Set the standard for gaming in its day
Wow. I got this game when it first came out for my Commodore. I was totally blown away by the graphics! Amazing. Some of the monsters actually moved! You know what I mean? This game took me practically forever to complete--being back in the days before the internet gave you hints and maps for free. (You couldn't get through this game without the hint book I don't think because the mapping is nearly impossible in Mangar's tower for instance.) So I had to fork over the $15 for the guide book and then you still had trouble. Just because you had the map, it didn't tell you where you got teleported too!
I spent so many hours (and spell points) typing SCSI, and counting on my homemade grid! It would be tough today for this game to make it because people (myself included) have become jaded with this sort of gameplay. When you have Baldur's Gate to compare this to, which would you choose to play. I think you can argue that Bard's Tale is probably equally as good a game though...just not in quite as slick a package.
About a year ago I found a package of Interplay games on the shelf in my local store (Ultimate RPG Archives), and it has the complete Bard's Tale series in it (along with Wasteland which no serious gamer should be without but that's another review!). Over the next few months I played through BT 1 and 2 and part of BT3 before time reasserted itself and I had to get back to real life. All I can say is that this game still holds up after all these years which is quite an accomplishment.
I suppose to be honest, the part I disliked the most was the difficulty in mapping. While I very much enjoy mapping dungeons, I didn't like all the darkness areas, spinners, and teleports. But hey, Mangar was just making it tough on you! Wouldn't be much of a game if you just marched in the front door and killed him now would it! Also, I was never able to save my party and continue on with them in BT2 like I was supposed to be able to do. I had to download a character editor and recreate each character from BT1 exactly in BT2 and then use them. Don't know why, but it irked me.
The Bottom Line
Certainly this game is one that every game collector needs to have on their shelf!