Title		Heimdall
Game Type	RPG
Publisher	Core Design, 1991
Players		1
Compatibility	All (with WHDLoad patch)
HD Installable  Yes (with patch)
Submission	Adrian Simpson Profiled Reviewer

Heimdall is an action adventure based around Viking legends and not the
usual futuristic or orc fantasy scenarios which are found in many games of
this type. It's nice to see some variation in themes sometimes. Even so,
the aim of the game is two locate three weapons (Thor's Hammer, Frey's
Spear and Odin's Sword) which have been lost on three different worlds. I
think that too many games rely on this idea of locating parts of something
important, whether it is sections of a key or a magic mirror of some kind.

There's a pleasant intro, which tells the story. Following that, there is
some character generation. This isn't the normal dice rolling screen, but
can be completed in two ways. The recommended way is to take part in three
sub-games. The first of these is an axe throwing contest, in which you
must cut eight pig-tails off a barmaid with ten axes. You move the cursor
with the joystick, but it waggles about due to your drunkeness. The next
is a pig-chasing run around a sty, under a time limit. The third is an
isometrically-viewed sword fight on a ship. Of all three, the axe throwing
is the best, followed by the sword fighting and then the pig-chasing.
They can all get quite frustrating, especially if you want to do well to
earn good attributes in the game. It is possible to skip these sub-games,
but this results in an average attribute score.

You must also choose your crew members; Heimdall is the default and is
accompanied by five others. Your performance in the sub-games is a factor
in the number of men you have to choose from, with those that appear later
in the list being the more desirable. It's best to pick a varied team
here, as you have a selection of warriors, blacksmiths, shipwrights,
druids, wizards, navigators and beserkers, each with their own mix of

As mentioned before, there are three worlds to adventure across and
numerous islands on each. In the game there is a simple map, which is used
for navigation. The box comes with a colour paper map, which has some more
detail on the islands.

From here, you sail across the world to different islands and then
disembark. This is where the game proper starts. The joystick controls
Heimdall as you wander through the isometrically-viewed island, picking up
gold and food. The graphics are pretty decent here, with a lot of
character to them.

Enemies are dotted across the island and can be fought by walking up to
them - this changes to the combat screen. You can select which character
you want to fight with and then select a weapon to use. After this you can
click on attack or defend. Annoyingly, the weapon is then deselected and
must be clicked on again, followed by attack. Combat tends to be a lot of
mindless clicking, due to the simplistic nature of the fighting, or a case
of merely waiting until your enemy attacks and lowers his guard. In the
combat section it is a good idea to use one of your fighters for his

The puzzles are generally the type where spells need to be found to
progress and keys to open doors. For example, the first few puzzles are
pretty easy; a spell of Revelation reveals a bridge, a spell of Descension
makes a stone barrier descend and the right combination of switches allows
a narrow walkway to be crossed. Unforseeable traps in the floor are
annoying, so it is often best to traverse a room along the walls.

The biggest problems with the game are our old friends, disk loading times
and floppy swapping. It's a five disk game, and it supports several extra
disk drives, but it isn't hard disk installable. I thought that this would
be essential for an adventure such as this which comes on so many disks,
but apparently not. Not to fear, though, as WHDLoad comes to the rescue!
It installs the game to hard disk, including save games. Don't bother
playing it from floppies.

The gameplay isn't completely restricted - you do go from one world to the
next and each island sometimes has a limited number of islands to move on
to, but there are usually various routes to take. It's the sort of game
which used to fill up many of the tips sections of magazines, as players
got stuck at different points. However, it is an absorbing and slick game,
which raised the bar in many respects when it was released.

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