Montha-Zeux - Bernard The Bard

One of the most beloved MZX adventures. Help Bernard find everyone's mysteriously missing items and save the kingdom from disaster

Authored By: Dr. Dos
Published: Apr 26, 2024
Part of Series: Montha-Zeux Streams
RSS icon

♦ Livestream of "Bernard The Bard by Otto Germain (1998). ♦

How revered is this game? Well, it's ID #1 over on DigitalMZX.

Fans of the similarly iconic ZZT game Ned The Knight will be delighted to discover this second game taking place in the same kingdom. This time, the protagonist is not knight-in-training Ned (who is now a local hero) but a bard named Bernard. One day upon waking up, Bernard discovers that something is off. Everybody seems to have misplaced some critical item. It's up to Bernard to figure out what's going on and restore peace.

Like Ned before it, this game is loaded with some great visuals, now turned up to 11 in MegaZeux. Characters are two tiles tall, and Otto takes advantage of these larger sizes to create a number of animations and goofy expressions that give the game a cartoonish feel. Inventory items can be used, and if that attempt fails each one seems to have its own unique animation that plays instead of a simple shrug. I'm particularly fond of the juggling animation used when holding down space that prepares Bernard to throw a ball at foes.

Gameplay-wise, much of what I was doing involved exploring the town and castle of the kingdom. Lots of talking to NPCs and piecing together what they want and where it might be found. The game uses a clock that advances after specific interactions, changing which characters can be found on a given screen. This is pretty impressive at creating the illusion of a lively town, though it does mean progress is incremental as once the clock changes you need to check every screen again just in case there's something new.

Unsurprisingly, the game hardly takes itself seriously, with plenty of bits of humor to be found throughout. The whole game is quite charming to take in.

It's a bit less charming to fight your way through. The game is quite easy to soft-lock, and ammo can be extremely scarce. You can play a few mini-games like whack-a-Goober and a shooting gallery (that uses your own ammo supply) to earn more cash and farm, but the enemies once you start to leave town can be overwhelming, making the game a real challenge to get through.

Still, it's become one of MegaZeux's most beloved thanks to how much there is to explore, its sense of humor, and a handful of engines leveraging what MegaZeux allows over ZZT. An RPG battle, first person Shadowgate style dungeon exploration, the mini-games. Not to mention some branching paths so payers have plenty to see even on additional forays into the kingdom.

Good luck with the font though.

♦ Play this world ♦

♦ Originally streamed on April 12th, 2024 ♦

====== A Worlds of ZZT Production ======

The Worlds of ZZT project is committed to the preservation of ZZT and its history.

This article was produced thanks to supporters on Patreon.

Support Worlds of ZZT on Patreon!
Top of Page
Article directory
Main page

More In This Series