The original Lost Vikings was a surprise to everyone. The name was kind of goofy, the gameplay was strange, and yet somehow it was still fun to play. Typically when a company has a surprise hit like this, it's quick to make a sequel and cash in on the hype. Fortunately Interplay has instead decided to surprise the gaming community again by putting out a solid action-puzzle title that is not only good, but in fact, far superior to its predecessor.
For the most part, the games are very similar. You have three Vikings you must lead through a series of increasingly difficult mazes. Each of the Vikings has his own area of expertise - Erik is really fast and can jump, Baleog is a badass with sword and mace, and Olaf can block attacks with his shield and glide. Each of the 31 levels is filled with all kinds of obstacles that can only be bypassed by a player who can figure out the way to use the each of the Viking's, er, unusual talents to his full advantage. Sound simple? It's not. Most players will find themselves searching the Web for hints after about an hour of play. The game offers up some pretty tricky action challenges as well, so you would do well to remember that figuring out how to beat a level is only half the battle. Veterans will also notice the addition of two new playable characters, Scorch the dragon and Fang the werewolf, who add a whole new set of skills and challenges to the game.
Although it's no visual feast, Norse by NorseWest still looks pretty good for what is, at its heart, a puzzle game. All of the characters and enemies are rendered in 3-D (but tiny) and move fluidly throughout the skillfully detailed backgrounds. Sound is also solid, featuring some pretty humorous voices from the Vikings themselves, and some surprising sound effects from the rest of the menagerie.
Norse by NorseWest is a good puzzle game that offers just enough action to keep it interesting during long play sessions. Although it doesn't have enough of the hack-and-slash element to appeal to hard-core action fans, its extra long levels, solid animation, and inspired play mechanics are sure to please just about any fan of the genre.