PICTURE yourself as a barbarian fighting for the love of Maria Whittaker (down boys). You are not alone in your desires and have rival Sun readers to fight off. They come at you one by one in the forest for a "discussion", each with enormous broadswords and very little on. Prepare yourself before battle commences. You spend the first half hour getting killed, very, very quickly. After a while things get better and you begin to enjoy hacking the foe to bits, especially when a well aimed blow decapitates him. The head falls to the ground with a spurt of blood from his severed neck accompanied by a scream and satisfying thud as the torso tumbles. Wholesome stuff.
The graphics on Barbarian are a bit of a let down. It would seem that the Atari ST graphics were simply dumped from one machine to the other. The figures are very basic, in colouring and in form. One redeeming factor is that they move in a very lifelike manner especially in sword fighting. The game's designer, Steve Brown, videotapes himself wielding swords and kicking, and then watches the tape to produce the graphics. The digitised sound is very good, and the gurgles, screams and thuds being particularly realistic. All good blood curdling stuff, forget your karate games and get into this.
If there's a digitised piccy of Maria at the end, I haven't got there yet, but it gives you an incentive to fight ever onward.
All in all it's a good game and somewhat addictive. A bit more detail in the characters wouldn't have gone amiss. This must be the last in this series of two guys beating each other up in very nice scenery. It's wearing a bit thin, but no doubt someone will come up with yet another scenario with different graphics and surprisingly familiar gameplay. A good one for all the hackers out there, that's the violent ones, not the quiet key tapping types, or are you an Arnold Schwarzenegger in Woody Allen clothing?