I am still finishing up my dual review of The Bard’s Tale – I had been working through the PC game for a retrospective review when the iOS version launched, so I have now completed both! But the game just got a HUGE update that makes it a more compelling buy than ever – and trust me, it is already a great game!
Here are the notes from the update:
• Includes the original classic game The Bard’s Tale I: Tales of the Unknown!
• Earn free gold through TapJoy offers! Spend gold on in-app-purchases, or buy in-game silver at ten per gold!
• New in-app-purchases for weapons, armor, instruments and Trow maps! (All items are attainable through game-play, eventually, if you are persistent)
• Fix to prevent audio/cut-scene skipping on iOS 4.x.
• Skip-button replaces screen-touch in cut-scenes to avoid accidental skips
• Dialog in shops can be skipped
• On loading a saved game, health is restored to a minimum of 50% to avoid dying on load.
• Auto-saves disabled during cut-scenes to prevent issues with Hatcher in Stromness and with the Fire Elemental in the Frozen Tomb.
• Additional minor fixes
Mostly the normal stuff, except for one thing: “Includes the original classic game The Bard’s Tale I: Tales of the Unknown!”
This is pretty major stuff! The Bard’s Tale from 1985 is one of the all-time classics of gaming in general and the RPG genre in specific. But be forewarned – it is a 27 year old game … from BEFORE the launch of the NES to put it in perspective and was originally released for the Apple ][ – which is where I first played it.
Here are a few thoughts:
- In 1985 the game world was more like a basic setting. Not much story, and certainly not anything impressive by today’s standards.
- There are very few standard RPG elements – no dialogue choices, only scripted NPC interactions, no romance, and so on.
- That said, this was one of the earliest games where you could really create an indepth character with strengths and weaknesses.
- If you like the combat system from Final Fantasy I on iOS (or elsewhere), it is based on Wizardry, and The Bard’s Tale is nearly identical with some really cool combat encounters.
- Maps – you need to draw them, because the world doesn’t tell you much!
- There is only the main quest, and only one way to complete it; no side-quests, no mini-games. Again, very typical for the time.
- You will have a hard time believing it, but for 1985 the game was amazingly advanced in terms of graphics and sound.
- The difficulty keeps things challenging throughout, but brutal towards the end. You can only save at the Inn, and it can get really hard maintaining spell points and potions in dungeons. It reminds me of some of the ‘Izuna’ style Nintendo DS games in the way you are always struggling to stay alive.
And again – this is a FULL GAME, contained inside of another great game! But wait, there is more … as you see, The Bard’s Tale II and III will be added to the game in the near future. Suddenly you will have a 30 hour main game, and three different games that will take you dozens of hours to complete.