[Gamers' Day 2007] Coooooonan

A Conan beat-'em-up that's -- gasp -- bloody? Well we never!
Author: Sam Bishop
Published: May 17, 2007
With all the hoopla surrounding violence in video games, what we need is something that sends a clear message that it's nice and bloody right from the start. No polka dots and tulips, something that's always been about battles and unchecked testosterone and revenge and... y'know we just need us a game based on Robert E. Howard's Conan The Barbarian, Frank Frazetta-painted depictions of asskic--oh hey, here's one!

We'll admit that we didn't expect to see THQ and Nihilistic's video game adaptation of Conan at the event, but that might be because the game isn't even due out until sometime next year/the end of this one depending on who you ask. Still, with a couple days of mounting work and a little pent-up nerd rage, we gladly took the opportunity to vent via big ass swords.

Dual swords, as it turns out. Though we weren't really allowed to fully explore the world due to simple time constraints, the little area where we sliced and diced was rife with enemies to decapitate, amputate and many... other... -tates as well! The first thing that we noticed (beyond the fact that parts of the game do indeed seem to be culling from the many Frank Frazetta paintings that have been done of the womanizing brute) was that Nihilistic really has developed a rather deep combat system. Being able to pick up nearly everything in the world (there's a little red pulse next to things that are useable), or just lift it from the hands of his enemies makes Conan fairly adept at coming up with things on the fly, but it's when those blades start flying (or shields start bashing) that things get nice and bloody.

Thick, roping trails of crimson shoot out with most big hit, usually indicating that an arm or a leg or a head has been lopped off an enemy's body, but it's actually possible to just slide a guy in half or cleave him in twain, too. As was hammered home during our little demo, the game will eventually have more than 100 different ways of dispensing pain, which is, needless to say, a rather ambitious approach to mixing things up (references to actual fighting games were made a couple of times too).

The influence of certain other brutal beat-'em-ups like the one running on PSP not terribly far away were undeniable (we think it might have been the whole kick-a-chest-to-open-it thing), but that's certainly not a bad thing. Upon offing an enemy, in addition to all the gore, colored symbols flit out of the corpse, restoring health and adding experience for beefing up the bit o' beefcake even more.

Again, our time with the game was short, but we went from not even caring about the game to keeping a steady eye on how development goes. As soon as THQ is willing to spill the beans a little more, we'll offer our updated impressions.