Like plenty of other games, Megaten starts off with a tutorial area. Unlike plenty of other games, you will actually receive serious benefit by paying attention during it! Megaten is a more complex game than many others, but the tutorial prepares you admirably for basic operations. It's also very exciting -- what other game brings you in immediately on such a dire situation with no prior experience? Fortunately, any new player can get by just fine following the directions. Once the cinematics are finished after the first adventure, it's time to take Snakeman up on his offer of the Virtual Battle.
This will help you immensely. You can practice basic battle skills in the Virtual Battle area. Snakeman explains, in detail, with screenshots, how to perform the various actions he assigns. The most wonderful part is that you may repeat the Virtual Battle as many times as you like. I would recommend at least doing it twice. Plus, you still gain experience for Virtual Battle; you're getting experience, as well as valuable instruction!
Once you have become comfortable with the battle system, take some time (if you haven't already) to arrange the icons on your quickbar. The quickbar is the bar at the bottom of your screen by default, which shows your various skills and commands. The commands used by your character are default mapped to buttons 1 through =, although you may need to be sure the buttons are set properly. To do this, go to your System menu, which is at the bottom right of your screen. It's represented by the little computer icon. Click on that to bring up its submenu.
From here, select Key Configuration. Then, in the window that comes up, click the Basic Controls 2 tab. This will take you to where you need to go. Scroll down to the very bottom and click on the field to the right of PC16. On my system, it says EQUALS. This is because I clicked it and pressed the = key. You can do the same thing! Just click that field and press =. Then click on OK and try it...it'll do whatever command you've set in that slot! I know some of you have a system where you won't need to remap this key, and that's perfectly okay. But it is worth your time to become familiar with the way you can adjust system controls.
You can also look for the Sit/Stand up command (under Basic Controls 1) and set it. You'll probably want to do this, since sitting down and standing up is fundamental to the game. When you're sitting, you recover HP and MP faster than if you're standing or moving. You may also want to set other commands to a keyboard shortcut, like Reload, Order Demons to Attack, Order Demons to Wait, and the Performing Skills shortcuts. There are so many commands you can set. Just be sure you aren't using a key that's already in use. You should familiarize yourself with the existing shortcuts before you change any of them by accident!
Whatever you set for your shortcuts, be sure to click OK. If you just click Close, it won't save what you did, and you'll have to set it again. It's the same if you click the X at the top right of the Key Configuration window; you must click the OK button for it to be saved.
Keyboard shortcuts can be lifesavers in Megaten, as in virtually any game where quick thinking and equally quick action is paramount. The quickbar is especially useful so that you won't have to rely on clicks or accessing submenus while you're in the middle of a battle. Arranging your quickbar is essential for maximum efficiency...and fun!
As I mentioned earlier, the buttons 1 through = (which you may have to set as the shortcut) are by default actions of the character. F9 through F12 are also character actions; by default you are given expressions and gestures, but you can accomplish most of these by using the number pad or by right-clicking another character. We'll get into those at another time; what is important is that you set your function (Fnumber) shortcuts too.
An important distinction to make here is that F1 through F8 are orders for whichever demon you have summoned at the time. This collection of skills will change, every time you change demons. You can always rearrange them to your convenience, and I suggest this be done; during battle, you will find it is very useful to give your demon commands to perform. Sometimes it is much more efficient than letting them do what they feel is right at any given moment; although most of the time demons will do very well on their own, that isn't always the case, especially if their combination of skills is not ideally suited to your tastes.
Something else to know about your demon is that you can take control of him or her with the Tab key, by default. Pressing Tab once will transfer control from your character to your demon. Pressing Tab again will return you to your character. While controlling your demon, you are limited somewhat in terms of the screen (which tends to center upon your character) and range of motion. However, it can still be helpful if you need to make sure your demon moves exactly somewhere, if you need to arrange an attack by your demon, or if you need to control your demon to resurrect you or a friend, if he has Recarm. Controlling your demon is something you should become used to at an early point.
If your demon is setting himself up for a Counter, often this will mean he is unable to move until or unless the Counter is triggered. If you find yourself unaccompanied when you move away, inspect the quickbar and see if his Counter (or other immobilizing skill) is flashing. If so, all you have to do is press Tab, then press Esc (Escape) to cancel the move. It's exactly the same for moves readied by you. If you have Agi on the quickbar as 3 and you press 3 once, you are ready to cast Agi. But if you decide you don't need it at the moment, you can press Esc and cancel the readying of the spell. You can, alternatively, ready something else (such as another spell, or a gun), and the spell will automatically be unreadied.
Knowing the quickbar and the keyboard shortcuts will help you immensely in your game. After you become accustomed to using them, you will surely find yourself more capable in battle and more successful. You can even set several quickbars, simply by clicking on the grey up and down arrows under the number to the right of your bar. In the pictures, mine says 03. There are ten quickbars available in all, so you can feel free to set each up for a different purpose!
Signing off until next time, your friend and explorer!