Friday, February 26, 2016

Manual Stimulation (The Tower of Druaga, Famicom)

Before I say anything else here, I need to point out that you have to click on the scans below if you want to take a closer look at them.

Maybe you've been doing that all along, and this is old news, but I thought I'd mention it now, just in case. Because I can only imagine how big of a bummer it must be for some of you to come to these posts only to then feel disappointed by how small the manual scans initially appear.

(Make sure you also click on other images and photos that appear on this blog, by the way. A good example: the scans of the front and back of City Connection's Famicom box that opened and closed my recent "Great Gaymathon" review of that Jaleco-made game.)

With that out of the way, let's get to the focus of this write-up: the instruction manual produced for the Famicom port of Namco's (or in this case, Namcot's) The Tower of Druaga.

If this is the first you've heard of this 1985 release, it's basically an action RPG set in a maze-filled tower. Or I guess you could call it an old-school tower-crawler (as opposed to a dungeon-crawler) with some randomly generated elements.

Sadly, both of those descriptions make The Tower of Druaga sound a lot more interesting than it really is.

In reality, the game's awfully repetitive -- both from an aesthetics and gameplay standpoint. Every one of the 60 floors of the titular tower look pretty much the same. The enemies that stalk those stages change now and then, which is nice, but I'm not sure I'd say that'll be enough to keep your eyes from glazing over at some point.

Also, the same jangly tune plays throughout this often-laborious adventure. Which would be fine if the tune in question were as much of a bop as, say, Bubble Bobble's theme, but it's not.

Still, I'm glad I own a copy of this iteration of The Tower of Druaga. As is the case with pretty much all of Namco's earliest Famicom games, its box is a sight to behold. (I especially like the back of these old boxes, by the way. There's something special about the way they juxtapose a large, full-cover screenshot with just enough explanatory text to pique your interest.)

Its cart label is similarly snazzy, by the way, and as you've learned via this blog post, its instruction manual has plenty going for it as well.

My favorite part of The Tower of Druaga's manual, it has to be said, is its last couple of pages. So much entertainment can be gleaned from its handful of hastily crafted (or so it seems) illustrations.

The best of the bunch, of course, is the dragon that can be seen in the top-middle square on page seven (two scans above), although most of the others are worth ogling, too.

What do you think of this particular piece of gaming paraphernalia? Do any portions of it speak to you, or at least mildly interest or amuse you? If so, share your thoughts in the comments section below.

See also: 'Manual Stimulation' posts about City Connection, Door Door and Yume Penguin Monogatari

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