The game Deadly Towers for the NES has always held a special place of mystery and fascination in the minds of both myself and a close friend of mine. I remember playing it while I was sick from school long ago, and, believe it or not, being completely immersed in the atmosphere of the game. I now suspect that the game's intriguing intro music had much to do with it, giving the game a much more epic feel in my mind than actually exists on cartridge. Also, I was always mystified by the myriad small black windows on the tower backgrounds, which always made want to peek inside and see what was in there.
My overwhelming nostalgic love for the game is kinda funny because, years later, upon seeing if there were any fan sites for Deadly Towers, I realized that everyone other than me and my friend seems to utterly hate this game. In fact, the ever-colorful Seanbaby said it was the #1 worst NES game of all time on his site. Wow. I definitely wouldn't go that far (but of course, Seanbaby always goes as far as he can — he probably wipes his butt with Deadly Towers cartridges…just because he can). But make no mistake: Deadly Towers is no gem, either. One of the reasons it is loathed by many is that it is insanely frustrating and difficult. Some of the first enemies you encounter in the game require you to stand in the same spot for a minute, hitting them about fifty times with your wimpy starting sword to kill them. Most of us who played it at all would have killed ourselves long ago if not for the famous "EF or FE Code" (thank you, Nintendo Power) that gives you one of the bells pre-burned and the best armor and weapons (To use the code, start the game, die, then add "EF" or "FE" to the start of your password). Using that trick, the game actually becomes bearable to play for someone who's not swimming in mystical nostalgia.
So imagine my surprise when, back in 2003, my best friend called me up and announced that he was going to beat Deadly Towers — without cheating. "Gasp! Are you insane, man?!" I stumbled, almost dropping the phone as I fell from my chair. No, he replied…he took it as a challenge — a challenge to his gaming might, endurance, and ability. He wanted to be one of the twelve people in the world to actually complete the game as intended (ten of which are former Japanese grade-schoolers, no doubt, who seem to have a sadistic drive to consume even the most insanely difficult games). With no strategy guides or maps available to guide him, not even on our precious Internet (save for the 1st dungeon map in the manual), he set out on his mission. I set out along with him, playing it simultaneously as we talked on the phone, but I eventually gave up half-way through. It was just too tedious for me. Over the next month, he not only completed the game entirely, but mapped all of its completely useless dungeons (which you don't even have to enter to beat the game), and found most, if not all, of the secret exits in the towers, which contain special weapon upgrades and the like.
So without further delay, I present to you, published for the first time ever on the Internet (in English, anyway), The Secret Maps of Deadly Towers [cue mind-blowing music]. And what's more, instead of spending countless hours transcribing them into some legible computerized format, I am presenting them in the artist's original hand, for extra charm and authenticity. Their format might also give you more of an idea as to what an epic accomplishment this really is. The intrepid artist's name? Ben Johnson. From now on, let these be known as The Johnson Maps.
Yep, those were the days: when we all had to make our game maps by hand.
How come there's no "Dungeon A" map, you ask? Because it's already mapped in the Deadly Towers manual. Oh, and the maps are in Adobe Acrobat PDF format for easy printing (didn't want you to have to fiddle with printing letter-sized JPEGs, you know).
If anyone else actually likes this game, speak now, or forever will Deadly Towers roast in the pits of Internet game-punditry hell!