VC&G Exclusive:
Secret Deadly Towers Maps Revealed!

January 11th, 2006 by Benj Edwards

Deadly TowersThe 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.

Deadly TowersMy 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.

Deadly TowersSo 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).

Deadly Towers: The Johnson Maps

Dungeon Map B (Click image for PDF File)
Deadly Towers: The Johnson Maps

Dungeon Map C (Click image for PDF File)
Deadly Towers: The Johnson Maps

Dungeon Map D (Click image for PDF File)
Deadly Towers: The Johnson Maps

Dungeon Map E (Click image for PDF File)
Deadly Towers: The Johnson Maps

Dungeon Map F (Click image for PDF File)
Deadly Towers: The Johnson Maps

Dungeon Map G (Click image for PDF File)
Deadly Towers: The Johnson Maps

Misc. Notes #1 (Click image for PDF File)
Deadly Towers: The Johnson Maps

Misc. Notes #2 (Click image for PDF File)

If anyone else actually likes this game, speak now, or forever will Deadly Towers roast in the pits of Internet game-punditry hell!

79 Responses to “VC&G Exclusive:
Secret Deadly Towers Maps Revealed!”

  1. medarch Says:

    Is there anyone over there who can decipher these diagrams and hints?

  2. RedWolf Says:

    I don’t know. But ah; that’s the beauty of it.

  3. Stanley Says:

    Why, I can read them all just fine.

  4. Adam Says:

    We also beat it and made our own maps, with no help. Or cheats. It took us 6 months. I would love to play it again and go into the wayback machine.

    Thanks for the memory rush

  5. RedWolf Says:

    That’s awesome. I think beating Deadly Towers is definitely a challenge that all “serious gamers” should attempt. 🙂

  6. Nate Says:

    Wow, you have no idea what this article means to me!!
    I, too, harbor romantic nostalgia for Deadly Towers, and I can’t say how many times I have found myself lost in thought over its memory. The bit about “wanting to see through the windows” is dead on. When I was a kid, I was so mystified about how some of the cracked glass resembled sad and happy demon faces. Terrible or not, there is a sublime mystery to this game that, frankly, is absent from so many others. Indescribable, but poignant all the same. Many thanks!

  7. RedWolf Says:

    I definitely agree with you about the sublime mystery, Nate. Glad someone else out there likes the game — I know my friend will be happy to read your comment as well.

  8. haberdasher Says:

    I remember having bought and played Deadly Towers years ago – and having pulled my hair out over the mind-numbing repetition. While this game failed to capture my imagination, I am impressed at the endurance of the intrepid Ben Johnson. To finally get an idea of just how huge those maps were – boggles my mind.

    On a positive note, I remember the bouncing globs as having remarkably smooth animation.

  9. Todd Says:

    I, also, remember fondly the almost mystical sense of enchantment that this game gave me so long ago. I rebought it again back in the late 90’s with the intent of beating it w/o cheating, which I did, and loved it. I tried mapping out some of the dungeons back in the 80’s on graph paper, until I realized it really wasn’t necessary, and was very time consuming. Anyway, I love this game, and I love this article.

  10. RedWolf Says:

    Thanks for the comments, guys! I think, after watching a tool-assisted speed run through Deadly Towers, that the most impressive feat about Ben Johnson’s run through DT is exactly that he took an enormous amount of time to map out all of the huge and useless dungeons. So now they are finally all documented, albeit in a charmingly sloppy way. 🙂 The question is.. why did the developers put those usless dungeons into the game in the first place? I should play the Japanese version of DT and see if it’s different.

  11. Todd Says:

    The dungeons aren’t completely useless. There are some very good armor and weapon powerups to be found only in the dungeon shops (Shot out to Broderbund for making the shop entrances invisible). The “EF/FE” cuts right to the chase and gives you all the best equipment, eliminating the need for the dungeons altogether. I found it just as easy to randomly wander the dungeons until the shops are found, however. The inclusion of them in the grande scheme of things seems to serve as a really easy-to-program way of extending the length of the game’s quest.

    It really would have made more sense (and probably wouldn’t have been to hard to implement) if the dungeon and shop entrances were visible, though.

  12. Chrissy Says:

    Does anyone know the purposes of the following items?
    golden key
    red scroll
    red necklace

  13. RedWolf Says:


    Check out a transcription of the manual here:

    Hope that helps.

    Actually…I just looked at the manual and it looks like it doesn’t help for those items. Anybody else know?

  14. Nikoz Says:

    I love this game. I played it way back in the 1980’s when first released. I remember beating it, but I’m pretty sure I used the code to win. Johnson you are a legend! You are now a Gaming God to those of us who frequent these virtural 80’s neiborhood hangouts that are the retro websites we all love and gather at! Deadly Towers is special to me… it has a very real power to those of us who played it as children. We keep coming back to it. Who cares if its the most hated NES game of all time? It’s a cult classic. It has a hardcore following. The artwork and music pull at our nostalgic strings. This game deserves a shrine-site! (fansite) Johnson, in the halls of gamerdom, I salute you! I saved my copies of The Johnson Maps. They are now a part of my insanely huge gaming collection. GOONIES NEVER SAY DIE!!

  15. Shawn Says:

    My family still has our original copy of this, but I haven’t played it in a while.I never knew that there were multiple dungeons until reading something online a year or two ago. Now that I have access to these maps, I should probably play the game again, just for the heck of it.

  16. Orilius Says:

    I love this game. I had it way, way back in the day and, just the other day, I wondered why there was no sequel to it. But, then again, I loved Ninja Gaiden III, as well. So I could just be psychotic.

  17. Xadius Says:

    I was also surprised that everyone has a dissatisfaciton with the game. However, I can’t object since I haven’t played the game for over 18 years (I was two when I played the game; no kidding), and the ROM version of the game is broken. It was only today when I found out the game’s name and content.

    I kept think about the game for years, and I’m not sure if what I played long ago is the videogame equivalent of “Ishtar” or not.

  18. DocWoody Says:

    I beat this thing back in the day, but wasn’t able to until I started mapping the entrances to parallel worlds and secret rooms. That’s the only way to get the level 3 armor and weapons. For 5 of the 7 tower bosses, you can just stand in a corner and pound away with wimpy swords and their fireballs never get to you. For Death Bear and Centipede this is not the case. Death Bear always got in too many hits on my level 2 armor before my “nomal” sword could finish him off. The level 3 stuff is so good it’s trivial to tear through the towers. However, you have to beat the Great Wings last, because his castle has the blue necklace. Its invincibility is the only way I have found to kick Rubas’ ass in the end.

    And no, I never attended a Japanese elementary school 😉

  19. Mike Says:

    I don’t know how I did it when I was nine, but I beat this game without the EF/FE trick. I even found the key, I’m not sure where, as that was over 15 years ago. However much this game could make you want to destroy inanimate objects, it certainly created an excellent sense of satisfaction, despite the banal ending. As far as killing Rubas: kill Wheeler last, to get the Magic Mace (or search the dungeons after all of the bells are burned), and Rubas is killed in a matter of seconds.

  20. DootDootDootdoo Says:

    It was definetly the music that iced this game (I call it the “Kevin Manthei effect”). If anyone has heard the Galtee Reel by Silly Wizard, they will recognize part of it from deadly towers. This is the sort of music people in Ireland would play if their instruments were 8-bit.

    The rewards were proportional to the risk, which made it fun. You stumble into a parallel zone, defeat overwhelming opposition, and win some awesome item. Hack ‘n slash at its finest. It only got easier.

    Lots to explore, too. Made the game seem bigger than just the bell-burnin’ quest.

  21. Cyann Says:

    God I missed this game. Found a good copy for my Emulator and decided to give it a go for old times sake. For the life of me I ca’t remember or find any information on the Magic Key or the Red Scroll. Any input?

  22. Adam Says:

    Wow!! This game takes me way back!! I remember being insanely frusterated by this thing!! I tried that EF/FE code at the begnning, and it got me as far to the end guy, Rubas..could never beat the guy though!! Thanks to Roms and Emulators, I was able to play thw whole way through and beat it! That sword at the beginning was to darn slow though!!

  23. alex Says:

    I remember playing this back when it was brand spanking new and EVERY game that you could get your hands on got a whirl and was beaten no matter how bad it was. I remember searching every room like a maniac to find all the hidden entrances. This along with Athena were some of the most frustrating games due to the poor control. Fun as hell though.

  24. Halcyon Says:

    I had no qualms with the game’s control. I must admit, though, it was before my time, so I had to settle for an emulator…

    I love it though, even though it’s crazy difficult. But, I like the Ninja Gaiden series and Halo on Legendary and Scythe 2 (a crazy difficult Doom WAD), so maybe I love it *because* it’s crazy difficult.

    And Ben Johnson? He’s a freakin’ god.

    It’s good to know I’m not alone in loving the game. :E

  25. Ian Says:

    I too love this game. I can’t believe that there are those that hate this game. This game rocks. I remeber buying the game as a kid and i played the hell out of it. I still remeber the music. I played it all the way throuhg with out the EF/FE code and beat it. Rubas was hard. I do like the way they hid the entrances to the shops. I play D&D as an adult and used to when I was younger. I think that Nintendo or sommeon should remake this game but hold true to the format and style of gameplay. This was the first game I ever played all the way throough on the Nintendo. I spent hours playing this game. This game haunts my dreams and when i think about it it makes me smile. it takes me back to when I was child and life was easy and gaming was sweet. I didn’t need a Xbox or PS 2. All I needed was my favorite drink some sugar and Prince Meyer to kick butt throuhg the dungeons and burn the bells. To all who have played this game and cherish it as I do I say “Game On.”

  26. mike Says:

    after 17 years , i played deadly towers again.what a great game. not great on graphics but still one of my all time favs. thanks for the maps. i still remeber using graph paper way back when .

  27. Erik Says:

    I never did understand the parallel worlds when I played it, the inconsistencies confused me causing me to quit. My Step dad and I would stay up late playing and mapping the dungeons together. We would label the monsters in each room, the red blobs were called ‘tits.’I accidentally entered a code that gave me several items, so I was able to burn some bells before quiting. Old games like this had charm because you had to map it manually. New games have auto map and auto journal which are nice, but young gamers can’t ‘get into’ a gme quite the same way.

  28. JDubs Says:

    Holy crap. This game takes me back to Christmas 1987. I saw this video game in KB Toys and said, ‘It’s beautiful, I need to get it.” The box had this cool, muscular, Conan (the Barbarian) looking warrior on it that really appealed to my D&D, uber-nerd 11 year old psyche. I read the back of the box and the game sounded so damn cool. I was so excited, I could hardly wait to get it. I was going to play this game and go on adventures and get awesome weapons. In all honestly, I was more excited about this gift than any other gift I was to receive as a child. I’m not lying, I don’t know why but I was walking on air through the month of December. I opened my gifts on Christmas Eve and quickly read the manual, hardly controlling myself. My parents allowed me to play just a little because it was so late and I put the game in the NES and the character was not cool looking, he looked like little kid with a buffalo helmet on and the enemies were balloons. That night I think I cried myself to sleep. It really ruined Christmas and formed the foundations of my pessimistic and angry personality. I returned the game for Ghosts N Goblins – which also sucked.

  29. Benj Edwards Says:

    Great story, JDubs. I’m sorry that Deadly Towers broke your heart. 🙁

  30. Patrick Says:

    I can really identify with this one. I dream of completing old, obscure games that most people don’t like (Unlimited Saga anyone?). And yes, I did cheat using the FE/EF code to complete DT. For shame. One question: How does Ben Johnson feel about his achievement? Was it worth the time and pain?

  31. Eric Says:

    I found what the golden keys does. Do you remember those 2 guards that move together when you try to pass them? Well, they don’t do that anymore when you have the key. Make sure you equip it in order to use it. You do not really need it to win the game. It is just a shortcut to the towers. Please email me if you have any troubles with this. It works everytime for me. (Nintendo Entertainment System used for game)

    THE ABSOLUTE QUICKEST WAY TO BEAT THIS GAME FROM MEMORY: (you can do it from memory everytime, yes). It takes about 6-8 hours to do if you are a beginner without cheating. Yes it is worth the time and the pain. You can absolutely say you are a true gamemaster to beat this game. It took a grand pooh-bah (spelling is probably wrong) gamemaster (me) to figure this out. I spent more than 200 hours playing this game to find out it could be done the easiest way here. Take a moment of silence now for my lost childhood.

    And now the instructions:

    1. Maximize heart containers in the beginning: First collect the 2 heart containers near the beginning of the game and then jump off a cliff and die. Keep doing this until you max out on heart containers, or they do not appear anymore. You will probably have about 200 max hit points. The rest you will get in the towers. Then proceed to the next step.

    2. The only friendly dungeon: From the starting point of the game, go up, and then up again (first doorway of the right of this bigger room. Make your way to the right of this room where there is a hidden dungeon (Easiest dungeon in the game) Hold left when you are being transported to this dungeon or you will die! Kill the single snake in this room and be ready to go down. When you take the down doorway, try to catch the bottom left section of the door aqs to end up directly in the next room to the left of the door and run left. out of the room, otherwise you will be hit by the pole blunder (or fountain of treasure is what I call it.) Go back right and shoot at the treasure generator (pole blunder until it dies. It will leave about 5 or 6 pieces of treasure. Do this until you have maxed out your health and ludder. Then go down from the pole bluder room (the same way you did last lime as not to hit the pole blunder in the next room. Go down until you cannot go down anymore. Then go right (you should be in a room with a shop and 4 slinky type enemies. Buy the items and armor you need and equip them. Go back to the pole blunder (treasure generator) to get more ludder. Go back to the room with the shop and go right. There is a second shop (there should be a single bat in this room). Buy the armor and items you need and then go back to the pole blunder (treasure generator again.) Now you at least have some armor, fill up on the red drinks and buy one scroll at the shop. Use this scroll to go to the towers. If you have already burned a few bells the items in the shop change (gram the stronger drinks then Red, orange, green, blue – I think. I did it with just oranges). If you need to exit the dungeon without a scroll that is easy. From the second shop, all the way up and then to the right. The exit will have a colored flooring and a single flame. You will have to manually make your way to the towers then. Just keep going and you will eventually find the towers.

    3. Explore each tower before figting the boss and grabbing the bell: Each tower has the best weapon (second to the splendor), armor, shield, double shot, and gauntlet. All the rest of the dungeons have weaker versions of the items. Do not waste your time in mapping the dungeons. Explore each of the towers secret rooms/parallel zones. (There is a section in each tower. There may be an extra one as you are approaching each tower. One secret room will have nothing in it at first. You will have to find the second secret room with the blue necklace. Remember where this is. Will be the last tower that you will burn down. If you have the necklace, it will make beating the last guy in the game so much easier. Grab the armor, weapons, and items. Use them immediately. If you die, you start at the beginning with the item. Go back to step 2.

    3. After you have collected from the towers the :Dragon Slayer, Gauntlet, Hyper Helm, Kings Shield, the Armor (I forget what it is called but it is gold), and double shot (if you like the parallell shot better, that is up to you) go and collect each bell. After you retrieve each bell, burn it. You will get HP back after each one. Go to the last tower, collect the blue necklace, kill the boss and burn the last bell.

    4. Make your way back to where you started the game. go into the second doorway this time (it should be opened after you burned the 7 bells.) Collect the splendor on your way to the room and equip it. (Make sure you have a slot open for it on your items.) Kill the first two enemies and drink potions as necessary. When you get to the last one, use the necklace and giove the enemy a good pounding. You now have just won the game.

  32. Benj Edwards Says:

    Thanks for the tips, Eric. I might just try beating it now using your guide. Also, thanks for telling us what the the Golden Key does. I’ve always wondered that.

  33. Scott Says:

    I loved this game and got it when it came out. I was about 14 at the time. The game drew me in right away with it’s title music and to this day I still think the game is very imaginative. Playing it I remember thinking there was so much mystery to everthying. Like, what are these monsters, falling into hidden dungeons, and trying to figure out what some of the items I found or bought actually did. I also always wanted to look through the windows in the background to see what was there.

    The soundtrack has been greatly criticized but it’s one of the big reasons this game was able to draw me in. It really gave it a cool midevil feel to it with a touch of the mysterious. I’d have to say even though I was hooked from the start it was the difficulty that kept me coming back as I died over and over and over…….and over and over. Also, the feeling I got when i accidentally and finally discovered a paralell world in one of the towers to find an upgrade to the horrible armor and weapons the game starts you with, was mindblowing to me. That sent me on a quest to find every hidden thing in the game which I eventually did without cheating or using the EF/FE code.

    Oh…and I thought it was really cool that you could find a locked gate right at the beggining of the game. I knew something was behind there and I knew it was big, my only gripe is that Rubas was to easy to kill.

  34. Benj Edwards Says:

    I love the music of Deadly Towers, especially the opening intro music. It feels so epic that you know there’s a massive, important quest ahead. I also like the dungeon music, even though it’s repetitive. So overall, I’d say it’s a good game for music.

  35. Dan Says:


    Interesting stuff. I remember beating this game back in the day and I didn’t use cheats. I think I beat it more than once. I have it several times in my collection, and recently started playing it again on emulator. I will admit, revisiting this has left me a little bit dissappointed. I didn’t remember the dungeons being this excruciating. I think the part I liked the most about this game was its music, but it was good in a couple of other areas.


  36. Buckaroo Barnesai Says:

    I absolutely loved the music in this game.

    Here’s a shortcut (the game can be beaten within a couple hours) and few more tips if anyone’s interested:

    I just stock up on red potions from the shop nearest the starting point of the game (4 or 5 of them is good), collect heart containers until I get 200 HP, then go directly to the towers. I just avoid the dungeons altogether–the best stuff is all hidden in parallel zones/secret rooms inside and outside the towers. Collect the best armor, helmet, shield, gauntlet, Dragonslayer, Parallel/Double shot, and the blue necklace before fighting any bosses. Hyper boots (IIRC, it’ll be in a secret room within a secret room outside one of the towers), a protective mace, and a golden cup are also there for the taking, though they’re not as essential.

    Most of the enemies, including those swarms of little ghosts in those parallel zones, can’t reach you if you stay in these two corners of each floor (marked “s”).


    While exploring the parallel zones inside the towers (particularly the ones with the hyper armor & helmet–the tower with the purple/white exterior has the zone with helmet; the tower near the narrow bridge has the one with the armor), climb up/down the ladders just enough to make the screen scroll and reveal any ghosts. Then get to a safety corner as quickly as possible and wait for the ghosts. Take it nice and slow. With the hyper armor & helmet equipped, most enemies will only do little damage if they hit you.

    I get the gold shield last because it’s in a large secret room full of fast-moving bats (outside the tower with a reddish exterior, near the very bottom). It’s a good idea to have a potion or two before venturing in there because your HP will go down fast, even with the best armor, and it’s hard to nail those bats because they dart around so quickly. The golden gauntlet and Dragonslayer are also in secret rooms, though those are somewhat easier to clear out, and once you have Dragonslayer equipped, the enemies die quicker when they bump into you & will inflict less damage.

    Be especially careful when fighting Beat Plant, even with the best armor equipped. For some reason, his fireballs do a lot more damage than the other bosses.

    No need to look for Splendor. It’ll be sitting there in plain view near the end of the game.

  37. Darrell Says:

    Ah, what great memories this game brings back! I absolutely loved this game as a kid. I remember going to Babbages (a computer game store in the 80’s) and seeing the game. How I wished I could purchase the $40 game (which was a lot of money around 1987 for a kid)!

    I remember calling up the store and asking the storekeeper to read the back of the box to me. How fascinating this game sounded!

    Then, one day, one of my wealthier friends bought the game (his parents actually did). I remember inviting him over often, just to play the game. Here’s some of the memories from the game that are still vivid to this day:

    Stumbling across a hyperzone or parallel world by accident, and seeing a brand new mysterious item sitting in the middle of the screen. “Wow, what could that be?” I wondered to myself. The wonder would only last about 2 seconds as my character was bashed into oblivion by super high speed bats flying around in chaos.

    I remember traversing the random dungeons, trying to find shops selling new and exciting items I had never seen. I did manage to find a shop that actually sold the Magic Mace!

    I remember saving up for the minor armor and weapon upgrades, earning my way in the world. It was a long process, and very tedious, but totally paid off when I finally got the goods.

    I remember the wonderful music that echoed through my room, bringing mystery and intrigue about the towers and the bells. While the sound of games today is by far superior, the music and sounds had charm.

    I remember finding new humanoid creatures in the dungeons that I had never seen before. I tested out how strong they were and how much damage they would do. I remember mapping out the damage, hit points, and attributes of them as I went (too bad I didn’t keep this information).

    Finally, I remember beating the game, without cheating. It was a major goal to accomplish and I’m proud I took the time to do so.

    By the way, the figurine can be used on humanoid creatures (mainly they appear in dungeons) to paralyze them temporarily.

    Thanks for putting this article together. It has brought back great memories for me…

  38. Scott Says:

    This game was ahead of it’s time: It was real discouraging to play at first, but we slowly kept finding reasons to keep playing. Eventually we got the hang of it and got hooked. We never used any cheat codes, didn’t know about them. ” I wish NES would remake this game: Change nothing but grafics.

  39. Abraham Says:

    Great game, wish a remake would be done
    I always remember this game, and the music comes from time to time to my head for an 8bit game this is awesome, imagine on the newest consoles!!!

  40. Eric Says:

    I did the April posting earlier. A cleaner version of the maps can be found at this site. The link was still active as of this posting

    I still love this game!

  41. Russel Says:

    I always loved this game and beat it without maps or codes… Just saved my password explored and wrote down my next password. I cannot remember where anything is anymore. I am actually about to play it again. Thats how I ended up here.

    I too am surprised there is no fan sites. Its not actually that hard once you get into it. Most people don’t even know about the glove upgrades that speed up the sword throw. It was actually one of the first things I found and was glad to see it.

  42. Eric Says:

    This will be my last posting. I promise! I did the other two earlier. Here is a quick video on how to beat deadly towers in less than 13 minutes from the beginning. Somehow, you can by pass a lot of the towers. This will show you how.

  43. PriestoftheAbsurd Says:

    The music is a big part of why this ridiculously difficult game would have allure. The graphics felt otherworldy yet ancient; it seemed duly possible that this little warrior is an ancestral memory.

    When I was a teenager, I thought Prince Meyer was supposed to be a Viking and I literally was naive enouh to think Broderbund was a Scandinavian company. Sure Link was a cool multi-class character in his made-up little kingdom of Hyrule but Prince Meyer was like an ACTUAL VIking of old.

    Fine, I’ll admit it: I theorized this game was a communique from a ancient Viking warrior clan gone game developer. I think I just couldn’t figure out how an otherwise retarded game could have such an incredible VIBE without some actual voodoo involved.

    I only got half of the first dungeon mapped then started playing guitar instead of Video Games. A couple of years later, Nintendo Power ACTUALLY PUBLISHED a password in their vaunted rag and I typed it in to see that OH-MY_GOD this game could actually end.

    I still didn’t put the time in, but I still love this game.

    I got it from Kay-Bee toys as well.
    With paper-route money.
    And I got it home and I said wow, this game is really hard.
    this game sucks.
    But that music is really cool.

  44. PriestoftheAbsurd Says:

    “little kid with a buffalo helmet on and the enemies were balloons.
    …I think I cried myself to sleep that night..
    …formed the foundations of my pessimistic and angry personality..” –Jdubbs

    F##k YEAH!!

    This game has redeemed itself at least by the vastly entertaining hatred it has generated.

    I’m gonna quote the Manual from the game itself on this one:

    “SHORT SWORD — You start the game with this sword. It is so weak, you feel lonely (you have no confidence in this sword).”

    Then in the middle of a hopeless dungeon, the bastards try to sell you a short sword for 100 Ludder!!

    Seanbaby’s critique as the worst NES game ever has produced more pheremones in my angry and pessimistic person since… I can’t remember.

    Just writing this I have had to pick my hysterical ass up off the floor like three or four times.

    Forget about a website. This nostalgia needs a book.

    HUGE PROPS to anyone who drew maps and beat this game without cheating.

  45. Raoul Says:

    I have this game, but never finished it. And my NES still works. There appears to be only one thing to do: play the damned thing. Unfortunately, I have NO STAYING POWER with games like this, so my attempt is likely doomed. But I shall try.

  46. Mike Says:

    I’m shocked to hear that only 12 peole in the world beat this, hopefully that’s sarcasm. There has to be more than 12 people in the world who beat this game without cheating. I beat it several times on the original Nintendo back when I had it in 1988 and I never had any idea that there were actually any cheat codes, maps, or anything other guides available. I didn’t know anyone else who had this game either and received no hints. It took awhile to beat it the first time, but after that it was fairly easy. I think the key was figuring out the timing in when to shoot the sword at something that was moving and hitting it from a distance. But I agree, this is one of my favorite games of all time…the atmosphere, the mystery, and especially the music have to be what was my main draw to it.

  47. Adam Says:

    This game was a pain in the butt for me! With that sword that was so slow, and monsters that took to many hits to kill.

    The boss villians at the top of the towers..!

    Never found it fun, and I wish I knew how unfun it would be before I bought it!

    Now Dragon Warrior 1,2,3,4–those I love!

  48. Justin Says:

    I haven’t played Deadly Towers, but I’m not jumping on the ADTIB (Anti-Deadly Towers Internet Bandwagon) like most gamers/critics do. I was even going to buy a copy yesterday, but my NES doesn’t work. I see a-lot of challenge and fun in this game, I think everyone should give a second chance. Although I only recommend it for professional hardcore gamers who are used to playing on the NES and are looking for a pure challenge the NES library has to offer.
    I hope it’ll be on the Virtual Console.

  49. GEL Says:

    *raises hand* I liked Deadly Towers!

    I was young and convinced that no NES game was humanly beatable. Killing evil Macaroni with a Crotch Sword was awesome. Mostly though I just liked exploring the seemingly endless dungeons of MADNESS!


  50. Nathan Says:

    Wow I beat Deadly Towers as a kid no cheating!

  51. nick Says:

    i played this game for hours, and hours, and hours, turned into days and weeks and months as a kid. I found one of the invisiable dungeons and thought i had found some super secret and spent all day looking for NOTHING. seeing this article makes me reluctantly want to pick it up again and see if i can beat it now…

  52. Grant Says:

    I too have a love for this game and the pregame music. Why was a sequal NEVER made? At the end of the game when you beat it-it mentions the bronze and copper age…

  53. Dustin Says:

    I have to throw in my love for this game. It haunts my childhood memories, playing on the fringes of thought. It’s one of the few videogames I could remember playing (3 or so?) but never knew the name of.. Until I came upon it much, much later…
    It may have been nothing like I remembered, at first, but it soon came rushing back.
    Amazing. Love the music, the meaningless dungeons, everything.

    If you keep burning bells (past 7) it gets really glitchy, it’s rather neat. Makes me think that the modifications post-bell are in a lookup table and the limit was never capped.


  54. gjkbear Says:

    I also would love to see Deadly Towers on the virtual console.

  55. Matt Says:

    You know, with this game often getting brutally slammed by people who have obviously never played it for more than five minutes, it’s nice to see I’m not the only person who enjoyed it.

    I got it alongside Zelda when I got my first NES as a kid. It was difficult, oh do I remember that, but damn… when you get your first bell in that game, you feel like you’ve really achieved something. I remember beating Death Bear for the first time–it was far more rewarding than when I first beat Aquamentis (level 1 boss of Zelda).

    Great music. Especially the opening story theme and the music outside of Death Bear’s tower. The dungeon music is cool, too, because it’s all on a theme, but altered slightly every room.

    I’m just glad to see there are other people who remember it fondly. Thought I was the only one.


  56. Tyler6498SA Says:

    I’m being dared to lp this game and when i turned it on at first it didn’t seem so bad so now it is my quest to beat the game!

  57. McDeath Says:

    I must’ve beat this game dozens of times without the code and many more times with the ef/fe code. I even recall putting in some other code that left me with some items you could buy in shops as well which was quite odd.

    Years later when I got an emulator I started to play the game again and take snapshots of each area and started to recode the number of life points each monster could withstand vs. a shortsword. I’ll look on my hard drive and try to find it. I’m pretty sure I didn’t erase that.

    I always found the dungeons fascinating and would wander around them for hours upon hours. I really wish more of the dungeon rooms would have been more like the main castle. I think the game would have benefitted even more with more hidden rooms and parallel zones and perhaps a few NPCs in the game. A remake would be grand but I think I could deal with the gfx as is rather than a complete remake. Add more content and this game becomes even more golden.

  58. Darian Says:

    For the longest time I figured I was the only person out there who actually liked this super old NES games; I’m glad to see others like it too. My guess is that having played it shortly after it’s release has something to do with my now fond memories of the game.

    One of the toughest things I recall about this game was trying to make it. The “wrap” around dungeons really mucked things up when trying to map out all the rooms on grid paper. It’s cool that you scanned in your maps, thanks!

  59. bigdan201 Says:

    ive recently been playing deadly towers on emulator.. mostly fairly, although i refer to online walkthroughs and use savestates.
    id say that its a good game, its just that it has flaws that make it inaccessible and frustrating to many gamers. the huge dungeons and lack of maps, starting out weak, always restarting at the beginning, and so on. they shouldntve made all the entrances invisible. also, it wouldve been cool if shooting something from far away did more damage, to help balance things out.
    but enough of the criticism. i honestly enjoyed this game as a kid. it captured my imagination, and i see im not the only one. the music is great, the world design is kinda cool, as are some of the enemies.. and something just pulled me into it. the basic concept of the gameplay is good, which also kept me coming back. otherwise, i wouldnt remember it so well even now.
    overall, id say its worthwhile for its novelty and artistic value, as well as the challenge.. and for the strong reactions it provokes from everyone!
    by the way, i picture the state of insanity to be like the dungeons in this game.
    and *I* can beat rubas without any special items!

  60. Jesse Says:

    I beat Deadly Towers when it first came out – when I was 9 years old. I mapped it all then.. still have all the maps in my “Box of Old Nintendo Maps” ..

    I’d love to play the game again. I still have the cartridge, but I’d prefer to play a ROM. Unfortunately, JNES locks up *EVERY FREAKING TIME* I go into the second screen. Any solutions, anyone? Is there a working ROM? Do I just have to not use JNES?

  61. Benj Edwards Says:

    Don’t use JNES. I use Nestopia or FCE Ultra.

  62. Shenoah Allen Says:

    Me and my brother beat this puppy with no help when we were kids. Mapped the whole thing too. Even put what kind of monster was in each room in each dungeon. I wish I still had those maps! It took forever. We didn’t care. for some reason we loved it. We used to sneak into the living room in the middle of the night after our parents went to sleep to play it. It had all these weird secrets and it just went on forever. Guess that was more than 20 years ago. Glad to see not everyone hates it!

  63. Tasha Says:

    I still have the original cartridge and game console which doesnt work now and remember playing this game and hating it. I couldn’t get far in it, i’d get lost in the dungeon or i’d get killed by some stupid critter which knocked me off a ledge. I’m willing to try it again but i’m not really looking forward to it. On another note i hated the music. I need to find a working ROM and emulator.

  64. Voltaic Says:

    This, along with Milon’s Secret Castle, were the only 2 games I ever owned that I never got around to beating. My only video game system that I owned from the age of 5 to the age of 13 was a Nintendo, so I played nearly every game there was to play. Even the “impossible” Battletoads levels were nothing on MSC and Deadly Towers.

    I finally beat MSC a few days ago. I bought it for virtual console on the Wii (Despite 3 years ago my wife buying me a Nintendo and about 100 games, including MSC) because the Save-state feature of Wii helped me immensely. I didn’t have to beat it in one sitting anymore, and could sit on the couch without having to stretch a cord.

    Now… I’m going to have to beat this game. I can’t wait! Thank you for the maps!

  65. Jason Says:

    In my opinion, Acclaim’s Star Voyager is the worst NES game. Although I haven’t played Taboo:The Sixth Sense. I heard it’s not really even a game, rather an interactive tarot card session.

  66. Asif Says:

    the maps made me cry.

  67. Donklephant Says:

    I loved this game as a kid and I get a major hit of nostalgia playing the game now. It’s very much a WTF kind of game to play. I easily threw my controller in rage at it a dozen times over. My dad even raged at it causing him to never play another video game again.

  68. McDeath Says:

    Worse game on nes I ever played was Hylide. God I was so stupid for buying that instead of Final Fantasy.

  69. Bhabho Says:

    For me it’s a great game. As a kid I also played Super Mario and Zelda, I finished both. I have to say that Deadly Towers left me with way more fascinating memories than these two other games. The mystical atmosphere, the secret entrances to the dungeons/rooms/parallel zones and the graphics with those stone castle walls, mysterious windows. And the closed Rubas’s tower gate at the start of the game which always kept me wondering what was behind.

    It had taken me several years to beat the game as a kid. But I was never bored with it. I never used any cheats.

    After reading this thread I took to the attic and found my old Nintendo with the Deadly Towers cartridge. And what made me most happy was that I also found a sheet of paper with the codes to the different stages of the game which I write down as a kid.

    After enjoying the musing for some time I entered the final code giving me all the equipment and the Rubas tower open. My code was different than the one from and mine did not provide the best armor. If anybody would like to meet Rubas again without collecting all the bells, the 54DK1P4WC4 code can do that 🙂

    After several attempts I reached Rubas but I was killed within seconds. So I entered the dungeons to collect more life points and buy some drinks. I remember that as a kid I bought the Magic Mace to fight Rubas. But now I don’t remember in which shop the Mace could be bought. Anybody has a hint? I remember well that it could be bought in a shop in one of the dungeons.

    Not having found the Mace I kept trying to fight Rubas without it. And finally I found a trick. You need to move to the right after you enter Rubas’ room. Be careful not to be hit by one of the beasts circling around him. I shot one of those. Then when you stand close to the lower-right corner of the room Rubas will not touch you! You can comfortably kill him from this position. I was so happy and full of memories when I did it, when I saw the rain of bells and the ending.

    I am also pleased to see other people having sentiment for this game. Long live Deadly Towers!

  70. Jeremy Says:

    Man, this brings back memories. I didn’t really get too far on this game, myself, but I had hours of fun watching my dad play it. I think these maps are great, and I congratulate Ben Johnson on his hard work!

  71. Collin Says:

    We, my older brother and I, having trading up our Atari 2600 + 45 games for an NES with SuperMario brothers and duck, were given the choice of ONE game from toys R us. WE choose Deadly tower over Rygar, mostly due to the Conan-ish high fantasy packaging. so i guess you can add +2 to that short list of ppl that finished this game pre 1989. We were big fans of borderbuad games for the Apple IIe. We were well versed in computer RPGs(Sir-tech,SSi, New world, EA, Origin,etc) and considering that, deadly tower wasn’t a cake walk, but was fully enjoyed by both of us.

  72. Dexter Says:

    I love this game, my dad and I also created the all maps from scratch… back in the day tho, gone now T.T

    I want to make a remake fan-made game of game “Evil Bells” ;)) it was called evil bell here ^_^y.

    I’m just wondering if broderbound or Irem will sue me? =))

  73. Ian Romanick Says:

    My dad and I had a similar experience as JDubs… except we were poor, and we eventually got bored with the other games we had. As a last resort, we sat down and played that damn game through. I think playing that game was the first time I actually got away with cursing… There are so many frustrating things about it… but every time I see it at a vintage game expo or a used game shop I’m tempted… even though I know better!

  74. Christopher Says:

    My dad rented this game for me several times when I was a kid. I could never get far without the cheat password, yet I kept coming back for more. No one at school understood why I wanted to play a character who shuffled around “with swords coming out of his feet,” but I didn’t listen to the naysayers!

  75. Jen Says:

    This was my favorite game as a kid, and I’m glad to FINALLY find other people who don’t hate it! I’ve read so many reviews that blasted the game for no reason other than It’s too hard, and the dungeons are unnecessary. Being hard it what made it FUN! And the dungeons were a way to explore, and get items you wouldn’t find anywhere else! This will always be one of my favorite games.

  76. tom buroughs Says:

    What’s up, y’all?

    I bought Deadly Towers back in ’87 or ’88 for the NES and I’ve always hated it for being so frustrating. Playing this d__m game – dying upon entering random dungeon rooms and spiraling to death from random cliff edges – used to make me cry.

    But somehow you men and women that have posted before me here have made me smile with memories of DT.

    I recently dusted off the ol’ sun-faded NES and have fired up some memories, including this stinker. I’m finally going to beat it.

    All I need is graph paper and a mechanical pencil. Oh, yeah, and human voices like y’all’s.

  77. BobbyP.MV Says:

    I remember my brother asking for this game for his birthday back in 1988. It was nothing like we thought from looking at the box….but it always had this deep mysterious feeling. That comment about being fascinated by the detail and wondering what was behind the windows is dead on. We spent hundreds of hours mapping each dungeon grinding this game. When we finally beat it (without cheating or codes)…the feeling was indescribable. The only other time I ever felt that was when I watched him beat Raiders of the Lost Ark on Arari 2600….that one blew my mind back in 1984.

  78. Andy Says:

    Dark Souls? Bah. Dark Souls is for kids.

    Deadly Towers was a great game back in the day. No maps (we tried making our own but rote memory was better) but you at least got a password. And something interesting, the more powerful you are, the stronger the enemies got; their patterns became much more aggressive. Hours and hours of dungeon crawling…the game was HUGE.

  79. littleterr0r Says:

    I had the same experience. I got the game as a kid and while I never thought it was the best game ever I also never thought it was the worst either. I thought it was pretty good, actually. The Dark Souls of the NES. *runs and hides*

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