Kick it.
Kick it.

   Lost Vikings is one of those games that's so incredibly quirky gamers will know from the very start whether they'll like it or not. How can you deny its appeal when the whole premise involves Vikings who have been abducted by an alien spacecraft, with some funky hip-hop beats thrown in? Even the instruction booklet is full of wackiness, setting the tone for the game. In the character stats, Erik the Swift's favorite band is listed as Rush (a real groaner there), and Olaf's favorite toy is "Yellow Rubber Duck named Elvis." It also naturally contains the word "fjord," which is always a plus.

   The player (or players) control the three displaced Vikings as they try to make their way home through a series of space/time warps, ending up everywhere from prehistoric Earth to an industrial factory to a land made entirely of candy. Baleog the Fierce is the muscle behind the group, using his sword to vanquish enemies, or his bow and arrow to trigger far off switches and buttons. Olaf the Stout carries a large round shield that blocks enemy attacks and can be used as a stepladder for the other Vikings to stand on, and even functions as a hang glider. Erik the Swift can break down walls by running and bashing into them with his head, and is also the only Viking who can jump.

Baleog clears a path

   They must cooperate to make their way through the levels, and all three of them must reach the exit in order to go on to the next. This gets pretty tricky in later levels, where it may seem one Viking can advance but the others can't, but sometimes there's a trick in the environment. In the factory level, for instance, magnetic cranes can be used to lift Olaf and Baleog over the pits which they can't jump across. In the ancient Egypt level, Baleog has to shoot arrows to knock coconuts out of palm trees to form a bridge across the quicksand.

'Help, Rocky, put me out! I seem to be on fire!' 'Again?'
You don't want to see this too often

   Multi-player action is incredibly useful in this game, since sometimes the timing is a bit close with a single player. For instance, the player might have to trigger one action with one Viking, which drops another Viking into a dangerous situation where they have to instantly trigger a second action. Having a second player can simplify things... as long as you remember to give them control of the screen at the tricky moments. But without teamwork, you're destined to spend an awful lot of time restarting the level.

 Baleog flexes
Baleog flexes mightily

   Later levels in particular usually take a few tries, but the programmers added in plenty of little things to keep gamers from being bored. If you restart the level too many times, the Vikings start discussing how bored they are, or how they feel they've seen this place before. If you let them stand idle while trying to figure a puzzle out, they begin to fidget in rather... interesting ways. That and the between-level dialogue adds humor and personality to the Vikings that most puzzle game characters lack. They poke fun at each other, themselves, the gamers, their enemies, even the things in the game that make no sense, like a waterfall that doesn't appear to have anything holding it up.

   Overall, if you enjoy puzzle games, wackiness, juvenile humor, or combinations of the above, this is a game you should try. Best of all, since the game was released on multiple platforms, there's no need for anyone to have missed out on it. So after the day's hunt, settle back among the fjords with this game, and... well, "kick it."

Retrospective by Andrea Hartmann.
Lost Vikings
Publisher Accolade / Interplay
Genre Puzzle
Medium Cartridge
Platform SNES
Released 1992
Transcripts and passwords
15 screen shots
Manual artwork