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Over the years, many systems have attempted to create an electronic version of such classics as Dungeons & Dragons, and while many of these have been very enjoyable, none of them can equal the pure imagination found in their archaic forefathers. One of the earlier pioneer games of this type was The Bard's Tale, and although it stunk up the NES, it still helped blaze the trail for today's AD&D adventures.
Orcs, Goblins and other nasty creatures haunt the area surrounding the Adventurers' Guild in The Bard's Tale from FCI. Form a party and set out to defeat these creatures while seeking your fortune.
The story is your typical “band of misfits goes against an evil ruler” with one exception: your absolutely fabulous bard. Because the bard’s singing often raises your attack or strength during battles, they are arguably the most important member of your party. It’s a nice change from the warrior taking all of the pixelated glory, but it’s the only real innovation in the game. The rest is sloooooow going, as all of the mid-’80s fantasy RPG tropes are nestled firmly within the game’s CPU bosom. You want to buy weapons for your party in a quick and timely fashion? Think again! You want to fight enemies that aren’t insanely harder than you? Not possible! Methinks the Bard should have kept this slow-paced tale on the computer. It’s a literal slog.
A majority of NES games are little more than the pixilated manifestation of pure mediocrity. A few are excellent, though more are painful. A Bard's Tale most definitely ranks among the painful games. I haven't decided whether or not I'll be reviewing any more NES games next month.