FACEBOOK          TWITTER          INSTAGRAM          YOUTUBE          PINTEREST          PINTEREST


The evil of Loki and his ravaging Hakrat Hordes will soon become too powerful for resistance. It is time for the Gods to intervene before all is lost. Play the role of Heimdall and sacrifice your divinity as you return to the six vast Viking lands known as Yggdrasil in a quest to recover the pieces of the Sacred Amulet and stop Loki dead in his tracks.
~ from the back of the box

When I played the first Heimdall a couple of months ago, I was left with a lukewarm impression. Core Design's Norse-themed role-playing game was rather barebones from both in its game mechanics and design ethos. Needless to say, it left me as cold as the snowy tundra of Norway. It sold well and earned enough praise that a sequel can out in 1994, two years after the first. Are the updated graphics and overhauled battle system enough to win me over? We'll see.

My first impressions didn't bode well. After you select a new game, you are dumped directly into the first screen with no context or direction. There is no intro to speak of, no easing you into this world. Even a basic opening text scrawl is non-existent. I guess this was at a time when the manual did a lot of the heavy lifting in this regards, but even so it's a jarring opening that makes an otherwise attractive-looking game feel cheap.

Traps await in every realms, and take a keen sense of timing to travel through unscathed (left).
Other traps require leaps of faith, such as this bottomless pit and its magically appearing platform (right).

Of the four different versions out there, I first attempted the DOS version. It looks and sounds like a top tier game, but controlling it is another matter. When using the keyboard, a tap of an arrow key has our hero start walking, stopping only when he (or she) hits an impasse. By using the number pad instead of the arrows, you can press 5 to stop them dead in their tracks. It's hell to play, particularly when navigating timed traps. Alternatively, you can control the game using the mouse entirely. It's a little better this way, but is never less than awkward. What is strange is that none of the Amiga versions play like this at all. For the standard Amiga and its AGA upgraded version, the arrow keys work exactly how you'd expect. Release the key, and the sprite will stop dead in its tracks. Use this in conjunction with the mouse to access menus and perform other actions, and it plays a lot better.

Out of all of them, however, I gravitated towards the CD32 version. By being designed with a joypad in mind, it played in a far less convoluted way. It is on par with the AGA and DOS versions in terms of graphical detail, has fewer bugs than the standard AGA version and boasts a fully orchestrated CD soundtrack. It's a pretty epic orchestral score, but the midi mixes pouring out of the PC port are no slouch either.

Rune Scrolls give you enough information to cast spells. Write them down and get rid of 'em to free up space (left).
Select the correct runes in order, then press the lightning bolt to cast them (right).
Battle spells can be swapped out with ranged attacks from this menu too.

Other than the upgrade in graphics, the biggest difference between this and the first game is in the combat. Here, it is entirely real time. You can swing a sword, shoot a projectile, block with your shield and move freely on the isometric map. It's still a little clunky, with luck still playing a major part but the amount of hits a basic enemy can take versus how many you can soak up in return is uneven at first. I began to ignore them entirely, thinking of them as minor nuisances or obstacles instead of enemies. Then, when I got to an enemy that needed to be vanquished, I was woefully unprepared both in regards to my stats and the rhythms of combat.

Outside of battle, the game has a strong adventure side. It's narrative isn't particularly strong, with just a bunch of NPCs issuing out perfunctory objectives as opposed to dramatic quests but this is where the visual style picks up the slack. An old guy tied up in a cupboard may ask you to save his daughter from being sacrificed to the evil Loki, but something about the expressive animation and the dishevelled design of the room - complete with an askew Viking poster on the wall - hints at a larger drama in play. It's a drama that will take you through all of the realms from Midguard to Nif'heim and all that's in between. The bigger picture, however, is only really described in the manual and it is here where we are actually introduced to our duo of swappable heroes; Heimdall, god of foreknowledge and the Valkyrie Ursha.

Shops are located at several places within the Nordic realms (left).
Here you can buy and sell items, weapons and rune scrolls from the different vendors (right).

Beyond your swords, axes and bows, both Heimdall and Ursha can cast spells using a runic system. Rune Scrolls can be found lying on the ground at pre-determined points but they themselves aren't used to actually perform magic. Instead, it is through the manipulation of known runes. All these scrolls do is just tell you what runes do and in what order. At first, you only have three of these symbols, so you can actually discover spells without any foreknowledge using trial and error. Eventually, as you find spell books, the number of runes available to you increase. I found little use for them, to be honest. Resources are finite - including money, healing food and mana potions that increase your magic points - so if you don't want to waste anything if you don't have to. That's not to say you won't have enough of anything. I found the game to be quite generous in terms of health items and if you are running out of inventory space, you can drop them at any point and the game will remember where you left them. In a push, you can also sell anything you don't need anymore in shops which are scattered throughout the worlds.

While I began the game feeling cold and detached, the further I got the more I began to warm up to it. Every location looks and feels different with a plethora of surprises found within. I wouldn't say it's a hard game either, especially if you choose to engage in the clunky combat only when necessary. It's still missing a little something to make it perfect, but Heimdall 2: Into the Hall of Worlds is still a pleasantly entertaining time.

To download the game, follow the link below. This custom installer exclusive to The Collection Chamber uses the DOSBox Daum build of DOSBox 0.74 to bring the PC version to modern systems and FS-UAE with WHDload to emulate the Amiga, Amiga AGA and Amiga CD32 versions. Manuals and Grimoire Spellbook  included. Read the ChamberNotes.txt for more detailed information. Tested on Windows 10.

File Size: 391 Mb.  Install Size: 575 Mb.  Need help? Consult the Collection Chamber FAQ






Heimdal 2: Into the Hall of Worlds is © Core Design
Review, Cover Design and Installer created by me

Like this? Try These...

https://collectionchamber.blogspot.com/p/heimdall.html  https://collectionchamber.blogspot.com/p/legend-four-crystals-of-trazere.html  https://collectionchamber.blogspot.com/p/thors-hammer.html


  1. I think this game is beautiful but a bit too short. When you start to be involved in the game and the gods and everything, when the game starts to look like a streamlined Ultima 8, it ends. Still, those lovely graphics. That music, from the guys behind the Tomb Raider soundtrack, and one of them following a career in electronic music as Atjazz.

    1. I definitely have to check out Atjazz. I did like the music here.

      I agree that it's a short game, but given my busy schedule I did like that. It's rare to find an RPG that isn't a time sink. I do think that if Core made just one more entry, they would've perfected the formula.