I wanted to let you know of a little known gem in the world of gaming that most of you young whippersnappers probably will never have heard of. Back in the mid-nineties there was the 16bit console battle between the Super Nintendo and the Sega Mega Drive, what a lot of people didn’t know was that whilst Sega and Nintendo were slugging away at each other for console supremacy, the 16bit home computer; the Commodore Amiga A500 was going strong with games that matched the quality of those found on the consoles, only these were stored on floppy disk rather than cartridges. Anyway, the good news is that Valhalla has been redeveloped by its original creators Vulcan Software for the PC.
The Valhalla trilogy was (and still is) one of my favourite games series and on PC the graphics and sound have all been revamped, the graphics aren’t outstanding but what they lack in prowess they make up for in style in charm. Valhalla is basically a top down dungeon puzzler; you move your character around the environments solving logical (and illogical) puzzles, typically in the form of item collection and placement.
Most of the items themselves are half the clue to their own puzzle, the trick to solving the puzzles is to thoroughly explore the environment and look for the missing other half of the clue, the intriguing thing is that the clues are hidden in different ways, sometimes they could be written in a book, on a piece of paper hidden under a floor tile or spoken by a NPC when you chat to them. Quite often though it could be more literal, for example; early on in the game you find a ‘miracle stone’, a little later you get yourself a pale of water and if you are to place the water onto the miracle stone it turns into a pale of wine, the wine you have just collected is also the solution to another puzzle elsewhere in the level.
The puzzle solving isn’t the whole story though, what I really love about Valhalla is the sense of humour, as you progress you really do emotionally bond with the lead character, he’ll often mock you as you play and joke about with you at the oddest of moments.
The Valhalla classics get a rather dandy 9 out of 10.