Midnight Resistance (ZX Spectrum / Arcade Conversion)

Where do you start with a game like Midnight Resistance or “Mid Res”? (that’s how us cool kids say it).  Another cracking arcade conversion from Ocean who, let’s face it, were the kings of licensed games and conversions for the home computer.  This was actually one of the few games at the time I actually bought with my own money rather than, ahem, ‘obtaining’ a copy from my friends and then actually thinking that is was worth every penny I spent on it.


midnight resistance

 

Midnight Resistance was a game I was unaware of at the time of buying but, looking at it, there was something about it as it sat there on the shelf.  What attracted me to the game? Well, the cracking artwork on the cover of course!  And also the screenshots on the back of the game (don’t think they were Speccy ones, but hey, they never were, were they?) where we were shown a man running around with a gun shooting anything that moves….. sold!

Loading the game for the first time was an exciting one for me – a turbo loader, I loved those loading noises and I always had it in my head that if it was a turbo loader that it meant it had to be a great game, or was I alone in thinking this?  Of course, after a few games of Dragon Ninja, I realised this wasn’t always the case.

Midnight Resistance Title Screen

Top marks to the artist!
(image via World of Spectrum)

Another thing that excited me about this game was the loading screen.  I always liked to compare the loading screen to the game cover, and this one was fantastic.  Detailed, colourful and almost matching the cover to a Tee.  The main character (not sure if he had a name) flamethrower in hand, leaping to right hand side spewing flames, that bloke being electrified, and that weird floating person with a jetpack.  I remember holding the cover up next to screen to see how close it matched and being amazed.  I was easily pleased back then. (though secretly, it still think it’s totally cool!)

Anyway, enough of the drooling over loading screens (mmmmmmm….loading screens) and on to the actual game itself.

After selecting your control method, the music kicks in (on the 128K version, anyway!) and after you’ve bobbed your head to that for a little while, you may want to hit fire and start the game; that’s the cue for some different music to start. Dum dum dum-dum, dum dum dum-dum…DUM DUM! Very catchy and with a cool rumbling bass line which gets you in the mood to go on a killing spree (in the game, obviously!).

Midnight Resistance

“Don’t tell the bad guys…I’m afraid of heights!”
(image via Moby Games)

The game itself is bright and colourful with large sprites and some great animation with a variation of positions for the main character.  It’s the first time that I can remember playing a game where you can rotate the main character to aim in various positions.  Moving left and right rotates where you point your gun but you can also jump, crawl along the floor, and rotate your gun whilst on the floor to point in any direction.  This really was ground-breaking for me in terms of character control and it blew me away.

There was something satisfying about being able to run whilst continuously hammering away at the fire button and watching the baddies fly up with 200 bullets in their chest and then dropping through the bottom of the screen (this is normal, right?); this game is the perfect platform for doing so.  Of course, you’re not just limited to a machine gun in this game, oh no.  After completing a level, you enter an ammo room where you’re met with a plethora (I like that word) of guns and other items to maim people.  Before I get you drooling; you do have to collect keys as you go along the level which you get by killing people (good times) but you can also lose them when you get hit (bad times).  If you drop them, you can always pick them back up again (good times.  Again).


Midnight Resistance was packed with impressive weaponry

midnight_resistance_flamethrower

Flame on!
(image via Retro Sanctuary)

The weapons list is pretty damn fine; three way bullets, shotgun, homing missiles, flamethrower (yes, FLAMETHROWER!!) but there are also a few other power ups.  A couple spring to mind; a barrier that will spin around you to protect you from people and bullets, and the “Shower” which weirdly, showers the screen with bullets to take out any bad guys which can come in handy if you’re surrounded by the buggers!  You have to choose wisely as you can only hold 6 keys at one time and the weapons cost between 2 and 3 keys each.  Though as I previously mentioned, there is a flamethrower available so please take this into consideration when making your choice.

Though you may be loaded with some impressive weapons (flamethrower) this doesn’t mean to say that Midnight Resistance is a breeze, oh no, on the contrary.  This is indeed a game that will require a lot of practice and skill as if you go in thinking you can just run around shooting everything, well you could but, you may not last very long.  There are many stray bullets a-flowing, especially from some pesky tanks that seem to appear around the corner out of nowhere.  Sneaky tanks.  Though any bullets being fired at you are clearly visible as they flash as they move as well as being quite large, so no excuses if you do get hit by one as you can’t miss them.  Though they always seem to manage to get you, no matter how visible they are.  Pesky bullets.

midnight-resistance-boss-speccy

Actually quite disturbing
(image via Retro Sanctuary)

I’m assured that there are nine levels altogether, though I never saw half of the levels on offer which is either going to be down to my incompetence or the fact that Midnight Resistance is a tough game (I’ll go for the latter to make myself feel better).  Though tough, it is one of those games where you’ll want to play it over and over to get just that little bit further than last time.  To complete a level will give you such a sense of satisfaction and give you a little boost as you go into the next one.

Some excellent animation adds to the greatness of this game.  Explosions are particularly pretty along with the running movement and over-sized weaponry output; Midnight Resistance is what you may truly call epic.  It just sucks you in.  You’re blown away that your humble little ZX Spectrum is treating you to such beautiful yet brutal images, but love every minute of it!

midnight_resistance_crawling

I knew this guy would come crawling back eventually!

My own personal favourite part of Midnight Resistance is near the end of the second level (which is about my limit!) where you drop down into tunnels and you have to crawl your way through.  This game must surely go down as one of the best arcade conversions out there and also one of the best Spectrum games in it’s own right.  It’s another one of those where you’re left quite staggered at how they managed to squeeze so much into 128K of RAM.  How do these geniuses do it?  Such a large game with a lot of detail, quality sound track, large sprites, a selection of weapons (hmmmm..flamethrower); this game just has to be played.  Though I never got much further than level 3, it is a toughie; it’s still a game I hold in high regard and one I urge any Speccy owner to go out and play if you haven’t already.

An excellent game, a must for any Spectrum fan.  One of the true gems in the Speccy library – as close to perfection as you’re likely to get.

The game menu states ‘Winners don’t use drugs’ though if you’re struggling to get past a level, winners may indeed have to use POKEs instead.

Gameplay: 93%
Graphics: 91%
Sound: 88%
Replay Value: 92%
Overall: 95%