The Bard’s Tale: Tales of the Unknown by Electronic Arts


bards_tale_01Publisher: Electronic Arts
Developer: Electronic Arts
Release Date: 1985
Code: Michael Cranford
GFX: Michael Cranford
Music: Larry Holland
ZZAP64 Game Rating: 94%
Completed & Reviewed by Neil Collins
> CLICK HERE to Download emu file
The Bard’s Tale trilogy, in my opinion, are the greatest RPG games ever made. The sheer depth of the game is incredible. The level design and combat system were quite advanced for the time. I used to spend weeks playing these games as a kid, making maps on graph paper that I should have been doing my maths homework on. I remember reaching Mangar’s Tower, but never getting any further. I’ve always wanted to complete this game more than any other game. Your aim is to find and destroy the evil wizard Mangar and free the land of his evil.
bardstale1
What on earth is a ‘Magic Mouth’?
bardstale2
Vinny: I wish I knew what was going on
bardstale3
Are we there yet?
bardstale4
The End.
HOW WAS IT COMPLETED?: Using maps from the Bard’s Tale Online website, along with the keyboard commands, weapons and spell lists. I also used a program to hack my character files, to increase their HP levels, otherwise it would have taken me weeks to make an army good enough to tackle the final levels within Mangar’s tower. I made my way through the five floors of the tower, and solved the final spectre snare puzzle. I then found the evil wizard, and after a short battle, he and his minions were killed.
SO WHAT HAPPENS?: Once the evil wizard is slain, Kylearan pops up and tells you that your quest is over. Each of your characters get a bonus of gold and experience points. The game continues, but the quest is complete.
COMMENTS:
Neil: I expected the end to be just like this. No huge fanfare, but a simple acknowledgement of the game being completed.
Vinny: Let’s just get one thing straight right from the start: I DO NOT like or play RPG games. I don’t like this game; I don’t get this game; and I certainly don’t get the ending. Soooooo, I am leaving the comments and scoring to our resident expert, Neil. 🙂
Gaz Spence: RPGs are not my scene in all honesty, but it’s good to see that the Rainbow crew made it to the end of the quest. I’ll spare you the playground rhyme…
Does the reference to a bonus mean that the characters could be used in the sequel? That must have been quite innovative in the day.
Kungfufurby: Not bad… yet not good. I wish there was more of a story-like ending in addition to that ending speech by Kylearan. However, for an RPG of its kind, it isn’t so bad.
Andrew Fisher: I played the original Bard’s Tale on tape and never got very far into it, but it’s a great game. Fairly standard ending, but not bad all the same.
Brendan Phoenix: Let me get this straight, I too am not a player of RPG games and have never played this game or any other of the numerous RPG’s that people rave over (Ultima comes to mind) maybe I am missing out on something, but I have never taken to them.
Same with the Amiga and the 3D RPG’s like Hired Guns, et al, just couldn’t get into them (but I never vote them down on game sites just because they are not my cup of tea – really annoys me when people rate games as 1/10 just because they don’t like the genre).
Rant over!
Have to say a lot of the endings to these games, whether RPG’s or text adventures are very disappointing on the C64.
At least the endings tended to improve with the point and click adventures of the 90’s on the Amiga. A pity the C64 didn’t see many of these adventures.
Inge Pedersen: I haven’t played BT 1 (or 2), so I can only compare with BT3. But the ending is rather simple, just like other adventures/RGPs from that period. And that’s too bad, because many of these game deserve a better ending.
Andy Vaisey: I still have this on tape, which wouldn’t have been my first choice of format, but I (my parents) couldn’t afford a 1541 at that time. I played it loads, doing constant battle with the multiload more so than the enemies within the game.
I never completed it, so have sense of closure here now. To be honest, it’s pretty much what I was expecting… text… text… text…
And with all that loading, you’d think a decent screen wouldn’t have hurt!
FINAL SAY: The game is truly amazing. The ending isn’t great, but good enough for me.

G.E. RATING: 5 / 10

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One Response to The Bard’s Tale: Tales of the Unknown by Electronic Arts

  1. Amazing game. I had it on tape and it took me 13 months to complete. I enjoyed every single second of it. The ending was OK although after all that effort, something explaining the magnitude of your achievement would have been nice. Still, for disk users that gold and experience bonus to carry into BT2 would have been most welcome.

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