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Bard's Tale Versions

The Bard's Tale was released for numerous different homecomputer systems and also made an appearance on the NES. The gameplay, puzzles and dungeons of the homecomputer versions all resemble the shrined PC-Version. The NES version is kinda different, mainly because they left out some or changed some elements. Differences in the homecomputer versions occur in the used graphic sets/layout. The 8-bit homecomputers versions use a different layout than the more colorful 16-bit homecomputers versions. The following list should give you an overview of all existing versions and a short comment about the pros/cons of each version.


Amstrad CPC Screenshot 1

Amstrad CPC Screenshot 2

Amstrad CPC Screenshot 3

Click thumbs to enlarge pictures.
Amstrad CPC
Year: 1987
Monsters are not animated, the streets don't scroll and I know that the Amstrad is capable to display more colors. Loading times from disk are acceptable (don't even try to play it from cassette though) and the lack of RPGs for the Amstrad could make this game worthwhile for die-hard Amstrad fans. Overall its a rather disappointing conversion.

Apple II Screenshot 1

Apple II Screenshot 2

Apple II Screenshot 3

Click thumbs to enlarge pictures.
Apple II
Year: 1985
One of the better looking Apple II games although I personally don't like the color palette which tends to hurt my eyes. Also this is the only 8-bit version that features semi-scrolling movement in the town. On the other hand it lacks the animated monsters of the C64 version. And the sound is quite bad. Better stay away from this version if you plan to play the game somewhat longer.

Apple II Screenshot 1

Apple II Screenshot 2

Apple II Screenshot 3

Click thumbs to enlarge pictures.
Apple II/gs
Year: 1987
I was only able to run this version via emulator up to the title screen thus I have no real experiences how this version fares. From what I have heard and seen on other sites its one of the best versions, very similar to the Amiga or Atari ST versions.
(Screenshots send in by "Matthew Faust")

Atari ST Screenshot 1

Atari ST Screenshot 2

Click thumbs to enlarge pictures.
Atari ST
Year: 1987
This version is one of the best. I really couldn't find any flaws. The graphics are nice, gameplay is fast and even the sound, a weak point with many Atari ST games, is rather good this time. I like this version and I consider it the best choice along with the Amiga version.

C64 Screenshot 1

C64 Screenshot 2

C64 Screenshot 3

Click thumbs to enlarge pictures.
Commodore 64
Year: 1985
Most people started their Bard's Tale experience with this version. And considering all the 8-bit version, this is undoubtedly the best. OK, it lacks the smooth scrolling of the Apple II version, but it has many more monster pictures and they are animated as well. The game makes good use of the C64's color palette, although the game feels still a bit too dark - a small stain of all the 8-bit homecomputer versions. The sound is acceptable for an early C64 game.

No pictures available. Commodore +4
Year: ?
I wasn't able to run this version on an emulator and have no further info about it. I am not even sure if this is an official release or if the conversion was a fan project.

Amiga Screenshot 1

Amiga Screenshot 2

Amiga Screenshot 3

Click thumbs to enlarge pictures.
Commodore Amiga
Year: 1986
An excellent version in all aspects. On its release it was one of the best looking RPGs ever, showing the potential of 16-bit machines. The music is rather good for the mid 80's. The Amiga Version was the first 16-bit version and besides better graphics they added mouse control and lighter background graphics, making the overall look of the game a bit "friendlier".

Macintosh Screenshot 1

Macintosh Screenshot 2

Click thumbs to enlarge pictures.
Year: 1989
This version has two major changes from other versions. Firstly its in B&W and secondly the game can also be controlled via icons. Keyboard control is still possible though and advanced players make use of it to speed things up a bit.

MS-DOS Screenshot 1

MS-DOS Screenshot 2

MS-DOS Screenshot 3

Click thumbs to enlarge pictures.
Year: 1987
The big plus of the MS-DOS version are the non-existing loading times, making gameplay faster than in any other version. But there are several weak points that make this version inferior to the Amiga/Atari ST versions. On the one hand the EGA color palette looks worse and on the other hand the horrible PC-Speaker noise. I remember never using Bard songs only because that would have brought the PC-Speaker in action.

NES Screenshot 1

NES Screenshot 2

NES Screenshot 3

Click thumbs to enlarge pictures.
Year: 1991
They changed a lot in this version, making it virtually a new game. Graphically there are lots of differences, streets and dungeons have changed somewhat and there are less character classes (e.g. only 2 instead of 4 spellcasting character classes). Additionally, music is played throughout the whole game and a map is shown in the upper right corner. The gameplay is a bit slower due to the gamepad control.

Spectrum Screenshot 1

Spectrum Screenshot 2

Spectrum Screenshot 3

Click thumbs to enlarge pictures.
Sinclair Spectrum
Year: ?
Well I didn't expect much from a Spectrum Bard's Tale. I mean the Spectrum just isn't good enough to display nicer graphics. So you could say they did their best... and gameplay-wise its all in the right place. But nevertheless its the worst looking and slowest version.

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