Following the unprecedented success of Core's first Heimdall saga, the Derby-
Following the unprecedented success of Core's first Heimdall saga, the Derby-
Odin, Wodin, Thor and Frey have been feeling a bit smug lately. Perhaps too smug. Since the defeat of the evil Loki a couple of hundred years back, they've been uproariously toasting their own success and taking sounds with leggy Norse wenches.
Now someone has snuffed out the fires in their hearts and loins and is threatening their world again. Loki is out for revenge.
Heimdall 2 is the long-
The key to Heimdall's success is a kind of holy transportation system called the Hall Of Worlds. This hall contains a network of portals accessed by magic talismen which enable its user to travel to any location at will.
Of course, many of these magic talismen are missing and Heimdall's first task is to find them. He also has to do battle with as many of Loki's forces (the Hakrats) as he meets on the way.
Essentially, Heimdall 2 consists of a series of puzzles and mini-
Heimdall 2 looks absolutely gorgeous and has an almost cartoon feel to it
Rack and rune
Heimdall 2 also enables you to build up a formidable array of offensive, defensive and healing spells thanks to the inclusion of magic runes and recipes. But what's this game actually like then?
The first thing you notice is how graphically gorgeous it is. The isometric perspective gives you a good view of the action and the backgrounds are packed with tiny animations and a significant amount of detail.
The game almost has a cartoony feel, especially when Heimdall and Ursha slink around the screen, leap off objects or get involved ina spot of combat. This game certainly looks the part.
The puzzles too are suitably complex - you usually have to visit three or four locations, chatting to different people and trying different things before you piece the clues together to get a useful object. On the way you also pick up a whole load of information about Loki, the Hakrats and people's motivations for helping or hindering you.
However, with any puzzle game things can become frustrating if you get stuck on one aspect of the game for too long. Because Heimdall 2 is pretty linear, failure means you're denied access to large sections of the game, so you end up paying repeat visits to the same in-game characters only to discover they're stuck in a conversational loop which only alters if you achieve something elsewhere in the game world.
This isn't a major fault in itself because you expect to get hopelessly marooned in a game like this from time to time, but the problem is your progress is hampered by some overwhelmingly slow and constant disk accessing and swapping. This means that virtually every time you enter or exit a room you've got a long wait before you can get on with the next scene.
Another curious feature is the mixture of mouse and joystick controls. The mouse is used to access icons and menus, and the joystick is used for moving your character around and fighting. This takes a while to get used to and the game would have been just as good without the joystick. The fight sequences are limited, so you don't need a stick to make the most of them.
Despite these drawbacks Heimdall 2 is an absorbing and addictive adventure and although it can't claim to be one of the best examples of the genre, it certainly comes very, very close.
|HOW TO FIND YOUR WAY AROUND HEIMDALL 2|
|No self-respecting RPG hero would be seen dead without a sizeable inventory packed full of weapons, talismen and symbols, and Heimdall is no exception. Here's what they can do for you...|
Diesmal hat Core Design es zugelassen, daß der niederträchtige Loki seine Krieger, die Hakrats, mordend und plündernd durch die Welt Yggdrasil schickt, wo praktisch kein Stein auf dem anderen bleibt.
Während die Götter in Asgard berat
Aus Angst vor seiner schrecklichen Wirkung zerbrach man den Anhänger seinerzeit aber in mehrere Teil und verstreute sie über die "Hall of Worlds" (eine Art intergalaktischer Teleporter) in alle Himmels
Mit der Suche nach den Splittern wird zuerst Baldur, Odin's jüngster Sohn beauftragt; der gerät jedoch in eine Falle Lokis und fällt nach erbittertem Kampf. Also mufß doch wieder der erfahrene Heimdall ran, den man nun gemeinsam mit der junge Walküre Ursuha in die Welt(en) der Sterblichen schickt...
Es sind insgesamt sechs verschiedene Suchgebiete zu erforschen, die durch Portale von
Die erste Wikinger-
Den Separaten Menü
Das Bereitmachen der Waffen und Rüstungen, die Nahrungs
Hier kann man auch einen Blick auf die nun wesentlich vielfältiger gewordenen Charakter
Allerdings mufß der magische Rohstoff erst gefunden werden - genau wie die Schriftrollen mit der Gebrauchs
Um alle nötigen Infos für das weitere Vorgehen zu erhalten, sollte man kein sich anbietendes Gespräch mit einem Sterblichen abschlagen. Dazu latscht man einfach auf die auskunftsbereite Person zu zu, das Geplauder läuft dann vollautomatisch ab.
Natürlich gibt es auch weniger umgängliche Gesellen, die eher handfesten Streit suchen - und auch die daraus resultierenden Action
Falls einem der Bösewicht noch nicht allzu sehr auf die Pelle gerückt ist, kann man dessen eingeblendeten Energiebalken aber auch mit Pfeil und Bogen ein-schrumpeln oder ihm einen saftigen Angriffszauber um die Ohren hauen, bevor es zum Nahkampf kommt.
Obwohl die tätlichen Auseinandersetzungen (bei denen das Blut nur so spritzt!) im Vergleich mit Core Designs ersten Ausflug in die Welt der nordischen Götter nun etwas komfortabler von der Hand gehen, ist die kombinierte Maus/Joystick-
Da wäre schon eher die Grafik zu nennen, zumal die meisten der teilweise auch animierten Hintergründe vor Farbenpracht und kleinen Details nur so strotzen; ein paar sehen allerdings auch etwas dürftiger aus. Die Animation der comicartig gezeichneten Sprites und das Scrolling gehen dafür voll in Ordnung.
Auch die leider nicht besonders zahlreichen Musik
Beim Schwierigkeitsgrad hielt man es ebenfalls mit der Tradition und setzte ihn relativ hoch an, so wie sich am grundsätzlichen Gameplay wenig geändert hat.
Das actionreiche Solo-
Last not least sind uns hier bis dato keine schlimmen Bugs aufgefallen, wie sie beim Vorgänger noch reichlich zu finden waren. Und damit steht dem unbeschwerten Genuß dieser Nordland-
We're seemingly in for a glut of 3D isometric view RPG's and adventures. So far, we've seen the updated version of Sabre Team A1200 (AP 35), The Legacy of Sorasil (AP36) and there is also the up and coming UFO: Enemy Unknown (previewed in AP36).
I was trying to work out the appeal of this type of game the other day, knowing I had a review of Heimdall 2 to write. Suddenly, as I watched the Coca-Cola Cup final, it came to me. You know those supposedly sexy shots tha the vision controller opts to charge to, the ones where you're right down there on the touchline with the footballer? Well, yeah, it's a nice touch when the football that's going on is largely inconsequential. But when the ball's anywhere near the box, I want to see what's going on round about the immediate areas. I want to see the bigger small picture, if you like, rather than the peripherally-
The isometric view is what the viewer expect. It's part of the football narrative. It lets you see what's going on - who's positioned where, etc. I lost count of the number of times I started shouting at the television, "No, no, switch to the isometric view, you stupid ('Controller' - Ed)"
So, what's the appeal of the 3D isometric view? It's pretty simple: you get to see what's going on all around you, not the whole picture by any means, but certainly the relevant part of the action as it happens. And that's rather what Heimdall 2's like.
The game is a 3D isometric (Are you being sponsored by 3D isometric? - Long-
Without going too much into the ridiculously dumb plot, I'll cover the rudiments of what's required. Loki (the bad apple of the Teutonic Gods Pantheon) has gone on the rampage. In order to stop him, you've got to assemble together four pieces of a magical amulet. Each piece is situated in a different world. In effect, your quest is broken down into sub-quests across the worlds. Some of them can be completed rather quickly, while others take slightly longer than a long time.
Unlike the original Heimdall, it's not a party of characters that you control. Rather, it's big dumb Heimdall himself and a rather cute blonde-
And it's worth bearing in mind that if one of the characters gets inadvertently killed, you lose all the equipment they were carrying. (Presumably it just sort of evaporates or gets dissolved in all the spilt blood, or something like that).
Control is pretty much as you'd expect. The joystick is used to move the character round around the screen, pick things up, engage in combat and the like. The mouse is used to access the inventory screen, a typical Dungeon Master layout wit the added novelty of being able to stack similar equipment in one slot - for example, if you have four chickens and pick up another one, it's added to the same slot with the other chickens to make five chickens. The usual functions of an inventory screen are here such as examine, eat, drop, current health of character and so on.
A rather cute blonde-haired Valkyrie
So, what does the game play like, then? It's pretty slick. You start off in the Hall of Worlds and you're faced with a choice of several gateways to other strange lands.
At first, this is pretty engaging and you'll find yourself oohing and aahing at the cutesy beauty of the graphics, constantly returning to the Hall of Worlds to check out other places. Some of the puzzles and happenings seem a bit strange at first, until you start to get the hang of what's going on.
For example, in the Druids Grove you come across a Jack-in-the-
Not being a diehard fan of this style of game, I have to admit that the storyline engaged me while some of the puzzles left me completely stumped. One of the rooms I visited seemed empty. By accident, more than design, I managed to kill off both characters. Imagine my surprise when a beam of light highlighted the far wall of the room. The Goddess of Death (or whoever) spoke to my characters and gave them a couple of artefacts that proved useful later on.
Now, I know for a fact that I would never have solve that puzzle ever. The only way I could solve a puzzle like that by natural deduction would be if I had visited every possible location, and realised that the death room was the only one of the 100-plus possible rooms left to give up a secret. Then, and only then, would I have returned to that room to see if anything could be done.
In essence, what I'm saying is this: This game belongs to the "If this is the sort of game you like, then you'll like this sort of game" school of thought. Adventurers and puzzle solvers will love it. There's so much to do and so much to be discovered - a cornucopia of tricks, traps and trite.
The biggest gripe comes in the shape of incessant disk swapping =, even with an extra drive added. The disk swapping is compounded by the need to regularly save your position; if you know or suspect that some combat is on the way, a dodgy room is in the offing or whatever, then it's best to save. It helps avoid unnecessary repetition of actions.
So, it's conclusion time now. I'm not going to say rush out and buy this. And I'm not going to say don't rush out and buy this. I'm not even going to say buy this if you're not in a rush. All I'm going to say is that if you're into puzzles, dapper graphics and an absorbingly stupid storyline, Heimdall 2 is definitely worth thinking about.
Bear in mind, though, that it's going to set you back at £34.99, which in my book is far too much for what's on offer.
My Nan always used to say: "Don't mess with Gods". Often we would sit over a hot cup of tea (she never found furniture comfortable during her later years) and ponder the mysteries of the universe.
"Annoying a God will result in being instantly expelled from existence" she would say.
"At worst they'll rip off your arms and legs and condemn your useless torso to an eternity watching Neighbours in a small room just outside of Catford without any toilet facilities." Nasty.
Of course some people never listen, and never people never learn. Take this Heimdall fellow for instance. Anyone lucky enough to go up against Loki, the God of mischief, and come out in one piece deserves a wreath and a heavy handshake.
Anyone who then goes up against that God again however, deserves to have his arms and legs removed etc, etc.
Well, Heimdall is just such a chap. Not happy with his success a few years ago, he has once again entered the isometric arena in search of thrills.
The original Heimdall was well received by most of the gamesplaying world. It's probably remembered best for it's rather tasteless 'throw the axe at the girl with pig-tails' sub-game more than everything else.
Nevertheless, Heimdall was a best selling, heroic quest through numerous lands to find a number of ancient and powerful objects while taking on gangs of nasty monsters.
Heimdall 2 is, not surprisingly, more of the same but with improved features and presentation, offering a number of quests within quests, and an improved control system.
Most tasks are based upon the age-old format of delivering the correct object to the correct character, thus inheriting another object which is given to someone else who, in turn gives you something... and so on and so on.
Heimdall 2 has some smashing graphics to keep you felling perky, not to mention just the right amount of arcade and puzzle extras, making it an exciting and absorbing game to play.
There are many obstacles which you must pass to succeed, like pillars of flame which spout upwards in set time sequences.
These need to be studied and negotiated with skill and perseverance.
Arcade action comes in the form of numerous baddies just begging to be run through with a large pointy stick, or better still, shot from a distance with your trusty bow and arrow.
There are also plenty of objects to collect and exchange, while conversating with numerous non-hostile characters who give you handy hints on which object to pick up next.
OVER TO YOU
Heimdall was on his own in the original game, but Core have taken pity on him in this version and he is now accompanied by a Valkyrie called Ursha. Unfortunately Ursha is somewhat lacking in the magic department, but she more makes up for this combat stakes.
Heimdall and Ursha never appear on-screen at the same time, but you can switch characters at any point with the click of a mouse button.
For the most part, Heimdall is controlled in a standard isometric fashion, using the joystick to move the fire button to use your weapons.
Should you want to access your inventory at any time, the mouse comes into action, clicking between characters and manipulating objects to and from each one.
The inventory is split into a number of specific 'pockets'; one for held weapons (sword, axe etc.), one for thrown weapons (bow, knife etc.), and three more covering holy artifacts, amulets and objects held.
Anything that you want to move into the 'real world' must be transferred into the 'objects held' hand - then it's back to joystick juggling again whatever said object is. Phew!
It's all a lot easier to operate than it is to describe, but suffice to say that after a few minutes of play you'll never be left unsure of how to perform any of your actions.
COULD IT BE MAGIC?
Magic features throughout the game in the form of Rune stones, which can be arranged in a number of different effects.
As you travel through the game, scrolls can be collected and examined, each giving the recipe for a different spell. These can be collected in weekly instalments to form a comprehensive guide to magic in the modern world.
Whether you're looking for fireballs, poison of healing, you'll find them all here - free binder with issue one (could you stop talking rubbish please -Ed.)
Heimdall 2 really has to played to be fully appreciated. I could go on forever about it but I won't.
Suffice to say there's enough here to keep you going for quite a while. Couple that with stonkingly good presentation and you've got something well worth taking home and introducing to your parents.
|QUEST? WHAT QUEST?|
You've heard me talking about quests within quests, but what exactly are they? Let me give you a walk-through example from one quest.
You appear in a location, only to find a huge pile of bodies left after a major battle. On closer inspection, you realise that there is one survivor.
Unfortunately, halfway through your conversation he dies (just like 'interesting chats' with Tony Dillon). Bad as this may seem, it's not actually a problem for Heimybaby because he knows how to use a portal into the half world and communicate with the dead.
One spooky conversation later, you're left with the family crested suit of armour and a message for the king regarding possible allies encountered during the battle.
Back in the real world and wearing new armour, you take the message to the king, who in return gives you a scroll which will get you out of trouble with any other kings you run into. And lo and behold, guess what happens next! It's like a never-ending chain letter.
Hot on the tail of the floppy format (reviewed Amiga Computing issue 76), Core Design have pressed the play button on the CD32 version.
The storyline remains the same - it's the age of Ragnarok. Odin tells of a place called the Hall of Worlds where you can travel from one dimension to the next via portals. While in one of these worlds, Odin is presented with a talisman which freezes the wearer. Unfortunately, Odin smashes the talisman and throws it into four different portals. Heimdall, hero of the piece, is selected to try and fiend the pieces, and thus freeze the ever mischievous Loki.
While the storyline is the same, the graphics have been spruced up. Now resplendent in 256 colours, the CD32 version rather obviously outshines its floppy counterpart - and this is saying something because the normal A500 version is colourful enough.
The other significant difference is the musical accompaniment. This has been totally revamped for CD format and sounds brilliant. It's a kind of movie montage where Spartacus meets Robin Hood (Kirk Douglas meets Errol Flynn, interesting - Ed) and adds loads of atmosphere.
Heimdall 2 is filled with playability and blends a nice combination of puzzles, combat and magic with Norse mythology - which makes a pleasant change form orcs, hobits and all Tolkien's other Middle-
If I had a criticism it would be directed towards the control system. You can't really single Course out as responsible for this though, I'm afraid the guilty finger pints towards Commodore. In designing a joypad - all pad an no joy - that would have Prince Charles screaming carbuncle, Commodore have rendered it impossible for software houses to produce easily playable games.
Anyway, that aside, Core Deisgn have released a highly enjoyable, if tricky, 3D isometric adventure. CD32 owners haven't had much to shout about yet. Heimdall 2 should at least raise those voices an octave or two.
Heimdall 2 (Core Design 0322 297797 £34.99) is a visually impressive foray into the world of Norse gods, swords and magical spells. You stride through it all, seen from an obligue 3D viewpoint. This lends the whole of proceedings the feel of a cartoon, and as you fight, explore, cast your spells and run away from anything bigger than you.
There is a very strong puzzle element to the game, and you will be forced to revisit up to half a dozen locations to assemble everything you need to solve them. The puzzles are well thought-out too, but if anything, the game is too linear and if you get stuck, then you’re not going anywhere until you have worked out your problems.
For the hardened adventurer this isn’t too daunting a prospect, because Heimdall 2 is a very playable and helpful enough game and indeed once you get far enough into it, the old-fashioned Norse-ness of it all gets to you and the game becomes even more enjoyable.
Oh, and there are plenty of stats, icons and other little tit-bits of info to keep your eye on. The hassle of these is reduced to a minimum, and fans of the genre won’t mind them in the slightest, because they confirm beyond doubt that this is a serious and complex adventure. Heimdall 2 is a big game, and not something you can undertake lightly, but get stuck in and it’s very enjoyable.
Daß man immer noch Heimdall bzw. Ursuha auf der Such nach den Teilen eines magischen Amuletts durch abswechslungsreiche Iso-
Und bei der kurzen Konvertierungs
Immerhin haben ein paar Stellen im Spiel ein wenig an Farbe gewonnen, zudem wird genaues Hingucken mit den einen oder anderen neuen Grafik
Bloß kann der Spielstand nun noch nach Abschluß einer ganzen Welt gespeichert werden, nämlich wenn auf dem Weg zur nächsten im Anfangs
Fazit: Ein Action-
Amiga version: 79%, AP37.
Aside from the obvious elimination of disk swapping, it's good to see that the CD32 joypad makes everything much easier to use. For a change, we've got a conversion that fully utilises all the buttons, which means that you don't keep shooting people when all you want to do is say 'Hi' or whip out your shield.
The isometric graphics remain virtually identical as you solve problems and leap from enemy to enemy, but there's nice new music playing away, so that's all right then.
Right, it's time for all you CD32 owners to stop glaring with contempt at your floppy-owning friends. Core have done the decent thing and converted the incredible follow up to Heimdall to the CD32. OK, so they haven't done a hell of a lot with the game during the conversion (turning the text into speech would have been a welcome boost), but then they have added a hell of a nice soundtrack to it, so that's alright then.
Like the first game, it's an isometric scrolling adventure game with terrific graphics, sounds and animation, and a lot more of an adventure.
Once again you take the role of Heimdall - the only man to take on the Gods and win - who has returned to Earth to restore harmony and drive away the menace that is Loki. OK, so the plot might not be mup to much, but that's fine because the game it's standing behind is so good.
It's a very intricate game. With numerous quests between quests, that all add up to a complete story. You dont' actually begin the game with a task as such.
Instead you are taken through various worlds from the Halls Of The Gods, and the tasks you have to solve make themselves apparent as you talk to people.
For example, when you come through the first door, you will hear a lot of people talking about creatures called Hakrats.
There are two villages in the first world, and both of them assume that the other is responsible for sending the Hakrats to attack. So the first thing you need to do is convince the chiefs of each village this isn't the case, and that the Hakrats are actually being sent by Loki.
Along the way you have to rescue the daughter of a fisherman, steal a royal coat of armour and travel back and forth between this reality and the twilight world.
And all this within the first ten minutes of the game commencing!
The end result of these stacked tasks is that you never feel lost, never feel like you are in something that is way too big. Every task can be solved within half a dozen screens or so, and this tends to make the game quite intense a lot of the time - to the point where you don't really want to turn it off when bedtime comes! As you play through the game, the overall plot is unfolded, until you reach the glorious climx when... well, you'll have to play it, won't you?
Like I said, there aren't any actual enhancements to the game itself, which is no bad thing when you consider that Matt Broughton from The One, the man who is harder to please than most, gave it a whopping 90%.
The soundtrack is fairly incredible at times, sounding very much like a classic Viking movie theme tune, swelling and fading to match the on screen action. The game is a little short on sound effects, though, which is a shame as it could with a more varied selection of clangs and thuds in the fight scenes.
It's surprising how little the sound has been proved overall, considering the format the game is coming on. A little speech here and there wouldn't have gone amiss, but you can't have everything can you?
The CD32 needs a lot more in the way of adventures, simply because the CD is the perfect format to supply them on, and Core have done well in getting this one out as quickly as the have. It's a big game. It's a great game. well worth getting hold of.