Just as with #13, Megamania takes the standard vertical shooter formula and elevates it to a new level by providing a wide ranging variety of targets. It is the diversity of targets that makes Megamania a lot of fun to play and extremely difficult.
Some targets come at you vertically, some scroll by horizontally, and all of them shoot at you. To make matters worse, the target behavior changes a bit each time you lap the levels. Megamania keeps you on your toes constantly. You might catch a breather during a few of horizontal levels, but pretty soon those dice or tanks or whatever come zooming at you and you are back in the thick of it. I honestly think the dice level in later rounds is nearly impossible, particularly if you happen to get killed in the middle of the wave. To make matters worse, Activision throws in a time limit for each level so you don't just sit back and take it easy, as if you could.
And of course, the game looks great, even for a simplistic shooter. Activision games are known for their polish and Megamania is a brightly colored spaz-fest just like the 80's-out instruction manual and game box promises.
I like Megamania and play it a lot because it is very challenging and doesn't get frustrating despite the constantly ramping difficulty. It can be hard to start over after playing at a high level, but that usually doesn't stop me from putting in at least one more game. Extra lives are awarded sufficiently, as with many Activision games (see Seaquest), to keep the game moving and give you a fighting chance in the face of some incredible odds. It might look simple, but after a few minutes it is clear why Megamania is one of the best vertical shooters for the VCS.
My Top Megamania Score: 150,690 (not too shabby)