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Tales of the Unknown: Volume I - The Bard's Tale (ZX Spectrum)

Tales of the Unknown: Volume I - The Bard's Tale ZX Spectrum There is no pretty load screen. The game loads quickly and this is the start, in the Guild of Adventurers with a default party

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100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
3.9
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5 point score based on user ratings.
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Description

The small country town Skara Brae was enjoying a peaceful life, until an evil wizard known as Mangar the Dark appeared. Monsters have invaded the town, terrorizing its inhabitants. Mangar cast the spell of Eternal Winter on the surroundings, isolating Skara Brae from any possible help. Guards that were entrusted with the task of protecting the town have disappeared within one night. Only a party of brave adventurers can save Skara Brae and defeat Mangar.

The Bard's Tale is a fantasy role-playing game similar to Wizardry games, with first-person exploration of pseudo-3D maze-like environments, and turn-based combat against randomly appearing enemies. Unlike early Wizardry installments, the town can be explored physically, and parts of the overworld are accessible as well. Several dungeons must be explored before the player can tackle the final quest.

Six character classes are available when the player is prompted to create a party of six adventurers in the beginning of the game: Bard, Hunter, Monk, Paladin, Rogue, Warrior, Magician, and Conjurer. The last two can be promoted when specific conditions are met during gameplay. The bard class plays a special role, possessing magical songs that improves the party's performance in combat and are required to solve some of the game's puzzles.

Screenshots

Tales of the Unknown: Volume I - The Bard's Tale ZX Spectrum Not sure how this happened but Brian has killed Merlin!
Back to the manual for some serious studying
Tales of the Unknown: Volume I - The Bard's Tale ZX Spectrum Only to be attacked by three mercenaries ....
Tales of the Unknown: Volume I - The Bard's Tale ZX Spectrum ... attacked by a Nomad ...
Tales of the Unknown: Volume I - The Bard's Tale ZX Spectrum There is no pretty load screen. The game loads quickly and this is the start, in the Guild of Adventurers with a default party

Part of the Following Groups

User Reviews

There are no reviews for the ZX Spectrum release of this game. You can use the links below to write your own review or read reviews for the other platforms of this game.


The Press Says

Your Sinclair Sep, 1988 9 out of 10 90
The Games Machine (UK) Sep, 1988 74 out of 100 74
Computer and Video Games (CVG) Sep, 1988 7 out of 10 70

Forums

Topic # Posts Last Post
What advntages does the Hunter class have? 2 Game Guesser (28)
Feb 17, 2013
Completed? 3 Indra is here (19776)
Dec 07, 2010

Trivia

1001 Video Games

The Bard's Tale appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.

Buildings

While most of the buildings are empty and exist only to increase the size of the map, entering the building directly across from the guild shows the game credits.

Novels

Though any direct connection to the game series, setting and characters is slight at best, an officially-licensed Bard's Tale series of novels eight strong (!) were published by Baen Books over a six-year period in the '90s:
  1. Castle of Deception (1992), by Mercedes Lackey and Josepha Sherman;
  2. Fortress of Frost and Fire (1993), by Mercedes Lackey and Ru Emerson;
  3. The Chaos Gate (1994), by Josepha Sherman;
  4. Prison of Souls (1994), by Mercedes Lackey and Mark Shepherd;
  5. Thunder of the Captains (1996), by Holly Lisle and Aaron Allston;
  6. Wrath of the Princes (1997), by Holly Lisle and Aaron Allston;
  7. Escape from Roksamur (1997), by Mark Shepherd; and
  8. Curse of the Black Heron (1998), by Holly Lisle.

References

  • Michael Cranford, a devout Christian, put many Biblical references into the first two Bard's Tale games. Most notable are a reference to the crucifixion in the first game and the Holy Spirit in the second. In fact, Cranford ended his video game career with the second game in the series and now programs web sites for religious groups.
  • One of the more powerful shields in the game, the Ybarra shield, is in fact named after Joe Ybarra, a producer at Electronics Arts, who was directly involved with The Bard's Tale.

Skara Brae

The original Skara Brae is a well-preserved Neolithic village located in the Orkney Islands of Scotland. The four thousand year old settlement was buried by encroaching sand dunes and uncovered a century ago when a storm exposed parts of the structures. Today it is a well known tourist site and undoubtedly inspired Michael Cranford (Bard's Tale) and Richard Garriott (Ultima series).

NES version

In the NES version, the post-death screen was removed, the word "kill" was avoided and all alcoholic beverages were replaced with non-alcoholic ones.

Awards

  • Commodore Force
    • December 1993 (Issue 13) – #88 “Readers' Top 100”
  • Computer Gaming World
    • March 1988 (Issue #45) – Introduced into the Hall of Fame
    • November 1996 (15th Anniversary issue) - #89 on the "150 Best Games of All Time" list
  • GameSpy
    • 2001 – #17 Top Game of All Time
  • Happy Computer
    • 1986 - Best Role Playing Game of the Year
    • Issue 04/1987 - #2 Best Game in 1986 (Readers' Vote)
  • Power Play
    • 1987 - Best Atari ST Game '87
Information also contributed by Adam Baratz, Chip Arnett, Peter Ferrie, PCGamer77, Pseudo_Intellectual, Ray Soderlund, Vance

Related Web Sites

JRK (11152) added Tales of the Unknown: Volume I - The Bard's Tale (ZX Spectrum) on Sep 07, 2004
Other platforms contributed by Droog (463), Kabushi (125361), Terok Nor (18933), אולג 小奥 (171451) and Belboz (6517)