Players: 1 Player Game | Release Date: 03/30/03 | Genre: Puzzle
In the days of games that totally capture the movie going experience like The Getaway, every once in a while it is nice to retreat back to a game that reminds you of the earlier days of gaming. The Lost Vikings on the GBA is one such game that gives weary eyes a respite from the never ending clamor of bullets or destruction from the newest games out there.
In the re-release of the successful Blizzard game, you play as Erik, Baleog, and Olaf, three errant Vikings who have been transported from their home into a maze of themed levels attempting to get home. Each Viking has a different ability to aid them on their arduous quest, of which you must take full advantage to complete a level. Erik can jump, run, and smash through many a wall. Baleog is the offensive force in the group, armed with a bow and arrow, and Olaf is the defender, sporting a shield which not only serves as a barrier between the other two and all enemies, but is also a handy platform on which Erik can jump to reach high places. Darn the short statured Nordics.
With their powers combined... oh, wrong characters. When the three of these guys get together, and probably with a little death and trial and error thrown in, they can eventually get home. While there is nothing particularly spectacular about The Lost Vikings, it is a truly satisfying experience when after dying for ten times, you finally complete a level.
The graphics are nothing to shout about, not even testing the limits of the GBA. However, they do hearken back to a day when it was all about playing the game, and not gaining visual at the cost of the game play. Having been originally released on the SNES, the game screams old school. But if it weren't for old school, where would we be now? Each level has a different theme and the themes are played out only in the background. Suspiciously, the same enemies appear in a space ship, Egypt, atop some giant trees and in caves.
The gameplay is simple in nature, but sometimes difficult in execution. To send the Vikings home, you must make it through 37 levels of increasing difficulty in which you must interchangeably use the three Vikings. You switch between characters using the R or L toggles, but when you abandon one character to take advantage of another's abilities, that Viking will remain where he was. You must be careful not to leave him in a position of peril or even potential danger because when you return to him,
he might just be a pile of bones. My favorite advantage of the newest version of this Blizzard classic is that it takes advantage of the battery save. This means no more writing down heinous codes to get your Vikings back onto the previous level on a restart. And because the game can sometimes take a while to get through a level, you might just have to take this game in 37 different sittings.
The Lost Vikings is a great game to run to when the all encompassing experiences of the newest games today are just a little too realistic or tiring. It is a great game to just lean back in a recliner and spend a couple of hours getting lost.... literally.