Mega-lo-Mania is a god sim from Sensible Software, a UK company better known for Cannon Fodder and Sensible Soccer. It plays like a speedier version of Civilization, where the race to invent and craft technology and conquer enemies plays out in quick, real-time campaigns across various islands. As the game progresses, the technology tree gets more and more futuristic.
Mega-lo-Mania was originally released on the Commodore Amiga in 1991 and ported to various other European computers like the Atari ST and PC. A Genesis port was created by Sensible Software which was also released in Japan and the US, and was renamed Tyrants: Fight Through Time for the latter region.
There is also a Sharp X68000 conversion created by Japanese developer SPS and published in Japan as MegaLoMania: Jikuu Daisenryaku ("MegaLoMania: Great Space/Time Strategy"). The SNES version is based on this game, and was also released in Europe.
Players choose one of four factions represented by a color and a divine avatar. Scarlet is red; Oberon is yellow; Madcap is blue; and Caesar is green (some versions switch these colors). The game is scenario-based, with a trio of islands that players must conquer for each Epoch. Islands are divided into between 2 and ~16 square sectors that each can be controlled by a single player and houses a tower. The aim of each each scenario is to use the resources available to take control of the island by destroying the other factions. To begin a scenario the player allocates the number of starting people to take from the limited man-pool available and choose a starting sector. After winning 3 islands they are given additional people and any not used are carried over; staying in the pool.
The two main resources that must be managed are man-power and minerals. Man-power can be allocated to mining minerals, researching weapons, manufacturing higher-tier weapons, attacking enemy towers/armies with said weapons and constructing new towers in vacant sectors. Any people not allocated a job will reproduce at exponential speed -- that is, the more people that are unoccupied in a tower the faster they reproduce; a large idle population (say, 200) might produce a person every second or so while a single person will take several minutes to reproduce (it's probably best not to ask how a single person manages to reproduce at all). Each manufacturing or research job will take a number of man-hours to complete, so doubling the number of people working on it will halve the time taken. Each tower/sector is independent and must research its own techs and mine its own minerals, only people can move between sectors and each sector has its own limited selection of minerals to mine. Each weapon requires minerals but has many different possible mineral recipes with the most efficient recipe possible using the tower's mineral stocks at the time the research completes. Which weapons can be researched at a tower is limited by the available minerals and maximum (and minimum) technology level (or epoch) of the island. As the player progresses from island to island later epochs become available. Attacking an enemy sector (or claiming a vacant sector) involves choosing how many people the player wants to form their army, what they want them to be armed with and choosing the target sector. They will instantly appear in the target sector and fight any non-allied units -- the player cannot further direct the battle except to order a retreat.
Epochs and technology available to players include:
- 9500 BC (Neolithic) - Mankind can only fight with rocks and branches salvaged in their surroundings.
- 3000 BC (Bronze Age) - Units can develop bronze weaponry and slingshots.
- 100 BC (Iron Age) - Units can use pikes in melee and bows and arrows in defense.
- 900 AD (Medieval) - Units now use longbows and boiling oil.
- 1400 AD (Renaissance) - Units now have access to catapult technology and crossbows.
- 1850 AD (Industrial Age) - Units can use cannons and muskets.
- 1915 AD (WWI) - Units use bi-planes and machine gun turrets.
- 1945 AD (WWII) - Units have jet planes and long-range bazookas.
- 1980 AD (Cold War) - At this point the technology level is atomic and the player can develop nuclear bombs that will permanently destroy sectors. The defensive option is simply a counter nuclear strike, resulting in the mutually assured destruction of both sectors.
- 2001 AD (Information Age) - Units can use futuristic technology, such as flying saucers and laser-guided turrets which are able to shoot down nukes in flight.
In the final island scenario there are no towers and the game only requires that the player has saved up enough people from their starting man-pool to overwhelm the opponent armies.
As well as opening up more advanced weapons later islands allow the building of mines, factories and laboratories in controlled sectors that give access to more advanced technologies (i.e. some minerals can only be mined with a built mine, not an open-cast mine, some weapons can only be built in a factory, some techs require a lab).