The Secret of Steel
A certain governor once made a certain movie about a certain barbarian. This movie, aside from teaching us that you should always be nice to your slave boys because they grow up to carry out angsty vendettas, was generally responsible for portraying the barbarian as a misunderstood, noble, justice-seeking hero. Which is boring. Fortunately, Barbarian Onslaught: The Secret of Steel, the latest side-scrolling hack-and-slash adventure, is here to kick in your door, throw some exploding barrels at you, eat some ribs it found in a crate, and then dismember you in a variety of ways. You're a barbarian now, baby! And it is going to be awesome.
The game is played with either the [WASD] or [arrow] keys for movement — whichever you prefer. The meat of the mechanics, however, lies in the all-powerful [spacebar]. Tapping it once is a "quick attack", a brief, weak sword slice. Hold down the bar and you'll execute a more powerful strike. And that's just the beginning. You can pause the game at any time by hitting [P] and read the encyclopedia with [E], which explains in detail how to execute all the moves. It's something you'll usually end up falling back on, since the in-game instructions are visual aides and are often maddeningly vague.
Once you do figure out what you're doing, however, Barbarian Onslaught becomes pure glorious fun. You can knock down enemies below you with a boot to the face and then impale them for an instant kill. You can pick up an enemy and headbutt them repeatedly or toss them off a cliff. It's one of those things you know you probably shouldn't enjoy so much, but you can't help it. Eeeeeeee, lookit his wittle head bounce on the ground!
Easily one of the biggest things the game has going for it is it's style, hand-drawn by Johan Hjärpe. The style is cartoonish enough that the violence isn't overwhelming as it might be with more realistic graphics. Skulls, spleens, and other organs bounce across the landscape after particularly vigorous swings of your sword. Special attention is paid to the death throes of your enemies, of course, who stagger about convincingly after you do the unspeakable to them. All of it is encompassed by a sweeping, fantastic soundtrack that's just the cherry on top.
Analysis: Barbarian Onslaught is not really my type of game ordinarily, but there's just something about it's amazing style and over-the-top cartoony gore that is just plain fun, and manages to keep being so despite the game's flaws.
The [spacebar] is the be-all, end-all of your arsenal. Sometimes this works, sometimes it doesn't. Being a proud, ham-fisted button masher I was able to make my way through the game without much finesse and a whole lot of body parts. Whenever I wanted to pull off one of the other moves, things got trickier, and often frustrating. The game seems to have trouble recognising whether you want it to preform that simple universal slice-and-dice, or say, grab your foe and headbutt their face into tomato paste. Even just one or two more keys would have made a world of difference.
Despite having a respectable number of levels, Barbarian Onslaught is actually pretty short. Most of the levels are extremely straight-forward and can be bulldozed through in a matter of minutes. In the long run, this winds up being a mark in it's favour. As fun as the game is, ultimately it does wind up getting pretty repetitive the farther you go. It still has a lot of value as a spectacle, and a darned entertaining one, but with no achievements to strive for or new weapons to find, it doesn't offer a lot of replay value.
Barbarian Onslaught isn't exactly a thinking man's game. But that's okay, because there are times when this game's wild exuberance just fits. You know what? Some days you want to solve complex puzzles built on sophisticated physics engines. Other days you want to find the sort of people who design those games, give them a wedgie, and drive wheelies in a parking lot blaring obnoxious hip-hop from your speakers. On those days? Barbarian Onslaught is there for you. HIGH FIVE, BRAH, THIS IS GONNA BE AWESOME!
I liked the game graphically, but the errors, which extremely overwhelmed the good, were the extremely complex game controls, which practically forced me to just smash the space bar until he died, as well as the unforgiving lives (maybe I didn't get far enough to get to a checkpoint). It is a shame because I was really expecting to like this game.
how do you beat the final boss?
perfect review. game could have been set up a little differently in respect to only using the spacebar for EVERYTHING. and there are a multitude of moves that can be done. this won't be a big deal on the first couple of levels, but once the screen gets full of opponents you'd wish you could have another button to do the finishing move instead of accidentally doing something you weren't intending on.
as for beating the final boss, the easiest way i found was
to jump to the lower level, jump to the left when he's about to swing, and the walk onto his club. the force of him lifting it back up brings you right up to his head, which is where to hit him. worked even in the second half of battle for me.
forgot to say, this was a very fun game to me. short, yes, but fun, and as dora noted, too many levels of this would get boring quick. just a nice good flash game. thanks to the developer and jig for bringing it to us.
I honestly can't beat the second boss. But it's a fantastic game that just makes me want to play God of War.
ahh barrels. I hate the exploding barrels. very hard to pick them up and toss them, but they explode in your face all too easily.
Good game, but, as noted in the review, the "one button" interface gets a little confusing. In fact, after a while I pretty much just ended up mashing the space bar, which isn't that much fun, so I just stopped playing. Maybe I need to try the game again when my patience bar is full. :)
Honestly, the space bar controls aren't that hard. Tap the button to do light, quicker attacks and hold it down for slightly longer to do powerful attacks and special finishers. The only thing slightly confusing is the grab move, that you need to walk into an enemy while stunned to execute, at which point the space bar takes over again by letting to do a headbutt by tapping and throwing by holding it down. By the way, here's a few tips for the harder stages...and the easier stages, if you really suck. =P
Always use the barrels! Obvious, but true: A lucky explosive barrel can mean the difference between life and death if your on the verge of defeat...just try to be sure you're out of the blast range!
If you swing your sword while walking, you'll do a useful stabbing attack that often leaves enemies stunned...if you have a bunch of enemies in a group, as you certainly will in later levels, you can take them out easily by walking towards them, using the stab, and walking away before they can counterattack. Repeat that and even the toughest groups can eventually be vanquished: It's unblockable and will hit every enemy in range of the stab!
Your jump attack is tricky to hit with, and doesn't do a terribly large amount of damage...However, the damage is magnified if you use it during a long fall. Look out for conveniently placed cliffs that you can lure your enemies near enough that you can hit them with the attack at full power...in certain stages, you can take out minibosses almost instantly if you do it right!
Be very careful when dealing with large groups of enemies stacked in the same space...if they get a chance to hit on you, their strikes can whittle down your hp to zero in moments! When enemies start appearing in large groups at once, even DOZENS of them at some points, the running stab combo detailed above is vital.
Try to take out the archers in a group of monsters first, if at all possible.
Almost every boss has a special trick to beat it...A good deal of the challenge is trying to find out the proper technique to vanquishing them. Most are surprisingly simple once you've learned the trick, but don't let your guard down, many of them have very powerful attacks.
Well, I reached what seems to be the last mission. Not sure how I'm supposed to figure out the trick, either.
The mission I'm at is The Plateau of Entropy; the boss is the Duke of Hell. He summons some minor spirits of enemies past, and when I kill them he lets down his forcefield.... and then proceeds to whip out his autohit flail. Bam, bam, and I'm dead with not much of an idea as to how to counter this. The only thing I can think is that I have to somehow time a power strike for his flail hit so a counter battle happens, but that seems like a damned hard thing to pull off. Here's hoping posting helps me.
A note to add to Neonaxus' general tips: the running stab is a power move (for which you must hold the spacebar, but not necessarily very long).
Well, looks like it did help me. Yay!
You need to watch the floor. His flail is not autohit, it just tracks your motion. This is not the only thing he can do, though...
Finished. It's too bad the ending is so underwhelming, there was a lot of imagination in the boss fights.
I'm stuck on the Dam Keeper -- I haven't been able to figure out a single thing to damage him. It seems like the thing to do might be to hit him in his head with a jump attack when he's down?
OK, I just fought him for about five minutes without landing a single point of damage before I got bored and let him hit me with a block to take out my last HP. Then I checked out a walkthrough. Maybe this is intuitive to people who've played lots of Shadow of the Colossus or whatever, but I found it pretty user-unfriendly.
Since I just complained about the first boss, I should say that this is a ridiculously entertaining game, and I was satisfied with my experience even before I hit the boss.
Wow, a game I saw somewhere else first. That's unusual.
This actually wasn't too bad. A little polish wouldn't have hurt, especially on the control (can't use the plural, I suppose...), but pretty close to right, actually.
Matt, you're not the only one who got out of a futile fight with the Keeper only to seek out a walkthrough video and scream "Now how the crap was I supposed to know to do all THAT, in exactly that order, with no fricking hints?" At least he was beatable once you knew what to do, unlike some bosses (*ahem*Starcom*ahem*).
It seemed more luck than skill determining what move you actually did, as the review states... but fortunately, that's a style of play that pretty much works, as long as you can "herd" crowds of bad guys once they start showing up, so that they don't surround you. I did it by jumping, a lot.
I found the bosses rewarded experimentation and observation. For example, with the Dam Keeper first I noticed that it took him some time to bring his club down after I tried the usual sword him to death approach. Then I noticed that after dodging the blow, he took a suspiciously long time to bring his club back up yet was still not hittable. Put those two together and you get an idea of what the proper method might be. Frankly I found the final boss of this game, even though I could not at first figure his trick out, far more fun in some ways than God of War's final boss, who pulled some *very* cheap tricks to be difficult (understandable but frustrating as all hell), while this boss simply had a suitably complex and understandably health-draining attack schema (you will see what I mean).
Since I'm feeling less "uggggggh" after napping, I'll go ahead and write up a boss walkthrough.
Get just in front of him, and wait for him to raise his club. Once he does, get behind him, then wait just a smidge and jump back in front of him. If you've timed it right he won't hit you, and you'll land on the club. Turn around and wait for him to lift his club; you'll get launched and then finally have the chance to slash him in the face. Rinse and repeat until Dam Keeper smashes dam open for you.
The tentacles are going to be your major hurdle here. Ideally, what you want to do is stand in the middle of them both and quick attack both sides enough that neither tentacle gets a chance to hit back, but in practice you're going to take a lot of damage unless you're very good. One rule of thumb that will come in handy for later bosses is to *always* do damage when you get the chance to; fail at this and you will probably lose. What you're also going to have to do for this fight is run as fast as you can once the current tentacle spawns are all dead, since tentacle spawn points are determined by where you are on the screen (and you don't want to have to go backwards with these things harassing you all the way there). Once you reach Zoggot, give him a solid running stab to pay him back for all the crap he's given you so far before another tentacle pops up and snaps you back to the other side of the screen. Rinse and repeat until scum is gone.
The witch will place two fires on either side of the battlefield to start; touching either for very long is a bad idea as your health drains at a constant rate while in them. Being knocked inside them from bomb explosions will probably kill you. Wait, bombs? Ohhhhh yes, Granny isn't just a witch, she's also a fairly experienced grenadier! But you won't see that part at first. When you start the battle, she will first make a pass to the left, and then start swooping at you. She'll only swoop three times before going on to the next phase of her attack pattern, and a quick swat attack will work just as well as a power strike, so just make try to hit her (what she does in this first round if you don't damage her right away isn't so bad, though). Once she's been damaged or three passes are done, she flies away and a few purple zombies pop out (she summons more after every dive-bombing). Kill them ASAP and their count will stay at only a few (not hard if you understand their intrinsic weaknesses). After this, if you've moved on to round 2 by swatting her once, she'll come on screen and make three passes, during which she will drop two bombs aimed at you (if you didn't hit her at the start of the battle, she will only drop one bomb). Best way to dodge this is to stand near one of the fires and jog forward after the first bomb is launched. After the three passes she will start dive-bombing you again, during which time you'll have the opportunity to hit her again. Round three is much like the others except that this time on her three passes, she will drop four bombs. You are likely not going to avoid being hit by at least one of those, but well-timed jumps can help avoid the worst and the important thing to worry about is not being knocked into one of the purple fires; do that and you're mostly safe from death before getting that third strike in.
Oh, the Princess. She's not an easy one to figure out and she is the first boss who will turn you into a smear on the pavement super-fast (full health to death in about three or four complete hits from her main attack) if you can't find her weakness. She really doesn't make it easy either as her *#[email protected] short range attack will set you up nicely for her main attack. It *is* possible to beat her, though, and rather less involved than previous bosses. Getting close doesn't seem like a good idea due to said *#[email protected] attack, but if you get close enough to jump and land behind her, she will attempt to hit you and *miss* (instead slamming the ground), giving you a nice amount of time to turn around when you land and give her an introduction to your blade the hard way. However, she will not take this kindly and smack you away when she has the chance. Get up ASAP, jump to avoid her ground pound shockwave, and rinse/repeat until she's done.
This boss is.. well, I found him really easy. I beat him first try! Because I found him as easy as I did, I have considerably less to say about him, other than that while it's nice this isn't a traditional use of the mirror battle trope it still doesn't really feel more challenging than a mini-boss battle (granted, those get rather hard to survive, but only when enemy packs get larger). I mostly used power attacks of the running stab (and insta-kill after winning counter battles) variety to kill him. And... well, frankly the skeleton army that shows up after you defeat the clone is tougher (considerably tougher, in fact). Usually the way I handle armies is to make them jump around or hurdle stairs, which makes them *much* easier to disable and later kill if you take proper advantage of kicks and jumping-enemy swats. Once they're all dead, the level is done.
Hedgehog from Hell
I laughed a bit when I saw this. Other than the creature idea, though, this boss is not quite a joke as if not prepared to handle the attacks it will still flatten you much the same as Princess Vicious would. Its attacks are a bit simple, though; all it does is roll from one side to the other, and when hit, shoots out a few spikes to try and nail you to the floor. Jump over it as it rolls, hit it when it's still not turned to face you, get up after it flicks you, watch the ground for shadows of the spikes, and repeat as necessary. It changes its starting-to-run animation (which also changes how long it takes to start rolling) every time it's hit, and increases the number of spikes it shoots by one on the same token, but as long as you are paying attention this shouldn't cause trouble.
Duke of Hell
The Duke, whose actual name rather than title is too long for me to care to call him by it, starts this battle off by shielding himself and summoning two spearorcs and two swordorcs. Kill them and after knocking you backwards he will start on his specific pattern with his flail. You will need to watch the ground carefully for the shadow of the flail head; two hits of that and you are done. Make progress, but be careful; there doesn't seem to be a time limit for reaching the raised platform the boss is standing on, so a bigger focus on not getting squished than making progress is not a bad idea. Once you reach the higher ground, he'll shoot out a jet of flame; this flame acts much like the purple fire of the fight with the witch, and so you'll want to hang out under the fire right next to the raised platform. After a few seconds his fire will run out; jump on the platform and do a running stab at him (you'll want to try and pull this off quickly as he has an instant kill attack ready if you aren't fast enough). A counter battle will occur, and once you win he'll be dizzy; jump up and slash him in the face. He'll then proceed to hit you once (don't worry, no damage from this) and kick you to the other side of the arena, after which the second round begins with two archers, two spearorcs, one swordorc, and four undead swordorcs. Kill those, and after hitting him his final summon group is composed of two archers, four undead swordorcs, and four swordsdemons. Once those are dead, if you haven't died by this point you get one last gauntlet to run and the chance to kill this last foe. Note that it's possible that the time it takes from shadow to flail-hit decreases; I'm not 100% on this point but do be careful to know where the flail is going to hit (if you don't see the shadow, keep moving until you do, 'cause it might be on top of you) and just take care not to screw up. Do this and you'll.. er, 'win'. Seriously, I wasn't kidding when I said the ending was underwhelming, and the reward of an arena where you can fight for a high kill score is... really not very satisfying. But at least you beat the game! Right?
Sometimes after I've killed two tentacles, they spawn way behind me while I'm running toward the head and whip me away for no reason that I can tell. It seems like a bug and is incredibly annoying.
Anyway, I might try your approach, because the other walkthrough I looked at suggested
parrying, which turns out to be utterly useless, since in order to parry you have to be facing the tentacle doing nothing since before it starts its backstrike. Which means in the time it takes to parry, you've probably taken a hit from another tentacle, and have certainly not made any other progress. Perhaps there's some way to make this work, but it's no use for me.
It really seems as though the boss fights, while interesting, are completely out of whack with the rest of the game. The Dam Keeper just came out of nowhere, especially because the minibosses worked nothing like that, and Zoggot is just too punishing (especially because it's the kind of setup where if you make a mistake early on in the fight you're going to be doomed at the very end).
The bosses, I think, were designed this way intentionally so as to be closer to the God of War style where every boss fight is memorable yet different. The game definitely should have introduced them sooner and communicated to the player in a less die-first fashion that he/she can't fight them the same way as the normal enemies.
I'm pretty sure that the behavior is intentional to force you to chop your way through the tentacles instead of just running past them. What's not intended are the times when you get far enough away for the tentacles to do this, but not far enough away that they spawn in a different place (spawn timer could have stood to be more forgiving). This is why I say that you need to start running as soon as all the tentacles that spawn are dead; otherwise you run a very real risk of having to either backtrack to avoid this or be forced all the way back to the start.
Yeah, I think you're right about the tentacles -- in particular I hadn't realized that
New tentacles spawn after a given interval, not after the old tentacles are killed. And I think what happens is when I'm moving just when the new tentacles are about to spawn, then they spawn where I was and grab me back. (I had realized that I wasn't allowed to run past tentacles when they were there.
It does seem as though the boss fights are intended each to be different, and are cleverly defined; unfortunately (subjective impression here!) I'm having lots of fun on the main levels are incredibly enjoyable, and I'm not having any fun at all on the boss fights.
Looking at the boss walkthroughs, I think it would be better to have Princess Vicious and Phantom Clone as the first big bosses -- that's something that lets you use different fighting techniques like the ones you've been using. Zoggot seems pretty one-dimensional, and that you have to execute that technique pretty much perfectly by the third stage to make any progress. That seems like something you'd want to build up to.
I did not find this too short. It wasn't hard, but I don't like side scrolling fighters that are.
This game is fun, after you get used to the spacebar timing thing. My guy is called Strongdar, the Face-Exploder; so named for the panache with which he dispatches enemies by blowing up barrels with his face.
I do agree, that ending was extremely underwhelming. Compounded by the fact that there was no other reward from finishing the final level. Oh well, live by the sword...
Just a minor correction regarding the final boss,
The Duke of Hell: you'll see a shadow where the flail starts coming down. Simply walk to the left. Note that after you hit him the timing of the flail gets faster, so don't be caught off guard!
The other thing- to start the parry duel with him, just do as you would normally- use a strong attack.
strop: If you read my boss walkthrough, you'll see I mentioned those bits, as well as the fact that there *is* a reward for finishing the game (it's not great, but it's there; look around near the first level and you'll see it).
The 3rd boss is too glitchy, i was in the air above the fire and was still "in it"
Arghh!! I hate Zoggot!
I love this game, but I can't beat the final boss because the duels for the second and third hit are seemingly too hard to do reliably, even when I'm hammering my spacebar with both hands as fast as possible.
I see a lot of whining about the ending. I thought it was hilarious. Plus, the fighting arena unlocks another level after you get over 120 kills.
I was enjoying this game until I got to Zoggot. I just can't seem to figure out an actual strategy against him. After hitting him twice, I am unable to kill the tentacles faster than they spawn, and I can't parry every single poke, leading to a slow and painful death. I don't find this fun at all.
After 5-10 deaths, I'm just too frustrated with this game to keep playing.
Okay, I had seen this game before when it ended at Zoggot (and he wasn't playable, just a teaser at the end).
He, as unforgiving as he was, at least didn't require a walkthrough to learn how to beat, unlike the Dam Keeper, where you'd have to be clairvoyant to figure out what to do ahead of time. At least he was beatable, once someone tells you what to do.
Granny, on the other hand, you're going to have to re-tool, Mr. Game Designer, if you want me to see the rest of this game. You only get those little windows to hit her, and I swear she only takes damage 1 time in 10 even when you do (or should) hit her.
That's cheap, I'm sorry to have to say it, but it is. Hitting her is just too impossible to carry off (either there's less than the minimum for human reaction time as a window to hit her, or the game is deliberately ignoring hits on her, perhaps even both -- either way, CHEAP). You can't mash your way through it, you can't try a different strategy, you just simply have to hit her when you have the chance, and you cannot, at all, and no amount of clever thinking is going to change it. That's not a game, that's Roulette.
Once again, a game that becomes completely impossible and un-fun about halfway through. What is it with these designers? Don't they ever want anyone to finish? Does everyone just retry everything for 14 hours straight until they get lucky? What?
The pattern I saw was that, on the first run, there was one pair of tentacles at each stopping-point along the way to walk up an swat him. Then, two pairs, then three, then you're done. So the way to kill him was to kill all the pairs of tentacles at a given location, then move forward to the next spot that they come up in.
If you move forward with tentacles behind you, it'll just grab and throw you back.
Oh, yes: to kill the tentacles faster than they spawn, when you are in the middle of them: kill the one you are facing first, then face the other but don't start swatting until you've blocked its strike. Then keep facing that direction when the next one comes up.
Secret bonus material after the ending, for those who are wondering if it's worth it:
Defeating the Duke unlocks a new survival level on the map, the Barbarian Stronghold.
Reaching 125 kills on this level (not too tricky, if you conserve the health power-ups) unlocks an experimental debug-style level, the Barbarian Laboratory!
Awesome game, but I think I've encountered a glitch.
When fighting Princess Vicious, I am not able to hit her from behind, or the front, or anywhere. Whenever I swing at her, she knocks me away, countering my attack, even AFTER I jump behind her. I even tried when she does her weak ground smack without the force wave. Even though she'll swing, and then stand there, if I attack her in any fashion, she auto-counters and knocks me away. I've tried about 20 lives now to hit her, trying different timing/attacks/etc, but nothing is working. Anyone having this problem? I'm playing it on Armor Games, if that's relevant.
Granny is all a matter of timing.
The only way you can hit her is with a charged hit. After the first hit, destroy the purple guards and dodge the firebombs. After the bombs, again go for a charged hit. It should take only one more after that.
Anyone know how to beat the duke of hell?
[Edit: Spoiler tags added. -Pam]
Having finally beat Zoggot, I'm in agreement with the poster who was complaining about Granny Summercamp. The problem isn't so much that it's a matter of timing, it's that as far as I can tell the game doesn't give you a single visual cue as to when she's vulnerable. So there's nothing you can time yourself to. It's basically a game of "click once a minute."
It's a shame, because a stage like "The Bloody Hills" shows that the designers know how to make gameplay that's difficult but enjoyable. And I'd be quite content just to play through the levels I have. But when you require very precise timing to something that isn't even visually cued, you're basically asking the player to play "Click once a minute" with a fancy skin.
did everyone forget to mention that the music is AMAZING!!!!
I love this game. I've been replaying it and replaying it.
A really great game that has provided hours of fun. Yes the battles, and the mid-level bosses are in some ways more satisfying than the end of level bosses, and Granny Summercamp is especially unforgiving and a bit monotonous. The bigger terrain at the end is very well designed for pulling off huge heroics and the last level boss is just right.
I loved the control system - it does feel chaotic when you are surrounded and you just have to swing away, but that feels 'real' to me.
Fantastic music in this game and lovely animation and camera work.
I have now unlocked the reward level - does this bonus also have an end, anyone?