Biting off more than any of us can chew.
RELEASE DATE: September 1987
Some games have bad reputations. Then there’s Deadly Towers. It was proclaimed the #1 Worst Nintendo Game of All Time by Comedy Game Reviewer, Seanbaby (though I’m sure he was sincere in his hatred). The Angry Video Game Nerd also made an episode about Deadly Towers. While he normally writes his own dialogue, for this episode, he only spoke about the game using scathing comments sent in by fans of the show/haters of Deadly Towers. The episode was eight minutes long – mostly dialogue – and he received over 6500 e-mails filled with people decrying Deadly Towers. So yeah, people haaaaaaaate Deadly Towers with a bile-filled passion. Why does a simple adventure game that tries to mimic Zelda (quite the theme here on the NES, as of late) receive such ire?
Based on my playthrough, here are a few reasons.
The password system is overly long. This is more of a nuisance than anything, but it definitely adds fuel to the fire.
The game is all about exploration, but unlike, say, Zelda, where almost every area has a purpose, the majority of Deadly Towers‘ rooms/dungeons have little purpose.
While you begin with 100 hit points, which gives you a sense of self-confidence, most enemies take off at least 10 points, and usually more. This can prove troublesome when…
You enter rooms unexpectedly, get hit by an enemy into another room, and then another enemy into another room, until all your hit points have been depleted. This happened to me several times. One of the enemies took off about 33 hit points, despite the fact that he wasn’t that difficult to kill. Insanity!
Some of the enemies, like the good-for-nothing blobs, take a couple dozen hits to kill, and give you nothing in return. Also, even if you kill every enemy in a room, if you leave and then come back, all the enemies will have regenerated. Sad day.
The graphics are drab and the music is repetitive, although I personally didn’t find it that obnoxious.
To the game’s credit, you can attack using an eight-way directional system, which was pretty novel for the time. I admire Broderbund for trying to make an epic exploratory adventure that one-upped Zelda, but they should have studied Zelda‘s mechanics closer instead of sticking a sword in the hands of a warrior and saying “Hop to it!” I couldn’t rank Deadly Towers as the worst NES game of all time, simply because I haven’t played every NES game. I have played worse NES games, but that’s faint praise indeed. Deadly Towers is still a very, very bad game.