Blizzard Brings Back Lost Viking

Yes, Blizzard – or Silicon & Synapse, as they were then known – have revisited their old puzzle-platformer The Lost Vikings. In a manner of speaking. In a way that’s both very cruel and a big ol’ willy-wave.

They’ve only gone and put a vertical shoot ’em up in StarCraft II. Just because. It stars a Viking aircraft. It’s lost. You get the picture: the fickle finger of fanservice.

It’s more than that, though. It’s war.


I’m still only a short way through SC2’s campaign, and while the storyline and the characterisation (over-growly hero Jim Raynor is no fun, so far) leave a lot to be desired, revealing that Blizzard are a developer who do mechanics first, polish second and grown-up narrative somewhere much further down the scale, I’m repeatedly impressed with all the incidental detail. The cover of An American Trilogy on the jukebox. The Ron Burgundy newsman, the space marine iPod ads, the hapless animals in the levels…

And the fully-functional arcade machine in the between-mission bar hub. It’s clearly a demonstration of the much-ballyhooed point that the SC2 editor can be used to create games of other genres, that for all the StarCraft brand-mania this game is a platform as well as a real-time strategy sequel.

I think Lost Viking may even be an act of war. Blizzard want anything-goes modding, they want indie development, they want ubiquity in a way that WoW’s closed system could never provide. They’re straying onto Valve’s territory, Epic’s territory, Unity’s territory – and not in a casual, let’s see what happens way.

Exciting/scary.

Now please re-release the Lost Vikings.

55 Comments

  1. Daniel Rivas says:

    What? Really?

    Okay then. Guess I’ll play that game.

  2. Vinraith says:

    They’re straying onto Valve’s territory, Epic’s territory, Unity’s territory.

    Blizzard was in said territory before anyone knew what Valve or Unity were, the original Starcraft and Warcraft 3 had enormous modding scenes (and to a limited extent still do).

    • alseT says:

      Absolutely. I don’t know why Starcraft/Warcraft 3 mods never got much coverage on RPS or anywhere. The tower defense genre originated there and they have some of the most inventive and varied game styles ever.

    • mlaskus says:

      Didnt tower defence originate with Dungeon Keeper? Ofcourse DK was much more than that, but I believe that was the first time I have ever seen this kind of gameplay.

    • TheSombreroKid says:

      dungeon keeper isn’t tower defense, if anything it’s more like DOTA, for one you don’t defend you attack.

    • Risingson says:

      Didn’t Tower Defence originate in Rampart?

    • Carra says:

      Well, Starcraft is from 1998 and so is Half Life. I hope I won’t have to point out Team Fortress, Day of Defeat and Counterstrike.

    • Vinraith says:

      @Carra

      Starcraft released in March, Half Life in November, but the point (that modding is as much Blizzard’s “territory” as the other developers mentioned) would stand even in the absence of that very productive 8 month gap.

    • mlaskus says:

      I spent most of my time in Dungeon Keeper defending my fortresses, I found it a lot more entertaining than attacking. I would usually build an enormous web of traps and turrets and watch those puny heroes try to breach my defenses, only to fall and get resurrected as skeletons, doing my bidding unquestionably.

      I have only just watched a trailer of DotA but it looks like a mindless melee. That happened in DK quite often if your defenses got breached or you were on the attack and your minions engaged those puny heroes, but it was hardly what the game was about.

    • PHeMoX says:

      “Didnt tower defence originate with Dungeon Keeper?”

      Exactly right.

      Unfortunately I forgot the name, but there has been two or three games that had basically the exact same mechanics of defeating waves with turret towers before W3 Tower Defense.

      Anyhow, I think especially Starcraft gets way too much credit for being moddable, as it has mostly been all about level creation. That’s not modding in my book. Warcraft 3 on the other hand had some impressive mods, also some true total conversions, but I think Valve’s HL engine pretty much reigns supreme in the mod-department. A very close second will be Epic with each of their Unreal games.

      Then it’s probably Quake 3, but there’s already a gap between those, especially when not counting AAA titles made with that engine, as those are no mods right.

    • Okay says:

      “before W3 Tower Defense.”
      Yeah starcraft tower defense

  3. Olaf says:

    Wow, I forgot I could read about a Blizzard game and get excited.

  4. Ashen says:

    The Lost Vikings is also an awesome Dethklok track.

  5. fucrate says:

    Lost Vikings looks like a bit of a Trine rip-off, I’m surprised Blizzard is resorting to such low tactics.

  6. Levictus says:

    Ah Lost Vikings, this bring back old memories. And I am only 22!

  7. Wulf says:

    The news of the arcade machine, the sh’mup, and especially the editor that can create any sort of game excites me far more than the promise of Starcraft II ever could.

    I’m not saying that Starcraft II is a bad game, it’s clearly not, it’s just micromanaging-mad, and I suck at what is needed to play it, I am horrible at micromanagement, so that makes Starcraft II an inaccessible thing to me, a horror of horrors, and I prefer Dawn of War II, since it’s more tactical and less fiddly. Yes, I’m just that bad at micromanagement, I can’t like the game that so many seem to, I’m sorry.

    That said, the editor itself is a truly exciting prospect, isn’t it? I remember that the Dink Smallwood (Gods, that name, that name) editor allowed for myriad sorts of games, and people went crazy-go-nuts with it. There was Dinkanoid, a ball-breaking game (GAH!) in the Dink Smallwood engine (this is so awkward to type), and there were some other brilliant mods which far exceeded the original game.

    It’s the same as Oblivion, innit? And unexpanded Morrowind. The writing in Oblivion and Morrowind (except Morrowind’s expansions, which were admittedly rather good) was piss poor, most of the time, so it got really dull fast. Yet there were mods which added brilliant quests, amazing quests. Like The Wolf of Lokken Mountain, and Ruined-Tail’s Tale. Those were nothing short of groundbreaking feats of in-game storytelling, mods like that made those games worth owning.

    As it is, I see nothing in Starcraft II that would appeal to me. It’s focused around humans (yawn), and it’s a type of RTS I suck at, I have an interest level that exists below zero, some kind of anti-interest. But this? This is interesting. This is a Universe of attention.

    Consider my attention gained. Well played, Blizzard. Well played.

    • Wulf says:

      Note: If you haven’t played The Wolf of Lokken Mountain or Ruined Tail’s Tale, you owe it to yourself to. They’re the Wesley mods of a slightly more modern era.

    • pipman300 says:

      the only thing i remember now about dink smallwood is the mod where you played an orc and one mod about an abandoned zombie filled island that somehow had a secret functional brothel hidden behind rocks in a cave you needed some secret item to get past.

      those were the days. being 12 years old and being amazed and excited that a game mod had titties in it.

    • pipman300 says:

      oh and trying to put the moves on your aunt and my failed attempts to kill her abusive husband. i fire balled the guy and he still punched my face off. oh and returning a womans lost duck then punching its head off in front of her.

    • Wulf says:

      @pip

      That is the other side of modding, and an inevitable, invariable truth: If it can be modded, in any way, shape, or form, it’s going to have nude and popular-culture mods.

    • alseT says:

      Wulf I would direct you to watch some of Day[9]’s videos to get a feel for the game and how “tactical” and “strategic” it gets. This micromanagement that you talk of only makes a difference at extremely high levels of play that 90% of players don’t get to. What does make a difference at medium levels is having a good start, a smooth economy and the production to consume all those resources.

      You need to remember to queue units, buildings, expansions and simply outproduce your opponent. It’s more a game of memory and discipline rather than a game of fast clicking. Then after you have got down all of this and are comfortable with the game mechanics and what counters what you begin to realize when to build and when to manage your army. Because controlling your army all the time instead of producing units will net you so many losses.

      And during all this time you APM steadily rises as you get better at remembering to do everything like scouting, harassing and everything that makes Starcraft fun. Now you will probably need to get better at controlling small groups of units that get damaged and moving them to the back, while the rest of the army still fights, doing drops at the back of the opponent’s base while feigning an attack elsewhere and using unit abilities smartly.

      Starcraft is more tactical than DoW2 could ever hope to become.

    • alseT says:

      Excuse my bad grammar.

    • JeCa says:

      Huh, that’s interesting. Myself, I can’t play DoW II because that’s too heavy on micro-management :P

      I don’t know really why SCII carries such a stigma of being inaccessible to people without incredible micro management skills. Probably because that was true in SC1, but that might be the one significant change with this game. I played the Beta somewhere between the upper Gold and lower Platinum leagues (meaning I did a bit better than the average player) and would still say my micro skills are quite horrible. My apm averages out to 60-70 for any given game and in battles I mostly just select all units and attack-move, then controlling one-two casters that are separated from the main force.

      Instead what the game is about to me is scouting and anticipating the opponent, getting the right unit compositions to counter what you expect them to do, timing your pushes and balancing your economy. That is to say, tactics and strategy. In games like CoH and DoW II however I’m completely useless as I fail at microing as soon as I reach above 3 squads. It’s incredibly difficult for me to keep track of all control points and swapping between all my different strike forces spread out over the entire map, using all their abilities appropriately. So I wonder a bit about where our definitions of “Micromanagement” differs ;).

      Of course, if you still don’t like the game you are entitled to. I’m just saying that maybe you should try re-evaluating your ideas about the game, go watch some youtube commentaries (Day[9] and HDStarcraft are pretty good) and maybe even give it another try. Who knows, you might even enjoy it. :)

    • Heliocentric says:

      @alseT No need, your grammar is a fancy lady.

    • alseT says:

      Also this video showcases some of the stuff that’s already been made in the beta with the galaxy editor. METAL SLUG!

    • Boldoran says:

      This Metal Slug remake obviously has a lot of work poured into it. It seems to have very varied backgrounds and some nice scripting scences. Either that or Blizzard really provided a truckload of assets in the editor. Either way color me impressed.

    • mlaskus says:

      Oh, Ruined Tail’s Tale was lovely, one of the best mods for Oblivion I’ve played.

    • Wulf says:

      Someone is wrong on the Internet, Angry Internet Men armed corps are go!

      Well, that’s your opinion, Telsa, but unfortunately it’s not mine. In fact, my opinion tends to be the reverse of most of the above. Of course, you’re not wrong, no one is, it’s just that people tend to perceive the world differently. You will, of course, tend to have those who’ll try and make their opinions look like fact, and make broad claims about how X is better at Y than Z, but at the end of the day, it’s just an opinion.

      I tend to not take my opinions too seriously, I just think that Dawn of War II feels better than the original Starcraft, and that Starcraft II seems much like the original, it’s also my opinion that Dawn of War II is more of a tactical game, and that what people classify as ‘tactics’ and ‘strategy’ differs from person to person. Of course, I’m sure some will look down their noses at me for not having the most popular definitions, but that’s how the cookie crumbles, yeah?

      I love how I’m often accused of being superior when often I’m the one making peace-offerings, concessions, and just generally not making my opinion out to be anything more than that. Oh twisted Internet, and the Bizarro World people that browse you. One day I’ll fathom how humility is the new egotism, one day.

      But yes, to continue, I also gather that Starcraft II might be the “better” game, it’s definitely the more popular game, it’s well loved, it’s an experience people have enjoyed, and as I point out in the post that folks have replied to, there’s absolutely no way that so many people can be wrong. It’s just not to my tastes though, and it’s not what I find to be the best about strategy.

      Of course, some people might have anger nosebleeds that I can’t enjoy the things that I do, but really… whatever. :p It’s also fun how vastly ignored my praising of Blizzard’s level editor was, rather than the vastly more insignificant part of my post.

      @JeCa

      I found that a lot of the micromanagement in Dawn of War II was pretty optional, you could do it, but you didn’t need to. Whereas in Starcraft I found my head nearly exploding with having to juggle so many damn things at once. Different people, different experiences, we can’t all see things the same way. I’m sure that you think that Starcraft has less micromanagement, I don’t really get that, but perhaps it’s because Starcraft is the game you got into.

      Maybe they both have micromanagement, and perhaps it’s just that I found Dawn of War II more accessible regardless, I don’t know. But I’ve played Starcraft, and it gave me headaches, such headaches. I’d imagine I’m just not smart enough for it, yet there are other strategy games that I like. I’m at a loss, and I shall say simply that I don’t like it.

      What I do like is that level editor, though. And I can see myself picking up the game to sample the delights the community will doubtlessly put together with it.

      @mlaskus

      You have sublime taste in mods. :) It really was a great mod, that. Even better was that I was in touch with the developer, I actually used to hang around the Oblivion boards, back in the day, sort of tried to get a project running (and failed), but what I did love doing was testing things for people. There were some beautiful things people poked me with, I’ll always remember with a certain fondness a lighthouse home someone asked me to beta-test.

      The point of all this though is that I got to talk to the developer of Ruined-Tail’s Tale, and he was very passionate about his mod, it left me with no small amount of admiration for him. He was also clearly attached to the story and the characters, and it was obvious that this whole tale wasn’t just something that he’d knocked together for Oblivion, parts of it he’d had banging around in his head for a while, and some parts seemed to be influenced by his feelings about real life events.

      At the end of the day, when you have someone who cares about something as much as that, usually it’s going to be good, at the very least. As it was, it turned out to be amazing, and I was glad I was there to play it. The potential of the mod suite in Oblivion far, far outweighed the original game, what was created was sometimes nothing short of genius, for both Morrowind and Oblivion. It’ll be interesting if we see the same levels of incredible creativity lavished upon SC II’s editor by the community.

      I’ll be keeping an eye peeled though, that’s for sure.

    • mlaskus says:

      Oh, you shouldn’t have… :)

    • alseT says:

      Angry Internet Man? Where did you get that from? Is that what levelled discussion is called nowadays? I just wanted to clear some of your misconceptions because I respect you and read your posts. Anyways I’m done.

    • alseT says:

      Also I didn’t ignore any of your post. I saw that you were praising the editor and saw it as correct, but it wasn’t the issue I was discussing. I think you should work on your aggression on the internetz.

    • Janxer says:

      Sorry. I can understand your unwillingness to get into SC2 because the incredible speed the game requires in competitive play, but you can in no way claim DoW2 to be more tactical. It just isn’t.

    • JeCa says:

      Fair enough, fair enough. Shows you how differently people perceive and tackle different tasks.

      I could go on about what actual changes makes SCII differ from the original a lot more than people think (for the player at least), but don’t think there’s any real point^^ After all, different opinions are different, and I don’t see what it would change.

  8. MadTinkerer says:

    Didn’t I read somewhere that in Chile (or some other South American country), Defense of The Ancients (A Warcraft 3 map which runs with no modification to WC3) is even more like a national sport than Starcraft in South Korea? But there’s also a whole bunch of non-DoTA stuff that you can use WC3 to play.

    • Thants says:

      There are three actually commercial games out now based on it (League of Legends, Heroes of Newerth, and Demigod). Which is impressive.

    • ceb says:

      DotA is, well was, spectacular. I hope you all had a chance to play it. Now it is a litle time worn, and ruined by people who are so l33t they seem to get more off on trashing other for not being as l33t then they do by playing the mod.

      On the surface it is a bit boring i think. It starts off slow. 5 man teams where need to be defensive, and hopefully clever the first 10 min to build your character. Then the fun starts for real with cooperating tactically and operative with your team, using different unit combos for different tactics. A litle bit like Alian Swarm (very litle admittedly, but still) I have never played anything where cooperation is so much the determant for who wins.

      All I want for xmas is a SC2 DotA mechanics mod.

  9. Peterkopf says:

    In other news, it seems that vile terrorist Raynor and his band of raiders have kidnapped three individually gifted vikings and brought them aboard their battlecruiser Hyperion.

  10. TotalBiscuit says:

    I’d like to post a comment but I’m too busy basking in how fucking detailed and polished Starcraft 2 is and what a fantastic campaign experience they’ve created.

    • JeCa says:

      Ah you bastard. I got notification from CDON today that my pre-order delivery was cancelled and that I had to place a new order today if I still wanted it (though they did give me a pretty sweet discount).
      So now, the waiting game.

  11. Baf says:

    I always preferred the intro in the PC demo of The Lost Vikings to the intro in the full game.

    The demo started with the vikings waking up on board the spaceship, with no preamble or explanation. One of them says something like “Hey, guys, where are we?” and another says “I dunno. I think we’re lost”.

    And then you start playing the game!

  12. We Fly Spitfires says:

    I think my netbook might be able to run Lost Vikings. Damn overpriced piece of garbarge that it is… /grumble

  13. ColOfNature says:

    which is about as deep as we’ve come to expect from blizzard… ooh, zing!

    just kidding, i spent many hundreds of hours (and pounds) on wow and loved it. but i don’t miss it the way i do the amiga. nostalgia ain’t what it used to be.

  14. Bozzley says:

    The Lost Vikings are in World of Warcraft, too. They’re part of a quest in Uldaman. Not that Uldaman will be there much longer, cos it’ll probably be gone with the next expansion, but still, they’re there now.

  15. G says:

    Wow, I havent seen this game before, really good music and gameplay. I think I’ll be watching a Lets Play of this on youtube soon, although first glances show that one character turns into a werewolf for a bit and there is a level made of candy. Level design was so generic back then, every game had a candy level or two and then the haunted graveyard level, beach, forest etc. Haha, beautiful music, Ill have to get hold of the ost.

  16. G says:

    Also some were talking of Tower defense and other customs, this is a custom map for Starcraft 1 called observer madness. For Wulf! Extreme micro.

  17. Long John says:

    That misleading title is evil! Now I will go to bed crying. I want a new Lost Vikings!

  18. Pete says:

    I would pay good money for a new Lost Vikings. Such a fun and charming game (and the SNES sequel was surprisingly good too)

  19. SuperNashwan says:

    I would buy The Lost Vikings HD.

  20. Dys says:

    You’re not alone, Wulf. I played SC1 only a couple of years ago, and found it largely inaccessible. I just don’t enjoy the pace. Same game, throttled at 20 apm, maybe :)

    • pkt-zer0 says:

      The game can be slowed down to half the standard speed, you know.

  21. VonFIDDE says:

    Was playing the SC2 campaign when i came across that ingame arcademachine and got stuckt with that spaceshooter for 30min :) and im 100% sure i will revisit it. Also i just wanna point out.. GET SC2 NOW!!! Its freaking awsome!!!

  22. Daniel Klein says:

    227k. Died to stupid mistake in Level 5.

    Also, all hail Terra-Tron!

  23. kanaka says:

    An interesting game in the same vein of Lost Vikings is the one called Project Eden. Old game from Eidos and Core Design, I can´t remember if it had a big release or if it is well-known, but it is kinda fun.