Classic Bard's Tale Creature Portraits

For all discussion on all the previous Bard's Tale games: the classic 1980s games (Bard's Tale, II: Destiny Knight, & III: Thief of Fate) & the humorous Bard's Tale (2004) spin off.

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ZiN
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Re: Classic Bard's Tale Creature Portraits

Post by ZiN » April 12th, 2018, 1:33 pm

The creatures featured in the BT4 demo didn't really impress me, I didn't get that certain "Bard's Tale vibe" from them, so I fired up the emulators and captured some of my favourite classic portraits, again. This time with animation!

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Now those are badass, aren't they? The ones with 32 colors are from the Amiga/Atari ST versions, the 16 color ones are from the C64 version of BT3, which was the best version in my opinion. As I upoladed them, I noticed how those last six pictures are about 2x the size of BT3, which was around 512 KBytes on the C64. Think about that.
The fifth picture is Lagoth Zanta, by the way, who was featured in the BT4 demo and I didn't like it at all, he looked and sounded stupid in my opinion. I don't know what he's doing in BT4, since there was a timeskip of 150+ years since he got defeated, so the writers need to come up with a really good explanation. Also, he should look and sound more badass: David Warner, or Wayne June would have been a far better choice for voice acting.
I hope we will see more BT-like monsters in the next version of BT4 (beta?).

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Re: Classic Bard's Tale Creature Portraits

Post by ScottMacFar » April 12th, 2018, 5:08 pm

I agree, those C64 graphics are king! Brings back a ton of memories, that's the system I played all three of them on. Later on, I tried them all on PC MS-DOS, but . . . ugh. They were just kind of . . . off.

And there's Brilhasti Ap Tarj, too. That battle had me stumped for quite a while, until I figured out about using the Thief. The game handed me my ass until I figured out what it wanted me to do. Excellent design you don't see too much of nowadays.

Unfortunately, I am completely disillusioned with BT4. I am not expecting anything, so if it delivers at all, I'll consider it a win. Shoot, I'm glad I pledged at a tier high enough to get the soundtrack. That, at least, if it is anything like the ethereal Gaelic we heard in the initial trailer, will be worth the wait.

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Re: Classic Bard's Tale Creature Portraits

Post by PsychicMonk » April 12th, 2018, 5:32 pm

ScottMacFar wrote:
April 12th, 2018, 5:08 pm
I agree, those C64 graphics are king! Brings back a ton of memories, that's the system I played all three of them on.
And the C64 ones luckily use some crt filter / scanlines. When I use emulation I always enable some kind of crt filter when possible. Sadly the amiga ones were taken without any kind of crt filter.
ScottMacFar wrote:
April 12th, 2018, 5:08 pm
And there's Brilhasti Ap Tarj, too. That battle had me stumped for quite a while, until I figured out about using the Thief.
I "cheated" with dynamite from BT2 but I still won't forget him and his boils. I can still picture myself sitting in front of my monitor with a lunatic grin on my face when my completely underpowered chars finally threw the sticks at him and his minions.
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Re: Classic Bard's Tale Creature Portraits

Post by _noblesse_oblige_ » April 12th, 2018, 9:41 pm

Ah, memories... Sadly BT IV has not been evocative of them at all.

Will never forget stumbling upon the Soul Sucker (middle graphic, top row) in the Catacombs in BT I for the first time. Definitely not a cartoon character in either appearance or deed.
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Re: Classic Bard's Tale Creature Portraits

Post by thebruce » April 13th, 2018, 6:02 am

Oh man, BTO has no creature graphics in the beastiary yet! Completely forgot about that. Want to help resolve that, ZiN? :)
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ZiN
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Re: Classic Bard's Tale Creature Portraits

Post by ZiN » April 13th, 2018, 9:28 am

PsychicMonk wrote:
April 12th, 2018, 5:32 pm
ScottMacFar wrote:
April 12th, 2018, 5:08 pm
And there's Brilhasti Ap Tarj, too. That battle had me stumped for quite a while, until I figured out about using the Thief.
I "cheated" with dynamite from BT2 but I still won't forget him and his boils. I can still picture myself sitting in front of my monitor with a lunatic grin on my face when my completely underpowered chars finally threw the sticks at him.
Yep, Brilhasti is a really tough customer, kind of a mini-Tarjan, sans the magic-immunity of course. Just looking at his portrait, you can guess, that getting near him is a bad idea. He's not dangerous from 40', but getting any closer pretty much equals game over. Nevertheless there are many different ways to beat him. Your idea of using dynamites definitely made me smile. : )

Gizmo already reminisced a few times about recruiting one of the Slathbeasts into his party and once more, I'd like to quote Casey Goddard, from over at Video Game Ruminations:
Over two decades ago there was a rather simple RPG known as Bard's Tale III: The Thief of Fate. If you recognize the title chances are your thinking of the 2004 version which is actually the fourth entry in the series and has virtually nothing to do with the previous three.
Anyway... a common feature of the games is random encounters. On rare occasions though you can recruit a monster rather than fight it. The third iteration in the series also features a rather unusual kind of beast called a "Nefast." What is a Nefast? I have no idea, but based on portrait it looks something like a pudgy light blue hairless grizzly bear. Supposedly the word means "wicked" as well. Regardless, getting one of these guys on your team can be a huge help since they can dish out and take quite a bit of damage. I was fortunate to add one to my party early into my first play through giving my group of adventures some much needed punch as well as a team mascot. So, based on the simple fact that I remember this particular kind of creature after all these years must mean it truly is a friend of merit.

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I can't find the source for this (maybe it was a Kickstarter comment), but another great BT memory was from this one guy, who remembered sneaking down one night, as a kid, to play BT on his father's computer, and a zombie somehow joined his party.
His reaction was: "A zombie in my party? What madness is this?"

Here is the Big Slath, big brother of the Slathbeast:

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I have recently met one of my old friends, who used to play BT3 back in school, and when asked, sure enough, he remembered it, as well as the Grand Slath, from 30 years ago.

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Re: Classic Bard's Tale Creature Portraits

Post by TheParagade » July 21st, 2018, 11:49 pm

Very awesome! Love it!

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Re: Classic Bard's Tale Creature Portraits

Post by ZiN » July 24th, 2018, 3:48 am

I was rummaging through my old-school stuff the other day, and - lo and behold - found some of the drawings I made, back when I was playing BT3 in the early 90's. Those were the times!

In anticipation of the release of The Bard's Tale Remastered, as well as Bard's Tale III turning 30 years old, I will post these old-school™ fanart here!

Here we go:

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Re: Classic Bard's Tale Creature Portraits

Post by Orpheus the Bard » July 24th, 2018, 4:25 am

ZiN wrote:
July 24th, 2018, 3:48 am
I was rummaging through my old-school stuff the other day, and - lo and behold - found some of the drawings I made, back when I was playing BT3 in the early 90's. Those were the times!

In anticipation of the release of The Bard's Tale Remastered, as well as Bard's Tale III turning 30 years old, I will post these old-school™ fanart here!

Here we go:

ImageImage
ImageImage
Wow, not bad, do you still do art?
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Re: Classic Bard's Tale Creature Portraits

Post by thebruce » July 24th, 2018, 6:01 am

That's awesome ZiN!
You can tell the games had an effect on us as youth when we started drawing and imagining within that world. :)
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Re: Classic Bard's Tale Creature Portraits

Post by _noblesse_oblige_ » July 24th, 2018, 6:11 pm

I second thebruce's comment, ZiN. And I think it is awesome that you still have those drawings after all these years. A true fan.
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Re: Classic Bard's Tale Creature Portraits

Post by ZiN » July 26th, 2018, 7:15 am

Thanks guys!

By the way, I have found a very nice list of the BT3 monsters here. Check it out!
I'm afraid that's over 500 monster types in BT3 (with 70 unique portraits)! It's so cool, each dungeon had unique enemies which fit the mood very well. Also the random encounter system made it feel like there's even more of them.

So yeah, let's see what modern technology can bring us in BT4, in terms of variety! Now that we aren't limited by technology, 70 unique models, with 500 subtypes shouldn't be a problem, right? Or perhaps, monsters are getting the same treatment as spells (cut by 90%), or races and classes (cut by 40%)?

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Re: Classic Bard's Tale Creature Portraits

Post by thebruce » July 26th, 2018, 8:47 am

That's a nice list. The BTO list is sorted alphabetically, with 458 rows. I think this calls for a comparison and sync. And perhaps a feature to sort the bestiary list by other properties :)
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Re: Classic Bard's Tale Creature Portraits

Post by phimseto » July 26th, 2018, 1:44 pm

Belatedly seeing these. They're great! Awesome that you managed to save them down through the years.

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Re: Classic Bard's Tale Creature Portraits

Post by ZiN » August 17th, 2018, 4:50 am

I was wondering for a while, if Krome is going to use the C64 portraits, or the Amiga/PC ones, for the BT3 remaster, or perhaps a mix of both.
In BT1-2's case there is no question that the Amiga/IIGS ones are the best, but for BT3 the C64 portraits are generally considered more stylish. At least I certainly like the Malefic Champ and Demon better on the C64, but also the Nefasts, Slayers, Brilhasti, nazis, etc.
There are a few though, which I like the Amiga version better, such as the Rainbow Dragon, Urmech, Cyanis, Tarjan, Samurai and most of the animals.

Also wondering if they're going to add class-specific portraits.

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Re: Classic Bard's Tale Creature Portraits

Post by FraterKhaos » August 17th, 2018, 5:29 am

I just hope, Krome will polish the portraits of BT3 more... I was playing on Amiga back in the time and remembered how disappointed I was by the - compared to BT1 & BT2 - way inferior portraits. While those of 1 & 2 were way better animated (Remember the piece of flesh falling from the zombie after 1 minute or so in BT2?) and had more details, BT3 portraits had just 2 - 4 frames repeating in a cycle, almost looking absurd. The C64 ones seem to be way better in this regard. I really hope, the remastered BT3 will get the graphics it deserves.

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Re: Classic Bard's Tale Creature Portraits

Post by Drool » August 17th, 2018, 3:49 pm

ZiN wrote:
August 17th, 2018, 4:50 am
I was wondering for a while, if Krome is going to use the C64 portraits, or the Amiga/PC ones, for the BT3 remaster, or perhaps a mix of both.
I've been a big C64 booster during testing, and I've long been an advocate of mixing and matching images, especially in 3 where there were so many reused images. There's three or four creatures which use the Goredrooler image, for instance, so might as well grab images from different sources.

Don't worry, once we start testing BT3, I'll be rallying under the C64 banner.
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Re: Classic Bard's Tale Creature Portraits

Post by Spectralshade » August 18th, 2018, 7:23 am

Drool wrote:
August 17th, 2018, 3:49 pm
ZiN wrote:
August 17th, 2018, 4:50 am
I was wondering for a while, if Krome is going to use the C64 portraits, or the Amiga/PC ones, for the BT3 remaster, or perhaps a mix of both.
I've been a big C64 booster during testing, and I've long been an advocate of mixing and matching images, especially in 3 where there were so many reused images. There's three or four creatures which use the Goredrooler image, for instance, so might as well grab images from different sources.

Don't worry, once we start testing BT3, I'll be rallying under the C64 banner.
See, I know this might rub some people the wrong way, but I never understood why not make usage of the full library of pictures that exist (or should exist). If there are differences between the platforms, make both pictures and spread them out on monsters so the end results become more 'unique' pictures for monsters in the remasters. They could even have spread the total graphic resources over all 3 games, so a monster named 'Zombie' (for example) used the same picture in all 3 games, and the 'extra' zombie pictures then be used for other monsters that also used the 'zombie' picture of their respective games.

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Re: Classic Bard's Tale Creature Portraits

Post by _noblesse_oblige_ » August 18th, 2018, 8:38 am

We did suggest this to them, but it takes their art team some time to finish uprezzes. I remember that the last few monster pics for BT1 weren't finished until a couple weeks ago (Lurker/Ghost and Hydra/Jabberwock, for example). Maybe with enough time and money, Krome can pull from multiple platforms. I suspect that the uprezzes of the pics from the 8-bit platforms may need more love to make them feel consistent with the others.
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Re: Classic Bard's Tale Creature Portraits

Post by jkapp76 » August 27th, 2018, 11:00 am

I really liked the sorceress pic in BT2... she turns to look at you and even points her finger at you, creepy. This would be cool to include somewhere in the remastered trilogy somehow.

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