Deadly Towers (NES) Retro Review

Deadly Towers (or Mashō/Evil Bell in Japan) is an 1987 action RPG developed by Lenar and licensed to Irem. It was planned to be given the similar Hell’s Bells outside of Japan but Nintendo of America got in the way (they were way more strict with censoring back then). The rename still makes sense though as the main characters aim to destroy the 7 bells (and ultimately defeat a Devil known as Rubas) actually has him destroying the bell towers themselves.

Deadly Towers (U) [!]-0
Quite a simple title screen but its not that bad, although it does bug me when the copyright info takes up most of the screen. Also I’m sure Lenar were the ones that made this game yet this screen suggests otherwise. After a few seconds it shows you the story and while its pointless to be disappointed considering cut scenes didn’t really exist back then I know most people these days wouldn’t enjoy a wall of text. The weirdest thing though was having a password check when you press start instead of going to a menu like other games do.

Deadly Towers (U) [!]-1
Getting into gameplay the graphics seemed a bit dull being almost entirely a shade of one color other than the fireball enemies and the music seemed quite repetitive. Everything was easy to figure out though with a stats screen which shows the items your money (ludder), the bells and your life. It was weird how they put the life like that without any sort of border like they couldn’t be bothered to program one. Stuff like that really makes you worried about the game and it was far worse than i thought.

In the 2nd room of the entire game you were already getting surrounded by hard to defeat enemies with even more enemies randomly flying in from the sides that you need insane reflexes to hit. However that’s barely possible because the weapon you throw (yes, you seem unable to swing a sword) is weak and you only have one of it so missing is essentially death. After all there’s no invincibility period so anything that reaches you is pretty much instant death unless you are lucky enough to be knocked back… and not fall down one of the many holes. And if that’s not bad enough you start from the beginning of the game whenever you die. However there’s still more problems.

Deadly Towers (U) [!]-2
On top of the music being repetitive it also starts from scratch whenever you go to another room, thankfully i was using an emulator so I just turn’t off the sound but it was seriously driving me crazy. On top of this I found that even turboing the A button only helps in 1v1 situations where you creep towards them while shooting to go really fast and stop them attacking (above screenshot is a good example) but even then it takes over a second to kill normal enemies and you’re even more likely to make a mistake and get murdered from behind.

Even cheating didn’t help me, made it so my life was stuck at 84 and i didn’t bother to raise it to the default 100 as i thought I’d at least be able to get to the first boss. However not only did the knockback still get me thrown down holes because of lack of invincibility frames to take advantage of but it wasn’t that long til I stumbled upon knights in armor that instantly killed me. There was no way i was going to keep trying to play this.

Overall its a pretty terrible game, probably should of done better research before i played it even if I said i want to review most NES games. As it turns out AVGN did a special episode on this game using other people’s opinions and over 6000 people emailed him with how much they hate it.

Tell me what you think about it in the comments if you’ve ever tried it and remember to request what i should review next.


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