90 - The Lords of Midnight (Spectrum)

The lands of the Free are in peril, threatened by the foul Witchking of Midnight, Doomdark. It's up to the player to control and command the Lords of Midnight in an effort to both counter Doomdark's encroaching armies, and build an army strong enough to take the fight to him. That's just half of the story though: the player can also choose to take Morkin on a solitary quest into Doomdark's domain to destroy the Ice Crown - the source of Doomdark's powers. Only Morkin can do this, as he is immune to the ice fear that terrifies the Free, thanks to his ownership of the Moon Ring.

It's all a bit Tolkien, but that doesn't matter one bit. What we have here is a true classic. A sprawling epic that takes a great deal of planning and strategy to beat. Its most attractive feature is undoubtedly the first-person viewpoint, with movement through 8 compass directions and a consistent landscape with varying terrain and obstacles. As the heroes travel throughout the land they can recruit other lords and their armies, garrison soldiers at keeps and citadels, storm the enemy's fortresses and meet them in the field of battle.

Perhaps the most remarkable thing is that Mike Singleton squeezed this epic into a 48k Spectrum. The sequel, Doomdark's Revenge offered more tactical variety and is every bit as good, but I've been enchanted by this original since I first attempted it many years ago.

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