Barbarians are, as a rule, fairly hard blokes. It's in the job description. When you apply to be a barbarian at Barbarian Central HQ you have to fill in a little box that says "tick as applicable: Are you a) hard b) not the sort of bloke to annoy in the pub or c) Philip Schofield".
Tick the wrong one and you won't even get an interview. And if you're really unlucky, all the real barbarians find out where you live and beat you up every morning.
You can tell just how hard barbarians are because of their almost total disregard for normal clothing. Most of them just stomp around in furry long johns and leather sandals.
They might look stupid, but because of their near legendary hardness, nobody dares laugh at them. Not even Grant Mitchell from EastEnders. That's how hard barbarians are. Another thing that makes barbarians stand out from the crowd, apart form the fact that they're the only ones standing in the city centre wearing furry trousers surrounded by people studiously not laughing at them, is that they're always trundling off on quests and such like.
They can't sit still for more than five minutes without deciding to avenge some member of their family. As soon as the adverts come on in the middle of Coronation Street, they're leaping up, shouting things, and shaking their fists angrily at the boiling skies and then legging it into the distance to chop peoples head off. Yes they are a bit silly, but would you tell them? Thought not.
Our hero in Myth is one sch barbarian. Feeling a bit stuck for something to do on a rainy Sunday afternoon, he decides to go and teach the evil god Dameron a thing or two. Up he gets, stretches his legs, finishes his cocoa, sets the video for Lovejoy and pops off down to Hell for level one.
Our hero must then battle through Hell, beating up skeletons and harpies, finding time to face Cerebus the legendary three-
From there it's onwards to Norse mythology to battle goblins, giant dragons and Thor. Once you've plundered your way through that, a quick teleport takes you to Ancient Egypt to solve the riddle of the pyramids and negotiate loads of spooky traps. That done, you can zoom into an action-
Well, it all sounds fairly simple, doesn't it? Just a couple of different platform beat-'em-up levels to plough through. Wrong! Although at first glance Myth looks like your usual leap and slash game, there's a lot of puzzling going on in there.
A good working knowledge of mythology will make things more obvious, but even then a smidgen of brainpower will be needed to figure out how to defeat the various legendary beasts. Cerebus, for instance, can only be killed with a special trident. Where can you get this fabled trident? Well, you can only get it from a demon. How do you make the demon rise up from the pits of Hell? How do you kill it when it does appear?
Aha! That would be telling. You get the picture. Each big baddies requires some magic weapon to kill it, and to get the magic weapons, you'll have to put your grey matter into gear.
And not only is Myth blessed with deeper gameplay than other games of this ilk, it's also the proud possessor of some of the tastiest graphics and sound ever to thunder onto the Amiga. The bit when Satan looms up out of the flames with a spne-
And there's no disk accessing before he pops up either, so you can't guess he's coming. None of your "oh look the game's frozen while the computer loads in the big baddie graphics" here.
All the sprites are loaded at the start of the level, so each big baddie pops up completely out of the blue, causing many shrieks and squeals from little kiddies.
Sound is excellent as well, and it often plays an integral part in the game. As well as the eerie howls and crackling flames of Hell (which get louder as you get deeper), you also get a strange woman who beckons you forward, and then tell you to stop, then beckons you on again. If you fail her bizarre game of musical statues, she transforms into a gargoyle and kills you, but get it right and she'll give you a pressie.
The digitised speech is crisp and clear, but you'll have to pay attention as the slightest foot wrong results in much blood spillage.
I have to admit that I was a bit dubious at all the superlatives being heaped upon this game, as early demo versions were a bit simplistic. But it's come on leaps and bounds since then and is one of the best arcade adventures around. For once, a game that's worth all the hype that surrounds it. Buy it, or forever be giggled at by small children in the street.