Deadly Towers boxart

Not so much deadly, just irritatingly crappy.

Deadly Towers is an action RPG developed by Lenar and exclusively-licensed by Irem as a software title for the NES. Released in Japan in December 1986 and North America in September of 1987, it was actually one of the earliest RPGs in North America. The game was originally called Hell Bell (魔鐘, mashō) in Japan, known as and was going to be called Hells Bells in the US, but was changed due to Nintendo of America's censorship policies at the time and to not affiliate with AC/DC's song of the same name.


Prince Myer is about to take the throne of his Kingdom Of Willner, when a shadowy kami named Khan rises from the lake and takes form of a man. The kami greets Prince Myerand informs him that Rubas, the "Devil of Darkness", is about to overtake the kingdom by using seven magic bells capable of summoning an army of monsters. Prince Myer must travel to the northern mountain to burn the Seven Bells in the sacred flame, burn down the seven bell towers in Rubas' magic palace and, ultimately, defeat Rubas himself to restore peace.

Why it Sucks

  1. Horrible graphics. The protagonist (Prince Myer) looks nothing like the guy on the U.S. cover, he looks more (or less) like in the Japanese cover of the game who looked cartoonish and covered with armor, the palette is limited and ugly, the enemy designs are either uncreative or ugly or both and the environments are so repetitive that playing with a map of the game on hand is pretty much mandatory to avoid getting lost.
  2. The plot is boring and only explained in a long block of text at the start of the game.
  3. There are too many enemies on-screen and they all take upwards of 20 hits to kill while they can kill the player in just a couple of hits.
  4. Your only method of attack is throwing a sword, which must leave the screen every time you throw it before you can attack again. Even the manual says "you have no confidence in this sword."
  5. The environments are isometric but the characters and items are not.
  6. You can die instantly from falling off the edge of cliffs, which happens easily due to enemies knocking the player back when they hit you
  7. Each dungeon is not only ridiculously big but some doors warp you to the opposite side of the dungeon (think the mazes in Pac-Man or the NES version of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom).
  8. When you enter another door in the dungeon, the stack of balls that forms like a centipede spawn in front of you and you'll get hit instantly by surprise and get killed in seconds. There's no way to tell if it’s a trap or not due to the lack of in-game map.
  9. There's no in-game map or on-screen instructions. All you can do is just walk around aimlessly.
  10. The game's currency is called Ludder. The game never tells you what it is, so you're left to the wayside when it comes to buying stuff. (According to Urban Dictionary, "ludder" means "cheap-ass hoe.")
  11. You're very limited in how much Ludder you can carry at once and some of the items in the shops cost almost as the exact amount of Ludder the game allows you to carry.
  12. Stores are only found in secret warps that require either a walkthrough or dumb luck to find.
  13. Every boss uses the exact same strategy and attacks.
  14. Music is very annoying due to the fact that it repeats from the very beginning every time you leave/enter another room.
  15. Some enemies when killed drop items that are impossible to reach because the enemies often float around the very top of the screen.
  16. You have to walk into a "sacred flame" to destroy each of the 8 bells you get from killing each boss and reach the final area and boss. If you walk into the flame without collecting any bells you instantly die.
  17. The password system only saves which items you collected (health upgrades, bells etc) before you die, meaning that every time you respawn you get sent back to the very beginning of the game with all the items you collected from the previous run. There's no way to continue where you left off.


This game is #1 on the list of "Top 20 Worst NES Games of All-Time."

The AVGN declared this game a "special topic" for an episode, having his fans play the game and mail in their responses. He got over 6,000 emails for this one game.

Sean Reiley, writing in 2001 for his comedy website, dismissed it as "the worst Nintendo game of all time."

Joystiq suggested the game be released to the Virtual Console, despite that "Deadly Towers is the most frustrating game on the NES. It may be the most frustrating game of all time."

Despite its hate and reputation, Deadly Towers was a best-selling title in 1987. Some critics did praise it at the time for its strategy elements, being an RPG.