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Given the fact that the original series of The Bard's Tale titles were able to cement themselves as some of my greatest gaming memories of the 1980s, I could never bring myself to play through inXile's watered-down and tongue-in-check version released so many years later. But it's always interesting to read through someone else's perspective, which is what we get to do in this retrospective review of The Bard's Tale on Chalgyr's Game Room:
The story focuses on humor, sex references and parody of video games. At first the dialogues seemed very well written to me despite the strange Duncan MacLeod setting. However, the writers gradually lost their inspiration and the bard basically became another hero who wanted to save the world by freeing a woman with magical abilities by an evil wizard. In addition, I got tired of people insulting him all the time in every town.
Your allies are absolutely necessary to survive because they serve as decoys while you pound on your enemies from their back or flanks. Most of them die rather easily but you can spend mana, which regenerates over time, to summon them again. They have various abilities, for example the fire elemental shoots flames and melts frozen objects while the crone heals your team and the trap finder disarms traps. Initially, you can be accompanied by only one ally but later you can have up to four, selected from a total of sixteen. The summoning system is entertaining and makes the game worth checking.