Tower of Doom
"I believe this was to be the third AD&D title and was also to be released by Mattel but wasn't completed in time. What I do know is that I enjoy this game much more than the previous two AD&D games. Whereas Cloudy Mountain was mostly action and Treasure of Tarmin was mostly RPG, this game combines the best of both elements to create a satisfyng game.
"The player begins by selecting one of many scenarios which vary in depth and difficulty level, in some cases are randomized, and in the last two cases, involve a quest. Then the player chooses one of ten characters, each of which vary in stats and initial inventory. The player begins at the top level and must find the staircase in each level that leads downward. As in Treasure of Tarmin, the player can only go down and not back up. What is different is that the final goal is not to defeat the Minotaur, but rather to descend the staircase at the last level and escape from the tower.
"Each level is a network of several rooms, each of which is a small maze occasionally containing treasure, weapons, food, and other miscellaneous items. Some rooms also contain doors. In each room, a monster will occasionally appear. The player can throw items or fire weapons at the creature while still in the maze scene to either bribe it or kill it. A successful barter with an enemy increases diplomacy, while a successful fight decreases diplomacy and increases strength. Contact with an enemy on the maze screen will take the player into a fight scene, where the player and enemy are seen close-up. Strewn about the rooms are traps as well which have various effects. Some decrease hit points while others temporarily freeze or confuse the player or cause the player to teleport to a random location.
"At regular intervals, a heartbeat can be heard. With each heartbeat, the player's life force decreases. A message window displays messages when the player uses an item, descends to the next level, or nearly runs out of life force. Life force is restored by eating food. If life force is entirely depleted, then with each heartbeat the player loses hit points. Hit points are denoted by the shields in the bottom right corner. If the player's hit points run out, the player dies and the game ends; the player gets only one life.
"The inventory window in center left of the screen is broken up into three rows and four columns. The bottom two rows are for inventory while the top row contains, from left to right: the status icon; the hand cursor at rest; the currently equipped item; and an icon of a door or staircase when applicable. The player can carry seven reserve items and one equipped item at a time. Items can be equipped, used, or dropped. Treasures when used are 'cashed' and add to the player's treasure score, or can be given to enemies in exchange for peace. Weapons can be used in a battle scene or fired during the maze scene. Food replenishes life force, and items have various effects when used, such as immunity to fire, faster running speed, increase in player attributes, or hit points far exceeding the max.
"The fight scenes are ridiculously easy on the easier scenarios. On the harder ones the fights take a respective toll and kill inexperienced players off quickly. My other big rant toward this game is that it took a few play sessions to figure out the controls and inventory management. I couldn't figure out why I couldn't pick up an item when I had an open slot in the reserve inventory window (While there are eight spaces, only seven can be filled at a time.). I also didn't know at the time I took the screenshots at William Moeller's house how to open doors. That is why these screenshots I took are pretty random and don't do the game justice.
"After having climbed the short learning curve, I enjoyed the game ever since. It would have been nice if the game had ECS support and allowed the use of tapes to save player stats to make it a little more AD&D-ish, but the final product is pure fun nonetheless. I'm glad this game was included with the emulator -- I have spent most of my time playing this one in particular." Rating: 5/5 -- Mike Hayes