System: Sega Mega Drive / Genesis
Developer: Data East
Publisher: Sega of America
Designer: Koji Akibayashi
Genre: Run 'n' gun
Midnight Resistance started out in the arcades back in 1989. It's a standard run 'n' gun game of the fairly easy kind, but what made it stand out in the arcades was its rotatable joystick - like in the popular Ikari Warriors, released in 1986. By rotating the joystick you control the direction in which your avatar is shooting, meaning that, unlike most other run 'n' gun games, you can move in one direction while shooting in another direction, which leads to some brilliant gameplay and excellent boss fights.
The Sega Mega Drive / Genesis version of the game is of course missing the rotary joystick, and the standard control setting (mode A) follows the more classic setting of shooting in the direction the joypad is pressed, but allowing you to freeze the shooting direction by pressing B. I bet you could get used to controlling the game like that, but for me the game plays as a hot mess when using control mode A, so the first thing I do when booting up this little gem, is to switch to control mode B-2. In the B-1, B-2, and B-3 control modes you rotate the gun by pressing the B button, and after a little while this becomes second nature. This way you can play the game _almost_ like it was meant to be played.
The story of the game is simple: Your family has been kidnapped by a mad scientist, so being the super buff mercenary that you are, you of course set after the bad guys to rescue them. The game takes you through a total of nine very different levels, taking you through a dystopian, and somewhat weird, future. What makes this a really strong title, is the great diversity in the stages - no two stages feel alike, and no two boss fights feel alike either, making this an all over enjoyable experience to play. The game is somewhat easy on the Mega Drive, but not too easy if you ask me, and if I have to be perfectly honest, it fits perfectly with my temper for playing old games. When you, like me, have other obligations and thus limited time for playing games, a game such at this one, that you can quickly pick up and master, fits just fine. It's a game you can learn in half an hour, and you can probably learn how to get to the final stage in a couple of hours, but in order to beat it on a single credit you'll still have to work on it for a while - I know I haven't gotten there just yet.
Midnight Resistance is an excellent title and one I think should take pride of place in any Mega Drive collection. If you've never before encountered a run 'n' gun shooter that decouples the direction of character movement from the direction of shooting, I'd strongly recommend that you give this game a try.
Until next time... Stay Retro.