Dec '23 Monthly Game Club - The Tower of Druaga

This is a great idea for a game club game. Hopping in blind, have literally never played this.

If I were a small Japanese child, this game would have taken so much of my allowance and I can't even clear the fourth floor.

ooooh i‘ve never participated in one of these monthly game clubs, and for reasons people have already said in this thread i’ve always wanted to give this game a try but never really looked at it because i‘m not in like, showa era tokyo for note sharing, so this is super exciting! probably gonna grab that switch arcade archive version cuz like, sounds like it’s the best way to play it in the 21st century?

@“phylaxis”#p142998 the namco museum one is probably better but it‘s more expensive if you don’t want the other games

got to floor 4 on my first run

i knew the legend of zelda was inspired by this game but wow i had no idea how much!


so i got all the treasures on the first 3 floors just by killing enemies – was worried that once that time limit counted down it‘d be game over but luckily it just starts that minute timer and adds bubbles those fireball things. also i didn’t realize the pickaxe was limited in use and i guess i broke it on level 2, haha. i‘m assuming it has like 3 uses per level? i think i used it three times before i lost it, and i’d assume that counter resets each level. anyway i got killed by a wizzrobe wizard guy on floor 4, didn‘t make a treasure chest appear there, though. judging by the pattern of the last few levels i’m thinking i have to actually kill that guy but also i know the secrets get real wild real quick so…. we'll see

@“phylaxis”#p142998 It also has a feature where at the press of a button you get to see the map for the floor you're on, plus instructions on how to get the treasure and what it does. Which I assumed was a part of the game, and still felt it was ridiculously complex. Reading that people are working this out for themselves… chills.

@“phylaxis”#p143018 wait, how did you use the pickaxe?!

I‘m practicing what I call the Elden Ring to Dark Souls Method here, which is that I’m playing the PC Engine version first, and then I'll do the Namco Museum arcade version.

Mostly, I'm doing this because it's fun and it really grabbed me. I did pop into the straight-up arcade version on MAME, the Famicom version on real hardware, and even the Game Boy version (which is charming, but Gil is frustratingly slow, at least at the beginning) before hitting up a translated PC Engine ROM (pro tip: if you want something closer to the Japanese arcade experience at the time of Druaga's release and you don't speak Japanese, you could play the untranslated PCE version and be totally lost, just like the real thing!)

As mentioned, the PCE version doesn't really "count" for the book club, as it's essentially a whole-assed remake -- it has charming, more detailed pixel art, a pause menu that allows you to manage inventory, and even a simple stats/experience system that lets you upgrade Gil. More crucially, I think, is that before each stage, Ishtar appears to give you a hint on the floor's treasure. I find those hints are just the right temperature; they're just vague enough, just helpful enough, still leave you feeling plenty of "A-HA" _or_, as is Druaga's custom, "how the fuck would I ever." I've gotten to floor 30-something so far.

I'm calling this the Elden Ring to Dark Souls Method because, as in that case, you've got two games of the same formula from the same creators expounding on a framework of ideas. They're both very opaque -- in a way that creates an extra layer of challenge on top of challenging moment-to-moment play -- but the latter release does make a few finely tuned concessions to players to pull back the veil of that opaqueness, in such a way that playing that one first naturally leaves you more equipped to take on the previous entry (in my experience, at least; I took numerous runs at Dark Souls and enjoyed so much about it since its release, but only on my current run have I gotten to Ornstein and Smough after 80 hours of Elden Ring, yes I do suck, I am aware). I am also calling it this because: Namco.

(also, I like to take in as much context as I can for these sorts of things, totally recommend the PCE and GB versions as a sort of nice special edition bonus documentary or double feature to the main event -- I'm gonna hit up all the sequels and spin-offs I can after the arcade OG, too)

@“NoJoTo”#p143132 >!I‘m not sure if you’re asking how to use the pickaxe in general, but just face an inside wall – not one of the outside/barrier walls – and use the action/sword button to destroy the wall with the pickaxe. You have limited uses of it each level!<

I made it to Floor 9 today, and while I did get a few new treasures along the way, I‘d be lying if I didn’t admit most of them did feel random. I think for Floor 8 you‘re supposed to ||step on a tile diagonally adjacent to a wizard||? For Floor 5 ||sometimes I’d be able to find tiles that sounded a chime, which sometimes correlated to a treasure appearing and other times did not||. I figure I‘ve probed this game enough for now and will leave the spelunking to the rest of the forum users and I might peek back in again when more progress has been done communally. The high score I’m leaving off at for now is 72230.

@“tokucowboy”#p143135 Those PCE changes are fascinating! One could probably write a really interesting essay bout how the ways people played Druaga over time reflected the changes in the ways people played games as a whole.

I‘m going to try to take a crack at this game over the weekend. Echoing others, this is a superb suggestion and I’m looking forward to getting stuck immediately.

I downloaded the Arcade Archives version on Switch earlier today and made a first attempt. PATHETIC: only reached level 4, discovered a treasure but didn't get it because of time.

I've long been intrigued by Tower of Druaga and am looking forward to exploring it with other folks! I know it's a legendary one for both it's success in Japan and it's absolutely brutal difficulty with hidden treasures.

ok jumping back in, I figured out how to make the floor 4 treasure appear but have no clue what it does

also found out that there's spoilers for every level on the switch version if you want...there's certainly a ton of stuff to do just flipping thru that but none of it is TOO wildly obscure, and there's also no way I remember what any of it actually was for what floor so I still feel pretty blind about what's upcoming. the stack of community hints at the arcade machine makes so much sense!

also I hate those wizards, especially on floor 5

Okay, I‘m at the point where I can reliably reach level 5 and get all the treasures up through that stage. I’ve yet to see level 6 but I‘ve started to have a lot of fun now that I’m confident in how to get those early treasures.

My current high score is 34,750 - still not so amazing but I‘m definitely improving and am having a lot of fun! Looking forward to GETTING GOOD.

It seems clear that even knowing the games tricks can still make for a challenging experience but I’m trying not to study ahead.

one of the tricks that I kinda get but am still unable to do consistently is when you pull your sword out, you put your shield off to one side, and it still is effective at blocking things coming from that side, I think that‘s a real cool lil mechanic where you aren’t just trading shield for sword, but changing the angles of a couple of your sides

I’ve played 3 credits going in completely blind. First credit I got effectively zero points.


Second credit I got to floor 2 and used the ⛏️. Third credit I got the shoes on floor 2 and got killed by the blue knight on floor 3.

I don’t understand why this game is so hard, folks. I’ve gotten one level further basically every time I played! 😇

Thanks for picking this and organizing it! Never played it and only knew about it. Perfect choice for the game club since the play time is so short!

Brand new bop right on cue.

oh man am i too late to join this one? jeremy parish has had this one on my list to get into for ages