HOW will life of Earth end? The greenhouse effect? Toxic overload? Ozone layer depletion? War? Nuclear accident? Will human beings destroy their own planet? Not this time they won't. Fate beat them to it.
As poor old mankind was talking about thinking about possibly considering the option of perhaps maybe doing something to save the world, nature took the matter into her own hands.
First there was a streak of light in the sky, then the ground shook. The earth had been struck by a giant meteorite. Clouds of debris spread into the atmosphere, blocking out sunlight. Global temperatures plummeted. The climate of entire continents changed. Millions died.
For those who survived, for those who travelled towards the equator in search of warmth and food, the world was a very different place. The extinction of one more species took on a new importance when the one in question was Homo Sapiens.
But men knew how to adept, to change themselves if they couldn't change the planet. Small colonies emerged and stabilised, using the leftover technology to scrape a living from the fragile earth.
One such group established itself on the island known as Midwinter. Taking heat energy from the heart of the planet itself and growing crops using hydroponics, living conditions gradually improved from abysmal to tolerable.
The island was large and - relatively speaking - successful. The need for a policing force was minimal, but it was there. And not everyone agreed with who was running it.
One such man was General Masters. He saw Midwinter, and he wanted it for himself. So he decided to take it.
Your name? Well, you're John Stark. Your father was one of the first men to set foot on the island, and as head of the island police force, you're not going to stand by and watch the destruction of all he worked for.
You're not alone. There are others who feel the same. If you can convince them of the danger, they'll help.
All have their own strengths and weaknesses. Some can ski well, snipe, hang glide. Some can't. Between you, you have a job to do, 'cos there's no one else to do it. You'll have to guide the actions of each man and woman, turning from one to another as the need arises.
In between planning strategies, you'll need to play special action sequences. The graphics in these stages are constructed from solid polygons, which wouldn't be exceptionally interesting if they weren't light-
In the world of Midwinter the sun is always over the south east of the island, casting blue shadows over the snowfields. It is possible to navigate your way just by noting the colouration of the landscape.
As you ski from one outpost to another in search of volunteers, objects in the distance are blurred and indistinct. As you get closer they become more substantial.
Shortly after this you either crash right into the darn things or ski around them. Fast and detailed, these sequences do more than just fill time, they're an integral part of the mission.
The playing area is the entire snow covered island of Midwinter. To try and store an internal model of this size directly would be madness. Instead it is constructed using fractal algorithms to generate a world as detailed as possible with a minimal amount of start data.
Zooming in on the map demonstrates this to great effect - as you get closer and closer the detail expands and improves. Switch the Relief option on and you could be looking at a digitised satellite picture. Very impressive indeed.
There is enough gameplay here to keep you playing for several weeks/
The plot is substantial, with a mini-
Midwinter is an important advent in computer programming. The Mike Singleton crowd have always produced innovative products, but this time they have surpassed themselves. Never has so much effort been spent on creating a new environment.
It's not a game, it's a virtual reality. Be there.