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03-09-17 01:11 PM
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03-09-17 01:11 PM
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A Bard's Tale: NES

 
Game's Ratings
Overall
Graphics
Sound
Addictiveness
Depth
Story
Difficulty
Average User Score
8.3
7
7
4.5
4.5
4.5
5.5
7
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3

03-09-17 01:11 PM
Ghostbear1111 is Offline
| ID: 1332023 | 1229 Words

Ghostbear1111
Level: 63


POSTS: 970/1219
POST EXP: 190564
LVL EXP: 1987197
CP: 6579.6
VIZ: 554447

Likes: 2  Dislikes: 0
"It is a time of swords and magic. In a distant world there is a town called Skara Brae. The town has prospered thanks to many years of peace."

But an evil wizard named Mangar has seized control of the town and turned it to eternal winter. It is up to a band of adventurers to work together to find a local protector, Kylearen, who possesses a key to sneak the band into the tower of Mangar. There, the band may challenge Mangar and end his evil ways.

*****

The story sounds good. This is something I can wrap my mind around and gear up and fight enemies and come to the rescue of a town that needs my help. What a great premise for a game. A Bard's Tale is a Nintendo remake of a game (of the same name) meant for PC. I have never played the original game so I can't compare it to anything. I know I can compare Bard's Tale against other RPGs of the day, say Dragon Warrior, Final Fantasy's early games, and so on.

I am going to do this from a positives and negatives, not an aspect by aspect approach.

THE BAD:

I did not score this game highly and I will discuss the why. The biggest concern isn't even the story, the graphics, the music, or the progression. The menus and submenus require a large amount of effort to complete some of the most simple tasks. For example, two characters purchasing equipment at a store resembles something like: "Select Trade, select character, select Pool Gold, select purchase item, select item, back out, back out, back out, select alternate character, select pool gold, select purchase item." And equipping gear, using items, performing almost any task within the menus is so unwieldy it gets old really quickly. I challenge anyone to tell me there's any level of efficiency with handling the equipment and spells side of things.

The other challenge is the insanely tough beginning. The first three levels of the game is hard and if you die or make a mistake, you're punished aggressively, to the point where it is easier to create a new character instead of finding a way to raise the money to heal or revive a dead character. Other games scale the cost of coming back to life dependent on the level. A Bard's Tale does not. And it is expensive early on. Gear and equipment is the first thing a player does and that takes perhaps an hour of game time just amassing the money to purchase weapons and armor.

And speaking of weapons and armor, there is one weapon store in the whole game. There are only four places you will ever need to check into when you play and the map is extremely small. A Bard's Tale is spent for 90% of the game grinding up levels and finding experience. There are only a few small maps, the town, the sewers, the baseball, and a pair of towers, for exploration and most of the places to go are empty. You end up walking up and down the same halls fighting enemies to get more levels and spells to fight more enemies to get to the end. The repetition is mind-numbing and the pay-off isn't worth the effort. Once you've purchased the basic weapons and armor, there is no reason for money outside of buying new spells. You'll suddenly amass thousands and thousands of gold pieces and have no need for them. You work hard for every one early on and later you find yourself passing up treasures chests because you don't want to deal with the time it takes to sell the gear.

Another criticism is the look of the game. There's a mini-map showing the dungeon or town you're in, a menu showing HP, MP, and AC of your characters, and a 3-D view of the world around you. It looks similar to the First Person shooter view of Doom or Wolfenstein. The biggest challenge to it is the entire world looks the same. All the doors are the same, all the walls are the same. The only change is the coloring. I was at first interested to see how the First Person view went but I quickly got over it and focused only on the top-down map to navigate. And there are only a few places I would need to go anyway. If it weren't for the hours spent leveling and grinding, the game would be very quick to play. You go to a bar, you get some grape juice from the cellar which leads you to a sewer where you end up in a catacombs, a tower, a second tower, and it's over. It's straight forward.

I can go on but the last big part is: No interaction. The game says most of the town was wiped out or ran away and we're trying to save an empty city but there are no characters to talk to or interact with. There are a few bar owners but they sell drinks for the bard. There's a shop owner named Lars. There is a healer and a council to level up. That's it. Even the characters don't have a backstory and there is no plot development. A Bard's Tale is way off the mark by not incorporating this element into the game. Even the 'bosses' to quote don't have more than a single line of dialogue. 90% or more of your time is simply spent fighting countless battles.

THE GOOD:

Jeez, Ghostbear... Is there anything good to the game?

Yes.

The battle music is catchy and I never thought it got old. I think A Bard's Tale has some of the best combat music in the history of RPGs. The overworld music and the rest of the audio are average at best.

The magic users are unique and interesting. I like the large number of spells available through leveling and how unique their effects are. It's not healing magic and damaging magic. There are spells that create a variety of buffs to characters and enemies and it goes beyond the standard spells in every Final Fantasy game. It is difficult to track what spell does what without looking at the manual or an FAQ and many of the spells have specific and timely purposes that bring the experience together.

The really in-depth part of A Bard's Tale is the multi-party system. You can create two separate parties and hone their skills and abilities to work with each other and play two games almost at the same time. This is unique, exciting, and not nearly as helpful since it is held back by the rest of the negative points of the game.


THE REST OF THE STORY:

A Bard's Tale for the Nintendo Entertainment System was an attempt to bring a Dungeons & Dragons style game as close to reality as possible for a non-PC platform. The designers tried to show the depth and creativity available for a game of this style and they ended up making a clunky, unplayable, forgettable RPG that even fans of Dragon Warrior wouldn't want to pick up. It was a nice try and after some experimenting, they may have learned some lessons and made a better game but they simply missed the boat.

You can skip this one.



"It is a time of swords and magic. In a distant world there is a town called Skara Brae. The town has prospered thanks to many years of peace."

But an evil wizard named Mangar has seized control of the town and turned it to eternal winter. It is up to a band of adventurers to work together to find a local protector, Kylearen, who possesses a key to sneak the band into the tower of Mangar. There, the band may challenge Mangar and end his evil ways.

*****

The story sounds good. This is something I can wrap my mind around and gear up and fight enemies and come to the rescue of a town that needs my help. What a great premise for a game. A Bard's Tale is a Nintendo remake of a game (of the same name) meant for PC. I have never played the original game so I can't compare it to anything. I know I can compare Bard's Tale against other RPGs of the day, say Dragon Warrior, Final Fantasy's early games, and so on.

I am going to do this from a positives and negatives, not an aspect by aspect approach.

THE BAD:

I did not score this game highly and I will discuss the why. The biggest concern isn't even the story, the graphics, the music, or the progression. The menus and submenus require a large amount of effort to complete some of the most simple tasks. For example, two characters purchasing equipment at a store resembles something like: "Select Trade, select character, select Pool Gold, select purchase item, select item, back out, back out, back out, select alternate character, select pool gold, select purchase item." And equipping gear, using items, performing almost any task within the menus is so unwieldy it gets old really quickly. I challenge anyone to tell me there's any level of efficiency with handling the equipment and spells side of things.

The other challenge is the insanely tough beginning. The first three levels of the game is hard and if you die or make a mistake, you're punished aggressively, to the point where it is easier to create a new character instead of finding a way to raise the money to heal or revive a dead character. Other games scale the cost of coming back to life dependent on the level. A Bard's Tale does not. And it is expensive early on. Gear and equipment is the first thing a player does and that takes perhaps an hour of game time just amassing the money to purchase weapons and armor.

And speaking of weapons and armor, there is one weapon store in the whole game. There are only four places you will ever need to check into when you play and the map is extremely small. A Bard's Tale is spent for 90% of the game grinding up levels and finding experience. There are only a few small maps, the town, the sewers, the baseball, and a pair of towers, for exploration and most of the places to go are empty. You end up walking up and down the same halls fighting enemies to get more levels and spells to fight more enemies to get to the end. The repetition is mind-numbing and the pay-off isn't worth the effort. Once you've purchased the basic weapons and armor, there is no reason for money outside of buying new spells. You'll suddenly amass thousands and thousands of gold pieces and have no need for them. You work hard for every one early on and later you find yourself passing up treasures chests because you don't want to deal with the time it takes to sell the gear.

Another criticism is the look of the game. There's a mini-map showing the dungeon or town you're in, a menu showing HP, MP, and AC of your characters, and a 3-D view of the world around you. It looks similar to the First Person shooter view of Doom or Wolfenstein. The biggest challenge to it is the entire world looks the same. All the doors are the same, all the walls are the same. The only change is the coloring. I was at first interested to see how the First Person view went but I quickly got over it and focused only on the top-down map to navigate. And there are only a few places I would need to go anyway. If it weren't for the hours spent leveling and grinding, the game would be very quick to play. You go to a bar, you get some grape juice from the cellar which leads you to a sewer where you end up in a catacombs, a tower, a second tower, and it's over. It's straight forward.

I can go on but the last big part is: No interaction. The game says most of the town was wiped out or ran away and we're trying to save an empty city but there are no characters to talk to or interact with. There are a few bar owners but they sell drinks for the bard. There's a shop owner named Lars. There is a healer and a council to level up. That's it. Even the characters don't have a backstory and there is no plot development. A Bard's Tale is way off the mark by not incorporating this element into the game. Even the 'bosses' to quote don't have more than a single line of dialogue. 90% or more of your time is simply spent fighting countless battles.

THE GOOD:

Jeez, Ghostbear... Is there anything good to the game?

Yes.

The battle music is catchy and I never thought it got old. I think A Bard's Tale has some of the best combat music in the history of RPGs. The overworld music and the rest of the audio are average at best.

The magic users are unique and interesting. I like the large number of spells available through leveling and how unique their effects are. It's not healing magic and damaging magic. There are spells that create a variety of buffs to characters and enemies and it goes beyond the standard spells in every Final Fantasy game. It is difficult to track what spell does what without looking at the manual or an FAQ and many of the spells have specific and timely purposes that bring the experience together.

The really in-depth part of A Bard's Tale is the multi-party system. You can create two separate parties and hone their skills and abilities to work with each other and play two games almost at the same time. This is unique, exciting, and not nearly as helpful since it is held back by the rest of the negative points of the game.


THE REST OF THE STORY:

A Bard's Tale for the Nintendo Entertainment System was an attempt to bring a Dungeons & Dragons style game as close to reality as possible for a non-PC platform. The designers tried to show the depth and creativity available for a game of this style and they ended up making a clunky, unplayable, forgettable RPG that even fans of Dragon Warrior wouldn't want to pick up. It was a nice try and after some experimenting, they may have learned some lessons and made a better game but they simply missed the boat.

You can skip this one.



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