You are the Bard, a selfish rogue weary of pointless sub-quests and rat-infested cellars. Now includes original classic games The Bard’s Tale 1, 2 & 3!
User reviews: Very Positive (307 reviews)
Release Date: Jun 17, 2005

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Recommended By Curators

"Personally, I love Bards. It's rare for them to be the star of an entire game. Enjoy the snarky adventure narrated by Tony Jay. Best sidekick ever, too!"
Read the full review here.

Reviews

“The Bard’s Tale is easily the funniest game I’ve ever played, and I’ve played all the funny games out there.”
– IGN

“Ready your weapon and bladder as you embark on this ridiculously addicting quest and the funniest adventure of the year, The Bard’s Tale”
– Game Chronicles

“This game is satire in its sharpest form”
– Cheat Code Central

Just Updated

  • Includes Original Classic Trilogy
  • WASD controls for movement
  • Added French, German and Spanish Localizations for text/subtitles
  • German Dialog (accessible under Sound Options when game language is set to German)
  • Full Wide Screen support + supports resolutions higher than 1600 wide.
  • Performance enhancements.
  • External URLs links on main menu for support pages and related media.
  • Bug Fixes to original release

About This Game

Now includes original classic games The Bard’s Tale 1, 2 & 3!
You are the Bard, a selfish rogue weary of pointless sub-quests and rat-infested cellars. Through magical song you summon characters to join your quest for coin and cleavage!
Prepare to immerse yourself in over 20-30 hours of adventure, featuring:
  • 50 enemy types (not counting bosses!)
  • A vast world to explore with towns, wild forests, rivers, castles, towers, secret dungeons, snowy mountains, caverns, haunted tombs and more
  • A full cast of bizarre NPC’s
  • Over a dozen special boss enemies to defeat
  • 16 magical characters to discover and then summon at will to aid you
  • Over 150 unique items of weaponry, armor, instruments, tokens, artifacts and loot!
  • More Song & Dance numbers than any other game, including a zombie dance-off!
  • Over 14 hours of outstanding voice-acting from top Hollywood talent, including Cary Elwes (The Princess Bride) as the Bard, and the inimitable Tony Jay as the Narrator
  • Classics Games—includes original classic games The Bard’s Tale 1, 2 & 3.

System Requirements

Windows
Mac OS X
SteamOS + Linux
    • OS: Windows 2000/XP/Vista
    • Processor: Pentium 4 2Ghz / AMD AthlonXP 2400
    • Memory: 512Mb
    • Graphics: GeForce FX5700 or better / ATI Radeon 9600 or better
    • DirectX®: 9.0c
    • Hard Drive: 6GB of free space
    • Sound: DirectX 9 Compatible Sound Card
    • OS: OS X 10.6.0 or higher
    • Hard Drive: 3.6GB Hard disk space
    • OS: X11 enabled Linux distro
    • Processor: Pentium 4 2Ghz / AMD AthlonXP 2400
    • Memory: 512Mb
    • Graphics: GeForce FX5700 or better / ATI Radeon 9600 or better
    • OpenGL: 2.0 compatible video card and compatible drivers
    • Hard Drive: 3.8GB of free space
    • Sound: OpenAL compatible sound card and necessary drivers
Helpful customer reviews
36 of 39 people (92%) found this review helpful
37.6 hrs on record
Posted: July 12
Top-down view RPG-lite, more of an action-adventure, I suppose - one of those titles that focuses more on the characters and story rather than loot, combat, or game mechanics in general.

That is not to say it abandons game mechanics completely - just simplifies them compared to more mainstream RPGs (especially "western", as opposed to JRPGs).

However, in the story department - it excels, with witty, humorous writing (it's essentially a parody/spoof of fantasy RPG games) and superb voice acting (at least in English version). Well worth playing just for that! And you'd be surprised how much is based on real world mythology and places.

There are essentially two main characters in the game - the eponymous Bard, whose misadventures you follow and whom you control directly, and The Narrator, who holds the Bard in great contempt, never failing to throw in some sarcastic commentary. There's fourth wall to be broken for sure, and generally the game does instill this idea that it is a tale, sort of reenactment you're witnessing, rather than directly participating in, at least that's how it worked for me - I would place myself, perhaps paradoxically, more next to The Narrator, who's spinning the tale, rather than the Bard, who's living (reliving?) it.

The story mostly revolves around Bard being a Chosen One, enduring trials and tribulations to save a princess, although his motives are clear: coin and cleavage, and definitely not saving the world. Which rapidly enters worse and worse state. Which may or may not be related to Bard's questing around. Nothing really to dwell on much, you're here pretty much to enjoy the ride.

I finished it on hard difficulty, but I wouldn't really bother if I were you, it only serves as annoyance really rather than a proper challenge, and everything can be easily cheesed anyway, with you shooting offscreen enemies with bows, minmaxing dexterity and rhythm (as a bard, you can summon variety of allies and rhythm makes them stronger), so playing it easy just lets you enjoy the ride more.

If you're unaware, it's well worth pointing out that none other than Brian Fargo is behind this game, one of industry titans (does Fallout ring a bell? something he was personally responsible for, not mentioning other great titles he was more or less involved with, and most recently, Kickstarter backed great promises of Torment and Wasteland 2). You really should cast away any doubts with regard to writing quality this game has to offer (mind though, again, it's not a "serious" title, and not big one either, giving off somewhat indie, passion project vibe rather than triple-A vibe Interplay could muster and inXile not so much, at least until Kickstarter and ever growing technological advances.. but I digress; look the guy up on Wikipedia if you don't know who he is).

Oh, it's bad luck to be you.
A chosen one of many isn't new
When you think you're full of luck
in the bullocks you'll get struck
Oh, it's bad luck to be you.
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41 of 53 people (77%) found this review helpful
1.6 hrs on record
Posted: June 30
After you kill the big rate (your first quest), save the game and chose happy-face two times in a row when talking to the inn-girl.

Then load your last save and choose mad-face both times.

In that moment, you'll understand everything ;)
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18 of 18 people (100%) found this review helpful
65.9 hrs on record
Posted: October 30
I enjoyed the game from the very beginning till the very end and probably will replay it at least once sometime later to buy all the extras (funny songs and arts there) and find two last tunes. The game is short enough (about 20 to 25 hours of gameplay tops, and you level cap could be achieved easily) but very funny and costs every cent of its price.

The strongest part of the game are its witty dialogues and excellent voicing, however the plot is not so bad too and jokes are good (and yes, I’m almost forty). Combat is simple, especially with a bow and easy mode (which affects only start attributes and number of save points, so don’t bother with harder difficulty). This game is really a game, not some kind of computer sport where you need huge guides on spell usage and skills allocation. Still, the summons are fun and efficient, the weapons are sparse but don't become obsolete too fast. You are free to experiment. Save points number and location are well chosen. Songs and music are awesome! I sing them under my nose now and then.

In short I like the game, the way it is designed, its gameplay and humour. If you are not combat-obsessed power gamer try it. If you are, still try it to for a change.
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13 of 15 people (87%) found this review helpful
126.1 hrs on record
Posted: August 3
There are very few games I play through more than once. There are even fewer RPGs. This is one of them. With the amazing vocal talents, excellent music, laugh-out-loud funny comments, asides, and conversations, this game will forever give me a smile.

As with the majority of RPGs, you're a low-level schmo who gets 'invited' to partake on an ever-expanding adventure where you ascend the level tree, getting bigger weapons, fighting bigger monsters, and eventually get the girl, and live happily ever after. Except in this case, the game shows that things aren't quite peachy, and seem to go downhill, rather than up.

The game shows you the wonderful side-effects of your murderous misanthropy, as you gaily stab, shoot and zap your way across a beautiful scottish and norse-themes fantasy land... Whether you follow the plot, or try to deviate from it, the wonderful writing keeps you amused, and on your toes, guiding you in the right direction at all times.

There's a LOT in this game, although it sometimes doesn't feel that way. The level-grinders will find a lot to keep them amused, the magic-lovers, the archers, the swordsmen, will all find that the balance is quite nice (although I think the bow may be slightly under-powered compared to the sword, but only by a fraction, and the ability to sit out of the action and pepper opponents with arrows is fun enough.). I've played this through as both sword and bow, and both are very playable.

I can heartily recommend this to anyone who likes a good old-fashioned RPG, but wants something with its tongue firmly wedged in its cheek. Wonderful on both PC and android, it's a great game for whiling away the hours.

The voice acting of the wonderful Tony Jay will forever be missed. His voice lives on in all the games and TV media he did. You should play this, just to hear his wry humour and phenomenal voice.

Thanks InXile! You've made an old-fashioned RPGer very happy!

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7 of 7 people (100%) found this review helpful
4.6 hrs on record
Posted: November 12
I doubt I'm even 1% done. This game is actually pretty good. It's graphics aren't bad for the time they were made, and I kind of like the feel they give. They aren't really retro, but still bring nostalgia. The voice acting is great, and it has a great storyline, with different responses you can choose, a kind response or a rude response and both change the outcome of the story, whether it be a small change or a large one. It's got a thorough skill system, and might I say, one of the most descriptive smithy shops in a game. The works are very described, but not so much in a way that they take forever to understand. They are clear, to the point, and yet aren't short. There are a couple glitches, and one that has halted my progress 4 hours in, which I am very upset about, but still, I love this game. And hey, every good game has glitches, It's possible to beat Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time in under half an hour because of them. Who doesn't love glitches?
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4 of 4 people (100%) found this review helpful
13.6 hrs on record
Posted: October 7
What the game doesn't have in graphics and gameplay, it more then makes up with incredible humor and sharp sarcasm. Well worth purchasing and playing through once or twice for all the awesome dialogs. Greatly enjoyed it!
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5 of 6 people (83%) found this review helpful
3.4 hrs on record
Posted: August 13
A classic RPG that should be in EVERY RPG fan library. It has a great story, some nice puzzle elements, and it's wrapped together by humorous banter between the onscreen character and offscreen narrator.
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4 of 5 people (80%) found this review helpful
41.4 hrs on record
Posted: September 5
I love the humor and game play in The Bards Tale. The story line makes it interesting and fun in the natural flow of the game.
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4 of 5 people (80%) found this review helpful
54.6 hrs on record
Posted: November 15
my all time favorite game.
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
17.9 hrs on record
Posted: November 26
I purchased this game primarily for the three original Bard's Tale games - which were favorites back in the days of my old C64. However, I've been pleasantly surprised by newer version, even though it has little in common with the original series. The Bard's Tale has a sharp wit and isn't afraid to lampoon traditional sword & sorcery RPG games in a most amusing fashion. With Carey Elwes providing the voice of the Bard, the producers couldn't help but tip their hats to "The Princess Bride" at various points in the story. While the game is hardly cutting edge in terms of game play or graphics, it is a breath of fresh air compared to much of the turgid and predictable fare found in fantasy gaming. An overlooked gem.
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
1.2 hrs on record
Posted: November 6
Fun game. The humorous banter is amusing at first but get old after a while and travelling around gets monotonous but otherwise I enjoyed it.
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
28.0 hrs on record
Posted: November 24
great gameplay and story. Funny and fun for lovers of simple rpgs and snarky comments
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
6.6 hrs on record
Posted: December 12
This game is an amazing example of good solid gameplay, perfect writing and a well executed concept. When friends ask for recommendations for fun or funny games, this is always at the top of the list. The interations between the Bard and the narrator are priceless. It may not look like I have a lot of time played, but i owned it on another platform and only repurchased it on steam to play it again.

why are you still reading this, you should be purchasing Bard's Tale now! Go!
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2 of 3 people (67%) found this review helpful
0.6 hrs on record
Posted: September 30
Been a while since playing this on the Xbox but from what I've seen on the pc version (which does have controller support), the art still looks decent but the music & voice acting along with the humorous writing are still incredibly good. If you want a good game with some British humor to it plus getting the original Bards Tale games included, this is quite worth it.
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1 of 2 people (50%) found this review helpful
1.9 hrs on record
Posted: November 30
I was obligated to by this game because of my username
I don't regret it

Funny, sarcastic, and entertaining. Like good ol'-fashioned role-playing games? May as well give it a whirl
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52 of 56 people (93%) found this review helpful
5.0 hrs on record
Posted: December 4, 2013
The Bard's Tale is a great casual RPG that takes you back to gaming as it was nearly ten years ago. So be prepared for a top down third person view most of the time. What makes it most enjoyable are the bawdy humor in the dialog and the lyrics to the songs.

Our hero in the game, The Bard, is not really a hero; but a scounderal given to snarky comments and possessed of an ability to get himself into trouble. His comments are not limited to dialog with NPC's. He is equally capable of taking issue with the narrator and both seem to have a mutual hate relationship which adds to the fun. You'll also encounter Scottish, English and French accents with a healthy dose of Scottish words for things, which is fitting for story based on legends from the Orkney Islands of Scotland.

The Bard needs to recruit a team to help rescue a damsel in distress and true to his character, he's not willing to help without a reward, which the damsel offers. That offer ought to make you chuckle. Along the way you'll summon many creatures and finally figure out which ones are most useful to you. After that you'll have an opportunity to really wreak mayhem and get yourself into some interesting situations. The game is full of cliche's on purpose and they spice it up instead of detract from game-play. And of course there are always complications along the way to add dimension to the game.

The screen resolution choices are based on what was available at release time. Don't fuss over them too much. Pick the largest resolution with the same ratio as your screen and it ought to look fine anyway. Works fine on a 1900x1200 monitor.

It can be played with a controller, but you may find the onscreen prompts to be confusing and awkward. If you do use a controller, you can find a useful list of controls at http://www.gamefly.com/Rent-The-Bard%27s-Tale/109860/GameplayControls/ - seriously though, the game is best player with a mouse and keyboard. It just works better for a game this old.

The original game was released in 1985 and twenty years later this version was released with much improved graphical content and music. If you want the full retro experience, the menu system will let you load up the original game and have a go at it.

If you want to get a feel for the music and dialog in the 2005 version of the game, I would recommend these YouTube videos:

* The Tale of the Nuckelavee
* The Bard's Tale Silkbeard and the Viking Song
* Here's to the Bard
* The Chosen One #4 (There are several variations of this song and all of them have an Oompa Loopa feel to them right down to ending with a Diddly-Do.)

I just replayed a bit of the game on my Win gaming rig, but it will play equally well on a computer with low graphics capabilities. Worked just fine on a stripped down Mac Mini when I played it a few months back. (Disclaimer - used non-Steam version on my Mac.)
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33 of 37 people (89%) found this review helpful
30.0 hrs on record
Posted: February 13
A classic. Game centers around The Bard, a less saving-the-world, more coins-and-cleavage kinda guy. Well worth my money.
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26 of 31 people (84%) found this review helpful
24.7 hrs on record
Posted: November 26, 2013
One of the best RPGs I ever played. Funny as hell, good story, interesting gameplay. Only problem i had with it is that it gets a tad repetitive towards the end.
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23 of 27 people (85%) found this review helpful
17.5 hrs on record
Posted: December 2, 2013
This game is not a challenger to Diablo. You will not horde items and decide whether you would like the quicker sword with a less power, or the more powerful t hat's a bit slower. You won't have to make difficult decisions about whether to save a woman or save a town. The RPG mechanics are not innovative or thought-provoking. And the quest will not demand countless hours of your life. You will, however, enjoy every step in your (short) journey.

It's funny, it's quirky, and you'll never have to worry about anything except from moving forward. Everything you pick up is something you automatically equip or something that turns instantly to gold. (you should still look at what these things are, though, as often times it's hilarious). Even new weapons when you find one, will be automatically equipped, and your old sword will turn to gold. These are not admirable designs in deep, generic adventure games. In this game though, which you play alone, they are godsends.

It's cheap right now on Steam, and worth every penny. It won't change your life, but it will leave you happy.
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16 of 17 people (94%) found this review helpful
17.4 hrs on record
Posted: February 24
Interesting game. It's very dated in the gameplay, lots of stunlocking (from you and enemies) which means fights later on can be completely one sided. To seemingly combat this, there are save points practically every 5 feet. I've had fights where I have sat with my back to a wall spamming parry+counter attack for a few minutes, staying invincible while doing damage. I've also had fights where I get charged in to a stunlock and killed before I can move.

The game pokes fun at the standard RPG quest requirements, where the main character often mocks how stupid the idea of climbing an impenetrable tower is, but every time there's a silly thing you are forced to do, you just joke about it then do it anyway.

All in all it's entertaining.

Controller recommended.
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