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The Bard's Tale: Tales of the Unknown

Comparison:

Censored NES Version
Region: USA

Uncensored Amiga Version
Region: Deutschland

Release: Jan 30, 2014 - Author: -Der-Tribun - Translator: Tony Montana
The Bard's Tale is a classic RPG, two sequels followed. Arisen because Interplay wasn't capable of getting the rights for C64 from Wizardry - Sir-Tech simply refused to transfer it and didn't give in until the success of the competitors - the series became popular pretty fast and set new standards for RPGs in the 80s.

Wizard Mangar has a terrible day. And hew wreaks his ill humor on the city Skara Brae by cursing each and everyone in Skara Brae. The city falls into an eternal winter and many residents become dreadful monsters. A group of adventurers, lead by a bardic, don't like it at all which is why they set out on screwing Mangar up ugly and free Skara Brae.

After its original release for C64 and Apple II, the game was transfered to many other systems without changing the content. Only the gameplay and the graphics were upgraded. The only exception is the NES Version. The graphics are inferior, the game itself is shorter and also censored - thanks to Nintendo of America and its company policy.

Compared are the Uncensored Amiga Version, which is the most sophisticated one from the technical POV, and the Censored NES Version.
Amiga VersionNES Version

Censored Text during the Fights

The word "kill" was black-listed by the headship of Nintendo of America. So it shouldn't be surprise that the text during the fights has been censored. "Killing him/her/it" has become "Defeated him/her/it" in the NES Version.
Amiga VersionNES Version


At the Bar

The second and more important issue is that NoA didn't like references to alcohol in their games which affects the bars in the game. The alcoholic beverages are non-alcoholic now plus some of them have been entirely scratched from the menu. This modification causes inconsistencies because the bard needs alcohol for his good voice (old belief what singers need to successful) which gets completely lost in the NES Version.

  • "Ale" has become "Root Beer".
  • "Beer", "Mead", "Foul Spirits" and "Ginger Ale" have been completely scratched from the menu.
  • "Wine" has become "Grape Juice".
    Amiga VersionNES Version


    The Wine Cellar

    One of the missions is finding the only bar that still serves wine. Having asked for it, one is being asked to go in the wine cellar to choose a bottle. It ought to be obvious that the modification from wine to grape juice is completely pointless and screws with the inner logic. I mean, seriously. A grape fruit cellar? (Unless you're splitting hairs by saying wine was a very particular kind of grape juice but that's ridonculous.)
    Amiga VersionNES Version


    After entering the wine cellar, the text in the Amiga Version says: "This is the wine cellar of the Scarlet Bard. The air is musty with old wine". In the NES Version, it's simply "You are in the cellar of the Scarlet Bard. It smells moldy".


    A door sign in the Amiga Version reads: "Rare Wines - 50 years and older. Keep Out!" It's become "Good grape juice. Private" on the NES.


    Another door, another sign. Amiga Version: "Fine Wines - 10 years and older. For regular customers only". NES: "Cheap grape juice. Help yourself".


    Removed Dying Sequence

    The screen below pops up if you fail. You're also being told you were going to go to adventurer heaven. But mentioning heaven and the image is against NoA's company policy, the dying sequence has been entirely removed. In the NES Version, you're just being brought to the adventurer guild without one single word being said.

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