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The Nightmare of Druaga

Developer: Arika | Publisher: Namco
Players: 1 Player Game | Release Date: 10/26/04 | Genre: RPG

Back in the 1980's Namco released an Arcade title called The Tower of Druaga. This game put players deep in a dungeon for some real-time hack and slash action. These type of games don't come out that often so I was pretty surprised to see The Nightmare of Druaga released. Unfortunately, this game is just not my cup of tea.

Picking up right where the arcade title left off. The world is thrown into chaos once again and Gil must set off on a quest in a sealed tower basement to save his girlfriend and destroy all evil. This is a nice premise but the problem with the game begins with the tedious and monotonous gameplay. On each floor of the tower, players must navigate through a maze to find a key so they can continue on to the next level. Each floor is in complete darkness but you carry the blessing of the goddess Ishtar that provides you light. This light will begin to slowly go out on each level and you must sacrifice items on each floor to restore the brightness of your light.

Gameplay is turn based. For every movement or action you make, it will use up your turn. Enemies also move in this way too. The speed of monsters is indicated by the color of their feet. A blue glow at the monsters' feet means that Gil can move faster and a Red color means the monsters will move faster. The same is true for attacks. A Red monster will attack first and a Blue monster will attack second. On just about every floor you will be hunted by a higher level class of monsters. They are always stronger than any other monster on the particular level and will keep hunting you until you leave the floor or die. If you do happen to die you will lose all items you have and half your money. That is a bit harsh of a penalty so avoid death at all costs.

Because of the danger you can encounter at any moment, each floor becomes quickly boring. You must do the same exact ritual on each floor through the entire game. Rinse, recycle, and repeat. While it is possible to obtain quests from some townsfolk and go off into special dungeons to complete their quests, it is still basically the same formula you are following but you aren't getting closer to saving your girl and defeating evil.

The saving system is extremely annoying. Players will have their game automatically saved when entering and leaving dungeons. If you choose to save in town, the game will automatically turn itself off. A quick warning to you though. If you turn off the game without saving, you will be lectured about cheating and will have to answer around 50 questions to continue in the game. Pray you don't have a power outage while playing.

Visually the game looks very dated and the title just doesn't have any personality to the visuals. Overall, I would not recommend this title. While some may find it to be enjoyable, I would strongly suggest renting before purchasing this title.

By Kaleb Rutherford - 11/20/04
ESRB Details: Fantasy Violence, Mild Language
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Screenshots for The Nightmare of Druaga

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