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1990 Mindscape



As a rule, 8-bit games based on movies tend to suck. Most of them are insipid piles of cash in crap, pushed through development to release in time to rake in those last few merchandising dollars before the movie is forgotten. But that doesn't apply here, this game was made several years after the movie which shares it's namesakes. That means it has no excuse for sucking.

Anyone who's ever read any of the Conan stories knows it has everything you need to make a good game - swordplay, blood, guts, violence, sex, hideous monsters, people getting their brains smashed with big pieces of meat, etc. If there's another guy in the story mentioned by name it's a good bet Conan ends up killing him, if there's a woman Conan will hook up with her, if there's a legend of a monster at the begining it will turn out to be real at the end. Simple and to the point those pulpy stories were, that's why they're classics.

This game however doesn't share any of that. In this game all Conan does is jump around and kill the same two or three bad guys over and over again. The point of the game seems to be to just get out of wherever it is you are. I'm sure there's probably a storyline going on here, but who gives a shit.

Conan is small, like 15 pixels high. He has almost zero detail. In fact he looks like something you'd see on a Colecovision, tiny, three colors, no face. This game came out in 1991, the same year Battletoads and Batman: Return of the Joker, so don't tell me they couldn't have made it look better. Conan's saving grace is that he's semi-well animated. One gets the impression they were going for a Prince of Persia-type thing here. They failed.

Conan can jump, hang onto ledges, duck, and kick people in the nuts. You can also collect other weapons like swords and fireballs, but they're pretty useless and you're better off sticking with the kick. The first level takes place in some cave with lava on the ground, and the same two bad guys come at you over and over again - a Skeleton and some annoying green bat-gargoyle thing. You can waste time killing them but you're better off just avoiding them. The whole point of this level is to get the sword to kill some fire breathing lion thing at the end, who dies in like one hit. That's some boss battle. Past this point it's not worth playing unless you want to experience more inane bullshit because subsequent levels are the exact same crap, just harder. No thanks.

This game can be summed up in two words: Utterly Soulless. If you have the sneaking suspicion that this game could star any muscle bound barbarian guy, you're right - it's a port of a C64 game called "Myth: History of the Making" with the title Conan just slapped on it to make a few more bucks. No wonder it sucks so much.

Graphics: Crap. Ugly. Sad. Looks like the art guy threw them together the night before the shit was due.

Sound: Nothing memorable comes to mind, even to insult.

Gameplay: Uninspired hard-to-control platforming while dodging the same badly rendered skeleton and gargoyle things over and over again. Shoot me now.

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