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17 Reviews

Pandora's Tower

Enough to turn you vegan

So you're having a bit of a public party and everyone's having a lovely time, but then monsters bust the place up. Annoying. Should you go home and have an early night, or will you take off with a random stranger and a manky old dwarf with glowing eyes who carries a skeleton on his back? A skeleton in a cooking pot.

Sadly for poor Ceres, the first option will result in her waking up transformed into giant purple slug, thanks to the curse tattooed on her back by the marauding monsters. Resorting to the dubious but probably less painful second choice, she hightails it out of there with Ende, the hero of the story, and Graiai, the ancient dwarf who looks like a dried monkey and may actually be female - it's hard to tell.

The three of them escape to a well-appointed house overlooking a vast chasm. Suspended in the chasm - tethered by giant chains, no less - is a tower, and in the tower lies the cure to Ceres' sluggifying affliction.

BAD MEDICINE

Unfortunately the cure is truly offal - slithery organs torn from the bodies of the tower's monstrous denizens. So while Ceres stays indoors, does the housework and gradually goes a bit sluggy, Ende must race to bring back the fleshy medicine that will reverse her decline.

Zoom

The whole thing is Graiai's idea, and although we were never sure if we could trust him/her, it seems to do the trick, albeit temporarily. If Ende spends too long in the tower, when he gets back to the house he'll have to follow a trail of slime to find Ceres cowering in the basement, halfway slugged. A dose of monster guts will fix her up and reset the timer, but she won't be happy.

CHAIN ATTACK

The game is a simple combination of exploration and fighting, marred by some dreadful camera angles and ultimately redeemed by a combat system that lets you have some enjoyable mischief with the enemies. At the heart of it is a double-ended chain weapon that you aim with the pointer. Time slows down and the screen shows a zoomed-in view, allowing you to aim at different parts of the body.

Tying up an enemy's arms will render it harmless for a while, and snaring its legs will trip it up. You can drag your struggling prey around until the chain's stamina bar expires and the enraged would-be meal breaks free.

You can also use the other end of the chain to tie the monster to something else. If you're in too much of a hurry to fight, simply chain two creatures together and walk past them while they stagger around helplessly. Alternatively, use the chain like a whip and fling your opponent off a balcony.

The other weapons are more normal - a shooty thing and a selection of swords, all of which can be upgraded by Graiai. Most of them can be used for combination attacks, which are particularly effective if your target has been chained up first.

Boss fights are by far the best parts of the game, forcing you to use your whole palette of techniques. Each boss has a weak spot that must be chained, and once you've got him to expose it, you have to give it a really good yank.

The longer you're able to pull on the chain, the more damage you'll inflict. Eventually a properly rancid bit of meat will pop out of the stricken boss' head, and you'll hurry back to Ceres to advance the story and see how badly she's let herself go while you were away.

Each time you return after finishing a boss, the tower will have changed into a brand new level. It's a plot point that passed us by. Probably not important.

DUNGEON CRAWL

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