Midnight Resistance

One man against the odds, out to kill everything and everyone between him and the goal. Sound familiar? That's probably because it's the basic plot of about half a billion console and arcade shooters. The important question, though: 'Is Midnight Resistance worth my time?'. The answer: yes. Coincidentally, this is also the answer to "Am I wasting my time writing these reviews?" and "Is it highly unlikely that I'll put on pants?"

"Midnight Resistance" is a conversion of a Data East arcade game which bears more than a little resemblance to the Konami classic "Contra" (or "Gryzor" outside the US and Japan). Your main character runs from left to right, right to left, and sometimes climbs up or down through each level, shooting whatever pops up and fighting bosses at the end. What makes the game stand out from the crowd are two of its more significant features - the control system and the power up methodology.

Here's the inferior Genesis artwork.. well, I think it's inferior

The control system in the arcade made use of a rotatable joystick - you could use the joystick to direct the character, and rotate it to aim the gun. Unfortunately, MegaDrive controllers can't really replicate this, but there are a number of variations on the control method you can use which are selectable from the options screen. The method I have the most success with is holding a button to freeze the firing direction, which enables you to run in a different direction to where you're firing, otherwise defaulting to firing in the direction you're moving. Experimenting with the available options will no doubt find a control method functional for you. Use of special weapons is still difficult, however, as pressing up acts as both jumping, and (with the firing button held) launching the currently held special weapon - you can imagine the problem yourself.

During the course of each stage, red shirted bad guys will run at you and, when killed, will drop a key. You can collect up to 6 keys at a time, and upon the successful completion of the stage, these keys can be used to unlock powerups. The cost of each powerup varies both from item to item and level to level. For example, you may get the opportunity to buy an extra life, but it will cost you all 6 keys. It is possible to buy different weapons, extra ammunition for them, a barrier (a little blob which rotates around your man, killing all it touches), a supercharge (enhancing the power of your weapon for the current life) and special weapons (including homing missiles, shower and more).

"Midnight Resistance" was one of my favorite arcade games, and I probably attribute this to the rotatable joystick - it was the first game I ever saw that used one, and between that and the key collecting idea, it was pretty cool as far as I was concerned. Also, back in the day? I sucked at "Contra".. but don't tell anyone that.

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