Saturday, April 16, 2016

Deadly Towers

After talking about Deadly Towers a couple weeks ago, I decided to try that game again. Like Super Pitfall, I've always been intrigued by this game. It was no fun to play, simply painful. But I always felt a sense of mystery and adventure from the large sprawling world that seemed to be hiding behind the misery of actual gameplay.

So using my trusty emulator on my phone, complete with save-state cheating, I decided I needed to play through the game to see if the game-behind-the-game was any good.

Unlike Super Pitfall, this game wasn't 100% horrible once you understood it. It was just mostly horrible.

Anyone who's played the game knows how frustratingly hard it is. There's usually tons of enemies on the screen at once, and one or two hits will either kill you or knock you back off a cliff where you die. To make it worse, there are invisible warps all over the place that take you to these vast dungeons filled with tons of featureless rooms (each dungeon is a 16x16 maze of death), many of which are packed with enemies that literally kill you the second you step inside. When I was younger, I thought these were secret warps to a later hard part of the game. I didn't realize they were just stupid nonsense.

This is what you have to explore if you step on the wrong patch of ground.
Really, you might as well just hit the reset button instead.

Well, it turns out if you use a map to avoid the dungeons, and carefully go get all the right powerups in the right order, the game is playable. (getting most of the powerups involves stepping on other invisible warp spaces)  The vast world really isn't very vast, or interesting. By the end of the game your armor is good enough that you don't die instantly.  But at that point, there's not much to do but hack your way through all the enemies. There's 10 or so bosses, but most of them are basically the same thing, and require very little effort. It's not as horrible as it seems at first, but it just never gets fun.

That being said, this game could have been fun if:
1. The dungeons didn't exist.
2. All the secret spaces weren't secret, but were visible warps
3. The difficulty curve wasn't stupid. Make the character a lot stronger at the beginning, and the monsters harder at the end.
4. I give up, I don't think all those things would fix it. It wouldn't be known for being so terrible if they fixed those, but I'm not sure it would actually be any fun.  I'm tired of thinking about this game. I'll stop now.


Jake T said...

I demand a similarly wishfully optimistic review of Super Pitfall.

Jake T said...

I demand a similarly wishfully optimistic review of Super Pitfall.

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