Bring me to the Main Page   Bring me to the Reviews Index

Midwinter 1 logo  Amiga Format Gold

RAINBIRD £24.99 * Mouse, Joystick or Keyboard

T Midwinter 1 he year is 2099 AD. The world was devastated some 60 years previously when a strike from a massive meteorite affected the global climate and sent the world into a new Ice Age. Contintents collapsed, millions died and it was clear things would never be the same again.
Some thirty years ago a bunch of people discovered an ice-covered island and started settling the place. Life was far from easy, but by sinking heat mines it became bearable and the inhabitants of what became known as Midwinter Isle struggled on. It soon became apparent that Midwinter as the last habitable place on Earth and the leaders of the isle got together and formed the Free Villages Peace Force (FVPF), to ensure things stayed free and safe. New settelr who through luck or careful planning managed to find their way to Midwinter were welcomed and integrated into the island’s system.
In the last few years, though, some of the newer members have become disgruntled with the lot. The leader of the FVPF, Captain John Stark, decided to let things ride... and disaster struck. A rebel army, led by General Masters, is now on the march and intent on taking over the whole island. You, as John Stark, must rally your forces and prepare to defend the island...

Midwinter is a one-player strategy game featuring light sourced 3D graphics and a game area of 160,000 scale square miles. There is a total of 32 characters in the game who can be rallied to your cause. To find out where these people are and where General Masters’ armies are, a map can be called up at any time. Then the only problem to deal with is getting to them.

There are four methods of transport on the island: travelling from two fixed points in the cable car, hang-gliding from the top of high ground or – the two most common methods – in snowmobiles or on skis. Snowmobiles can only be picked up from settlements with a garage but you can ski anywhere. There are dangers to all methods of transport and it is highy likely you will take a tumble, but this is less serious when you are skiing than when you are hanggliding or driving a snowmobile.
After a hard journey, taking breaks to restore energy when necessary, you make it to your destination and put your case to anyone who will listen. If you are lucky you will gain a recruit. This is by no means guaranteed because, like any community, there are some people who will do favours for others and some who won’t.

All those you do manage to recruit need to be controlled by you, though, and as the game is time based there are two watches to keep your eye. There is a team watch and a personal watch. You do not want to see 10 people sitting around doing nothing while you concentrate on one person, so every character has two hours of game time inw hich to act before watches need to be synchronised with the team watch and everyone’s two-hour period starts again. For example, you send person A to a particular village to meet person B. Person C, meanwhile, goes to meet person D. You control A on his mission for two hours, then switch control to C for two hours. In effect you have controlled both, simultaneously, for the same two-hour period. After these two hours, A and C will be back on the same time, so watches can be synchronised and you can start again.

When the enemy are discovered they should be engaged. If you are travelling somewhere you can enter snipe mode when skiing or chuck some missiles at them fro your snowbike. At any rate, try to destroy as many of them as you can, but always remember that the enemy forces shoot back!

Rally your troops, destroy the enemy and when you are ready launch a counter-attack on the enemy HQ. Succeed and Midwinter Isle will once more be safe; take too long, though, or let the heat mines fall into enemy hands, and it is curtains for you and your people.
Andy Smith

Amiga Format, Issue 12, July 1990, p.p.40-41

The sound effects are good, as are the graphics. Everything is well drawn and the 3D moves swiftly, although it can be difficult on occasion to judge the landscape when you are skiing or driving. Generally, the audio and visual effects are of a satisfyingly high standard.

This will take you absolutely ages to play: fortunately there is a game save option. Just trying to get started is tough, so you will really need to concentrate and use your resources to their best advantage to gain a victory. It is compulsive stuff, son ce you start you will enjoy every minute.

Well, it has finally made it. Lords Of Midnight, the greatest ever game by Mike Singleton, author of Midwinter, has arrived on the Amiga, albeit under a different name and with a whole host of improvements and updates. Midwinter is the ‘90s LOM, a sugar coated wargame with the pace set at just the right level for the player not to realise he is playing such a complex strategy game. Midwinter is a superb game to play and a must for anyone who wants to immerse themselves in a thoroughly believable game world. Playing properly, i.e. allowing the enemy to have mortars and bombers, you will find this an excellent game. But not, there is aone way to complete the game extremely quickly. The quick route is a lot like cheating, so bear that in mind, but if you are prepared to play the game properly and win convincingly, you will enjoy it immensely.


Midwinter 1 logo  CU Super Star

PRICE: £29.99

T Midwinter 1 he threat of global warming has been much publicised in the news, even if at times it seems that it has not been much in the minds of politicians. But Microprose have been doing their own bit of ecological prediction and have used that as the basis for Midwinter.

2015 is the year of the Global Green Terrorists, who put pressure on governments to save the world before it is too late. Two years later a classified document is leaked to an American newspaper. It outlines a joint Russian, American and European venture to combat global warming with global cooling.
The process is simple, if hardly sensitive: throw enough dust into the atmosphere by setting off a nuke, and sunlight will be reflected long enough to cause ice crystals to form in the upper atmosphere. Just 0.1% of the water in the atmosphere needs to crystalise, and most of the sun’s energy will be reflected away from the planet. The end result – an ice age.
Twenty years later, and the plan lies gathering dust, when the Earth is struck by a giant meteorite, which spews tens of thousands of tons of debris into the atmosphere, triggering unprecendented cooling.

Midwinter centres on a recently formed Atlantic island on which war now rages between the aggressive noth and the basically peace loving southern community.

As Captain John Stark, it is down to you to make a stand against the invaders. The radio networks are jammed so you have to rally forces by word of mouth. Once a character has been recruited he or she is placed under your direct control, and from there it works like a chain, with friends recruiting friends. The manual details each of the thirty-two characters in the game, and it makes sense to work out who gets on well with who.
Each character has his own strengths and weaknesses. For instance, befriending a good sniper means you have a good chance of writing a squadron out of the game. But some of the lesser skilled characters have their advantages, too. School children can easily slip into enemy territory without fear of being stopped, and there is a professor who can overrise the radio jamming, and a doctor and nurse who also come in handy.

Skiing is the main form of transport in Midwinter, while your weapon is a supply of grenades launches by tapping the space bar. In the event of an air attack, you can dive onto the ground and break your rifle. This is far more effective. One shot from your high powered gun is enough to destroy the remote controlled enemy bombers, or a Snow Cat.

The enemy’s ultimate objective is to gain control of all the Heat Mines which supply the island with its power. Their progress can be slowed by destroying their stores or interrupting their supply lines. Sabotaging your own warehouses deprives them of storage for fuel and ammunition.
On the other hand you have a few options left. If you and your people can hold out for forty days the opposition runs out of supplies and gives up. Easier than wiping out all the enemy forces, who number four and a half thousand to your thirty-two.

Midwinter is in a class of its own when it comes to plotting. The two-hundred page manual features fascinating insight into the world in which we live, and it has a fantastic background story which sets the scene for the host of believable characters who make up the Midwinter peace force.

The Midwinter graphics work a treat, using vectors for the travel sequences and some nice, economic drawings for the interiors of buildings. The soundtrack is a constant combination of buzzes and rumbles which may not sound too hot, but fin in perfectly with the rest of the game.

Although we are only a third of the way into it, Midwinter on the Amiga has got to be a contender for game of the year. It has everything you want. So much effort and research has gone into Midwinter sparkle. You would be mad to miss it.

Mark Patterson
CU Amiga, May 1990, p.p.30-33

Trouble is brewing high above our heads in the Carbon dioxide and man-made chlorofluorcarbons (CFCs) pumped out by the world’s industrial nations – primarily the United States and Western Europe – are causing the world to get hotter.

There cannot be many people in this country who have not heard of the greenhouse effect and global warming. A layer of gasses naturally surrounds the Earth which trap the reflected energy of the sun and prevent it from escaping. Human activity has boosted the concentration of these gasses through the burning of fossil fuels and CFCs. It is a bit like having extra loft insulation.

But Britain faces more than a tropical climate. Most scientists agree that global warming is causing the ice caps to become thinner which, if it continues, will mean rising sea level and the danger of serious flooding. By the year 2100 substantial areas of the country could be under water. Blackpool would be come an island and Hull and Grimsby disappear altogether.

Again, many scientists agree that action now can less the problems – starting by cutting the pollution of the atmosphere. Everybody has a part to play. Make sure the people in power – members of Parliament, councillors – know you are concerned. Protest and survive. Remember, the heat is on.


Midwinter 1 logo  Gold Medal Award

Rainbird, Amiga £29.99
Midwinter 1 Conservation, ecology and 'green' politics were the hottest topics in the late 20th Century with the hole in the ozone layer, the 'greenhouse effect' and pollution all major concerns. Global warming was the ultimate threat, soon to become ironic when a meteor burned into Earth's atmosphere and impacted South East Asia. Millions of tons of dust were thrown into the atmosphere, throwing a dark veil over the globe and heralding the march of ice from the Poles.

Sixty years later, in 2099, the only habitable land is the Azores, turned into a single large island linked by ice and appropriately renamed Midwinter. The island's inhabitants hope to see the re-emergence of the human race and have built a complex transportation system consisting of snow buggies, a cable car network, hang-gliders and skis. Factories and synthesis plants produce vital stores while radio stations provide communication. But it's the eighteen Heat Mines that are the key to the island's life, providing the energy for the people to stay alive.

Law and order is the responsibility of the FVPF (Free Villages Peace Force). Led by Captain John Stark it patrols the island, settling minor disputes with little trouble – until now, that is. From the south-east, the ambitious General Masters has gathered an army of soldiers, snow buggy battalions, and patrol aircraft to wrest control of the isle from the more liberal inhabitants. To achieve his aim he must seize or destroy the heat Mines.

The game opens with Captain John Stark on patrol. Stark learns of Masters's initial attack, which has captured the three main radio stations. Unable to call for help he must start the resistance campaign by word-of-mouth. A map of the island can be brought up – in colour or relief (fractal) modes, with a powerful zoom function. The map also reveals the locations of buildings, the cable car network, and positions of the two combatants' forces.

Via the map, Stark is able to command his recruits to perform tasks around the island. Watches can be synchronised to maintain precise timing (which is vital) and every two hours situation reports are produced. To begin with, Stark cannot contact anyone by radio and needs to ski to nearby comrades to recruit them. Once a person is under Stark's command you can take direct control of them, looking through their eyes. You can also have the person seek and recruit other people (32 in all), sabotage enemy installations, and search and destroy targets. A wise commander will bear in mind that all his characters have individual strengths and weaknesses, plus hidden talents such as the ability to ski, hang-glide, etc.

Unfortunately for Stark, his comrades aren't the usual zombies which inhabit computer games. In fact, there are quite complex relationships between the characters. Love affairs, hatred, jealousy, admiration, and many other factors all play their part in determining the chances of one person recruiting another. These problems make recruiting no sure thing, so it's a good idea to recapture the radio stations and use them to contact everyone.
While this is happening, General Masters is going all-out to overwhelm Stark's forces. Although Masters has twelve hours advance on Stark, his weakness is a reluctance to use the island's higher ground, opting instead for moving supplies and forces through the flat lands.
With this fact in mind, Stark can avoid snow buggy patrols by skiing at high altitudes, using the cable cars, and even hang-gliding from a peak to a plateau. But pushing the vehicles too far, too high, or too fast can lead to disaster. Wounds can lead to loss of muscle power, alertness and morale. Push characters too hard and their sight fades into monochrome before blacking out.

Preventing Masters from taking all 18 heat mines is a huge task, given the sheer number of enemy vehicles coming from the south-east. Guerilla tactics are the best in this desperate situation. Ambushing supply buggies, destroying them to prevent them falling into enemy hands; these are all good tactics in this chillingly cold war.

Zzap! Issue 60, April 1990, pp.70-71

Phil King Midwinter's one of the best presented games I've ever seen. The graphics are superb with a stunning 3-D effect and incredibly detailed static screens. Even the sound has been exploited to the full, with stereo sound providing advanced warning of an oncoming vehicle. But it's the gameplay that's the best bit – it could easily keep you playing for weeks. It may not appeal to the most mindless of arcade fans, but for everyone else this will be irresistible. It may be argues that the endless snowy wastes could get a little repetitive, but that's ignoring the strategic game which is made infinitely more interesting with such recognizably human characters to control. A beautiful game and no mistake.

Scorelord After the disappointment of Whirligig, Mike Singleton has stormed back onto form with Midwinter. As one of the most imaginative and technically-gifted programmers around, the results are inevitably awesome. Who would've though a mere human could come up with something so visually stunning, yet simultaneously so deep and involving. It makes me wonder if Maelstrom Games aren't some alien brotherhood. Here, they offer you a ticket to a whole new world for a price which is a zillionth of a galactic time-warp. All I can say is, don't miss it!

Robin Hogg The idea of having a massive, mysterious landscape to explore in glorious 3-D, together with a very strong strategic challenge, is a wonderful idea that Mike Singleton has executed perfectly. Travelling across the icy wastes is an enchanting experience in itself, without having to tackle buggies and aircraft, or worry about the main objective. The polygons work perfectly with zero perspective or update problems. The graphic effect of skiing up the side of a high hill and pausing to look out over the landscape, viewing distant hills and villages just has to be experienced to be believed. The most atmospheric, utterly magnificent game I've played (and will play) all year.

6 4
No plans for a 64 game, sob!

Massive 200-page manual, A2 island amp, handy pad for notes, training mode, toggle switches for bombers and mortars.
Breathtaking 3-D effect, a wealth of detailed polygon objects and a clever horizon haze. Superb static screens.
No tunes but extremely good use is made of the Amiga's stereo sound system with a multitude of atmospheric effects.
A daunting task but it's an impossible game to resist.
The most compulsive and compelling of challenges since the Lords of Midnight saga.
A superlative, immense program that is every bit as good as you'd expect from Mike Singleton.