Written by  :  Rob Von Strahd (7)
Written on  :  Jan 03, 2013
Platform  :  Commodore 64
Rating  :  5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars5 Stars

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A brilliant game that clearly deserves the title of epic masterpiece.

The Good

This product was my initial, head first venture into the realm of a computer role playing game. I had played pencil and paper rpgs in my youth as had most of my schoolmates. Sadly though I never seemed to be able to keep up with the dice rolling, dungeon delving shenanigans of my comrades. While they assaulted me with maps on graph paper and tales of high adventure, I smiled and nodded knowing I sadly just wasn’t cut out for it. When I saw “The Destiny Knight” on the shelf of my local Computer Base I had to have it. The box cover, the graphics on the back and the wit the game used to convey it’s style hooked me.

I had never played the first “Bards Tale” game so I wasn’t sure what to expect. What I got was a helping of electronic goodness that made me appear to be an oversized lab rat. The world was vast in that it started in a city but you could visit the surrounding environs. Sure you could get killed if you wandered somewhere where you were over powered. The fact that it let you explore though was an awesome treat. I never felt constrained or claustrophobic in my adventures with my party.

The game looked amazing to me. The first time I saw a spider pop up on the screen I shuddered. Arachnophobia was entrenched to me at a young age and the artwork was well done indeed. The portraits had just enough animation in them to give them life but not so much that it slowed the events down. The sinister, the kindhearted and the ghastly were for all to see in their graphic grandeur.

Combat in the game was turn based and that was a Godsend for me. I always had problems with my hands since I was of a young age. Never being a joystick jockey it was nice to have a more strategic angle to depose my enemies. The use of distance was particularly noteworthy as you had to really decide how best to use your adventurers. Melee combat was easy as you could expect and casting of spells was done by typing in letters that corresponded with your skill. The jumbled constantans and vowels were clever as it was almost like the spell casters spoke a secret language. You could be four different classes and could learn a few levels of spells from each with the warning that you couldn’t return to them. There was a fifth class, the Archmage I believe, that rewarded you for having certain levels of each spell table. Those were the real movers and shakers in the world and their magic was not to be trifled with.

The other unique thing for me was that you had to acquire seven pieces of a legendary wand that had been scattered about the land. Of course they all ended up in different dungeons, castles and tombs and were guarded by magical snares. When you would get near a fragment, the trap would kick in and you would have only a small amount of time to solve it. If you did not solve it in the allotted time you died and had to start over. The snares were ingenious and were a mix of everything from riddles to mini puzzles within the environment. It was harrowing when you were trying to figure them out in real time while the reaper was looming behind you.

“The Destiny Knight” is one of the greatest rpgs I have ever played. It more than made up for me never being able to enjoy it’s pencil and paper cousins. The greatness of this even topped itself with a surprise towards the end that I never saw coming. For it’s time “The Bards Tale 2” was the perfect way to bring an rpg to the masses via technology. I played it for more hours and more whole evenings than I care to admit. A product that can proudly fly it’s flag high and settle into my pantheon of gaming greatness.

The Bad

There was NOTHING about the game I did not like when I played it.

The Bottom Line

A game that was perfection at the time of it's release. It set standards of the time that were awe-inspiring and memorable. A classic, a masterpiece and a work of art.