Midwinter (DOS)

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Written by  :  Jeff Sinasac (409)
Written on  :  May 27, 2000
Platform  :  DOS
Rating  :  4.17 Stars4.17 Stars4.17 Stars4.17 Stars4.17 Stars

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Amazingly original, all engrossing, an underrated wonder.

The Good

Everything. I don't even know where to begin singing this game's praises. Too overwhelmed.

The graphics were superb for their time, with lightsourced terrain, and objects that faded into misting snow in the distance.

The storyline and setting are very unique.

There are at least 4 different methods for characters to travel - skiing, hang gliding, cable car and several different types of snow buggy.

The strategy elements were intricate and many, but the action elements were ever present. While skiing between locales, if you were too cautious you might allow the enemy to advance too far, but move too quickly and you might broad side that conifer or dip into a sudden gully, bang your head and black out.

Characters need to rest and eat - just like in real life, and safe, dry spots are more beneficial - a real bed? Better yet. Wounds to characters actually affect their performance appropriately. A leg wound makes travelling more difficult, but an arm wound decreases accuracy with a rifle.

Actions and choices available to characters seem unending: should you go and search for a vehicle in the nearby settlement, take the time to blow up this fuel depot, climb the church tower and snipe at the oncoming enemy, or take the cable car up the ridge to try to convince 12 year old Davy Hart to join your resistance movement?

The character interactions were brilliant. Send Professor Kristiansen's grandson, Davy, to try to recruit him and you may get a favourable response. But try the same deal with Stark, and you'll find Kristiansen blanching at Stark's overwheening sense of authority.

Character abilities are likewise so widely varied as to make individuals really appear to have personalities. Virginia Caygill, the ski instructor, is an amazing downhill skier, but if you want that processing plant blown up, you're better off turning to Jeremiah Gunn, the mining engineer.

The world is so vast, and so beautiful, it's a delight to explore.

The combat system was a stroke of sheer genius. Higher ground means there's less in your way, and it's easier to aim if you brace yourself against something, or lay prone. But even looking through the telescopic sites of a high powered rifle, the character's breathing makes the sights bob and weave. More experienced shooters can control their breath better.

Taking down enemy vehicles really affects his play. Wipe out enough fuel transport vehicles, or sabotage enough depots in your scorched earth policy and his advance will slow. Take out enough armament carriers and his attacks will be less effective.

You are actually able to control 32 characters from a first person perspective in "real time" by moving them sequentially and synchronizing their watches afterward.

The Bad

Nothing. This thing was flawless. As per usual, just wish I could get it to work on a modern machine.

The Bottom Line

An absolute must see. One of my all time favourite games. I don't see how it has remained so unknown. (Apparently there was a sequel, too, though I never found it - if you know of it, let me know!)