THQ Conan

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THQ Conan
  • THQ Conan
  • THQ Conan
  • THQ Conan

Pros

  • Non-stop action, fun storyline, cinematic landscapes

Cons

  • Overly-complex moves, fixed perspective, Ron Pearlman

Bottom Line

Fans of Conan will appreciate this game as much as hack-and-slash fans who've never heard of the franchise. It's a lot of fun, challenging without being frustrating and all in all, a great example of its genre.

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After starring in countless stories, comic books and a few movies, everyone's favorite Cimmerian (we cannot believe that spell check recognises Cimmerian) finally gets a video game worthy of his barbaric stature.

If you aren't familiar with Conan mythology, short movie clips will fill you in as you go, but the gist is: Conan, a pre-civilisation barbarian, must recover individual pieces of his lost armour by hacking off enemy limbs and spilling blood across the land.

The original hack and slash

Each level presents you with a task and a seemingly endless amount of enemies between you and your objective. Though you start off with a small sword, you can pick up the weapons of your vanquished foes and use them as your own and taking advantage of different enemies' weaknesses. There's never a shortage of weaponry to choose from, and you can even decide what combination of weapons or shields you want to use.

Conan has a somewhat interactive environment that allows you to make use of boulders, fire and anything else you feel like wielding, which you use in conjunction with the over one hundred moves and combinations that can be bought throughout the game. Master these moves and you can slice arms and heads, break though armour and unleash geysers of blood that would make Peter Jackson proud.

While Conan is responsive to commands, there is a tendency to get caught up in combinations when they aren't necessary, leaving you open to combinations from enemies that never seem to end. As the game progresses, your enemies become increasingly difficult, and you'll need to learn advanced moves if you want to move on quickly. Some will appreciate the more complex moves, simpletons like us will first need to master some patience.

This isn't exactly a thinking man's game

A minor aspect of the game involves laughably easy problem solving, but the diversity and creativity of the bosses and tasks make up some lost ground. Sequences in which Conan must climb over and sometimes break through barriers usually require a timely combination of button presses. Although they look cool, they play out like movie clips rather action sequences.

Conan is full of epic landscapes and big, bold colour. And unlike many third-person games, the camera is fixed which can cause some perspective problems during the action, but overall tends to give the game a cinematic quality. The high-definition visuals really create a sense of interaction that's lacking in other games. Sound quality is good, but not perfect, and we have to say, we love Ron Pearlman but unfortunately don't think he's the best voice for a barbarian -- maybe Arnold was busy.

Conan is one of those games that appears to have an open landscape but actually guides you along a set path that is impossible to break from. While there are plenty of bonuses to be found, looking for alternate routes almost always ends in frustration.

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