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The evil magician Drax is terrorizing the jeweled city and cast a spell over the beautiful princess Marina who is forced to obey him. From the lands to the north, a hero is sent to help the city and free the princess. He is Gorth, the strongest of the barbarian warriors. With his sword in hand, he has to beat eight of Drax's best warriors and at last the magician himself. He will fight them in the woods, on the mountaintop, in the dungeon... finally reaching Drax's palace itself.

This is essentially a one- or two-player fighting game where you control a big barbarian and fight another player or a computer AI. There are several kinds of hits, and some hits take off half a point while others take off a whole point. Each player has six of these "power points". They also have a special hard to perform "death sword" which decapitates your opponent, killing him with one fell swoop.


Death Sword ZX Spectrum Time you death swing right and you decapitate the enemy
Death Sword BBC Micro Main menu; press space to start a demo
Death Sword Amstrad CPC Fighting in the arena.
Death Sword Amiga That must really hurt

Promo Images

There are no promo images for this game

Alternate Titles

  • "Battle Sword" -- Common mistaken title
  • "Barbarian: The Ultimate Warrior" -- UK title
  • "Barbarian: Le Guerrier Absolu" -- French title
  • "Barbarian: Der mächtigste Krieger" -- German title
  • "Barbarian" -- European in-game title

Part of the Following Groups

User Reviews

The ultimate barbarian fighting game, where a moment of hesitation can mean your head - literally! DOS Mickey Gabel (379)
You can thank Death Sword for MobyGames. DOS Trixter (9125)
More Conan than Conan itself... Commodore 64 WWWWolf (453)
Never liked this one much. DOS Tomer Gabel (4645)

Critic Reviews

Tilt Commodore 64 Jul, 1987 20 out of 20 100
Computer and Video Games (CVG) Amstrad CPC Jun, 1987 10 out of 10 100
Génération 4 Amiga Jul, 1988 91 out of 100 91
Zzap! Atari ST Dec, 1987 89 out of 100 89
The Games Machine (UK) Atari ST Dec, 1987 87 out of 100 87
Tilt Amstrad CPC Jul, 1987 16 out of 20 80
Zero Amiga Jan, 1990 77 out of 100 77
64'er Commodore 64 Jul, 1987 11 out of 15 73
ACE (Advanced Computer Entertainment) Atari ST Nov, 1987 640 out of 1000 64
ACE (Advanced Computer Entertainment) Amiga Jun, 1988 419 out of 1000 42


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Mike Van Wyjk, the model in the (Barbarian) front cover photo later became 'Wolf' in the UK TV version of Gladiators. His character was something of an overblown pantomime type who aimed to add some light relief to proceedings.

German index

On October 31, 1987, the German version of this game was put on the infamous German index by the BPjS. Two months later, on December 31, 1987, followed the UK import. More information about this topic can be found in the game group.

Inspiration for the sword fighting

Designer Steve Brown wanted to do a sword fighting game. The inspiration for those fights came from the film Conan the Destroyer. He admits he watched the movie for hours to extract the sword fighting scenes. These fighting moves were then re-performed by himself and Gary Carr and also filmed. These short film cuts were then used as a base for the animations in game.


  • Commodore Format
    • March 1994 (Issue 42) Heaven – The Path to Righteousness: 20 Essential Games
  • ST Format
    • January 1993 (issue #42) - #46 in '50 finest Atari ST games of all time' list
Information also contributed by Xoleras

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Contributed to by EboMike (3135), Sciere (507749), Der.Archivar (691), Kabushi (209311), Martin Smith (66801), ZZip (830), Jack Lightbeard (2707), Servo (57398), Tomer Gabel (4645) and RodeoInTheGreatWhiteNorth (120)