Friday, 22 June 2012

Doomdark's Revenge - Sinclair Spectrum, Amstrad CPC & Commodore 64 (1985)

Doomdark’s Revenge is the follow up to the seminal The Lords of Midnight and was once again released for the Commodore 64, Amstrad CPC and Sinclair Spectrum.  The playing area is half as big again as the former game making a total of 6,000 locations and 48,000 views.  The Landscaping engine has been given an overhaul with improved graphics and a mist which can rise up to obscure features in the landscape and sap strength from your armies.  There are also underground tunnels though I’m quite sure of the point of them.

I didn't find tunnels useful as you are forced in a certain direction and it's hard to determine where you will end up.
Doomdark’s Revenge is set in the Land of Icemark to the north of the Land of Midnight.  The instructions contain a short story setting the scene for the game which basically says Morkin has been kidnapped by Shareth the Heartstealer in order avenge the death of Doomdark, her father and adversary in the earlier game.

The Land of Icemark has five races: Giants, Barbarians, Dwarves, the Fey and the Icelords.  You start the game controlling three characters this time.  Luxor the Moonprince and Rorthron the Wise start at the Gate of Varenorn – the entrance to Icemark - in the Barbarian Outlands.  Morkin’s betrothed, Tarithel the Fey, starts a little further north near the forest dwelling Fey. Again you need to travel around to persuade Lords to join your cause while Shareth the Heartstealer does the same.  The characters roam about independently this time rather than waiting at their stronghold to be recruited. In Doomdark’s Revenge it’s not usually clear cut who is friendly and who isn’t.  When coming face to face with an opposing force you have two options – Approach and Attack.  If you approach an army and they are unfriendly you are put at a disadvantage in battle (I don’t know how you determine who is friendly and who to attack).

Hmmm... Approach or Attack?

Like The Lords of Midnight various ruins, lakes, temples and other landscape features can reveal clues and objects to help or hinder you on your quest.

The game can be won in several ways with various levels of victory.  All involve Luxor returning safely to the Gate of Varenorn. The most basic victory will be to rescue Morkin with Tarithel the Fey being the main protagonist.  If you also return with Rorthron, any of the Crowns of Icemark and objects of Shareth’s power then the greater the win.  If Morkin dies then the only way to win the game will be the complete destruction of Shareth. The greatest victory can be achieved by destroying Shareth and the safe return of all four main characters.

The only goal for Shareth is the destruction of Luxor the Moonprince - if he should die then the game is lost. 

So, Doomdark’s Revenge is bigger, has more features and is better looking than The Lords of Midnight yet I’m not convinced it is necessarily a better game – it’s basically just more of the same.  It would be unfair to discount a good game just for its unoriginality so it still makes it onto the list.

Thigrand the Fey could do with finding horses, not dragons.


  1. PetrusOctavianus22 June 2012 at 23:52

    This game ruined school for me. I was completely addicted to it.

    The tunnels should be ignored, except for moving Morkin and Tarithel after Tarithel has rescued Morkin.
    A fatal flaw (of which most of Mike Singleton's game unfortunately has) was that only the player could use the tunnels. So at the beginning of the game you could just park your starting characters in the nearest tunnel and hit End Turn (or Night) until Sharet has been killed by some lord or monsters, and you win by walk over.

    As for determining who is friend or foe, it is decided by comparing the abilities of the the lord doing the approaching and the one being approached. If they have four (I think) abilities in common (except Loyal/Treacherous which adds or subtracts to the number) the approached lord will join you. This is the reason why lords with just a few abilities are harder to recruit. A liege lord needs less abilities in common, but will usually be a safe bet. One exception I know of is Evil, Greedy Kahudrarg who can't recruit Good, Generous Careneon even though he's Careneon's liege lord.

    The game is far more replayable than Lords of Midnigh IMO, and you can make any victory conditions you like, like for example only recruit Good characters, only Fey, only Fey+Barbarian, playing a defensive game, aggressive game, having recruited lords concentrate on their blood enemies, etc etc.

    I can't play it now, since it doesn't have an automap. And using a premade map feels too much like cheating.
    There was an Android version with automap (which worked splendidly), but sadly the AI of the various lords was totally bugged and they all headed for the edges of the map and just parked there. I contacted the author, but he'd lost his source code. And a Midnight Engine version seems to be as illusive as Eye of the Moon. :-(

  2. Thanks for the comment Petrus - there's a lot of interesting information there.

    I'm in two minds about the mapping. I'd definitely use a premade map if I had mapped the game before or if it would take too long (like this one). I did map Lords of Midnight back in the day but just couldn't spare the time now.

  3. PetrusOctavianus26 June 2012 at 01:36

    I remembered wrong. It was not the Android version that I played and that was buggy. It was a Game Boy Advance version. The GBA version has now been fixed, and the same guy has made an Android version.
    The bad news is that he had to take his versions down, at the request from Mike Singleton himself.
    The good news is that Singleton and Chris "Midnight Engine" Wilds are currently making remakes of LoM and DD, with enhanced graphics and combat routines, for mobile phones:
    Hopefully they will also be playable on a real computer for dinosaurs like me who has a 5 year old mobile phone.