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Deadly Towers

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Deadly Towers is a video game developed by Lenar and exclusively-licensed by Irem as a software title for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). It was released in Japan on December 15, 1986, and in North America in September of the following year. One of the earliest published titles for the NES in North America, Deadly Towers proved to be markedly unpopular, largely due to the high learning curve and high difficulty level when starting the game.

In Japan, Deadly Towers was titled Mashō (魔鐘), literally meaning "Evil Bell". It is a pun of the word mashō (魔性), meaning "devilishness", and in keeping with this theme, the Japanese cartridge contained a red LED at the top which illuminated when turned on. Fittingly, the original title outside the Japanese market was to have been "Hell's Bells," but according to the game's producer, Nintendo of America ordered the name changed.

Plot

On the moonlit eve of his coronation ceremony, pensive Prince Myer sits at the lakeside to ponder the future of the kingdom. Suddenly, a shadowy kami called Khan rises from the lake and coalesces into the form of a man. Although he doesn't identify himself, the figure greets Prince Myer by name, and informs him that the wizard Rubas, the "Devil of Darkness", is preparing to overtake Willner Kingdom by using seven magic bells capable of summoning an army of monsters.

To ensure peace, Khan says, Prince Myer must travel to the northern mountain to burn the Seven Bells in the sacred flame, burn down the seven bell towers in Rubas' magic palace, and, ultimately, defeat Rubas himself.

Bosses

Each of the Seven Bells is guarded by a (usually zoomorphic) flying devil (known as yokai in the Japanese language version):

  • Great Wing (owl)
  • Wheeler (blue flaming demon)
  • Centipede (centipede)
  • Great Burn (red-orange flaming demon)
  • Death Bear (horned bear)
  • Cold Killer (winged gorilla)
  • Beat Plant (green, furry, apple-shaped plant)

The final boss confrontation consists of a Chinese dragon, a pair of fu dog heads, and Rubas himself, all in succession. That these bosses are difficult on their own, relative to previous bosses, make the complete fight a dramatic step up in difficulty.

Reception

One of the earliest published titles for the NES in America, Deadly Towers proved to be markedly unpopular, largely due to the high learning curve and high difficulty level when starting the game. Many players found the gameplay extremely frustrating.

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