Sept 5, 2007
Conan the Barbarian's gruesome, self-titled comeback is lumbering into stores this October, and it's easily one of the most visceral games we've ever played. Bloodier and more savage than God of War (and yet oddly similar, from a gameplay standpoint), Conan keeps the blood spurting at a steady clip throughout his pirate-crushing, monster-skewering romp through the ancient world of Hyboria. Severing limbs, chopping enemies in half and ripping out intestines with his bare hands, Conan does what Kratos only has nightmares about, and we've put together an exclusive look at the game's most gruesome moments to prove it to you.
Last Wednesday, we showed off a few of the gory fatalities Conan can pull off with the regular, boring, one-handed sword he carries around at all times. Part of what makes Conan interesting, however, is that he can pick up any weapon he finds lying around and stick it into his enemies' faces. In fact, the barbarian has four different fighting styles to draw from, depending on what weapon he's holding - this week, check out the carnage he can wallow in when he's carrying two swords at once:
Nasty, huh? Here's a rundown of what you just saw:
Parry+Circle (PS3)/Parry+B (360)
We don't know who this Gwahlur is, or why he's famous for leaping. But we do know that jumping onto an enemy's chest, wedging two swords into his collarbones and severing both his arms while backflipping off him is no mean feat for a 300-pound mountain of muscle and hatred like Conan.
Parry+Square (PS3)/Parry+X (360)
If the game's puny bad guys piss Conan off enough (which is to say "attack him in any way whatsoever"), he'll follow up a parry with this brutal move. Never one to mess around, Conan steps in close and goes to work like a sculptor, deftly carving his blades into a web of death that rapidly leaves his enemy without legs, arms or a head. If you want to make absolutely sure your enemies are dead, this is the one to use.
Parry+Triangle (PS3)/Parry+Y (360)
Carrying a pair of swords around doesn't mean you have to use them all the time. In what's probably his most implausible counterattack yet, Conan trips up whatever unfortunate girly-man just attacked him and kicks his body skyward. Then, in slow motion, the barbarian expertly flips into the air like a soccer star and brings one furry boot down on his enemy's head. Strangely, this sends the bad guy's head rocketing off into the distance, instead of simply crushing it against the ground. Weird.
Square, Square, Square, Triangle (PS3)/X,X,X,Y (360)
In one of the best moves in any game ever, Conan tops off a flurry of slashes by bringing both of his swords together in one fluid, scissor-like motion, leaving his enemy clutching frantically at a spurting neck-stump. This is one of two moves we don't see ourselves ever getting tired of using; you'll see the other one next week.
Black River Rage
Square, Square, Triangle, Triangle (PS3)/X,X,Y,Y (360)
This doesn't really look like much, as Conan ends a brief slash combo by bringing down both swords, one after the other, in a fluid arc. But if you hit an enemy just right with it, you'll lop off one of his arms, leaving him clutching at a bloody stump before he falls over in a dead faint and presumably bleeds to death. This is especially fun to use against the game's infuriating archer-types - let's see them shoot you full of arrows after that.
Square, Square, Square, Square+hold (PS3)/X,X,X,X+ hold (360)
This may come as a surprise to some, but sometimes it's impossible to look cool while tearing open human bodies with sharp hunks of metal. It's something Conan sadly has to demonstrate with this move, which looks more like something out of an old Hannah-Barbera cartoon than an actual death-dealing move. Execute the Cimmerian Cyclone, and Conan will spin in place, clotheslining baddies with his sword-bearing arms extended. You can even move him around a little while he's doing this, for that slightly hilarious human-tornado effect.
Square, Square, Square+hold (PS3)/X,X,X+hold (360)
This is exactly like the Cimmerian Cyclone, except slightly more dignified in that Conan only spins around twice. It's not as silly, but it still leaves your foes' entrails dangling everywhere, so who's complaining?
Wheel of Death
Square, Square, Square, Square, Triangle (PS3)/X,X,X,X,Y (360)
Possibly one of Conan's only semi-merciful attacks, the misleadingly named Wheel of Death sees Conan crouching low and sweeping his enemies' legs out from under them with his swords. We mean that literally - the legs are severed at the knees and fly out from under your hapless opponent, leaving him humiliated and disabled for life. Which, thankfully for everyone involved, will last about another .02 seconds.
Heavy Strike Finisher
Triangle, Triangle, Triangle (PS3)/Y,Y,Y (360)
The most satisfyingly messy moves in Conan are often the simplest. Mashing on the heavy-attack button when Conan's carrying two swords will make him repeatedly chop downward with both blades in unison, stunning enemies and finally shearing both their arms off. The shock of being suddenly unable to care for themselves or earn a living in the savage ancient world of Hyboria will kill your enemies instantly, or at least make them faint. It doesn't really matter to Conan, so long as they don't get up again.