1992 Palace Software
Platforms: Commodore Amiga, Atari ST, PC, C64
Note: This is heavily based on the original C64 archive entry.
Originally starting off and named as Barbarian 3, this was originally to be a straightforward sequel to Barbarian 2, following a very similar structure. This was an early period of development when both Steve Brown and Richard Leinfellner were involved in the development.
Basically whilst the sequel was in development, Steve had already decided that the game would benefit being turned into a trilogy. So the once planned ending to number 2 was changed so that Drax escaped through a mirror at the end of the game to leave it open for a 3rd title.
The main major change was that the 3rd game would now scroll instead of being flick screen based. When an action sequence occurred, then the game would switch to a larger and zoomed in fight view for the 16-bit editions. The C64 would keep the characters the same size throughout.
The game as a whole was to feature more dark humour, and some stunning animation throughout, following the footsteps of the previous titles. However, things seemed to be unstable at Palace, so Steve decided to move on from the Palace and the Barbarian 3 project. You can read more from Steve on the C64 page.
Simon Birrell would take over the development in terms of the game design, and he wanted the game to have more platform action overall and made a new direction for the title. Simon confirmed that the title was also changed at this stage to “Super Barbarian”, as part of a duo of updates to two classic Palace games. The other game was “Super Cauldron”, which would see release much later.
Dave Chapman was assigned as developer – handling the game editors and engine for the ST and Amiga editions. Thanks to Tobias Hultman, a Swedish magazine back in June 1992 mentioned Super Barbarian on the 16 bit systems, and so we managed to get a few more details about what the game was to consist of. The game was essentially to be split into two parts:
A tournament game placed in a Colosseum-like arena where the player fight against either 16 computer controlled enemies or up to 8 human players.
- Several weapons to choose from: Sword, axe, mace
- Replay function which makes it possible to see sequences from the fights.
- You can see injuries on body parts.
A action adventure where the goal is to rescue the good wizard’s daughter held captive in Drax’s tower.
- Solve puzzles, find secret rooms and relics.
- 6 levels, a forest, hell – other levels to be decided.
The game was rumoured to be at a playable stage by 1992, but Palace would suddenly go bankrupt and Titus would buy them out. Where Blues Brothers and Super Cauldron was finished and released, Super Barbarian was not.
Although there isn’t anything yet to show of the game on the C64 (or even the ST, Amiga and PC versions), luckily Steve still had development sketches for the game, and thanks to Martyn Carroll for passing them on, we were able to show these design sketches for the first time with the original C64 write up (Sadly they were unpublished in Retro Gamer as intended).
Ross Sillifant has also uncovered a number of rare colour Amiga screenshots to show which were originally shown in the Italian Games Machine magazine, issue 43. Looking elsewhere online whilst preparing this page, we also found some screenshots from kultboy.com which were shown in ASM 8/92 magazine and have added here as well.
Thanks again to Ross, in an interview with Super Gamer (July 1994), Rob Stevens spoke about when he was going to be assigned the project to work on for the Super Nintendo, but it never happened after Nintendo would not allow heads to be chopped off or any bare breasted women in the game.
On a bit of a downer to end: Here is a video on the game which borrows a *lot* from these pages, but feels that the original source doesn’t warrant reference/credit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YliIvcvHcWs (even after a friendly request to reference, which was deleted). Our message to the content “creator”: “Much of the work within this archive takes a lot of time and effort to collate, during our free time and for no cost. Far more time than it takes to put your videos together. We always try and credit our sources on the site, and expect others to do so too if borrowing a lot, like you have done. Please credit your sources, or do your own research.”
Hopefully some day something more of the game will be recovered and found.
Thanks to: Steve Brown, Martyn Carroll, Kultboy.com (for magazine scans) and Ross Sillifant