Spectrum 2.0

Review of 'Doomdark's Revenge'

Rating:5 User: Matt_B

After we'd all been wowed by Lords of Midnight, a sequel seemed inevitable. Following on from the original defeat of Doomdark, his daughter Shareth kidnaps Prince Morkin taking him to the land of Icemark, leaving Luxor and friends on a mission to save him, defeat Shareth and ensure both the futures of Icemark and Midnight.

Mike Singleton wanted it to be much bigger and better than the original game and certainly succeeded in the first part. The land of Icemark boasts 6000 locations and 128 characters versus the 4000 and 32 respectively of Lords of Midnight.

Bigger isn't always necessarily better though; where the land of Midnight feels crafted and its names have a pleasant natural tone to them, Icemark seems so obviously a product of random generation with tongue-twisting names and endless arrays of mountains, forests and plains.

Changes to the game mechanics make it rather different in play too. Where, in Lords of Midnight, you can usually count on finding the other characters in their initial positions, almost everyone in Doomdark's Revenge starts charging off across the landscape from the off. It soon becomes difficult to locate specific characters and your battle plans need to be very flexible; this rather works against employing the same grand strategies that succeed in Lords of Midnight. Where the first game was perhaps a little bit too predictable, DDR is a lot too random. Sometimes a random character will do you a favour by killing Shareth before she even reaches your armies, but it's also very easy to lose an important character like Luxor or Tarithel which can often ruin a promising start; the only thing you can do about it is to save the game regularly while you play.

Graphically, DDR uses the same landscaping technique of Lords of Midnight. However, there are some nice additional touches such as textured skies and changing colours to indicate progress through the day. Revamped graphics for buildings and the landscape add to the differing feel between the two games.

Whilst DDR doesn't always offer more of what was good about LOM, it still stands up as an excellent game in its own right; it's sufficiently different to offer a challenge to even the most experienced players. A third game, Eye of the Moon was promised but never arrived as Mike Singleton got sidetracked by a number of other projects and Beyond were taken over by Telecomsoft. A PC game entitled Lords of Midnight: The Citadel eventually did emerge, but suffered terribly from some poor design decisions that rendered it close to unplayable.