I’m a huge fan of Dungeons & Dragons: Tower of Doom. I first beat the game in 11th grade with two friends from High School and a complete stranger. This would have been the Fall of 1994. I played this and the sequel so much, I wrote the original FAQ/walkthroughs back in the BBS era. Then in college, I imported Dungeons & Dragons Collection for my Sega Saturn – a game I still have. Finally in 2000/1 I ended up finding and buying both Dungeons & Dragons arcade games for about $400 each from the Wonderland arcade in Beaverton, Oregon, where they became a popular addition to the homestead. So as you can imagine, I’m pretty well versed in these games. Capcom knew this too, which is why they sent me a digital copy of the game a few weeks before the release. Having beaten both HD remakes of the game multiple times now, I can say that, while the game isn’t arcade perfect, it’s still a lot of fun and is a cheaper and saner alternative to the Sega Saturn or arcade cabinet options that we’ve had for the past two decades. To get you ready for the game’s release next week, I’ve included a set of ten helpful hints and tips to get through the game.
1. Most video games that use the Dungeons & Dragons branding, from the NES days to Ruins of Myth Drannor, actually use the ADVANCED Dungeons & Dragons system and settings. Both arcade games, along with Warriors of the Eternal Sun, use BASIC Dungeons & Dragons rules, which means character classes and progression are slightly different from AD&D. For example, all Elves are Fighter/Magic User combos and Dwarves are Fighter/Thief (Trap detection) mixes. Elves and Dwarves require more experience to level up, so they will be at a lower level in a multiplayer game than the Fighter and Cleric.
2. Secondary weapons are your friends. Daggers fly in a straight line and give everyone a nice ranged attack. Hammers fly at a curved arc and aren’t the easiest to use, but when they hit, can cause a stun result, and they work wonders on the Black Dragon boss. Arrows do a LOT of damage, but are slow to use and can leave you vulnerable. Finally, burning oil inflicts the burn status, but the range of your throw is very small and opponents will go out of their way to avoid the fire on the ground. Still, you need to save at least one oil or a fireball spell from the Elf as the final hit against the Troll boss, unless you want the bad ending for that stage.
3. You can’t see it, but there IS a time limit for stages in the game. The time limit is at five minutes per stage, but each time you die or someone new joins in, the countdown is reset. If the hidden counter hits thirty seconds, it will reveal itself to players, and if the counter hits 0, characters fall to their knees and the game ends. This is a VERY rare occurrence, but you should know this just in case. The faster you get through a stage, the more bonus XP you earn at the end, which can help you level up and thus gain more Hit Points and spells.
4. In the shop portion of the stage, there are generally only two healing potions, so make sure whoever needs it most purchases them. Also, in the shop, you can give silver to your friends. Place your hand cursor on top of your friends and hit the button. Each time you do, they get ten silver pieces.
5. This remake has a bit of trouble recognizing the dash command (hitting left or right twice in quick succession), so you may want to practice this, especially before dealing with bosses who have an area attack, like the dragons, Lich and Beholder. As well, since you’re practicing moves, you’re going to want to also practice the jumping attack and the rolling attack. Jumping attacks are vital to learn, especially against the Beholder and Lich. Both are immune to most spells, and they float so you’ll have to use your jumping attack as the main type of damage. The rolling attack lets you cover a bit of distance and hit enemies that are both standing or knocked down. It doesn’t do a lot of damage, but it is a nice way to hit multiple opponents at once.
6. The best character to solo the game with is by far the Elf. She has a decent range with her attack, can use several secondary items and her spells are insanely helpful against most bosses in the game. She’s terrible against the Beholder and Lich as they both can nullify and/or are immune to spells, but other than that, she’s wonderful. Besides, you can just use jump attacks against both of those bosses. The worst to solo the game with is the Cleric. He has the shortest attack range of all the characters, and so can get hit easier than he can do damage against even mediocre opponents like Axe Gnolls. As well, he doesn’t start off with healing magic right away in this game, which is crazy. The cleric does have some nice spells, like Hold Person and unlimited Turn Undead, but these have limited uses compared to the Elf’s spells. Two of his other spells, Continual Light and Striking, aren’t very useful at all. What the cleric DOES have is Sticks to Snakes, which is arguably the best spell in the game, as the Beholder and Lich aren’t immune to it. The snakes are invulnerable, cause a slow status in addition to damage and they can jump onto floating enemies. However, against the dragons, they are pretty useless. So the Cleric is great in a multi-player setting, perhaps the best overall, but the worst in single player unless you just want to credit spam.
7. The dwarf might seem like the worst character in the game due to his height and limited range, but he also has the fastest attack speed in the game – more than double that of the other characters. Just tap your attack button like you were playing a shoot ‘em up and you’ll be amazed at how fast he clobbers opponents. He also does extra damage against the Ogre, and when his inventory is emptied out, the Use Item button gives him a hidden special attack. He’s still my last pick in a four player game, but in the right hands, he’s a killer.
8. There’s a special ending if you beat the game with all four characters active, but you can also get this ending on the exceptionally rare occasion of beating the game on a single credit. This ending occurs after the credits rolls.
9. Keep in mind, some enemies have elemental weaknesses and immunities. Undead, for example, can be stunned by the Ice Storm spell, but take no damage from it. Meanwhile, Hellhounds are immune to Fireball but are especially weak to Ice Storm. Trolls take extra damage from fire attacks and Troglodytes (fish looking dudes) take extra damage from Lightning Bolt.
10. Remember that the branching paths in the game can have a big effect on how the rest of the game plays out. Early on, you have a choice between going to Fort Cruth to help with a monster attack or going to a nearby village to get reinforcements. Although going to the Fort is the more noble choice, going to the village gives you a MUCH easier boss (Manticore vs. Displacer Beast), and later in the game, all characters will get a Ring of Protection +1 from the person they saved from the Manticore. Keep this in mind as you play through the game.
So there you go – ten quick hints and tips about Dungeons & Dragons: Tower of Doom. I’ll be back tomorrow with a preview of Shadow Over Mystara as well, including the extremely important numerology guide. See you then!