Dec '23 Monthly Game Club - The Tower of Druaga

Hello all, it's the first second of the month and you know what that means: time for the new Monthly Game Club Pick!

This month we're playing: (drum roll as if you didn't read the thread title) The Tower of Druaga!


This one was nominated by @NoJoTo who had this to say:


i want the forum to recreate the feeling of trudging through the game and collectively unravelling its secrets that players originally felt when it first came out:

As this game has more secrets and esoteric goings on than just about any game ever released, please be considerate of those who aren't in the know and make sure to use spoiler tags when discussing strategies and tips. You can do this by putting double pipes around the classified material (| | spoiler here| | without the spaces between ||like this||).

If you are going in blind and want to help collectively solve the mystery feel free to not spoil your findings and speculation, they will help form our proverbial three ring binder of crowd sourced notes on the table by the arcade cab, but if you know things from prior play or by looking stuff up please use those tags!

This one is on basically everything. Contemporaneous ports from the arcade on Famicom, MSX, PC Engine, the Fujitsu Micro 7, the Sharp X1, and the GameBoy all with major to minor differences, as well as modern ports on the Switch and the PlayStation 4. It also runs on MAME, [even in your browser](

Have fun and watch out for slimes!

Cute! I‘ve always wanted to play this game but thought it’d be super lame to just look up everything I needed to do. Having some way to recreate that authentic experience is exactly what I've been waiting for. Will be diving in later today.

Interesting choice! I've never messed with Tower of Druaga; it could be fun to try going in blind.

I own Namco Museum on Switch so I decided to give this a go! I have a notepad in Obsidian now to log my findings with each coin. So far, it‘s just been me cursing Gil’s stubby legs.

I‘m gonna try this! I’ll probably go pc engine.

hopefully people find this fun! i‘ve started taking my own notes and have gotten up to level 5…

have you guys found the >!boots that speed you up!<? i mean they’re on the >!second level!< and are pretty easy to find, but they're still very useful.

@“exodus”#p142709 heads up that the pc engine version sounds like a significant overhaul, though it's probably still fun!

Nice, this is such an accessible pick. I‘ve popped into Druaga variously over the years, but never got far – I think I’ll bust out the Retroid and Switch and have an evening where I try a bunch of variations and ports all in one sitting alongside the arcade OG. Definitely gotta get in a few rounds of The Hole of Druaga from Mr. Driller Drill Land


Just loaded it up and spun a few plays (arcade ver. btw). I‘m having another moment like when I watched Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro where it’s like “Ah, yeah, suddenly the entire history of modern culture makes sense now.” Even just after this short play session I‘m gripped by the amount of subversion it’s already applying to itself. I‘ve gotten to Floor 4 and have found the treasure in each room, and it’s pretty hilarious how the treasure spawn almost never has anything to do with the floor‘s newly introduced gameplay element at all. It goes against all game design conventions the medium has spent my entire life teaching me, but not in a kaizo trollgame type way, more in a way where it considers all of its elements to be equally meaningful to each other – nothing is taken for granted, and nothing is ever considered more interesting or significant just because it’s that floor‘s “gimmick.” Games don’t really do this! Mind you I‘m saying this after only seeing four levels!! To instill such a sagely impression in a fraction of a fraction of its playtime is unbelievable. Clearly tons of games have repurposed many surface-level aspects of this game as their own, but none I can think of seem very interested in what I’m detecting to be the true spirit of this game. It‘s not that its treasure requirements are “arbitrary” or “random” (again, I’m on Floor 4 – this absolutely could change), it's that all its mechanics are equal, and the game is expecting players to consciously consider all of its elements at all times.

I spent the entire first stage trying to figure out if there was a "run" button only to then find those on the second stage. Any play where I don't pick them up now I consider a dud and I only continue purely out of curiosity, they really feel mandatory for how massive the mazes are and how slow the character is. It makes me wonder how many other items that will wind up feeling crucial are hidden around on unassuming floors.

Speaking of this – does anyone know the benefit to having the sword drawn/sheathed? It doesn't effect the move speed (my first inclination), and that wizard is too slippery for me to properly test if the shield reflects projectiles _Zelda_-style. I have a hunch that must be it, but the tight corridors and slow movement speed would make that feel much less practical than in _Zelda_ (so far).

I have never played this, so I’ll be going in totally blind. I have no idea which version to choose though! Does it matter in any significant way? Is there one that people here are gravitating towards? Paralysed by choice!

@“Funbil”#p142732 the shield does protect you from those wizards' spells

i'm playing on the famicom version (via namco museum archives vol. 1), which is nice because it lets you continue from any floor you've climbed to with the items you brought with you at that point. i assume if you miss an item, that won't carry through, though?


@“rejj”#p142733 Does it matter in any significant way?

For better and worse yes. I think I would say the Arcade Archives version on Switch and PS4 is the easiest one to recommend, it's accessible, accessible, and accessible. It contains a guide in the menus but you don't have to have it on, has a time attack caravan mode, some nice quality of life features, dip switches, the usual Arcade Archives deal. My other recommendation would be MAME, which if you don't want to set up you can play in browser in the link at the end of the OP.

Other notable versions include:

  • - The PlayStation version (Namco Museum 3) has 2 whole alternate versions with different secrets and balance for you if you get bored of its fairly faithful arcade port.
  • - The DS Namco Museum port has a guide in the lower playfield for you if you want to cheat and was ported by M2.
  • - The Switch Namco Museum version is pretty similar to the DS with hints and such.
  • - The Famicom version is as faithful as was possible.
  • - The PC Engine version is basically a sequel or a remake from the ground up.
  • i think i‘ll post my notes up to floor 9, as i have a few gaps in understanding that i’m wondering if anyone else has figured out:

    >!floor 1: kill some green slimes to get a pickaxe!<

    >!floor 2: kill 2 black slimes to get the speedy-boots!<

    >!floor 3: kill 2 blue knights to get a… bottle? perfume? something!<

    >!floor 4: walk past the door without having a key to get a bell (?). it seems like the bottle/perfume-thingy disappears/is used!<

    >!floor 5: kill green slimes (or maybe something else, i didn‘t pay close enough attention) to get a knife/machete!<

    >!floor 6: kill something (i didn’t figure out what did it) to get a candle!<

    >!floor 7: i couldn‘t uncover any secret… killing seemed to do nothing!<

    >!floor 8: this floor confuses me the most, so far. i got the secret item to show up once, but died before i could open it. another time, i made one of the walls in the maze disappear (without the item appearing). the wizards appearing everywhere doesn’t make it easier…!<

    >!floor 9: it seems that walking a few steps from your start position makes the secret item appear, though i haven't gotten past that point yet!<

    @“NoJoTo”#p142716 it‘s the only one I’ve got so I‘m sticking with it! But I guess it means I can’t do the community thing

    This game is hard!

    Great game! I picked it up earlier this year and attempted to seriously engage with it earlier this year but hit a wall around Floor 20 (pun not intended), because I had missed some items and I might have been inadvertently RNG abusing with my save states rather than learning why I got through some levels.

    I'd highly recommend knowledge sharing like [Nojoto's posts]( because it only gets more cryptic and confusing and faster-paced as the game goes on. But it's also super satisfying being able to read what's going on in a floor.

    Started up the gameboy port this morning. Not sure if it’s already been mentioned but this version is a bit more forgiving because you continue on the floor you were on after a game over and it gives you a password every 10 floors.

    Started up the Namco Museum version on PlayStation and played a couple of credits. I got to floor three. I got a treasure but I'm not sure how. I enjoy that Gil has complete animations for taking out and putting away his sword.

    Still haven‘t been able to get past Floor 5 (those wizards really suck!!!), but I’m comfortable enough with all floors previous that I'll drop everything I know for anyone who wants some guidance (again, playing on MAME – I have no idea what little nuances may change outside of the arcade):

    **Floor 1**
    Tip: Play like it's _Dragon Quest_
    Details: ||The treasure spawns after defeating three slimes. Since the movement speed is still so slow, I don't bother with any slimes beyond the mandatory ones to get the chest, then book it to the door. Inside of the chest is a pickaxe, which I have not found a use for yet.||

    **Floor 2**
    Tip: Don't be afraid of the dark
    Details: ||This floor introduces three black slimes, but the treasure only requires defeating two in order to spawn. I can't tell any difference between the behaviors of the black slimes versus the green ones. This chest contains the boots which is such a significant upgrade to movement speed that I consider this an absolutely necessary item to obtain.||

    **Floor 3**
    Tip: Et tu, Brute?
    Details: ||The knights on this floor only take damage when attacked from behind. Walking through them with the sword drawn and then immediately doubling back will always kill them – similar to the black slimes on the previous floor, there are two knights on this floor but only one must be defeated for the chest to appear. This chest contains a potion which acts as an extra life.||

    **Floor 4**
    Tip: Knock, knock
    Details: ||Stepping over the closed door without having obtained the key will cause the treasure chest to appear. This chest contains a bell, which like the pickaxe I have not yet found a use for. This floor taught me not to always pick up keys right away; not just for the treasure puzzles, but also because the maze can be arranged in ways that places the treasure beyond the door. The time limit makes it annoying, but I've generally found it more convenient to meet the treasure requirements before picking up that floor's key to ensure you'll be able to collect the item.||