Midnight Resistance

by Charles Davies, James Bagley, Keith Tinman, Bob Wakelin
Ocean Software Ltd
Crash Issue 78, Jul 1990   page(s) 40

Ocean/Special FX

Whilst working on a top secret research plan your grandad and five other members of your family are kidnapped by a mysterious alien force. You tough, stubble-jawed mercenary type are the one to rescue them! Leap off the back of a jeep and face nine levels of blasting mayhem. A barren cityscape catches your eye, but not for long because a horde of thugs run at you with murderous intent. Beat them and all you get is more hell!

You're armed with a machine gun, but by collecting keys dropped by dead foes an end of level armoury can be entered. Your route ain't easy: armed and armoured troops, armoured trucks and machine gun nests make their presence felt. Get to the armoury and you can take your pick from a range of large and very lethal weapons - shotgun, flamethrower, homing missiles, nitro (with a wonderful pyrotechnic display when launched), three-way and power ups. The weapon chosen is displayed in the status screen, along with the amount of ammo held. When empty, the extra weapon is dropped and you return to using your pea shooter (unless you picked up extra ammo in the armoury).

Midnight Resistance in the arcades is graphically good, but the game type has been seen many times before, which might lead you to think 'yawn, another shoot-'em- up', but Special FX have come up with the goods: programmed by the guy who brought you Batman - The Caped Crusader, Midnight Resistance is packed with blasting mayhem. Graphics are very impressive indeed, all sprites and backgrounds beautifully detailed, and the difficulty level is set just on the right side of frustrating. Highly recommended.

MARK [94%]

This guy can certainly hand out some serious aggro, and the game is amazingly addictive. You just have to pick up the joystick to be whisked into the hero's combat boots. Graphically it's great: the main sprites are beefy chaps who stride around as if they mean business (as indeed they do). The armoured vehicles that attack from time to time are tough to crack, and this is why it's imperative to regularly visit the armoury. Seemingly impossible, but this game is more playable than its arcade parent! Brilliant!
NICK [92%]

Presentation: 87%
Graphics: 90%
Sound: 80%
Playability: 90%
Addictivity: 89%
Overall: 93%

Summary: An average coin-op transformed into a brilliant computer shoot-'em-up.

Award: Crash Smash

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 56, Aug 1990   page(s) 35

£9.99 cass/£14.99
Reviewer: Matt Bielby

Who remembers last Christmas? it got quite embarrassing here in the YS office, I can tell you. Ocean had just had their Megagames Batman and The Untouchables out and were releasing their Xmas biggies, Operation Thunderbolt and Chase HQ (both of which also turned out to be excellent games). Yikes, I thought, this is beginning to look like favouritism - every recent Ocean product had got (and was getting) brilliant reviews. Something had to be done! But what?

Well, I had a cunning plan. There was this other Ocean game about to be released, based on a rather more obscure (although incredibly popular, as I found out later) coin-op called Cabal. Right, I thought, let's give this to somebody who's notoriously hard on games, who's basically got a real bad attitude to anything resembling a shoot 'em-up (or a footie game, or anything really) and is bound to slag it off. Let's call in... Jonathan Davies! Heeheehee (I chortled) - even if this turns out to be a pretty good game he'll still be hard on it, hopefully hard enough to deny it a Megagame and make it look like Ocean can produce something fairly crappy after all.

A couple of days went by. Jonathan returned with his review. Lets take a look at this, I thought, it'll be really, really... positive?? Aaargh! Yes, for the first time in his entire life (just about) Jonathan had turned in a rave review! He actually liked a game! (I couldn't quite believe it.)

And the really annoying thing was that he was right as well - Cabal was a very nifty piece of work. Colourful and chunky, it had a distinctive look very different from Op Wolf et al, and played like a trooper. Who'd put it together, I asked? Well, it turned out it was the work of a couple of guys at Special F/X, the Liverpool development house - the same couple of guys who've just produced Midnight Resistance in fact (which at last explains what this lengthy intro thingie has been all about).

Um, so how does Midnight Resistance play then? Well, from what I've seen of Ocean's current line-up (this, Sly Spy and Shadow Warriors), this'll be the one they'll all be talking about. It's brilliant basically - an excellent little (or rather, pretty huge) coin-op conversion, packed with colour and presented in a very distinctive style. Yes. there's an obvious family resemblance to Cabal here all right. The chunky sprites, with their heavy black outlines and stumpy little limbs, stand out brilliantly against the busiest of backdrops, while the variety to the levels is, for a military-esque scrolling shoot-'em-up, fairly remarkable.

The thing is, this is a much more ambitious program than Cabal was, and it's to the Special F/X programmers' credit that they haven't fumbled the ball in making the transition from (fairly simple) flip-screen shooting-gallery-style game to a full-blown scrolling shoot-'em-up.

One of the really special things about this game is the control system - it's one that takes some getting used to admittedly, but once you're there it works a treat. There are two controls - as well as walking backwards and forwards and jumping (as normal) there's a sort of Rotate jobbie for turning your little man around on his axis. At different degrees of rotation he does all sorts of different things - at one stage he's lying down (or crawling along) shooting, then he's shooting down at an angle (so if he was lying on an overhead walkway he could pick off something on the ground below him), then he's shooting behind him, then up in the air at an angle and so on. He can do all this from a standing and running position too, and while this makes some manouvres quite tricky (when taking out something on a low platform in front of you it's best to try and fire diagonally towards it, rather than jump up and fire like you would with most shoot-'em-ups) getting it right is quite a fun challenge.

Of course the game comes complete with your normal ration of collectable weapons (machine guns, shot gun, flamethrower and the like) bought in a weapons shop sequence with keys collected from dead baddies, including some rather special things that sort of mount in your back-pack and produce all sorts of weird and wonderful effects when fired.

With nine very varied (and very difficult to complete) levels, bags of platforms and ladders to explore and the unusual control system making things a challenge, you're certainly getting plenty of gameplayIng for your money here. Luckily they've bunged in a Continue option to save your frustration, so there's no need to get chucked back to the beginning each time you die.

So what's the verdict? Well, as you might have gathered, I really think this is one of the best shoot-'em-ups I've seen in ages (perhaps ever). There are no problems at all with visibility or feeling out of control, everything is pitched at a good challenging level, there's plenty of variety and, quite simply, a lot to it. Certainly, the controls take some getting used to (so I found the first levels particularly hard), but once you've got them sussed you're in for a real treat. Ocean come up trumps again I'm afraid (damn their eyes!).

Life Expectancy: 93%
Instant Appeal: 90%
Graphics: 91%
Addictiveness: 89%
Overall: 92%

Summary: Colourful, varied, well paced and tricky shoot-'em-up (with 'interesting' controls too). Excellent!

Award: Your Sinclair Megagame

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 78, Jun 1992   page(s) 75


Ladies and gentlefolk, YS presents - returning to regale you with restorative re-releases - Replay!

The Hit Squad
061 832 6633
Reviewer: Stuart Campbell

Now we're talking, fellow game lovers. As all you fanatical disciples of my recent series of All-Time Top 100 Speccy Games articles will already know, this is in my not-even-vaguely-approaching-humble opinion one of the very finest arcade games you can do your Speccy the honour of loading.

Not for programmers Special FX the feeble cop-out approach favoured by so many converters of top coin-ops, all monochrome and sprites and multiloads, oh by jingo no. Midnight Resistance throws colour around like the vomit of someone who's just eaten 143 packets of Rainbow Drops in one go, and believe me (for I speak from bitter experience) that's a lot of flippin' colour. A fairly simple platforms-'n-blasting game in concept, this rises above the morass of tedious trudgealong GBH-a-thons by virtue of reasonably varied gameplay (in the sense of having differently-shaped levels to slaughter your way through, at least) and groovy control that, once mastered (the work of five minutes), provides you with far greater influence over your sprite's actions than in any other comparable game. Moving and firing independently in eight directions has never been easier.

Don't get cocky, though. That's not to say that the game itself is easy, far from it. You'll be stuck at this one for ages, battling the hordes of enemy soldiers and armaments, including horrifying linked buzzsaws, enormous warships bristling with gun emplacements, grotesque brains spitting out wormy snake things, big tanks blocking your route across bridges past waterfalls, and entire squadrons of heavily-armed jet aircraft, but you'll love every single minute of it. The action never lets up in Midnight Resistance, but it never gets frustrating enough to make you want to surrender, and that, as any arcade owner will tell you, is the secret of truly addictive gameplay. Both visually and spiritually, this is one of the closest arcade-to-Speccy ports you'll ever have the joy of encountering, and if you've ever liked to shoot things, get out there and buy this game right this minute.

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Overall: 94%

Award: Your Sinclair Megagame

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 134, Apr 1993   page(s) 19


Following on from last month's frollicking funderland of fabbo games still available for the Speccy, Mark 'Cor Blimey Guv' Patterson gives us the lowdown on another batch of game greats from the pages of the world's most SU-per Speccy mag. The sheer number and variety of games is bewildering but since bewilderment is Marky's lot he's definitely the best man to give 'em a go...

Label: Hit Squad
Memory: 48/128K
Price: Tape £3.99
Reviewer: Mike Patterson

This is what we want! Guns, death and mayhem are the name of the game in this leaping, scolling and shooting all-action blaster. Converted from the Data East coin-op, this is spot-on to the original, bar the necessary colour and sound alterations.

You'd be hard pushed to find a more frantic shoot 'em up this at a budget price.

Overall: 87%

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 102, Aug 1990   page(s) 18,19

Label: Ocean
Price: £9.99
Reviewer: Jim Douglas

Wow! All I can say is Wow! What a STORMING game! Guns you wouldn't believe, graphics to make you fall over and more action than a Schwarzenegger movie, Midnight Resistance has got it all.

Special FX are the boys behind Ocean's latest, and they've done a peachy job. If you saw last year's Cabal, you'll know what to expect from the graphics; colourful and detailed, clarified by visible outlines. See for yourself.

Now, frankly, we've seen quite a few Lone Soldier combat games, so what makes M.R. any different? For a start, the gameplay is superb. You can run, duck or jump at any moment, and you can loose your weapon (ooer) during any movement.

Rather than simply facing the appropriate way and firing, you actually turn around gradually. This makes for an entirely pleasing effect.

When the weapons are in use, the screen fairly fills with flying bullets, flames and lasers. Each time a bad guy bites the dust, he'll drop a key. These come in darned handy later on.

Now, you're not actually all alone. You're given a helping hand at the start of the game by a fellow resistance fighter in a jeep. While you're getting to grips with the controls and working out how to machine gun an arc above your head, she rumbles along, driving through all the baddies. If you're swift enough, you can leap onto her jeep and ride in (relative) safety through the first screens.

Once you get into the bulk of the game, life becomes altogether more exciting. Bad guys literally come at you from all angles. There are snipers hiding behind pillars, machine-gun toting loonies leaping out from every corner.

No matter how much is going on at any one point, the game never slows down, but the point I'm most pleased about is the fact that you can actually see every bullet as it comes towards you.

Having defeated the footsoldiers, you've got to take on a massive tank. This is a real test of nerve, because if you don't stand and fight, it'll simply run you over!

Once you've battled through the first stage, and blasted your way through a massive iron door, you'll be presented with every hero's dream; a room full of weapons. Using the keys you collected on the way, you can open up gun cabinets and select the weapon which best suits your needs.

From here on in, life gets really tough. The big tanks which were saved as a special end-of-level treat on the previous stage are trundling around all over the place. You've got to adjust to life getting very tricky pretty quick if you're going to survive.

And so it goes on; level after level of colourful, fast moving destruction.

Midnight Resistance is probably the ultimate military combat game. It stands head and shoulders above the competition.

Graphics: 90%
Sound: 70%
Playability: 92%
Lastability: 80%
Overall: 90%

Summary: Brakatazoom! Blam! Blam! Top notch gun-toting fun.

Award: Sinclair User Classic

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 121, Mar 1992   page(s) 56

Label: Hit Squad
Memory: 48K/128K
Price: £3.99 Tape
Reviewer: Matthew Denton

It's a laugh a minute being part of the elite Midnight Resistance squad. Not satisfied with just having extremely well polished boots and lugging around humongous, death-spitting assault rifles, they have now decided to fight against the evil invader King Crimson.

There's only one snag - all the team have been wiped out apart from you! They've also kidnapped your entire family - should you waste the kidnappers or give them a medal? Hey, don't forget that they've got your mum too!

Save your mum by fighting through nine levels of murder and mayhem. Enemies leap in from all directions and you can wipe them out with your chosen weapon (oo-er!), that can be moved into eight different firing positions for maximum devastation.

The graphics throughout are great. Detailed and colourful backdrops and lots of meaty explosions complement the animated sprites as they run around the jerky, but fast-scrolling play area, brandishing a variety of kick ass weaponry. Gameplay though can be annoying due to the difficult control method. But don't despair. This is a great shoot 'em up, which at the new price should definitely be in your collection.

A must for all the fans of the amazing arcade machine, as it's a very accurate conversion of what must have everyone's favourite arcade a few years ago.

Overall: 84%

Summary: With a few reservations about the control method - namely moving your gun around - this is an excellent, fast and challenging game.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 123, May 1992   page(s) 60,61

Label: Hit Squad
Memory: 48K/128K
Price: £3.99 Tape
Reviewer: Paul Rand

The trouble with having top scientists as relatives is that are bound to be kidnapped at some stage in their careers - and yours is no exception. The old grandad has gone missing, taking loads of vital military secrets with him and, as a crack commando with fearsome weapons training, you're the best man for the job of getting him back into safe hands. So get out there and start rescuing, in this conversion of the Data East coin-op.

It's shoot 'em up action all the way, with all the usual things you'd expect to find in this sort of game - plenty of baddies to toast, lots of extra items and weaponry to pick up, and big bosses to avoid and destroy if you're to get further than the first level.

When Midnight Resistance first cropped up on the Spectrum, we though it was absolutely incredible, dutifully awarding it a Classic. These days, it's still looking practically as good as it always has done. Sprites are excellent - chunky and smoothly animated, like their coin-op cousins, while the action is fast, furious and highly addictive from start to finish.

In short, Midnight Resistance is a right good game - and that's official.

Ah yes, those lazy hazy days of summer. As the evenings got longer all the young people used to get out and about on idyllic countryside hikes or adjourn to the local park for football matches. Me? I sat in and played Midnight Resistance... and had much more fun.

Graphics: 86%
Sound: 78%
Playability: 88%
Lastability: 85%
Overall: 87%

Summary: An attractive coin-op conversion which has lost none of its addictive qualities since it was first released.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

The Games Machine Issue 32, Jul 1990   page(s) 44,45

Spectrum 48/128 Cassette: £9.99, Diskette: £14.99
Amstrad CPC Cassette: £9.99, Diskette: £14.99
Commodore 64/128 Cassette: £9.99, Diskette: £14.99
Atari £19.99
Amiga £24.99


Disaster has struck. Your grandfather was working on a top secret research plan when he and the rest of your family were kidnapped by mysterious alien forces. Only you and your brother - tough, be-stubbled, square-jawed mercenary types that you are - remain free to rescue them. The Amiga version allows you to play either or both of the ladz, while the rest limit the game to one player.

Level one begins with our hero leaping from the back of a jeep driven by a beautiful blonde. You land in a barren cityscape that looks like a bomb's hit it. In fact one has - a nuclear one. However, that doesn't stop the local inhabitants turning up on the scene to hinder your progress. You are initially armed with a machine gun, but by collecting keys an end of level armoury can be entered. Within the armoury you will find a shotgun, flamethrower, homing missiles, nitro, three-way fire, extra bullets and power-ups.

Level two continues in the ruined city, where you can avoid most troops by shooting a drain cover, entering an underground complex and crawling through the low corridors. After another visit to the armoury stores, the third level finds you in a forest. Level four continues the mindless blasting along a wooden path. The final five levels take you through numerous complexes till you finally find your kin - and the vicious thug who's kidnapped them.

I'm amazed that Ocean have managed to pack so much into Midnight Resistance. Granted, the arcade original was attractive but the 'blast all that moves' format is wearing pretty thin (apparently this is another Ikari Warriors sequel). That said, Special FX have done wonders with the gameplay, which, in a small way, makes up for its repetitive nature.

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Overall: 92%

Summary: Graphically and sonically, Midnight Resistance fulfils all your blasting needs. The game is for the most part monochrome but detail on both fore and background sprites is impressive. 128K sound is great, with a catchy title tune and in-game effects (48K owners will only hear the effects). A very average coin-op is made into a superb Spectrum conversion.

Award: The Games Machine Star Player

Transcript by Chris Bourne

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