Monday, January 12, 2015

Nerdicus NES Review #164: Deadly Towers

Title : Deadly Towers

Publisher : Broderbund

Developer : Lenar

Genre : Action RPG

Players :  1 Player

Release Date : 1986

Estimated Value (as of today's date): $3-$5

Apologies once again for the sporadic updates the last few days - I've been recovering from a nasty bout of the flu so instead of gaming, I've actually been trying to sleep. NOT THE WAY I WANTED TO START 2015....but...I can't help it. I'm on the road to recovery though, so expect my more traditional daily updates coming.

There come's a time in every retro gamers career (yes, I say career) where you a play a game that is so unbelievably frustrating that you just can't put it down. It's not because you want to prove to yourself that you can beat it. Nor is it because you are just that stubborn that you refuse to acknowledge that a game could be so unforgiving. Nope, it's really all about discovering whether or not the developers truly DESIGNED the game to be this frustrating, or it was just an absolute cluster.

And here we are, Deadly Towers, probably one of the most common NES games out there. Seriously, if you ever frequent garage sales, or thrift stores, or anyplace else where you get your old school games, you'll most likely come across a copy of Deadly Towers. There was a time where I must have had at least a dozen copies of this game lying around because every time I bought a bundle I would end up with this monstrosity.
Deadly Towers was surprisingly a best selling game back in the day of its release. This is probably because it was one of the first action RPG's to come out for the NES after being imported from Japan. I still prefer the Japanese title over the American title though. HELLS BELLS is so much more "deadly" - not to mention the Japanese cart had an evil looking red LED light that stayed lit while playing the game to make it seem like it was possessed. BUHAHAHAHAA.

As an aside, I really recommend you watch the AVGN video of him taking this game on. His banter while he plays this frustrating mess of game, which ironically got decent reviews back in the day, is truly hysterical. A lot of people lately have called this game one of the worst to ever grace the NES console. Now, I'll be hard pressed to say its the worst, because I have played some pretty horrible games. This is by no means the worst. One of the most unforgiving and frustrating yes.

But, now it's my time to suffer through Deadly Towers. And let's hope I make it to the top, only to plummet to my death.

We've got the traditional fantasy story line here. An evil presence emerges, capturing a bunch of sacred artifacts (in this case bells), and is planning on using them to summon an enormous demon army to take over the land. There is only one man who can stop him! The famed, PRINCE MEYER! No, not John Mayer. You will take on the Deadly Tower, recover the bells, and destroy them and the evil Rubas, demon of darkness (aka SATAN). Do you have what it takes? Do you have the patience!? Because you'll need it.

This is the earliest of early action RPG games for the NES and it really does show. The gameplay is slow and staggered, and the movement of your character is sluggish at best. As badly as you want to force Prince Meyer to run across the side-scrolling screen, he barely turns it into a waddle.

A majority of this game is broken up into collecting items, keys, artifacts in order to move past points that are blocked. In the meantime, you'll be killing enemy after enemy to collect coins in order to purchase equipment and items to be used to aid you on your quest. And when I say you'll be killing enemy after enemy..I mean that. I am talking about you killing approximately thousands of enemies and spending an hour grinding your way to the top of the tower just to buy a single damn potion.

If there was ever a game to abuse the role playing grinding system, this would be it. Expect to die often in the beginning, as you'll be needing to power up your character to the point where it doesn't take twenty hits of your flying sword to kill a single slime. It doesn't help that your sword is nowhere near as fast as Link's famous flying sword. This thing basically just flops on the ground like a dead fish, allowing your enemy more than enough time to dodge it. You're basically guessing where the enemy is going to move to when you fire your weapon.

Prepare yourself for one of the longest journeys in NES history. This game has so many damn screens on it, you'll end up getting lost within the first 15 minutes of your playthrough. I seriously needed to make a damn map of where I was in order to remember where to even go. You go up one screen, enter a portal, and end up somewhere entirely different which makes it even more complicated because there is a lot of back and forth in this game.

Get to the top of one tower, defeat the boss (which will kick your arse regardless of how strong you think your character is), go back down, and go to the next tower, if you can find it, and get the next bell, destroy that. You've got to this approximately twenty-something times. I had nowhere near the patience to even continue playing after destroying the first or second bell. I didn't even feel like I was progressing at all!

One thing I will say, I actually really enjoyed the presentation of this game. For 1986, it blew some of the other games out of the water, and the attempt to create a perspective depth on the screen (while it didn't work) was at least proof that they put a lot of effort into it. Your character of course looks like a bad ass anime knight, while the enemies are cutesy little monsters. Other than the bosses, which are absolute beasts.

Ah...the music.....such memorable music you will hear for hours on end...over...and over..AND OVER.

Still, for some reason, the game pulled me in. It was some sort of sick pleasure. Maybe it was the engrossing music that reset after you went to a different screen. Who knows, one day I might even sit down for 72 hours and beat this game. On second thought, nope.

Final Score (out of 5) :

Until Next time - Keep on Gaming!



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