Becoming the Top Gun - Your Guide to Meridell
So, you want to be a top gunner in Meridell in the fight against the pirates of the sky? Then Skies Over Meridell is the game for you, and you’re in the right place to learn how to master it.
Although this game can be quite fun to play, it just doesn’t seem to be very popular. It’s too bad for most people, but it means an easier chance at a trophy for you. Whether you’re reading this to get an extra three thousand neopoints per day, to complete your World Challenge collection faster, or you want another glorious trophy for your collection, this guide is designed to help you achieve your goal.
First off, let’s look at the game screen. On the starting page, you have three options: One player, two player, and the instructions. You can look at the instructions if you want, but there isn’t much there and I will be explaining most of it in here. Two player is fun if you have a brother, sister, or friend who wants to play with. However, you cannot gain any neopoints from this mode. Therefore, we will be selecting the “one player” option.
Next, we will look at the basics of this game. You are a young neopet with an ambitious goal – to protect Meridell from the bombardment above. You are in a blue fighter plane, and start off on the right side of the screen. On the left is your opponent. When you defeat them, congratulate yourself. But wait, you are not finished yet. With each person you defeat, there will be a new opponent in a faster, more maneuverable plane (and of course with a better color scheme).
Now take a look at the display. On the bottom left is the number of kills before your next opponent. This number increases with every level. Directly to the right are some planes. The number of planes there is the amount of lives you have left. To the right of that is your score, which you will no doubt be making very high.
Now that you’ve read this, we can take a look at the actual gameplay. The controls are very simple. The right arrow key is used to angle yourself upwards, and the left arrow key is used to angle yourself downwards. You can use the “M” key to fire. There are only three things you need to watch out for that can kill you: the barn in the middle, the ground, and your enemy that will be shooting at you.
In addition to everything else you’ve seen, there will be two other things in the sky – clouds and Kiko blimps. The clouds will cover up your enemy's plane and bullets, making it a little harder to track him. When you see a Kiko blimp appear on the screen, shoot it and it will leave a powerup. Make sure to avoid the basket after you shoot it, and don’t run into the blimp before you shoot it. If you do run into the basket or blimp, you will lose a life.
Of course, I’m sure that you will want to know what each powerup does, right? For starters, each powerup gives you five points and improves a certain aspect of your plane. In case you’re wondering, powerups DO stack with each other. One powerup that you might see is a spinning propeller. If you pick this one up, your plane will get a little faster. If you don’t get that one, maybe you’ll see a wing of a plane. When you pick this one up, you can turn a little easier. To tell you the truth, I never notice the effects from this one very much. One helpful powerup has the icon of a single bullet. Once you pick this one up, your shots will go farther. Another one of my favorites is a stack of bullets. If you noticed, you can hold down the shooting key and you will continuously fire. However, after about five bullets you need to pause while it automatically reloads. With this powerup, you will be able to shoot more before it reloads. Once you get three or four of these powerups, you can almost continuously shoot with no pause at all. In my opinion, the best powerup is a flashing plane. When you get this one, you receive an extra life. You start out with only three lives, but I’ve had as many as seven lives at once. In addition to these, there is a powerup that doesn’t enhance your plane at all. When you pick up a big yellow circle, you will get ten points instead of the usual five for a powerup.
Okay, now you’ve read all of the boring things that you need to know before you get going. Or at least I hope that you did, because I mixed in some things that’ll be good to know. Now that that’s out of the way, how about we get to some of the good strategy stuff?
“Good Strategy Stuff”
• In case you didn’t notice, when you first start out, both of you are invulnerable for a little bit. You are also invulnerable for a little bit after every time you lose a life. Use this to your advantage, but don’t put yourself in too much risk in case the timer runs out sooner than you thought.
• This is the thing that you really need to do. It’s very easy to do, but it makes a huge difference. It made my scores go from 100-150 to 600-1050. Always make sure to be behind your opponent to the best of your ability. In the later levels, this may get a little harder because their planes will be a lot faster than yours. Still, they like to do a lot of loops and turning. Just make sure you don’t get in front of them, using the tips I’m about to tell you now.
• This stuff is also very important. As I said before, the only boundaries are the ground and the barn. Well then, what about the other 3 sides? You can actually go through the right side and come out the left side, and vice versa. As for the top of the screen, it will bounce you back down as you’re going up. This may not sound like much; but it’s very helpful for making an extra speedy turnaround, especially when your opponent is right on your tail.
• Right after you get a kill on your opponent, get to their spawn point. The safest way is to go through the right side of the screen so that you come up behind them. However, I normally just go whichever way is closest to me. If you do go left to meet them head on, keep in mind that they CAN shoot while they’re invulnerable and taking off.
• Don’t go out of your way to get a powerup. If the balloon was already shot and you can see that it is an extra life, then it’s up to you whether or not you should go out of your way for it.
• Always hold down the shooting button. I sometimes let it go for a second, but even then I can die if a Kiko balloon spawns on top of me. (Trust me, it happens. I once had a game where I lost all five lives from not being in the act of shooting when a Kiko blimp spawned on me.)
• When you’re shooting, tap the left and right keys a little so that your shooting will be in an arc. The computers love to circle and spin all over, so you can’t just shoot straight.
And of course, what would a Neopets game be without an easter egg? It isn’t a nifty little code that you can type to get some sort of bonus, but it’s still kind of fun. When you first open the game, look at the Kiko blimp flying past the sun. If you click on the sun, it will randomly generate two computer planes to fight against each other. It can be fun to just sit back and take a break from playing, to laugh at how bad they are against or each, or maybe even to study their strategy and improve your own! Also, if you put your mouse over the increased distance powerup on the instructions menu, you can see that it is “clickable”. However, it doesn’t appear to do anything like make a sound or show a funny picture of TPOSG.
As with most games, Skies over Meridell has a glitch. Sometimes you will randomly lose one of your lives during the gameplay. However, when the level ends your life will come back. I have never had this happen when I was down to one life, so I’m not sure what would happen in that case. This seems to be happening more and more often, and I’m not sure if I always notice it when it does happen.
I hope that reading this guide has enhanced your understanding of the game and will allow you to show those computer planes on autopilot who’s boss. If you’re going for a trophy, the score will generally be around 500-700 for bronze at the beginning of the month. By the end of the month, you’ll typically need around 900 points for a bronze trophy.