The Bard’s Tale III: Thief of Fate DOS front cover
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The Bard’s Tale III: Thief of Fate

The third and final game in the Bard’s Tale roleplaying game series. The Mad God Tarjan, Mangar’s master from the first game, has returned to lay waste to Skara Brae. It is up to an intrepid band of adventurers to brave traveling across the dimensions to stop his evil.

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Thief of Fate is the third installment in the Bard’s Tale series, and a sequel to The Destiny Knight. It is similar to its predecessors, being a first-person fantasy role-playing game in which the player explores maze-like pseudo-3D towns, dungeons, and wilderness areas. Play The Bard’s Tale III: Thief of Fate online!

The Bard’s Tale III: Thief of Fate game description

Two new character classes have been added: Geomancer and Chronomancer. There are more dungeons than in the previous games, and this installment also adds an auto-mapping feature. The game’s world is divided into separate realms accessed by using time warps, each with its own theme and setting – including, among others, famous locations from Earth’s history such as ancient Rome or Berlin during World War II.

As with the Bard’s Tale I and II, players must assemble a group of adventurers together in order to discover and destroy the source of Skara Brae’s destruction. The box text describes the player traveling across seven dimensions, 84 dungeon levels, and fight over 500 kinds of monsters some of whom might even join the player, all in a bid to stop the Mad God.

Additional improvements were made to the gameplay system on top of those made with the Bard’s Tale II. As noted on the fly cover of the box, the improvements include:

  • Enhanced save game feature allowing the player to save anywhere
  • Automap feature
  • Improved graphics
  • New spellcasters
  • Ability to import Bard’s Tale I and II characters.

Traveling to different dimensions has significantly increased the vast scope of the Bard’s Tale game and each dimension has its own quirks that the player must work through in order to solve the puzzles within each and succeed in their quest. The original packaging of the game had clues within its fly cover describing each dimension and hinting at the possible solutions within. The party needed to visit each dimension in order to collect special items and magic that would be needed to face off against the Mad God Tarjan.

The game continues to use the grid-based, 3D system wherein the world is viewed from a first-person perspective with 90° turns and movement spaces. The interface continues to be a persistent feature in the GUI with a small window on the upper left quadrant of the screen displaying the world with the party listed below. A text box in the upper right quadrant of the screen displaying messages and encounter options. Random enemy encounters would provide combat opportunities within the game against mixed groups of foes, providing experience.

The Bard’s Tale III also employed a rudimentary form of copy protection by using an included code wheel. When teleporting to a dimension, the player would be challenged to enter a response requiring the use of the wheel. If you had lost your wheel at the time, it would render the game unplayable since you needed to use it in order to answer the challenge correctly. When Interplay had released their Ultimate RPG Archive collection, they had forgotten to remove the copy protection schemes from all three games ( Bard’s Tale I and II used the included maps as a part of their protection). They made both the maps and a cracked executable for Thief of Fate available from their site in order to rectify the misstep.

Time is also a factor in the game with day and night cycles influencing the kind of monsters that may be roaming around in the Wilderness. Mages can regenerate spells by simply waiting under the sun during the day.

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