TOWER OF DRUAGA
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game HuCard
(c)1984 1992 NAMCO LTD., ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Release : 1992-06-25 (6800)
Hucard (4 Mbits) NC92003
Action / Adventure game
Tower Of Druaga is a top-view dungeon crawler by Namco, conversion of their own arcade game originally released in 1984. The intrepid prince Gilgamesh is on a quest to deliver his beloved princess Ki, kidnaped and kept prisoner at the highest floor of the Tower Of Druaga. His journey will also get him to retrieve the stolen Blue Crystal Rod, a magical treasure that has kept the kingdom strong and prosperous for hundred of years. Each one of the sixty floors has a hidden golden key used to unlock the exit door leading to the next level. Each floor also has its own family of traps and monsters such as slimes, knights, magicians and the famous, and deadly, Ropers. Gilgamesh starts his long journey with a golden armour, a sword (which can be drawn by holding the action button) and a shield (used to block magic attacks). However, a lot more equipment can be collected along the way. Treasure chests are hidden in every stage and contain new weapons, armors and special items such as magic potions. Their appearance is usually triggered by certain conditions, such as clearing all the monsters or stepping on a particular spot in the maze. Experience point are generally awarded at the end of every floor and Gill can upgrade one of his many skills (gain more life for instance). But Tower Of Druaga's gameplay goes deeper than it seems and unlocking all the treasure chests is where the real challenge of the game lies.
Related
TheBlueCrystalRod (Sfc)
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Arcade game The original arcade game was released by Namco in 1984 (detail on the left). The game was then converted for many home systems such as Nintendo's Famicom (1985), MSX (1986), FM-77AV, GameBoy, PC Engine (1992) and was also part of Namco Gallery vol.3 (Playstation, 1996). As a side note, the PC Engine conversion tested here is an improved version of the original game and is, I think, the best. The sequel, called The Return Of Ishtar was released two years later, in 1986. It had two interesting features. First of all, a two simultaneous player (only) mode was added. Then, and most interestingly, a password system to save the player's current position was also included which was quite unusual for an arcade game. The Return Of Ishtar was also converted for many home systems of the time and can also be found on Namco Gallery vol.4 (Playstation, 1997). The Quest of Ki is a Famicom only game and was released in 1988. It was a side scrolling platformer and only featured princess Ki. Namco also released a pseudo-3D version of the game called The Blue Crystal Rod (SuperFamicom, 1994). Another, less known, Druaga game came out for the GameBoy in 2000 and was called Semecom Dungeon Drururuaga. In 2004, Druaga was also given away as a bonus disc to those who preordered Baten Kaltos for Nintendo's GameCube. Recently, a new sequel was released by Namco. The Nightmare of Druaga: Fushigi no Dungeon (Playstation2, 2004) seems to be the first real 3D version of the game. Interestingly, Namco featured monsters and heroes from the Druaga's series in several of their games.

I'm not sure how true this story is, but the amount of floors in the Tower Of Druaga is said to have been inspired by the Sunshine City tower, located in Ikebukuro in the western Tokyo area. The tower also counts 60 floors and was, back in 1984, the tallest Japanese building.

Teaser text from the original arcade game:
In another time in another world...
The Blue Crystal Rod kept the kingdom in peace
But the evil demon Druaga hid the rod and the Maiden Ki in a Tower
The prince Gilgamesh weared gold armor and attacked monsters to help Ki in the Tower Of Druaga.


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Guide Book
Click on picture to enlarge

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Tips about Treasure Chests

Items hidden in treasure chests are not random. Every level has a specific item, and missing one of them can be fatal. Here are some of them:

level 2 - speed boots
level 3 - potion of healing
level 5 - sword
level 12 - armor
level 20 - Potion of power
level 37 - super helmet
level 45 - excalibur


Level Passwords

Here are a couple of level passwords:

level 5 - 3C7AP AXA7T 5A7A7
level 10 - 3B7AP R7A3T 7G6Q7
level 15 - 3H7EP BXA3T 5G6QX
level 20 - 3V3EP R5B6T 5C6AX


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Tower of Druaga is a bit disappointing. It reminds me of Rogue, popular dungeon crawler in the 1980s, but just plain less fun to play. Mazes are pretty empty and you will quickly end up avoiding enemies rather than fighting them. Controls are cumbersome, Gilgamesh is really slow at the start and you must find magical boots to speed him up. Even so, his sword can't reach really far and is frustratingly imprecise. I also wished walls used different graphics from time to time, same thing for the annoying music. This is a shame, Tower of Druaga could have been an excellent game if only its difficulty level wasn't so high, and it it had a bit more variations... and yet, this conversion is probably one of the best around.




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