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Once upon a time there was a reviewer who loved adventures but hated role-playing games. Then he discovered The Bard's Tale on his [name of other computer deleted] and changed his mind. Now here it is in its 8-bit Speccy version and it's great to see that hardly anything has been lost in the conversion. Well, the graphics aren't as good, obviously, and gameplay isn't quite as smooth, but it's still a terrific job.
OK, so this sort of thing appeals to a certain sort of person, who always argues that you should use your imagination and get really involved, and it doesn't matter if the graphics aren't up to much. So I won't knock it too much, because I'm sure thousands of people will love it. But lots of the most exciting features, such as full-colour animated monsters, sophisticated sound and pretty background graphics, haven't survived the transition to the Spectrum, and the finished result looks a bit crummy. The Bard's Tale will enthral diehard pixie fans who will probably queue up to spend £5 on the clue book. But there's too much text, and not enough graphics and animation, to convert the uncommitted.
The dungeons do hold further tasks and ever deadlier opponents, but the game boils down to the traditional hack-and-slay. Although this is the basis for most computerised fantasy roleplaying games, a little more depth would have gone a long way with The Bard's Tale.
Though something of the charm has been lost along with the excellent graphics and music of the sixteen-bit versions, The Bard's Tale remains the best attempt at computer FRPGs.