Acorn User1st June 1989
Published in Acorn User #083
A Case Of Barbarism
Barbarian 2, surprisingly enough is the sequel to Barbarian. The Barbarian is the same; so is the bad guy (Drax). The game however, is not.
In Barbarian, the game consisted only of fighting one opponent after another. There is a bit more to it in the sequel. The game is split into four levels, each level consisting of a maze of 26 screens. On each level there are two objects to be collected, for use in the final confrontation with Drax.
Movement between each screen is achieved by moving left or right off the current screen or by entering a cave or doorway which brings you out on to a different screen. One of a variety of monsters will materialise with a cloud of smoke in front of you on each screen and will then do its utmost to kill you, by pecking, stinging or biting. The method used depends on the speciality of the monster involved.
The monsters are spectacular in size and design, the 'Living Idol' has to be the biggest character I've seen in a game on the Beeb, while the 'Slithering Things' look just like er... um... slithering things!
Each screen has an interesting background. On the first level this is made up of mountain ranges, complete with volcanoes which billow out black smoke. Also to be seen on some screens is the odd head on a pole, just to add a certain atmosphere to the game.
Some screens also contain pits, into which you fall if you're not careful or if you're pushed by one of the monsters. The effects used for this are good. You either see the Barbarian topple or plummet, depending on whether he slipped or jumped in.
What's surprising about the game, especially considering the size of the sprites, is that it runs at a playable speed.
As with Barbarian, it's the graphics that make the game. Having said this, the gameplay is an improvement on Barbarian - it's more in the realm of an arcade adventure with combat, rather than a pure combat game.
The only thing lost in Barbarian 2 is the quality of the combat. Your opponents have only one style of attack, each of which can get a little repetitive. This is only partly compensated for by the variety of different monsters (seventeen in all).
Overall a most impressive and playable game. The worst thing about it is the rendition of Axel-F it contains. Fortunately this is only played between games.