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Dungeons & Dragon: Tower of Doom is a side-scrolling beat-'em-up by Capcom originally released for the arcades in 1994 which ran on the CP-System II hardware. It was followed by a single sequel in 1996 titled Dungeons & Dragons: Shadow Over Mystara, along with a compilation of both games titled Dungeons & Dragons Collection released exclusively in Japan for the Sega Saturn in 1999. They are notable for their unique blending of the Dungeons and Dragons game system and Capcom's then-popular 2D scrolling-brawler engine, put in the limelight by Final Fight back in 1989. The duology is also respected for Capcom's showing their work in regards to using the RPG system's lore and combat rules, and for providing a certain amount of depth to the beat 'em up genre that wasn't previously explored: Characters have multiple special moves, can use items and magic, can collect money to spend in towns, can equip weapons and armor, and can even choose branching paths as well as look for hidden areas, of which there are many.
The plot is pretty simple: Six adventurers, hungry for glory, hunt a dragon king/queen and bring peace to the land.
The adventuring party consists of six characters.
The first game, Tower of Doom, had:
- The Fighter (Canon Name: Crassus), who can use any melee weapon in the game and is capable of Dual-Wielding swords.
- The Elf (Canon Name: Lucia), the original Squishy Wizard of the first game. She compensates for low hit points with high speed and ranged attacks, and offensive magic.
- The Cleric (Canon Name: Greldon), who could heal and provide Status Buffs and Debuffs. All his weapons were blunt and had poor range. He could also Turn Undead, which in the game worked as a Smart Bomb against skeletons, zombies and the like.
- The Dwarf (Canon Name: Dimsdale), who can cause additional treasure to spawn. Very slow, but hit the hardest.
The second game, Shadow over Mystara, added:
- The Thief (Canon Name: Moriah), Ms. Fanservice incarnate, who was given a ton of fighting options, trap detection, and a stealing ability to compensate for low damage absorption and inability to use a shield.
- The Magic-User (Canon Name: Syous), who could barely fight physically but started every level with a high amount of offensive magic spells. Also can't use a shield.
An old but useful FAQ is available here.
These games provide examples of:
- Adaptation Distillation: Capcom did a pretty good job of breaking down an encyclopedia's worth of Pen and Paper game into a beat em up. The closest thing anyone has come close to recreating the experience can pretty much be only found in Castle Crashers or Dungeon Fighter Online (the latter being a real RPG, of the MMO variety.)
- Anti-Magic: In a nice nod to the source material, magic users won't be able to cast spells when the Beholder's central anti-magic eye is open and looking in their direction. Of course, good luck figuring out what's going on if you don't know obscure details of D&D monsters.
- Back Stab: One of the Thief's moves. An instant kill, but requires some setup.
- Baleful Polymorph: Amazingly, this spell was kept in. It functions as a Smart Bomb.
- Big Bad: Deimos in the first game, Synn in the second.
- Bigger Bad: The fiend in the second.
- Big Damn Heroes: The Glantri Air Force in the ending.
- Also the first Troll boss, much, much earlier. If you don't figure out how to keep it from regenerating in time, the castle guards will run in and show you.
- Bonus Boss: Both games have a Red Dragon as a Bonus Boss, who is every bit as tough as (if not tougher than) the Big Bad.
- Cast From Hit Points: Final Strike. With high enough total EXP count and a Magic User who's equipped with the Staff Of Wizardry, having every playable character hit every button on the console brings down a literal wrath of the gods that instantly shreds all opponents but the final boss, at the cost of all but one of everybody's hit points and Staff Of Wizardry.
- Competitive Balance
- The Fighter: The Hero. He is the Lightning Bruiser in the first game and Jack of All Stats in the second.
- The Cleric: The Lancer. He is the Jack of All Stats in the first game and Stone Wall in the second.
- The Magic User: The Smart Guy and Glass Cannon
- The Elf: The Chick and Fragile Speedster. She also doubles as the Glass Cannon in the first game.
- The Dwarf: The Big Guy and Mighty Glacier
- The Thief: The Heart and Lightning Bruiser
- Cosmetic Award: High scores from people who defeated the red dragon in the first game have a flying dragon icon.
- Desperation Attack: Tapping Attack and Jump simultaneously unleashes a "Panic Attack" which clears out enemies on either side of you and knocks them down, at the cost of some hit points. Although panic attacks are common in beat 'em ups, it is useless here because you have uppercut attacks, magic, sliding, and burning oils for this purpose, and using any of them doesn't damage you in the process.
- The Dragon: Tel'Arin the Shadow Elf is the Dragon to Demios in Tower of Doom, and arguably to Synn in Shadows of Mystara.
- Dual Boss: The mud golems before Deimos, and the Displacer Beast at Fort Cruth (although as usual with Displacer Beasts, one's a fake).
- Dual-Wielding -- The Fighter can do this if he finds a short sword.
- Dummied Out / No Export for You -- Some of the boss dialogue is cut from the World version of the game.
- Eldritch Abomination: Synn's ultimate plan is to summon a monstrosity known only as "The Fiend." Thankfully (or not), you never get to fight the Fiend, as the Glantri Air Force comes in and blasts the creature back into the pit it spawned from.
- Evil Tower of Ominousness: Sable Tower, the titular tower of Tower of Doom.
- Five-Bad Band:
- Flunky Boss: The majority of boss fights are like this, with regular enemies that keep showing up during the fight.
- Guide Dang It -- How to uncurse the two cursed swords. Also, the Spell of Final Rest.
- Not to mention the fact that both games have hidden areas, and Tower of Doom has missable towns.
- Have a Nice Death: Bosses taunt you as the continue timer ticks in the first game.
- Head Swap: Every player character has a head-swapped counterpart who has his or her unique stats, and in case of magic users, a few alternate spells.
- Hello, Insert Name Here: The characters can be given the name of the player's choice, and some specific "names" are in fact cheat codes.
- Nintendo Hard -- Beating the game on a single credit without four players and/or without a Cleric.
- Ominous Floating Castle: Synn's headquarters.
- One-Hit Kill: Don't attempt to tank the dragons' full-screen fire attack.
- Remember the New Guy?: Mystara treats the Thief and Magic-User as if they have been adventuring with the party since the beginning. The thief even mentions procuring a MacGuffin from the first game that is important to unlocking the final stage.
- Shown Their Work: Aside from accurately incorporating rules and monsters from Dungeons and Dragons, the games are set in the world of Mystara, the campaign setting that originated with the early Dungeons and Dragons release. The Night Dragon Synn is a major villain in the campaign.
- Shoryuken: All characters but the Magic-User can do this. The fighter can hit twice with his, and the Thief's is ranged.
- Spiritual Successor: To The King of Dragons.
- Squishy Wizard: The elf in the first game, the Magic-User in Mystara. In fact, the MU is so squishy, he doesn't even have a basic combo attack chain, rush move, "knock-everyone-around-down-at-the-cost-of-some-life" attack or uppercut. To his defense, however, every 1 out of 16 dagger stabs (an otherwise useless extra attack that he has instead of a knockdown attack) is an insta-kill to anything he is fighting, save for bosses, and even they take a significant amount of damage from it.
- Stripperific: Moriah the Thief, Synn the Night Dragon, and every Shadow Elf enemy (including the males).
- Teased with Awesome: Some really neat weapons, such as the Sword of Flame, Sword of Frost, or Dragon Slayer, show up in the next-to-last level. There's also a secret store that sells very powerful weapons, that can only be found a few levels from the end.
- The Unfought: The fiend in the second game shows up as part of the ending, but isn't fought.
- Vancian Magic: True to the original game, all magic users have finite spells, only rechargeable by beating the level or finding spell scrolls. If you are the Magic-User and you drain your spell tree killing kobolds, you are effectively fucked.
- Wolfpack Boss: Nagpa fights alongside a manticore and a black dragon.