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Default CRPG Addict - Review Roundup (Part Two)

June 30th, 2011, 22:00
Yesterday I started listing the games that CRPG Addict has played and commented on. I forgot to mention that CRPG Addict has a master ranking list you can download if you want. He has links to all of the games that he has played and ranked in the document. It's an xls document so you'll need excel or some way to view those documents.
Today I'll continue where I left off with The Bard's Tale:
The Bard's Tale - 10. Gameplay. In some ways, the gameplay is fairly linear--you must progress through the dungeons in a specific order. But having done so, you are free to backtrack to previous dungeons. Skara Brae itself is fully explorable at the outset; there just isn't much reason to explore. The difficulty is "pleasingly difficult," as I wrote in one point, because you can only save in the Adventurer's Inn and you have to carefully ration your spell points in dungeons. Towards the end, though, it becomes incredibly difficult, especially with the ability of certain monsters to turn your characters to stone, which you have no spell to redress. Every stoning requires a trip back out to a temple, if you're lucky to survive long enough. Monsters that drain your hard-earned levels also make you tear out your hair. There is absolutely no replayability; you'll get the same experience no matter what party you use or what decisions you make. Category score: 4.
The Bard's Tale's total score is: 38/100. On my master ranking list, that ties it with Wizardry I and suggests I liked it better than anything I've played so far except Ultima III. That feels about right.
Wizardry II - Okay, here's the essential problem with Wizardry II: you can't create characters in it. Instead, you have to import your characters from Wizardry. Now this would be okay, maybe, if during the import the game auto-leveled you to something sensible, but it doesn't. Also, when you import your characters, it permanently removes you from the original game. You can't even go back and re-import them if they die. Man, these games are harsh.
Since Wizardry II is the same game as Wizardry, I see no reason not to give it the same overall score: 37/100.
Wizardy III - Wizardry III is cheerfully indistinguishable from Wizardry or Wizardry II except for the specific dungeon. Everything else--graphics, controls, character classes and races, spells, and gameplay--are essentially the same. I say "essentially," because there do appear to be some new monsters, weapons, and armor. Instead of leather and chain mail, for instance, you have a "cuirass" and a "hauberk."

As with Wizardry II, you cannot create characters in Wizardry III; you must import them from one of the previous games. Unlike Wizardry II, when you import them, you do not keep your levels, experience and gold. Instead, the game resets you to level 1, explaining that you aren't really importing the characters so much as instilling their spirits in their descendants.
Phantasia - 1. Game World. Although mostly a standard high-fantasy world, Phantasie does a good job fleshing itself out with back story and characters. It doesn't approach the depth and detail of modern games, but it's good for its time, rivaled only by the Ultima series. Although its towns are completely interchangeable, its multiple dungeons each have their own unique character. Your quest is clear from the start, and although Nikademus himself doesn't make an appearance until the end, your progress through the game shows the affects of his tyrannical rule, and the Black Knights are a constant reminder of the main quest. The only thing I can fault the game on is my preference that your actions affect the game world. In this game, they don't, really. The dungeons continually re-set, meaning you find the same NPCs in the same perils every time you enter. In the end, you can kill Nikademus again and again. Final score: 6.

[i]Final Total: 39. This means I liked it slightly more than Wizardry and The Bard's Tale but not as much as Ultima III. I guess that works. Next u…More information.
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June 30th, 2011, 22:00
I had the original Bard's Tale for Commodore 64.

The one thing I remember clearly about it was there was a room in the first dungeon (sewers, maybe) that had like 25 wights in it. Twenty five!

And I remember figuring out that the Bard character had some musical instrument (a horn, I believe) that when used would kill every one of the wights in one turn. Massive XP. And I'm pretty sure you could reuse the horn as much as you wanted. But if you tried taking them down any other way you'd get slaughtered. Just weird. Those were the good old days of massive game imbalance I guess.

Also, the horn was just part of your inventory, and had no description of its use as a weapon, or what it was for. I think I just tried using it almost accidentally. And of course no online walkthrough.

I played the hell out of it though. Probably created and killed 100 characters. Had to make your own maps, but I think the packaging had a printed map for the first dungeon… though I'm not sure any more. Ultimately it was too frustrating for a kid of 11 or 12… Probably be too frustrating for me today at 40 as well.
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June 30th, 2011, 23:23
Liked Bard's Tale, but never came around to finish it, because my "backup" went to 5,25'' heaven one day. CRPG Addict is not so fond of BT2 and BT3. I also spend a lot of time with both games, but I never finished them.

BT3 was very interesting, though. I cheated myself to the "Gods of War" dimension (Berlin, Troy, Wasteland etc.) and loved the atmosphere.

Too bad the 16bit versions of BT3 are so much worse than the 8bit ones

I know I am playing resident heretic on the Watch, but I NEVER got into U4. I tried playing it on C64. Amiga, DOS and Master System (emulator), but I always found it boring. I spent a lot of time with the unsolveable dungeon at Lord British's castle, though.
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July 1st, 2011, 07:36
99 barbarians, 99 barbarians, 99 barbarians and 99 barbarians?

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July 1st, 2011, 17:33
First time I played Ultima IV, for some reason, my brother and I decided that we weren't really into the whole morality thing. We named our character 'Sexmerc' (short for sex merchant) and proceeded to rampage across Britannia. Lying, cheating and stealing everything in site made the game much easier in terms of leveling, getting ready for dungeons, etc. Of course, we had no hope at all of winning it. We thoroughly enjoyed going to see Hawkwind and him going off on us about how evil we were.

Once we'd explored the entire world, we went back played the game properly and won it. Knowning where to go made it go a lot faster!

"Ya'll can go to HELL! I'm-a-goin' to TEXAS!"

- Davy Crockett
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July 1st, 2011, 19:16
I love all of the bard's tale games and have finished them on C64.
My signature comes from the third game, which was probably one of my most fulfilling cRPGs of all time to finally complete.

A friend and I had a little competition to see would be the first to win all three games during university. Whilst my friend beat me to both the first and extremely devious and tricky second game, I caught up and due to my previous experience with BT3:Thief of Fate, managed to win the day!

I don't agree with the blogger about replayability at all. Because of the amount of different versions of the original game on various platforms (PC, C64, Amiga and even NES) I've had more than enough reasons to create yet another party over the years.

Thou art a cad and a bounder, thy presence is an affornt! Get thee from thy sight! I think 'cos I was studying philosophy at uni at the time, my experience with U4 was a profoundly immersive and reflective one.
Diddledy high,
Diddledy low,
Come brave blood sheep,
You've a goodly way to go.
- Brilhasti Ap Tarj
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July 1st, 2011, 20:20
Originally Posted by Pessimeister View Post
I love all of the bard's tale games and have finished them on C64.
My signature comes from the third game, which was probably one of my most fulfilling cRPGs of all time to finally complete.
Yes, I know. You know what? One of my finest CRPG moments were when I finally managed to charm Brilhasti ap Tarij into my party.

We were quite a bunch in the Arboria dimension, with him constantly casting FADE spells
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