The Tower of Druaga
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|The Tower of Druaga|
Japanese arcade flyer of The Tower of Druaga.
|Series||Babylonian Castle Saga|
|Platform(s)||Arcade, Famicom, FM-7, Game Boy, MSX, PC Engine, X1, iOS|
|Mode(s)||Up to 2 players, alternating turns|
|Cabinet||Upright, cabaret, and cocktail|
|Arcade system||Namco Super Pac-Man|
|CPU||2x Motorola M6809 @ 1.536 MHz|
|Sound||1x Namco WSG @ 1.536 MHz|
|Display||Vertical orientation, Raster, 224 x 288 resolution|
The Tower of Druaga (ドルアーガの塔 Doruāga no Tō) is a maze-based action role-playing arcade game released by Namco in 1984. It is the first game in the Babylonian Castle Saga series, inspired by Sumerian and Babylonian mythology, including the Epic of Gilgamesh and Tower of Babel.
It was conceived as a "fantasy Pac-Man" with combat, puzzle-solving and subtle role-playing elements. The Tower of Druaga was a success in Japan, where it attracted millions of fans, with its mix of arcade action and role-playing elements. It laid the foundations for the action role-playing game genre, as it largely began the trend of combining arcade-style action mechanics with RPG elements. It inspired a number of action role-playing games, including Dragon Slayer, Courageous Perseus, Hydlide, and Ys, as well as The Legend of Zelda, in addition to Dragon Quest creator Koichi Nakamura.
The Tower of Druaga runs on Namco Super Pac-Man hardware but with a video system like that used in Mappy, and is the first game from Namco to display its year in Roman numerals on the title screen. It was later ported to the MSX, Famicom and remade for the PC Engine platform by Game Studio. The first appearance outside Japan was in the third compilation of the Namco Museum Volume series for the PlayStation and also appears on Namco Museum compilations for Nintendo DS, PSP, Xbox 360, and Nintendo Switch.
Originally the game and its sequels had no specific setting other than "the tower". However, in recent years, the series has been retconned as being set in the fantasy kingdom of "Babylim". A 2008 reboot anime series, beginning with The Tower of Druaga: The Aegis of Uruk, uses the game as its back story, though is set many decades later.
The player assumes the role of the hero Gilgamesh, whose goal is to rescue the maiden Ki (カイ Kai) from the demon Druaga. To do this, he must traverse through 60 floors of an immense tower. Gilgamesh comes equipped with a sword, which he can use to defeat monsters, and a shield, which can be used to block magical attacks. The monsters get progressively more difficult as the game progresses, beginning with simple slimes and culminating with Druaga himself. Each floor consists of a maze filled with monsters, and a randomly placed locked door leading to the next level. The player must navigate through the maze to find a randomly placed key that unlocks the door. In addition, each floor contains a hidden treasure, which appears once the player has performed a specific requirement. The player's starting position is also randomly determined; however, the hidden treasure always appears in the same position the player starts from when revealed. The mazes themselves are not random, but there are various predetermined patterns. Some of the treasures are merely helpful items, some are detrimental, and some are essential to completing the game including the Blue Crystal Rod, the game's most important item; without it, Druaga will not appear and the player will be forced to return to an earlier floor, known as "zapping". Players may also lose a life in a number of ways.
The enemies are slimes, magicians, ghosts, knights, lizard men, ropers (which look like huge blobs with tentacles), and dragons. During each floor, there is a time limit to complete a floor, each starting at "20000". When the player completes a floor at a certain time, they will be rewarded an amount of points depending on how long the player takes to clear a floor. If the player takes too long, the timer will go to red as soon as it reaches "60", meaning that they have literally 1 minute left to finish the floor. Additionally, red and blue sphere-shaped objects named the "Will O Wisps" will begin to charge for Gil in an attempt to defeat him similarly to some enemies, but more effectively, unless the possession of a ring is used. The Will O Wisps can also appear as "enemies" on some floors but they are indestructible, as players do not receive points even while passing through them.
In the third Namco Museum game, there is a small handbook explaining how to get the treasures. There is also a hidden version far more difficult than the regular named "Another Tower" and an extra version named "Darkness Tower". The treasures (save the first one) are all altered in how to get. In the museum's library, there are three books containing illustrations of the game's characters. The Namco Museum DS version does not have a physical handbook, but features a "hint mode" to provide strategy throughout the game.
On some early releases of the arcade version there is a glitch that makes the last level unbeatable.
Gilgamesh (ギルガメッシュ Girugamesshu), also known as Gil, the destined hero of this game. He has been charged by the goddess Ishtar to ascend the Tower of Druaga and rescue the maiden Ki from the demon Druaga. Not only must Gil use his sword and shield to navigate through the labyrinthine floors of the tower, he must use his wit and memory to reveal the locations of the treasures contained on each floor, some of which are absolutely necessary for Gil's success. Gil is patterned after the Gilgamesh of Sumerian legend. Gil was also absent in The Quest of Ki.
Ki is a priestess who has unfortunately been captured and rendered powerless by the demon Druaga, turning her into a stone to lure the greatest warrior in Ishtar's realm into his trap. Ki goes on to be a tremendous asset in Gil's future adventures, but first she must be rescued from Druaga's grasp.
Ishtar, based on the goddess of love and war by the same name, assigns Ki to retrieve the Blue Crystal Rod. After Ki is captured, Ishtar tells Gil to save Ki; she is unable to meddle directly in the affairs of mortals on earth, and can only sit by and watch as Gil answers her call to service. In the PC engine remake, she gives hints to the player about retrieving the treasures.
Druaga (ドルアーガ Doruāga) is the demon that resides in the tower that is called the Tower of Druaga. He is portrayed as a huge, green monster with eight arms, four legs, and yellow eyes. He will eventually be defeated by Gil. He has hidden the Blue Crystal Rod and kidnapped Ki to lure Ishtar's greatest instruments of good into his trap so he can dispose of them forever, and lay claim to the world. For Druaga's plan to succeed, Gil must die. Should Gil survive the climb through all 60 monster ridden floors of the tower, he must face Druaga himself. Without the proper equipment and enhancements, Gil will be no match for Druaga's brutal destructive strength.
The game has been ported to the following platforms:
- Famicom (Japan Only)
- MSX (Japan only)
- Game Boy (Japan and United States only)
- Microsoft Windows (Namco History) (Japan and United States only)
- PlayStation Portable (Namco Museum Battle Collection)
- Nintendo DS (Namco Museum DS)
- PlayStation (Namco Museum Vol. 3)
- Nintendo GameCube - Famicom version (Japan and United States only)
- Virtual Console - Famicom version released only in Japan, with a cost of 500 Wii Points. The arcade version was later released worldwide on Virtual Console Arcade with a cost of 800 Wii Points in Japan/United States and 500 Wii Points in the rest of the world.
- Xbox 360 (Namco Museum Virtual Arcade) (United States only)
- iOS (as part of the Namco Arcade application)
- Android (as part of the Namco Arcade application)
- Nintendo Switch (Namco Museum)
PC Engine remake
The game was remade for the PC Engine in 1992. The game sports new graphics, 16-bit cutscenes, a password feature, and difficulty levels (easy, normal, hard and pro). The levels themselves are completely different, the conditions to get the secret treasures are changed, some treasures have been removed and some have been added, and there are new enemies. Players also have an item screen where they can use the collected items and equip armor. At the end of each level players get ability points that can be used to raise walking speed, sword power, pickaxe uses and more.
There are four games in the main series.
- The Tower of Druaga (1984, Namco, arcade)
- The Return of Ishtar (1986, Namco, arcade)
- The Quest of Ki (1988, Namco, Famicom)
- The Blue Crystal Rod (1994, Namco, Super Famicom)
- The Labyrinth of Druaga (2011, Namco, Mobile Phones)
Also, some side stories were made, including:
- The Tower of Druaga Darkness Tower (1996) Namco Museum Vol. 3
- The Tower of Druaga Another Tower (1990's) Namco Museum Vol. 3, Famicom, Game Boy
- Seme COM Dungeon: Drururuaga (2000): Game Boy Color
- The Nightmare of Druaga: Fushigino Dungeon (2004): PlayStation 2
- Druaga Online: The Story of Aon (2006): Arcade
- The Tower of Druaga: The Recovery of BABYLIM (2007): PC 
An anime reboot series titled "Druaga no Tō ~the Aegis of URUK~" (The Tower of Druaga: The Aegis Of Uruk) premiered on April 5, 2008 with simultaneous streaming on YouTube, Crunchyroll and Bost TV. The reboot series is set 60 years after the events of the original arcade game (and by extension, its sequels) and features an all new story, with a new cast of characters (although Gil now appears as an elderly king; Ki first appeared in a flashback, and later appears as a "ghost of tower").
- GameCenter CX - 2nd Season, Episode 13. Retrieved on 2009-04-04
- Kurt Kalata. "Dragon Slayer". Hardcore Gaming 101. Retrieved 2011-03-28.
- "The Tower of Druaga". GameFAQs. Retrieved 2011-03-28.
- 1982-1987 - The Birth of Japanese RPGs, re-told in 15 Games, Gamasutra
- I Am Error: The Nintendo Family Computer / Entertainment System Platform, page 173
- Jeremy Parish (2012). "What Happened to the Action RPG?". 1UP. Retrieved 2015-01-14.
- TOWER OF DRUAGA, PC Engine HuCard
- John Szczepaniak (2016), The Untold History Of Japanese Game Developers, Volume 2, page 38
- "59 Developers, 20 Questions: 1985 Interview Special". Beep. October 1985.
- "Druaga". GameFAQs. Retrieved 2011-03-29.
- "Druaga no Tou". GameFAQs. Retrieved 2011-03-28.
- "Druaga no Tō ~the Recovery of BABYLIM~".