9th century AD - When Young Viking warrior Ragnar returns home, he find his village in flames and his father and people slaughtered at the hands of the Dark Vikings. Swearing revenge he begins his lone, bloody quest, uncovering a much darker plot against the entire Viking people and taking him to the very depths of Hell and to the gates of Valhalla itself.
Based on the Unreal Tournament engine, Rune strikingly recreates across 25 levels the dark, shadowy and mythical world of Viking lore. Modified with an advanced skeletal animation system, Ragnar and other beings have extremely lifelike and slick movement.
Ancient Norse mythology and history permeates Rune - Vikings exist alongside creatures of Norse legends, and many of the levels are set in historical or mythological places, such as Muspelheim (Underworld) and Thorstadt (fortress of the Dark Vikings).
Superb use of sound to enhance the savage melee clashes (blades meeting, shields shattering) and eerie atmosphere of the surrounding environs (i.e. echoes and screams in dungeons, listen in on Dark Viking conversations and howling of wolves in the icy wastes).
A healthy dose of classic fantasy humor - mugs of ale are hurled at walls, berserker rage can set in and you can even beat opponents to death with their pal's severed head!
Gameplay is roughly 70/30 combat/puzzle solving with the latter very much being designed as "the most fun and violent way to get from A to B". Problems are also overcome by watching how Ragnar and other creatures react to a situation/environment.
Creature AI and movement is highly evolved - weak creatures will attack en-masse or scurry under cover, the undead will lumber on remorselessly, and huge snow beasts will leap atop you, with shields no defense against vast bulk. Pausing to watch events, Ragnar will also witness interaction and in fighting between the world's creatures.
Combat is brutal - frequently against the odds - your timing of strikes and parries is crucial - specific body points can be struck/lopped off, weapons and objects picked up, used or thrown and gore effects will eventually leave you coated head to foot in blood!
Online options allow gladiatorial gore-fests to rage across levels in Multiplayer mayhem.