Bernard the Bard
Otto Germain 
Release Date
Requires MegaZeux 2.51s1 or newer.
Bernard the Bard
No summary available.
Nedemai  said:
Posted date unknown
This is the first game I ever played in MZX. I think that was sometime in the year 1999 when MZX was still for DOS and I was using a AMD K6/2 450 mhz. Ah, the memories... Anyhow, if it wasn't for this game, I probably would have never gotten so intrested in MZX.
Pyro1588  said:
Last modified 2012-05-17 00:17:05
This game is a classic. Wonderfully entertaining graphics and animations, well-designed boards, fun playability, cool music-the list goes on.
If you haven't played this one yet, go play it. If you have played it, play it again and make sure you get all the possible stories.
It's definately worth the download.
djtiesto  said:
Posted date unknown
A classic MZX title with some nice graphics, impressive programming and effects, a few different paths through the game, and tons of secrets. Definitely worth playing, only problem I can think of is that there are some frustrating areas (the sewer maze, and side scroller being some). Still a great game.
Posted date unknown
What can I say about it that hasn't been said? This classic is one of MZX's most unique games. The graphics are exceptional, the sounds are atmospheric, the gameplay is top-notch, the whole setting is immersive, the story's awesome, and it even has branching paths for replayability! I honestly have nothing but praise for this game.
Terryn  said:
Posted date unknown
blah blah blah best MZX game ever ffffffffffff

Hmm, well. Maybe I should tread new ground and review this game for people who actually don't know about it already.

Bernard the Bard has been the Gold Standard of a good MegaZeux game since it came out in 1998 (only matched in reverence by Demon Earth when that came out several years later). It's easy to see why. For quite a while, the game has been one of the best introductions to MZX games in general, because it's a solid game with diverse gameplay, good graphics and a quirky sense of humor.

The plot follows a well-worn formula, where a character wakes up on a seemingly uneventful day which turns out to be quite the opposite. This time, it's Bernard the Bard waking up and finding out that large portions of the townsfolk are missing something. The plot can follow various branches from there, but ties into the gameplay quite well and keeps a humorous tone throughout (I wanted to cast BUTTCHEEKS OF DOOM and the game wouldn't let me :(). All paths eventually converge into a solid ending.

The gameplay is the most exemplary thing about this game. While, like Lamar's previous game Talon's Tale, there's a core of default MZX gameplay, there's quite a lot of deviation in this title. The standard MZX shooting is very well-implemented; the game mixes default MZX enemies and Robots, and the bosses are very well-programmed and often have inventive patterns and attacks. (There's certainly no lack of bosses either, especially near the end.) Bernard the Bard can also use his lute to affect many of the enemies. The inventory puzzles are mostly concentrated in the beginning of the game, and generally well-done and with a few alternate solutions. Lamar was dedicated enough to provide a "flub" animation for the items - using the plunger, for example, has Bernard take a short look at it and then stick it over his head. On top of the standard MZX shooting action and the well-worn inventory puzzles, there are several (several) minigames and sidegames. There's a short timing game, a graphical puzzle, a wack-a-mole game, a 3D maze (implemented far, FAR better than pretty much any other attempt) and many other little trinkets. The best part is that one definitely won't see all of this in one run, as Bernard the Bard branches out in several spots. While the biggest forks are near the beginning, there's enough variety to last near the end.

The game looks and sounds very nice, considering when it was made. One or two color choices are questionable, but it's very rare, and there are smatterings of good ANSI art (for example, the game over screen). Graphically, the game is solid, with smart application of overlay and plenty of character animation. (Most things are 1x1; Bernard, most townspeople and a few other things are larger.) The music is a fitting group of songs, a few being remixes of much older MODs. (For those of you who remember the original BtB demo, the music there could induce aural bleeding, and I'm beyond glad the next demo and the full version didn't keep that music.)

The main problem with this game is its difficulty. In fact, most MZXers who openly praise this game have never beaten it. The biggest problem is ammo (and as a result of this, currency). The default MZX shooting and bombing actions are inherently wasteful of ammo, considering how quickly most enemies move, and BtB is relatively spartan about providing supplies. The game is perfectly beatable even without saving; Lancer-X did this through necessity when he speed-ran the game, though with fewer than five shots left! One can resort to saving frequently at the random prize booth if needed, but after a certain point in the game this becomes impossible.

In short, if you're a new MZXer, you need to play this game, and if you're a veteran MZXer you need to actually complete this game. Full marks. What else can I really give this?