Deadly Towers

What the Bell am I getting myself into?

Review Date: March 10, 2021

Release Date: September 1, 1987

Platform: NES

Publishers: Irem, Broderbund

Genre: Adventure

Anecdotes: After my brother returned Kid Icarus, he chose this game to replace it. By this point, we were used to NES games being completely unfair, ridiculously hard, and full of cheap traps. Deadly Towers did a nice job of being all three. We had family over for my birthday in March of 1988. Six of us boys took turns playing the game while the others would go outside in the cool air. Impressively, none of us ever got anywhere of significance. We tried both methods: climbing the tower and entering the first dungeon. For reasons I can’t explain, we continued on anyway, yet still never got anywhere.

Get used to seeing this screen. Is that wall tile laughing at me?

Description: Prince Myer has to obtain seven bells and toss them into a fire. He does this by climbing towers, each of which has a bell and a boss. Defeat them and burn the bells to meet the final boss.

Once a boss is defeated, Myer grabs the bell and brings it here.


  1. The second half of the game is a blast. Once Myer finds all of the upgrades, the swords go much faster, two of them can be on the screen, and far less HP is drained on each hit. Eventually, he just becomes a boss destroying machine, although the boss battles are too easy. See #3 in Negatives.
  2. Each bell needs to be burnt to complete the game, but Myer can burn them anytime he wishes. The best part of this is that Myer gets a full HP refill whenever a bell is burned. This makes it similar to a potion where Myer can head over there whenever he wants to refill HP for 0 Ludder.
  3. The dungeons are horrible, awful places that no player should ever have to suffer through. So why are they under positives? It’s because they are not required in any way! Players can find some nice things in the dungeon shops, but it can all be skipped if players wish. The early towers will be a challenge, but not impossible.
  4. The towers, except for Rubas’ Tower, can be completed in any order. Most towers have a parallel zone and a secret area, both of which hold a prize. Each tower also has a boss and a bell. The only catch is that the door to the tower disappears after grabbing the bell, so any missed items are lost forever once Myer leaves the tower.


  1. Throughout the NES era, Nintendo Power and other voices repeatedly suggested to map out areas if I started getting lost. I was getting lost in the first dungeon, so I started mapping it. Eventually, I had three sheets of paper full of lines and letters, which wasn’t much help. Years into the future, I found out that dungeons are on a 16 by 16 grid and they do wrap around. That would have been nice to know in 1988! It’s insane. How is anyone supposed to remember dungeons of up to 256 rooms? As if that wasn’t bad enough, the entrances are all hidden, so now I’m walking into a hidden trap where the exit could be 100 rooms away. It’s infuriating, and probably a big reason why this game gets so much hate.
  2. Whenever Prince Myer dies, and early in the game, that will be A LOT, he starts back outside the castle, no matter how far along he made it. That means having to go back up the castle every single time, not only risking death, but also risking accidentally finding a dungeon.
  3. The bosses are ridiculously easy. Every single one, except for the Dragon and Rubas, can be defeated by standing in the bottom left corner and firing diagonally. Rubas himself I defeated by running to the far right corner and firing across. Rubas’ attack never hit me.
  4. Knockback is a huge problem. Myer isn’t immune from getting hit multiple times and he’ll get knocked back every time. This can result in some nasty effects: HP hits 0, Myer falls off a cliff, or Myer is booted right out of the room. The first two are quick trips back to the start of the game. The third could either be a cheap trap that kills Myer or force him to reset a room, likely ending the same way as the first two possibilities.

More Screenshots:

Players don’t have to come here, ever, but these Bounder Towers are good for Ludder and hearts.
Ok, how does this person expect to increase sales when the only way into the shop is not only hidden in a dungeon, but also down a ladder? Also, that 232 Ludder price tag is Ludderly ridiculous.
This is one of the towers; I’m not sure the geometry was done right, though.
Yeah, I got the good stuff now! Where’s Rubas?
I should have known a game like this would have a random ice boss in it somewhere.
It’s Rubas! I was able to just safely shoot him from this spot.
What the Bell is “Assistant Intervention?” And who calls himself “Mr. Brave Bull?”
Right. There never was a next time.

Grade: C

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *