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Playstation 2






Titus Software






T (Teen)



Q3 2002



- Excellent fighting game   

- Superb 3-D arenas and interactive backgrounds

- Good multiplayer game – up to 8 with 2 multi-taps

- Great one player mode with good variations on the 3-round match-up



- All this sword-fighting and no blood?

- Story lines can be a little on the thick side (if you aren’t a D&D fan you might groan)



Review: The Bouncer (Playstation 2)

Review: Bloody Roar 3 (Playstation 2)



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Score: 9.0 / 10


Barbarian is a new take on the whole fighting genre. Borrowing the 3D-fighting style of The Bouncer, the game features battles between up to 8 players (on the screen) at one time. Unlike many 3D fighting games, the background is highly interactive with objects that can be thrown at your adversaries or the surrounding poles and trees that can be climbed or suspended from. The game can be played as a standard “street-fighter analogue” with up to seven of your friends or as an adventure game with a detailed story-line and some truly challenging variations on the usual three round conflict. Each of the 11 fighters employ a unique weapon based fighting style ranging from standard Nordic sword/shield styles to dual-axe stances to scimitar styles (although I can’t recall too many Arabic barbarians from Western Civilization class….).  





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Barbarian utilizes a two-button attack mode (one weak & one strong) that is used to develop some nasty combos on your opponent. Ranging from stunning combos to magic gaining spells to just plain brutalizing attacks – the combo system is easily the most important aspect of the game to master. The only complaint about the attack-system is based on the fact that no character attacks low – everyone fights standing and attacks their opponent at the chest. When not attacking, the blocking and countering system allow for defense or momentum breaking 


on your opponent. Those systems are simple to use, but suffer the problem of not working when someone is performing a combo on you (nothing quite so frustrating as getting hit in the wrong direction and having to sit and watch your character receive a 10 hit combo). Also included are runes and projectiles which serve to ‘juice your character for a moment or disrupt your opponent with a ranged attack.


barbarian-1.jpg (15244 bytes)          barbarian-2.jpg (45705 bytes)


The visuals are excellent, with the interactive backgrounds looking great and reacting perfectly. The sound is good; the beats differ for each region trying to develop a regional feel for each atmosphere (African beats for jungle areas, Mayan rhythms for temple-like area, and industrial beats for castles). The sound effects are basic but well implemented (don’t need to be more advanced than clanging of metal on metal and groans and grunts, right?) and accentuate the action superbly.


Barbarian is broken down into 3 modes of play: Single player quest mode, a versus mode, and the tutorial. For this game, the tutorial is a little slow but extremely important – as it not only goes through the basics of the fighting style, but explains the nuances of the game including runes and how to use the surroundings to your advantage. The versus mode is by far the most fun when you have a group of people to play with and against – with 2 multi-taps and additional controllers up to 8 people can simultaneously to smash things. At this point, I was only able to play with 3 people at once, but the game handled perfectly with no noticeable slowdown to the action.


barbarian-3.jpg (60562 bytes)          barbarian-4.jpg (46933 bytes)


The single player mode is more of a quest-like experience where you choose one character and as you complete battles you earn experience and attain higher levels. These levels allow you to add techniques, skills, or just physically improve your character as you advance in the game. The quest mode is non-linear – so you can choose between two or more characters to visit (read: fight) to advance the story line. Different paths result in different aspects of the world being revealed, so the replay value for each character is high. Some people will find the story line excessive, especially when the narrator goes on a tear describing some trite activity as an insurmountable task… just be warned what you’re getting into. To make this mode more interesting, are the handicapping battles – some battles have you pitted against characters that can regenerate their health others in situations where you’ve been poisoned and slowly losing health (so you must defeat your opponent VERY quickly) or even others where you are fighting against an enemy who has minions joining in the fight. This certainly can increase the difficulty of the game rather drastically.


All in all, Barbarian is a very entertaining fighting game with some particularly cool features.


- Tazman

(August 3, 2002)

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