Hhhhiiiiieeeeyyyyyyaaah! Thwak! Aeeieee! Whaddya mean this isn't a karate game? Course it is, Malcolm! Palace is passing this off as the ultimate warrior game, though I have to admit it doesn't look too different to all the other Fist/Ninja games.
Anyway, to the plot. An evil sorceror by the name of Drax is after the fair and lovely Princess Mariana - a buxom young wench if the picture on the inlay card is anything to go by (and she bears an uncanny resemblance to Page 3 lovely Maria Whittaker). Drax is planning to do unspeakable nestles to the Jewelled City if he isn't allowed his wicked way! However, since this is a game, and there'd be little point in you forking out a tenner unless you reckoned you could do something. Drax has agreed that if you can beat his guards then the Princess can go free.
So off you go, wielding your broadsword, fighting your way through several levels of demonic guardians before you thing - a fight all the way finally come face to face with Drax himself. In two player ()tax himself. Mind you, before you get this far, you'll have the opportunity to practise your combat skills if you load up side one of the tape. You have the option of one or two player mode, and you'll have a chance to get to grips with the extremely complicated moves you'll need to master if you're going to get anywhere.
Side two contains the real thing - a fight all the way through to Drax. In two player mode there's a time limit of one minute to bash the living daylights out of each other, while in one player mode it's a fight to the death on every level. Once you've battled your way through to Drax, you wipe him out, the Princess is free, and, no doubt, falls gratefully into your big, butch arms...
Barbarian's an okay game, two but it does rather chug along, and it looks very similar to some of last year's Ninjary-type games. Not bad if you like this sort of thing, though to my mind grappling with the Princess Mariana of inlay card (and Page 3) fame could be a smidgin more risky than facing any of Drax's demonic guardians.