Heimdall 2: Into the Hall of Worlds, Amiga CD32

The sequel to the quirky Amiga adventure Heimdall, Heimdall 2: Into the Hall of Worlds was developed by The 8th Day and published by Core Design in 1994. In my opinion: it is more enjoyable than the first game, although not without its faults.

What is better about this sequel is that there are now two playable characters – Heimdall himself and a female Valkyrie called Ursha – and either can be switched to at will. Combat, too, is improved. Gone is the archaic and fumblesome combat of the first game – replaced by simply slugging away at an enemy in front of you, or shooting them with a bow and arrows. You get the bow and arrows immediately, but it does take a little while to find a sword up to the job of dealing damage to enemies – the default weapons you get are garbage, so hostiles are best avoided at the start of the game.

Exploration and simple puzzles are the backbone of Heimdall 2. Finding keys, pressing button combinations, rescuing people, opening portals – that kind of thing. It’s not too taxing to begin with, which is good. Some solutions to certain puzzles are not obvious, though, so you do have to think as you play.

The inventory and menu system is still quite clunky in Heimdall 2. You have to press a button on the gamepad to activate a sword pointer at the top of the screen, and then click on the backpack icon to see what you’re carrying. A similar process for spell-casting. Closing the menu is also not particularly obvious and is sure to confuse new players. The fact is: the game’s designers could have made accessing the menus much easier than it is and the game suffers because of it.

That said: I did enjoy playing Heimdall 2 overall – once I’d gotten used to the controls. I love the isometric graphics – they are beautifully drawn and coloured and spur you on to want to see more of the game. The exclusive CD32 soundtrack is excellent too.

Heimdall 2: Into the Hall of Worlds is a decent isometric adventure. It’s not really what I would describe as “an RPG”, although it does have a few RPG-style elements. Whatever you want to categorise it as, it is undoubtedly a leader in its class on the Amiga CD32.

More: Heimdall 2 on Wikipedia

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