Barbarian: The Ultimate Warrior (titled Death Sword in North America) is a 1987 Fighting Game developed by Palace Software and published by Epyx that was released on several platforms such as the Amiga, the Atari ST, the Apple ][, and the Commodore 64. In the game's single-player story mode, the player takes control of a nameless barbarian on a quest to rescue the beautiful princess Mariana from the evil wizard Drax. The player must face Drax's eight barbarian bodyguards before facing the wizard himself. The game also featured a two-player versus mode several years before Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat would popularize competitive fighting games.
In 1988 a sequel, Barbarian II: The Dungeon of Drax, was released. Unlike its predecessor, this game was a side-scrolling action game rather than a fighting game. Players can choose to play as the barbarian from the first game or Princess Mariana, who has made the switch from Damsel in Distress to Action Girl. The story involves pursuing Drax to his lair and finishing him off once and for all.
This series provide examples of:
- Action Girl: Mariana becomes one in the sequel.
- An Axe to Grind: In the sequel, the barbarian's weapon of choice is a battleaxe.
- Bald of Evil: Drax.
- Barbarian Hero: The male protagonist, obviously. In the sequel, Mariana is not this.
- Bloody Hilarious: After decapitating your foe, watching the body-disposal goblin unceremoniously punt the severed head out of the way can be surprisingly funny.
- Contemptible Cover: The game's box art featured busty model Maria Whittaker wearing a very skimpy bikini while sitting at the feet of a muscular barbarian warrior. Many people in the UK were outraged by the provocative box artwork. Ironically, the controversy over the game's box art brought a lot of attention to the game and helped turn it into a commercial success.
- Damsel in Distress: Mariana in the first game.
- Does Not Like Shoes: Mariana. Not only is the model representing her (Maria Whittaker) barefoot on the cover art for both games, but she appears to be barefoot in-game as well (though she adds golden ankle bracelets in the sequel).
- Evil Sorceror: Drax.
- Expy: The nameless barbarian hero is based on Conan the Barbarian.
- Heroic Fantasy
- Leg Cling: The pose featured on the game's box art.
- Mordor: One of the stages in the first game is a volcanic wasteland.
- Ms. Fanservice: Mariana, who wears a bikini and little else.
- No Name Given: The male protagonist.
- One-Hit Kill: In the first game, there's a decapitation attack that will instantly kill your opponent if he doesn't dodge or block it. However, it's slow and rather easy to avoid. In addition, getting hit by one of Drax's magic attacks will instantly kill you, forcing you to start all over from the beginning.
- Palette Swap: Most of the adversaries in the first game have either a darker skin or an outfit of a different color, but are otherwise identical to the player.
- Save the Princess: The plot of the first game.
- Sexy Packaging: The front and back of the box features buxom model Maria Whittaker wearing a bikini that leaves virtually nothing to the imagination.
- Shout-Out: The sword-twirl move was taken from the movie Conan the Destroyer. The game's creator decided to include it because he felt it looked cool.
- Stripperiffic: Mariana's outfit, both in-game and on the box art, is a skimpy, bikini-like outfit.
- Took a Level in Badass: Mariana in between the first game and the sequel.
- Wardrobe Malfunction: During a promotional photoshoot for Barbarian 2, Maria Whittaker wore a bikini that consisted of two metal breastplates held together by a small chain. If Whittaker breathed in too deeply, the pressure from her large breasts would cause the chain holding the two breastplates together to snap. The game's director would then have to bend the links back together using a pair of pliers. This happened several times during shooting.
- A Winner Is You: If you beat the game, you'll be treated to a screen of the hero and Mariana standing next to each other with the caption "THANK YOU BIG BOY".