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Mister Viking (Arcade) artwork

Mister Viking (Arcade) review

"A rare arcade cabinet that almost nobody's ever heard of."

The vertical scrolling run 'n gun genre of arcade games wasn't very popular before SNK released Ikari Warriors so most of the games in the genre are pretty obscure and also pretty rare. That about sums up Sega's release; an obscure and nearly forgotten game released in 1984 called Mister Viking where you control the aforementioned character who runs around throwing knives, swords, missiles and bombs destroying all kinds of whacky and bizarre enemies in an effort to destroy a sphinx like statue at the end of each round.

The game plays pretty simply but has enough charm and creativity to hold its own. You play as Mister Viking who's dressed in a green suit and runs up a vertically scrolling stage throwing knives at your enemies. When I initially played the game it took some getting used to the controls. They're simple enough and you can fire eight directions but you have to be walking in the direction you want to fire and once you let go of the joystick Mister Viking will automatically fire upwards again. This makes the game feel clumsy at first but it's quickly alleviated with a nothing more than a few minutes of game play. Mister Viking has a handful of special weapons at his disposal to help him through his adventure. He can hold one in each hand and they can be fired once each. Swords and spears can be thrown and will cut a swath through a row of enemies. A bomb can also be found that is awkward to throw but will blow up small buildings or a large group of enemies. Many times a bomb can be your "ace in the hole" if you can land it in the right spot. Some enemies sit atop walls or buildings out of reach of your regular attack requiring you to line up a properly timed attack from a special weapon to be killed and until they're killed the screen will not scroll forward.

Along the way flying rowboats will drop more special weapons and certain houses hold point scoring items. Once you reach the end of each stage you have to face off against a boss like enemy. It is a sphynx which can only be killed by grabbing a special weapon and firing it at the boss only when the door is opened up. Once it is defeated the game tallies up your score and the game starts at a harder stage. Each stage varries slightly but they always repeat and the game is endless and simply has you trying to go for high scores.

Mister Viking is graphically simple but has a fair amount of detail in each of the enemies. The game is colorful but still has a slighty murky and washed out look that's rather simple and bland for 1984 standards. Audibly the game is rather quirky sounding and has a lot of charm but gets repetitive after only fifteen or twenty minutes of game play. I do like the single musical theme that plays in the background but it does get rather loud and pitchy sounding over time and I would've turned it down if the arcade maching had an accessible volume knob.

Needless to say, Mister Viking is a decent game that is fun to play for a round or two but by the time I ran out of lives I didn't feel like playing it again but could see myself giving it another try in the future. In this day and age I just felt lucky to be able to try it out on a real dedicated cabinet as this is one of Sega's rarest and most forgotten games of the 1980's. If you're fortunate enough to find an original cabinet then be sure to play a few rounds because, simple as it may be, there's still fun to be had.


vgc2000's avatar
Community review by vgc2000 (December 20, 2020)

vgc2000's more extensive backlog of reviews can be found on GameFaqs. But some now live here.

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