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Description official description

Midwinter is set in a post-apocalyptic world, as the Earth entered a nuclear winter caused by the fall of a meteorite. The titular island has been formed in the Azores group of islands, caused by volcanic activity.

The player initially controls Captain John Stark, the commander of local militia known as Free Villages Police Force (FVPF), who attempt to protect their home from the invasion of armed troops under the command of General Masters. As Stark, the player has to recruit civilians and members of FVPF in order to join forces and prevent Masters from reaching the base located in the south-eastern part of the island.

Midwinter is a hybrid game that combines elements of strategy and action. The player selects and controls the 32 recruits as they attempt to protect the island within a limited amount of time. Two hours of game time are assigned to each recruit; afterwards, the strategy battle moves to the next turn. During their turns, the recruits fight enemy forces in action-oriented combat reminiscent of a first-person shooter. Specific and detailed injuries add a tactical edge to these battles. Enemy units are mostly composed of armed snow buggies, as well as supply vehicles. Eliminating a large amount of them or killing the commander of the unit usually successfully completes the mission.

Terrain plays an important role in the game, as many snow-covered mountain areas are impassable, and the player must plan ahead how to advance. The player can use snow buggies, ski, and cable cars to access the goal.

When recruiting characters, the player has to pay attention to their personal relationships. For example, Stark can recruit his girlfriend, but another character will refuse to join because he is in love with her and jealous of the Captain.

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Credits (DOS version)

17 People

Original Concept
Project Control and Liason
PC version game code
ST version game code and Amiga version
PC version solid graphics and landscape
Graphics / Artwork
Solid object design and map fractals
ST version solid objects code
Development manager
Quality Assurance
Manual Liason
Manual Design and Graphics
  • Artistix U.K.



Average score: 84% (based on 25 ratings)


Average score: 3.7 out of 5 (based on 29 ratings with 6 reviews)

Totally underappreciated, engrossing, and original game. A classic if you gave it a chance.

The Good
Cool storyline, mix of action, role-playing and strategy and at the time the graphics were pretty amazing. This one ended up in the bargain bin too soon but the lucky ones that picked it up and withstood the marginally steep learning curve were rewarded, i have found myself considering trying to scare up an old 5 1/4 drive so i can reinstall this one.

The Bad

The Bottom Line
An overlooked gem.

DOS · by Tom Smith (2) · 2000

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!)

DOS · by Jeff Sinasac (391) · 2000

It's all about atmosphere

The Good
A real classic game, and still fun to play today.

Great atmospheric winter world. Hang gliding alone is worth the effort (while listening to Pink Floyd's "Learning to fly" and "Terminal frost" ;) ). The size and diversity of the fractal landscape is enormous (give me that algorithm, please!), the rendering beautiful (taken into account the hardware).

There are many human characters with different abilities. The strategic elements are overwhelming. Who will travel where to accomplish which task? Who will recruit whom? Stay and fight or leave and recruit companions? Attack with a buggy (and risk losing it) or rather try sniping from the steeple? Or use your time to gather explosives and blow up enemy buildings?

The Bad
I lost too many hours of my life playing it...

Apart from that, mortars and bombers are real nags. They make the game very difficult, because they are ubiquitous and their attacks are unpredictable and hard to counter. I switched them off (thankfully, that's possible). This, in turn, makes the game rather easy to finish.

The quasi-parallel nature of the characters' gameplay leads to illogical situations, but that's unavoidable.

Also, the only reason the small guerrilla force actually has a chance to overcome the huge army of General Masters is the simple fact that the enemy vehicles attack one at a time. This certainly is illogical.

And, yes, an option to speed up travel would have been desirable. You spend too much time just watching the beautiful landscape passing by.

The Bottom Line
Great atmospheric strategy game with action and role-play elements.

Atari ST · by Roland Frost (2) · 2009

[ View all 6 player reviews ]


1001 Video Games

Midwinter appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.

General Masters

"General Masters", the big bad guy of the game shared some visible similarities to project manager Hugh Batterbury. This was not unintentional and an in-joke in the studio. Source: Zero Magazine 1990/01 (issue #3)


  • Amiga Power
    • May 1991 (issue #00) - #66 in the "All Time Top 100 Amiga Games"
  • ST Format
    • May 1990 (Issue #10) - Included in the list "ST Format's 30 Kick-Ass Classics"

Identifiers +


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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Jeff Sinasac.

Amiga added by 80. Atari ST added by ektoutie.

Additional contributors: Chris McDonald, Jo ST, FatherJack.

Game added May 27th, 2000. Last modified September 11th, 2023.