we could work through games in order of nomination, or something? You could be entitled to one nomination at a time, and we work through the games in a order of pick? Then when your game has been played you get a new nomination to add to the "to play list" (or something like that. It's not a huge deal, but it just means that we all get a turn to potentially not fork out for a new game each time! (I know some people use emulators, but I don't really like to do that)

 

Yeah, that could work.

 

If people want to go with that, will add nominations to the bottom of what's already been nominated (already being done) and confirm that you cant have another nomination until that one has been played so is done in some kind of rotational order.

 

I'll go with what the majority want so if anyone has any other suggestions then feel free to suggest them

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I've managed to get a hold of an Amiga copy of the game. There might be a few differences in my review when I post it, but from what I've read they are minimal. It'll be faster for me to get hold of the Amiga copy so that's what I'll use if that's OK?

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I've managed to get a hold of an Amiga copy of the game. There might be a few differences in my review when I post it, but from what I've read they are minimal. It'll be faster for me to get hold of the Amiga copy so that's what I'll use if that's OK?

 

Will be an interesting read thats for sure

 

Make no bones about it the Snes version of Mega lo Mania is shit with added extra shit. I cant remember if I have ever played the miggy version.

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Shit - I forgot to post my review. Just a quick one, then.

 

I actually enjoyed this game - it was surprisingly quirky for a game of this type. I expected something generic, along the lines of Populous, but I was hugely wrong. It took the idea of a God Sim and did something startlingly original with it. I think it's aged quite well, and I'd recommend it to any budding "retro gamer" - well, the Amiga version anyway. Good stuff.

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Not really had chance this past week to give it a proper play, so I too, like Ron, will make this quick.

 

On initially restarting the game I found it to be trickier than I had remembered. I'm sure I remember flying through the first batch of levels, and this time round it took me three tries to even beat the first level. Then I found that instantly trying to build things isn't the best strategy and getting a ton of men works better to begin with which helped a lot.

 

Game wise, it's fun, if obviously very dated with much better games stepping forward to replace it. but for a Megadrive game it's still solid and well put together.

 

The music goes well with it, and fits the feel of the game pretty decently.

 

As a whole, it's not as good as I remember it being, but it's better than I was expecting it to be this time around. If you're after some deeply in depth RTS game, this isn't it. But if you're just after some good retro gaming that is pretty much the early birth of RTS gaming, then this would be where you want to look.

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Hmm that song, over and over and over and over and sodding over again.

 

Konami what have you done?

 

Today we are looking it at Tiny Toon Adventures Buster's Hidden Treasure on the Megadrive, this is going to be more of a first impression thing rather than a full retrospective mainly because its only Tuesday and Ive had about 3 tries on it thus far.

 

As above the first thing that was noted was the bastardisation of the Tiny Toon's theme tune which is on constant loop for the first couple of levels ' They're Tiny, They're toony, they're altogether looney' or whatever the sodding lyrics are. Point its its humongously bloody irritating and goes on and on and on like ariston ( check out the Ariston/Robocop on the Gameboy Tune fact fans!

) except that advert only lasts for a few seconds. Here it seems to go on ad inifintum.

 

The game's front end is typical Konami mid 1990s fair as in it appears they have put a lot of work into it. Its polished, professional and gives a sense of occasion as befits a cartoon which was quite big for its time. Just because it has a great front end though and is by Konami doesnt automatically make it a great game though, does it? Iam looking at you Hyperdunk! Oh poor Hyperdunk, really let the side down, you did.

 

From the usual blah.. erm title screen you can correct the blah, with added extra blah and sort out more blah before starting the game. Options! I meant to say options, not blah. oh well. Anyhoo, moving on firstly you are transported to a suspicously Mario looking, or if you have been paying attention to these, Plok-looking map, giving an over view of the world that you are in. With this being the first level an' all you cant move your lil Buster avatar anywhere so a press of the fire button takes you to what is effectively World 1- Act 1.

 

The game itself is bright and breezy and very colourful, however the pastel shades and they layout immediately drew my attention to something else I had seen on another system. This game instant reminded me of Rainbow Bell Adventures on the Snes, also by, er you guessed it Konami. Admittedly Rainbow Bell wasnt released until a year later, but the feel of speed and pastels was very similar; well at least to me it was.

 

In this game Buster has to set free his pals such as Dizzy Devil who have been trapped by some mad scientist dude and are out to stop him from doing what ever it is that buster needs to do. The levels are laid out and look like well a bit sonic-esque (without the loops), the main character is blue and you collect carrots instead of rings. Buster moves at speed and has all the assorted chicanery that you'd expect from a platformer of this type. The game is structured like Sonic as well with an evil Doctor, taking your friends/animals and transmogrifying them into to denizens of evil. So far so platformer, but is there anything else?

 

The game is highly polished and I cannot fault it for what it does, as it does it well, mainly. It just seems a bit cold and limited. Its hard to explain, but it feels like you have played this before, with different characters or on a different system, there isnt anything new to set it out from the rest other than a sprite set that is different and jump mechanics that are tetchy at least. I'm no,t not keen on platformers and there may yet be something that jumps out and grabs me as a wow factor. Instant impressions though are that it's a competent platformer, but does nothing to make it stand out from the rest. Solid 7/10 fair minus 1 or 2 depending on how much you will hate the theme song by the end of the 2nd level ( at least Buster Busts Loose on the Snes has a few remixes). Could have been something more.

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Im gonna add Batman Returns on the Snes as a game for the retro inspection as I currently dont have a choice.

 

Anymore choices/ reviews for this week?

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