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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 [space bar]. 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!

Rating: 6.4/10 (10 votes cast)

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