The Deadly Tower of Monsters (PC) Review

By Athanasios 19.01.2016

Review for The Deadly Tower of Monsters on PC

A ninja with cleavage as deep as the mines of Moria on the cover, promises of excessive violence, retro aesthetics… these are just some of the various marketing tools in the industry. One particularly common nowadays is the use of a unique concept; not unique in terms of gameplay, but in terms of style and overall presentation. ACE Team's recent Abyss Odyssey, for instance, is a perfect example of such gimmicks, and, therefore, it's kind of hard not to be cautious with their new, vintage-esque homage to '60s low-budget monster flicks, the B-Movie extravaganza called The Deadly Tower of Monsters.

A space shuttle hanging from thin strings crash-lands on a planet, and one of the worst actors imaginable emerges from it, playing the part of *drum roll* Dick Starspeed! Aided by the sultry alien dame Scarlet Nova and his trustful robot named… Robot, the hero will climb the gargantuan "Deadly Tower of Monsters(TM)" in order to defeat the Emperor, or die trying - and all this while someone explains how each scene was shot. The existence of a narrator has a very simple, albeit very original, explanation, since this strange specimen of an action game is in fact a movie that is being re-released on DVD format, and the director of this freak show has stepped in to add his own commentary. Minutes into this wacky adventure and the protagonist will have to face actors in monster suits, stop-motion dinosaurs and aliens, hand-drawn special effects, and all sorts of shoddy-crafted sets.

Screenshot for The Deadly Tower of Monsters on PC

From the robot that holds a sexy, fainted damsel on the title screen to the corny orchestral tunes that bob along, to the hokey performances and attacks from the hordes of horrible Claymation monsters and aliens, it's pretty obvious that The Deadly Tower of Monsters takes its cue from films such as The Giant Claw, Killers from Space, and Invasion of the Saucer Men. In other words, this is an unapologetic tribute to all things B-Movie, from the way they came into existence, to the end result itself.

Besides the wonderful VHS quality audio and 35mm film visuals that hit the spot so hard that it hurts, the sometimes silly, sometimes satirical, and always obnoxious commentary from the high-as-a-kite director will surely get some laughs, despite not being a masterpiece of comedic writing. After the initial, simple comments on monster/prop design, he will then start blabbering about behind-the-scenes events, explain how "a woman would never save the man!", or simply get flabbergasted when he learns that a major thing in those "videogames kids play" is killing monsters; "But sir…," says the young audio technician, "Your movies are violent too" only to hear the director's response: "That's… different. What I do is… art! - and no, not even this youngster's mania with "logic" and "plot holes" escapes being parodied here.

Screenshot for The Deadly Tower of Monsters on PC

As wonderful this so-bad-that-it's-good cinematic mood is, inevitably it will lose its touch. Thirty minutes deep into this tiny, four-hour journey, and the hero team will have seen more than 50% of what is offered - twice. What about the game, though? Unfortunately, ACE Team put so much weight on the pretty wrapping that it forgot what to place inside the box, resulting in a stunningly simplistic excuse for an action title. The goal is simple: reach the top of the eponymous, stratosphere-penetrating Deadly Tower of Monsters. All three heroes can jump, roll-dodge, use both melee and ranged weaponry, and activate special moves that have a cooldown time. Furthermore, they can upgrade their arsenal by spending Cogs, level-up passive skills (damage, health, energy) with points acquired by completing missions, and… and that's all about it. Nothing innovative, but also nothing bad, so what's the big problem here?

Screenshot for The Deadly Tower of Monsters on PC

Despite the controls being somewhat clunky, everything from the first critters to the final big cheese is way too easy to kill, and thusly very boring. Secondly, besides one unique skill for each character, all three are identical. Collecting Cogs for the weapons can get somewhat trickier (to the point of being entertaining), since it requires straying away from the very linear path and do a little bit of out of the box thinking. Finally, congratulations to the developer for giving achievements a reason to exist, because they are actually the game's missions and, if this adventure had any hard parts that required levelling-up, everything would surely be much better.

Even if some do find The Deadly Tower of Monsters to their liking, and actually manage to remain 100% focused and interested throughout the ride, there's little incentive to play through it again. Given its tiny duration, this should be as speedrunning-friendly as Super Mario Bros. and, similar to diamonds like Super Metroid or Resident Evil, have all kinds of goodies awaiting those that would rapidly reach the end. Unfortunately, the only redeeming factor here is the comedic "Director's Commentary". Then again, why not enjoy that through a simple YouTube "Let's Play?"

Screenshot for The Deadly Tower of Monsters on PC

Cubed3 Rating

5/10
Rated 5 out of 10

Average

There's no denying that style is an integral part of videogames. The thing is, though, that when 'looking good' becomes the main focus, and throws substance out of the window in the process, things tend to start leaning towards the disappointing side of the scale; and that's the problem with The Deadly Tower of Monsters. While far - very far in fact - from being a terrible piece of software, without the B-Movie aesthetics and the funny narration from the Director and his unfortunate audio technician - which it nails - this is just an action game, and an average one at that.

Developer

ACE Team

Publisher

Atlus

Genre

Adventure

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  5/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

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