Sunday 6 March 2016

Midnight Raiders (Mega CD / Sega CD review)

Developer: Stargate Films
Publisher: Sega
Released: 1994

Midnight Raiders is a Full Motion Video (FMV) game that was only released in North America and PAL territories.

Playing as a rookie gunner your mission is to rescue Professor Victor Mensch who is being held hostage at the Al Shakkur chemical installation. The action focuses on FMV footage for a movie-like experience but you occasionally take control of a crosshair to engage in combat. There's three missions with the first taking place in an Apache helicopter while you shoot down enemy vehicles in the air and on the ground. Unfortunately, both the crosshair and enemies move in an ultra sensitive fashion which makes it overly challenging to line up your shots. Also, the ratio of video cut-scenes vs. gameplay is heavily outweighed by the former so most of the time you'll be sitting back waiting for something to happen! In the next two missions you infiltrate a factory to rescue the Professor and end up on foot with limited gun ammo. The first-person viewpoint certainly resembles games like Time Crisis (1995, Arcades) but I found myself desperately wanting to use a light-gun as there's times where you only have a split-second to move the cursor and make an accurate shot. The dark and moody atmosphere certainly makes things more intense but you still spend too much time watching FMV than actually taking part in the action. One annoyance is that there's no checkpoints throughout so if you die at any point you have to restart the entire game. However, there is a gigantic, exploitable bug to easily defeat everything in sight as you can repeatedly pause the game until your crosshair lines up with an enemy and then fire before restarting the action; quite frankly it's amazing that this wasn't spotted!
Midnight Raiders is a weak attempt at the FMV genre due to its limited action, technical issues and poor controls. At the end of the day, there's not enough gameplay here and it's yet another case of the developers putting more effort into creating a movie-like atmosphere rather than an engaging user experience.
Random trivia: A version for the Sega 32X was planned but was ultimately cancelled.

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