It's a funny thing about Super Heroes but they do seem to choose rather unsuitable friends. Policemen hand around with other policemen and accountants hang around with other accountants. (Largely 'cos no one else wants to see with them). Do super heroes hand round with other multi-dextrous, multi-muscled lunk heads? Do they heck as like. Super heroes seem to have an affinity for anive wimps who are incapable of even going as far as the newsagent without being either butchered, mutilated or captured and sometimes all three at once.
Imagine the sad scene when Cecil and Jeremy of Khaki Bros Ltd (Super Heroes By Appointment to Her Majesty The Queen Mother) return home one evening after a night at the gym.
Cecil: Err... Jeremy, I think the front door looks sort of funny.
Jeremy: Y'are reet. It's hanging off by its 'inges. D'ya think Grandpa's bin at the DIY again?
Cecil: It certainly looks like it, Jem.
(They go in and are confronted with a chaotic scene. Chairs are upended, windows are broken and there is blood splattered acros the wall.)
Jeremy: Gan shite, the hoose has got reet moocky since mam started watchin' Wimbledon.
Cecil: Here, read this note.
Jeremy: I canna read.
Cecil: So how come you always win at Scrabble?
Jeremy: I use the blanks, ya poof.
Cecil: Okay, I'll read it then. "Dear Boys, we've kidnapped by a megalomaniac who wants to use your Grandad's scientific knowledge to take over the world. Your dinner is in the oven. Don't forget to feed the cat. Lots of love, Mum." Oh shoot!... No!... No! I didn't mean it!!!
(Too late. Cecil dies in a hail of his brother's bullets, cursing with his dying breath the baffling ambiguity of the English language.)
Actually, if you own an Amiga, Cecil survives this hail of bullets since this version of the game has a two player option which is not available on the ST.
Two player or one, you'll have a mighty battle on your hands to rescue your missing relatives. As well as soldiers, helicopters and really rather large tanks, the game is littered with some classic 'adventure film' type dangers. Conveyor belts drag you towards the sort of rotating blades that would even make Harrison Ford flinch and there's also a hydraulic floor pushing you up to your doom.
The little pop gun that you start the game with is obviously going to be hopelessly inadequate at dealing with these assorted dangers. Fortunately at the end of each level there's a little shop where the style conscious Super Hero can get tooled up. The extra weapons and the like can be bought with keys. (Why keys? Well why not? No sillier than bits of coloured paper really).
The keys are carried by the guards who drop them at the slightest encouragement (like a round of 9mm ammo delivered into their navel). Unfortunately, you are equally likely to drop these keys - and any special weapons - when you lose a life. You can pick them up again - unless, of course, your partner swipes them first. Team work, heh?
Paul: Now I must confess that if someone kidnapped my family, I'd be inclined to think "Oh goodie, that'll save me a bit of money at Christmas". I might get a little bit said when I realised that my next birthday was going to be virtually pressie free but that's about the extent of it. What I certainly wouldn't do is tool up with a machine gun and khaki vest and go off to rescue them. Then again, my grandad isn't a world famous scientist. Besides, I hate wearing vests.
Midnight Resistance is a bit of an odd name for this arcade conversion. The resistance were a secretive undercover group. The khaki wonder (let's call him Cecil) knows as much about secrecy as Kylie knows about songwriting. However "Midnight Charge Along And Blast Everything In Sight" wouldn't have been the snappiest of titles so Midnight Resistance it is.
And what is that Midnight Resistance is? (Eh? Ed.) Well, firstly it's a bit of a looker. Not only ar the sprites imaginative and detailed but they're also extremely well animated from the flexing of their arms to the recoil from their rather large weapons. Cecil leaps and bounds his way through danger. Not for him all this stand up, aim, fire. He can shoot while lying down, while climbing ladders and, just for traditionalists, he can even shoot while standing up.
Thanks to making full use of the parallel bars in the local gym, Cecil can rotate his arms through 360 degrees - which is dead useful for clearing nasties from those difficult-to-get-at-corners - though sometimes it feels like it's just impossible to get Cecil to shoot diagonally and he's a little prone to falling off ladders. But then so am I.
Despite a couple of howlers - such as a very two-dimensional battleship - the game backgrounds are atmospheric with a fairly deep perspective. Some sequences are better thought out than others. The scene with the conveyor belt and the rotating blades is really effective, while the giant planes are a bit silly. As for the sequence with the nun, the combine harvester and the box of smarties, well... (Er, wrong game I think. Ed.)
So, Midnight Resistance looks good and plays well but does it... you know... does it... 'go? Yes, it certainly does. Although lacking the Amiga's two player option, the ST version lacks little else in the thrill stakes. After a fairly straightforward beginning, the action soon hots up. You soon start to look on the normal enemy soldiers with some affection. You know where you are with those guys. You shoot them, they fall down and you collect the keys. Not like some of the opponents you come up against who seem to enjoy getting shot almost as much as they enjoy shooting you.
All the thrills of the arcade without the hassle of stuffing endless pound coins into the slot, Midnight Resistance is not so much an arcade conversion as an arcade improvement.
Teresa: They're tough, they're butch, they're macho! They're the Khaki brothers! And they're back in the sequel to Ikari Warriors, Midnight Resistance - and they're still wearing the same vests!
If you've never played Ikari Warriors then you won't have been introduced to the brothers Khaki, those lean, mean fighting machines who leave a path of death and destruction wherever they travel in their two-man crusade against all that is evil. Cecil is the sensitive one who prefers the brown camouflage togs and enjoys flower arranging, macrame and killing people. Jeremy Khaki, however, always wears green and gets his kicks from cordon blue cookery, poetry and pumping nasty thugs full of lead.
In Midnight Resistance we see the sexy siblings taking a break from their more leisurely pursuits and kicking some ass. I mean, what would you do if you'd heard that your senile scientist grandad and his very voluptuous assistant had been kidnapped by a gang of evil... er... kidnappers and threatened with repeat episodes of Baywatch?
As you've probably already gathered, Midnight is a shoot 'e up - just blast everything and everybody and then some. There are nine action-packed levels - all graphically very different - that'll keep you battling for hours in your attempts to plant a big wet one on said kidnappee's lips. Then find his assistant.
You begin the fun on level one, a run-down city conurbation, where hordes of unpleasant geezers are itching to deliver you to the morgue. Just let rip with the bullets and make sure you collect any red keys that the guards will drop. These'll come in useful at the weapon corner shop - where you may wish to buy a three-way multi-blaster. Lose a life and you drop all weapons and keys, so remember to pick them up again - unless your partner's beaten you to it.
At the end of each level - after you've battled your way through the onslaught of knives, bullets, shells, grenades and flamethrowers - you'll come face-to-face with a gruesome piece of work who'll take a bit of bashing to beat. Manage that and you enter the shop. Then it's off through level two and the barrage of fire begins again - only this time, you're in a factory full of cogs, belts, disappearing platforms, circular saws and a whole host of dirty blackguards. The other levels, set in the jungle, underground pipe works, deep mine shafts, huge aircraft carriers and futuristic cities are graphically excellent and get harder and harder to crack!
Special FX, the developers, have done a tremendous job on this coin-op conversion of an arcade classic. The graphics are stunning - colourful, well animated and totally different on every level. They've recaptured the feel of the arcade machine exactly and if anything improved upon it - even down to the very big animated end-of-level sprites. Check out the worm spitting head - ugh!
Soundwise, the game isn't anything special but then it doesn't have to be - all you need are gunshot sounds, mortar shell blasts and a few screams of agony. But where Midnight Resistance comes into its own is on playability and addictiveness. It's got that secret ingredient that keeps you coming back for more.
In one player mode it's immensely playable. In two player mode its absolutely brilliant - adding a completely new dimension to the game. You can play as a team or better still try and nick all your partner's weapons and keys.
I haven't played such an enjoyable shoot 'em up in ages. Midnight Resistance is up there with the all-time greats - X-Out, Silkworm and Operation Thunderbolt. Better even than cordon blue cookery. Go out and buy it - NOW!