Back in the day, I loved Midnight Resistance.. A well-made, explosive action platform adventure that was also great in two-player mode. I remember playing it so much, I could complete it without resorting to cheat mode – and it’s a pretty tough game.
Fast forward over 25 years, and I’m watching my hunky action hero keel over at the mere passing of enemy fire, and I’m wondering where the appeal was. The sprite collision is questionable at best, and it only takes one shot for you to die, instantly scattering your weapons and all the precious keys you’ve collected along the way. Then again, it shouldn’t be that surprising, given that enemy bullets are the size of grapefruits.
The music is also quite annoying – a good, heavy chugging baseline is ruined my an irksome, piercing panpipe and flute ensemble all the way through. After a few frustrating attempts, I decided to go for the unlimited lives option, by typing “itseasywhenyouknowhow” on the title screen – funny how some cheat codes stay with you.
This at least gave me the chance to enjoy the rest of the game. Midnight Resistance did seem quite unique when it came out – you controlled a good, large sprite with the ability to fire in all directions and commando-crawl, and it really does add appeal.
Playing it today, what stood out was just how absurd and surreal much of the game is, especially when it comes to the end-of-level bosses, which range from flying circular saws to the big baddie at the end of the game, who is actually a gigantic, bodiless head, knocking about in a sanctum made up of what looks like flesh and guts. And you meet him (it?) after fighting your way past a multitude of flatscreen panels featuring his laughing face!
Finally, depending on how many keys you have collected in the final levels, determines just how many members of your kidnapped family make it to the end-of-game sunset with the hero, which was quite an original feature, and also something to draw you back to try and do better.
I’d still rank it as one of the best games of its kind for the time, but in hindsight, the music and graphics weren’t as slick as I’d remembered them and the sprite collision let down what was otherwise a very playable game.