The Lords of Midnight Rise Again

Mike Singleton's classic adventure wargame returns once again, this time for home computers.

News by Pete Davison, .

The Lords of Midnight was an incredibly ambitious game when it first came out back in 1984.

Initially taking on the role of four of the eponymous Lords -- a roster that would expand with up to 28 further characters later in the game -- it was up to the player to destroy Doomdark, the Witchking of Midnight.

The Lords of Midnight was noteworthy for being a rather flexible experience that players could complete in several different ways. Firstly, it could be played as a pure adventure game, with the player following one of the Lords' quest to destroy the Ice Crown, the source of Doomdark's power. Secondly, it could be played as a straight-up grand strategy game, with players roaming the lands in an attempt to recruit enough additional Lords and troops to take down Doomdark's armies. Thirdly, the two objectives could be combined into what became referred to as the "Epic" play style.

The game was noteworthy for being one of the first 3D first-person perspective adventures -- quite a feat on the 8-bit ZX Spectrum, Commodore 64 and Amstrad CPC home computers it was originally released on. Rather than making use of true 3D graphics, however, the game used a method called "billboarding," whereby 2D sprites were placed and scaled in a 3D space, creating the illusion of standing among images of mountains, forests, fortresses and other landscape elements.

The new remakes of The Lords of Midnight maintain the original's aesthetic but render the visuals in beautifully sharp high resolutions.

The Lords of Midnight was the brainchild of British author and video game developer Mike Singleton, who sadly passed away from cancer in October of last year. Singleton had a long and storied career in the games industry that began way back in 1980 with BASIC programs for the Commodore PET home computer. After Lords of Midnight and its sequel's release in the mid '80s, Singleton moved on to a variety of other projects, the most notable of which was probably the open-world action RPG/strategy series Midwinter for 16-bit home computers. More recently, he worked with Midas Interactive and Lucasarts on HyperSonic Xtreme and Indiana Jones and the Emperor's Tomb, and subsequently on Gauntlet: Seven Sorrows and Codemasters' racing game GRID. Our sister site Eurogamer has a rather good retrospective on the great man's work.

At the time of his passing, Singleton had been working on an iOS port of The Lords of Midnight. Development was subsequently taken up by writer, photographer and developer Chris Wild, who has so far brought an updated version of the game to Android, iOS, Blackberry and, most recently, Mac OS X and Windows. A Windows Phone 8 version is also planned. While the remake remains true to the original -- particularly in terms of its distinctive presentation -- it adds a few new features such as an updated landscaping technique, mouse control on the home computer versions, and a map system.

You can find out more about Wild's remakes -- and buy them -- via the official website.

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Comments 1

  • Avatar for rdominick #1 rdominick 4 years ago
    I went ahead and bought this. Only $6, and kind of a rush of nostalgia, even though I never had the game for my own computer. It's odd to play such a silent game, though; I'll have to get some kind of 'net radio station going for heroic fantasy music...
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