Table Of Contents:

 Image created by DeviFoxx. Character & Logo owned by NAMCO ®.

All images, in-game screenshots, and artwork are owned by, and property of NAMCO of Japan Co. Ltd. and their respective artist(s) unless stated otherwise.
Foreword from the Editor:
  NAMCO's long-running Tower of Druaga series has been around since 1984 and continues to this day. While the series initially was not well received in territories outside of Japan, its influence is clearly evident in many of NAMCO's modern-day games and franchises. NAMCO still insists upon using Gilgamesh, Ki, and other related characters throughout franchises such as the Tales of... RPG series, the Mr. Driller franchise, the Soul Calibur fighting game series and more. Being the proverbial "older brother" to the "little sister" Valkyrie series franchise, the Druaga series laid a lot of groundwork for today's currently existing RPGs akin to "The Legend of Zelda", "Final Fantasy" and more. Essentially setting a basic standard, or guideline that is followed by many of today's video games.

Gilgamesh discovers the Jet Boots that will increase his movement speed in a recreation
of a scene on a Japanese Arcade photographic pamphlet for the original Tower of Druaga.
Gilgamesh is a two-dimensional animation cut-out, while the remaining surroundings are
hand-crafted scale models of the inner corridors of the tower.

  Traditionally, each Druaga game opens up with the slightly ambiguous sentence:

In Another Time...

In Another World...

  Which, upon considering the original source material for the franchise, is a fairly apt statement. The "Druaga" series borrows quite a bit of mythology, theology and historical fact as source material. The "another time and world" setting mentioned more than likely implies that very fact. The Druaga universe seemingly runs parallel to ancient Assyro-Babylonian, and ancient Sumerian myth.

"The Tower of Babel" as envisioned by Athanasius Kircher.

  Consider first the Tower of Druaga itself.

  The tower itself seems to be based quite a bit off of the ancient Tower of Babel. In which the Tower of Babel was constructed in an effort to reach Heaven. According to the account, Humankind once had a uniform language, but after God saw the construction of the tower as an act of outright defiance, he afflicted mankind with a confusion of tongues. Mankind could no longer communicate with one another due to the fact that the once uniform language was no longer uniform, and as a result, spread out across the earth. (Genesis 11:1 - 9)

  It is by this that many people believe that this occurrence was how the many varying languages of the world were born.

  It is not mentioned that God directly destroyed the tower. However it is strongly implied that due to the act of God causing the confusion of tongues, the Tower of Babel never saw completion because construction plans could no longer be carried out with so many different languages. Eventually this lead to the Tower falling into ruination and disrepair.

  In the story of the Tower of Druaga, the creators at NAMCO took an interesting "twist" on the account.

   Bear in mind that the Druaga series has an ongoing tradition in which all of the games involve you returning to the Tower itself at some point in time. From The Quest of Ki until The Blue Crystal Rod, the series of events would come to be known as "The Druaga War" (A synopsis of the entire events spanning The Druaga War has been made available in the Prologue of The Blue Crystal Rod, both in this game and this article).

Original promotional photograph of a pamphlet advertisement for the Japanese Arcade release of The Tower of Druaga (1984). A scale model of backdrops and locations, accompanied by two-dimensional hand-drawn animation cells were used in the photography of the pamphlet.

  Here's where the similarities between the Towers of Druaga and Babel lie.

  The entire saga of Druaga takes place in the fictional nation of "Babilym" 「バビリム」 which was more than likely named after the ancient city of "Babylon".

  In the story of the game, Babilym rests along the Euphrates River. Further along down the river is the Empire of the neighboring nation, Sumer 「スーマール」. Based on the real-life nation of the same name.

  The chief god Anu [of Sumerian, Babylonian and Assyrian mythology] created the legendary Blue Crystal Rod, which rests on a pedestal in heaven and shines a light that radiates down upon the city of Babilym--bringing peace and prosperity to its people.

  The Sumerians and their Emperor eventually hear of the Rod's existence and clad themselves in armor, preparing for an invasion on Babilym.

  The invasion is carried out and Babilym is now occupied by the Sumerian Army. The Sumerians enslave the people of Babilym and force them to build the tower in an effort to reach the very heavens.
  The Tower's construction had been just completed. As it turns out however, the tower was so incredibly high [spanning a whopping 60 floors which was incredible for such an RPG at the time--especially an Arcade RPG. A genre that was barely explored.] that the Tower overshadowed the Celestial light that poured down over Babilym. The city had lost its divine protection entirely.

  This gave way to the resurrection of the demon Druaga, who had once been sealed away by the goddess Ishtar. Druaga stormed the freshly completed tower, went to the top floor, got the Blue Crystal Rod, released all of his monsters and minions under his control and took up residency within the tower.

  On a side note--A once common thought was that God directly destroyed the Tower of Babel. In the "Druaga" series, that thought is actually realized.

  For you see, Anu looked down from heaven and saw all the chaos that had ensued and came to the conclusion that all humans in general were not worthy of divine salvation. As a result, Anu struck the newly dubbed "Tower of Druaga" with a forceful lightning bolt! Causing the tower to crumble into ruination.

An engraving known as "The Confusion of Tongues" by Gustave Doré (1865). Depicting the construction of the Tower of Babel, which was built in an effort to reach heaven, but was ultimately struck down by God.

  Both towers were constructed in an effort to reach heaven, and both were devastated be it directly, or indirectly by the hand of God. It is there where the similarities between the two towers ends, however. Continuing on. The destruction of the tower killed nearly all of the Sumerian Army. The people of Babilym breathed a sigh of relief, for their oppressors had been done away with. Everyone had slept easily that evening... until.

  Druaga appeared again, wielding the Blue Crystal Rod that he had spirited away from the heavens. He used the Rod's restorative powers to reconstruct the tower to its former glory overnight. Additionally, he restored all the evil creatures that were present within the tower prior to its destruction. Monster, fiend, and soldier alike. Druaga's minions were restored, and the once proud Sumerian soldiers were now under Druaga's reign.

  Even Quox the Dragon, both good-natured, and the former resident of the tower found himself struggling against Druaga's evil control.

  As a last ditch effort, Ishtar, the Goddess of Love and War appealed to Anu to let him make the people of Babilym her responsibility. In an act of compassion towards mankind, Ishtar employed her Shrine Maiden Ki in an effort to single-handedly invade the Tower of Druaga and steal back the Blue Crystal Rod. Ishtar even gave Ki her blessing in the form of a golden tiara with a red jewel embedded in the front as a form of protection. Ki was also commanded not to engage in physical combat without the Blue Crystal Rod, for it was a sin for her to do as such.

  In her ascent up the tower, Ki befriended Quox the Dragon who helped her towards the top. In finally reaching the pedestal where the Blue Crystal Rod rested, the Rod mysteriously separated into three individual rods of Red, Green, and Blue. Being somehow linked to the Blue Crystal Rod, Quox the Dragon was finally subdued when this happened. He was changed from good to evil and split into three forms. A Green, Silver, and Black dragon. Druaga then appeared, looming over Ki and creeping out of the shadows. Druaga turned Ki into stone... All that remained of her was a simple gray-colored rock with a familiar golden tiara around it.

  Druaga then sent a hooded messenger to tell Gilgamesh of the news. Gilgamesh then was given blessed golden armor by Ishtar, and quickly resolved to storm the Tower of Druaga...

          And that's where our story continues...

Cast of Mainstay Characters:
Click Pictures for enlarged views.

  Gilgamesh (Gil)  ギルガメス(ギル):

  Gilgamesh is the main hero of the Druaga series. Also commonly referred to as "Gil, the Golden Knight". In the game, he is the son of King Marduk [whom in real life history is the god of ancient Babylon]. Sadly, King Marduk was defeated in the invasion of the Sumerian Empire. Gilgamesh is the Prince of Babilym, who would eventually become King upon his wedding to his childhood friend and lover, Ki, the Shrine Maiden of the Goddess Ishtar. Gil is brave and noble in his duties--always striving to see them through to the very end. Which is greatly in contrast to the actual figure he was based off of. The real Gilgamesh of historic legend was said to be a "Demigod" [akin to Hercules] and was reportedly "two thirds god and one third man".

  Much like his video game counterpart, he was of royal lineage--the fifth king of Uruk. Although he wasn't anywhere near "noble". He would "sleep with women the night before their weddings to their respective husbands". Even in the great Epic of Gilgamesh that was recorded on stone tablets over some 4,000 years ago, Gilgamesh would embark on a journey to achieve immortality--meeting Ishtar, the Goddess of Love and War, and the "courtesan" [high-class "lady of the evening"] of the Gods, and refusing her amorous advances upon him. Then ultimately meeting the only survivors of "the great deluge" [believed to be a strong reference to the flood of Noah's Ark].

  Since then, the concept of Gilgamesh as a historical icon has been associated with immortality and a great lust for power, which is evident in games such as the Final Fantasy series, and certain Japanese Anime series.

  Even so, Gilgamesh and Ki remain notable characters among NAMCO's popular video game character roster. They were even mascots of NAMCO, along with Pac-Man, Taizou Hori (The star of Dig-Dug), Mappy the Police-mouse, Valkyrie and Kurino Sandra, The Cosmo Gang and more. All of which who frequently appeared on the covers of NAMCO's long since discontinued Arcade newsletter publication NG Gaming Community Magazine. The covers are featured throughout the Sony PlayStation collection of Namco Museum.


Ki  カイ:

  Ki [pronounced "KAI" and not "KEE" as some people might think] is Gilgamesh's long-time childhood friend, and beloved fiancée. She is a devout shrine maiden to the Goddess Ishtar, whose job is to act as a mediator on behalf of the gods.

  In the game, when Gilgamesh is critically wounded, it is Ki that tends to him--ever watchfully. She is pulled away from her duties when Ishtar commands her to sneak into the Tower of Druaga and steal back the Blue Crystal Rod--a pivotal artifact that is extremely vital to the events that are occurring; it can shift the outcome of the Druaga War.

  Ki fails in this attempt and is caught and transformed into a stone by Druaga and held hostage.

  Upon her rescue by Gilgamesh, it is now Ki's duty to lead the way and help both Gilgamesh and herself escape from the rubble that once was the Tower of Druaga. Now that she wields the Blue Crystal Rod, Ki's magical prowess has greatly increased.

  It is unclear, but I believe that Ki's source material is more than likely based off the Sumerian Goddess of the Earth and Underworld also known as the Goddess named Ki.

  In the game series, Gil and Ki would eventually become the next King and Queen of Babilym. Ki makes a later appearance in the Japanese-only Multiplayer Linked Arcade RPG Druaga Online: The Story of Aon under the name of "Young Ki".

  There is a reason behind this.

  According to the game's story. Only Young Maidens of Babilym are to serve as shrine maidens to Ishtar. This is due to the fact that only young maidens possess the ability to hear the voices of the gods. When Ki reached adult womanhood and became the wife of Gilgamesh, she then lost her ability to serve as Ishtar's shrine maiden. As a result, a new shrine maiden was to be named.

  In NG Gaming Community Magazine, NAMCO of Japan's discontinued Arcade newsletter, Ki has made the most appearances on the cover artwork of any female character, and probably any NAMCO character at that time, period.

Ishtar  イシター:

  Both in the games and in real life history, Ishtar is referred to as the Goddess of Love and War. Known for her stunning beauty, in real life history she was also known as the "courtesan of the gods".

  After Anu grew disgusted at the sight of human beings fighting over the Blue Crystal Rod, Ishtar appealed to Anu, asking that she could take up the role of watching over the humans of Babilym.

  Ishtar worked with Gil and Ki in an effort to recover the Blue Crystal Rod that had been stolen by her archenemy Druaga.

  Throughout the games, Ishtar serves as a guide to help players succeed in their many quests. This even holds true in Namco X Capcom for Sony PlayStation 2 as she helps the characters there travel between dimensions. In that game, Valkyrie (from the "Valkyrie" series) was her personal agent.

  Even so, when Ishtar made an appearance in The Nightmare of Druaga: Mysterious Dungeon, she was actually quite bossy and demanding towards Gilgamesh. The scriptwriters probably wrote her out to behave this way, as the game was extremely strict about employing anti-cheating measures.

  Should a player die in a dungeon, become frustrated and turn off the PlayStation 2 console, or try to back up their save by swapping Memory Cards and saving to another card should you fail on one save, the player would be greeted by the Goddess Ishtar the next time they started the game.

  Ishtar would give the player a strong, firm lecturing about how they "should not mess with the natural flow of time" and that they "mustn't do it again, or else there would be dire consequences to pay" [referring to messing with save files on your memory card].

  This behavior was very contrary to Ishtar's normal, compassionate, loving, almost "motherly" behavior in previous games. But The Nightmare of Druaga: Mysterious Dungeon was developed by ARIKA and ChunSoft, and was merely licensed by NAMCO. So whether or not the game can be considered "canon" can be disputed [especially since the "Druaga" series was supposed to have ended in 1994's Super Famicom title "The Blue Crystal Rod" ].

Anu  アヌ:

  Anu, the chief "God of the Pantheon". And a prominent god in Sumerian, Babylonian, and Assyrian mythology. The original creator of the Blue Crystal Rod itself.

  Anu created the Blue Crystal Rod so that it's celestial light could shine down on Babilym and its people--a reward for the strong show of faith and servitude towards him.

  After seeing the Sumerian Imperial Army ravage Babilym and build the Tower to reach the Blue Crystal Rod in heaven, Anu grows disgusted with humankind in general and turns his back upon them. After the Rod was stolen, Anu becomes enraged even further and destroys the tower via a mighty strike by a lighting bolt, even destroying all who resided within it.

  Ishtar appeals to Anu, and Anu gives the humans one final chance to set things right.

  While he is important to the story, because he created the Blue Crystal Rod, Anu makes little appearances throughout the series. However, Gilgamesh has the option to face him in the 5th and Extra dungeon of The Nightmare of Druaga: Mysterious Dungeon in a stage known as "Between Heaven and Earth".

Druaga  ドルアーガ:

  In Babylonian mythology, Druaga was the ruler of the devil world. The representation of him in the game series stays true [for the most part, anyway] to how his true form is said to look. The Ruby mace, eight arms, four legs and such.

  In the game, Druaga had been previously defeated by the Goddess Ishtar and was sealed away under the earth below. The celestial light that poured upon the land of Babilym from the Blue Crystal Rod insured that he remained sealed away.

  But when the Sumerian Empire invaded Babilym and greedily built a tower to reach the Blue Crystal Rod, the celestial light that kept Druaga sealed was obscured by the tower's dark shadow. Thus, Druaga broke free and took the Blue Crystal Rod and control of the tower for himself.

  While Druaga died by Gilgamesh's hand in The Tower of Druaga, Gil and Ki worked hard to prevent his resurrection and defeat him once and for all in both The Blue Crystal Rod and The Nightmare of Druaga: Mysterious Dungeon.

Quox The Dragon  クオックス・ザ・ドラゴン:

  Quox the Dragon is one of the few characters that has nothing to do with Sumerian, Babylonian, or Assyrian mythology. The concept of "Quox the Dragon" first appeared in the year 1914 in the eighth book of L. Frank Baum's "Oz" book series of children's novels--the book titled "Tik-Tok of Oz".

  Described as a "lackadaisical" [to be without vigor or determination; listless. or "lazy" and sloth-like for all intents and purposes] dragon in the book, he aided in the defeat of the Nome King.

  In the games however, Quox is said to have been the original inhabitant of the tower before the "Druaga" incident occurred. He was quite docile and friendly, and even was befriended by Ki and helped her in her efforts to reach the top of the tower.

  Said to be the physical manifestation, or rather, the "embodiment" of the Blue Crystal Rod itself. Quox is physically linked to the Blue Crystal Rod.

  Initially, Quox resisted Druaga up until Ki finally had the Blue Crystal Rod within reach. When the Blue Crystal Rod split into three forms--the Blue, Green, and Red Crystal Rods--Quox became evil and under Druaga's control. Ultimately splitting into three separate forms. His original form of a Green dragon, then a Silver Dragon, and then a Black Dragon.

  After Druaga's defeat, Quox regained his sanity and was good once again.

Succubus  サキュバス:

  Succubus was a seductress and an agent of Druaga.

  During the Tower of Druaga incident, Gilgamesh came into contact with her. At that time, Gil had acquired the Red and Green crystal rods. All he needed was the Blue Crystal Rod to make the rod whole once more.

  Using trickery and deception, Succubus attempted to deceive Gilgamesh and end his quest prematurely. Gilgamesh bested her however, and she eventually relinquished the Blue Crystal Rod--allowing Gil to fight against Druaga on the 59th Floor of the tower.

Skulld  スカールド:

  A mysterious female figure.

  Her true identity remained shrouded in mystery. She did not appear until The Nightmare of Druaga: Mysterious Dungeon for Sony PlayStation 2.

  During the events of that game, she kidnaps Ki and leads her to the Dark Ruins. To which point, Gilgamesh gives chase.

  There is some sort of link between her, Ki, and Succubus... What could it be...?

   Reoccurring Monsters throughout the "Druaga" Game Series:

Green Slime:

  The most basic enemy of any RPG.

  Green slimes are the first enemy that Gilgamesh will encounter in the tower of Druaga. The player soon learns that nearly all enemies in the tower of Druaga come in tiers and ranking systems.

  The Slime family is closely related to its cousin, the Ooze family. The Ooze family is not listed here. They resemble slimes, but are much lower to the ground--like puddles of liquid.

Black Slime:

  Black slimes are like Green slimes with the exception to the fact that they are slightly stronger than their Green counterparts.

  They can still be easily dealt with however.

Red Slime:

  Red Slimes can cast magic spells.

  Adding an interesting change of pace to the slime family. The spells can be deflected with Gilgamesh's shield, however.

Blue Slime:

  Blue Slimes are like Sorcerers. They can be taken advantage of by the fact that they can break through walls in the tower.

  If taken advantage of properly, the player can easily reach the door, key or treasure chests.

Yellow Slime:

  Yellow Slimes pose a bigger threat because they can shoot fireballs that will linger on the floor for a short while.

  Fireballs will cause anyone that walks into them to perish.

Dark Green Slime:

  The strongest of the slime class.

  They can shoot magic that can pass through walls. It would be especially wise to be wary of these monsters.


  Mages, like all of the Mage family have a habit of casting a spell and randomly teleporting to another spot across the map.

  Magic can kill the player on the spot if it's not blocked with a shield or avoided.


  Druids are a bigger nuisance, because like the Yellow Slime, they too can shoot fireballs that will linger on the floor and will cause the player to die if walked into carelessly.


  Sorcerers have the ability to simply cast spells that can destroy walls.

  They can either be your best friend or worst enemy if not treated with care. Take advantage of them as you see fit.


  Similar to the Dark Green Slime, Wizards are the highest tier of the mage family and pose the biggest threat.

  Dark Green Slimes can cast penetrating magic, but have limited movement because of the walls of the room. Wizards can overcome this obstacle however by simply teleporting around the room.

Blue Knight:

  The Knight family.

  The first tier is the Blue Knight. Equal to the Green Slime, they have slow movement speed and the lowest vitality.

Black Knight:

  Corresponding with the Black Slime, Black Knights are a little stronger than Blue Knights.

  They're also somewhat tougher to kill and should be treated with care.

Mirror Knight:

  The majority of the Knight Family is completely impervious to Ki's magic.

  As the tiers of Knights increase, the stronger and faster Knights become.


  Lizardmen are another mainstay of traditional role playing games.

  While they are exceptionally strong and quick in The Tower of Druaga, in the game The Nightmare of Druaga: Mysterious Dungeon, they retain the ability to bust down walls!

Red Knight:

  Very quick, high attack power, and movement speed.

  The Red Knights are only second best to the Hyper Knights.

Hyper / High-Power Knight:

  Hyper Knights.

  The strongest of all knights. Only fight them if it is absolutely necessary to get by. Otherwise, avoid these guys at all costs.

Quox The Dragon:

  Quox the Dragon was once docile, but went mad after the Blue Crystal Rod split into three forms.

  The Green dragon form of Quox is the weakest form, but is still exceptionally strong.

  Quox can also blast a steady stream of fire that can scorch Gilgamesh, or any other adventurers severely.

Silver Dragon:

  The second-strongest form of Quox. This beast can only be subdued when Gilgamesh [or anyone else] obtains a certain mace on one of the floors of the tower.

Black Dragon:

  The strongest and fastest form of Quox.

  The most aggressive of all. Like the other dragons, it can only be subdued when the player has obtained a certain mace.

Green Roper:

  Ropers are extremely annoying throughout the entire Druaga series.

  Because they have several tentacles, they have an exceptionally high attack and defense power. Don't bother trying to kill these monsters. In all Druaga games, they will often kill you first before you even have a chance at killing them.

  To make matters worse, these creatures also come in tiers as well.


  Ghosts essentially are undead mages that have the ability to freely pass through walls. They also have their own family and come in tiers. To make matters worse, they to can cast the same array of spells as the Mage family.

  Additionally, Ghosts are normally invisible to the player until the player receives a Candle--which will expose their presence.

Red & Blue Will-o'-the-Wisps:

  Don't dawdle for too long on the floors of the tower. Red and Blue Wisps will spawn if the player remains on a floor for too long. They can kill the player on contact.

  They move in a set pattern, however. Red wisps will follow the wall in a counter-clockwise pattern, while Blue wisps will follow in a clockwise pattern. Gilgamesh can become impervious to their touch by obtaining the Red and Blue rings, however.


  Vampires originally appeared on the very first area of The Return of Ishtar. Even though they come in tiers, they are slow and sloth-like.

  The Purple Vampire is the lowest tier.

Land Urchin:

  Much like the Roper family, they have very high attack and defensive capabilities. In fact, I don't even think these things can be killed at all. The only game where they can be killed is in The Nightmare of Druaga: Mysterious Dungeon. I strongly advise against engaging any of these in combat--nine times out of ten, you'll most likely be killed.

  These enemies should be avoided at all costs. They appear in The Return of Ishtar and from there on out.


  This species of bat didn't appear until The Return of Ishtar.

  They can come in swarms and move exceptionally quickly. Additionally, they also have a "family" and come in tiers. Purple being the lowest tier.


  Snakes did not make an appearance until The Return of Ishtar. They possessed the ability to poison Gilgamesh and Ki on their journey on the way out of the tower. After The Return of Ishtar, snakes became a mainstream monster.


  Originally, the Druaga canon was supposed to span the first four games listed below. But back by popular demand, the series has continued onward. Without a doubt, the very first game released, The Tower of Druaga remains the most popular of the franchise to this day. The only other game that can even remotely hold a candle to it is The Return of Ishtar. Even so, the only time the two games have seen a stateside released were in the "NAMCO Museum" collection on Sony PlayStation. By my count, the only Druaga game to see an "intended" release outside of Japan was The Nightmare of Druaga: Mysterious Dungeon.

  The game list is as follows:

  1. カイの冒険 "The Quest of Ki"
    NAMCO ®, 1988.
    Nintendo Famicom [Japan]
  2. ドルアーガの塔 "The Tower of Druaga"
    NAMCO ®, 1984 to Present Day.
    Arcade, Nintendo Famicom, PC-Engine (TurboGraphx-16), MSX, FM-77, Sharp X1, Sharp X68000, As a bonus disc obtained from pre-orders for the Japanese version of "Baten Kaitos" for Nintendo Gamecube. [Japan] Arcade version ported to "NAMCO Museum Vol. 3" (©1997) for Sony PlayStation (with "Darkness Dungeon" / "Another Dungeon" modes added) [Japan, U.S.A., & Europe]
  3. イシターの復活 "The Return of Ishtar"
    NAMCO ®, 1986 to Present Day.
    Arcade, Sharp X68000 [Japan] "Namco Museum Vol. 4" (©1997), PlayStation [Japan, U.S.A., & Europe]
  4. ザ・ブルー・クリスタル・ロッド "The Blue Crystal Rod"
    NAMCO ®, 1994.
    Nintendo Super Famicom [Japan]
  5. ザ・ナイトメア・オブ・ドルアーガ:不思議のダンジョン "The Nightmare Of Druaga: Mysterious Dungeon"
    NAMCO ®, 2004.
    Sony PlayStation 2 [Japan & U.S.A.]
  6. 攻めCOM(こみ)ダンジョン:ドルルルアーガ "Attacking COM Dungeon: Drururuaga"
    NAMCO ®, 2000.
    Nintendo GameBoy Color [Japan]

 The articles will be presented in the chronological format as shown above. Please enjoy.

 Article last modified by DeviFoxx on 07/04/2007 03:11:19 AM

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