STORY / GAMEPLAY
The evil sorcerer Drax has taken Princess Mariana as hostage, but has agreed to let her go free if a warrior can defeat his guardians. And that's where your barbarian comes in. Barbarian (known as Death Sword in the USA) is a one-on-one sword fighting game. Each character (a sword-wielding barbarian) has six life blocks and can survive twelve blows before biting the dust. The action takes place against two backdrops: a forest clearing and a pit of death. Fight against the warriors of Drax and rescue Princess Mariana. The fighters' moves are impressive: they can slice and dice with the sword, chop away, duck, jump, roll, and then there's the lethal chop which takes the opponent's head clean off. The game also features a two-player mode, in which players fight their characters against each other. Not to be confused with "Barbarian", a MelbourneHouse/Psygnosis game from 1988!
GRAPHICS / SOUND
The BBC port features nicely drawn graphics with fine colors considering its hardware limitations and overall it looks better than the ZX Spectrum. The graphics detail and color usage are certainly pretty good, but it can't compete whatsoever with CPC or C64 versions. Sprite animation is fluid though and the action is fast enough.
The sound is adequate. There is no introductory tune, while the in-game SFX are somewhat ... noisy!