Commodore User


Author: Gary Penn
Publisher: Palace
Machine: Amiga 500

Published in Commodore User #55


Since Barbarian came into the office, the air has been filled with grunts, groans, screams and the sounds of metal against metal against flesh. It's also turned a rather obvious shade of dark blue and the office gearbox is now bursting at the seams (mainly thanks to C&VG's adipose as manager, Garry Williams). Yes, everyone here at CU has got Barbarian fever. If we had a pick of the month, then this enhanced conversion of Palace's Commodore 64 classic hack 'n chop 'n beat-'em-up would undoubtedly be 'the man for the job'.

What makes Barbarian on the Amiga is the excellent use of sampled sounds. "Prepare to die!" announces the computer, before either one or two players fight it out in a duel to the death. Swords swish, and clash with a healthy 'clang': the combatants grunt and roar in pain, and there's a satisfying 'crack' when you successfully execute a headbutt. Leave the joystick alone for a few seconds and the fighter under your control turns to face you, shrugs his shoulders and says, in a somewhat uncharacteristically camp voice, "C'mon".

A well-timed blow to your opponent's neck removes his head, with a spurt of crimson (human) bean juice and an appropriately sickening slicing sound, followed by a stomach-churning squelch as the severed loaf hits the floor. As you raise your sword in triumph, a squat, deformed, green creature hobbles on screen and laughs menacingly at the decapitated warrior's misfortune, before kicking the head off screen and dragging the corpse off to ye local pie shoppe.


All this nail-biting action takes place against one of four attractive backdrops: a forest scene followed by a valley, then inside Drax's Castle. Who's Drax, you may well ask? Well, he's an evil sorcerer who's holding Princess Maria (played by Ms. Whittaker) - erm, holding her, um, hostage. So, if you don't fancy a little man-to-man with a friend, you can always fight against the increasingly ferocious computer-controlled opponents in an attempt to rescue the comely, buxom wench.

There are sixteen macho moves available, ranging from a kick to straightforward cuts and slashes, and the well-crucial Web of Death - a dazzling display of swordplay which involves whirling your weapon around in front of you in a very cocky manner. Guaranteed to impress the girls, this one.

Barbarian on the C64 was great; this 16-bit incarnation is even better. It's graphically superior, a lot faster and smoother, and the use of sampled sound effects ice a beautifully prepared cake. One for the collection, methinks.

Gangway, boys. I want to give Williams another thrashing...

Gary Penn

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