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File:Lostvikings.png

 Erik: If I bash one more wall right now, my head will explode!

Olaf: I got dibs on his helmet.

Baleog: Okay, but I get his boots.

Erik: It's great to have such good friends.

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 (developed by the team that would later become Blizzard Entertainment, released for the SNES in 1992, and later ported to other systems) 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 of it.

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). 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 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 series also contains a Shout-Out or two to Blizzard's more famous series, Warcraft, which later returned the favor.


This game provides examples of:

  • 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.
  • Adaptation Expansion: The Genesis version has six levels the Super Nintendo one doesn'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.
  • 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?

Baleog: No one else in videogames wonders about that stuff.

  • 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.
  • 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 Eric 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.
  • 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.
  • Floating in A Bubble: One of the obstacles encountered in the first game.
  • Gang Plank 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."

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