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The Lost Vikings (PC) artwork

The Lost Vikings (PC) review

"The Lost Vikings is bursting at the seams; not just because of the intensely challenging puzzles, the sheer mass of levels but because of the creative and innovative style that it brought forward. Its genre is a well crafted blend of a puzzle game and a platform title, although it tends to push to more puzzles than platforming aspects. Whatever you want to call it, The Lost Vikings is an innovative, challenging and humorous game to play. "

The Lost Vikings is bursting at the seams; not just because of the intensely challenging puzzles, the sheer mass of levels but because of the creative and innovative style that it brought forward. Its genre is a well crafted blend of a puzzle game and a platform title, although it tends to push to more puzzles than platforming aspects. Whatever you want to call it, The Lost Vikings is an innovative, challenging and humorous game to play.

The Lost Vikings allowed you to control three characters, each of them with their own strengths and weaknesses. Erik the swift has a knack for running very fast and leaping over huts, he can also use his head to smash down walls, even though it knocks him for six every time he does it. Baleog the fierce is exactly that. His sword will cut through any foe and his countless supply of arrows is perfect for killing anything from far away. Last, but by no means least is Olaf the stout. His shield can withstand the hardest blows and he can also put it over his head to glide across dangerous ground.

These three friends give us an inept demonstration of their combined skills. They decided to go out on a hunting trip in their snow covered village. It gives the player a great example of what to do in certain situations when you play the game properly. On their hunt, they run through a snowy forest, collecting meat and fighting dinosaurs (yes, in a SNOW-covered forest.) After showing off what they can do, the three triumphantly return home with some steak and call it a night. Tomator, an alien collector that wants to gather a variety of life forms for his intergalactic zoo decides to ominously fly over the village and suck the three aboard his huge spaceship.

As I said before, Lost Vikings is jam packed with levels spanning through six different worlds and presenting us with a unique gallery completely rich with tricks, traps and puzzles that the trio must struggle through. Theyíll travel back and forward in time, going from the prehistoric era to Ancient Egypt and to more strange worlds such as a robotic construction site and a world of candy. To survive these strange new worlds, the trio must use their unique skills to work as one. If one falls, then they will have to restart the level from scratch.

Using the three Vikings together is the key to survival in these strange times. All three of the vikings have very specific weaknesses, Erik has no way of defending himself and his method of attack is awkward to do and pretty weak. Baleog also has the same problems as Erik defence-wise and he cannot jump at all, which can leave him helpless when it comes to pits or drops. Olaf is strictly defensive and cannot hurt any foe at all so youíll have to use the three as a team to succeed. If Erik cannot reach a ledge, you can get Olaf to put his shield over his head so he can jump from a higher distance. Olaf can distract an enemy by holding still and allow the foe to attack his shield constantly, allowing Baleog to mince them with his sword, he can even walk up behind an enemy when he is doing this and slash him to bits. Baelog can allow use his arrows to push buttons that the others cannot reach, this may open a door up to a new area or switch off a force field that is blocking the path of the other vikings. This is just a few basic examples of teamwork and as you continue playing The Lost Vikings youíll find that youíll use these skills and others to conquer obstacles.

There are various items that you can acquire here. Each viking has a small inventory that can store up to four items and they can give items to their partners if they need to. The primary items that you collect is food which is relatively easy to find. This will give the viking any lost health back, when you only have three hits itís best to have at least one of the vikings carrying some grub. If you find a shield, it will give allow one of the vikings to take another hit, itĎs best used on Baelog since heíll have a bigger chance of being hit. You will also have to acquire keys to access new areas in the level, red keys will open red locks etc.. These are scattered throughout the level and youíll have to use your separate skills to find them. Some levels make it even more challenging by placing two keys of the same colour in one stage, doubling your key hunting efforts and increasing the challenge factor. (in other words: that level was a complete bastard.)

Youíll face a good handful of foes which vary from stage to stage. On the ship of Tomator, youíll duel with one-eyed aliens and robots that blast you will countless laser beams. Youíll also be attacked by dinosaurs and rolling cavemen, dinosaurs will take a few hits while rolling cavemen can only be hit when they stop rolling and start walking. Baleog can pick up a flaming arrow that he can use to kill enemies quicker, with a normal supply of arrows it can take about two or three hits to bring down a foe, a flaming arrow can kill most enemies in one hit. In the workshop level youíll be attacked by more robots and circular saw creatures that roll towards you with rage and the bizarre treats waiting for you in Wacky land are ready to blow your mind. Youíll encounter a hand bouncing a ball and this horse like creature that spits musical notes at you through his nose. On a few occasions, youíll come across Baleogís doppelganger, whoĎll use the same powers as our hero. No matter what the enemies are they cannot break though Olafís shield, the only way to get past his defence is to attack from above, which can be countered by lifting his shield over his head.

Tomator will serve as the gameís final and only boss. In the final stage you will have to use all of your skills to vanquish this evil alien for good. He has a massive gun that will blow you vikings to pieces and his completely covered in an electric force field. Youíll have to block his shots, head butt him into electricity fields, drop bombs on him and shoot him with arrows to knock this intergalactic thief of the ship and into the merciless sea of space. Be careful, he has two attacks that will erase your existence, one is a standard laser shot that can be blocked by Olafís shield with ease and the other is a grenade that is designed to go over Olaf , youíll have to keep on switching shield positions to protect him and the others.

The P.Cís versionís visuals are on par with on the SNES. Each of the three characters are full of animation. After Erik runs, he pants for breath and when he stands still for a while, he stoops down to tie his shoes, Baleog flexes his muscles and Olaf either picks his nose or pulls his pants up. All of this is done with great animation that is extremely cartoon like and portrays the personality of each of the vikings brilliantly. Each of the creatures that the Lost Vikings duel also follow the same style that they put forward. The movement and look of the character captures itís personality perfectly, the dinosaurs are fierce and looked pissed off while the cavemen look absolutely stark raving mad. The colourful and atmospheric backgrounds look brilliant, the spaceship looks great with heaps of bright buttons and panels plus the stars of space shooting past the background look awesome as well.

Man, this was the first P.C game I played that had sound. Even without a soundcard in my P.C, Lost Vikings managed to puke out a putridly grainy rendition of the theme song. I thought it was amazing at the time until I got a P.C that had a soundcard. This grainy tune was replaced by one of the most memorable theme songs Iíve heard, (itís played on the demo not on the title screen.) The other tunes wrap in nicely with their surrounding environments, the futuristic spaceship tune and the bongo drummed prehistoric song are quite memorable but nothing compared to the original theme song. The music quality was top notch for its time but, apart form the theme song, was pretty forgettable.

Lost Vikings on the P.C will be impossible to track down nowadays. If you want to play it them youíll have to track down the console versions instead. I feel more at home when I play it on my P.C, it seems more of a P.C title than a console one. Getting it on the P.C is a little tricky: not only is it rare but it ran in DOS so there is probably a bigger chance of you finding someone who thinks that Limp Bizkit are the greatest band of all time before you find the game. The SNES and Genesis versions are great console versions of the game but when you sit down and play it on a console, the feeling just isnít there.

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Community review by goldenvortex (April 24, 2005)

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