Friday, September 8, 2017

Game 261: Heimdall (1991)

United Kingdom
The 8th Day (developer); Core Design (U.K. publisher); Virgin (U.S. publisher)
Released in 1991 for Amiga; 1992 for Atari ST and DOS; 1993 for Acorn; 1994 for Sega CD
Date Started:  1 September 2017
Here's a potentially-controversial question: Do the British deliberately avoid copying or adapting anything American? Even our best stuff? I wouldn't expect a show inspired by Jackass called Wanker, or a reality show called Mersey Shore, but come on--what about The Thameside Redemption? Barmy Men? It's Always Sunny in Leeds? God knows it goes the other way all the time: Three's Company, Shameless, Top Gear, Alfie, Life on Mars . . . why do we have an American version of The Office but no British version of Parks and Recreation?

I ask because among British CRPGs of this era (and, for all I know, any era) you see an almost conscious effort to avoid checking out anything happening on the other side of the Atlantic. There are a couple notable exceptions, including the Ultima clone The Ring of Darkness (1982) and the Dungeon Master-inspired Knightmare (1991), but once you get past them, you have a host of quasi-RPGs that seem to willfully shun conventions established by Ultima, Wizardry, the Gold Box series, or any of their tabletop parents. Check out my reviews of Seas of Blood (1985), Swords & Sorcery (1986), Heavy on the Magick (1986), Galdregon's Domain (1989), Dragon Lord (1990) Lords of Chaos (1990), HeroQuest (1991), or Moonstone (1991), and you'll find a series of games that are highly original, owing very little to any predecessor, but in ways that are more bizarre than admirable. And it's not like they weren't seeing American RPGs in the UK: every major title got a release on the Amiga and re-distributed through British publishers. But for some reason, British developers deliberately avoided any conventions and tropes from those games--and in my opinion, they were poorer for it.

Heimdall, from the short-lived developer The 8th Day, is a perfect example of an RPG that would have been better if it had been derivative rather than original. It has several things going for it, including a Norse theme, decent graphics and sound, and an isometric perspective--something that is still rare in American RPGs in 1991. (The game looks a lot like Cadaver, a contemporary release with an identical perspective, though not an RPG.) These elements could have been the foundation of a decent dungeon crawler, if only the developers had been willing to rip off Dungeons and Dragons for the character development system or Dungeon Master for in-dungeon puzzles or Might and Magic for the combat system. Instead, they half-assed the mechanics and ended up with a pretty but bland, trivially easy game that seems too long even though I suspect I'll win in less than 20 hours.
The visuals in the game are often impressive, but you don't find much to do in these landscapes.
The opening sequence and manual both recount the same backstory in relatively high-quality animated graphics (although in that exaggerated, cartoonish graphical style that I'm personally not fond of). Ragnarok is coming, and to tip the odds against the gods, Loki steals Odin's sword, Frey's spear, and Thor's hammer and hides them all on Earth. Fearful of stepping on Earth during Ragnarok lest they become mortal, the gods come up with a plan by which Thor impregnates a young girl named Ingrid, who gives birth to Heimdall, a mortal who can retrieve the weapons on behalf of the gods.
Apparently, Wilford Brimley should have played Loki in The Avengers.

Title cards narrate the action.

Heimdall's mother has an appropriate reaction to getting pregnant in one night.
At the beginning of the game, the player engages in three minigames, his success at which determines Heimdall's starting strength. A lack of a joystick (for which the game was principally designed) and confusing keyboard shortcuts meant that I had to play these games several times before I got any good at them. The first involves throwing axes at a board through which a young maiden has stuck her head, hoping to shear off her eight braids. The cursor is agitating throughout this mini-game, but it otherwise isn't too difficult.
She doesn't look thrilled to be here.
In the second one, Heimdall races against a timer to chase down and grab a pig. In the third, he has to make it from one end of a longboat to the other to grab a bag of gold, avoiding or killing various warriors who jump in his path.

You have the option to avoid these games and accept a standard, mediocre character. Otherwise, your performance is supposed to determine two things: Heimdall's starting attributes and which NPCs you can invite to join your party. As for the first one, I didn't notice any difference. Whether I took the stock character, performed horribly in the games, or triumphed at them, my Heimdall invariably started with 50 health, 50 strength, 50 dexterity, 45 luck, and 50 runelore. I wondered if someone hacked my version of the game to ensure that this happens, but I watched an Amiga LP of the character creation process in which Heimdall's starting statistics are nearly identical (luck and runelore are reversed), so I don't know.

Once Heimdall's statistics are established, you select five other people to bring aboard your party. Here, I did notice the number and quality of the available NPCs changing based on my performance. NPCs occupy seven classes--warrior, berserker, wizard, druid, shipwright, blacksmith, and navigator. (Heimdall himself is "chieftain.") You scroll through the available selections and pick, I guess, the ones with the best statistics. If you did poorly in the games, the ones with the best statistics are pretty bad.
Evaluating team members and adding them to the party.
As the game begins, Heimdall's ship appears on a map of Midgard. From this map, you choose the two characters (from your party of five) who will actually accompany him on his next adventure. The other three just sit in the boat.

Clicking on an island takes you directly to the island's dungeon; each island has one. Dungeons range in size from moderate to very small. None is so large that you have to map it. The party thwarts traps, fights monsters, and gathers treasure necessary for success on later islands.
The starting game world.
Controls manage to be confusing despite being simple enough that you can play the entire game with just a joystick. The keyboard is particularly vexing. Although you can move with the numberpad, the 7, 9, 1, and 3 keys do not move you diagonally. To do that, you have to simultaneously hold down combinations of 4, 8, 6, and 2; for instance, you hold down 8 and 6 to go northeast. If there is justice in the universe, the developer responsible for that gets kicked in the testicles every time someone fires up this game. The mouse is a safer option for moving, particularly since you have to use the mouse for combat anyway, but I have various problems emulating the mouse that make it difficult to forgive the failure to include a more robust keyboard alternative.

The main game interface is free of any icons and options, which is unusual for the era. That's mostly because all you can do on the main interface is move. No other commands do anything. If you want to open a chest, you move up to it. If you want to attack a monster, you walk up into his face. Right-clicking the mouse brings you to a separate "options" screen where you can manage inventory, cast spells, check statistics, and save or load the game.

Although two people are traveling with Heimdall, the game depicts the party as a single character. The F1-F3 keys scroll between the character icons for the three characters in the party. The theory is that you choose the character to fight each combat or solve each puzzle based on his strengths. The problem is, Heimdall starts with statistics so superior to his companions that it rarely makes sense not to just use Heimdall for everything. This, indeed, is what I've been doing. The other two party members become basically pack mules, and the guys on the boat are more than useless except for long-term storage. No special talents associated with shipwrights, blacksmiths, or navigators were needed on the first map, and I suspect they're never needed.
Heimdall enters a room with an orc guarding a chest.
Navigating dungeons is a process of avoiding traps and solving light puzzles, often involving pressure plates that you have to activate in a particular order. For instance, one of the earliest dungeons has three pits that you have to close. Each of six plates in front of the pits closes and opens a different combination, and you have to find the right order to get them all closed.
Not quite as hard as Chaos Strikes Back.
There are occasional special encounters, but because the only option is to move up to something, it's usually not too difficult to figure out what to do. In the shot below, for instance, I somehow saved this man paralyzed in space by drinking from the chalice on the altar. He gave me a "market pass" in return which got me into an area in another dungeon.
Weird. I guess I'll go belly up to the only object of interest in the room and see if that helps.
Traps include very visible bear traps and very invisible pit traps. If Heimdall falls in a pit, he gets right back out but loses hit points. Some rooms are full of them. "Detect Trap" scrolls help identify them, and "Disarm Trap" scrolls will generally deactivate them.
Heimdall "finds" a pit trap.

Other puzzles involve finding secret doors, using "Remove Wall" spells to strategically remove walls, and using "Revelation" scrolls to find hidden bridges. You often find a spell scroll right before the area in which you need to use it.
I had found a "Remove Wall" scroll in the previous chamber, so the solution was obvious.
There are between one and maybe six combats in each dungeon, all with one creature at a time. Combat takes you to a separate screen in which a list of all the active characters' weapons and magic scrolls are shown. The enemy immediately starts attacking, so you have to respond quickly. To attack with a weapon, you click on the weapon you want to use and then click "Attack" repeatedly. To cast a spell, you click on the scroll and then "Spell." "Run" is an option if you get scared.
Blasting some kind of beast with a spell.
There is a bit of a science to timing. If you attack while the image of the enemy is standing inert, there's a good chance that he'll block the attack. The best time to attack is just as he starts to make a move, although this is difficult to time well. You can use "Defend" to block attacks, but I think this just prolongs combat.

If a character dies, the next one steps up to take his place in combat. There are supposedly resurrection scrolls to restore slain characters, but I haven't found any yet. It's a moot point because Heimdall has never died except when I was screwing around just to see what happened.
Trading blows in real-time.
Slain enemies often carry gold and other items, and you find plenty of items on the ground or in treasure chests. Treasures include food, gold, magic scrolls of various types, weapons, scrolls with clues, keys, potions, and special items that you generally need to give to NPCs along the way. Scrolls are one-use items that make up the game's only magic system. The "Runelore" attribute determines whether you can cast or even interpret the scroll.

Each character only has 12 inventory slots, and they fill up fast, so it's a good idea to use healing items (food and scrolls) and offensive spells pretty much as fast as you find them. I haven't found it useful to carry more than one weapon, so I'm just keeping the best. (Good textual descriptions help determine how much relative damage the items do.) Keys and gold stack, so you want to centralize them on one character to save space. Even with these strategies, "inventory full" messages are a constant annoyance.
The three active characters and their jammed inventory.
Character development takes two forms. First, there are potions that you can find and buy which increase your various attributes by several points. Second, the game has levels, although I was 2/3 of the way through the first map before my characters leveled from 0 to 1. Only those in the active party leveled, not the ones on the boat. Small boosts in all attributes accompany leveling. Since there isn't a separate experience statistic, I'm not sure what causes leveling, but I suspect it's primarily combat. Enemies respawn in dungeons when you leave and return, so you could grind if necessary.

I explored the islands on the first map in a rough order from the southwest to the northeast. That basically worked, although there were times in which I had to leave a dungeon because I hadn't found a key item yet.
I solve a brief inventory puzzle by placing various items in tree branches.
A couple of the dungeons had shops, but only one sold anything I really wanted: a strength potion. Otherwise, they had the types of things I was already struggling to use up, like keys, food, and scrolls.
If you need a regular sword or axe by this point in the game, you've really messed up.
On the last island, I had to kill a serpent that guarded it. I had found a scroll with a "Serpent Killer" spell, but it's a testament to the ease of the game that I forgot about the scroll and had no problem killing the serpent anyway.
He looks more hungover than menacing.
The only really difficult fight was with a sorcerer in the final dungeon. I was supposed to give him six "Power rune" scrolls to bypass him, but I had only found five during the course of my adventures. The game gave me the option to fight him instead. He nearly killed me, but I was able to take him out with a combination of high-powered spells and melee combat.
Isn't accepting five better than getting killed?
I had to find a series of keys, rune stones, and gems to get through the later dungeons and ultimately to Thor's hammer. Finding it was graphically amusing--it was so large that my characters could walk on it. They had to use a "Shrink" scroll to reduce it in size to something they could take with them. Here's hoping the Æsir have a way to restore it.
I nearly missed the fact that I was walking on the hammer here.
Having reclaimed Thor's hammer, I was taken to a new map where I suppose I have to find Frey's spear. The game is boring and easy enough that I was tempted to just watch a video of the endgame and move on, but I'll give it a chance and see if things liven up on Map 2.
The game acknowledges my partial victory.
Time so far: 6 hours
Reload count: 0, except a couple deliberate times to experiment 

I welcome your comments and hints as always, but I should mention that I had already won the game and scheduled the second entry before this one posted, so don't waste a lot of time with hints and suggestions.


  1. why do we have an American version of The Office but no British version of Parks and Recreation? - Movie/tv remakes are a particularly American phenomenon. I don't think any other country in the world does them, at least not in such amounts. We just watch the originals with subtitles or overdubbed. And to be honest, I could never understand why can't Americans just do the same. ;)

    1. I dunno, there are like eight different localizations of the Office worldwide.

    2. Still it's (much) more of an exception than the norm. And at least in this case an argument for a remake can be made (lots of jokes won't translate due to differences in political systems). On the other hand, why did the US need its own versions of, say, Broadchurch or The Ring is way beyond me.

    3. Not for nothing, but I WOULD watch the originals were I given the choice. Usually we aren't.

      I'm just bitter because there's no R1 DVD release for Blake's 7, though.

    4. Remakes are common in India as well. Usually they are cultural transpositions from one of India's ethnocultural groups to another (eg. the Hindi, Kannada, and Bengali remakes of the Tamil *Singam*).
      And of course, the Turks are infamous for their terrible remakes in the 50s to the 80s.

    5. There was a Brazilian remake of Breaking Bad, retitled MaSticas (pardon my terrible recollection of the spelling/name). The new title being the word for cancer but done with that periodic table of the elements flair.
      I watched some of it on Netflix honking it was some bizarre parody but it was Breaking Bad but with major elements undergoing cultural shifts to make the show pertinent to the country of origin. The biggest changes were the meth lab RV became a school bus because RVs aren't popular down there and Saul Goodman's role was radically changed because they don't have the "clown lawyer" trope that is common here in the States. So there's that.
      And Parks & Recreation is just The Office only in a different office. Same broad characters. It would be so meta of he BBC to remake that.

    6. The show was called Metastasis and it was Colombian, not Brazilian

    7. That's it, I knew I remembered it wrong.

  2. Maybe it's less "deliberately avoiding to copy the good stuff" and more coming from a totally different direction. The western crpgs history is more an american history than anything else.
    I'm even surprised to find Heimdall here, i didn't thought it would meet the bare minimun requirements to be considered an rpg here. I'm not entirely sure that it ever wanted to be an actual CRPG (Core's marketing decisions aside). The sequel ditches a lot of what makes this title look like an Rpg and goes full action/adventure. To be honest i always thought that it was less an arcade take on crpgs and more a slower take on titles like Head over Heels or Knightlore.

    Other things to consider: Wizardry, Might'n'Magic, Bard's tale,the golden box games and so on, where more niche titles in Europe and almost never received good press, they had their fans but the big market almost ignored them. Also Home computers like the Spectrum where marketed to younger audiences than in the Usa.
    The Ultima series was an exception but it was sold on the strenght of being an "Origin" title after the success of titles like Wing Commander.
    Probably the biggest exception was Dungeon Master, everybody seemed to love it. Things would later change but it was to late to start "cloning" them. Ultima underworld came along and made everything else look older than it actually was.

    1. With Heimdall 2, it's funnier than that: the original Amiga version is definitely an (Action-)RPG. However, the DOS port simplifies (essentially ditches) character development, making it, as you've said, more of an Action-Adventure.

    2. I think the strong presence of the Amiga and ST sort of is the reason:

      Games with strong graphics and sound like Dungeon Master, Eye of the Beholder and Heimdall were an easy sell for Amiga and Atari owners, while something like Ultima looked rather too much like a PC game.

    3. Another you mentioned was Heavy On The Magick - a lot of its unusual features came from pushing the poor old Spectrum to its limits.

    4. Most (if not all) American CRPGs required a disk drive which, as I understand it, was really not the medium of choice in Europe until the 16-bit days. Before that, cassette tended to be the rule, even with the C64. The Apple II wasn't big there, either, so any exposure to US CRPGs was probably pretty limited.

    5. @VK I didn't know that Heimdall 2 was more rpg-y on the Amiga, I only played the DOS version and I only remember having a lot of fun with it and being "terrified" at the idea of distractingly destroying some fundamental plot item... which I did on my first playthrough, spoiled by Lucas adventures it didn't occur to me that a game could let me cut my legs so easly and without any kind warning. At least I learned a valuable lesson: never throw in a fire anything that looks even vaguely useful. Anyway i wonder why they decided to differentiate in that way the two versions, they came out almost simultaneously and at the time the PC was still more a "serious machine for serious adult people" even if Doom had just came out the year before.

    6. I actually had a Gold Box game on the Amiga (Death Knights of Krynn, i think), and was horrified of how terrible it looked and sounded. Besides it felt soulless to me. On the other hand, I loved Heimdall, Hero Quest and Legend (I hope you will like this one too Chet). I ended up playing many gold box games 10 years later.

      n=1 isn't a good sample, but I think it was how many Amiga and Atari ST gamer felt back then in the late 80's and early 90's.

    7. In Finland rpg:s were a big deal. Especially Ultimas, Dungeon Master and Gold Box games got great reviews and apparently sold well. For some reason Might and Magic 3 was the first one of the series to become hit here and Wizardry/Bards Tale/Wasteland/Starflight never were a huge thing here either.

    8. I distinctly remember a review of Wizardry VI in one of the bigger German video game magazines (must have been PowerPlay, I believe). The review all but said "From what we hear, prior Wizardry titles exist, but they're really a fringe phenomenon, and moreover they have bad graphics. This one at least looks non-eye-cancer-inducing, and the gameplay is surprisingly good."

      This from a magazine that claimed to be incredibly well-informed about its subject matter.

      I believe it's not so much that people in Europe didn't want to adopt US genre concepts, but that they simply didn't know much about them.

    9. EDITH would like me to add that she just checked out the review and to be precise, it's more "Nobody knows Sir-Tech, but hardcore RPG fans know and love the Wizardry series. Also, this game is visually lame, which is a huge improvement over prior titles." In another review, the magazine basically said "While nobody here knows these games well, they're well-loved in the U.S."
      So some knowledge was there, but PP made sure to phrase it in such a way as to make them sound like the experts.

    10. VK, when I replayed Heimdall 2 last year I looked at youtubes of the Amiga or PC versions and they were exactly the same game (except for the gorgeous music in CD32 and its lack of mouse support). This is not "Myth: History in the making" :)

    11. "I distinctly remember a review of Wizardry VI in one of the bigger German video game magazines (must have been PowerPlay, I believe)."

      I think Wizardry VI became 89 % rating in Powerplay which made it an outstanding came (they were rather critical in that paper). Wizardry VII got 94 % and was one of the best reviewed games in that Magazine ever.
      Ultima and AD&D games got also good reviews, as well as some of the german RPGs (Amberstar/Amberworld).

  3. I always adored this game but it did suffer from mechanics that were not that well thought out.

    The sequel is one of my favourite games of all time, despite its weak RPG aspects.

  4. You still don't have a joystick? Come on, games require them. Figure out how they work. A gamepad can substitute usually.

    I never thought I'd see a game criticized for being original and failing to copy previous games. I always thought being derivative was minus points and using your own brain was plus points. First time for everything, I guess.

    1. Personally I feel that orginality is only a plus if its a good idea, derivative fun is better than no fun at all.

    2. Knowing when it's time to take inspiration and when it's time to innovate is a huge issue, though. Just because I could try to create a movie using a series of images taken via a pinhole camera made of a shoebox and some unexposed photo paper doesn't mean that I'm going to make a comparable/better product than one made via a professional video camera. A certain basis of familiarity often makes things far easier to grok in general, Harland. The D&D system (SIWDCC) is just as proficient as the SPECIAL system from Fallout etc - but I'd argue that neither is superior. Inversely, the Diablo system works for it (Strength/Dexterity/Magic/Life all the way to Strength/Dexterity/Intelligence/Vitality) but it limits it severely to a game that is based solely around action. I don't think that Diablo would be assisted by a Charisma statistic either, but just saying that 'originality = better' isn't necessarily a reasonable argument. Better is better, and something that is truly original and works in its own right is great - but original bad is still bad, particularly when it has to stand up to derivative good.

    3. Another way to look at it is to compare to architecture. The 20th and 21st centuries have shown us a bewildering array of architectural styles, construction techniques, and even building purposes.

      However, all that originality is built on a small number of different types of construction. The Burj Khalifa is a unique structure that is extremely original - but the underlying technology is not all that different from that used to build the Sears Tower.

  5. There was a British version of Jersey Shore. It was called Geordie Shore. There were also British versions of Who's The Boss (The Upper Hand), The Golden Girls (Brighton Belles) and That 70's Show (Days Like These). They were all varying degrees of terrible though.
    As to why video game programmers shunned positive US influences, it's possible they were hamstrung by the need to cater to the 8-bit market which dwarfed the 16-bits throughout the 80's.

    1. And there was also Welsh, Spanish and Mexican versions of Jersey Shore. Obviously what is really good gets to be remade:)

    2. Llanfairpwllgwyngyll Shore! Sounds like a winner. Lots of sounds.

    3. And, at the very least, a Polish version (Warsaw Shore). :)

    4. How disappointing that they didn't call it Jerzy Shore!

      (Yes, I know, it sounds like "yeh-zhih" in Polish. But c'mon, work with me here.)

  6. I'm no Nordic scholar but wouldn't Bifrost be unguarded according to this game?

  7. Addict, just as a side note, I've noticed that you don't specifically cite the platform you're playing on in your first posts on multi-post games. Perhaps there's a hidden logic to that (I know your final post always mentions it), but otherwise as a reader it'd be helpful to know from the get-go what version is being played.

    As for Heimdall, I've never played it, though I do own the Sega CD version and have been meaning to give it a shot.

  8. Is it just me, or does the art look like it was done my Phil Foglio?

  9. It's fascinating to read more about Heimdall. I never played the game myself, but it regularly featured on a 90s competitive video gaming TV show in the UK. Specifically, the "cutting the maiden's hair" mini-game. I didn't realize there was a whole other game beyond it until years later.

    I don't know what to tell you about why UK RPGs were so weird. I wonder if it had something to do with us not having our own big table-top RPG to draw inspiration from, like Germany with its "The Dark Eye". We either had the choice of making RPGs that felt like they came from Germany, the USA, or Japan, or go with something more unique and "British" that ended up becoming a rough curiosity. That eccentricity lead to games like Lemmings and Populous around that time, so it wasn't all bad, but I don't recall us ever making an RPG that resonated the same way.

    1. I was about to say, that is an odd way to refer to one of the most famous and respected RPGs of its era...

    2. Always been surprised they never made a WFRP CRPG, but then again you can count the number of computer RPGs that were adapted from an existing tabletop RPG that isn't D&D on two hands.

  10. I think I mentioned this on a previous posting, but the way I remember it, there was no active decision to not copy American games - we just didn't get to play them. You're right in saying that the big titles did get released on the Amiga, but the majority of us didn't have computers even that powerful until 1991 or 1992. I didn't get a PC capable of playing games on until 1994. We were still releasing new 64K 8bit cassette-loading hardware in 1990!

    There were some titles that did get ported down to our Amstrads, Commodores, and Spectrums, but often didn't translate well enough to inspire people into thinking that they were worth emulating.

    That even applied to Amiga games - look at how bad Ultima V and VI were on the Amiga, followed by Ultima VII not even being released on the platform.

    And hardware constraints were an issue - bigger games wouldn't run on the 64K hardware, and many popular machines had no disk drives (never mind hard disks!).

    Oh, and we typically had no mice for input, except on the expensive machines. You mention not having a joystick, and also remark on how the interface has no icons, but this was standard practice when most of the market was still joystick-reliant. A game in 1991 that required a mouse on all platforms would not have fared well here.

    To sum up, it was a very different market in several ways, but they started converging rapidly in the post-Doom days.

    1. I agree on most counts, except:

      - Ultima VI was actually very good on the Amiga, as long as you had an hard drive. I didn't, and still enjoyed it a lot, but I must have had too much free time back then. It was also publicitized extensively on the magazines of the time, altough i really don't know if it sold well.

      - As for the interface issues, many Amiga games, specially most RPG's and Strategy one were actually too mouse dependant almost to a fault (some keyboard shortcuts would help). The fact that heimdall required both a Joystick and a Mouse was an anomaly, and it didn't made much sense.

    2. There were certainly some games that were primarily for the Amiga/Atari ST where a mouse could be assumed. But until about 1990 I don't think many UK publishers liked the idea of cutting out the C64/CPC/Spectrum owners entirely. It was always interesting playing one of the handful of down-ported games where I'd have to steer the pointer with my joystick...

      My Ultima VI comment is mostly based on general grumblings online and this review -
      It's interesting to see that German magazines rated it much more highly.

    3. I used to read Amiga Power, known to underrate games, and they gave U6 90%, which is one of their highest rating games ever.

      I think Legend was the only RPG with a higher score (91%).

  11. Weird developer this one. There are some stylistic connections to Litil Divil, and I think that those graphics that you see too cartoony are just lovely and unique. I never got into this game, but I still love Heimdall 2 to pieces (Martin "Atjazz" Iveson and Nathan McCree did such a good work in the music for Heimdall 2 than when I saw Iveson djing some years ago I thanked him for what he did in this game, startling him quite a lot). What I really think is that for each their own: there are certain aspects of gameplay in classic crpgs that actually are appealing to the author here (and again I am jealous for that: they don't click for me anymore), but I still find some of those games, some of these trial and error and some of these cartoony stuff really lovely. That's all.

    1. Core design games used to have that cartoon look (that is, until tomb raider killed all the other series), even the ones that weren't developed by the 8th day. There was probably an overlap of staff between the different developers.

  12. I remember getting this game at Egghead Software back in the day. It was fun for a bit. Got Thor's hammer, but then encountered game-stopping bugs on the next land and ended up returning it to the store.

  13. I'm catching up on your reviews, so here are a few nerd items
    - according to Norse mythology it should be Odin's spear ( a throwing spear actually ) and Frey's sword ( the fool gave it away so he could marry a giantess, and it would bite him in the ass at Ragnarok )
    - the braid-shearing with axes is taken from Fleischer's 1958 movie The Vikings, it's Kirk Douglas' character that does it ( in order to prove the woman had not been unfaithful while her husband was away vikinging )

    1. "the braid-shearing with axes is taken from Fleischer's 1958 movie The Vikings." Ha! It sure is. Here's the scene.

      They even kept the girl's expression. Thanks!


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5. Comments on my blog are not a place for slurs against any race, sex, sexual orientation, nationality, religion, or mental or physical disability. I will delete these on a case-by-case basis depending on my interpretation of what constitutes a "slur."

Blogger has a way of "eating" comments, so I highly recommend that you copy your words to the clipboard before submitting, just in case.

I read all comments, no matter how old the entry. So do many of my subscribers. Reader comments on "old" games continue to supplement our understanding of them. As such, all comment threads on this blog are live and active unless I specifically turn them off. There is no such thing as "necro-posting" on this blog, and thus no need to use that term.

I will delete any comments that simply point out typos. If you want to use the commenting system to alert me to them, great, I appreciate it, but there's no reason to leave such comments preserved for posterity.

I'm sorry for any difficulty commenting. I turn moderation on and off and "word verification" on and off frequently depending on the volume of spam I'm receiving. I only use either when spam gets out of control, so I appreciate your patience with both moderation tools.