Hard as nails Viking fun
For a scrolling adventure that packs a heck of a challenge, then Armorik the Viking is a definite must play. While much of the gameplay is familiar stuff, it's all done with a decent level of style but it's the sheer difficulty level which will either prove extremely attractive or offputting, depending on your preferences. As you might expect, you're put in the woolly shoes of a Viking warrior who is out to put his name in the legends and must now complete eight quests set down by Thor himself and which will undoubtedly test you to the limit. In a nice twist, you can take on these quests in any order you see fit, with each one seeing you visiting an individually themed level, with the likes of caves, mountains, forests and castles all waiting to be explored. You're armed with a set of throwing knives and must make your way through each side-scrolling level, collecting treasure, killing bad guys and searching for the key which opens up the exit. So far, this is all pretty similar to any other platformer, from Trantor to Contra, but the key difference here is in the details. First, each level has a strict time limit of just two and a half minutes, while enemies are almost constantly respawning and which really keeps you on your toes. Furthermore, even just one hit will kill you so when you combine all these factors, you are in for a tough ride. If you can handle the heat though, there's a lot to enjoy here, with some fiendishly designed levels which are graphically quite impressive, being atmospheric and detailed. While perhaps not a classic, if you like your games hard as nails, then this is worth a look.