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The Bard's Tale: Tales of the Unknown is the first in a series of classics by Michael Cranford that defined early PC role-playing games. In this game, you control a party of up to six party members and one monster, trying to save the town of Skara Brae. The town has been put under a spell of endless winter by the evil wizard Mangar the Dark, and is therefore cut off from help from the rest of the world. All thetown's militia are discovered to be mysteriously missing one day, and the only people left to save this town are a small band of adventurers who gather at the local guild.
The graphics of this game include a visual representation of the current location, in the top left corner of the screen, a message window in the top right, and character information and statistics in the bottom half of the screen. Selecting a character will bring up a screen showing the character's picture, and more detailed statistics. In all, there is the town of Skara Brae to explore, as well as five different dungeons. The dungeons contain various puzzles and riddles to solve to proceed farther in them, which gives their exploration a somewhat linear progress. Finishing the game is almost impossible without writing down clues and mapping dungeons.
Once characters are created in The Bard's Tale, they are saved to disk, and can be used in different parties. What this means is that one person's party of adventurers can "invite" those from another person's party to join in the battle as well. The game also comes with six characters already saved into memory and ready to use, and they are a bit stronger and better equipped than newly created characters. Also, characters from this game can be imported from The Bard's Tale II: The Destiny Knight, so all that work of building up levels and finding items is not lost. ~ David Borowski, All Game Guide