On the arcade front there were titles like Rastan (a side-scrolling action game), and Golden Axe (a classic from the beat'em-up genre). Obviously, a big part of these kind of games is the physicality of the characters. Showing off precise muscle definition sometimes came at a price. No steroids here, I'm talking about titles like Sword of Sodan, a game that has some of the biggest, most detailed character sprites you'll find on the Sega Genesis. They look cool, but they come at the expense of fluid controls. Ironically, there's a grain of truth here in that real life body builders sometimes focus on muscle mass and definition at the expense of agility, resulting in a strong, but somewhat clumsy individual. The movie director of the original "Conan the Barbarian" noticed this when he cast Arnold for the role and asked the then seven time Mr. Olympia champion to do more calisthenic exercises (like jump rope and horseback riding) rather than focusing solely on weight lifting. The results were mixed, with Arnold nursing a sprained ankle through the later part of the production shoot. He really doesn't have that "panther-ish" grace that Robert E. Howard used to describe the character.
Bakshi’s stylistic choices make it hard not to also examine the movie in a social context, and it’s pretty eclectic. For one thing, adherence to the Frazetta style makes this one of the few fantasy flicks I’ve seen wherein the male characters are almost as sexualized as the females, give the minimalist wardrobe. Hero Larn finds himself in need of rescue several times, and despite the ceaseless efforts of the screenplay to turn her into a damsel, heroine Teegra is a pretty resourceful character. Other depictions are less progressive, though. Ice lord Nekron is pretty unambiguously gay, but his implied homosexuality – specifically, the fact that he finds Teegra undesirable – is presented as an evil attribute. And what can be said about the dark-skinned, animalistic “subhumanoids” other than an acknowledgement of how clearly fantasy often caters to exclusively white audiences?As odd as it might sound, the recently released Age of Barbarian: Extended Cut reminds me a lot of "Fire and Ice," except if it were CGI instead of rotoscope animation.