Barbarian (Palace) Review | Amstrad Computer User - Everygamegoing

Amstrad Computer User

By Palace
Amstrad CPC464

Published in Amstrad Computer User #33


"...and lo, a mighty warrior shall come from the frozen wastelands of the north, and he will stand alone against the forces of darkness..." - The Book of Death (2nd ed.)

His name was Albert, and he was northern wasteland correspondent for the Manchester Guardian. It wasn't his fault that when he wandered south to the Jewelled City he was hailed as the last chance to defeat the evil sorcerer Drax. He had it in mind to do a comparative review of social service conditions in the City and up north, The people of the City itself saw him as the warrior who was to fulfil the ancient prophecy in The Book Of Death.

A little research soon yielded the answers. The evil sorcerer Drax desired Princess Mariana, and had sworn to wreak an unspeakable doom on the people of the Jewelled City unless they delivered her to him. Albert discerned that feminism had no little way to go in these parts. He also wondered as to how someone could swear something unspeakable, but that little question could wait. The matter in hand was more pressing.

Drax wasn't such a bad sort. He did agree that he would drop his demands and go to arbitration if a champion could be found who would defeat his demonic soldiers. To date this hadn't happened. Plenty of strong young fighters with thews of iron and all that sort of stuff have tried, but to a man they've been cut into tiny little pieces and sold as Draxopuss. The Cat Food for Familiars.

And into this delicate confrontational situation strode Albert. In vain did he protest that he was no fighter. Unfortunately, he had recently done an in-depth report on seven body-building courses and could have kicked sand in Rambo's face without a fear. He had also just come from studying an obscure Buddhist sect, whose members wore only purple loin-cloths and carried fivefoot swords. The people of the city looked at their pictures of Conan. They looked at Albert. Bingo.

They did agree, after watching him lose three times in a row in a lemon-peeling contest, to let him practise against their finest warriors.

Arguing weakly, Albert was pushed into the forest glade where the warrior was waiting with sword in fist.

The fighter's powerful body rippled with hatred. He read the Sun. He was evil. He laughed, easily and emptily. Albert inched forwards. "I'm sure we can come to a mutually agreeable conclusion over this, ah, Princess" he said without much hope.

"Arrrgggghh!" said the warrior, his shining chopper humming through the air and burying itself deeply in the ground by Albert's left foot. "Oh dear" said Albert.

A few weeks later the scars had healed and the skin graft looked like holding. Albert was declared ready to go out and do battle with the Evil One's Minions. Into battle he went. The night before, a young maiden had told him that if he was to kill all the baddies, including finally the monstrous Drax himself, she could get him a job on the Independent. Albert was indeed ready to fight to the death.


You can move the joystick about in eight directions, with or without fire pressed. These result in 16 fighting moves against your opponent. Six full body hits by either person results in death.

Yes, it's one of those fighting games, but instead of monks or knights beating each other to a pulp it's barbarians. There is absolutely no other difference in graphics, gameplay or plot (plot?) Buy this game only if you have no other martial arts program and can stand the cover. I fail on both counts.


Barbarian is the best blood and thunder game I have ever played. I thought Shockway Rider was sick until I beheaded the foe in Barbarian. As his bonce bounces to the floor the decapitated body falls to a kneel and then collapses on to the floor, spurting blood from the neck all the while. Yeeech!

This kind of game is made on the quality of the animation, the number of frames which go with each movement. Palace has always been a master of this craft.

Not a game for those with weak stomachs. I'd buy it in spite of the big an' bouncy Maria poster, I suspect most of you will buy Barbarian because of it.


I suppose this is a fantasy game. The only slight flame of interest was kindled when I died for the first time and a rather evil goblin leaped out of the side and dragged my body away. And then all pleasure was lost in a repeat.

The graphics are unremarkably competent. The sound is the best sword-swish and thud I've heard so far. The free poster is amazing, and should appeal to young males between the age of 10 and 12 only. So will the game, I'll be bound.