I need a good dungeon-crawler. Huge open world games are nice and there’s plenty of ‘em these days. But sometimes all I need is a creepy little dungeon to raid, hack, loot and get out with a pocket full of gold.
The Bard’s Tale was one of those awesome dungeon crawlers. It goes back 30 years and have had several sequels over the years. If you’re old enough to remember but you don’t, it’s the game where the interface kind of looks like a LinkedIn profile page for a fantasy cosplay community.
The best thing about the original Bard’s Tale is that you had to use your imagination. When it said, “you’re looking at death itself as you stand before a mean ugly dragon”, you have to imagine what that is, and after a while, your imagination will run wild, especially when trying to sleep after a long night of dungeon-crawling. It stuck in your mind. You see that fire-spewing dragon trying to devour you. It was better than a book because you were there, and you acted on it, and you fought it and perhaps got slaughtered.
There’s a new Bard’s Tale in development. inXile entertainment (cool name!) has The Bard’s Tale IV on Kickstarter. It’s got a month left but it’s already at $1.2 mil of $1.25 target. So safe to say, it’s funded. Which is a great thing – the In-Engine Video is out and the game looks great and from the description on Kickstarter, it sounds like it’ll be sweetness like the original.
The In-Engine Video walks us through the magical world. There are swarms of fairies, magical doors, and warlock bad guys that float around in the air and makes mean sounds. It actually is a bit spooky as you crawl through that dungeon. I can imagine all the little critters beneath my feet and perhaps the strong odor of sulfur. It looks great for a game that’s fundraising.
The only drawback? I like imagining things. The new game looks awesome, but it doesn’t leave much to the imagination. The original was limited because of technology and not artistic choice, but it left a lot of blanks for the gamer to fill in. There was a plus to that. The Bard’s Tale IV will have pluses of its own, but the tale that the Bard spins is painted in the mind’s eye, and the original captured that more closely. It left the visualizations to the gamer, and not the artists under the developer’s payroll.