Vikings is a fun but little-known adventure/strategy hybrid that was originally released for Windows 3.1, although it runs fine in Windows 95/98 with 256 colors. In this unique game, you play the chief of a Viking tribe in the 9th century. At the start of the game, you pick your nationality (Norway, Sweden, or Denmark), and pick your ruling land, then decide the difficulty level and your advantage. Then it's off to the high seas and beyond...
As the ruler of your land, you have two choices. You can stay at home and govern, and this helps your province but doesn't affect your wealth or fame. Or, you can take your trusted men and go out to fight and gain glory. This part of the game has you sailing around or roaming on foot a large map of Northern Europe, and the graphics are still handsome-looking today, although the palette is a bit too dull. Controls are also a little sluggish, but you will soon get used to them. Once you land in a town, you can negotiate with its inhabitants or attack them. Combats screens are tactical: you move your men as units. There are also duel screens where you slug it out with another warrior, arcade-style. In towns, you can pick a building and then talk to the people, look for clues on quests, or listen to local news. The music is quite fitting, and the dialogue works well with the atmosphere of the game.
Overall, this is a good action/strategy game covering a rare topic. It is VERY difficult, and can keep you busy for quite a while. Best of all is the open-endedness – you can stay at home and rule and hardly go out, or you can try to conquer all of Sweden or Norway. None of the components like the tactical battles and the duels, are great, but when combined together and having mastered the controls, you're looking at a good time.
Note: The CD Version of the game has the voice acting of Michael Dorn, of Star Trek fame, in the intro and dialogue. It helps set the mood of the game, as he sounds like a Viking warrior. It's not needed to enjoy the game, but if you REALLY enjoy it, you may want to try to hunt down a CD copy.Reviewed by: SoulBlazer