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Tower of Doom Reviewed by Adam Wallace on . Rating: 85%
Tower of Doom
Tower of Doom Tower of Doom Tower of Doom Tower of Doom
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The latter half of the 80s was a tough time for any console not named the Nintendo Entertainment System. The NES controlled about 80% of the market with the other consoles fighting for the last 20%. With those kinds of issues, it's astonishing that anyone was even trying with Intellivision games. It's a good thing they were since the Intellivision got Tower of Doom, one of the best console dungeon crawlers of the era.

Like with Crypts of Chaos, there is no plot. It's all about exploring labyrinths, finding treasures, and lasting as long as possible. However, while Crypts of Chaos struggled with the weak hardware of the Atari 2600, Tower of Doom takes full advantage of the superior Intellivision. The maps are clean with a whole host of different elements like locked doors and teleporters. There are ten character classes to choose from, each with their own starting equipment and skill sets. Not only are there plenty of weapons to defeat the monsters roaming the dungeons, they can also be bribed into leaving you alone! There are also seven different quests to play that vary in length and difficulty, ranging from the six-floor beginning quest to the mammoth 32-floor wizard hunt. All this variety can keep you playing as long as a Diablo game. It's just a shame there's no way to save in the middle of the wizard hunt.

Tower of Doom (Intellivision)Click For the Full Picture Archive

Tower of Doom kicked the cumbersome interface that the Dungeons & Dragons game had to the curb. The numeric keypad is never used here. Using only the control disc and fire buttons, this could've easily been adapted to a Genesis controller. The mechanics for the monster battles are very simple. When you run into a monster on the map, you end up in a short battle scene where you can use anything in your pack to drive it off. With one button to go into your pack and one to use the selected item, the game is extremely easy to play. The challenge level is perfectly balanced, as well; I didn't experience any difficulty spikes.

The game isn't the best looking Intellivision game out there, but it definitely gets things done well. Everything is easily identifiable, and the battle scenes are quite good for the time with large character sprites and decent effects. The sound does suffer from some limitations. There's only a basic chip-tune at the beginning, and I did get sick of the nearly constant pulse sound used when wandering the corridors.

Tower of Doom was one of best dungeon crawlers of the late 80s as far as I'm concerned, and it's still very playable today. While it is a shame that it wasn't appreciated at release due to Nintendo's monopoly, it has gotten a chance later on thanks to Intellivision compilations like Intellivision Lives on the sixth gen consoles. Check it out, and see how much fun basic exploration can be.
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