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Voyage of the Valkyrie (Apple II)

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100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
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Description

Reclaiming the ancient Ø for his Scandinavian ancestors, pioneering game programmer Leo Christopherson takes one or two players to FUGLØY ("Bird Island") to conquer ten castles in aerial combat. Your ship is the Valkyrie; your deadly opponents are bird air forces of FUGLØY, classed from the neophyte Hawks to the powerful and clever Eagles.

The birds are not the only peril. The island itself is a maze of mountain passes and treacherous fog banks. It does not change from game to game, though, and the box includes a worksheet for mapping out the features and safe routes between the castles. Each Norwegian-named castle has a different class of defender in varying numbers -- data provided at the start of each game -- so the best strategy for conquering the island may not be linear. You can speed past a defended castle or engage briefly and escape to refuel. Beware the roving Eagle squadron, though; it takes only one hit with your shields down to end even a veteran pilot's career.

Energy is the limiting factor. It is consumed by travel, shooting, and enemy hits. While your ship's stores can always be replenished at a friendly base, and your weapon energy by disengaging from combat, running out of either spells the end. The view is always first-person. In combat a moving cross-hairs aims your laser at the attacking birds; in travel, graphics of the island's topography lead you to safe and not-so-safe passages.

Sound, however, is Christopherson's forte in 1981 and the special feature of Voyage of the Valkyrie. No less than the operas of Richard Wagner lend their strains to key stages of the game, which the developer pushes out in stereo, putting the second channel on an output usually reserved for sending data. The manual for the Apple release recommends a hardware hack to get it. After all, who wasn't making their own cables in 1981?

Ten levels of difficulty vary the opposing forces by an average factor of ten, and the Apple version allows cooperative play by splitting gunnery and piloting.

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me3D31337 (42571) added Voyage of the Valkyrie (Apple II) on Sep 26, 2012
Other platforms contributed by me3D31337 (42571)