8.Quest of Ki (Kai no Boken)
Quest of Ki is the third addition to the Babylonian Castle Saga in 1988. Instead of being a sequel it is a prequel to the original Tower of Druaga which was released to the Famicom and arcades in 1984. As soon as I saw Arino challenge this game on Game Center CX I knew it was one that I wanted to try.
You don’t need to know Japanese to enjoy this game, but I’ll try to summarize what’s going on in the story so you have an idea.
Our heroine Ki has been sent by the goddness Ishtar (pictured above in the white) to the Druaga Tower to retrieve the stolen Blue Crystal Rod from the demon Druaga.
This is from the translated English ROM
To assist Ki on her journey Ishtar gives her a special tiara that allows her to fly (more accurately float) in the air. This will be very useful as Ki is unequipped and can not attack the level enemies directly. There is one drawback you have to keep in mind though, Ki can crack her head on the ceilings or other platforms if you float too high. If he hits her head she will fall and be immobilized for a few moments making her vulnerable to enemies. There are also areas with spikes on the ceiling that you need to be sure to avoid too!
The goal in each stage is to find the key and use it to open the locked door which leads you to the next floor up the tower. Since Ki doesn’t have any weapons to attack her enemies, there are items hidden in treasure chests to assist you. There are items that give Ki abilities like floating without touching the ground, barriers that protect her from one enemy hit, or extra live. Then there are items that affect the enemies directly lie time stop that freezes all enemies for a brief period of time, crosses that chase vampires away and sleep that stops some of the monsters from moving for the remainder of the stage. Now the game doesn’t want to be too nice to you. They have also placed some trap items into the boxes like poison which makes the timer count down even faster or the Zap that send you back down the tower.
Ki has to work her way up the tower to the 60th floor to retrieve the rod. If successful 40 bonus levels will be unlocked that are not part of the main story. Once she reaches the top of the tower the story leads right into the story of the Tower of Druaga game.
Quest of Ki is a challenging side scrolling puzzle game that definitely isn’t for people who are easily frustrated, because you will die… a lot!! Luckily the game takes a little bit of pity on you and makes the enemy that killed you disappear for your next attempt, which is great so you don’t constantly keep getting killed by the same guy. Plus if you strategize right it can be helpful.
There unfortunately isn’t a password system but the game allows you unlimited continues to retry the level you are on. Plus there is a warp item that sends you further up the tower which is really helpful.
Just be careful though as you get closer to the end of the game there are warps that will send you down the tower instead of up.
Graphics wise this definitely doesn’t rank among games like Little Samson or Mega Man but they are still pretty good and not among the worst titles for sure. I love how you see sprites from other Namco games like slimes from Dragon Warrior or Pinky from Pacman!
Music wise it’s nothing to write home about but if you have played Tower or Druaga it will definitely sound familiar to you and it’s not too annoying.
If you are a fan of any of the Babylonian Castle saga games or puzzle games that incorporate side scrolling action you may want to check this one out. Or if for some reason you enjoy playing difficult games like me this is definitely one to try. So far I have only been able to get to level 24, but let me know how you do! I’ll definitely be playing again soon cause I know I can do better than only 24.
You can find this game on eBay for around $30 if you want to add it to your collection.
Top 10 Unique Famicom Games – 9 Top 10 Unique Famicom Games – 7