Seven screens of platform action
The latest addition to US Gold's 'Famous Faces' range puts you in the surreal world of the film character Conan the Barbarian. In a similar fashion to Bruce Lee you have to work your way through various platform screens to seek and destroy the villainous Volta.
On each of the seven screens there is an exit. On the first two screens it is clearly marked and all you have to do is run and jump your way to it. After level two you start having to collect gems and put them in their holders before being able to go out of the screen. Sometimes a door may unlock or something may appear that you can ride on, which will take you to the exit.
The first few screens of the game are reasonably easy, but later on the going gets very tough, as you have to ride on bubbles and destroy dragons. On levels six and seven there are Van Der Graff generators and stars which need to be struck with your sword before turning into gems.
You have three men and ten swords at the start, but you have a chance to earn more of these on later levels. You can do this by picking up the swords lying around and catching the friendly bird which flaps about the more inaccessible part of the screen.
The graphics are pathetic - they wouldn't go amiss on a 1982 game. Indeed, they appear to have been designed by a ZX81 graphics programmer, as the main character features an annoying flicker. The sound is disappointing too: the actual notes are great, but voices used are unimaginative, reedy and grating.
Animation is appalling - Conan looks more like a 70s trendy: he's wearing bell ends and has long hair. The various nasty creatures trundle about with hardly a pixel moving, and the scenery is drab with few colours and details.
It's a shame that the graphics and game-feel are so abysmal - otherwise this would be a good game. As it stands, it plays frustratingly slowly with fiddly control. Although some screens offer plenty of challenge and puzzles, the fact that there are only seven is very disappointing for a disk-based program. I found it too frustrating to be classed as a decent game.
This hunky hero doesn't look up to much, but he's a little deceptive. The action is quite compulsive and I wasn't put off too much by the yukky graphics. I enjoyed some of the ideas, like bubbles and the boomerang sword, along with the other Bruce Lee-like platform action.
There are various wicked creatures which lust after Conan's blood. There also exist some traps in which Conan can lose a life.
- BAT: This flaps about and follows a distinct pattern. Earn 750 points by killing it with your sword.
- DRAGONFLY: The same as the bat, with similar score.
- LEAPERS: These drop from the screen and wander down to the bottom of the screen. Kill 'em and you'll get 1,000 points apiece.
- DRAGON: Flaps up and down the screen and must be destroyed for you to continue. You also get a meaty 2,500-point bonus for each one destroyed!
- EYEBALLS: These chase you about and have to be dealt with like the dragons. They too are worth 2,500 points.
- CRAWLY THINGS: No, not Oric owners - scorpions and the like. They cannot be destroyed but must be jumped over. They kill you on touch so don't go near them.
- POOLS, LAVA and SPIKES: Jump these and don't fall into them.
A nice disk package and instructions but individual screen loading is annoying.
Familiar action from Bruce Lee and other platform derivatives.
Terrible main character animation, simple colours and unimpressive enemies.
Cracking screens is compulsive as ever.
Simple title tune and straightforward effects.
There are only seven screens and despite being tough they won't last long.
Value For Money 32%
Can't figure out why it's only disk-based and for this type of game it's overpriced.