Norse to see you... to see you Norse.

Heimdall 1 logo Gamer Gold

Core Design * £30.99 * 1 Meg * Joystick/Mouse * Out Now

Vikings have a bit of a reputation. You see, they're generally considered to be a bit "hard". Not just hard as in "Come on you ponces, I've had 23 pints and I'll tek youse all on", but hard as in "plucking rusty nails from their kneecaps with their teeth and enjoying it". Yes, it's official, Vikings are "hard". Or at least they used to be.

Somewhere along the line, those powerful noble Vikings suddenly became Abba and Roxette. I ask you, what can have gone wrong?
Did some horrendous twist appear in the DNA of the Norse warriors that resulted in Scandinavia being famous for Lego and crap disco music rather than hairy hammer-wielding killing machines and boats with dragons on them? Personally I think that it was those pesky Norse gods have a laugh. Sort of like a divine Jeremy Beadle Prank.
The Norse gods were famous for stupid things like that, you know. Come with me ona swirly trip back through time, and I'll show you what I mean...

WoooooOoooooHoooooo. Wibble. (One quick swirly trip back through time later). Well, here we are in Finland, home of the Vikings. Or is it Sweden? It could be blimmin' Durham for all I know, but take my word for it, this is definitely the home of the Vikings.

If you look over yonder you'll see a lovely little Viking village, and a small boy hurling axes at a little girls head. OK, settle down. It isn't what you think. Well, actually, it is what you think, but there's a bloody good reason for it.
Young Heimdall, for it is he, is the laddie in question and the reason he must abuse greased up animals and throw sharp objects at young girls is because he is a God in human form. Or a human in Godlike form. Either way, he's destined to be the saviour of all the Vikings when he grows up. No snogging on the back set of a longship for Heimdall I'm afraid. But before he can go on to fulfill his majestic destiny he must prove himself to be a worthy warrior, and apparently Vikings proved their manhood by worrying farm animals and threatening your lasses. Nothing's changed really has it?

There are three tasks which young Heimdall must complete for him to gain the respect of the villagers. First he must sever an incarcerated girl from her pigtails by flinging axes at her, then me must capture the infamous greasy pig, and finally he must retrieve a bag of gold from a ship, while everyone tries to beat him up.

How well you do in these sections will directly affect your chances in the proper game, because obviously the village warriors aren't going to join up with a little squirt who can't even keep control of a pig.
Therefore, if your performance in these sections is especially crap then you won't have as many crew members to choose from in later life. On the other hand, if you're ace at these bits then everyone'll be wetting themselves to be in your gang, just like Garry Glitter. Once you've proved your manliness, we fast forward a couple of decades to when Heimdall is a strapping viking warrior, so it's time for another of those spooky swirly trips through time...

WoooooOoooooHoooooo. Wibble. Blimey. This time travelling lark's fun isn't it? Anyway, it's now about, ooh, ten or fifteen years later and the time of Ragnarok is nigh.
It is prophesised that the evil god, Loki, will have a punch up with the good gods and will scatter the weapons of the gods throughout the viking lands, so the good gods don't stand a chance. Luckily, the good gods thought this might happen and so they created Heimdall yonks ago to find the weapons for them. Forward planning, you see. Highly efficient fellas these god types.

So, Heimdall sets off to find all three of the god's weapons so they can give Loki a good trashing and then all will be well with the world. Unfortunately for Heimdall, the weapons are protected by many bogus monsters and traps and such like.

Without a second thought, Heimdall selects his posse from the village macho men, and leaves behind the comforts of dangerously potent ale and the tender recesses of well oiled pigs and heads out into adventure and excitement. And lo, it is written that it would come to pass that in the year 1991, the gamesmiths of Core Deisgn would take the great and (not entirely) true legend of Heimdall and transform the tomes therein to forge a video arcade game of truly trouser rending magnitude. And they did as well, you know.

Yup, Heimdall is corkier than a badly opened bottle of wine. It's gorgeous. It's fruity. It's like Cadaver without the control problems. It's like Dungeon Master with an arcadey feel It's not 'alf bad, if the truth be told.

In the main part of the game you control Heimdall, and two of his six strong crew, as you explore all the islands that make up the viking world. The world is divided into three separate lands, the land of men, the land of giants and the land of the gods. In each land you'll find one of the lost weapons, but you'll have to solve plenty of little quests and puzzles along the way.

Of course, vikings being vikings, there's bound to be loads of scrapping going on And there is. Combat is very much in the style of Elvira. The mouse is used to click on the weapon you wish to use and then on the ATTACK icon. You'll see the combat from first person perspective in a little animated window and the results of your attack. Timing is of utmost importance, as your enemy can easily dodge a badly planned attack.

Magic can also be used, to either protect your team or to assault your opponent. TO put it simply, the combat in Heimdall is great. It's just far too tempting to leap into a fight with some huge monster just so you can see what wondrous animation awaits you in the fight scene. Stupid, yes, but great fun!

The graphics are just amazing throughout. The animation on the opening trial sections and the fighting bits puts tripe like Dragon's Lair to shame, and the attention to detail on the walking around sections really brings the game to life. I can't really do the graphics justice, so look at those screenshots, get all overcome by the sultriness of them and then drink a pint of cold water. See what I mean? Brilliant.

The sound is limited, mainly due to the amount of memory that the graphics eat up, but what is there is good enough. Footsteps, creaking doors and a stirring theme tune are about all you're likely too hear.
But stop moaning, just be thankful what you've got. You selfish mongrels, spare a thought for the ST owners. All they'll get is some tinny scratchy noises. Mind you, that's their fault for buying a smeggy computer.

To sum up then, Heimdall steals little bits from Cadaver, Dungeon Master, Knight Lore on the speccy, and that crap cartoon Vikki the Viking and mixes them all up into a wonderful concoction that should have any self respecting adventure nut locked in a small room for donkeys years. A vast throbbing epic of a game.