About Tower of Doom and Shadow Over Mystara

D&D Tower of Doom arcade unitHistory

Arcade Releases
This website is dedicated to two arcade games... "Dungeons & Dragons: Tower of Doom" and "Dungeons & Dragons: Shadow Over Mystara". Both of these games were made by Capcom. Tower of Doom came out in 1994 and Shadow Over Mystara came out in 1996. They're two of very few arcade games that can be classified under the RPG category; action/RPG to be exact. In this site I'll often be referring to both games as "D&D arcade".

Dungeons & Dragons Colleciton (Saturn)

Dungeons and Dragons Collection for Saturn, box artIn 1999, Capcom released the "Dungeons & Dragons Collection" for the Sega Saturn. It's a compilation of both games. Due to Saturn's limitations, you can only play up to 2 players. They made it so that secrets that require 3 or 4 players can be achieved with only 1 or 2. There are minor modifications to many areas of gameplay, such as changes in spell damage and the removal of certain software bugs. From observing this YouTube video, it seems they also redid most of the voices and added extra battle grunts.

Chronicles Of Mystara PosterChronicles Of Mystara
In June 2013, Capcom re-released Tower of Doom and Chronicles of Mystara together under the name "Chronicles Of Mystara". It was a digital release for the Nintendo eShop, PlayStation Network, Xbox Live Arcade and Steam. New features include a challenge system, drop-in/drop-out online multiplayer using GGPO, and a new "house rules" system will let you change the mechanics, turning it into a time attack or losing money instead of health when damaged, for example. I posted some movie clips from this release.

Battle System

Final Fight meets Secret of Mana; the battle system is a lot like any typical street-fighting game, but much more. Enemies drop gold, money, jewels, or accessories when defeated. You can equip these weapons and accessories they drop. In-between stages you enter a shop screen where you can purchase extra weapons, such as exploding oil, arrows, daggers and hammers. Each character class has their advantages and disadvantages. Each character can gain experience and levels. The Elf, Cleric and Magic-user can cast spells. There's isn't MP; spells can only be used a certain amount of times. Gaining levels increases the amount of times you can cast each learned spell. Spells that are used up can only be restored when you pick up magic scrolls, or when you die.
In Tower of Doom...
The battle system is pretty basic. You browse your inventory and spells in a little box under your HP.
In Shadow Over Mystara...
Screen shot from Shadow Over Mystara's endingSince Shadow Over Mystara is, technically, Tower of Doom's sequel, the battle system went through an improvement overhaul. There are tons more attacks and spells. Some weapons are enchanted with a specific element, such as lightning. Some accessories have attributes, such as protection against fire and boosted strength. Some accessories and relics can be used during battle to cast a spell or summon an elemental spirit. Most of the classes have a couple special attacks that can be executed with a quick button sequence (like special moves in one-on-one fighters). You browse your weapons/items/spells with a ring-like menu like in Secret of Mana. Each character has an inventory menu and the characters who can use magic have two more menus for choosing spells. DON'T FORGET THAT MAGIC-USING CHARACTERS HAVE MORE THAN ONE MENU. If you can't pick up a certain weapon or accessory then that means your inventory is full or that specific character class can't use it.

My Opinion

These games left me in mindless daze of pure classic-gaming ecstasy. What I find most fascinating is that hey're action/RPG. Yes they are. As mentioned above, you can gain levels, browse a Secret of Mana-like menu, cast spells and summon elemental spirits. There's also dialogue, cut scenes, a storyline and replay value. Yes, replay value. Do you want to know why? At several points in these games you can decide where you want to go. And there are TONS of secrets. In Shadow Over Mystara, sometimes where you go depends on the type of character you're using or how fast you can defeat a boss. Now how cool is that?! The Elf chick's battle cry sounds like an orgasmic sexual roar. She does it every time you defeat a boss. If she gets excited that easily, then I wonder what she does when she-- (cough) never mind. Anyway, I need to give you a warning. Once you get addicted to these games, Screen shot from the beginning of Shadow Over Mystarayou'll start catching yourself repeating random spell casts throughout the day, such as the Elf's "MAGIC MISSILE!!" and the Magic-user's "CONJURE ELEMENTAL!" That'll especially occur while you're driving. If you cut someone off in traffic and the angry driver yells out to you, "POWER OF LOVE!" (a spell in Cleric's arsenal) then you'll know that person has been playing Dungeons & Dragons for arcade. Back in the day I'd asked my friends "Hey, wouldn't it be cool if there was an arcade RPG?" It sure was a treat when I learned of these games. Naturally, these games had to be action/RPG. It's not practical to have a menu-based traditional RPG arcade game, for obvious reasons. Anyway, I highly recommend playing Tower of Doom and Shadow Over Mystara to any RPG fan. They're very good. When I first played them I couldn't let go for 3 days! They constantly gave me orgasm after orgasm (figuratively).

Multi-players

Playing these arcade games with one character is like playing an RPG with 1 character; it can make things difficult and boring. Having various characters together makes your battle party efficient. For example, recruiting a Fighter to make up for the Magic-user's lower defense/strength or recruiting the Thief just so you can have her thief abilities available. There are three ways you can play with multiple characters:

With real people. Heh, the obvious way. If you have real life people available to play the game with you, then I highly recommend that you get a USB gamepad for each person. Your computer and Kawaks/MameUI *will* work with every gamepad that you have plugged in. All you need to do is set up each one in the player configuration.

Netplay. Have you ever used ZSNES's zBattle for playing two-player games with people online? It's like a netplay waiting room; it helps you connect with someone via ZSNES when you decide on a game to play. Well, arcade emulation has something like that too, it's called Kaillera. Kaillera works with Kawaks and MameUI, and helps you connect with someone online to play a multi-player arcade game.

By yourself. Just set up the player controls of players 2-4 with your controls. Controlling several characters at once is a bit awkward at first, but you'll get used to it. Try to have your characters stay together so you can kick more ass when attacking a single enemy. If they get too scattered then just run to a corner to quickly rally everyone back up.

4-players in Mystara

How to enable 4 players, animated GIFBy default, Dungeons & Dragons: Shadow Over Mystara only offers up to 2 players. This is how you enable 4 players.

1.
Start up the game and access the Test menu. To access the Test menu in Kawaks press F11, and in MameUI press F2. Choose CONFIGURATION.
2. In Configuration Menu choose SYSTEM.
3. In System Configuration go to Chute Type and press left or right to choose...
           4 PLAYERS 1 CHUTE  SINGLE
Arcade chutesYou can increase the chutes to "4 CHUTES MULTI" if you'd like. Chutes are the amount of coin slots. For example, 1 chute means all players contribute to the same coin bank. And 4 chutes means each player has their own coin bank. Since emulation has infinite coins, you're better off just choosing "1 CHUTE SINGLE".
4. Exit the three screens...
           EXIT > SAVE & EXIT > EXIT
And that's it! Enjoy the game with 4 players :)

An Honor

On August 23, 2004, the great Alex J Jimenez (aka the Raven) sent me a compliment e-mail! =D  He was Capcom USA's in-house RPG guru and co-designer of Dungeons & Dragon: Tower of Doom. Here it is:

Hi there,

Just saw your D&D website, thanks for the memory. I had almost forgotten how much I loved working on that game. Thanks again, you really made my day.

Alex J Jimenez (aka the Raven)
Vice President
Tesseraction Games Inc.

What a nice guy, huh? Taking the time to e-mail kind words to me.

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