munch, munch, BURP!
s'pose all you wimpy gristleguts were expecting that
namby pamby, pustulent parp, that jumpy, jaundiced jellyfish,
that half-baked, half-human husk of a Harlequin to enter
here . . .
But he didn't, did he? So where is he then, eh? Where
disappeared, he has -- disappeared to the depths of
a green and slimy bowel.
it serves the multicoloured monkey-man right. Anyone
worth their weight in billy-goats knows there's a lovely
great stinking troll's hole under Ludlow bridge -- so
he picked the wrong place to go looking for weedy monsters,
old purple pants dropped in just in time for lunch --
a nasty, gristly, bony, after dinner Twiglet thing he
was as well -- not so bad when I'd tried him in a bit
of thistle stew . . . nice and rancid . . . almost as
tender as a billy-goat in leather underpants roasting
on a rusty spit . . .
horrible hairless Harlequin turned out to have a lot
of useful thingies in his sticky Andy Pandy suit: a
Lord Of The Rings solution (ha! solved that ages
ago), a couple of tasty, scaly-bum lizards and a fancy
letter from some blubbery-bottomed, big-bellied Houghton
when the penny dropped! If that was ZZAP!'s Harlequin
then there was a job going spare up at King Street --
my chance to show the world what a clever hintellectual
troll I am. Ten seconds later and I'm grasping grubworm
Gordo by his smelly earlobes. 'Gimme the job or else'.
Threatened by a gobbet of my slimiest and most acidic
spit, he's no option but to agree. A bit of extra special
squeezing and that fat excuse for an editor coughs up
an Amiga as well -- which is a bonus, as so far those
puny 64 programmers have been too scared to send anything
down to my hole.
so now the bloke in charge is me -- Chuck Vomit the
Troll -- and if any of you squeaking sticklebacked adventurers
starts whingeing about stinking billy-goats gruff or
thinks its funny to go around slobbering phrases like
'trip trap, trip trap', you'll get wrapped round a steaming
spit, skinned upside down and stuck sideways in a bucket
of rotting troll-snot . . . Billy-goats . . . Bah!
some really good words (slimegobbet, snotglobule, greasebum,
cockaleekee . . . er . . . ) but how about shouting
'death and drek' next time you've got a goblin by the
throat? Brill, eh? You can do it all the time if you
play Bard's Tale II. I really like those olde
worlde expressions -- it appeals to my intellectual
soul. Death and drek, death and drek, death and drek
. . .
to face with a deadly Wood Sprite! Time for a song?
pull your fingers out of your noses and try to cast
your mind back to Bard's Tale I. Remember liberating
Skara Brae? Well now, instead of enjoying your well-earned
rest billy-goat hunting, you're supposed to be doing
the same for Tangramayne. Some evil geezer called Lagoth
Zanta has stolen the peace-keeping Destiny Wand, broken
it into seven pieces and hidden the different parts
in the middle of a Snare of Death (dungeon puzzle room
to you, idiot).
usual, you can make a team of up to seven grade 1 (ie.
puny) adventurers, including a bard (not that he sings
any real music -- not one David Cassidy hit), or use
a team saved from Bard's Tale One. As they hack
their way through more and more villains (luckily for
Interplay, I didn't find any trolls or there would have
been trouble) their experience points increase and they
gradually improve their character ratings.
playing area is about twice the size of the original
game, with extra dungeons, six cities, castles and forests
to explore, but what really distinguishes this tale
from its predecessor is the addition of the puzzle element
to all the usual hack 'n' slay. Using the mouse (much
easier than all that key pressing) you can spend ages
lumbering around, discovering secret magic portals,
casting spells, rescuing princesses, using teleport
systems, and generally leaving your slimey pawprints
on the environment. People with an above average IQ
like mine should enjoy all these extras -- anyone else
should cover themselves with tabasco sauce and jump
off the nearest bridge.
you're stupid enough to let one of your party die, then
you can always try paying for a resurrection at the
nearest temple. On the other hand, you could always
save your money and blow it all at Garth's Equipment
Shoppe -- he does a very nice line in daggers . . .
they're confined to the top left hand corner of the
screen, the graphics are pretty impressive. Most of
the villains and monsters are animated, there's plenty
of colour and a flame actually appears when torches
are lit. Not bad, huh? I bet you think they could have
done a lot with the sound as well, don't you? Well,
you're absolutely wrong because, apart from a medieval
title dirge, there isn't any. Nope, not a single smidgeon,
a squeak or a squirt anywhere. I had to put on my MUD
greatest hits LP just to cheer me up.
Bard's Tale II is probably the best role-playing
game you can get -- so far -- for the Amiga. It's very
well-presented and a lot more challenging than The
Bard's Tale I and while the plans for an Amiga version
of Dungeon Master have been shelved, probably
the only game that will improve on it is The Bard's
Tale III. So -- loaf on down to your nearest Amiga
stockist and get it.