The Tower of Druaga
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|The Tower of Druaga|
Japanese arcade flyer of The Tower of Druaga.
|Designer(s)||Masanobu Endō (遠藤雅伸) (designer)
Yūichirō Shinozaki (篠崎雄一郎) (character designer)
Satoshi Naitō (内藤智) (game programmer)
|Composer(s)||Junko Ozawa (小沢純子)|
|Series||Babylonian Castle Saga|
|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|
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.
The game was a success, attracting millions of fans in Japan with its mix of action and role-playing game elements. The game laid the foundations for the action role-playing game genre, inspiring Nihon Falcom's Dragon Slayer. Both The Tower of Druaga and Dragon Slayer largely began the trend of combining RPG mechanics with arcade-style action mechanics, inspiring action role-playing games such as Hydlide and Ys as well as The Legend of Zelda.
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. Its first appearance outside Japan was in the third compilation of the Namco Museum series for the PlayStation and also appears on the Nintendo DS, PSP and Xbox 360 version of said series.
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 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:
- Running into an enemy without the sword.
- Being attacked by an enemy's powers or weapons.
- Getting burned by the dragon's fire.
- Running into a will o' wisp without a ring obtained.
- Running out of time completely.
- Attempting to attack Ishtar or Ki on the last floor.
- Breaking a wall on the last floor.
- Running into an enemy with the Hyper Armor obtained after having absorbed a spell without the shield.
The regular enemies are slimes, magicians, ghosts, knights, lizard men, ropers (which look like huge blobs with tentacles), and dragons (the main being Quox).
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 the actual game does feature a "hint mode" for getting the treasures.
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 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 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 Disk System (Japan Only)
- MSX (Japan only)
- Sharp X68000 (Japan only)
- Game Boy (Japan only)
- Microsoft Windows (Namco History) (Japan only)
- PlayStation Portable (Namco Museum Battle Collection)
- Nintendo DS (Namco Museum DS)
- PlayStation (Namco Museum Vol. 3)
- Nintendo GameCube (Japan 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 the same cost.
- Xbox 360 (Namco Museum Virtual Arcade)
- iOS (as part of the Namco Arcade application)
PC Engine remake
The game was remade for the PC Engine in 1992. The game sports new graphics, 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 speed, sword speed, pick axe 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)
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 
The sequels were not as successful as the first game, although Return of Ishtar came very close.
An anime 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 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").
References in other video games
- In Tales of Phantasia much of the equipment used by Gilgamesh could be obtained.
- Tales of Destiny contained an optional dungeon based directly on the original Tower of Druaga (but with different treasures).
- In Tales of Symphonia, the equipment used by Gilgamesh could be obtained, and the character Zelos could gain a special title by wearing it.
- Tales of the World: Narikiri Dungeon 3 also contains a variation of the dungeon. The game also contains costumes for Gilgamesh, Ki and Druaga, which allows the heroes to become them in battle, and wearing the Gilgamesh costume is necessary to access the dungeon in the first place.
- In Tales of Legendia, one of the "Rare Monsters" that you can find and battle is the Quox, the dragon enemies from the Druaga games.
- In Tales of Hearts, Gilgamesh can be summoned as a support character.
- Mr. Driller: Drill Land has 5 worlds, one of which is called Hole of Druaga featuring the standard Mr. Driller mode with RPG elements.
- Mr. Driller Ace featured two levels named after Druaga characters: the "Druaga Ruins" and the "Quox Ruins".
- Gilgamesh and Ki appear as playable characters in the Wonderswan Color game Namco Super Wars
- Several characters from the series appear in Namco x Capcom, and the eponymous tower is a major location in the game.
- In Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean, the Tower of Druaga makes an appearance as a puzzle in Mira, complete with slimes and tools. Baten Kaitos also contains some of Gilgamesh's equipment as obtainable items.
- Japanese gamers that pre-ordered Baten Kaitos also got a bonus disc containing the Famicom version of the original Tower of Druaga.
- In Soul Calibur II, one of Sophitia's alternate costumes was based on Ki's design. In addition, one of her weapon sets was the Blue Crystal Rod and Blue Line Shield, equipment formerly used by Ki and Gil, respectively. The Red Crystal Rod and Red Line Shield are also available as bonus weapons for Cassandra.
- Gilgamesh's Hyper Helmet is featured in the character creation mode of Soulcalibur III. In addition, the Excalibur along with the Blue Line Shield is one of the weapon sets available to Sword & Shield users.
- The song "Taiko March" in the game Taiko: Drum Master includes music from 3 Namco arcade games, including the Tower of Druaga, along with Sky Kid and Legend of Valkyrie.
- Ki makes a cameo in the action RPG Klonoa Heroes: Legend of the Star Medal as a NPC character you can speak to when arriving into a town.
- In Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation, Quox is the name of one of the Emmerian battalions you encounter and assist during some missions.
- Gilgamesh makes a cameo appearance in the mobile game Party Land.
- Games from the Ridge Racer series use the title "Druaga" as one of their fictional automobile brands.
- 3D Dot Game Heroes parodied the box art in one of the loading screens.
- GameCenter CX - 2nd Season, Episode 13. Retrieved on 2009-04-04
- The Tower of Druaga at the Arcade History database
- Kurt Kalata. "Dragon Slayer". Hardcore Gaming 101. Retrieved 2011-03-28.
- "The Tower of Druaga". GameFAQs. Retrieved 2011-03-28.
- Jeremy Parish (2012). "What Happened to the Action RPG?". 1UP. Retrieved 2015-01-14.
- "Druaga". GameFAQs. Retrieved 2011-03-29.
- "Druaga no Tou". GameFAQs. Retrieved 2011-03-28.
- "Druaga no Tō ~the Recovery of BABYLIM~".
- The Tower of Druaga at MobyGames
- The Tower of Druaga guide at StrategyWiki
- PC Engine remake guide at StrategyWiki
- History of Druaga games from 1UP.com
- The Tower of Druaga at the Killer List of Videogames
- Detailed history of the video game series at Devimension