We've all done things we've regretted--when I was young, I fell victim to the Sega Genesis' oh-so-edgy marketing scheme. Sonic (and his cohort Tails, my idol for a time) where waging war against a megalomaniacal scientist and his robot army. Mortal Kombat had blood, and true-to-arcade gory fatalities. Shinobi was a ninja! And Vectorman. Remember Vectorman? He was pretty cool. I begged my mother for a Sega Genesis as it was clearly the superior 16-bit console, and upon sampling Final Fantasy 3, Super Mario World, and Secret of Mana on a friend's Super Nintendo, realized my mistake and transformed into the bitter, jaded husk you see today.
But when I fire up Völgarr the Viking and pretend my Xbox 360 gamepad is merely a third-party Sega Genesis controller, I can pretend that terrible decision wasn't so terrible at all. Because Völgar the Viking is, in all ways, the perfect Genesis game.
An aggressive, almost tribal soundtrack edges you along as you wade through all manner of nasty lizard things, rendered in 16-bit glory. Corpses explode in a wonderfully violent shower of blood and bone with every swing of your sword or volley of your limitless supply of spears. As you roam, you'll find chests that'll award you with increasingly powerful equipment, that'll be stripped off piece by piece as the endless waves of foes whittle away at your resolve.
You'll dodge traps, scoop up loot, and fight and claw for every step you take until muscle memory and that latent reptilian instinct take over, and reaching that next checkpoint--few and far between, just like the good old days--becomes a matter of course, not chance. And then you'll do it again, trudging your way through a varied and beautiful world, encountering new, devious creatures, figuring out their movement patterns and then slaughtering them mercilessly.
Yeah...good fun. There are no save files, so quitting means starting all over again--just like the good old days. I'd almost forgotten about those lazy Saturday afternoons, curling up with Battletoads or Contra Hard Corps and whiling away hours just trying to see that elusive next stage. Völgar the Viking will set you back $10 (for a limited time) on Steam, or you can support the developer directly and get a $12 DRM-free copy (and a Steam key) from the official site.
Hey look at that, a video!