RPGDot Network    

Eternal Lands
Display full image
Pic of the moment
pics from the gallery

Site Navigation


   Games Database
   Top 100
   Release List
   Support Files



   Staff Members
   Privacy Statement


Conan Review
Sia 'Garrett' Manzari, 2004-03-05

Conan, the Cimmerian! From the books of R.E.Howard to the various movies this barbaric hero has always been one of my favourite characters. And so I was of course very excited to learn that Cauldron was developing this action title, wich looked very good from the very first screenshots to me. And since Conan was released in Germany already on a multi-language CD, here comes the first review of the English version.

Display full image

But before you read on, know, that Conan is a fighting action game with some RPG elements, which are important, but not the game's main aspects. So if you're into hardcore RPGs only, you may skip the rest of this review for good.

Display full image

The RPG system of Conan works as follows: You gain experience points for each enemy you defeat and immediately can distribute them in more than 50 categories (some of which are depending on others, so not all of them are accessible at first). Each category can be improved three times, which you not only see in the abilities table, but mainly in the improved combat of Conan. There are 35 abilities for swordfighting, which are different kinds of slashing and fighting techniques, 15 for the axe and mace and 5 general abilities, that improve your reflexes, determine the speed and rate Conan regenerates health and stamina, his constitution and battle concentration. That's about it regarding RPG aspects.

Display full image

The look of the game is beautiful in most levels. Conan's adventures do not offer one seamless large world such as Gothic or Dungeon Siege, but a world sliced in several levels. Some of them are really excellent looking and designed, like the town of Kordava or various temples or dungeons, but the jungle reagions of Darfar get repetitive after a while. In most temples and dungeons, Conan has to prove he can do different than just use brute force only as some puzzles require some wits really. Conan's animations are also excellent, and his textures are very detailed, which unfortunately does not go for the other characters in the game, which look a whole lot worse textured.

Display full image

The original music of this game is based on the style of Basil Poledouris' legendary score of the Schwarzenegger movies and even uses a few themes from it in cutscenes. In the long and very interesting intro, which runs in the gaming engine as all other cutscenes as well, Conan sees his home village raid by a group of vulture cultists and his relatives killed and burned - the track used in the intro is Poledouris' fantastic Battle of the Mounds, the narrator's voice very much resembles the chronicler from the movies, all in all a very impressive intro, which puts you right into the action in this fast paced action axtravaganza.

Display full image

Combat has rarely been so detailed and well done, from the animations to the controls and the pace of the action. However, the camera sometimes puts the action in picture from strange angles, but that's nothing to really worry about, because it happens very rarely and you can still fight easily, as Conan auto-targets the closest enemy or other item which can be attacked or destroyed (such as crates, chests, walls to open secret doors and others).

Display full image

Conan has to conquer many areas, from ancient temples, jungles, castles and cities...the number and different styles are as manifold as are the numbers and styles of his weapons and opponents, ranging from several kinds of sword, axes, maces and from skeletons, undead, knights, priests, shamans, wolves, snakes, carnivores, to name a few only!

Display full image

For those of you who not really like combat, know that the combat is quite easy in Conan: You just press a combination of the 4 buttons and one of the over 40 different types of attacks is performed, greatly animated and accompanied by Conan's warcrys. Looks fine everytime and with each upgrade in an ability the combat moves look better, slightly different and thus not repetitive. This also goes for blocking attacks. In the beginning, Conan can hardly block one attack, towards the end he parries several magic missiles from different directions as quick a Jedi Knight.

Display full image

The game is quite linear, but not all levels need to be fully explored to advance. Unfortunately, some levels are not accessible anymore when entering a new area, so you may really miss some levels or parts of it and a few bonuses hidden there. There is also a large quest in the game, namely to find all four parts of the legendary Atlantean Sword and forge them into the ultimate weapon. If you play the game in 'Adventurer' mode (the easiest setting, there is 'Warrior', the regular setting also and 'Crom's Champion' for the hardboiled among you) and you forge the Atlantean Sword, fights are almost to easy, so I suggest you play in Warrior mode.

Display full image

There is no quest log, but you find maps of almost each area, that show your location on it also, and Conan automatically equips items found, be it amulets, armoury or weapons.

Display full image

One of the more annoying things in this otherwise very enjoyable game is the save game system, which is derived from console games, slightly altered though: Conan finds Sacred Stones in the game, can hold up to four in his inventory and when he uses one, the game is saved. So there is no fixed save point system, but still you cannot save as often as you want if you have no more Sacred Stones left. When will developers learn, that PC gamers want to save anywhere and anytime?

Display full image

All in all, Conan is a great action feast not only for Conan fans. Be sure to visit the Special Website accessible via the in-game menu point 'Upgrade', where you find special content like the multiplayer patch 1.03 and bonus maps in the future. Speaking of multiplayer, I couldn't really test that, as there were no games online; hopefully there will be after the games official release in early April.

The Verdict
Graphics (15%) 85%
Sound (15%) 85%
Control (25%) 85%
Fun (45%) 90%
Overall 87%

The ups and downs:
Great looksCamera view
Great soundSavegames system
Great fightsSavegames sorted wrong
Great story

Reviewer's System
Version: 1
CPU: Pentium IV 1.8 GHz
RAM: 512MB
Graphics GeForce 3
Sound SB Live Platinum
OS: Win XP Pro, DX 9.1

Average Reader Ratings: 5.63 (8 votes)
Rate this title and view comments     Game Info     Printer Friendly Version

All original content of this site is copyrighted by RPGWatch. Copying or reproducing of any part of this site is strictly prohibited. Taking anything from this site without authorisation will be considered stealing and we'll be forced to visit you and jump on your legs until you give it back.