Great In It's Day
Back when I first purchased this game, I was taken with the cool EGA graphics. And when you met a monster, you had the cool moving image of said creature. Ah, the goblins who's lips curled, the skeleton who's eye-sockets lit up, the magic users who flashed electricity, etc. And since I'd just completed Ultima III, Bard's Tale seemed all that much cooler. The nifty nods to Tolkien (with the Mithril weapons and the Barlogs) were appreciated and the game as a whole rocked.
Ah yes, the dungeon play sucked in the later levels. All dungeons were the same size (say 16x16 for example) but to give the illusion of more space (and to confuse the player), most dungeons when you got to one end would appear to continue to go on. Say you were in position 16,16 and you went on. You'd then find yourself (if you went east) in position 1,16. That combined with the "oh, your light went out" areas and "spin" areas made mapping dungeons almost impossible and certainly very tedious. The only way I and my friends ended up solving the game was to buy the cheat book since the book had all the dungeons mapped.
The Bottom Line
Bottom line, this game was a great RPG game for its day. I wouldn't mind seeing a "Bard's Tale Redux" come out using modern computer technology for the graphics, sound, and auto-mapping!