Tower of Babel (1986 video game)

Tower of Babel (バベルの塔 Babel no Tō?), also known as Babel in the original version's box art and title screen, is a video game developed and published by Namco on August 18, 1986 only in Japan. It is a platformer/puzzle hybrid that was first released for the Family Computer and later for the Wii U Virtual Console. The regular version of the game contains 64 levels, and the "Babel Pro" version contains another 64 levels. Later, Nintendo adapted the title for play in the arcade as part of their Nintendo Vs. Series, calling it Vs. Tower of Babel. An enhanced version of it was later ported to the Sharp X68000. In 1997, the game was included on a compilation made for the Game Boy known as Namco Gallery Vol. 3. In 1998, the game was also included on a compilation made for the PlayStation known as Namco Anthology 1 where, like all of the Famicom games presented on the disc, an enhanced arrange mode was provided alongside the unaltered original game.


In the beginning, an archaeologist and explorer known as Indiana Borgnine (インディー・ボーグナイン?), is in search of the fabled Hanging Gardens of Babylon. After reading some lost scriptures, he determines that the only way to see them is to travel to the very top of the 64-story Tower of Babel. Upon reaching the Tower, he discovers that the only way to access the floors above him are to solve some challenging puzzles involving loose L-shaped blocks that he finds throughout the Tower. To his great surprise, the blocks are capable of balancing very well on top of one another, in order to form staircases.


The player controls Indiana Borgnine through 64 levels, using L-shaped blocks and vines in order to reach the exit of each level. On some levels, the exit is blocked by a mask, and there are crystal balls throughout the level. If all of the crystal balls on a level are collected, then the mask covering that level's exit will disappear, and the exit will no longer be blocked. When the exit of a level is reached, a screen is displayed showing the score achieved on that level before the character moves on to the next level. In the top right corner of the screen there is a power count. Lifting an L-shaped block causes the power count to go down by 1. Items will occasionally spawn while the player goes through the tower. The items are:

  • Pots (100 points and add 1 to power count)
  • Crowns (200 points)
  • Jewels (400 points and invincibility. Enemies killed while invincible are worth 1000 points)
  • Lamps (1000 points and enable Indiana Borgnine to pass through L-shaped blocks)
  • Stars (Increase Indiana Borgnine's speed)
  • Enemies

    There are three types of enemies in the tower. They are:

    • Bats
    • Priests of Ur
    • Babelz

    Enemies can be destroyed by crushing them with the L-shaped blocks or by hitting them while Indiana Borgnine is under the invincibility effect of a jewel. Bats travel in a straight vertical line until they encounter an obstacle, at which point they move in the opposite direction. Priests of Ur can move both horizontally and vertically, and will attempt to chase Indiana Borgnine. If a Priest of Ur is destroyed, it will respawn at the top of the level. Babelz move along the platform that they stand on. When a Babelz reaches the end of its platform, it creates an L-shaped block to drop off the side, and then reverses its direction.

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