The Lost Vikings logo

By Odin's elbow! It's time to kiss Brunhilda goodbye, clamber aboard your longboat and let out a beserker's bloodcurdling bellow: "Rape and pillage! With the Lost Vikings!"

The Norse culture has always been a great mystery to me. There are elements of their lives that I find bizarre, to say the least. I do speak from experience as well. I have a mate who is half Norwegian and he's an odd kettle of fish. Always running around half naked shouting "elske!" and "toske!"

I mean, let's examine the facts. Vikings were allegedly this bunch of ale swilling, debaucherous roughneck, sex maniac marauders. OK. We'll take it that that bit's true. Why the hell did they have to sail around the known world to carry out their bawdy hell-raising?
What I'm getting at is, why bother sailing to monasteries to interfere with the monks' tranquility when they could just as well stay at home with their own womenfolk? Everybody the world over knows the reputation that the nubile Nordic naughties have for beauty.
I guess that this will remain one of the universe's unanswered questions until time immemorial, so with a Kenneth Williams-type "Ooohhh! No matron!", I shall return to the plot.

The Lost Vikings has its origins set in the lands of the midnight sun. Its stars are three Viking brothers, who interestingly enough, are not away raping and pillaging.
Instead, they are home for the much celebrated Autumn festival - which is a bit like Glastonbury with no police, and subsequently much better.

HURDY-GURDY
Anyway, the highlight of this Pgan pastime is the hunt. Here, our three heroes have the chance to excel of their particular skills - which is a good enough reason for the loading screen and also shows Joe Public what our little Scandi-friends are capable of.

However, we're not the only ones privy to the Vikings' acts of physical dexterity. For, high above the fjords, intergalactic zoo-keeper Johnny Morris lookalike Tomator lurks.

Being the villain of the piece, Tomator is on the look out for fresh specimens. Seeing the prowess of our boys, he decides they'd go down a treat in his alien menagerie.

So being a thoroughly nasty piece of work, Tomator proceeds to kidnap the Trondheim trio. Gasp! That's not the plot is it?
Why, yes. Steeped in Norse mythology that one, eh? Well so it's yet another cheesy, silly plot. But before I pass judgement too hastily, let's meet the hurdy-gurdy boys.

The first thing I should say about the chaps is that they're brothers. The fact that they appear to bear no resemblance to one another, apart from full beards and spiky helmets, is beyond me.

The oldest of the trio is Baleog the Fierce. He's 25, fierce and according to the manual has an underwear fetish. Perhaps he should consider changing his name to Baleog the Frilly.
No, seriously. His particular skills lie in the swordmanship department and he's also quite handy with a bow. He knows no fear, is somewhat of a bighead and likes to flex his muscles - that would explain the underwear!

Next from the halls of Valhalla comes Olaf the Stout. Guess what? Olaf's the fatty of the three. He's jovial, fat, steadfast, tubby, and a stalwart in battle with an appetite for adventure almost as large as for a Danish - beer or pastries?
Olaf's talents lie in the defence department. He does a sterling job of blocking the enemies and their shots.

Last but by no means least is the youngest of the lads, Erik. Erik or Erik the Swift as I should call him, is the nippy one of the bunch. He is the self-proclaimed leader of the pack, possesses speed and agility, and can't half put the nut on things if he's in the mood.

So, you're probably sitting there thinking to yourself: "This is all very nice, but what's this character profile bit got to do with anything?" Well, bear with me and all will be revealed.

Having been kidnapped and zipped into a time vortex, your task is to control Sweden's answer to Aha on a bid to destroy Tomator and return home.
Now the game is definitely platform-oriented, but it has to be said that Lost Vikings is subtly different to many of the same genre. This is where my character profile link may appear to begin to have some relevance. You see the crux to success in Lost Vikings relies on teamwork.

Your three Norsemen must be controlled simultaneously to work your way around the traps, puzzles and nasties which occupy the levels. For example, Olaf - being the shield-bearer - absorbs all the incoming attacks from the level inhabitants, thus protecting his brothers.
Meanwhile Baleog can utilise his trusty bow and reign arrows down on the foe, while still safe from harm.

HANDY NOGGIN
Eric on the other hand comes into his own when performing jumps over obejcts. He is also adept at reaching artifacts otherwise out of reach, and his noggin comes in extremely handy for smashing walls apart.

Control of your three heroes sounds as though it should be tough, but it's far from it. The joystick controls their particular skills and toggling between characters is but a touch of the keyboard away - as is using items and operating levers and switches.

There's a fair amount of humour involved in Vikings. The boys take every opportunity to bicker with each other, in a very brotherly way. They also like to chew the fat with some of the more happy-go-lucky characters around.
Another nice little humorous touch is that after eating an item the boys let out a nice sampled belch - shot lads!

There are tons of levels divided into six worlds varying from the hi-tech spacecraft through to primeval dinosaur-infested lands, ancient Egypt and other bizarre places.
Your ultimate aim of course is to kill Tomator. This is easier said than done as he's one well 'ard sucker!

The level graphics are pretty enough, although the backdrops on some levels seem to be non-existent. I can only imagine it was a very dark, starless night when the boys did their adventuring stint.
However, animation of the Norse nut-jobs is really nicely done. All three characters have definite personalities which come across to the player really effectively. They all perform idiosyncratic acts, particular to themselves while they are not in use.

On the whole they come across as a half decent bunch and probably worth swigging a couple of pints of grog with.

On the macabre side, there are some pretty cool animations when your characters meet with an untimely demise. Whether it's impaled on a stalagmite or frazzled in a forcefield, it's off to Valhalla to meet Thor.
The problem with this is that having lost one of the brothers it's impossible to complete the level. Fortunately on completion of a level you get an access code so it's not all doom and gloom.

Overall, Lost Vikings is a very playable platform puzzler. It has fairly unique qualities, and it makes a pleasant change to have to protect and nurture three characters.
Instead of your bog standard multi-talented Sonic-type chappie, these Scandie geezers have strengths and weaknesses. This makes for much more interesting play having to work out who is best suited to get past difficult traps.

I've never been a great fan of arcade adventures, but in this case I have to say in my best Jimmy Swaggart voice "Lord! I've seen the light!"
I have to say I'm pretty addicted to this particular merging of puzzles and arcade frolics. So, as Norway's (well Iceland's close enough for my bad joke) greatest troll, Magnus Magnusson would say, "I've started so I'll Finnish..."


Norse to see you, to see you Norse!

Age: 25
Height: 6ft 0in
Weight: 220 lbs
Equipment: Bow, infinite arrows, sword, butch moustance, macho attitude
Speciality: Fighting, chopping, general violence
Favourite Female: The blonde one in Abba

The Lost Vikings

Age: 19
Height: 5ft 8in
Weight: 160 lbs
Equipment: Spring loaded feet, concrete cranium
Speciality: Jumping, head-butting
Favourite Female: The other one in Abba

The Lost Vikings

Age: 23
Height: 6ft 2in
Weight: 320 lbs
Equipment: Shield, large belly, silly laugh
Speciality: Being fat and blocking everything
Favourite Female: Bella Emburg (sounds Scandinavian enough)

The Lost Vikings


The Lost Vikings logo

Vikings lost in space! Strange, but true in this game. But how can you help the hairy long boat paddlers find their way home? It is all in the puzzles...

You know the saying, 'there is comedy in numbers' (or something like that), well it holds true if you cast your mind back to the great double acts of our time: Laurel and Hardy, Abbot and Costello, Morecombe and Wise, Sapphire and Steel. And three can be funny too. The Three Stooges, Three of a Kind, The Andres Sisters - oh well, maybe three is a difficult number to work with and be funny, unless you are three Norse-men lost in space. Which brings us to Interplay's new cute puzzler cum platform game.

Vikings are the central characters in this port from the SNES to the Amiga. The plot is fairly irrelevant - some alien Geezer, Tomator, has vikingapped three lovable dudes who go by the name of Olaf the Stout, Baelog the Fierce and Erik the Swift. Oh yes it is all very Norse-like isn't it? Well no actually, because all the action starts and ends on Tomator's spaceship, and throughout play there is not a long boat in sight. Which I am pleased to see, 'cos I cannot bear all that raping and pillaging.

It is a team game
Teamwork is the name of this game, since you have to get all three of your clan to the exit in each level. And each Viking has his own special skill which aids the other two in reaching the end. Olaf is a fat big slow lump who carries a Captain America-style shield which is handy for deflecting alien firepower and using as a sort of parachute; Bealog is the fighter of the gang, and carries a sword to slice up enemies and a bow and arrow which can be used to flick otherwise unreachable switches; finally there is Erik who moves like greased lightning and can leap and jump about like a frog on ecstasy - oh yes and he is great at nutting walls and making them fall down too.

The Lost Vikings is in a very similar vein to Humans and even Lemmings. Each level has its quota of platforms, ladders, trapdoors, secret keys, weapon wielding baddies, special switches and it is up to you to try and fathom your way out of each tricky puzzle.

What Interplay have done which Mirage did not with Humans, though, is make you become attached to Olaf and co. Each Viking has its own mannerisms - Olaf will pick his nose while holding off hordes of aliens with his shield, Baelog will stand around flexing his muscles and sharpening his sword, and Erik will pant away breathless after dashing about.

Throughout the levels there is a great rapport between them, their bickering is Stooge-like - as their speech bubbles crop up at the start and end of each level, they will have a natter or whinge at you if you take too long to complete a level - smatterings of Monkey Island methinks! All this makes you a tad upset if one of them falls and splats on a spike, or gets burnt by a flame thrower, thus making you more determined to get it right the next time.

So what is bad about this game? Well there is not up with the gameplay, and the soundtrack speeds you along at a fair old rate, and the game makes you chuckle too with some excellent characterisation. What is bad, though, is some sloppy programming - many is a time when Olaf should be daintily perched on the end of a platform and in actual fact he is hanging in mid air. This is frustrating when you are trying to time your pixel-perfect moves.

VFM?
The price is high too - for £29.99, 37 levels is not much cop considering the number of levels you get with other games. And my final gripe is it takes ages to reload the level once you have messed it up - and you are bound to do this (especially on the later ones, because they are tricky) since there is not a 'browse through' function like there is in Lemmings.

So have a copy of Amiga Format ready for a good read while loading, otherwise you will go blimmin' barmy. In fact always have a copy of AF ready - it is FAB, much like this game, but the poor loading and lack of levels lets it down.



The Lost Vikings logo Amiga Joker Hit

Interplay kennt man als Schöpfer klassischen Denksports wie "Battle Chess" oder die "Bard's Tale Saga" - was also kann man da von einem Plattformgame erwarten? Ganz einfach: Unterhaltung vom Feinsten!

Die verlorenen Wikinger vereinen nämlich alle Tugenden höherer Joystick-Akrobatik auf sich, von der Arcade-Knobelei à la "Humans" bis hin zu reinrassiger Plattform-Action im Stil von "Mario" - kein Wunder, daß sie demnächst auch den PC und diverse Konsolen heimsuchen wollen. Jetzt dürfen aber wir Amigianer mit Erik, Olaf und Baleog Bekanntschaft schließen.

Die Jungs sind ganz gewöhnliche Wikinger wie Du und ich und gehen auch brav ihren Raubzügen nach, bis sie eines Tages auf ein mysteriöses Raumschiff teleportiert werden. Verständlich, daß sich unser Trio hier fehl am Platze fühlt und baldmöglichst zurück in die gewohnte Holzhütte will.

Also wird zunächst einmal der Ausgang des Raumers gesucht, wobei man jederzeit zwischen den drei Hauptdarstellern wechseln und so die Vorteile jedes Charakters nützen kann: Erik ist ein meisterlicher Hüpfer und zertrümmert mit seinem hammerharten Schädel jede (poröse) Wand, Olaf macht den schützenden Schildträger, während der clevere Baleog als einziger in der Lage ist, Türen zu öffnen oder Zugbrücken zu bedienen - kurz, Teamwork ist angesagt.

Gegenstände aufklauben (vier pro Mann und Nase) ist freilich genauso angesagt, denn wer mag schon auf energiespendene Steaks oder Hindernissprengende Bomben verzichten? Auf Gegner möchten die Programmierer ebenfalls nicht verzichten, und so knabert man hier nicht nur an (vom Schwierigkeitsgrad her goldrichtigen) Rätselnüssen und absolviert Geschicklichkeitstests, sondern erwehrt sich mittels Pfeil und Bogen oder Schwert auch allerliebst gestalteten Monstern wie etwa Knuddel-Drachen.

Die rund drei Dutzend Levels laufen schier über von guten Ideen und ständig neuen Herausforderungen, darüber hinaus kommt auch der Humor nicht zu kurz: Wenn man z.B. Erik per Blasebalg aufpumpt und er an die Decek schwebt, oder wenn Baleog funkenstiebend an der Starkstrom-Leitung hängt, sieht das wirklich lustig aus!

Überhaupt sieht hier alles gut aus, von den Hauptdarstellern über die Feindsprites bis hin zu den in jedem Level wechselnden Hintergrundszenarien. Das Scrolling in alle Himmelsrichtungen könnte kaum zarter sein, die Musikbegleitung geht sofort in die Beine, und viele Aktionen werden von witzigen Sound-FX begleitet.

Eigentlich fehlt hier wirklich nichts, was ein gutes Game ausmach - die Duo-Option für zwei Wikinger hintereinander ebensowenig wie versteckte Bonusräume oder ein deutschsprachige Help-Funktion, die Anfängern bei den ersten Rätseln auf die Sprünge hilft.

Der langen Rede kurzer Sinn: Mit Lost Vikings haben die Interplay-Barden einen Höhepunkt der derzeitigen Hüpfomania am Amiga abgeliefert, wie er ausgefeilter und motivierender auf keiner Konsole zu finden ist! (rl)



The Lost Vikings logo

The platform-puzzling saga of Erik the Swift, Baleog the Fierce and Olaf the Stout - three naughty Norsemen a long way from home.

Vikings were Scandinavian adventurers who spent most of the time between the eight and eleventh centuries raping, pillaging and generally causing a right old mess all over Europe. You're now expecting me to go into gratuitous humorous anecdote concerning Vikings and what they got up to, but instead I'm going to tell you a far more interesting fact, something told to me by our Production Editor Dave Green this very morning.

Did you know that the word Viking is the ONLY word in the English language ending in '-ing' which doesn't signify an action (that is, it's not a verb). (Anyone who contests this fact should send their entries to Dave Green at the usual AP address, marked "Are you sure you're qualified to do that job, Dave?").

For those of you intrigued to know what a Production Editor actually does (and that includes the rest of us here in the office), it seems to consist mainly of being incredibly pedantic at times when he is not required to be, gratuitously swearing at everyone in the last few days before the issue deadline and calling everyone a girl, regardless of their actual gender.

If you're interesting in becoming a Production Editor, all you need (it would seem) is an unreasonable degree of irony peppering in your conversation ALL THE TIME and the most outrageous laugh since the laughing policeman hit the helium and went to see an evening of classic comedy at his local cinema while being tickled on the foot with a gigantic feather.

While we're on the subject of the AMIGA POWER staff, I'd just like to promote the talents of our Art Editor, Jacquie Spanton. She is responsible for making the magazine look so good (along with Lisa of course) and she doesn't get the credit she deserves - Hurrah for Jacquie.

Just look at the wonderful link she's put together on this page. Things like this often go unrewarded and poor old Jacquie also has the misfortune of having to sit next to Dave Green, our Production Editor, and put up with his tedious and obnoxious behaviour all day. And actually Dave, what about 'Thing' and 'String'? Those are two words which end in '-ing' and are not verbs. So you're wrong aren't you?


One of the most original games we've seen

Ahem. Anyway, I'm here to review The Lost Vikings. It concerns the fate of three Vikings, Erik the Swift, Baleog the Fierce and Olaf the Stout. They've all had a great day at the hunt and are generally feeling good about themselves when they retire for the evening. Howeger, that night a mysterious spaceship descends and kidnaps all three of them while they sleep.

It's an evil zookeeper (like Dave) who wants specimens of Earth beings for his intergalactic zoo, and he's chosen these three lucky Viking guys as perfect examples of their species.

You start the game with the Vikings on board the space ship, all totally unaware of what's going on, where they are and what they can do about it. It's your task to then guide them through 37 levels and lead them to safety.

What this translates into is one of the most original games we've seen for a while here at the AP offices. You see, each character has certain skills peculiar to him and no other - Erik is speedy, can jump over gaps and also bash down certain walls by running at them with his head. Baleog is the fighter, capable of destroying monsters using either his sword or bow and arrow. And Olaf carries a shield which can deflect the attacks of baddies as well as act as a hang glider and handy platform to reach higher levels.

The game itself is a platform-puzzler. It's full of carefully worked-out conundrums which require thoughtful consideration of which particular character, or combination of characters, are required at each obstacle.

You control one Viking at a time, which brings us to the control system, one of the few niggles I have about the game. There's quite a lot t actually access - each Viking ahs two moves, each can carry four objects which can be swapped between the others and used whenever suitable, and of course you have to decide which Viking you want to control.

As you can no doubt guess, it's inevitable that they keyboard has to come into this somehow. Even if you control the characters using the joystick, you'll still spend most of your time on the keyboard, which led me to experiment a little to find the most comfortable way of working.


The characters are delightfully funny

I must say that unless you're negotiating a particularly tricky set of jumps or extended arcade-y bit, playing the game entirely with the keyboard is probably the best option. The problem is that they're not the best laid out keyboard controls I've seen. Keys S, D and F control the Viking's abilities. Why? They don't seem at all natural. And to guide the Vikings around, you use the numeric keypad which, apart from being less obvious than the cursor keys, means that 600 owners are stuffed (they'll have to use the joystick/keyboard combination).

Having said all that, I must say that, despite its flaws, you soon get used to the controls and are so engrossed in the game that any shortcomings are forgotten. It really is a lot of fun, and wonderfully fresh in its approach. It's not a fast-moving game, because a lot of flitting about between characters and solving puzzles is required. The learning curve is very near perfect though, which is what keeps you playing and saying to yourself "I know I can do this bit, I just know it".

We're talking serious addiction here. And charm too. The characters are delightfully funny and really do have well-defined, er, 'character'. They chat to each other while you're playing, have impromptu conversations with Thor the God of Thunder, and if you make too many unsuccessful attempts at a level they talk to you, making comments like "Come on player, we're bored of this level".

The game has infinite continues and a password system which means that you don't have to play the whole thing from the beginning every time, but even with these aids it's going to last you a long while.

The later levels get incredibly tricky, and even when you've solved the puzzles there are still all the tricky platform manoeuvres to get right. There's a huge amount to play through here - the only way you'll get to the end at all 'quickly' is by spending an immense amount of time playing it, which is no bad thing at all.

Okay, so I'm fully into this game, and would recommend it highly, but there's one more niggle before I close. The graphics are very good yes, but this is one of the times I missed a spot of parallax scrolling and more exciting backdrops, surely not difficult to do with a game of this pace. Without the everything tends to look a bit, well, black. It's not a major distraction, but I'm positive that a bit more effort from the authors could easily have integrated some lush backgrounds. Perhaps an enhanced 1200 version could redress the balance.

However, not wishing to end on a low note I'd like to wrap up by saying that The Lost Vikings is a real gem of a game which deserves your undivided attention. There's nothing flash or super-fast and exciting here, but for anyone who likes charming, original games with some depth to them, this is right up their street.


CO-OPERATIVE CONUNDRUM CONNIVING
The Lost Vikings
  1. Here, Erik has the key to lower the bridge, while Olaf does his bit by shielding the other guys. Truly, there is strength in networking.
  2. Now Olaf has to shield the others from this fireball, which leaves Baleog to take on the rolling blue troll, or whatever it is.
  3. Erik's the only one who can jump, so enable the others to get down here he has to destroy this wall.

THREE - IT'S THE MAGIC NUMBER
The Lost Vikings Baleog's bow and arrow is an essential weapon. Hide him behind Olaf to shield him. The Lost Vikings Erik's a real bounder, in fact the only one who can jump thing. It's a very useful skill of course. The Lost Vikings Olaf appears to be incredibly stupid, but is no less useful for it. He can float with his shield.
The Lost Vikings For close-up combat use the trusty sword. A swift chop or two should finish them off. The Lost Vikings He's also very fast, and hence his Viking surname - Swift. His middle name is 'The'. The Lost Vikings And of course shield things with it. All things considered, this is probably his most useful skill.
The Lost Vikings Falling through the air with your sword aloft is not so useful, but it's worth showing anyway. The Lost Vikings Erik can also break down walls and obstacles with his head as a battering ram. The Lost Vikings Oh, and he can put it on his head. Actually this is handy, because it lets him jump higher.


The Lost Vikings logo

Science fiction meets Nordic nasties in Interplay's latest platform-cum-puzzle game. John Mather pulls out his hair in frustration (or what's left of it..)

Take three overweight Vikings, a bunch of intergalactic zoologists and some of the most dastardly tricks and traps ever to appear in a computer game, and you'll get some idea of what awaits you in this zany platform romp. Best described as Lemmings meets Rick Dangerous, The Lost Vikings is set on-board an alien spaceship which doubles up as an intergalactic zoo.

Our heroes, three Viking brothers, have been spirited away from their ancestral homeland and dumped in the cargo hold of this travelling menagerie. Destined to spend the rest of their days in slavery, the tubby trio of warriors set out to conquer their alien zookeeper, the infamous Tomator, and return to their loved ones.

To gain their freedom they have to hack and slash their way through more than 37 levels of platform tom foolery and hair-pulling puzzles. Although fairly easy to begin with, i.e. get key to open door or push switch to deactivate force field, the puzzles get more and more complicated as the game progresses.

Soon, you'll be encountering epic multi-screen extravaganzas that encompass some of the strangest (not to say wackiest) puzzles ever. For instance, one level requires your Nordic heroes to fill themselves full of hot air from a bicycle pump in order to float up to safety. Another episode involves an encounter with a bunch of Egyptian mummies, whose very touch turns you info a bandaged zombie.

DIFFERENT WORLDS
To stop things getting dull, the action is set across a number of worlds, accessed at the end of each stage by guiding our three warriors through a time portal. Thus, although the action starts off on board the alien space ship, you'll soon find yourself stomping across a primeval swamp, encountering Egyptian Mummies and being fired upon by futuristic robots. All these new opponents are some of the other exhibits put together by Tomator, and they're all as mad as hell, so watch out.

Each of the three Vikings has their own special abilities. For instance, Erik the Swift is the fastest of the trio and also has the ability to head-butt his way through a variety of solid objects. Baleog the Beserker, on the other hand, is the weapons expert and possesses both a sword and bow and arrow with which to take out any of the encroaching nasties. The last member of the group, Olaf the Stout, carries a hefty shield, which is useful for protecting the other members of the team when they come under fire. His shield can also be turned info a makeshift parachute when held over his head, useful for gliding down otherwise inaccessible tunnels.

As you've probably gathered, each level is solved by team work and exploiting each Viking's unique abilities to their best advantage. A level is only completed once all three warriors have been guided to the exit point - and it's only by working as a team that you'll be able to get there. For instance, Olaf can hold a charging dinosaur at bay, but it requires Baleog to finish the beast oft with a well-placed blow from his sword.

Likewise, Erik might be able to reach some of the more inaccessible areas of the game by leaping across chasms and darting up platforms, but he really is useless when it comes to defending himself, and so must rely on the other team members to help him out.

There are a number of objects scattered about each level to make life that little bit easier. Food comes in especially useful, as each character only comes equipped with three hit points, so a tasty piece of stake or a juicy apple can replenish your health (and is consumed by a brilliant burping sound).

There are also various keys, smart bombs and weapons to collect along the way, all vital to your speedy progress. These are collected simply walking across the object, which is then stored in an inventory for later use. There are also many hidden objects, so it's best to thoroughly explore each level, just in case you missed something.

CHOICES
You can choose to play the game from the keyboard or by using a combination of keyboard and joystick. The latter method isn't particularly recommended, especially when you have to press a key while also using the joystick at the same time. I eventually switched to keyboard only and found this a much better option. The SNES version of the game wins handsdown in this department, as everything can be controlled via the joypad!

It's likely that comparisons will be made to Lemmings, but The Lost Vikings only bears superficial similarities. One of the things the programmers could have learnt from Psygnosis' puzzler, though, is the special preview mode where you can scroll around a level to see what's coming up and plan your actions in advance.

I found it constantly annoying to have to take a leap into darkness, not knowing what was coming next, and invariably meeting a grisly fate. Once one team member bites the dust, it's back to the start of a level, although first you've got to endure an end sequence of a blazing longboat drifting out to sea - all very nice, but incredibly time consuming and it really disrupts the gameplay.

Thankfully, the game hasn't a time limit, and there are infinite continues and a password system, so it's a more leisurely stroll than most arcade puzzlers, and the difficulty curve is just right. It's just a shame that each level takes so long to load!

A LAUGH A MINUTE
One of the game's most attractive features is the huge amount of incidental humour that's been packed in. Some of the animations used to depict our three barbarians are a hoot, especially the many and varied death scenes. Get electrocuted by a forcefield, and your body turns into a pile of old bones, while tumbling into quicksand means a slow slide to oblivion as you wave a fond farewell.

The humour isn't confined to the graphics and animation, though - at the end of each level the three Vikings always have a pop at each other. Gradually, a story unfolds, and some of the gags are genuinely funny.

The Lost Vikings isn't a perfect game by any means, but it is a lot of fun. Some of the later levels are particularly testing and incredibly devious, obviously the work of some sadistic games designer, and will certainly take some time to complete. Dangerously addictive.


MEET THE GANG 'COS THE BOYS ARE HERE
The Lost Vikings

They've given us Noggin the Nog, Magnus Magnisson and possibly the worst lager in the world. And now we get this lot...

ERIK THE SWIFT
Erik is the swiftest and most agile of the three Vikings which makes him utterly indispensable. He can outrun any enemy and leap high into the air, reaching previously inaccessible areas. He also has a head of stone which he can use to bash open walls and retrieve hidden goodies. Unfortunately, he is also virtually defenceless and is wide open to attack.

BALEOG THE BESERKER
This guy's main weapon is his sword, although he also possesses a bow and arrow which proves ideal for activating switches that are a long distance away. He's the grumpy one of the bunch and will often start off the squabbling that accompanies the end of each level.

OLAF THE STOUT
Olaf's appetite for adventure is rivalled only by his passion for pastries. When not nibbling on some tasty fruit, he can he found sheltering behind an enormous shield. This is handy for stopping an enemy in its path or for deflecting enemy fire. The same shield can be used as a parachute or hang-glider do that he can float long distances without coming to harm. Despite this protective shield, it's not always effective, especially against foes who have jumping capabilities.



The Lost Vikings CD32 logo CD32

Also from Interplay comes The Lost Vikings (£25.99), a cutesy platform game starring three Norsemen called Olaf, Baelog and Erik. Each chap has different skills, but the talents of all three must be used together to complete each of the game's 37 levels - Baelog comes equipped with a sword and is useful for dispatching baddies while Olaf has a shield for deflecting alien fire.

Controlling three chaps at the same time is a little strange at first, but becomes second nature after the first few levels. There are plenty of puzzles and sticky situations for you get yourself into and the constant bickering between the three hairy Norse protagonists keeps you quite amused, for a little while at least.

One major disappointment comes when you see the paucity of Vikings' graphics. Ported straight over from the ordinary Amiga version, the levels lack colour or parallaxing and appear cheesy and dated. The other disappointment is the price. £26 really is too much to pay for what is little more than an average platformer.



The Lost Vikings CD32 logo CD32 Amiga Joker Hit

Interplays lustigen Wikingen kann man es kaum übelnehmen, daß sie beim Sprung von Disk auf CD nur in puncto Handhabung leicht zulegten: Die an "Lemmings" erinnernde Mischung aus flotter Plattform-Action und einer Extraportion Hirntraining konnte technisch, optisch und akustisch bereits anno A500 rundum überzeugen! Das abwechslungsreiche Gameplay macht jede Menge Laune und ist uns nach wie vor 85 Prozent samt einen Hit wert. (rl)