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The Lost Vikings

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Released: 1993

Genre: Puzzle

Format reviewed: SNES

Publisher: Interplay Entertainment

Developer: Silicon & Synapse

Submitted by: James Langstone

One of the few puzzle games I enjoyed in my early gaming years, The Lost Vikings took all that was great about a SNES platforming game and spliced it with a puzzler.  This on paper seems like a recipe for disaster yet what we got was something with the visual appeal of a child’s cartoon, mixed in with some serious brain bending puzzles for the older gamer of the time.  This was a hallowed middle game that since then and today has seldom been met by other games.

Keeping things simple the game starts with three Vikings named Erik, Baleog and Olaf hunting in their village.  When one night they are captured by an alien by the name Tomator who plans to put them in his intergalactic zoo.  Upon their escape the three become lost in time and must make their way back through varying time zones.  Adding in some humours written dialogue at the end of each stage and keeping the controls simple, the game could focus more on its clever puzzles.

Taking the abilities found in other games that were usually bestowed upon a single protagonist and splitting them among three.  This where the games genius yet simple design can be best located!  Erik is the only player who can jump and also has access to a dash attack, Baleog can use his sword and bow to attack as well as hit switches at a distance.  Leaving Olaf and his shield as the only one who can repel attacks and projectiles whilst being able to keep the others safe as well.  Simple in design the game soon takes these base elements and weaves them into the smallest details of the later puzzles.  Going from easy and fun, to extreme and deadly over the course of the game!

The Lost Vikings is one of those rare instances where two opposing things come together in order to make something great.  Being one of the few games that has genuine appeal to all ages of gamer.

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