In the early 90’s, RPG’s were advancing at a quick pace. The general meat-and-bones was the same – grind, grind, story bits, grind – but improvements came in other ways, like better graphics, fleshed-out characters, more appealing stories, and perhaps most importantly, well-made menus that don’t take years to navigate.
The Bard’s Tale is one in a long line of computer adventure games inexplicably ported to the NES a few years too late. 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 hogging all the glory, but the bard’s usefulness is the only real innovation in the game.
The rest is a slow, slow, unbelievably slow going dungeon crawl. In fact, 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!
The Bard should have kept his snoozer of a tale on the computer.
PUBLISHER: FCI DEVELOPER: Interplay (port by Atelier Double)
GENRE: RPG RELEASE DATE: 12/21/90 – (JP), 11/1991 – (US)
ALSO AVAILABLE ON: Amiga, Apple II, C64, Amstrad CPC, PC, NEC PC98, Atari ST, Sinclair ZX81 / Spectrum