How to Play Mega-Lo-Mania

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“How to play Mega-Lo-Mania? Help!”

Whether you’ve stumbled across Sensible Software’s classic real-time strategy game Mega-Lo-Mania via the recent Codemasters Collection 1 cart for Evercade or via other means, chances are you’ve found yourself a little daunted by the seeming complexity of the game and all its many ’90s icons.

Well, never fear, ’cause we’re here to help you learn how to play Mega-Lo-Mania! You’ll soon learn that actually playing the game isn’t as complicated as it might initially appear — it’s getting good at it that is the tricky bit!

So let’s start with a rundown of the interface.

Sector Control

If you want to know how to play Mega-Lo-Mania, this is where everything begins: the Sector Control interface, which allows you access to both important information and actions.

Over on the left of the screen is your Sector Control panel. There are a number of icons here that allow you to control the game. Hovering over them with the Handy Pointer will tell you what they are. Note that some icons will not be visible until you have made the required progress — you won’t see the Blueprints icon until you’ve made some Designs, for example!

This icon allows you to adjust the game speed. Press A (Evercade), B (Mega Drive) or right mouse button (ST/Amiga) to increase speed, B (Evercade), C (Mega Drive) or left mouse button (ST/Amiga) to decrease.


These shields show who is participating in the current battle. If there are more than two combatants in total, you can propose an alliance with one by clicking on their shield.

If an army is present in a sector, their shield will be replaced with a number showing how many men they have in that sector.


This is the map of the current island. Early islands are small, while later ones are much larger. A coloured large square in the middle of a sector indicates a tower belonging to the relevant player. A coloured small dot in the corner of a sector indicates an army belonging to the relevant player.

Clicking on a sector allows you to view what is going on there, even if you’re not in control of it. If you click on a sector you control, your Sector Control panel will update to show information for that sector.


This indicates the name of the current island and the year. The year gives an idea of your current Tech Level. Islands in each Epoch start at a particular year and cannot progress beyond a certain point — so no nukes in Biblical times!


In the centre of your Sector Control panel is an image of your men (with their appearance corresponding to the year and Tech Level). The number beneath the figure shows the population of the current sector’s tower who are not presently working on anything; if you leave them to their own devices, they will breed and increase the population over time. There must always be at least one unoccupied population member to manage the tower, even if everyone else is doing something.


This icon takes you to the Research screen. We’ll look at this in more detail in a moment, but this is where you develop defensive and offensive weapons, as well as the ability to repair your buildings.


This icon allows you to check on the status of any buildings in the current sector. Initially, this will just be the tower, but later in the game you will build additional facilities such as mines and factories. You can also repair buildings here.


This icon allows you to view the completed Designs produced through research, and see the resource requirements to produce the researched items. You can scrap Designs from here if you want to try re-researching them to be more efficient.

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This icon allows you to deploy defensive units to protect your tower and other buildings. Obviously you need to have researched some defensive weaponry first!


This icon allows you to manage your attacking armies, equip them with weapons and send them into battle. An essential part of conquering all those sectors!


This icon only appears if your Tech Level has advanced enough to mine resources; it allows you to assign your population to mining those specific resources. Otherwise, resources that are automatically gathered by hand (wood, for example) will simply appear as their own icons in Sector Control, which allow you to see your stockpiles.

Some additional icons will appear as you progress through the game, but these will get you through the first few stages. By the time additional icons start appearing, allowing you to build additional facilities, you should have a good idea of how the interface works in general!

Researching

In order to do pretty much anything in Mega-Lo-Mania, you need to research things. This is a simple process to get up and running. Just click the “lightbulb” icon in Sector Control to bring up the Research interface, which looks like this:

A convention of the Mega-Lo-Mania interface is to click a “wide” version of the icon representing the screen you’re in to return to Sector Control; as such, to get back to Sector Control from here, simply click on the “wide” lightbulb at the top.

The three columns at the bottom are the three kinds of Designs you can research:

  • Shields allow you to repair buildings
  • Defensive weapons allow you to protect your buildings
  • Offensive weapons allow you to attack and conquer enemy or empty sectors

The further down each column you go, the more advanced the technology — and thus the more effective it will be, but the longer it will take to research.

Click a Design to research it and it will appear in the top “equation”. Now point at the “man” figure and press A (Evercade), B (Mega Drive) or right mouse button (ST/Amiga) to increase the number of men assigned to the research project — notice how the “clock” on the right reduces in time for each additional researcher. If you need to remove researchers from the project, point at the man and press B (Evercade), C (Mega Drive) or left mouse button (ST/Amiga) to reduce the number.

Note that any researchers assigned to a project will not be breeding in your tower while they are working. Also note you can only research one thing at a time.

Successfully researching an item allows you to use it, and may cause your tower’s Tech Level to increase, which may open up more options to you. If, upon completing a Design, the game informs you that it is “ergonomically terrific”, that means you have developed a particularly efficient Design that uses less resources than usual.

Defending yourself

Defending yourself is, as you might expect, a very important part of learning how to play Mega-Lo-Mania, so familiarise yourself with this process quickly.

In order to defend yourself, you will need to have researched a Design for either an offensive or defensive weapon — preferably the latter. In the case of offensive weapons, see the next section on attacking sectors — deploying your “offensive” armies to defend a sector is handled as if you were “attacking” yourself.

To make use of defensive units, which can be set up in advance and left to their own devices, click on the Defensive Units icon in your Sector Control panel. You’ll see something like this, perhaps with more icons if you’ve researched several defensive Designs:

As before, click the “wide” icon to return to Sector Control if necessary.

The “man” icon indicates how many presently unoccupied people you have in the tower; these can potentially be assigned to defending the tower. On the right, you’ll see the weapons you have available for defensive purposes; if they say “OK” underneath, you have sufficient resources to produce them as required.

Click on the weapon you want to use in order to select it…

And then click on the black slots in the corners of your buildings to deploy your defensive units. They will remain there until they get killed — note you’ll have to replace them manually if they are defeated; they will not replenish automatically, so take care if you’re under attack! In the meantime, they will automatically defend the building if an opposing army enters the sector.

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Attacking the enemy

Attacking the enemy is a core part of learning how to play Mega-Lo-Mania, so get to grips with this as quickly as you can.

In order to attack the enemy, you need to have researched at least one offensive weapon. Note that offensive weapons can also be used defensively as described above; simply follow the below instructions and deploy your army into your own sector instead of attacking an opponent to place them on defensive duty.

Click on the Army icon to set up an attacking army once you’ve researched an offensive weapon Design. You’ll get a screen something like this, perhaps with more icons if you’ve researched multiple offensive weapon Designs.

As always, click the “wide” icon at the top to return to Sector Control if you need to.

On the left, the “man” icon shows how many available men you have in your tower. To the right of that, you’ll see your available offensive weapons, indicating “OK” if you have enough resources to produce them. The crossed swords icon indicates the army you have mustered; to add a weapon to the army, select the appropriate weapon and press A (Evercade), B (Mega Drive) or right mouse button (ST/Amiga). Repeat until you have added as many soldiers as you want. You can mix and match weapon types if you have several.

Your Handy Pointer will turn into a sword. Click on the sector you want to attack in order to deploy the army, or click on your own tower to cancel.

After conquering a sector, if you haven’t yet won the entire map, the conquering army will set about building a new tower in that sector. The more soldiers present, the quicker the build process. Note that the new tower will need to do its own research and building — though it can make use of the weapons the conquering army brought with them.

Remember that your conquering army does not automatically return to the tower you deployed them from — take care not to leave towers defenceless!

Walkthrough of the first island

This isn’t necessarily the most efficient way to beat the first island in Mega-Lo-Mania, Aloha, but it will give you a practical example of how to play Mega-Lo-Mania in context. Simply follow along and you’ll be victorious in no time!

How to play Mega-Lo-Mania

When you start the game, you’ll have the opportunity to pick a character. This doesn’t really matter for you, but it determines your identifying colour as well as the opponents you’ll be facing, who each have their own personality quirks you’ll have to contend with.

How to play Mega-Lo-Mania

You’ll then see an overview of the current Epoch. There are three islands to conquer before you can progress, beginning with the two-sector Aloha. You’ll see that we have 100 men available — note that these 100 men have to last you the whole Epoch, so don’t blow them all on one island!

How to play Mega-Lo-Mania

Once you’ve selected “PLAY ISLAND”, assign a particular number of men from your total stock to play the island. About 20 works fine for this first scenario. Use A (Evercade), B (Mega Drive) or right mouse button (ST/Amiga) to select the number underneath the tower and assign 20 men to it.

How to play Mega-Lo-Mania

After that, select a sector to place your first (and in this case, only) tower in. Your opponent may have already selected their starting sector, in which case just go for whatever’s left.

How to play Mega-Lo-Mania

The battle begins. We have 20 men in our tower, some wood incoming, and no designs. First things first, we should probably research some defensive weaponry, just in case our opponent decides to come a-knockin’.

How to play Mega-Lo-Mania

Go to the Research menu, pick a defensive weapon from the middle column and assign as many men as possible to research it. You may want to increase the game speed with the “running man” icon at the top of the screen so you’re not twiddling your thumbs for too long.

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Here, I’ve gone for a spear rather than a stick; it takes a bit longer to research, but will be more effective.

How to play Mega-Lo-Mania

As it turns out, this wasn’t a great decision, as my opponent attacked before I’d finished my research. Fortunately, I did finish the Design before my tower was toppled, so I deploy my new Spear-wielders to the turrets in my tower and wait for them to mop up the stone-chucking enemy forces. Note that you don’t need to “command” your units directly; they’ll just attack any nearby enemies automatically.

How to play Mega-Lo-Mania

The tower took a bit of a beating in the struggle, so here I’ve researched a level 1 Shield and then used it a few times from the Shield screen (select it, then click on the building to repair).

How to play Mega-Lo-Mania

It’s time to prepare a counter-offensive! Go back to the research screen, choose an offensive weapon from the list and assign all your available men to working on the Design. In this instance, I’ve gone for the Catapult; the more advanced Tech Level we’re in now allows us to research this a little quicker.

How to Play Mega-Lo-Mania

After that, it’s time to muster an army and go on the attack. Go to the Army screen and assign all your men to the new Catapult design that you’ve created. Your mouse pointer will turn into a sword.

How to Play Mega-Lo-Mania

Click said sword on your opponent’s sector on the minimap in the corner of the screen…

How to Play Mega-Lo-Mania

…then sit back and watch the carnage unfold as your stone-throwing opponent is completely unable to stand up to the might of your catapult-brandishing monsters.

How to play Mega-Lo-Mania

Once you’ve levelled your opponent’s tower, you still need to mop up the remnants of their army to be completely victorious. As with defending, you don’t need to “command” your troops; so long as they’re in the sector with an enemy, they’ll keep fighting. Note the numbers where the coloured shields used to be in the top left; here, we have 20 troops in the sector, and our opponent has just two left. I’d say we have this one in the bag.

How to Play Mega-Lo-Mania

Sure enough, victory swiftly follows.

Now go forth and conquer the rest of the islands and Epochs — and good luck in the Mother of All Battles!

Important things to note

  • Remember, your initial stock of men has to last you the whole Epoch. If you’re not sure how to divide them up between the islands, just spread them out equally.
  • Later Tech Levels may require you to build Laboratories to research certain Designs, and some Designs may require Factories to manufacture them. Build these from Sector Control in a similar method to performing research.
  • Later Tech Levels allow you to build additional structures to help with mining — make sure you do so to ensure you have plenty of resources available to build weapons.
  • In later Epochs, you’ll have the option to “shut down” a sector and place its population into cryogenic suspension. If you want to beat the game, it’s important to do this, as any “frozen” population will be available in the game’s final battle. Shut down as many sectors as you can, but make sure you still have enough population available to beat the current island!

Cheats

If you’re really stuck, try these codes for the Mega Drive and Evercade versions of the game! At the Epoch screen, choose “Options” then “Load” and enter any of the passwords shown below.

  • Start Epoch 1 with 200 men: SIZCSVLOPNL
  • Start Epoch 2 with 999 men: SMLCUQKDKHH
  • Start Epoch 3 with 999 men: WQICAUWQIBN
  • Start Epoch 4 with 999 men: UVICOPEQIBJ
  • Start Epoch 5 with 999 men: SAJCSPEFKHV
  • Start Epoch 6 with 999 men: QFJCKRKFKHR
  • Start Epoch 7 with 999 men: OKJCAQEGKHX
  • Start Epoch 8 with 999 men: MPJCDWEGKHK
  • Start Epoch 9 with 999 men: KUJCTYQVLNW
  • Start The Mother of All Battles with 999 men: IZJCJKXGKHD
  • Play a hidden space shooter: JOOLS

Stuck on other retro games? Check out our other “How to Play” guides — and be sure to let us know if there’s a game you’re struggling with that you’d like to learn how to play!

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