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The Tower of Druaga is a 1984 arcade game released by Namco, about a knight named Gilgamesh (or "Gil" for short) who has to climb a monster-infested tower in order to defeat the demon Druaga and rescue Princess Ki (pronounced "Kai"), a shrine maiden in service to the goddess Ishtar. It is infamous as the high-water mark of player-directed cruelty in videogames -- the acme of the old school style where videogames existed to challenge and defeat the player.

Each floor of the tower has a hidden treasure for the player to discover; some of these treasures, such as the Blue Crystal Rod, are essential to completing the game. The game, however, offers no hints on how to find these treasures, which depending on the floor might involve anything from killing enemies in a certain order to walking over one or more points in the maze to crossing paths with a certain enemy to entering a special code to none or several of the above. The final floors with Druaga, Ishtar and Ki are especially tricky because certain missteps can cause Gilgamesh to be ZAPPED back to a lower floor.

The game spawned an irregularly released series of games, known as the Babylonian Castle Saga:

  • The Return of Ishtar (1986), an Immediate Sequel where Gil and Ki team up
  • The Quest of Ki (1988), a Puzzle Platformer prequel starring Ki
  • The Blue Crystal Rod (1994), sequel to The Return of Ishtar again starring Gil and Ki
  • Seme COM Dungeon: Drururuaga (2000), Distant Sequel with card-based gameplay
  • The Nightmare of Druaga (2004), part of Chunsoft's Fushigi no Dungeon Roguelike franchise
  • Druaga Online: The Story of Aon (2005), non-canonical four-player arcade game
  • The Tower of Druaga: The Recovery of BABYLIM (2009), a MMORPG

The first three games of the above list, as well as the remake of The Tower of Druaga for the Turbo Grafx 16, were developed by Game Studio, the company founded in 1985 by Masanobu Endoh, creator of the original game.

Various Shout Outs and Bonus Dungeons based on the game can be found in the Tales (series) and Soul Series, and Baten Kaitos has a Homage level that calls back to this game.

In 2008, the game was adapted into an anime series, with its first season being titled Tower of Druaga: The Aegis of Uruk and the second season in 2009, with the new subtitle "Sword of Uruk".


Tropes present in the game:

YOU ZAP TO...

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