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Posted by drew10 on Oct 31, 2007
Conan Xbox 360 THQ

Conan Xbox 360 THQ

OK, those of us who know about Conan, know that the awful films featuring Arnie are far removed from the original comics. So when I had heard that the game was coming I crossed my fingers and hoped for the best. To my delight once I started playing the game I realised that the creators Nihilistic had stuck more to the original comic and had left the movie well alone.

For those of you that don’t know and I assume that is very few of you, Conan is a Barbarian of epic strength. In this adventure you have to guide the musclebound hero through masses of enemies hack and slashing your way against wave upon wave of evil foes, freeing semi-naked maidens (who should please some spotty students somewhere.) and learning knew moves along the way.

The adventure sees Conan in a search to free the world from the Black Death, which isn’t like the black death we are all familiar with, no in comparison the plague seems positively lovely. This black death sends people completely mad and of course into a rage.

Whilst on this mission Conan begins to reclaim his magic armour that he lost in a time past. As you collect these pieces of armour each one gives you new magical powers that can be used to vanquish your foes.

The game blends fighting action and platform-style gameplay. The fighting consists of combination button bashing that can create some really cool moves on the screen but all too frequently has you just lamping the same button. As you kill an enemy they release different coloured runes. Red ones are collected and used to purchase new moves; Blue store up magic and Green give you health. Each new move can be purchased once you have an adequate amount of red runes.

Conan himself has various ways to attack enemies, either with a single sword or sword a shield, dual wielding double swords or axes, with larger two handed weapons. You can also use objects from around the screen to pick up and throw at enemies. Some of the moves will see your enemies being sliced into little sections. One great special move see’s Conan kick his foe into the air and cut them clean in half, that just never gets boring.

Magic is stored up as the game progresses and is accessed via a d-pad selection method. These spells range from turning enemies to stone to my favourite a flock of ravens that attack all your enemies nearby.

Despite all the apparent wealth of moves Conan’s gameplay is all to frequently repeated and some will find it far too repetitive. There has been too much emphasis put on the fighting whilst other areas of the game have been sadly neglected.

The platform sections are sometimes too fiddly, this is exasperated by the lack of a movable camera. The camera is generally ok but there are times when not being able to rotate the view is extremely frustrating, especially as everytime you go to move the camera with the right stick Conan goes rolling across the screen! The puzzle sections are far too easy with the game virtually telling you how to solve every puzzle as it is presented. Forgive me, but I don’t need a game that has an 18 rating to hold my hand so.

The graphics are decent enough without ever pushing any boundaries, with some nice lighting effects and character animations. Conan’s moves are especially fluid and ingenious. However, area’s are repeated and you will find yourself wandering through similar looking levels to those early in the game. That said the boss levels are huge and look suitably impressive, a special mention going to the sand dragon level which is fantastic.

The in-game audio adds to the overall ambiance with some suitable fantasy-movie style orchestral pieces and some extremely competent voice acting including the lovely Claudia Black of Farscape fame.

There are so many things right about Conan that it is a shame a little more thought and effort were not put into ironing out the creases that would have pushed it to great status. It is still an enjoyable romp that harps back to days of old, but in this demanding age I think the problems are highlighted that little bit more.

That said, I enjoyed every minute of this game and with a little more thought put into the puzzles and a little more variation in the overall gameplay with a movable camera this game could have been a classic as it is it is mearly good. If it gets a sequel lets hope that the errors are corrected and that the title is given the extra care it truly deserves.

Overall: 8/10

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2 Responses to “Conan Xbox 360 THQ”

  1. John Stone says:

    Wish there was a PC version. 🙁

  2. moonhead says:

    Agreed its a shame but it really is console fare not PC. Perhaps if it performs well they might release it on the PC you should start badgering THQ.

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