->''YOU ZAP TO...''

''The Tower of Druaga'' is a 1984 arcade game released by [[Creator/BandaiNamcoEntertainment Namco]], about a knight named Gilgamesh (or "Gil" for short) who has to climb a monster-infested tower in order to defeat the demon Druaga and rescue Ki (pronounced "Kai"), a shrine maiden in service to the goddess Ishtar. It is infamous as the high-water mark of [[http://strategywiki.org/wiki/The_Tower_of_Druaga player-directed cruelty]] in videogames -- the acme of the old school style where videogames existed to challenge and defeat the player.

Each floor of the tower has a hidden treasure for the player to discover; some of these treasures, such as the Blue Crystal Rod, are essential to completing the game. The game, however, [[GuideDangIt offers no hints]] on how to find these treasures, which depending on the floor might involve anything from killing enemies in a certain order to walking over one or more points in the maze to crossing paths with a certain enemy to entering a special code to none or several of the above. The final floors with Druaga, Ishtar and Ki are especially tricky because certain missteps can cause Gilgamesh to be ZAPPED back to a lower floor.

The game spawned an irregularly released series of games, known as the "Babylonian Castle Saga":
* ''The Return of Ishtar'' (1986), an ImmediateSequel where Gil and Ki team up
* ''VideoGame/{{The Quest of Ki}}'' (1988), a PuzzlePlatformer prequel starring Ki
* ''The Blue Crystal Rod'' (1994), sequel to ''The Return of Ishtar'' again starring Gil and Ki
* ''Seme COM Dungeon: Drururuaga'' (2000), DistantSequel with [[CardBattleGame card-based gameplay]]
* ''The Nightmare of Druaga'' (2004), part of Chunsoft's ''Fushigi no Dungeon'' {{Roguelike}} franchise
* ''Druaga Online: The Story of Aon'' (2005), non-canonical four-player arcade game
* ''The Tower of Druaga: The Recovery of BABYLIM'' (2009), a [[MassivelyMultiplayerOnlineRolePlayingGame MMORPG]]

The first three games of the above list, as well as the [[VideoGameRemake remake]] of ''The Tower of Druaga'' for the UsefulNotes/PCEngine, were developed by Game Studio, the company founded in 1985 by Masanobu Endoh (AKA: "Evezoo End"), creator of the original game.[[note]]He was also the creator of VideoGame/{{Xevious}}.[[/note]]

Various {{Shout Out}}s and {{Bonus Dungeon}}s based on the game can be found in the VideoGame/TalesSeries and VideoGame/SoulSeries, and ''VideoGame/BatenKaitos'' has a {{Homage}} level that calls back to this game. Also, characters from the series appeared in ''VideoGame/NamcoXCapcom'', with Gil and Ki acting as a playable unit, and Druaga appearing as a boss.

In 2008, the game was adapted into an [[Anime/TheTowerOfDruaga anime series]], with its first season being titled ''Tower of Druaga: The Aegis of Uruk'' and the second season in 2009, with the new subtitle "Sword of Uruk".

!! This video game series provides examples of:

* AttractMode: This is one of the few arcade games to not have a gameplay demo sequence[[note]]Other games to not have one include VideoGame/SpyHunter II (the arcade game, not the later sequel to the UsefulNotes/Playstation2 game), and VideoGame/{{Xenophobe}}, both by Creator/{{Midway}}.[[/note]]. When the machine is turned on, it starts with the title screen, the scrolls to the high score list, then back to the title screen, them it goes to the game's OpeningNarration, then back the title screen, and it keeps going like that from there.
** ''The Return of Ishtar'' has an "ATTRACT ROOM", but nothing really resembling a gameplay demo sequence.
* BlobMonster: Slimes[[note]]Which predate [[VideoGame/DragonQuest those]] slimes by two years.[[/note]] in several colors. Some of them even shoot magic spells at you.
* BuildingOfAdventure: The entire game takes place in the eponymous tower.
* ContinuingIsPainful: Getting zapped to a lower floor destroys the highest-tier weapon and armor pieces, making the fight against Druaga unwinnable.
** On the other hand, continuing when you haven't made the game unwinnable is quite useful, since you get to keep all of your treasures. Not only that, as proof you weren't expected to beat it on one coin, when you beat the level you died on, you get *all of your points back* that you lost on continue.
* CreatorCameo: In ''Return of Ishtar'', one of the rooms, labeled "Dead End", features a long hallway leading to a small room with a man slumped over in an office cubicle, dead. Using Gil's magic to revive the man warps you to another room. The man is series creator Masanobu Endoh. [[{{Pun}} Yes]], that does mean there's a "'''dead End'''oh" in the room labeled "Dead End".
* TheDragon: Quox, an actial, literal dragon who appears in the game's logo. It is mentioned in the lore that it was a peaceful being born from the Blue Crystal Rod until Druaga split the Rod into three, making it split into three itself and go mad.
* DungeonBypass: The pickaxes, which break walls. The gold one has infinite uses, and makes the game considerably easier ("easy" being a relative term here...)
%%* EvilTowerOfOminousness
* GodGuise: Succubus on Floor 57 disguises herself as the goddess Ishtar. Killing her is one of the requirements for the Ruby Mace, which is required to fight Druaga in two more floors.
** In the PC Engine version, you do not kill her, and she gives you the Blue Crystal Rod instead.
* GuideDangIt: In each level of the game, there is a treasure which requires a unique action that's unguessable without [[TrialAndErrorGameplay trial and error]]. Even after working this out, some of the items are harmful, which again can only be discovered with trial and error. Some of them are required to make other items non-harmful. How do you figure that out? Guess... Avoiding the treasure isn't an option, either, as most of them are needed to complete the game. Oh, and there wasn't a guide when the game was first released.
* InfinityPlusOneSword: The Excalibur/Hyper Sword.
* InvincibleMinorMinion: [[WillOTheWisp Will O'Wisps]], which appear when the initial timer runs out.
* LockedDoor: You have to find the key to open the exit to the level.
* MascotMook: Quox, a dragon that's fought on some of the floors appears in the game's logo.
* MissingSecret:
** Very few floors don't even have a treasure.
** One port has a secret whose trigger is caused by "exiting the level".
* NintendoHard: Almost sadistically so for an arcade game, even by arcade game standards.. You have to make a cruel crawl through 60 floors all with monsters that can one-shot you and treasures that are mandatory for finishing the game.
* OneHitPointWonder:
** You have a HitPoints value, but you can't actually see it. It's also only used for fighting enemy Knights and Lizardmen; slimes, magic spells, and whisps all use OneHitPointWonder logic.
** It's even worse ''The Return of Ishtar'', where Ki herself only has one life, and will go down in one attack from anything. Gil has health that [[CastFromHitPoints drops]] each time he kills an enemy but like Ki, only has one life, and if he loses, so does Ki (and the player).
* PasswordSave: ''The Return of Ishtar'', which alters passwords for each room depending on which name and sex the player(s) wrote before starting.
* PermanentlyMissableContent:
** The treasure in each level, which requires a unique an unguessable trial and error action.
** Use a Copper or Silver Pickaxe too many times on the same floor or use any Pickaxe on the outer walls of the floor and it's gone forever, sometimes disallowing you from acquiring the better Pickaxes later in the game.
* PoisonMushroom: The Potions of Energy Drain and Potions of Death, and any item after not obtaining the Balance on the previous level.
* PowerUpLetdown: Most of the weapon and armor upgrades don't actually do anything useful, but are necessary to eventually trade up to the highest-tier equipment, which is mandatory for the fight with Druaga.
* RefrainFromAssuming: That creature who appears in the logo? That's not Druaga, it's Quox, who is pretty much the only other "boss" of this game.
* SaveThePrincess: Ki is a shrine maiden and not a "princess" per se but she ''is'' engaged to a prince and rescuing her is the point of ''Nightmare of Druaga''.
* SprintShoes: Jet Boots.
* StalkedByTheBell: Unlike most games however, if the timer runs out, you don't lose a life, but you do have an invincible will-o-wisp chasing you.
* SurprisinglyGoodEnglish: The OpeningNarration of the first game is this for the most part, but has a slight grammatical mistake, saying that "the golden knight Gilgamesh 'weared' gold armor". The Famicom[[note]]Japanese version of the [[UsefulNotes/NintendoEntertainmentSystem NES]][[/note]] port corrects this.
* TakenForGranite: Ki is cursed by Druaga and turned to stone.
* TimedMission: Every floor has a 20,000 frame time limit, ontop of a 60-second time limit if you exhaust it.
* TrialAndErrorGameplay: The first game is possibly the most extreme example in the history of video games (let alone arcade games). The steps for acquiring the items on each level are so hilariously non-intuitive that one could be forgiven for labeling it an UnwinnableJokeGame.
** Since there was ''no guide'' when the game was released into arcades, people simply had to take it on blind faith that the game was winnable at all. Following from that, enough persistence and credits spent causes the game to cough up it's secrets.
* UnwinnableByDesign: Of the Cruel variety. Let us count the ways...
** Picking up the Evil Gauntlet permanently prevents you from drawing your sword.
** If you don't pick up floor 34's treasure, the next floor's key will not appear.
** Finally, after spending EleventyZillion quarters, you've reached the top of the tower and are ready to face Druaga in a climactic... Blue crystal rod? ''What'' blue crystal rod?!
* VideogameCrueltyPunishment: You can attack Ishtar and Ki, instead of rescuing them, destroy walls on a final floor (both can kill the player just like if they touch an enemy or their spells for the case of some variants of slimes and magicians, and fires from Sorcerors except if they have a Red Necklace), and exiting floor 59 without defeating Druaga... if you don't mind being sent back almost to ''the beginning of the game.''