Two months after Amiga Midnight Resistance came within one percent of Sizzling, this touching story of familial loyalties arrives on the C64. Your kindly, white-haired grandfather - who just happens to do superweapons research in his spare time - has been kidnapped by a bunch of thugs acting on the orders of the Commissar. By getting your elderly relation to gab about his hobby the Commissar hopes to achieve world domination. In the spirit of such insane overkill the Commissar has also nabbed the rest of your family - and apparently assassinated your brother (making this version one-player only!).
So it's up to you to save your absent-minded grandpa, stupid aunt, nagging Mum, tight-fisted Dad, whining sister and the present completely incompetent government of the planet. (Hmmm, is there really nothing on TV to watch?) To save the planet you must battle through nine levels, each groaning under the weight of more firepower than even Saddam Hussein could want. War-torn cities, a man-mangling factory and a military-infested countryside are included among these fearsome weapons.
Siblingless you must rely purely on your own skill to overcome these massive odds. Super-fit with Ramboesque muscles, you can run, jump, crouch, crawl and - by holding down Fire - rotate your gun in a 360 degree arc. Some of the enemies leave keys when shot, which can be collected and used in the end-of-level shop. This militaristic establishment allows you to replace your standard machine gun with a flamethrower, three-way fire and even a shotgun. These weapons have limited ammo, after which you revert to your machine gun.
Extra ammo can be bought though, and special weapons - including Homing Missiles and Nitro super explosive - activated by pressing Space.
This didn't immediately impress me. Both the hero and the human enemies are a bit splodgy, almost cartoonesque, while early level backgrounds are on the simplistic side (though they were not great shakes on the Amiga!).
Mind you, there's a lot of graphical variety throughout the levels, and the huge vehicular superbaddies are definitely worth seeing. Sound is also excellent with a superb title tune and explosive FX. But rather than any aesthetic aspect, what really grabs you after a few goes is the virtually perfect implementation of the superb coin-op's gameplay.
Sure, a few compromises have been made, including the lack of a two-player mode. But otherwise it plays very authentically with massive variety in gameplay which requires much more than a quick trigger finger - simply mastering the hero's rotating firing action takes a while. There's also the full range of powerful superweapons to choose from.
All in all, this is a meaty conversion that's challenging enough to be more than a mere midnight snack.
Midnight Resistance is a well nigh perfect conversion by the top-notch Special FX team. This is the sort of intelligent work which, while sacrificing the two-player option and some minor graphical details such as the jeep, completely captures the spirit and action of the original coin-op.
The fantastic variety of the levels really comes across, the claustrophobia of the crawlways and spinning cogs on level two, the jet-pack men and rising lifts of level three, each level offers a dramatic change in both graphics and gameplay. Then there's all the different weapons, the flamethrower and homing missiles for example.
I also like how the shops change, sometimes having all the best weapons, sometimes only the worst. This means you have to become good with virtually all the weapons. My only reservation is that although the levels are fairly big, they're certainly not massive and with no continue-plays there's plenty of multi-loading.
With the disk version this is no problem, but for the unseen tape vesion it might be a bit of hassle.
Nevertheless, this is an incredibly playable and varied game which deserves to be as successful as the licence makes inevitable.
To be honest, I wasn't overly thrilled by the thought of Midnight Resistance after seeing the preview screenshots printed a few issues back and it wasn't until it was loaded up and the first level got going that I drastically changed my mind.
Despite the inevitable lack of a two-player mode it proves as playable as the Amiga game with even better graphics, colour and attention to detail (the fact that Robert Tinman has converted all of it and left nothing out is noteworthy in itself - the multi-load is bearable on tape).
It may well be Gryzor revisited but at least it looks like a 90's game, featuring the novel multi-directional fire and smooth transition to vertical scroll. The game structure is very well crafted, bringing in a good amount of graphic variety to keep you playing and offering significantly different opponents with each level: jet planes, circular saws, a battleship taking up an entire level and, of course, Kind Crimson himself.
You really wonder how they managed to cram it all in and offer great playability to boot. Favourite bit for me? The great title tune with a beat to demand your attention - why wasn't it in the game as well, Special FX?
Presentation 61% Dying on level one means a reload, but disk access is otherwise fast and efficient. Music on/off. No continue-plays and tape might be a pain.
Graphics 91% A few minor glitches, but generally very impressive with free-flowing horizontal and vertical scrolling plus a wide range of well-drawn opponents and backdrops.
Sound 85% A rousing title tune, impressive FX throughout.
Hookability 89% The urge to get onto new levels is extremely high.
Lastability 90% Nine varied levels provide a substantial challenge.
Overall 90% A first-class conversion.