I've always loved this brutal fantasy game, with its charming animations and great sound, but the *highly* confusing level layout always had me stumped. The levels are divided into screens, each with 1-3 exits, and each screen has a different orientation, as signified by the sword at the bottom. In this type of rotating map, getting an overview is nigh on impossible. I used to run around randomly, looking for the exit to the next level, and picking up items without knowing what they did. I reached level 3 several times as a kid, but never saw the last level.
Over 20 years later, my original copy of Barbarian II still works on my new Amiga 500, and this time I've armed myself with pen, notebook, and Internet, so I'm going to finish this game now!
Found some awesome hand-drawn french maps for Barbarian II. That will help a great deal: now I can plot a course through each level, making sure I pick up some extra lives and two items on every level.
I can keep continuing from a level with the number of lives and items I had when I first reached it. So if I mess up and lose a lot of lives in a level, I just need to commit suicide to retry.