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Lords of Midnight (1985)      

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Beyond Software
Adventure / Graphical
Mike Singleton

Audio cassette or 3" floppy diskette
UK (£9.95 cassette, £13.95 disk)
Doomdarks Revenge
Game instructions, Game Map
Won an Amtix! Accolade in issue 2 (Dec 1985)
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Amstrad CPC
Commodore 64
Sinclair ZX Spectrum

A Golden Joystick AwardAn Amtix Accolade

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Your Reviews

Issue 2 (Dec 1985) (Amtix!)   16th Jun 2016 09:40
Beyond, £9.95 cass, £13.95 disk
Author: Mike Singleton

After a long wait. Beyond have finally released their epic adventure/strategy game, Lords of Midnight. The plot is a highly complex one involving four controllable characters, a plethora of armies and a Tolkienesque collection of baddies.

Your main character is Luxor. He is the Moonprince and master of all the good forces in the Land of Midnight. The game begins with Luxor set to face his greatest challenge, as the master of all that is evil, Doomdark, tries to control the land. Luxor controls three other major characters, Rorthron, Corleth and his own son Morkin. You can select any of these characters at any time in the game and ptay it from their point of view. The format of the game allows everything to be achieved by single key input, so only the sheer scope proves confusing to the beginner. Act-ually getting anywhere with a character is easy.
The plot and its history are so convoluted that half of the instruction booklet takes the form of a fantasy story leading up to the present circumstances. To explain it all here would be impossible. But you can treat the game as a series of mini-games and that is the best way to explain the goings on.

To play the adventure, you concentrate on Morkin, as he's immune to Doomdark's greatest weapon, the Ice Fear. This can make armies turn and run before him. Morkin is the only one of your characters without an army and his own mixed ancestry makes him the ideal character for your purposes.
He has to go north, alone to the Tower Of Doom and destroy the Ice Crown, the source of Doomdark's devastating power. Guidance is the same for alt the characters. Eight numeric keys reveal the eight major compass directions, and another single key entry moves that character one 'unit' forward. Selecting other characters is also a simple action. Apart from looking and moving, characters may Think and Choose. Choose presents the options available to your character on a menu, while Think provides supplementary information on status and position.
The main reason for Think is because the normal screen shows a graphic view and some text. The result usually is that there is little room to supply all the information you may require on a single screen. For those of you still unaware of all the fuss surrounding this game's earlier incarnations, the program's graphics aren't designed to be high-res. But there are thirty two thousand possible views.
Back to the plot. The strategy side of LOM involves you building up your forces with the other three characters and seizing the Citadel of Ushgarak, where Doomdark commands his forces. Luxor is very useful as the commander here because he wears the Moon Ring which protects any forces near him to a certain degree. If Luxor snuffs it, Morkin will have to find the ring in order for you to regain control of the other characters and forces in the game.
Game time passes continually through night and day and there is a great advantage in achieving your aims as quickly as possible. Forces may become harder to control through demoralisation, if the fighting goes on too long. Doomdark will win if he elimin-ates Morkin (for while the son of Luxor lives, there may still be a hope for the Free — if you get my point) and crush the Citadel of Xajorkith (it's hard enough to spell, let alone conquer). He will pursue his aims relentlessly. He fights well also, so it's a good thing 8eyond have put in a Save game option.

Graphics aren't anything special compared to other adventure games, but then there's so much choice. Personally, I find them worthwhile, considering the variety of game play. The redefined character set is beau-tiful and adds a lot to the visual impact. The whole project was very well thought out from the beginning. Considering the whole thing is on a single cassette, it really is an epic. No time is wasted trying to figure out commands because of the single key input and the presentation and background are both remarkable in their depth. More conservative players may find them a little pretentious but that can hardly be considered a major factor.

Lords of Midnight was a classic on other machines and I'm glad to say that the Amstrad version lives up to all my expectations.

Atmosphere 91%
Plot 95%
Interaction 92%
Lastability 93%
Value for money 90%
Overall 93%

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GuideI'm a big fan of this game — here are just a few of my findings. Farflame the Dragonlord, Fawkrin the Skulkrin and Lake Mirrow can all destroy the Ice crown (this is in the tower near Ushgarak and it can only be collected by Morkin). If the ice fear gets very strong then get Morkin to take the crown as far away from your armies as possible. This will lessen the fear and improve your soldiers' fighting potential. At the beginning of the game send Rorthron NE to recruit the Lord of Blood and then SE to the Citadel of Shime-ral. Send Morkin north on his quest and Luxor SE to recruit Brith. Then guide him to the Citadel of Shimeral. Send Corleth the Fey east to Shimeral then NE to recruit Thimrath the Fey in the woods. Group all your men (except Morkin who should continue Northwards) at Shimeral then split them into two groups. Send one SE to recruit other lords and head towards Xajorkith. Once they have recruited Dawn it is best for him to head N to recruit other lords such as Kumar. This will make a third group who can either be kept up north to defend a citadel or they can be taken down south to help the other forces. Send the other group with Luxor SW to recruit Gard. Then go south. Move east recruiting Fey and other minor lords until you end up at Xaiorkith. Here you should regroup your men. Now choose: either to head north to fight Doomdark or to fight it out down South. Remember Doomdark has 250,000 troops, and the more places he takes the stronger the ice fear will become ... but this will spread his forces over a much wider area allowing you to plan raids and gradually take all the areas Doomdark occupies back.
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This title was first added on 18th September 2012
This title was most recently updated on 16th June 2016

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