The Bards Tale The Game, The Story, The Song
If you are searching for something clever, kooky, and a bit different in the way of video games and gaming fun, then your hero has arrived! Played on the Playstation 2 and XBox video game systems, this tale will break the monotony.
The greatest of innuendo, alliteration, and jovial jostling is laid throughout the tale. The Bard and narrator banter back and forth between each other or there is the option of choice to be pleasant or a bit more pointed which is directed towards other NPC's (non player characters) you happen to encounter in the regions.
Begin your adventure with The Bard in a tavern called The Drunken Rat with a buxom barmaid who enlists your help in her cellar slaying rats! "All Hail The Bard, rodent bane and rat killer!" The tutorial downstairs will help get your entirely comfortable with the controls and is recommended highly.
Winning The Bards Tale without the very public cheats found at many of the Game Faqs style sites on the net can be a bit tricky, especially at the beginning if you take the wrong choices in your chosen sequence of events. Screaming "What is the combo cheat for the one hit kills?" and succumbing to the temptation may allow the enjoyment of a game, but it will leave you with the bitter knowledge that you did not actually win.
Your starting stats begin differently at each difficulty level and if you have never played without the use of even one cheat, I suggest going easy mode your first time out. There are normal and "olde school" modes as well. Concentrate on adding your given stat points to the strength, vitality, and rhythm sections first, these should be set in a higher priority to level than your other choices. Each stat like strength has a beginning setting to then build from; easy mode starts at 8, normal at 6, and olde school at 4. A stat is hardly even noticeable until is up around and over 10, so you can see what is so difficult beginning at olde school. With the stat levels to build on, you gain 12 additional stat points that you choose to place as you wish before the start of the game and get 2 each time you gain a level. The remaining stats are Luck, Dexterity, and Charisma. You will find tokens in game to help boost your levels in the areas you do not focus on.
Before you leave the Drunken Rat, be sure to talk to the band, it is a joy to be had, but don't linger too long as you have a friend awaiting your exit. The friend is an old man who bestows upon you a special amulet and a few adder stones which power said amulet which will heal and protect you in these early levels especially, but much needed later when you encounter some powerful bosses. Adder stones are replenished in certain enemy drops, found in chests, and you are given some by special NPC's. The majority of chests in The Bards Tale are actually tree stumps so keep your eyes pealed for the shorter ones.
Before the commencement of your campaign in search of coin and cleavage coursing the community of Houton, it would be in your felicitous future to first frolic off to the forest, the Houton Forest, to frighten and finish the free-lancing, formidable, and not so furry Trow. Getting used to the alliteration yet? Strewn randomly among the narratives, you will come to quite enjoy it.
Taking a swing by the Houton Jail in the Houton Forest to see what the Kunal Trow have to say is always entertaining, provided you get here before going to the Fairy Haunt Woods and speak to Bannafeet. Don't just talk to the guard once, it gets funnier as you converse with him, a real game treat. The end result of visiting these areas in a certain order will gain you much needed added experience accompanied by a little extra enjoyment.
Your next area to peruse should be the Fairy Haunt Woods. As you enter this woodsy sector, there will be a random hunter standing in the sunshine, speak to him. After you visit the shop in Houton and obtain your bow, hunt a few grouse and speak to this same hunter again, a secret area gets opened for you to rack up even more early experience (which, frankly, is when you need it most). After completion of both wooded areas, searching well for treasure filled stumps laden with goods, explore the town of Houton.
Visit the Blackhammer Smithy Shop to secure your ranged weapon and if a friendly dog crosses your path, be certain to reply in a friendly sort of way, you may have a friend for life and the Bard needs as many allies as he can get. Checking out the brochs (little homes) for swag and side quests will not only benefit you in experience points, but accumulate special tokens that while in your possession, add to your stat levels like increasing your luck or strength. There are a possible 25 different tokens to secure along the way, so keep a sharp eye for situations that could end with a token. Common sense will get you far in this realm, being pleasant where it is the social norm is advised, but feel free to take on the Bards endearing nature when you reply to many of your interactive toons in your travels. The choices are actually reversed when you encounter your "love" in Kirkwall, so be ready for that.
Talents are also quite the added help as you level. The Bard has the choice of one talent at the start of the game. Treasure Hunter will dramatically assist your requirement to fund your expedition. Choosing Critical Strike or another weapon specific Talent as your second pick like Dual Wield. Some of the other Talents to accrue are Dog Training, Two Handed Weapons, Flail, Shield Bash, and Power Shot, receiving one selection per four levels up.
Becoming adept at blocking, especially when you encounter the raging boar creatures, will keep your adder stones in your pocket longer playing without cheat combination codes. Saving often is always a "given", but certainly worth repeating here as you will be sorry to have forgotten this golden rule.
Taking multiple trips to the Blackhammer Smithy for new weapons and armor (and the must have treasure map) as you go in and out of the two forest areas to acquire more coin and experience will prepare you for the other towns you will venture off to. Some of these towns include Kirkwall, Finstown, Dounby, Neversdale, The Furlbolg Mines, Stromness, and Highland Park. Somewhere between the purchase of your armor and the acquisition of the treasure map is when you want to take on the Bugbear Cairn. You will not need to invest in an upgraded sword if you take a right upon first entering the Bugbear Cairn and locate an actual chest.
The Kirkwall meeting with Bodb is a journey in itself. React accordingly and you will reach your destination much more quickly. The Velvet Hammer is the shop in Kirkwall with a snooty sort of shop keeper who has a higher price tag on his goods than the Blackhammer Smithy did. If you only have coin for one item, let it be the Harp. This musical instrument let's you summon two assistants instead of having just one available and ready to help in a fight.
Each new tune you acquire summons a new personality type ally. Some assist in your battles, others replenish the Bards health or light your way. Experiment with having different tune personalities out in different areas, they seem to occasionally interact with other NPC's. In Kirwall, be sure to have the Mercenary out as you pass by any women, he can be a hilarious addition to the already humorous narrative.
Take the time to chat with and listen to any and all NPC's, it will fill you in on some of the happenings in and around town, opens up new quests for the Bard, and helps you on your way to becoming the Chosen One for Princess Caleigh.
On your trek through Highland Park, keep on the watch for a helper as he is a bit hidden in the trees. His name is Mel and can be a tad skiddish around the Trow. Stay focused and check his fear meter to be aware of the time limits. Encountering dead Chosen Ones as you course through your trails will benefit the Bard incredibly as they drop items of great worth and value to the completion of the game and remember that the save points are there for a reason, save often.
The Bard has a reward waiting in Finstown, be sure to converse with everyone in Kirkwall to open up this exciting and much needed area. You will come into Finns Farm and is your entry into main city of Finstown so be sure to rush right over there to gain what the Bard has coming to him. Essential coin and cleavage await the Bard here in Finstown.
Revisit any underground sectors when you have secured the upgraded Trap Finder. He will locate secret doors to treasure rooms curiously concealed crammed with copious counts of cache. All alliterations aside, the tips for defeating the tower guardians and navigating the towns are basic. Each tower needs a healer ally out and a strongman of sorts like the Body Guard or the Mercenary. If you can acquire the added instrument before entering the first tower, take out the Light Bee as well, he has an incredible amount of health and stuns the opponents for easy targeting.
As to not spoil the quest, the Bard is now on his own to complete his adventure with stat settings enough to do so in this aforementioned knowledge gained. With allies not much more helpful than his foes, you can begrudge the Bard his ill mannered ways and with the three selections to the finish, The Bards Tale has many jubilant hours of game play.
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Stephanie Haile AKA Wavecritter