I was going to record commentary for my play through of Ace Team’s action-packed love letter to terrible ‘70s science fiction movies, but The Deadly Tower of Monsters brought its own, and it makes the game.
The newly-released hack-and-slash adventure is filtered through VHS artifacts and studded with the tropes that defined just about every science fiction film Mystery Science Theater 3000 ever mocked—poor stop motion, relatives in bad suits, poorly-constructed puppets and horrible acting. It’s the sort of nonsense that would come on after the cartoons on Saturday morning when I was growing up.
I get the warm fuzzies just looking at the opening splash screen for the PC and PlayStation 4 game, but warm fuzzies don’t make a game. If all The Deadly Tower of Monsters offered was nostalgia-tempered schlock and the odd dick joke (the male hero’s name is Dick Starspeed) layered atop what is otherwise a pretty basic action game, I’d sooner recommend watching it than playing it.
But it’s much more than that, thanks to a hilarious director’s commentary that runs through the entire game.
And I mean the entire game.
The Deadly Tower of Monsters isn’t a game. It isn’t a bad sci-fi movie. It’s the DVD re-release of a bad sci-fi movie that you just happen to play. Dan Smith is with you the entire way, waxing nostalgic about the way film was made back in the day . . .
. . . giving us a peek behind-the-scenes . .
. . . and delivering a bit of commentary on the gaming/movie industry here and there.
If it weren’t for director Dan Smith, The Deadly Tower of Monsters would get old real quick. Combat, despite a nice assortment of weapons and a nicer assortment of enemies, is relatively staid. The vertigo-inducing downward-shooting mechanic is much better at inducing vertigo than promoting shooting.
Dan Smith is the real hero of this movie. Or game. Or DVD re-release. Every time the gameplay proper stumbles towards boring territory, in comes Dan with a quip or comment or random musing to save the day.
Maybe the film briefly breaks.
Or things briefly go black and white.
There’s always something, and I can’t wait to see what Dan Smith says or does next.
The game itself? Eh, I could take it or leave it. Dan Smith though—he’s a keeper.
The Deadly Tower Of Dan Smith is now available on PlayStation 4 and Steam.