Action 52: Game #16 - Megalonia

General game concept

Megalonia is game #16 on the Action 52 cartridge for the NES. It's a very plain shooter with only a couple of different enemies, three levels, and no finesse/thing. In many shmups the enemies drop various power-ups, but I want to take a different route.

With Mega in the title, it's not entirely inappropriate to add a Megaman boss mechanic where you defeat bosses to steal their weapons. Since Megalonia only has one boss, I decided to borrow characters from the other Action 52 games. The last boss would be the 'Empress Machine' hinted at in the manual though. She's the equivalent of Dr. Wily.

As for regular pick-ups, I can still think of a few which doesn't change the player's weapon type. I like how picking up the yellow orbs in Zanac gives the player temporary invulnerability. This makes it possible to use them as 'stepping stones' to stay invulnerable.

In Cave Story, the player gains weapon power when picking up a resource which the enemies commonly drop. Getting hit results in lowered weapon power. Time could also lower the weapon level towards the minimum level.

I was also thinking that the mini-bosses should drop a permanent level up. These affect the currently selected weapon, and raises the minimum level. The mini-bosses are however limited in supply so the player will have to spend the permanent level ups wisely. Of course, since temporary level ups are also available, a skilled player can keep a weapon at max even if it hasn't been upgraded.

I don't know if the different weapons should have limited ammo. If they do, there needs to be an ammo pickup. Perhaps expending ammo also lowers the weapon level (rather than time or taking damage). Picking up ammo would raise the weapon level.

So, Pick-ups:

The arrow keys are used to steer the ship, x fires the vanilla weapon (e.g Megaman's normal buster), and c the current special weapon (e.g Elec beam). Firing both weapons at once will consume ammo faster. There will have to be some kind of menu for selecting a different special weapon.

Art concepts

Action 52 Megalonia Hud concept

Transparent gray plates for the meters, talk box and weapon select popup. Not sure how to draw the meters. Grab as slices, or draw a bar over them.


The Empress machine has cloned or mind controlled the heroes from the other Action 52 games. These pinups will be used for the monologue boxes before a boss battle.

Action 52 Megalonia Character concepts

Almost finished. These will be masked later (magenta).

Action 52 Megalonia character sprite reference

Sloppily ripped sprites, just for reference.

Action 52 Megalonia Ship concepts

The minibosses have large versions of the ships from the other Action 52 shmups. When destroyed, they break apart and reveal a little Saucer with the boss/pilot inside, and they make a last stand.

Slow special gibs drift away slower than smaller generic ones (not seen here).

Action 52 Megalonia Ship concepts

The Native Megalonia ships. Some of these might need to animate a little to come to life. Well, that's what animate means, really.

Action 52 Megalonia ship sprite reference

Action 52 Megalonia title sketch

The title screen is taking shape. I'm quite happy with the single landing foot, because it was accidental and simplified things a lot. Not sure about the Logo. Since I have a Megaman element with the bosses, I was thinking of doing a Megaman style logo.


Guideline for writing monologue. I'm not sure if I should be doing it.


Lakey: GUMBALL >



Lakey: KONG > Strange robotic language *Bxzzt*

Boss: HAMBO> Heh, don't make me laugh. You think you can challenge me in THAAAT turd-boat? Heh, your silly weapons can't even touch me! Heh, heh, heh.



Boss: OSSY > Hands up! Yeaaah, stick'em. You may have defeated my henchman GLOOP, but if you think you can defeat me... well, prepare to be Oozed!

Bits and pieces

Lakey: LOPHIUS > Master busy practicing leapfrog! Go away! *RAAARGH!*

Boss: B.P. > Annoyed at being disturbed, he boasts about making short work of the player with his death rain.

* His weapon could be stuff floating down the screen, stacking up. A reference to the manual entry.

Bubblegum Rosie

Lakey: CREETO > *BWAAK* I can't let you reach *BWAAK* Mistress Rosy *BWAAK* Missiles away!

Boss: BUBBLEGUM ROSIE > Hmm, so, you made it here. I'm like, whatever. Pah.

Robbie and the robots


Boss: ROBBIE > Ah, a test subject. you know, Zed was just a weak prototype built by my brother Brainy. I think on a different scale.

* Relaxed, reference to Zed, suspense with reference to giant robo ship about to enter.

Dam Busters

Lakey: ?

Boss: Oboy. Oboy. So it's you who are destroying everything? You think you can just destroy everything? Let's see how you like this!

* Water fills up, the player has to get health to stay alive. Enemy has a submarine with the power to not be damaged under water.

Haunted Halls

Lakey: GHOOLA > Eeeh? I eat you.


Boss: MS. WENTWORTH > Clearly above you.

Lazer League

Lakey: -

Boss: YELLOW > Boasts about being a member of the Lazer League. Tank Power up! catch phrase.


Lakey: Claims he's the real boss. Uses a weak version of the boss' spaceship.

Boss: Surprised his clone was defeated, but believes in himself. Might not know he's a clone too.

Non human

Lakey: ?

Boss: RAAL > I EMEERGE. TO TAKE WHAT IS THE MOST PRECIOUS TO YOU. Says something about his weapons.


Lakey: -

Boss: HIYAA! Challenge our collective and we shall wipe - you - out... with our special battle cannon. Ooh, I can tell that you want to know more about our special prowess in battle. Allow us to give you a practical demonstration.


Lakey: -

Boss: Wuuuuaah! Paarty! It's paaarty time!

Silver Sword

Lakey: MUULARV > Ap-ap-ap! This is as far as you go, adventurer.

Boss: VALGRAYE > Valiant. Eager to measure against the player.

Empress Machine Lair City "Megalonia"

Lakey: A wild cheetahman appears

FB boast: ?

FB defeated: You defeated me

Finished graphics

General Action 52 rakugaki

Action 52 sketch

In Bits and pieces you play as a Zombie who jumps on different monsters' heads. I imagine that all of the Action 52 games are set in the same universe, so I threw in some characters from Haunted Hills.

Action 52 sketch

Characters from Time Warp Tickers (now giant robo setting) and Underground (mining environment).

Some screenshots

Action 52 Megalonia screenshot

Action 52 Megalonia screenshot

Action 52 Megalonia screenshot

Action 52 Megalonia screenshot

Megalonia levels 1-3.

Action 52 Lollipops screenshot

Action 52 Lollipops screenshot

Action 52 Bubblegum Rosie screenshot

Lollipops has an interesting atmosphere, and so does bubblegum Rosie.

Byline: Arne Niklas Jansson, 2010. Action 52 was developed and published by Active Enterprises, in 1991. No infringement intended.