The Lost Vikings
The Lost Vikings is a side-scrolling puzzle/platform video game series which was developed by Silicon & Synapse (later Blizzard Entertainment). The first game, The Lost Vikings, was released in 1992 by publisher Interplay Entertainment for DOS, Amiga, Sega Mega Drive and SNES among others. The sequel, The Lost Vikings II, was developed by Blizzard and released in 1997 by Interplay for the SNES.
A 32-bit enhanced version of The Lost Vikings II was developed for the Sega Saturn, PlayStation and PC, known in the United States as Norse By Norsewest: Return of the Lost Vikings and in Europe as Lost Vikings 2: Norse by Norsewest. It was released by Interplay in 1997, featuring a new super deformed style for the characters (the original version kept the same art style as the first game) as well as voiced dialogue samples. However, Blizzard was not involved in the creation of these 32-bit ports. Instead, they were handled by Beam Software.
The main characters in both games are three Vikings, Erik the Swift, Baleog the Fierce, and Olaf the Stout. The goal is to guide all Vikings safely through each level. A major gameplay feature is due to the fact that the player controls three different characters (although only one at any given time), and must make use of their individual abilities and work as a team to solve puzzles and progress. This also means that the characters who are not controlled at the moment remain open to hazards and must either be protected or left in safety. Some levels require precise timing to control the characters simultaneously - in one early level, the player must jump down a shaft with Olaf, using his shield as a hang glider, and as Olaf slowly descends, must use another Viking to clear his path. Each Viking has a limited amount of health which decreases when attacked by enemies, and several environmental hazards (spikes, electricity, water) are able to kill the characters instantly. The player may continue the level after losing a Viking, but the level cannot be completed without all three Vikings kept alive. After losing a Viking and restarting the level, a small cutscene of a Norse funeral plays, with a lightning strike respawning Viking to his remaining comrades.
In some versions, a second and a third player can join and control the other two characters.
The Lost Vikings
|The Lost Vikings|
SNES North American cover
|Developer(s)||Silicon & Synapse|
|Publisher(s)||Interplay Entertainment (1992), Blizzard Entertainment (2003)|
|Composer(s)||Allister Brimble (Amiga and Amiga CD32 conversion)
Charles Deenen (original SNES music)
Matt Furniss (Genesis music)
Glenn Stafford (DOS conversion)
|Release date(s)||1992, 2003|
|Distribution||Floppy disk (1), cartridge, CD-ROM|
The Lost Vikings was originally released for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, then subsequently released for the Amiga, Amiga CD32, MS-DOS, and Sega Mega Drive/Sega Genesis systems the next year; the Mega Drive/Genesis version contains five stages not present in any other version of the game. Blizzard re-released the game for the Game Boy Advance in 2003. The GBA port is identical to the SNES version, but the password feature has been removed and replaced with three save slots, meaning the player cannot replay any level at any time.
The game features infinite opportunities of retries in case the player loses one of the Vikings. Art director Samwise Didier has stated that the character design for "Erik the Swift" was based on childhood friend Michael Cripps.
In the game, the three Vikings get kidnapped by Tomator, emperor of the alien Croutonian empire, for an inter-galactic zoo and become lost in various periods of time. After escaping through the airlock of the spaceship, they must traverse various bizarre locations to find their way home.
All three Vikings (Erik, Baleog and Olaf) have three health points which they can lose by getting hurt by enemies or by falling from great heights, and the ability to carry and use items, mainly keys, bombs, and food (which restore health points). Each of the Vikings has a unique set of abilities:
- Erik can run faster than the other two, can jump, and can bash through some walls (and enemies) with his helmet.
- Baleog can kill enemies with his sword, or from a distance with his bow (and a "life-time supply of arrows"). The bow can also be used to hit switches from a distance.
- Olaf can block enemies and their projectiles with his shield, use his shield as a hang glider, or as a stepping stone for Erik to enable him to reach high grounds which is not possible without the shield.
The Lost Vikings 2
|The Lost Vikings 2|
North American SNES cover art.
|Developer(s)||Blizzard Entertainment (SNES)
Beam Software (Saturn, PSX, PC)
|Composer(s)||Glenn Stafford (SNES), Brian Luzietti and Johann Langlie (Saturn, PSX and PC music)|
|Genre(s)||Side-scrolling puzzle, platformer|
|Mode(s)||Single-player, 2 player cooperative|
The sequel takes place after the first game and features the original three characters plus two new playable characters, Fang the wolf and Scorch the dragon. However, to avoid becoming too complex, the game only lets the player control three of the five characters in each level. The gameplay remains largely the same, though the pre-existing characters all have new or modified abilities. Lost Vikings II was Blizzard's last game to date that has not been part of the company's flag ship series (Diablo, Warcraft & Starcraft).
After escaping from Tomator in The Lost Vikings, Eric, Olaf, and Baleog have lived joyous and fruitful Vikings lives. Then one day, after returning home from a fishing trip, the Vikings get captured by Tomator again. Tomator then calls upon a robotic guard to send them into the Arena, which unfortunately falls short when a system failure happens. During the blackout, the three Vikings dismantle the robot piece by piece and wear its parts on their body, thus granting them new abilities. The three Vikings are then sent through time once again when Olaf pulls the switch on the time machine that says "Do Not Touch", which he mistakes for Donuts. Equipped with the new robotic gear from the robot guard they destroyed earlier, Eric, Olaf, and Baleog must fight their way through time once again in order to find their way back home. Along the way, they befriend a wolf named Fang (whom they continuously humorously mistake for a different animal) and a dragon named Scorch.
All versions of the second game, except the original SNES release, were titled Lost Vikings 2: Norse by Norsewest (Norse by Norse West: The Return Of Lost Vikings in the U.S.). The SNES version, being produced and released earlier, did not feature the secondary title and was called simply The Lost Vikings 2. Interestingly, the SNES version is highly rare in the PAL region while the PS1 version is quite common. The Sega Saturn version is borderline on rare. Norse by Norsewest versions were done by a different company from the SNES release, commissioned by the original company who wanted Lost Vikings 2 modernised and on modern platforms to evolve from the aging SNES.
- Erik now has turbo boots which allow him to jump much higher than before and can smash certain overhead walls with his turbo jump. The helmet also allows him to swim (he is the only one of the five characters with this ability).
- Baleog's bow and arrow has been replaced with a bionic arm which can smash enemies from distance. The range is somewhat limited compared to his arrows from the first game, but the bionic arm also allows Baleog to swing in the air using special hooks and to grab some items inaccessible to others.
- Olaf can release gas that propels him upward, giving him limited aerial range, as well as the power to destroy certain floors. In addition to his hang-gliding abilities, he can also shrink and squeeze through tiny gaps.
- Fang can jump, climb walls by clinging to them with his claws, and slash enemies with the claws from close range.
- Scorch has a fireball attack which damages enemies and can trigger certain switches. He can also fly until he gets exhausted, at which point he can glide softly down, like Olaf.
Graphics and sound
The sequel was originally developed for the SNES in 1997, five years after the first game. The SNES version used technology very similar to the original installment, with similar, cartoonish graphics and 16-bit sound and music. Later releases (PC, PlayStation, Saturn) featured pre-rendered 3D graphics, CD music and extensive voice acting provided by Rob Paulsen (Erik), Jeff Bennett (Baleog & Fang), Jim Cummings (Olaf, Tomator), and Frank Welker (Scorch).
The Vikings have also shown up from time to time in other Blizzard games.
Both Olaf and Baleog make an appearance in the 1993 game Rock n' Roll Racing; Olaf can be unlocked as a hidden character, while Baleog appears on several billboards advertising "Viking Cola" on the planet Bogmire.
They most recently appeared as NPCs in Blizzard's MMORPG World of Warcraft in the dungeon Uldaman. One of the quests in Uldaman also requires the player to collect the Shaft of Tsol and Amulet of Gni'Kiv, which spell out "Lost" and "Vik'ing" when read backwards. The shaft and amulet are combined to form the Staff of Prehistoria, which fits the theme of Uldaman and also is an area in The Lost Vikings. In the World of Warcraft: Cataclysm expansion, they feature prominently in a quest line for the Alliance faction in the Badlands area of Eastern Kingdoms.
In the Frozen Throne's "Monolith" scenario, the names for the Dark Troll Commando hero are the same as those for the Lost Vikings: Erik the Swift, Baleog the Fierce and Olaf the Stout.
The Lost Vikings II contains several references to Blizzard's other games. In the "Dark Ages" period of time, Erik the Swift accidentally gets teleported to the "Swamps of Sorrow", which is a prominent location in the game Warcraft: Orcs and Humans (this region was later seen as a ladder map in Warcraft III and as a zone in World of Warcraft). Also, one of Tomator’s monitors shows Rock n' Roll Racing playing.
A new unit in Blizzard's recently released StarCraft II is called the Viking, and there is a picture of the unit on their website, subtitled The Lost Vikings.
In addition to this, repeatedly selecting the Viking unit in StarCraft II makes the Viking pilot mention Erik, Baleog, and Olaf getting lost, as he tries to contact them. He also sets in co-ordinates for Norse by Norse-west.
There is also an arcade console in the Cantina of Battleship Hyperion in StarCraft II called The Lost Viking, which is a playable mini-game.
- "The Lost Vikings GBA". Kidzworld. Retrieved 2009-04-06.
- Mega magazine issue 26, page 74, Maverick Magazines, November 1994
- Official Blizzard home page
- The Lost Vikings at MobyGames
- Norse By Norse West: The Return of the Lost Vikings at MobyGames