Towers: Lord Baniff’s Deceit, Atari ST

Towers: Lord Baniff’s Deceit was first released for the Atari ST by JV Enterprises in 1993. It is a first-person RPG in the style of Dungeon Master, with tile-based movement and real-time combat.

The aim of the game is to make your way up a multi-level tower, to defeat Lord Baniff who resides at the top of it. You start the game with no weapons, armour or items and must find and use what you can as you explore. Using a combination of mouse-clicks and key-presses you move around the maze-like corridors, find and carry useful items, and fight with any monsters you encounter in real-time.

You can cast spells using combinations of words that you click on in the information panel, and you learn which combinations work from scrolls that you find as you progress. There are even two slots so you can ready two spells at once, which is an innovation on Dungeon Master‘s spell-casting. To prepare a spell you must first click on one of the two buttons to the left of each spell slot, which will then allow you to click on the orange words to add them to the slot. I was confused by this initially, but eventually figured it out. When you have a spell prepared you then click on the slot to cast it, although it won’t always work, and some spells can even damage or kill you if you try them (one spell, called ‘Magic Hemlock’ requires “Ha Ha” to cast, but you’d better not try it because it’ll just poison you. This is Lord Baniff basically f**king with you by leaving harmful spell recipes in the tower for you to ‘try’).

Towers: Lord Baniff’s Deceit is an obvious clone of Dungeon Master, since many of the game’s features are directly-lifted from that game. And – while it’s by no means a bad game – it is very much lacking in colour and speed, which does place it well behind Dungeon Master in terms of aesthetics and absorbing gameplay. If you can put up with the slow speed of the game, though, you might enjoy it. Towers is atmospheric and tense; has some nice touches (like the head bob, and the windows with views through them), and some of the monsters are good too.

Apparently two players can play the game cooperatively by linking two computers up, although I haven’t tried it, but it does sound interesting. For most players, though, Towers will be a single-player only experience, and probably a turgid one. I enjoyed it to a certain extent, but I’m a sucker for old, obscure RPGs of this kind.

Ports of Towers were made to MS-DOS PCs in 1994, and to the Game Boy Color in 2000. A sequel to this game – called Towers II: Plight of the Stargazer – was released for the Atari Falcon in 1995, the Atari Jaguar in 1996, and for Windows PCs in 1997.

More: Towers: Lord Baniff’s Deceit on Wikipedia

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