Barbarian - GAMP Soft Commodore 64 game

Barbarian: The Ultimate Warrior

Barbarian: The Ultimate Warrior is a 1987 video game developed and published by Palace Software for the Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64, and ZX Spectrum. The game was ported to many other systems and was licensed to Epyx who published it as Death Sword in the United States.

Barbarian is a fighting game that gives players control over sword-wielding barbarians. In the game's two-player mode, players pit their characters against each other. Barbarian also has a single-player mode, in which the player's barbarian braves a series of challenges set by an evil wizard to rescue a princess.

Instead of using painted artwork for the game's box, Palace Software used photos of hired models. The photos featured Michael Van Wijk as the hero and Maria Whittaker as the bikini-clad princess. Palace Software's marketing strategy provoked controversy in the United Kingdom.


Barbarian: The Ultimate Warrior is a fighting game that supports one or two players. Players assume the roles of sword-wielding barbarians, who battle in locales such as a forest glade and a "fighting pit." The game's head-to-head mode lets a player fight against another or the computer in time-limited matches. The game also features a single-player story mode, which comprises a series of plot-connected challenges.

Using joysticks or the keyboard, players move their characters around the arena, jumping to dodge low blows and rolling to dodge or trip the opponent. By holding down the fire button and moving the controller, players direct the barbarians to kick, headbutt, or attack with their swords. Each barbarian has 12 life points, and a successful attack takes away one life point. The character dies when their life points are reduced to zero. A well-timed blow to the neck decapitates the barbarian, killing them instantly.


Barbarian was released in 1987 initially for the Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64, and ZX Spectrum and was subsequently ported to most other home computers. The version for the 8-bit ZX Spectrums is mostly monochromatic, displaying the outlines of the barbarians against single-color backgrounds. The sounds are recorded at a lower sampling rate. The version for the Atari ST presents a greater variety of backgrounds and slightly higher quality graphics than the original version. Its story mode also pits 10 barbarians against the player instead of the usual 8.

Reception and legacy

Barbarian's advertisements triggered some outcries of moral indignation. Several reviewers were impressed with Barbarian's gory gameplay and its lifelike character movements. The controversy did not negatively affect Barbarian but boosted the game's sales and profile tremendously. It reached the top of the all-format charts in 1987 and remained a popular game known for its violent sword fights.

In 2011, a remake of the game, Barbarian - The Death Sword, was launched by Anuman Interactive. A spiritual successor, Age of Barbarian, was released in 2012 by Italian indie game developer Crian Soft, with an Extended Cut released in 2016.

Game category: Commodore 64 games

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