The Bard’s Tale (reboot)


While I liked the attitude and metatextual humor — the main character gets into arguments with the narrator, and points out odd coincidences that only make sense in video game logic… and there are a number of references to The Princess Bride in a game in which Cary Elwes voices the main character — it was also annoyingly linear. The whole game felt like one long railroad.

Admittedly the original games didn’t have much in the way of side quests, but they felt more expansive, particularly the first two in which every dungeon level was built on a 22×22 grid. You could really explore the levels, while most of the dungeons in this game are essentially start at point A and work your way to point B, hacking up two types of monsters along the way.

Update: The newer Bard’s Tale IV is much more an update of the original gameplay!



Omg… first time I saw that bard’s graphic, it was on a greenscreen, and the fact that his fingers strummed the lute and his mouth moved up and down was considered “cutting edge graphics”. Good memories, Mindblading hundreds of berzerkers into oblivion…

You’re right though, the old games seemed a lot more expansive, despite the reality of their small size. There was a bigger wealth of imaginative possibility in those old games. Text battles turned into epics in your head, with just enough detail to keep track of but not so much you were overwhelmed or jaded. In your mind, characters bantered with each other in fresh new ways, every adventure.

I guess this is like old folks going on about how much they liked Golden Age Radio (conveniently omitting all the Camel “T-zone” ads.)

Other things that made those games feel bigger — did you actually finish the original BT games before getting the clue book? (Before the Internet made those either glossy or obsolete). A story where you haven’t gotten to the end is endless, in a way. Also, in grid-based games you could get from one end of town to another in maybe 35 keystrokes… all that new 3D art is snappy to begin with, but once you’ve taken twenty-thirty minutes to go past it a few times (twice even, for some people) it pales quickly. Big ==> boring, there.

Should play the new one soon though, funny is good too.


You see:
99 Berserkers
99 Berserkers
99 Berserkers
99 Berserkers

IIRC I finished the first game without the hint book, but went back and picked it up anyway. The second game, I think I may have looked the occasional thing up. I remember finding it interesting that they managed to structure the hint books as narratives while still leaving the story open for your party to head down the same path. I think the first one ended in disaster, and they cast a spell to reverse time, and the second one was a dream quest.

I never technically finished the third game. I got through everything but the final battle, and while I was able to get rid of Tarjan using my Rogue, the extra armies he summoned would finish me off every time. Somewhere I probably still have a saved game right in front of the door to that chamber.


That’s too bad. I read that you get to choose your own reactions which I thought would affect the story. Maybe not.


You can affect small-scale changes, but not the main quest. Your choices may determine which items you get, or how much experience. Anything plot-critical, though, is either done in a cut scene or presented as the only way to accomplish something.

Nothing on the level of, say, Might and Magic 7, in which your choices during one set of quests determine whether a war is fought in one region, the relative strengths of the nations involved afterward, classes available for advancement, which cities are safe to visit, and what goal you work toward in the last third of the game.


sheesh talk about immersive… ;>