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". Even if Tower of Doom is outside the Dungeons & Dragons licence, it has more D&D elements than its two predecessors.
- Aims for fastest completion
- Heavy luck manipulation
- Genre: RPG
Goal Unlike my previous "Grail Quest" TAS which aimed to beat the game with the hardest adventure/character combination, this one selects whatever adventure/character combination can beat the game the fastest.
Adventure Selection The win condition in Tower of Doom is normally to successfully navigate through the alotted number of levels denoted on the adventure select screen. However, some adventures have the seconday goal where you will instantly win if you defeat a wizard. The adventures with this alternate win condition are:
- The Fortress – 6 Levels (selected in this TAS)
- The Fortress – 12 Levels
- The Fortress – 18 Levels
- The Fortress – 24 Levels (the manual erroneously says 32)
- Wizard Hunt
Normally, wizards aren't encountered until level 12, but there are three items in the game when if used, will spawn a random enemy in the room. You might be able to see where this is going...
Character Selection The Warlock was selected for the following reasons:
- He comes pre-equipped with several wands, which are very powerful "throwing" weapons
- He has a Bottle of Haste in his pack which grants 2x speed when used
- Selecting a different character would change the RNG and not yield the godly setup I want!
The one disadvantage of selecting the Warlock is that he is the last selectable character, meaning selecting him costs an extra 36 frames compared to the first selectable character, the Novice. Interestingly, the Novice is the only other character that fulfills the latter two criteria listed above, except his starting throwing weapons (axe and spear) are much weaker. So despite the overhead cost of 36 frames, the Warlock ends up defeating the wizard, and therefore the run, faster.
Items The following items will spawn a random enemy in the room:
- Small Scroll of Summoning (normally gray†) - replaces a live enemy in the room with a random enemy
- Large Scroll of Battle (normally gray†) - spawns a random enemy at the player location
- Mortar and Pestle of Battle (normally light blue†) - spawns a random enemy at the player location
You guessed it! The above items do indeed have a chance of spawning a wizard, and if we kill him, we win the game. Quick game huh? Which of the above items is actually best depends on the situation. If there are no walls around, the Large Scroll or Mortar and Pestle of Battle is best as the player will be able to move out of the way of the spawned enemy before the game enters the battle screen (which is slow). In this run's situation, the Small Scroll of Summoning is clearly better due to all the surrounding walls and the fact that the rat can be manipulated towards a convenient enough location for transformation and attacking.
†In this adventure, item colors are randomized with their order being preserved as explained here. There was a +2 color shift factor in this seed, meaning the weakest items (gray by default) are now orange and the strongest (purple by default) are now blue. Hence, the small orange scroll we pick up in the run is actually the Small Scroll of Summoning.
- Title screen start on frame 25
- Adventure selection confirmed on frame 57
- Character selection confirmed on frame 106
Changing the frame on which each of the above actions are done or the adventure/character choice will change the level/item/enemy layout for the entire adventure. The main parameter we are looking at when judging seeds is proximity of an enemy spawn item, if there are any. For this reason, whichever adventure selection gives the best enemy enemy spawn item placement in the least number of waiting frames is the one we select (which ended up being the 6-level Fortress adventure). After testing what seemed like 1000 different seeds, all I can say is getting one of the enemy spawn items two spaces from the start point is nothing short of unbelievable.
Inventorying & Attacking procedure for this RNG seed
- Drop the wand from the 2nd slot of the item pack. Emptying it now will force the Small Scroll of Summoning to be placed there when collected. This is important as it is fastest to use/equip an item from the 2nd pack slot.
- Equip the Bottle of Haste for 2x speed.
- Drop the dagger which the Warlock comes pre-equipped with. Since you are still standing over the wand you dropped earlier, that wand will now be the equipped item.
- Collect the Small Scroll of Summoning.
- Recollect the dagger as it will block any shots fired at the wizard while sitting on the ground. It gets placed in the 5th pack slot, which was vacated by the Bottle of Haste.
- Shoot a bolt from the wand and while it is travelling, use the Small Scroll of Summoning at the right time to transform the rat into a wizard before impact.
- Shoot a second bolt and the wizard is dead... that's it. The wand is way past OP.
Suggested Screenshot: Frame 762
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 whatever adventure/character combination can beat the game fastest. Selected were the 6-level Fortress adventure with its alternate win condition for defeating a wizard, and the Warlock character for his useful starting items.
slamo: Claiming for judging.
slamo: Nice! That's a really clever way of triggering the win condition early.
I'm going to add the branch name "The Fortress" to distinguish it from other game modes - even though this is the fastest game mode, we should still distinguish it properly from other movies, like we did with Adventure. It also offers much different content from the Grail Quest movie, so this game isn't overloaded with branches yet.