Release Date: 1984
Publisher: Americana Software Limited Datasoft, Inc.
Alternate Title: The Good Knight, Visigoth
Developer: SE Software
Programmers: Eric Parker and Eric Robinson
One of the earliest entries into the platformer genre, Conan: Hall of Volta puts players in the shoes of the world’s most famous Barbarian in his quest to take down the evil wizard Volta.
While the term “cross-platform” is all the rage these days, this game was one of the pioneers of the concept. It was released on all of the Atari 8-bit, Apple II, PC-88, Commodore 64, FM-7, and Sharp X1 platforms. The wide range of players that this title was available to, undoubtedly played a big part in its success. Interestingly, the game’s box comes with a painting of Arnold Schwarzenegger as a muscular barbarian.
The game was launched in conjunction with the release of the film Conan the Destroyer and, together, they launched the Barbarian into the upper echelons of popular culture.
They are still making Conan games, such as the massively multiplayer role-playing survival game Conan Exiles released in 2018 and the real-time strategy game Conan Unconquered that came out last year.
There is also a board game named Conan – for two to five players created by Frederic Henry and collectable card game designed by Jason Robinette who also worked on the Star Trek card game. Traces of Conan can also be seen in the iGaming industry, as there’s a Conan-themed slot game which can be played on the New Jersey online casinos such as the Virgin Casino.
By modern standards, it is a relatively simple side-scrolling platformer. Still, at the time, it was a revolutionary game that played a significant role in making the genre globally popular. It takes place over seven different and unique stages that each feature their own set of traps, puzzles, and deadly enemies.
The player controls Conan with 10 magical swords that are thrown at enemies to conquer them. After travelling a certain distance, the swords will change direction and return to the player, unless they hit an object such as a wall or an enemy in which case the sword is destroyed. The player can restock their swords at various points on each level.
The main objective of each level is to collect gems, to place them in a gem holder and then discover the key so that the door which brings the players to the next level can be unlocked. Players will also have a helping hand in the game as there is a bird character who is assisting in destroying the evil Volta.
Overall, the game is not that easy, but rather tricky, as many different things could wreck the players instantly, such as wild animals, lava and spikes. The graphics and the music are quite solid, and there is even a real-time action. Conan: Hall of Volta is totally worth trying if you are a fan of timeless Atari 8-bit classics.