User Rating: 6.9 | The Bard's Tale C64
The Bard's Tale is a port from the DOS game that is the first in a series of 3 games. The story takes place in the City of Skara Brae, which is filled with evil monsters and loaded with dungeons and towers of every sort of evil thing. From berserkers to wights, you have to trample through with a party of 6 (plus perhaps a familiar) to gather all the clues you need to take on the evil lord himself in the highest level of the most dangerous tower... sound familiar? Gameplay: 8/10 All the Bard's Tale games follow a basic D&D rule set. Experience is gained from fighting monsters. At certain experience levels you can go before the advancement board who will ask you a question that you have to answer correctly to advance. Your party is made up of members that you create inside the adventurer's guild. Choosing a good balance of character types is important particularly later in the game. In the end the most powerful characters are mages and bards. But in the beginning warriors are more powerful. At any point you can add and remove players from the party. Playing with just a few members makes the total experience from a kill split only to them... thus gaining faster, but with less characters. The interface is self explanitory, though not as seemless as in the PC version since you cannot type. Graphics: 6/10 The graphics are ugly, though no worse that the original game. It is designed in a first person view, which allows you to see a couple steps ahead of you and the two spaces to the right and left. The game board is small enough in the city that you can navigate and get used to the turns. But unless you have a map, you might get lost. But since the dungeons are bigger, a top-down view would be more helpful. As it is, you really need to map out on graph paper if you want to know where everything is. The city view is decent, though the buildings do not have much variety. The dungeons have different walls... the sewers are brick, the catecombs have skulls, etc... and though this is in 8bit graphics, which are ugly, there is enough variety to make each area seem unique. Sound: 4/10 There is very little sound. The only noticeable sound effects are upon advancement and when you are inside the adventurer's guild where there is background music. Otherwise it is a silent game. While this is not too much of a drawback, some background music would have been nice. Reviewer's Tilt: 7/10 This is a highly enjoyable game if you are good at mapping and don't mind classic D&D style games. These are much different from the standard console variety and is probably more suited for the hardcore gamer.