REVIEW: Towers: Lords Baniff’s Deceit

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Towers: Lord Baniff’s Deceit is apparently a port of an Atari Falcon game. There was a sequel made for the Atari Jaguar called Towers 2: Plight of the Stargazer, which was supposedly released on GBA in 2002, but this is probably wrong since I can’t find any information confirming this. All that aside, Towers is a first person dungeon crawler strictly for true genre freaks. Your time will be spent managing your inventory, scouring halls for secret doors, and battling creatures in sluggish and overly fatal combat.

You start off by choosing one of four characters, the disparity being their starting stats. One is strong, one is intelligent, and the other two are varying degrees of medium. They all get to use magic, wear armor, and wield every weapon so the differences are not terribly significant. With that done, you are locked in the tower and can start exploring. Your first impression will be of Towers’ sparseness. There are only a handful of monster types, most of the items are useless or redundant, and there are no unique rooms or interesting bits of flavor text to be found. The tiny narrative comes from a few letters you’ll find on the ground, which don’t say much besides what you already know: the tower is full of deadly traps and monsters. Since there is little else to distract you, you had better really be dedicated to crawling dungeons.

In terms of mechanics, it’s all pretty expected and most of it is pretty fluid. Fighting is in real-time. Leveling up is straightforward. Managing your hunger and thirst is a nice idea, but food and water are plentiful. Casting magic involves stringing syllables together to create spells, which is pretty cumbersome. There is an automap. You can save your game anywhere. Towers’ primary challenges are managing the large amount of necessary keys for locked doors, avoiding pit traps that send you to previous floors, and finding secret doors by bumping into the walls.

All in all, Towers is solid but with little recommend it. More detailed stats, dungeon variety, or inspiration could’ve help. Its best feature is its considerable difficulty. Starting on level 3, pits are numerous and winning battles requires the best equipment, only found in the most obscure secret doors. Still, there are lots of better games of this type: Swords and Serpents or Stonekeep come to mind.

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