TASVideos

Tool-assisted game movies
When human skills are just not enough

Submission #7020: Winslinator's INTV Tower of Doom in 06:51.15

Console: Intellivision
Game name: Tower of Doom
Game version: any
ROM filename: Tower of Doom (1986) (Intv Corp).int
Branch:
Emulator: BizHawk 2.4
Movie length: 06:51.15
FrameCount: 24636
Re-record count: 13145
Author's real name:
Author's nickname: Winslinator
Submitter: Winslinator
Submitted at: 2021-02-02 21:14:01
Text last edited at: 2021-02-08 20:00:36
Text last edited by: arkiandruski
Download: Download (13908 bytes)
Status: judging underway
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Author's comments and explanations:
Explore winding corridors! Collect magical treasures! Battle vile monsters! Escape perilous traps! You are about to face the greatest challenge any mortal has ever known -- the Tower of Doom. Surviving the Tower of Doom requires quick reflexes and quicker wits. You must learn for yourself how to use many of the items you will find. You must decide when to fight a monster, and when to trade treasure for your life. You must maintain your strength, increase your stamina, and develop your diplomatic skills.

Tower of Doom was originally set to be the third AD&D title on the Intellivision with the working title "Advanced Dungeons & Dragons: Tower of Mystery". The game was only half complete when Mattel Electronics folded in 1984. INTV Corp resumed work on the game in 1986. Not wanting to pay for a renewed D&D license, the game was released under the new name, "Tower of Doom".


(Link to video)

Objectives

Resources

Difficulty Selection

Grail Quest was selected as the instructions manual claims it's the hardest adventure. I tend to believe this as you'll very rarely come across any good magical artifacts. Wizard Hunt and The Catacombs also have 32 levels but only Grail Quest allows the player to instantly win if they find the Holy Grail on Level 32.

Character Selection

The Waif was selected as he is the hardest to play as. The Waif starts out with six health, strength, stamina, and diplomacy units. His only starting item is the boot which is practically useless. Compare these stats with the other characters and you'll see why the Waif is clearly the weakest. Even the instructions manual admits it.

If we wanted to go strictly for the fastest time, we would select the Novice as he starts out with two throwable items and a Bottle of Haste, which gives a 2x speed boost for one level... but that wouldn't be as much of a challenge!

RNG

The curious thing about adventures which the manual claims are "different each time" is that while each level is random, they are not procedurally generated. This means the maze geometries and what enemies, items, and traps will appear in each room for levels 1-32 were set in stone the frame I confirmed the Waif character.

However, the exact locations of enemies, items, and traps within each room are not set in stone and can be manipulated by entering the room on different frames. This type of manipulation is done extensively in the run. Note that object locations in the first room of a level cannot be manipulated.

In this mode, item colors are randomized with their order being preserved as explained here. There was a -3 color shift factor in this TAS, meaning the weakest items are brown and the strongest are orange.

Traps also have some random properties worth pointing out:

The amount of damage an enemy takes from a weapon hit is also randomly-determined by the frame. Attacks are therefore meticulously timed to max out their damage. Whether a weapon will downgrade to a lower color is also frame-dependent and is sometimes given consideration.

Weapons and Inventorying

Hand-to-hand combat in this game is slow so we opt for long-range attacks only with whatever we happen to find along the way. The weapons used ended up being the 2nd and 4th most resilient darts.

It is fastest to equip an item from the second slot in your pack, so careful manipulations were made such that all three items used in the run were placed in that slot when picked up.

Using the Holy Grail while in an encounter causes half of the castle door on the ending cutscene to flash due to a glitch and I was glad I was able to showcase that here.

Improvements?

Since all 32 general level layouts are determined from character select, I did not bother experimenting with any other start frames as investigating all that would be way too much work. I decided on the specific start frame that I did because it was the only one that beat Level 1 close to that quick.

Suggested Publication Notes Explore winding corridors! Collect magical treasures! Battle vile monsters! Escape perilous traps! You are about to face the greatest challenge any mortal has ever known -- the Tower of Doom. Surviving the Tower of Doom requires quick reflexes and quicker wits. You must learn for yourself how to use many of the items you will find. You must decide when to fight a monster, and when to trade treasure for your life. You must maintain your strength, increase your stamina, and develop your diplomatic skills.

Winslinator selects the hardest character/adventure combination, playing as the Waif to beat the 32 levels of "Grail Quest" in record time.


arkiandruski: Judging.

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