Video Game: The Lost Vikings
In a frozen village in the far north, three Vikings of great skill and strength live quiet lives, spending their days hunting for meat in the surrounding woods. They are Erik the Swift, known far and wide for his great speed
and incredible jumping ability; Baleog the Fierce, whose skill with a bow and sword
allows him to crush anything in his path; and Olaf the Stout, who carries a shield
and is strong enough to carry a full-grown man on top of it.
One cold night, the trio finds themselves kidnapped by an evil green alien known as Tomator, who wants to use the Vikings as exhibits in his intergalactic freak show. The trio aren't about to take this lying down and immediately bust out. Their escape attempt goes a bit awry, however, resulting in them being hurled through time. It's up to you to lead them home.The Lost Vikings
, a 1992 game developed by Silicon & Synapse (the team that would later become Blizzard Entertainment
), is a hard game to classify. At first glance it looks like a simple platformer
, but it's more complicated than that — two of your characters can't even jump. Puzzles are definitely a big part of the gameplay, but it's not entirely cerebral — in later levels it's a challenge just to stay alive. It's more accurately called a "puzzle-platformer", as the goal is to lead all three Vikings (who you can switch between at any time) safely through each level to the exit. Each character has his own set of abilities which he can use to help the team progress through the level
: Erik can jump to higher ledges and use his helmet to bash through fragile walls; Baleog can use his weapons to defeat enemies and flip switches; and Olaf can use his shield to block enemy attacks and as a hang glider to slowly drop to lower levels.
The big draw to the series is how each character's abilities are used in unique ways and in combination with each other to allow for safe progress. For example, one early puzzle requires Olaf to use his shield as a platform for Erik to jump from, giving him the extra height he needs to vault a locked gate. On the other side, Erik can find a key to unlock the door and allow his companions to progress. Some of the puzzles are quite devious, and the game is ruled by Trial-and-Error Gameplay
. Lots of it. Lots
In addition, the game has a quirky sense of humor of the type rarely seen in this era of video games (which were usually lucky to get any text at all). It's an absolute joy to guide the bumbling, bickering Vikings through each stage.
In 1995, a long-awaited sequel was finally released (initially for the SNES and later remade
for the Playstation, Saturn and PC, alternately titled Norse by Norsewest: The Return of the Lost Vikings
). In this game, the Vikings are again ambushed by Tomator, but the Vikings respond by mugging Tomator's minions and taking their gear, giving them new abilities. Erik gains rocket boots (which allow him to Double Jump
) and a scuba helmet (which removes his Super Drowning Skills
); Baleog takes a lightsaber and a cybernetic arm (which allow him to attack in eight directions, Belmont
-style, and swing off certain gems), and Olaf earns a new cybernetic shield which allows him to shrink and boosts his flatulence to frightening levels. On top of that, the Vikings pick up two new characters in their travels: Fang the werewolf, who can run, jump, attack enemies, and Wall Jump
(and comically be mistaken for every furry animal under the sun but a wolf
); and Scorch the magic dragon (who has never seen the sea, but would evidently like to check it out), who can fly and breathe fire. To keep the gameplay simple, however, the two newbies would replace one or more of the Vikings every so often, allowing the player to control no more than three characters at a time
. The packaging is different, but the game's the same — use the Vikings' abilities to lead them safely through stages full of death traps
until you got to Tomator.
Fun and funny, but surprisingly deep; well worth a try.
The game is being given for free on Battle.net, here
The series also contains◊
or two to Blizzard's more famous series, Warcraft
, which later returned the favor. Eventually, the trio made a comeback by being playable in Heroes of the Storm
Not to be confused with the Starcraft II Mini-Game
"Lost Viking", nor the Dethklok song of the same name
This game provides examples of:
- Adaptation Expansion: The Genesis version of the first game has five levels that the other versions don't, and replaces the music from the demo in Wacky World with an awesomely bizarre remix of the SNES version of the Factory theme that suits the place perfectly, while also giving the Factory a new theme. It also allows three-player simultaneous co-op using the Sega Teamplayer multitap.
- Alien Abduction: As the starting plot, some alien collects unique aliens for a collection.
- Ambidextrous Sprite: Played straight throughout both games, but curiously, Baleog's portrait in the first game shows his sword in the opposite hand from his sprites.
- In the second game, Baleog's robotic arm switches arms depending on which way he's facing. A bit more obvious when climbing ladders.
- Arbitrary Headcount Limit: 3 max in the sequel. Lampshaded constantly.
- Justified in-universe by the teleportation magic/technology used by the various characters helping our heroes along being amateur or otherwise faulty; they all get where they're going eventually, but periodically a flub-up sends them off to the bean aisle.
- The sisters on the pirate ships aren't sending you straight to where you need to go because they wanna get rich. It takes a threat to convince them to get you there.
- Arrows on Fire: One of the powerups for Baleog in the first game.
- Blatant Item Placement: It's good that all the food being mid-air isn't taken by someone else.
Olaf: If Tomator is so evil, then why does he leave these... Bombs and machines for us to use?
- Bottomless Magazines: Quoting Baleog, "a lifetime supply of arrows".
- Bottomless Pits: Averted, since you may clearly see what is situated on the bottom of these, and in just half of the cases, these are shock barriers, lava or spikes.
- Bow and Sword, in Accord: Baleog in the first game. He switches the bow for an extendable cyborg arm and the sword for a Laser Blade in the sequel.
- Bratty Half-Pint: In the second game, the vikings come across one of these a few times. He turns out to be Tomator.
- Cartoon Bomb: One of the items you can collect.
- Character Roster Global Warming: Part one had only one clearly offensive guy, Baleog. The sequel adds Scorch and Fang, who are both able to attack as well as being more mobile than Baleog (with flight and wall-jumping respectively), leaving Baleog as the sole Mighty Glacier of the 5. However, Scorch only has a ranged attack and Fang only has a melee attack, and neither is as fast as Erik nor able to defend. The balance tends to stick.
- Circling Birdies: Or stars. They can be seen after a headbutt or fall from a great height. On Erik, specificially.
- Classic Cheat Code: On the second game, kill one of your vikings in the intro level. Every character will gain a new ability. To pull it off, have Olaf stand on the highest part of the ground with his shield up. Have Erik double jump off of him and land on the lowest part. Repeat two more times.
- Easy-Mode Mockery: Even though there's practically no way to do it by accident, the game treats it as though you're just that incompetent, and treats it like giving you the new abilities is taking pity on you.
- Convection Schmonvection: The lava pits, as per video game law, only hurt if you fall in them.
- Cool, but Inefficient: Baleog's laser sword in the sequel; it looks cool, but his cyborg arm punch has a longer range and a faster attack speed at close range than the sword does.
- Deadpan Snarker: Erik and Baleog.
- Death Trap: Lots of 'em. In the first game a lot of them are One Hit Kills, necessitating Trial-and-Error Gameplay.
- Eternal Engine: The Great Factory in the first game.
- Everything Trying to Kill You: Robots, blob things, slimes, mummies, scorpions, and odd creatures shooting musical notes. And balls which can bounce and throw themselves.
- Fartillery: Olaf in the second game can use his gas for an aerial boost. He can also use it to destroy blocks!
- Five-Man Band:
- Fireballs: Some enemies and obstacles fire them, as well as Scorch.
- Floating in a Bubble: One of the obstacles encountered in the first game.
- Gangplank Galleon: The third area in Lost Vikings 2.
- Guest Racer: Olaf becomes this in Rock N Roll Racing.
- Have a Nice Death: Fail enough times on a single level and the vikings'll complain about their defeat, eventually resulting in Thor himself berating you for your failure.
Baleog: I'm so familiar with the beginning of this level, I could do my part blindfolded.
Erik: Yeah, it's too bad the player keeps trying to prove the same thing.
- Hey, It's That Voice!: A number of the voices in Norse by Norsewest may sound familiar if you've watched a few '90s cartoons.
- Hitbox Dissonance: Those bubbles in prehistoric and wacky world. Many lives were lost when trying to get into/onto them. It helps if you think of them as simple moving platforms, the platform being at the bottom of the bubble.
- Hyperactive Metabolism: Because we all know, food heals.
- I Am Not Weasel: Fang suffers through a lot of this.
- If You Die, I Call Your Stuff: Provides the page quote, even!
- Inconveniently Placed Conveyor Belt: Wacky world and factory levels.
- Inexplicable Treasure Chests: In the third chapter of the second installment.
- Lampshade Hanging: Done constantly about game mechanics.
- Lantern Jaw of Justice: Have you seen the size of Baleog's chin?!
- Level Goal: Clearly marked in the first installment.
- Luckily My Shield Will Protect Me: Olaf with his shield.
- The Many Deaths of You: Every different way to die has its own animation. The vikings can turn into skeletons, get burned with only eyeballs being "untouched", turn into a pile of ashes after an unsuccessful falling, get into the second dimension after being smashed by a crusher... You only name it. The same type of death may also yield different animations from each of the vikings. For example: death by quicksand; Erik panics as he futilely tries to free himself, Olaf waves a meek "bye-bye" to the player, and Baleog just looks at the player with contempt and shrugs.
- Medium Awareness: Very much so!
- Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: The cast of the second game, as described above.
- Nintendo Hard: Especially the first game. The sequel is slightly easier.
- No One Gets Left Behind: Even if you manage to make it to the exit from a level, it's considered a loss unless all three characters get out alive.
- Obstructive Foreground: In a few places. Most notably in factory levels in the original game.
- One-Hit Kill: Spikes, grinders, electricity, and mummies oh my!
- Palette Swap: The Wacky world in the first game features enemies which look like Baleog but with a bizarre color scheme. They look more human (and by extention, less Obviously Evil) in the Genesis version, where they simply use Erik's palette.
- Parasol Parachute: Olaf does this with his shield, somehow.
- Plot-Driven Breakdown: This is how the boys escape ending up in a cell in the beginning of both games.
- Plot Tailored to the Party: This is more or less the entire point.
- Pop-Cultural Osmosis: Given the setting the vikings come from, that's sure played for laugh. At the beginning of Candyland, Erik tries to quote The Wizard of Oz:
Erik: We're not in Kanzas yet, Toto!
Baleog: What's Kanzas?
Olaf: And who's Toto?
- Gets all mixed up and swapped between characters in 2 and Norse by Norsewest. Considerably, Eric doesn't know what are donuts, and neither does the Transylvanian witch. Then there's one of the many retry messages in which the protagonists discuss (not in a preset order) whether they should build a rec room, relax and rent some videos, right until one of them asks: "What's a video?"
- The Power of Friendship: Done as a game mechanic.
- Prehistoria: A separate world in the first game.
- Punny Name: The shamans from the second game's jungle world have such names as Comonawannago, Kumonankikme and Dakindagaiyuluftahait.
- Puzzle Boss: Tomator, in both games.
- Quicksand Sucks: There's only one pit of the stuff in the SNES game (more in the Genesis version, which has more levels), but other levels have different hazards that have the same death animation(s).
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Delivered by Thor, if you fail on a level 16 times. Goes straight into comedy, however, when the trio starts questioning parts of it.
- Schmuck Bait: In one of the Egyptian levels, there's a sign that reads "(Skull and crossbones) ->, (Key) <-". True to form, smashing the wall on the right will cause a boulder to roll out and insta-kill Erik.
- Sdrawkcab Name: In Norse By Norsewest, one of the items you must collect for a potion in the first level is an Oiramrepus mushroom. Not surprisingly, it looks not unlike something out of that other video game.
- Selective Gravity: Lampshaded at the end of one of the prehistoric levels in the original game.
- Shifting Sand Land: Egypt.
- Shout-Out: Blizzard's other games and many more.
- Half of the Wacky World levels are Shout Outs to Green Hill Zone in Sonic series.
- Also: the "Flush Capacitor"
- The dialogue preceding the first jungle level in the second game contains at least three.
- Smart Bomb: One of the items you can collect.
- Smashing Hallway Traps of Doom: They are present in some of the levels, most notably factory levels.
- Spike Balls of Doom: In Lost Vikings 2, there are some spinning around on chains in water.
- Spikes of Doom: Quite a few of them actually.
- Springs Springs Everywhere: One of the methods for those who can't jump to go up.
- Stone Wall: Olaf, naturally.
- Straight Man: Erik, and later, Scorch.
- Stout Strength: Olaf seemingly possesses the strength to carry at least two other full-grown men on top of his shield. This runs into Fridge Logic when, in the second game, Olaf is still strong enough to hold at least two other characters on his shield, but somehow also lacks the strength to support his own weight when trying to hang from tightropes.
- Super Drowning Skills: Everyone. Except Erik in Lost Vikings 2.
- Teamwork Puzzle Game
- Temporary Platform: More prominent in the first game.
- Tempting Fate: "Life is good. I hope I never have to leave my beloved village." Ten seconds later, they were abducted by aliens.
- Trial-and-Error Gameplay: Sometimes it can take a few playthroughs before you figure out which path which viking's supposed to take. More noticeable in the first game due to a higher prevalence of one-hit kills and Fang and Scorch in the second game.
- Use Your Head: Erik uses headbutts to attack and smash walls. Ceilings are added to the list in the sequel. The sequel inverts this with Olaf, who can break floors by farting.
- Video Game Flight: Scorch can use his wings to glide as well as quadruple jump. Scorch can actually fly (not get tired) if the Classic Cheat Code is activated.
- Wackyland: The second to last set of levels is split between striped levels with balloons, spikes, and pumps to turn the Vikings into balloons (to impale themselves on spikes), and levels made of chocolate and sweeties. Even what appears to be moving checkered background mix becomes a hazard.
- Wall Jump: Fang.
- What the Hell, Player?: Played for Laughs; one of the possible results of continuing after dying is a sequence where the Vikings complain about having to play the level again and admonish the player for their incompetence.
- When I Was Your Age: Thor's rant after you die 16 times in a single level wanders into this. Humorously, the Vikings start questioning parts of the story, to Thor's irritation.