Dungeons & Dragons: Tower of Doom. Capcom (1993) Arcade

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TO THE TOWER, where we hopefully won’t meet our doom.

(I met my doom, about 37 times in a single playthrough)

Gameplay

Alright, so D&D is a hack and slash/Beat ‘Em Up in the vein of Golden Axe, this means you typically walk left to right and stab things in the face with your sword. Like Golden Axe, and because this is D&D you will get to use items, Magic, and even fight the occasional Dragon. The difference here is that combat is purposefully slow.

You know how in most beat ’em ups if you just hammer attack you will attack at the highest attack rate, and probably lock then enemy in stun. Here you need to time your attacks otherwise the enemy will block, stand out of range and throw something at your head. This obviously adds in a certain level of strategy, but if you combine this with the items you can use a skilled player will suddenly be item spamming and combining attacks into some sort of devastating attack combo. Even me, with my limited ability was able to throw together some interesting attacks, but I could always rely on magic when I was the magic characters.

On top of this, the mission structure offers variety in that you can choose a number of different options either mid-level or at the start of a mission. This will give you a different paythrough should you choose the options and will encourage repeated playthroughs. Though some missions are more fun than others.

Good for what ails ya! Tis a Ye Olde Shoppe  where thou can purchase wonderful fayre.

Characters

I like the differences in the characters, it doesn’t just feel like you’re playing as somebody with more or less strength.

  • The Warrior: The most balanced fighter, he starts as the strongest of the 4 and has a decent amount of range. He also has the most health to start with.
  • The Elf: Short range, and weaker. Can cast 7 spells which vary in usefulness (Invisibility is useless) and if you keep dying these keep replenishing, so you can spam all bosses dead with incompetence.
  • The Cleric: Weak as shit against everything except the undead with his spells. This is the default hard mode and I struggle to beat level 1 with this fella.
  • The Dwarf: Short regular range, hard as balls. Boring to play as to begin with, but levels up into a powerhouse with the most health and highest damage output.

Obviously these follow standard D&D tropes, so they look suitably different and you’ll notice a difference in play style that will suit different players.

A fairy novel character selection screen.

Dungeons & DRAGONS!

I won’t waste time talking about Dungeons, because meh. But the DRAGONS… DEAR GOD THE DRAGONS ARE AMAZING!!! The first one you fight is a “regular” Black Dragon. You will fight him by default, and he will eat a few of your precious credits. The 2nd one is a MASSIVE FUCKING FIRE DRAGON that will eat 10-15 of your credits. But it is TOTALLY worth it. When you’re presented with the option of “long route” or “short route with a hard dragon” take the short route despite the games protestations.

This is the “lame” dragon

When you get there, there is no build up just a short walk into a room with a multi sprite dragon that puts most end of game bosses to shame. Instead it is more a secret alternative boss. On my first playthrough I went the other direction, I allowed the peer pressure to get to me and I missed out. 2nd playthrough I just had to go for it, and again, IT WAS AMAZING.

COOL. AS. BALLS

Story

Monsters are on the rise and attacking the usually peaceful Republic of Darokin, four (luckily) different warrior set forth to cleanse the lands under the direction of Corwyn Linton. Seriously, what is it with D&D and stupid ass character names?

The Combat

I’ve already touched on the combat, but playing the first time you will notice it is a fairly slow game and this will potentially be off putting to you at first. But stick with it as there is a surprising amount of depth, and nuance to the whole affair. You can block, and riposte which is how you truly master the game. I’ll avoid comparing to a certain game about Souls as it is an overused comparison, but it would be fair to use it here. Block with your shield (which isn’t a simply button press) and time your attack for after the block and you will unleash a devastating riposte.

Just remember, none of this is a mapped button. So you need to figure that shit out yourself.

Conclusion

Capcom really knocked this out of the park, and will require a few plays before you get your head around a complex combat system. There is a complex combat system that underlines everything meaning that a noob can beat the game if they plough enough credits or go an easier route. But a pro, a pro will really shine and that is what is important.

So if you stumble on Tower of Doom in an arcade check it out it is pretty awesome.

Pros: Tonnes of Depth, Character Variety, a big FUCKING DRAGON

Cons: Very difficult at first, can feel slow until you learn the system.

85%

Back in the Day:

Tower of Doom was praised for its fluid combat, and non-linear gameplay.

Also Available on: A rare as hens teeth Japan only Sega Saturn Capcom Collection, and current Virtual Consoles (Nintendo eShop, PSN, and XBLA)

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