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The original Barbarian game set you in an arena in a one-on-one bout against a human opponent, the victor being the first to score enough hits against the other to cause a knock-down(well death actually). Barbarian II is a much improved game in some respects as it actually allows you to roam free about the land, fighting a variety of different monsters and general nasties in your quest to save the day. The graphics looked gorgeous at the time and the game itsef was a big seller on the back of some rave reviews. I never actually bought the game until after much of the hype had died down and to be honest I can't say that it was worth the wait. Yes, the game is greatly improved in respect of the fact that you now fight lots of different monsters, and roam freely(ish) but at the same time lots of the original fun has been removed. Barbarian I was a difficult game to master...Barbarian II is nigh on impossible. There are literally hundreds of fights to survive before you can complete the game and with no save option and every opponent being pretty tough, you really have little chance of progressing very far. As a result, you'll probably lose interest before too long, bored with being killed only three or four screens in. Furthermore, you find that the game could have been far more intelligent than it actually is. Every screen you enter will have a new bad guy to fight...EVERY screen. This becomes monotonous after a while, playing like the original but with a 2 second wander onto the next screen(with it repeating scenery) rather than waiting for the next bout in the arena. A little more thought and some branching would have mafde the game far more interesting and with only a very small amount of additional programming. Sound effects are also pretty dire, which is a crime when you consider that the Amiga had an extremely advanced sound system, which other manufacturers had managed to produce some excellent music and sound effects through
. Control of the main character is pretty easy and reminiscent of all other beat-em-up style games seen on the amiga. Hold down the fire button(or not) and move the joystick in different directions to pull off a variety of different hack/slash/parry manouvers with you big weapon(oo-er!). These controls are pretty easy to pick up and in all there are only around 10 to learn anyway(something of a Godsend when you look at the enormous instruction booklets which come with some of the games today). This game was not one rushed off to cash in pon the success of the first but was expected to be a smash hit in its own right. In some ways it acheived that but perhaps due solely to its originality rather than anything else. A little more attention to detail could have made this a superb game. As it stands it is only mediocre.