March 3rd, 2007, 00:06 Posted By: wraggster
By Crom! For years now, companies have tried to capture the spirit and the essence of the classic Robert E. Howard 1932 fiction novel that presented the Cimmerian warrior in Hyborian times. Regardless of the various comic books or films of the legendary barbarian, very few representations have accurately presented the fighter in his natural surroundings. Throwing over the stylized film versions in favor of the novels, THQ and Nihilistic are now taking up the mantle of the anti-hero character in Conan the Barbarian. We managed to get a look at a pre-alpha build of the game, which is expected to hit shelves in early winter of 2008.
The team over at Nihilistic really wanted to make the player feel like they were stepping into the boots of Conan. That means capturing the gore of the battle sequences. As a result, they established a basic guideline of trying to stay true to the initial Howard fiction while incorporating new elements of the interpreted game world. For example, Conan will wind up facing off against twenty or more enemies at a time, slicing and dicing his way through opponents that dare to get in his path. Influenced by elements of Ninja Gaiden and Devil May Cry, Conan the Barbarian allows players to exploit more than twenty weapons and over 100 unique combat moves, including finishing strikes, to eliminate enemies. Many of these include slicing enemies in half, stealing weapons out of opponent's hands, and kneeing an opponent in, well, sensitive areas.
Most of these moves will be discovered across the six different locations of Hyboria that Conan will explore. Initially, he'll start off with 25 to 30 separate attacks, including finishing moves, that he'll be able to trigger at any point in time. However, he'll need to vary his attacks, utilizing parries, blocks and disarming strikes to effectively dispatch his foes because the enemy A.I. will quickly notice if players are using the same attacks and devise ways around these maneuvers. After every successful attack, Conan will potentially gain health, experience boosts, special ability charges (which power up his most important strikes) or momentum gains, which strengthen the power and speed of his attacks.
In fact, players will need to constantly weigh their moves when it comes to unleashing special attacks, such as Conan's Song of Death, which slows down time and allows the barbarian to target and eviscerate his foes. However, just because Conan uses these special moves doesn't make him invincible to his opponents. We noticed during our demo that players will literally have to pluck arrows from Conan's body before he loses significant amounts of health and bleeds to death. Conan will also have the flexibility to utilize the environment in numerous ways, tossing enemies onto spikes and other hazards around levels to quickly lessen the odds against him. Similarly, the Cimmerian will need to break down objects in the environment to solve various platforming puzzles that are arranged in his way. Since just about every item in the environment can be used as a weapon, expect to use barrels, enemies and other objects as a tool to bludgeon opponents.
It's not confirmed, but it's more than likely that we'll see Red Sonja, Valeria and other classic Conan characters cross the Cimmerian's path during the massive adventure, which should pit him against human and monster mini-bosses and bosses alike. We noticed everything from two handed sword wielding captains to massive squids that turned shipmates into ink zombies. Knowing that Conan was packing a massive sword however, we knew there was nothing to fear, and found that it was easy to slice our way through jungle levels, areas infested with snake cultists, and even stages inspired by Kush, or the lands of Northern Africa.
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