Quick -- what's the thing all video game villains have in common?
Answer: They're not dead unless you've found the body.
The Lost Vikings forgot this the last time they fought Tomator, and it's hardly surprising that now they're staring into a monitor showing the alien's ugly mug. Being who they are, the trio escape captivity in seconds flat... but the success ends with the roar of "Donuts!" and a meaty paw falling on the lever labeled DO NOT TOUCH. Oops. Nobody said Olaf The Stout could read -- especially not when the conventions of comedy demand otherwise.
And so, the Vikings are Lost (again!) in time and space... and unleashed against thirty levels where everything - and I mean everything - is trying to kill them. For us, catastrophe. But for our intrepid vikings, it was... Tuesday.
On their way back home, the trio will enlist the help of the wannabe werewolf Fang and the definite dragon Scorch as they wreak havoc with a side dish of insanity across five different time periods.
For the most part, the sequel to Lost Vikings is more of the same: while Erik, Olaf and Baleog have gained new abilities, and their new teammates have unique gimmicks of their own, the gameplay itself still consists of platforming puzzles of varying complexity, and comes jam-packed with wacky humor. What's not to like?
Well, unfortunately, the crazy-awesome concept falls flat at times: the levels feel far smaller and more cramped than in the original, and the puzzles have dropped a notch in both complexity and difficulty (you won't see anything even close to the original's Nintendo-hard TRPD). The music is fairly unremarkable - thankfully not annoying, most of the time - but the graphics are just plain ugly: the crisp, detailed sprites of the original SNES release have been "upgraded" for PC and all other platforms into horrible, pre-rendered crimes against the retina.
I wouldn't call the PC version of Lost Vikings 2 a bad game per se -- it's certainly a decent sequel as far as they go, and one can adapt to ignore its failings - but don't expect it to rock your world. Mind you, the sheer comedy value - the puns, the pop-culture references, the complete lack of a fourth wall - might be well worth giving it a go despite the flaws.
Since Baleog is making a furious expression at me and reaching for his lightsabre again, I guess it's time to give our heroes the final word.
Baleog: We need to find Erik, the machine or a gypsy, a tarot card, a crystal ball, a diamond...
Baleog: It's dark, and we're wearing armor.
Scorch: Hit it.