Bring me to the main page   Bring me to the reviews index

Valhalla And The Lord Of Infinity -logo

H Valhalla And The Lord Of Infinity ere is a novelty. The ‘first ever Amiga speech adventure’ follows the fortunes of a little chap called the Prince of Valhalla who has vowed to wreak his revenge on the evil Lords of Infinity, who have destroyed his father’s kingdom.

The action is viewed from a top-down perspective, with the prince looking up to you for guidance and to pass brief details about the objects he sees or collects.
The game features four levels of puzzles, traps and unusual characters, but it is the speech samples which really set the game apart – instead of having reams of text cluttering up the screen, Valhalla actually talks to you in a cutesy voice about everything that happens in the game.

In spite of this initial promise, Valhalla is a pig to play. The basic problem is that virtually all the rooms on each level are filled with unseen traps and even the odd scrap of map cannot save you from frequent inexplicable deaths.
This means you spend more time shuttling between the Load/Save Game screen and the main game area than actually playing the thing itself. Worse, for a speech adventure the game offers precious little in the way of useful information and – along with the frequent deaths and cumbersome controls – leaves you angry, frustrated and utterly bored. Avoid.
Rob Mead

Amiga Format, Issue 61, July 1994, p.55

VALHALLA
PROGRAMMERS
Paul Hale Carrington and Lisa Tunnah
PUBLISHER
Vulcan Software 0705 670269
PRICE
£29.99
RELEASED
Friday 1 July 1994

Valhalla is hard disk installable

23%


Valhalla And The Lord Of Infinity -logo

Vulcan Software bringt sich mit einer simplen, aber originellen Neuerung im wahrsten Sinne des Wortes ins Gespräch: Hier beglückt man die Abenteurergemeinde mit dem ersten sprechenden Adventure-Helden!

M Valhalla And The Lord Of Infinity it seinem vor anderthalb Jahren für den PC erschienenen Namensvetter hat dieses Spiel gottlob nur den Titel gemeinsam, hier geht es um Knatsch bei der Thronfolge: Garamond, Valhallas tugendhafter Landesvater in spe, wird vom bösen Bruder Infinity im Geschwisterkrieg getötet, worauf das propere Fantasy-Königreich finsteren Zeiten entgegenblickt – alle Hoffnungen ruhen nun auf dem Spieler in Gestalt von Garamonds Sohn...

Der kleine Prinz (das Heldensprite wirkt tatsächlich wenig heldenhaft, wie es da aus der Froschposition zum Meister vor Monitor aufblickt) wird nun per Joystick durch relativ kleine Bildausschnitte der überwiegend gräulich-grauen Abenteuerlandschaften dirigiert, die sich in Draufsicht präsentieren. Dabei strotzt der Retter der Gegerbten förmlich vor Tatendrang, den er in Form diverser Aktionen über zwei kombinierte Iconleisten am oberen und unteren Screenrand ausleben kann. Und auf den Mund gefallen ist er recht nicht: Jede Tätigkeit wird mittels Digistimmchen nett kommentiert, der Spieler bleibt also bezüglich seiner (Miß-) Erfolge nie im unklaren – egal, ob man nun einen Schlüssel aufklaubt und gleich am nächstbesten Schloß ausprobiert oder eine versteckte Karte entdeckt, stets hat Prinz Naseweis ein Statement abzugeben.

Hat man sich erst mal an die Micky-Maus-Stimme gewöhnt, versteht man die Texte auch recht gut, brauchbare Englischkenntnisse natürlich vorausgesetzt. Und so quatscht bzw. Schlägt sich unser Zwerg also durch vier umfangreiche Levels, in denen es neben allerlei Hebeln und Geheimfächern auch hinterlistig brüchtige Bodenplatten bzw. Fallgruben gibt. Da der Tod somit quasi zum Leben gehört, ist natürlich eine Save-funktion vorhanden, genau wie die genretypischen Items, welche erst gefunden und dann an richtiger Stelle eingesetzt werden müssen. Dabei wird das auf neun plätze begrenzte Inventory leider oft zum Hemmschuh, wenn erst mal ein Gegenstand abgelegt werden muß, um Raum für neue Fundstücke zu schaffen. Die angemessen schwierigen Rätsel sind zwar meist recht logisch aufgebaut, aber dennoch nicht im Schnellgang lösbar – schon weil der Blaublüter zwar witzig animiert wurde, aber nicht allzu flott über den Screen dackelt.

Schade also, daß die Grafik gar so trist ausgefallen ist, ein paar Farbtupfer mehr hätten hier wahre Wunder bewirkt. Doch letzten Endes vermag auch die an sich lobenswerte und sicher noch ausbaufähige Idee eines „stimmgewaltigen“ Helden nicht darüber hinwegzutäuschen, daß Valhalla wenig mehr als ein biederes Actionadventure ist. Alles recht nett und ordentlich, aber meilenweit von genialen Klassikern wie etwa "Cadaver" entfernt... (ms)

Amiga Joker, August 1994, p.21

VALHALLA & THE
LORD OF INFINITY
(VULCAN SOFTWARE)
HÖR-SPIEL
68%
"GESPRÄCHIG"
Amiga Joker
GRAFIK
ANIMATION
MUSIK
SOUND-FX
HANDHABUNG
DAUERSPAß
60%
64%
62%
79%
72%
68%
FÜR ANFÄNGER
PREIS DM 79,-
SPEICHERBEDARF
DISKS/ZWEITFLOPPY
HD-INSTALLATION
SPEICHERBAR
DEUTSCH
1 MB
6/JA
JA
JA
NEIN


Valhalla And The Lord Of Infinity -logo

Is this really where all heroic Vikings went? We think not.

Game: Valhalla and the Lord of Infinity
Runs on: A500, A600, A1200
Publisher: Vulcan Software
Authors: Lisa Tunnah, Paul Carrington
Price: £29.99
Release: Out now

H Valhalla And The Lord Of Infinity ere are just a few short arguments to support the continuation of strict gun control laws in Britain:
1. One out of every three police cars has been adapted to carry firearms. An armed policeman can be on the scene in less than 30 minutes. The general public do not need weapons to defend themselves.
2. Tight control on existing firearms makes it hard for criminal elements to get their hands on untraceable weapons.
3. I was forced to play this game. It is my job. Installing it onto a hard drive was no problem, and I thought it would save me the hassle of swapping the seven disks around. I found that I could not jump past the intro, but there again, you always watch the intro on your first play of a game. You watch a little kid walk onto the screen, his flyway hair bobbing around in an exaggerated manner. He stares up at you (it is a top down adventure throughout, did I mention that?) and starts to talk.

I’M SCARED
He explains that his dad used to be a top king, but his big brother (the unbelievably named Lord of Infinity) took over in a bloody revolt that left the squeaky-clean monarch dead. So now he has come of age and returned from exile to avenge his father’s death. Seeing as how he looks remarkably like a certain ‘spoilt’ character from Viz, and he speaks in an annoyingly pre-pubescent squeak, I found his boasts of maturity to be a tad misleading.

So blah blah badguy, blah blah castle, blah blah quest. It is one of those dungeon romps isn’t it? This time, this hook is that (gosh!) the child speaks. "I’m scared", he informs you from time to time, which is a bit crap considering his previous statements about righting wrongs and destroying evil. "It won’t fit", he repeats, time after time after time as you wander aimlessly around trying to find something, anything, that the keys will fit. If you see a book and look at it, he informs you: "it’s a book." If you see him pick it up, he tells you: "I’ve got it." No, really?

GIVE ME BLOOD
You amble through four levels pulling levers, picking up torn pieces of paper that say things like "if you want to survive, you have got to look out for the..." and generally try and find keys that fit the doors, which curiously enough look exactly like barrels. It is barren, it is empty and I did not run into any other living thing all the time I played it.

I’VE GOT IT
All this is irrelevant, because after 20 minutes, you will only be aware of one thing, which is the number of times you die. Have you read Kangaroo Court on the news pages yet? Well do so, because it is all about how crap games are made harder by instant and unavoidable death. In this game, if you move onto the wrong floor tile, you die. It does not wobble and give you a second to jump off or anything, you just die. Now in some levels, the danger areas are obviously marked by cracks or hinge lines, but in others the pits are identical to the solid floor, and seeing as many rooms have only a single safe path through, gameplay is reduced to moving, saving the game, moving, falling your death, reloading the saved game, and so on.

So what is all of this got to do with gun control? Well, the thing is that I love guns. I admire their flawlessly functional lines, their engineering and their power, and if someone stuffed a Browning Hi-Power in my hand right now after I have played this all day, there is a good chance I would go out and do very Bad Things with it. I really am that wound up.
CAM WINSTANLEY

Amiga Power, Issue 39, July 1994, p.66



"His dad used to be a top king"


Upper UPPERS Nice graphics, good sound. Great hear.
Downer DOWNERS Pretty much the rest of the game.

THE BOTTOM LINE
No matter how much you like adventures, no matter how intrigued you are by a talking game, no matter how much money you have got, do not waste any of it on this. it looks great, but so what? It is boring.
19

P E R C E N T

THE BOTTOM LINE

A1200 Equally pretty, but do not let that fool you. Listen to us. We know best.



Valhalla And The Lord Of Infinity -logo CU Amiga Screen Star

Vulcan Software have created the world's first talking adventure. Tony Dillon discovers that it's just like having your own friend.

Valhalla And The Lord Of Infinity Things have changed drastically since the good old days of the Castle Valhalla. Once the land was ruled by a fair king, with his son the Prince by his side. However, not everyone was happy. The King's brother, otherwise known as the Lord Of Infinity wanted the throne, and as time went on, he became more and more obsessed about it, until one day he killed the King and took his place. The young Prince escaped and went into hiding, while the Lord Of Infinity slowly took over the land.
That was then, and this is now as the song goes, and the young Prince has come of age. He has returned to the castle to reclaim his rightful place on the throne. However, he's still only a little fellow, and not the brightest of lads. As a result he needs you to guide him through the rooms of his previous home to stake his claim. A simple plot, and some might even say it's a little twee, but it sets the scene for a ground breaking piece of software because Valhalla is the world's first floppy disk-based talking adventure.

OOOH…
Yes, it might sound a little far fetched, but Valhalla is one hell of a game. Viewed from above rather than via the now traditional Lucasarts side on view, you have to walk the young Prince around the castle, solving logical puzzles in order to open the gate at the end to the next level. On paper that sounds considerably easier than it actually is in practice, but then you'll know that if you've played this month's coverdisk.
Most of the adventure is based upon picking up objects and using them in certain locations, essentially pairing up items to create new ones, which are then used to open doors, reveal traps or just solve other puzzles. The trick to the game is making the connection between objects. Everyone knows that you use a key in a door, but what do you do with the Eye Of The Beholder? Earlier on in the level you will have passed the Water Of Beauty, so it shouldn't be too difficult to work out what to do with the Eye Of The Beholder. (Hint: "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder...")

YOU LITTLE...
Valhalla And The Lord Of Infinity There are only four levels to the castle, but even so this has to be one of the largest adventures ever released. To give you some idea of the sheer size of the levels, the area you can see on screen at any one time is five tiles wide by five tiles deep. The actual map size is around 100 tiles across by a 100 tiles deep! Even if you were only visiting each location once there's still 400 screens per level to visit, and that's even before you've started to do any puzzle solving.
One of the nice things about this game is the fact that, although its huge, you can get straight into it without even glancing at a manual. The controls have been designed so that you spend as little time as possible figuring out how to do something and more time thinking of what to do with an object.
Moving the joystick in one of the four main joystick directions makes the character walk in that direction, and pressing the fire button brings up the very simple menu, containing only five icons. With these you can look at an object, pick up/drop it, use it on the object directly in front of the character and load/save the game. The icons are intelligent enough to work out what you mean when you 'operate' an item, for example if you operate a key and you're in front of a door, it will open the door for you, provided it's the correct key.
If you've already played the coverdisk demo this issue, then you're probably already sold on the idea of an adventure that talks to you. It's such a simple idea, but it works so well. Basically, all Vulcan have done is take out the little text messages you usually get in a game, like "It's a key" and "I can't do that", and replaced them with samples of the main character saying it. Although this shouldn't make really make very much difference to the actual adventure itself, it adds a whole new level of character to the game.
After a while, and I know this sound soppy, but you really get to like the little guy. He really does have his own sense of humour, although he does start to get cocky as the game develops. On the first level, for example, he'll tell you that he's scared whenever he open s a door. On the second level, he'll tell you that he's not really scared. On the third level he'll tell you that he's raring to go, and as for the last level, well I wouldn't want to spoil the surprise.
That said, the end sequence is of the most tear-jerkingly, heart-rending pieces of animation ever seen in a game. But you'll have to get there yourself if you want to know what happens.

BEAUTY
The game comes on six disks. which you might think would create all sorts of problems when running from floppy disk. Not at all, I say. The first two disks contain the entire game, which is loaded and held in memory from the start. The last four disks contain the speech for each level, and are only accessed when some thing is said. All the phrases are quite short, so the lag between selecting an icon and the Prince speaking to you is just under a second. When running from hard drive, the lag is unnoticeable. As the saved game files are saved on the speech disks you don't even swop disks when saving your position!
Although the premise is quite simple, the actual adventure is extremely taxing. After playing it for a week and a half I managed to get through the first level, and the second looks like it will take twice as long. And as for the later levels? Most of the puzzles are logical enough, provided you have all the information to make a logical guess. Very nicely presented, and extremely well written, Valhalla And The Lord Of Infinity is a game that will make Vulcan Software a household name and very rich to boot.

CU Amiga, July 1994, p.p.68-69

VERY DEEP
To give you some idea of how puzzle-deep the game is, here's the first few puzzles from level one, and the area they are played in. First of all, you are faced with a grill, a carnivore's head, a chest and a locked door. Looking around the room you spy a small hole in the files on the floor. Operating the hole opens it, revealing a chicken leg. If you pick it up and try to feed it to the carnivore, it isn't interested. So you drop it on the grill, at which point It turns brown. Collecting it from the grill, you try it on the carnivore again who accepts it this time and opens the door for you.
And all this happens on an area of the level no bigger than the screen. Not all puzzles are of this size though. Many are spread all over the level, and you may well find an object on the opposite side of the level to where it is meant to be used.

VULCAN SOFTWARE £25.99
A500
A1500
A500+
A2000
A600
A3000
A1200
A4000
VULCAN SOFTWARE, 72 QUEENS ROAD, BUCKLAND, PORTSMOUTH, HANTS P02 TNA. TEL:0705 670269
 
RELEASE DATE:
GENRE:
TEAM:
CONTROLS:
NUMBER OF DISKS:
NUMBER OF PLAYERS:
HARD DISK INSTALL:
MEMORY:
JULY
ADVENTURE
PAUL CARRINGTON (CODING, GFX), LISA TUNNAH (DESIGN)
JOYSTICK
6
1
YES
1Mb
GRAPHICS
SOUND
LASTABILITY
PLAYABILITY
86%
95%
92%
88%
The most innovative adventure since Monkey Island.
OVERALL: 90%