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Games I Wish I Had Never Played - Part 1

Mike

While most of this site is properly dedicated to celebrating things that are great, I have recently been interacting with things that are bad. Namely, video games that I have not touched since I bought them and found out that they stink. I had a lot of time to burn this weekend, so I gave them another shot. I cultivated a deep desire to melt down the games and recast them into amorphous figurines that are clearly suffering from the substance of their horrid bodies. Rather than risk burning my apartment down, I have decided to share my thoughts on these games with you.

Today's installment concerns Deadly Towers for NES. I purchased this game for about two dollars from the junky used game bin at the game store attached to Hollywood Video. I had previously purchased games like Solstice and Dragon Warrior II from this store, so I figured I was not buying a total piece of junk. In fact, the cover art was pretty cool.
I thought to myself, "Deadly Towers, eh? Sounds like I get to fight skeletons and dragons and stuff. Cool!" Somewhere in the back of my mind, a voice (probably Shigeru Miyamoto) said, "You nimrod! Don't you know why you have never heard of this game?! Because it's terrible! If it was never featured in Nintendo Power, it has to be awful!" If I had listened to this voice, I would have been spared. It actually is a pretty good rule of thumb that since more than one Junk-Tacular game has made it to the pages of Nintendo Power, any game that doesn't make the cut must be atrocious. But it was two bucks and what the heck.

So I got out my cotton swabs and rubbing alcohol to lovingly clean the cartridge connector. I admired the cool dude on the cover and was really getting revved up to play this game. I put it in and watched the intro story which, although quite unoriginal, only heightened the charm of Deadly Towers. Even the music was drawing me in. Then I pressed start.
Wow, exactly like the box.

The first thing I noticed is that I was not controlling a cool dude with a sweet sword and bare muscles that could crush a dragon skull. I was in fact controlling a dweeb with cupcakes for legs who appeared to have no sword. After experimenting with the controls I discovered that his sword shoots forth from his body and that Prince Myer (I forgot to mention that is his name... mostly because I hate his name) can barely inch forward.

After a few minutes of fighting bats, puddles, blue balls and wind vapors (seriously, wind vapors) I realized this game was worthless and promptly stopped playing it. That was three years ago. This weekend, I was determined to map out this game and beat it despite its horrible nature, but I gave up because the game is just so bad. Here are the largest flaws in this game:
  1. Terrible level design. The overworld is really quite small but there are secret pits that you fall into which deposit you in extraordinaly large caves filled with enemies ten times more deadly than anything on the surface, but these caves contain no treasure of any kind. Rather, they are punishment for stepping in the wrong place. Worse than that, the floor plans do not even form cool shapes. Much worse than that, every room is identical except for what enemies are in the room. And the enemies respawn. And usually move so fast that they hit you and begin to kill you as soon as you enter the room, especially if you are entering the room from above because you appear in the middle of the room due to the design oversight of bad graphics and game layout.
  2. Items. Where classics like Zelda and Metroid are built on the collection of better and better items, this game has no such thing. You start with a short sword, which you can also buy for some reason, but the only upgrades to this weapon are faster shots and double shots. There are no other weapons. You can purchase armor which does protect you better but does not cover your ugliness, and you can buy something that is called "fire magic" that does not burn enemies to a crisp when you use it. In fact, it has no detectable effect.
  3. The money in the game is called 'ludder.'
  4. If you throw your sword and miss, you must wait until it flies (slowly) off the screen before you can attack again. So if you miss (which always happens because enemies are so much faster than you) then you must dodge as best you can until your impotent weapon is returned to you.
Overall, I have to say this game is unforgivably bad. It literally has the design of a child with no concept of layout or character development. Whoever went through the trouble of making this game must have realized that they had failed to bring their imagination to life and therefore should have destroyed the Deadly Towers code, preferably with the banishing ritual from the end of Willow. However, they chose to swindle kids everywhere with their cool cover art and eventually break my NES-loving heart.

That's it for this game. Soon, I will describe in detail the disappointment that is Rambo.


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