Tower of Power, Too Sweet to be Sour
This week’s retro release from Hamster takes us back to the birth of a Namco legend — now available to download on PS4 and Nintendo Switch from the Arcade Archives, it’s the legendary Tower of Druaga.
Released to Japanese arcades in 1984, before later finding its way to early home computers and consoles, The Tower of Druaga is a simple maze game with surprisingly deep lore. The game follows the adventures of the brave knight Gilgamesh, who must ascend the 60-story tower to rescue the beautiful maiden Ki from a terrifying, multi-limbed demon — the titular “Druaga.”
A proto-procedurally generated title, Tower of Druaga randomizes its 60 floors on every playthrough, with players fighting off ghosts, slimes, and other nasties while gathering a sackful of special items in order to progress further and further up the increasingly challenging locale. As simplistic as the title looks in the video above, (courtesy of YouTuber Old Classic Retro Gaming), this Namco classic had a complex development, with director Masanobu Endo determined to make a deep and engaging RPG experience.
The Tower of Druaga is today considered the first entry in the “Babylonian Castle Saga,” a series that has gone on to include a slew of releases including The Return of Ishtar (1986), The Destiny of Gilgamesh (1994), and Arika’s 2004 release The Nightmare of Druaga. Additionally, a spin-off anime series, The Tower of Druaga: The Aegis of Uruk, was produced and released by studio Gonzo in 2008. Not a bad legacy for one of both Namco and the arcade scene’s formative adventures.