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The game as it appears in the top-down view.

In Conan: The Cimmerian gameplay is split between three different screens; the world map which the player can use to travel from place to place, the top-down world view that the player uses to explore the game world, and the side-on view which is used in moments of story exposition, combat scenarios, and when inside buildings. In both the latter screens the player must use their mouse to click where they wish Conan to travel to, making him walk to that location. The player may also access their stats screen or inventory at any point.

Much of the game takes place in the hub city of Shadizar, and as the player travels around the world they can interact with NPCs by fighting, conversing, and in the case of merchants buying and selling items, or haggling with them for optimal deals. Quests can also be obtained from various NPCs, inns and priests can be used to heal, and temples can be used as a means to store items and money. The player is able to enter any empty building within the game to click on objects in hopes of looting them for items or money, however, the player's stealth stat is taken into account in these scenarios, and should they be caught, they will be arrested and lose all items and money in their possession. For exploring some areas of the world players may also need torches, rope, or similar items.

A typical fight in Conan: The Cimmerian.

While the player can choose to engage NPCs in combat, many enemies will automatically engage them when encountered. In combat scenarios the player can move from left to right and attack the opponent with one of three sword fighting techniques; chop, swing, or thrust. Initially the player only has the ability to use the swing technique, however, they can meet with sword trainers to learn the two other techniques and raise the stats of any technique. Each enemy is vulnerable to one of these and the player and their opponent must continually attack in real-time until one of their health bars is depleted. During fights, the game factors in the player's defence and damage stats, the power of their sword, and the stat specific to the sword technique they are using. If the player defeats a foe in combat they then have the ability to loot them.

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