BARBARIAN II : THE DUNGEON OF DRAX
Professional, Originally Released On Cassette Only
Game Type : Arcade Adventure
Author : Peter Scott
Standalone Release(s) : 1988: BARBARIAN II, Superior/Acornsoft, £9.95
1990: BARBARIAN II, Superior/Blue Ribbon, £2.99
Compilation Release(s) : 1990: PLAY IT AGAIN SAM 13, Superior/Acornsoft, 1990, £9.95
Stated compatibility : Electron
Actual compatibility : Electron, BBC B, B+ and Master 128
Supplier : SUPERIOR/ACORNSOFT, 3 Manor Drive, Scawby, Brigg, NORTH
LINCOLNSHIRE DN20 9AX
Disc compatibility : CDFS E00, DFS E00
"Enter the world of sorcery, evil beings and all-powerful monsters as you join the Barbarian and Princess Mariana on their perilous journey to the Dungeon of Drax.
The evil Drax has vowed to wreak disaster on the Jewelled Kingdom; only with your help can the Barbarian and the Princess have victory! You'll need brains and muscle for this tortuous adventure! Do you have what it takes?"
At the finale of BARBARIAN - THE ULTIMATE WARRIOR, the Barbarian defeated the warriors of Drax and thus freed Princess Mariana from his evil spell. Drax fled to the dungeons beneath his black castle, vowing to wreak disaster on the Jewlled Kingdom.
It is decided that there is only one way to stop Drax. The Barbarian and Mariana - herself an accomplished swordswoman - are the only two warriors skilled enough to survive the perilous journey to Drax's lair. They must stop him before it is too late.
You must fight your way through three levels - the WASTELANDS, the CAVERNS and the DUNGEONS - before arriving at the fourth level, the INNER SANCTUM OF DRAX. These sections must be played in the correct order.
Each of the first three levels is a maze consisting of approximately 26 screens. As you view each screen it is possible to walk left, right or into doors or caves at the back of the screen. The direction you are walking, as viewed on a map, is continually changing and therefore a compass (in which the arrow always points north) has been provided at the bottom of the screen.
It is not advisable to leave a level without first collecting all the available magical objects. These are the orb, the shield, the jewel, the potion, the axe and the key. You will find it useful to construct a map of each level to find your way through the maze and to find out where the exit is placed.
On each of the first three levels you must fight five or six different types of monster, some of which can be killed with one well-placed blow.
The WASTELANDS - Saurian Beasts, Neanderthal Men, Apes, Mutant Chickens, Stabbers, Floaters.
The CAVERNS - Carnivores, Orc Guards, Crabs, Slithering Things, Stingers.
The DUNGEON - Pit Things, Dungeon Masters, Giant Grubs, Gobblers, Eyes, Orclets.
If you survive to the INNER SANCTUM OF DRAX, you must face the Living Idol, a great Demon and, finally, the dreaded Drax!
Energy And Lives
Your energy is displayed as a bar at the top right of the screen. When it runs out you lose a life. You start the game with five lives (indicated as filled-in ovals below the "BARBARIAN II" title). More lives can be gained throughout the game by collecting any skulls you may find. These contain the life-force of warriors who have preceded you. When you lose all your lives you restart the current level.
The energy of the current monster you are fighting is displayed as a bar at the top left of the screen. When it runs out the monster is destroyed.
Choice Of Character
You may choose to play as either the Barbarian or Princess Mariana. At the beginning of the game the two characters will appear : choose to play as Princess Mariana by pressing key 1 or as the Barbarian by pressing key 2.
In each of the first three levels there are two magical objects that you will need to collect in order to survive throughout the quest.
The ORB guards against death from Drax's magic.
The SHIELD guards against instant death from the Demon's fire.
The JEWEL disables the Living Idol when reached.
The POTION increases your resistance.
The AXE increases your strength.
The KEY opens portcullis doors.
The more difficult fighting moves will score highly and do more damage.
Z - Left, X - Right, * - Run, ? - Turn Around
<RETURN> & Z - Kick, <RETURN> & X - Flying Neck Chop
<RETURN> & * - Overhead Chop, <RETURN> & ? - Low Chop
<SHIFT> - Jump, <SPACE> - Enter Cave
Note : These controls are for a left-facing character. For a right-facing character, RETURN and Z give a Flying Neck Chop and RETURN and X give a Kick.
P/O - Pause On/Off, <SHIFT> & <ESCAPE> - Restart Level (Score lost)
Instructions' Source : BARBARIAN II (Blue Ribbon Re-release) Back & Inner Inlay
Review (Electron User) - "Brutal Cut-'Em-Up"
The original BARBARIAN from Superior Software/Palace was a smash hit in 1988 with its exciting hand-to-hand combat, superb graphics and grunts, groans and clanging of sword against sword. Two features made it stand out from the crowd - the scantily clad Maria Whittaker on the box and adverts) though nothing was said of the equally scantily clad male), and the graphic depiction of the unfortunate warriors being decapitated. In the sequel, BARBARIAN II: THE DUNGEON OF DRAX, both features are retained.
Load up the game and you'll be presented with a picture of a dungeon with two warriors standing either side of a burning brazier. This screen heralds the first of the changes from the original game - you can choose to be either the barbarian of the title or the Princess Mariana. I tried both, but couldn't distinguish any difference in combat ability.
After choosing your warrior the rest of the game is loaded. The action takes place in the bottom half of the screen while a large BARBARIAN II banner lies just above the play area and an information strip is at the very bottom. In this a sword on top of a shield always points north and a scroll shows the current level plus your score.
Each of the first three levels consists of around 28 screens and you can walk left or right or through a cave to the next location. There's no scrolling, and each new screen flicks up fairly rapidly. The first level is the wastelands, the second the caverns and the third the dungeon.
The object is to make your way to a certain location on one of the 28 or so screens. Your first problem is to hack and slash your way through the monsters which inhabit each screen. These include dinosaurs, furry two legged beasts, cavemen, chickens and other creatures which defy description.
Apart from the monsters, the other main obstacle is the way the screens are mapped. For instance, if you walk left off once screen you can appear on the right of the next or at the mouth of a cave also on the right. In the heat of the battle it's very easy to become confused about which way you are facing. The sword-compass always shows which direction is north.
There are objects to collect which will help you in your mission to destroy Drax. An axe increases your strength, a globe guards against Drax's magic, a potion increases your strength, a shield guards against the demon's fiery breath and so on.
The number of fighting moves has been reduced to four and I found that just one or two were required to kill the opponents. The hard part is finding the right location to take you to the next level and the fighting aspect takes up a smaller proportion of the action.
The graphics and animation are excellent and the gory decapitation scene is still here. The sound effects add to the atmosphere and the whole game is professionally produced. BARBARIAN II is an excellent sequel to the original hack and slash cut-'em-up combat game as this version has more depth, better graphics and improved sound. If you liked BARBARIAN you'll like this too.
* * * Second Opinion * * * (Electron User)
I was disappointed by BARBARIAN II's lack of fighting manoeuvres - it's what made the original so good. However, I welcome the new exploring and mapping aspect, plus the collectable objects, and these features add more depth of gameplay. If you're on the lookout for a new combat challenge BARBARIAN II fits the bill quite nicely.
Sound ........................... 5
Graphics ........................ 9
Playability ..................... 9
Value for money ................. 9
Overall ......................... 9
ELECTRON USER 6. 8