You may be wondering where to co-op comes in. It’s a bit different than you might expect. In single player mode, you control one Viking at a time, and switch back and forth as needed in order to advance. In two player mode, two of the three Vikings can move at the same time, each controlled by a different player. Control of each individual Viking can be swapped on the fly as needed. It takes a bit of getting used to, and it seems that playing together makes some puzzles easier and others can be a bit more difficult to coordinate. Communication is the key here, as it is in so many other highly cooperative games.
Another hallmark of Blizzard games is comedic elements. The Lost Vikings is no exception, and from the very beginning, the bickering and other interactions between the Vikings will put a smile on your face. Perhaps the funniest schtick is when the Vikings discuss the players’ failures to complete a level when they respawn. At first, they complain of deja vu, then of being too tired of the scenery, and finally they address the player directly, and accuse them of having too much time on their hands. It’s quite fun and helps to alleviate the frustration of failure a little bit. A compilation of these little conversations is available on Youtube and definitely worth your time to view.
The Lost Vikings is among the most popular games from its time, and fondly remembered by many a 16-bit era gamer. Part of this fame is likely due to the Blizzard pedigree, but it’s an excellent game, regardless, and holds up very well to this day. You can see the influence of The Lost Vikings in many games, perhaps none so much as Trine, which you’ll recall we are pretty fond of here at Co-Optimus. Many of the things that make co-op Trine so great are found in this venerable 1992 classic puzzle platformer: clearly defined character roles, light fighting elements, smart platforming, and most especially teamwork.
The Lost Vikings was ported to many different systems, and was followed by a sequel, which itself was remade and enhanced for 32-bit systems. (Hopefully, we’ll take a closer look at these sequels in a future Co-Op Classics column.) In 2003, a Game Boy Advance port of the SNES version was released. Erik, Baleog, and Olaf have turned up in cameo roles in several other Blizzard games, most notably another game you might possibly have heard of before called World of Warcraft. It’s clear that Blizzard looks back on these three Viking stooges with fondness, and any fan of Co-Op Classics likely shares this same sentiment.