The Lords of Midnight

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The Lords of Midnight
LordsOfMidnight.jpg
Cover art
Developer(s) Mike Singleton
Publisher(s)
Distributor(s) Chilli Hugger Software
Platform(s)
Release date(s) ZX Spectrum & Amstrad CPC
  • INT 1984 (1984)
Commodore 64
  • INT 1986 (1986)
MS-DOS
  • INT 1995 (1995)
Remake
iOS
  • WW October 28, 2012 (2012-10-28)
Android
  • WW January 11, 2013 (2013-01-11)
OS X
  • WW July 5, 2012 (2012-07-05)
Microsoft Windows
  • WW July 12, 2013 (2013-07-12)
BlackBerry OS
  • WW October 28, 2013 (2013-10-28)
Genre(s) Adventure, Role-playing, Strategy
Mode(s) Single-player
Distribution Cassette, CD-ROM, download

The Lords of Midnight is a video game, written by Mike Singleton, and released in 1984 for the ZX Spectrum. Conversions for the Amstrad CPC and Commodore 64 soon followed.

Gameplay[edit]

The Lords of Midnight is a wargame/adventure game. The player starts with four characters (Luxor the Moonprince, Rorthron the Wise, Corleth the Fey, and Morkin), and then has the option to recruit up to twenty eight further Lords (Ithrorn, The Utarg of Utarg, Blood, Xajorkith, Shadows, and so on) to the cause in the quest to destroy Doomdark, the Witchking of Midnight.

The game can be played in three ways; firstly, as a straight adventure game, where the focus is on Morkin's quest to destroy the Ice Crown, the source of Doomdark's power, then secondly as a wargame, where the focus is on recruiting lords and troops to defeat Doomdark's armies. The third variation, described in the manual as the 'Epic', required the player to complete the game in both ways simultaneously.

The human player has the advantage in that only one of two objectives is required to defeat Doomdark. If the Ice Crown is destroyed, or Doomdark's home citadel of Ushgarak falls, the game is won. In order for Doomdark to win, he has to complete two objectives; firstly Morkin must be killed, for as long as Morkin is alive the game will continue, and secondly he must subdue the armies of the Free. He can do this by either killing Luxor the Moonprince or conquering Xajorkith, the capital citadel of the Free lands.

The game featured a groundbreaking technique called landscaping to depict the lands of Midnight from a first-person perspective,

At the time of its release, the game creator Mike Singleton thought there was no way to defeat Doomdark before Xajorkith fell.[citation needed] Gamers proved him wrong, and to this day the various internet groups devoted to the game continue to refine strategies to defeat Doomdark.[1]

Zzap!64 published a four-page map of the game in 1985.[2]

Graphics[edit]

The 3D effect used in the game was achieved by "billboarding" (see sprite) pre-scaled images of mountains, forests, buildings, etc. to create the impression of a perspective-correct landscape scene, available from a viewpoint of 8 points of the compass: the technique was self-described as "landscaping".[3] The techique created a strong impression at the time, and the game received praise for its graphics; "landscaping" was also used in the sequel Doomdark's Revenge, but did not see significant further use in games.

Reception[edit]

CRASH awarded Lords of Midnight 10 out of 10, highlighting the panoramic views, detailed units and "wonderfully coherent" storyline.[4] The game won the award for best adventure game of the year according to the Crash readers.[5] Zzap!64 rated it at 91%, calling it "truly an epic game ... a must for adventurers and strategists alike", although one of the three reviewers expressed disappointment that the Commodore 64 version's graphics did not improve on the Spectrum original.[2]

It was also Best Strategy Game of the Year at the Golden Joystick Awards[6]

The ZX Spectrum version was voted the 7th best game of all time in a special issue of Your Sinclair magazine in 2004.[7]

Sequels and remakes[edit]

A sequel called Doomdark's Revenge took place in a land north of Midnight called the Icemark. The object was to defeat the daughter of Doomdark, who sought revenge against Luxor for her father's death.

The planned final installment of the trilogy, The Eye of The Moon, was never released.

Lords of Midnight: The Citadel was released for the PC platform much later, but did not repeat the original's success, as by then graphics had become more advanced.[citation needed]

The original games have been adapted for the PC by Chris Wild and can be found online together with source code generated by disassembly.[8]

There has also been some work into creating a new modernized version of Lords of Midnight for iPhones and iPads, with a collaboration between the original author of the game, Mike Singleton, and the author of the game ports for Windows Chris Wild. Following Mike Singleton's death on October 10, 2012, it was confirmed that it the new version would be released on Blackberry and iOS on the Winter Solstice in 2012 with versions for Windows and Android to follow.[9]

Novelisation[edit]

Upon release Beyond Software, the publishers of the game, offered to turn the campaign of the first person who could offer proof of completing the game into a published novel. While there weren't many ways of offering proof that the campaign was completed, many players sent reams of thermal printer paper to Beyond Software, hoping to get their campaign published. The first person to send in their claim to victory did so within two weeks of the game's release.[10] In the end, however, no publisher was interested in publishing what they deemed a fringe publication, and the offered prize was forfeit.[11]

Tentative discussions were held, where Mike Singleton offered to write the novel himself. Ultimately time constraints and the reluctance on the publisher's part made any and all plans for a novel impossible.[11]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]