Shooters! From Doom to Call of Duty, my there’s a lot to pick from; run’n’huns, cover shooters, arcade shooters… But what’s your favourite?
We all remember our first shooter. Mine was technically Golden Eye 007 on the N64, but my first real shooter was none other than Resistance: Fall of Man. Insomniac’s brilliant scy-fi hardcore romp. Fall of Man was a game I saw in passing as part of my cousin’s collection; soon after, I had picked it up on the PS3 – Sure, I had played CoD: World at War, but that doesn’t count; that’s a cult classic – You HAVE to play World at War! No, Resistance was the game that made me sit up and realise, ‘I love shooters’.
So what is Resistance? It’s a First Person Shooter, strangely owing to a unique and unnamed (To my knowledge) subgenre. It’s Doom, by way of CoD… But in all the best ways. See, it’s not the ‘press a button to take cover, or you aren’t safe’ game, but it also isn’t the ‘suck my thumb to regen health’ game either. Resistance: Fall of Man and Resistance 3 both use a static health bar and dynamic cover systems, making it a rather jarring departure from the sort of shooter we’re all mostly familiar with. In a way it spoiled me on shooters, because it had a pre-set higher difficulty curve, without really showing it.
There’s no button prompts to take cover, for instance; in a firefight? Just hide behind a wall. Simple as that. But no, it isn’t… See, another way Resistance is more challenging than modern shooters (Without ridiculous difficult settings being needed) is in the enemies you’re fighting. The Chimera. Story goes something like this – A meteor falls to Earth, impacting in Siberia carrying an alien virus. Soon it begins converting people, as Russia falls dark… Then slowly Europe too, until an all-out assault for Britain calls in the aid of the good ol’ USA.
You start literally being dropped into the battlefield, no long chat helicopter ride or buddy buddy stuff; game starts, you’re out the door, bullets everywhere, and the enemy right in your face – Literally. Fangs, grey skin, six eyes, no lips… God they’re ugly… And boy are they quite the foe. The grunt’s standard machine gun, the Bullseye, has a beacon shot that magnetises all other shots to it, and on higher difficulties, they’ll use it against you. In low cover? They’ll just beacon you and fire over it. No need for them to flank you at all or flush you out with grenades… But even on the easiest difficulty setting, the Chimera will keep you on your toes. The Steelhead for instance, a heavier unit, has a semi auto rifle called the Auger whose ammunition is capable of phasing through solid matter. Guess what that means? You’re not safe anywhere… And he has a shield, so no rushing him down either.
Imagine if you will, CoD Modern Warfare, with the scope and variety of baddies you’d see in Wolfenstien, with Doom’s health mechanics. That’s Resistance. Now let’s add in a weapon wheel mechanic as well, letting you hold the typical suit of gun – Sniper rifle, another better rifle, all pretty standard. What about a rocket launcher whose ammo can stop dead mid-flight, and be redirected? What about alien SMG’s that can target up to four separate enemies? What about a gun that fires torrents that fire metal needles like the world’s most aggressive accupuncture therapist..? Resistance is the spirit of the chaotic, quake shooter, married with the intensity of the military shooter, with a bit of Ratchet & Clank in there. It’s the love child of so many good names, Wolfenstine, Doom, CoD… Killzone, even. And yet, it sits, forever forgotten in the recesses of the last generation.
The story itself is – from memory – fairly standard; you get unknowingly infected whilst trying to quell the enemy tides, leading up to one of those ‘last man standing’, ‘self-sacrifice’ type missions. You know the sort. Just you, lots of bad guys, and the fate of the world at hand. Now, there’s no boss battle… At least no typical one that is. There is some pretty big baddies to fight though. Like the Titan, the Widowmaker, and the Chimeran tanks known as Stalkers. But no definitive, final, big baddie to take out. Some levels are semi open world with driving, some areas are linear and story heavy. There’s the obligatory ‘we must drive a tank’ section, two in fact, but the second one is the most fun. There’s spooky levels where you’re all alone and its dark and tense, and other levels that are all-out skirmishes, huge battles, rubble, fire, and explosions!
Though from holdouts to tank fun, the main challenge is the static health bar; it doesn’t regenerate at all, unless you turn on a cheat you get after you beat the game once… But even then it only regenerates 15% of your health. No, you want to talk pulse pounding? Pulse pounding is fighting a Stalker with 10% health left, knowing that if one shot hits you, you’re dead. The only way to get health back is by picking up the yellow canisters enemies drop, or sometimes have scattered about… And no, they don’t respawn. On higher difficulties, they restore less health, and enemies do more damage… Meaning you gotta git gud, as they say.
…But it doesn’t stop there; beat the game once, on easy, you unlock more guns – Beat it again on medium, new enemies and new enemy placements. Beat it on hard? Hell, I never found out… But I bet it was something cool.
Released by Insomniac in 2006, Resistance: Fall of Man is a game that, whilst might not have aged well graphically, certainly still shines. A game I highly recommend getting your hands on, and well deserving of a 9/10 from me.
I will always love you Resistance.