Vectrex Dark Tower
The Dark Tower Vectrex game (circa 1983) was based on the electronic board game of the same name, but never commercially released.
A single prototype was found, and an image of the ROM has been floating
around the web for awhile. Vectrex
was an old home-gaming system based on vector graphics (like those found in
the Asteroids-style games). There are Vectrex software
emulators, so you can actually play this game on your PC if you download
and set up the appropriate pieces. Here are the instruction for the game and
Enter the fantastic world of the Dark Tower -- a world filled with
adventure, danger and all the mysteries of ancient times. You control a squadron of warriors as you search an adventure-filled
forest for the magical keys that will unlock the entrance to the Dark Tower.
Guide your warriors to the enchanted chests scattered throughout the forest --
each will contain a new puzzle, adventure, terror or treasure. Use your warriors wisely and beware the evils of the forest!
Joystick: Moves warrior.
Button 1: Possessions. Press and hold to view listing of all your possessions, remaining number of warriors and current score. Release to return to game.
Button 2: Fire Left/Arrow. Press to select game option. Press to fire left in Brigand Sequence. Press to move arrow in the Riddle of the Keys.
Button 3: Fire Straight/Key Select. Press to fire straight in Brigand Sequence. Press to select key type in Riddle of the Keys.
Button 4: Fire Right/Test. Press to fire right in Brigand Sequence. Press to open the chests in the forest. Press to test your solution in the Riddle of the Keys.
Skill Level Selection
Dark Tower is a one player game. You can begin Dark Tower at any of four different skill levels. The skill level determines how many keys you are given
before starting your journey. Game 1 is the most difficult; Game 4 is the least difficult.
The games are as follows:
Skill Level Keys Provided
Game 1 NONE
Game 2 Silver
Game 3 Silver and bronze
Game 4 Silver, bronze and brass
To select the skill level, press Button 2. (Note: You will not receive any points for the keys initially given in Games 2, 3 or 4.)
Your goal is to unlock the door of the Dark Tower by solving the Riddle of the Keys. To solve the riddle, you must first find the four different keys
scattered throughout the forest and then find and enter the Dark Tower itself.
Along the way, you will encounter a series of hazards and mysteries. Tread carefully... you never know where dangers lurk!
At the beginning of the game, you are provided with a warrior who appears somewhere within the forest. You are also provided with five reserve warriors
and two bags of gold. You can earn additional warriors and gold during the game, as explained later.
Any time during the game, you can press Button 1 to see a list of your possessions, your inventory of reserve troops, and your score.
Forest maps and boundaries
The forest is divided into four equal sectors, each represented by a different type of tree -- pines, elms, maples, and dead trees. In the very
center of the forest, called the Dark Forest, there are no trees at all. This
is where the Dark Tower is hidden and will become visible only when your warrior has collected all four keys (see Dark Tower Sequence). There are also
smaller dark forest zones scattered throughout the forest map. It is easy to
get lost in these zones.
Be especially careful when in the Zone of Death, where the plague occurs more often. It is advisable to enter the Zone of Death only when you have a
healer in your possession (see Plague and Healer). If you reach the boundaries of the forest, the trees will disappear, you
will enter a fog and will be placed randomly somewhere else within the forest. It is helpful to map the forest as you play the game because objects
always appear in the same location from game to game. (Using standard graph
paper is helpful in mapping the forest). As you learn where objects will be
found, your skill in playing the game will be increased.
| Pine Trees
|| Dead Trees
(Zone of Death)
| Elm Trees
|| Maple Trees
Direction of Travel
Use the joystick to move your warrior around the forest. As your warrior walks through the forest, his direction of travel is shown at the top right
side of the screen (N, NW, W, SW, S, SE, E, NE). The number of steps forward
he has taken since he made his last turn is also shown. To go in a specific
direction (eg, North), rotate your warrior to the left (counter clockwise) until the desired direction appears at the top of the screen. Then your
warrior will be heading in that direction.
Fog [Appears as a series of long horizontal lines]
In addition to the boundary fog, you can also run into fig while walking within the forest. You may also find fog in some of the chests scattered
throughout the forest (see Chests). When you run into fog, it will move up from the bottom of the screen and you will be placed randomly somewhere else
with the forest unless you have a scout in your possession (see Magician Sequence).
Plague [Appears as a series of broken horizontal lines]
Like fog, you can run into the plague while walking throughout the forest and may also find the plague in a chest (see Chests). When you run into the
plague, it will move up from the bottom of the screen like the fog, but you will lose your warrior unless you have a healer in your possession (see
You will see many chests scattered throughout the forest. All chests look alike and give no clue as to their contents. To open a chest, move warrior in
front of the chest and press Button 4. If you press Button 4 again BEFORE the
chest lid is fully opened you can close the chest and move on. Once the chest
is fully opened, you must proceed to handle whatever it has in store for you.
There are six types of chests:
Treasure Chests - These chests are very rare and contain a no-risk treasure (one to nine bags of gold or one to four replacement
warriors). A particular Treasure chest can only be opened once per game -- opening this same chest again will take you to the Brigand
Sequence (see below).
'Do-Nothing' Chests - These are empty chests that will open, pause for a moment, and then close.
Fog Chests - These chests contain fog. When fully opened, the fog cycle will be started, as explained earlier.
Plague Chests - These chests contain the plague. When fully opened, the plague cycle will be started, as explained earlier.
Brigand Chests - These contain enemy beasts called 'Brigands' who you must fight for your warrior's survival (see Brigand Sequence).
Magician Chests - These contain magicians who can provide you with many valuable treasures (see Magician Sequence). As with treasure chests, each Magician Chest can only be opened once per game -- opening the same chest again will take you to the Brigand Sequence.
Bags of Gold
Scattered throughout the forest are bags of gold which you can pick up and add to your possessions. You can pick up the bag of gold by walking forward
directly toward it. Each bag of gold can be picked up only once per game.
In each of the four sectors of the forest there is one of the needed to solve the Riddle of the Keys and open the Dark Tower. These keys will be in
the same location for each game, although the particular type of key (gold, silver, brass or bronze) will vary from game to game. (Note: You will only be
able to find the number of keys still needed depending on which game option you
selected. For example, if you selected Game #4 you will only find one key in
the forest, since you already have the three other keys in your possession.)
You can pick up a key by walking forward directly toward it. Each key can be
picked up only once per game.
The Brigand Sequence begins when a warrior opens a brigand chest. The warrior will be drawn into the chest and must fight for his survival by hurling
flamoids at the brigands while avoiding the flamoids the brigands throw at him.
The brigands will appear from and disappear behind walls on the left and right.
Use the joystick to move the warrior to the right and left and press Buttons 2,
3 and 4 to throw flamoids at the brigands. Button 2 throws flamoids to the left; Button 3 throws flamoids straight ahead; and Button 4 throws flamoids to
the right. The brigands will throw most of their flamoids directly at the warrior,
but will also throw some in other directions once in a while hoping that the
warrior will walk into them and be killed. Neither the warrior nor the brigands can be killed by their own flamoids. If the warrior successfully destroys a random number of brigands, (up to
about 20 brigands) he will receive a treasure -- either replacement warriors or
more bags of gold -- or may be told to just 'BE GONE.' In any case, he will be
returned to the forest at the same location he left. If the warrior is killed
by one of the brigands, a replacement warrior will be provided (if one is available), which will be returned to the same location outside the Brigand
Chest. The same Brigand Chest can be re-opened again or the warrior can move
on through the forest.
The Magician Sequence begins when a warrior opens a magician chest. The warrior will be drawn into the chest and will be open to the will of the
magician. If you have enough gold in your inventory, the magician may sell you
a key, replacement warriors, a healer, a scout or the crystal crown. The amount of gold needed to buy these treasures is as follows:
Gold Key - 60-69 bags
Silver Key - 50-59 bags
Bronze Key - 40-49 bags
Brass Key - 30-39 bags
Warrior - 10-20 bags
Crystal Crown - 60-69 bags
Healer - 15-20 bags
Scout - 20-30 bags
The Crystal Crown is a special treasure that is worth 1500 points if it is in your possession at the end of the game. The Healer is one of the warrior's helpers that prevents the fatal effects
of the plague. The Healer can be used only 4-6 times while in your possession
and will then be lost. Another Healer may be granted by the Magician later in
the game if there are still Magician Chests available and the player has enough
A Scout is another one of the Warrior's helpers. The Scout prevents a
Warrior from getting lost in a fog. The only exception is the boundary fog,
where the Scout cannot help the Warrior from getting lost. As with the Healer,
the Scout can be used only 4-6 times while in your possession. Another Scout
may be granted by the Magician later in the game if there are still Magician
Chests available and the player has enough gold.
Dark Tower Sequence
Once you have all four keys in your possession, you can enter the Dark Tower and try to solve the Riddle of the Keys to open the tower door. The Dark Tower is visible only when all four keys are in your possession.
It is located near the center of the map in the largest of the dark forests,
which is surrounded by a mixture of all four types of trees. When you find the
Dark Tower, use the joystick to move your warrior forward directly into the entrance of the door.
Once you are inside the door, you will see the four keys, which you must put in the correct order to try and unlock the tower. Press Button 2 one or
more times to move the arrow and select the desired key. Then press Button 3
one or more times to select the type of key (gold, silver, bronze or brass).
Make sure each type of key is used only once.
When you think you have put the keys in the correct sequence, press Button 4 to test your solution. If all four keys are in the correct position, the
game will end. If not, those keys that are in the correct positions will stay
lit for a few seconds and then the Warrior will be placed back into the forest
at a randomly selected location. If you have a Scout in your possession, your
Warrior will be placed outside the Dark Tower rather than somewhere within the
forest, and he can enter the tower and try to solve the Riddle of the Keys again.
Points are awarded for each treasure you pick up after the start of the game (i.e., you do not receive points for the keys, gold, or warriors you are
given at the beginning of the game.) Points are also earned for destroying brigands and for solving the Riddle of the Keys.
Gold Key - 1,000 points
Silver Key - 900 points
Bronze Key - 800 points
Brass Key - 700 points
Bag of Gold - 100 points
Warrior - 100 points
Crystal Crown - 1,500 points
Healer - 300 points + a bonus warrior
Scout - 300 points + a bonus warrior
Destroying each Brigand - 125 points
Solving the Riddle of the Keys - 3,000 points
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