a game by Cauldron Ltd.
Platform: PC
User Rating: 8.0/10 - 1 vote
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See also: Conan

Good old Arnie - not only was he perfectly suited to the role of the Terminator back in the '80s, he was also born to play the role of Conan; a large, monosyllabic meathead, whose idea of a conversation is twatting someone around the face with the business end of his sword.

Alas, there's no sign of Arnie here, as Slovakian developer Cauldron (of Chaser fame) has based the Conan game on the original pulp novels. Fortunately, this hasn't stopped it from snapping up the sizzlingly atmospheric movie soundtrack by Basil Poledouris. However, when a licensed soundtrack is a game's notable highlight, you know you're in trouble.

Simply Barbaric

The rather protracted intro to Conan, which like all the cut-scenes is handled by the in-game engine, tells the story of Conan the Cimmerian hunting down the cult responsible for razing his village and murdering his uncle. What this amounts to is some third-person hack 'n' slash action, mixed in with puzzles of the 'find a switch and run back through the level' variety. So far, so mundane.

What's worse, any visceral enjoyment to be had by smacking your way through the missions is stamped on by the unfriendly interface and buggy dynamics. Conan frequently gets stuck on bits of ground, jumping is awkward and requires pixelperfect precision, and pushing the climb button more often results in him dancing around the bottom of a ladder instead of getting on the damn thing. The useless camera does you no favours when in combat or attempting to jump chasms either, and the clunky controls only add to the frustration.

But hang on, maybe this is all saved by some great Al? Er, no. With IQ about on a par with Conan himself, bad guys generally stand rooted to the spot until you're within range, at which point they'll run straight at you. The graphics are about three years out of date, and come complete with invisible barriers that are curiously very visible. Character animation is little better - the manner in which Conan runs strongly suggests the keeps the sheath for his sword somewhere very uncomfortable...

However, the salt in Conan's axe wound has to be the save system. Like the early Tomb Raider games, it requires you to find crystals for every quicksave you use, which in this day and age is simply unforgivable.

My God, It's Huge!

If, though, by some miracle you can get past all these errors, there as a pretty hefty game to be found in Conan, with countless levels and an almost stupidly large repertoire of combos to learn. Some dubious replay value is also offered by the mystical Atlantean sword, which can be unlocked for your second play-through by collecting a few ancient artefacts. However, it's all so repetitive and banal the first time that you'll probably rather drink the sweat strained from Conan's thong than subject yourself to it all over again.

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System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

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