Midnight Resistance is a side-scrolling platform shoot 'em-up and a sequel to the 1987 game Heavy Barrel. Developed and published by Data East for the arcades in 1989 its gameplay is very reminiscent of the Contra / Probotector saga released by Konami.
In Europe the game was ported by Special FX to several 8-bit and 16-bit home computers and published in 1990 by Ocean Software. The Genesis conversion was done in 1991 by ISCO / Opera House and given a new soundtrack composed by Hitoshi Sakimoto.
It is notable in its original arcade format for having a rotatable hat as part of the joystick. The joystick 'hat's rotation would then relate to the direction the player's character aimed their weapon in the game. This was an innovative approach to solving a re-occuring problem in platform shoot 'em-ups, of aiming in a different direction to the movement of the player's character. The arcade version also supports a two players co-op mode which was omitted in all other portings except on the Amiga.
There are different story versions depending on the platform the game was released on:
- In the Arcade version, two nameless brothers are on a mission to rescue their family from an alien mutant known as King Crimson.
- In the home computer versions published by Ocean Software, a ruthless Commissar, leader of a vicious regime of megalomaniacs, has kidnapped the players family (including the grandfather - a world famous scientist in the field of weapons research). Now it is the task of the player to free his relatives before the evil Commissar forces the grandfather to reveal his superior weapons research which he can then use to subjugate the world.
- In the Genesis version, the player assumes the role of Johnny Ford (Daichi Madoka in the Japanese version) a member of an operative group who shuts down drug cartels. Johnny's father, Dr. Malcom Ford, is also a fighter against drug abuse and is about to research a serum that would break people's addiction to lethal drugs. He has tested it on laboratory rats, and is in the process of making it safe for use by human beings. When Crimson King, the head of the most powerfull drug cartel, finds out about the research he loses no time and immediately kidnaps the whole family. After completing his last mission, Johnny returns home only to find an devastated house. When he sees a note in which King Crimson kidnapped his entire family he immediately starts for the tropical island called Matano. Since Johnny knows the Crimson King's organization inside and out, he suspects this to be the place where his family is being held.
With a character, that resembles Rambo and is armed with an automatic weapon, nine rather short levels have to be crossed before the final showdown with King Crimson. The play mechanics and controls are similar to that of the Contra series and the Arcade and Amiga versions can be played by two players in a co-op mode. The main protagonist can run in two directions, jump, crawl, climb ladders and shoot in eight directions(clockwise or counter-clockwise).
The Arcade game has as already mentioned a special rotating joystick similar to the one used in Ikari Warriors for independent control of movement and firing. This property has been cumbersome ported to the other systems that lack this joystick. In the home computer versions for example, pressing and holding the fire button will maintain the last movement (standing, walking, crawling) and after that the joystick lever can be used to determine the direction of the shot. In the Genesis version two control schemes are offered: The first one is a basic method of shooting the direction of the D-pad while the second one, which is considerably trickier to control and requires more practice, allows the player to continually shoot in a particular direction no matter what the D-pad is doing.
On the way, the player must fight enemies such as soldiers, tanks, jets, saws, helicopters, ships and metal snakes. Some of the defeated soldiers lose red keys that can be picked up and used to buy weapons at the end of each level where the player enters a weapon storage room. There are six glass cases with a different number of key slots at the bottom, each holding one weapon or item. The number of the key slots shows how many keys are required to open the case and release the weapon or item included in it. Since each player can carry only six keys at the same time he will never be able to open every case and should therefore experiment early with each different type of weapon and find out which ones are more effective.
The two types of weapons that can be purchased in the weaponry are hand-held weapons(Full Auto, 3-Way, Fire, Shot Gun) and backpack weapons(Nitro, Shower, Homing Missile) that are launched by pushing the joystick up while pressing the shoot button or simply with the space key in the home computer versions. All types of weapons have limited ammunition and when the player runs out of ammo, he will revert to the default "Full Auto" rifle which is the only one with unlimited ammo. Additional ammo for the player's current weapon and other power-ups can be purchased in the weaponry.
When the player character comes in contact with an enemy or is downed by enemy fire he loses one life and drops the weapons and keys he is carrying. But these all can be picked up again if they don't fall off-screen.
After the penultimate level the player enters again the weapon storage room. But this time the glass cases are holding instead of weapons or items the relatives of the player. Those can be freed in exchange for the collected keys. So to free all relatives it must be ensured that the last armory is entered with six keys.
Weapons & Power-ups
|Games-X||05/1991||36||Genesis||96 out of 100||96 ||-||English|
|Your Commodore||11/1990||42,43||C64||95 out of 100||95 ||-||English|
|Your Sinclair||06/1992||75||ZX Spectrum||94 out of 100||94 ||Stuart||English|
|Crash||07/1990||40||ZX Spectrum||93 out of 100||93 ||Mark, Nick||English|
|Zzap||04/1992||49||C64||93 out of 100||93 ||-||English|
|The Games Machine||07/1990||44,45||Amiga, ZX Spectrum||92 out of 100||92 ||Mark Caswell||English|
|Your Sinclair||08/1990||35||ZX Spectrum||92 out of 100||92 ||Matt||English|
|Zero||08/1990||32,33,34,35||Amiga||91 out of 100||91 ||Paul Lakin, Teresa Maughan||English|
|The Games Machine||07/1990||44,45||Atari ST||90 out of 100||90 ||Mark Caswell||English|
|Sinclair User||08/1990||18,19||ZX Spectrum||90 out of 100||90 ||Jim Douglas||English|
|Zzap||12/1990||14,15||C64||90 out of 100||90 ||Stuart Wynne, Robin Hogg, Phil King||English|
|CU Amiga||07/1990||36,37||Amiga||89 out of 100||89 ||Tony Dillon||English|
|Zzap||10/1990||93||Amiga||89 out of 100||89 ||Stuart Wynne, Robin Hogg||English|
|Zero||08/1990||32,33,34,35||Atari ST||88 out of 100||88 ||Paul Lakin, Teresa Maughan||English|
|Micro Hobby||09/1990||33||ZX Spectrum||88 out of 100||88 ||-||Spanish|
|Sinclair User||05/1992||60,61||ZX Spectrum||87 out of 100||87 ||Alan||English|
|Sinclair User||04/1993||19||ZX Spectrum||87 out of 100||87 ||-||English|
|C+VG (Computer + Video Games)||06/1991||44,45,46||Genesis||86 out of 100||86 ||Robert Swan, Paul Glancey||English|
|Amiga Action||04/1992||80||Amiga||86 out of 100||86 ||-||English|
|Amiga Action||08/1990||66,67||Amiga||85 out of 100||85 ||Steve Kennedy, Alex Simmons, Doug Johns||English|
|Generation 4||09/1990||12,13||Amiga||85 out of 100||85 ||-||French|
|Amiga Joker||10/1990||34||Amiga||85 out of 100||85 ||Carsten Borgmeier||German|
|Mega Tech||01/1992||79||Genesis||85 out of 100||85 ||-||English|
|Commodore Force||08/1993||16||C64||85 out of 100||85 ||-||English|
|Amstrad Cent Pour Cent||11/1990||28,29||Amstrad CPC||84 out of 100||84 ||Matt Murdock||French|
|Mean Machines||05/1991||82,83,84||Genesis||84 out of 100||84 ||Matt, Julian||English|
|Sinclair User||03/1991||56||ZX Spectrum||84 out of 100||84 ||Mathew Denton||English|
|Amiga Power||06/1992||81||Amiga||84 out of 100||84 ||Stuart Campbell||English|
|The One||08/1990||52,53||Amiga||81 out of 100||81 ||Gary Whitta||English|
|Amiga Magazine||12/1990||82||Amiga||81 out of 100||81 ||-||Italian|
|CU Amiga||01/1990||113||Arcade||80 out of 100||80 ||-||English|
|C+VG (Computer + Video Games)||08/1990||68,69||Amiga||80 out of 100||80 ||Robert Swan||English|
|ASM (Aktueller Software Markt)||10/1990||56||Amiga||9.6 out of 12||80 ||Manfred Kleimann||German|
|Commodore Format||11/1990||34,35||C64||80 out of 100||80 ||Andy||English|
|Joystick||11/1990||280||Amstrad CPC||80 out of 100||80 ||Seb||French|
|Datormagazin||12/1990||59||C64||8 out of 10||80 ||Pontus Berg||Swedish|
|Micro News||05/1991||105||Genesis||4 out of 5||80 ||-||French|
|Electronic Gaming Monthly||06/1991||22||Genesis||8 out of 10||80 ||-||English|
|Raze||09/1991||30,31||Genesis||80 out of 100||80 ||Julian Boardman||English|
|Joystick||09/1990||158||Amiga||79 out of 100||79 ||Kaaa||French|
|C+VG (Computer + Video Games)||10/1990||77||Atari ST||79 out of 100||79 ||-||English|
|Zero||06/1992||64||Amiga||79 out of 100||79 ||-||English|
|Amiga Force||03/1993||12||Amiga||77 out of 100||77 ||Ben the Boffin||English|
|Joystick||09/1990||158||Atari ST||75 out of 100||75 ||Kaaa||French|
|ASM (Aktueller Software Markt)||10/1990||56||Atari ST||9 out of 12||75||Manfred Kleimann||German|
|ASM (Aktueller Software Markt)||10/1990||56||C64||8.8 out of 12||73 ||Manfred Kleimann||German|
|Datormagazin||09/1990||65||Amiga||7 out of 10||70 ||Johan Petterson||Swedish|
|Power Play||10/1990||116||Amiga||70 out of 100||70 ||Heinrich Lenhardt||German|
|64'er||02/1991||103||C64||7 out of 10||70||Jörg Freymann||German|
|Amiga Format||09/1990||40||Amiga||69 out of 100||69 ||Mark Hill||English|
|Power Play||01/1991||161||C64||68 out of 100||68 ||Heinrich Lenhardt||German|
|Video Games||02/1991||89||Genesis||68 out of 100||68 ||Winnie Forster||German|
|ACE (Advanced Computer Entertainment)||06/1991||73||Genesis||680 out of 1000||68 ||Jim Douglas||English|
|Amiga Mania||06/1992||72||Amiga||67 out of 100||67 ||Huw Pryce||English|
|Power Play||07/1991||124||Genesis||63 out of 100||63 ||Michael Hengst||German|
|Amiga Power||05/1991||107,108||Amiga||3 out of 5||60 ||-||English|
|Power Play||10/1990||116||Atari ST||56 out of 100||56 ||Heinrich Lenhardt||German|
|Commodore Format||05/1992||48||C64||43 out of 100||43 ||-||English|
|ST Format||08/1990||46||Atari ST||41 out of 100||41 ||Neil Jackson||English|
|Sega Visions||04+05/1991||13||Genesis||-||- ||-||English|