Palace Software‘s notorious Barbarian is a ‘sword and sandal’ beat ’em up with a knockout gimmick: you can decapitate your opponent with a well-placed sword stroke!
Granted: you have to time it correctly, and get the distance between you and your opponent right, but when you pull it off the head bounces off in hilarious fashion, before being finally getting booted off the screen by a gremlin.
As a fighting game, Barbarian is relatively limited. You can kick, roll, jump, headbutt, and do various sword moves, but it still feels like the combat is repetitive – sometimes even getting stuck in certain grooves (like, for example, two opponents constantly rolling into each other).
The aim of the game – in single-player – is to fight your way to the dungeon of the evil warlord, Drax, to defeat his champion, and then the warlord himself. In two-player mode the aim is to simply hack your opponent to pieces for a high score…
The graphics and animation are very good, and on the Atari ST the extra colours give the game a certain vibrancy, compared to the C64 original.
The Atari ST version of Barbarian was developed and published by Palace Software in 1987.
Note: the North American name for this game is “Death Sword” [cough], which is at least in keeping with all the other terrible US re-titlings of British games…
More: Barbarian on Wikipedia