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Hegor the Barbarian walks from screen to screen laying waste to his enemies, in the Psygnosis sword-and-sandal saga Barbarian. Dismiss this as 16-bit Euro-trash at your own peril. As hinted by the psychedelic cover art by Roger Dean (who designed Yes album jackets), Barbarian is an exercise in outlandishness. Showing off the Amiga's abilities, Hegor defiantly smashes his chains in the kitschy opening cinema scenes — one of the first for home computers.
As in many European games that emphasized vivid style over substance in the mid-'80s, Barbarian's game world is fairly small, but gory. Walking from scene to scene, you somersault over deadly traps while slaughtering one undead foe at a time. The rippling muscles and digitized grunts were fresh at the time, and there's a pulpy quality to the art.
What makes Barbarian a real historical curiosity is the loony control scheme. To make Hegor fight, jump, and climb, you choose from a toolbar of icons at the bottom of the screen. Yet not all of the things you need to do can be displayed at the same time, so you have to toggle between two screens of options — and fast. It's like Karateka crossed with Microsoft Excel. This approach was also used in the cyborg-themed follow-up Obliterator, but didn't really work until Psygnosis' Lemmings. ~ John Gorenfeld, All Game Guide