Dungeon name: The Towers of Chaos V3.0, The Fortress

Designer: Paul Hayes (

Platform: CSBWin, Paul Stevens. Designed using: DMute 1.4 (George Gilbert), converted: Dungeon Converter (Christophe Fontanel), Mastered using: CSBuild 153 (Paul Stevens). Graphics file accessed via DMExtract and CSBEdit (Paul Gross).

Graphics: Custom dat file designed by Paul Hayes


This took me a lot longer than anticipated! The dungeon is fairly linear in structure though certain
areas can be completed before others depending on your team strength. I would say it was 60% DM, 30%
DM2 and 10% CSB in nature. There will be variation game to game due to the 'random item' mechanism
in the game. So where that nice sword you have been waiting for ends up, who knows? Obviously this
mechanism doesn't apply to the important bits.
I found it hard to judge how difficult I should make the monsters, so there are a lot of puzzles.
Same for the food quotas. Please report to me ASAP if you find this too easy hard and I may alter it
a bit.
Finally I STRONGLY recommend you take at least two people as 1) There is a lot of stuff to carry and
2) Well, you'll find out...


The world had been a quiet and peaceful place for many years since the heroes of old had restored
harmony, and the Grey Lord and Librasulus ruled the land. But the Grey Lord was growing old and had
decided to take on an apprentice to pass down his knowledge to keep the world a balanced place. The
apprentice listened with great wonder to his Master of the power of the mighty staff and its ability
to divide the world into two. The temptation was too much... one cold and stormy night the apprentice
turned on his Master and forced him to rebuild the staff. The apprentice captured the Lord and held
him prisoner in an old deserted tower. He took the staff and with its power drained all that was good
 and all that was bad from the lord and to his horror it created two powerful beings, Lord Order and Chaos.
Lord Chaos laughed an evil laugh and killed the foolish apprentice instantly. "I shall spread terror
and destruction once again" cackled the Dark Lord and took the exhausted Grey Lord to the bottom of the
tower with the staff.
Lord Order was not amused, he wanted the staff himself so he sent a huge and powerful Dragon down to retreive
it. However the Dragon had other ideas... he swallowed the Grey Lord and the Staff and became even more
powerful! Order and Chaos then built a fort to keep people out and the Dragon in while they decided how to
retrieve the one thing they both craved.

Librasulus sends you forth into the tower to kill the Dragon, rescue the Grey Lord and Firestaff and to restore balance
again to the universe! You can choose up to four champions of old. You will end up in the town somewhere
after choosing as you enter the void, though you may see a vision of evil on the way.
Good luck!


This dungeon is run using CSBWin. Unpack and copy files into your CSBWin directory (inc CSBexe with this download). Click on the sword icon, and away you go! Enter prison to start game, which can be saved in one of four slots. CSBWin has many options in its pull down menus to configure game. A lot of the things are self explanatory, but are not essential. Screen size is best in x2 or x3 with a modern monitor (remember this is a conversion from the Atari code, and used a resolution of 320x200 so will look very blocky at full screen). Speed options simply accelerate the internal clock and is probably best left how it is. All other options please visit for info


Lost in the ether!

Version 1.x DMPC
Version 2.X CSBWin conversion. V2.3 First release on CSBWin. Requires custom graphics.dat to work, included in zip.
Version 3.x CSBWin 'tuned', using CSBuild 153. V3.0 Second CSBWin release aka The Fortress. Includes graphics.dat.

Paul Hayes 12/11/04


For CSBwin:
Download the  zip file for CSBwin
Unpack the files into any directory.  We will call this the 'root directory'.
For CSBwin you will have the following files:
  • CSBwin.exe.  The program itself.
  • Config.txt.  This describes the keyboard mappings.  What each key does.
  • Graphics.dat.  This file contains the graphics for the game.
  • dungeon.dat.  This file contains the entire dungeon..

For CSBwin: See Playing the game using CSBwin.

Note::Review is for older version

Author: PicturesInTheDark (213.164.7.---)
Date:   10-28-03 14:06

Values ranking from Neophyte (1) to Archmaster (10).

Gameplay: Expert ~ Although I found the way through the dungeon too chaotic despite your claim of “pretty straight forward” in the text file, this is the only criticism I can make here. Otherwise beautifully laid out and a lot of twists and turns to follow until the end.

Originality: Archmaster ~ Starting with “Double your money” there were many riddles both beautiful and -as far as I can guess- hard to design or make up. There’s still parts I did not like, but for the effort of creating some of the most original puzzles apart from the original series, I can but give you the highest rank in this category.

Difficulty: Expert ~ In some areas you overdid it a little (see the fireball trap in the first level that will kill you instantaneously if you’re not careful or other examples to be found in “comments”), although most is solvable by being careful or alert. I still claim my ideal dungeon must enable the player to theoretically survive the first time – I don’t think that “tower of chaos” can completely fulfill that. Basically pretty linear difficulty design, although I found the starting levels too tough with reincarnated characters.

Puzzles: Master ~ Probably the dungeon with the most original, newly crafted or uniquely varied puzzles throughout all the levels, experimenting with mechanisms and twisting them into little known forms. Excellent!

Size: Archmaster ~ I’m not a friend of too large dungeons in general, but you not only created a dungeon using nearly every single cell but also found ways to build paths and mechanisms that make the dungeon an overall sound design. This took me at about as long as my first try of the original CSB, so compliments on keeping up suspense and atmosphere throughout this huge layout!

Replayability: Adept ~ I had real (letal) problems with food and water as well, so as long as that is not changed I don’t think I’ll try it again soon. Generally speaking, there’s enough creativity in this dungeon for repeated tries, though. Let’s give it some time, shall we ? ;o)

Craft: Master ~ I was very positively surprised at this dungeon after swallowing my initial frustration on the food and too tough creatures-sides. If you polish up the nourishment and time-to-time dungeon design a little, this will improve your otherwise outstanding and original design even more. No doubt that you know how to design a dungeon very well indeed!

Ending: Adept ~ Chaos again… oh, well. Excuse me, but I just finished the review to Amber’s “Imprisoned again” before so I’m afraid this is a common theme. It’s a little frustrating always having to corner the poor dark creature time and time again avoiding missiles, zytaxes and demons… anyway, you made it pretty tough actually getting the firestaff and then surviving to find Chaos and fusing him – so many things going on in this level at once… *phew* Still, especially with your ability to design I’d hope for a really new end next time…

Atmosphere: Master ~ Just a small point here: the design ruined some of the otherwise excellent atmosphere, because the path was not as clear or straight as I’d have wished for sometimes. Try and error is all well but sometimes you strained that a bit too much in my eyes. Otherwise I certainly strained something, too (that being my nerves) and had a very good time (translate: near heart attacks) in your dungeon. That’s exactly how it should be.

Overall: Master ~ Close call, but deserved. Dungeons like Amber’s “Imprisoned…” and your “Tower…” are the reasons why I was rating pretty carefully with my first dungeons so as not too use up all my aces too early.

(part 1/4)

(part 2/4) ***CONTAINS SPOILERS***

Best part: “Double your money”, the numerous impossible-to-spot teleporters where even the design around the areas concerned is exactly the same most of the times, the “pit riddle” 3(29,17), dragon and black flame in the “orange tower”, fighter way in level 11, Chaos/Good/Order all on your heels in level 12… only to mention some.

Worst part: Big lack of food (especially in the first half of the dungeon), later on fountains were too rare. Playing legally you can hardly survive with a full party. I was missing an overall concept for the path through the dungeon, although the different towers were neat. Sometimes you’d have to go searching for an item you needed (Choker!) in a completely different part and I could not get a picture of the design since you used a lot of invisible teleporters to confuse me.

Comments: This will be a lot. Some are quirks or flaws I think I found, others merely suggestions or uncertainties on my part. Excuse my length, but the better I like a dungeon, the more details tend to interest me.

* Character Hissssa/Leta can be seen on the wall from 0(15,15)

* Any chance to get Gothmog except if playing him only ?

*Vision of Chaos - nice one. First time I just had a quick character selection, then jumped down the pit instead of looking for the rope - short game ;o)

* Pressure pad on 1 (11,23) should "set", not "clear" - door does not open otherwise. (At least with conversion to CSBwin it does not work)

* Door at 1(21,18) only opens when you are either (I don't know which) craftsman wizard or are able to speak an On fireball (strength 3). Since there is way too little food in this dungeon (or I have overlooked something) you cannot reach that level without starving - except if you play Gothmog but then you'll hardly survive. But you need that door to get the second Skeleton key to advance further... correct me if I'm wrong.

* Scorpion at 10(39,25) is a good heart-stopper - although I dislike pits as ways of advancing.

*After finishing I looked at CSBwin - the invisible teleporters transporting you to other dungeon parts are craftily made - the surroundings do not allow you to see any changes.

* The meaning of the one scroll in the "Reading room" (can only guess that you are trying to show directions like north, south, west and so on) escapes me.

* Door at 08(17/35) has an iron plate at the lower part that should not be there - graphical glitch ?

* The blocking false wall on 07(51,32) has no trigger to ever open as far as I could see.

(part 2/4)

(part 3/4) ***CONTAINS SPOILERS***

* If you start (as I did) with the green tower first, you have no vorpal blade - and only at the end of the blue tower way just before the bridge (nice one by the way!) do you get one by killing an Oitu. Maybe this was planned as a sense of irony, but if you intended to provide a weapon for the green tower except magic you should force the players to climb the blue tower first.

* In the teleporter room as far as I can see, I cannot reach 4(13,15) or 4(14,15), therefore my way is blocked and I cannot legally continue and finish the dungeon. Also, the green magic box (I don't know if intentionally or not) cannot be reached.

* The teleporter on 3(27,14) is a very tricky bit I thought was not solvable for a long time, but has a beautiful solution.

* At 4(33,14) and 4 (32,10) there are fountains that do not show on the maps in CSBuild. Either these are random wall decorations or I con't understand why they appear there.

* The pressure pad at 3(19,12) should probably open the door at 3(18,14). If not, this is a death trap.

* If I'm standing at 4(07,06) - "Zero Displacement" and use a ZoKathRa spell instead of a corbum and then going all the way back to the teleporter room up by the stairs on 4 (11,25), I will be teleported to 3 (14,10). To get on further there I will need a gold key for the ruby lock at 3(12,19). However, I can only get the gold key if I went up the stairs mentioned before - blocked way. The only other path to leave this level is through the pit at 3(17,04), which brings me directly to a dead end where I cannot move on any more. So this is another death trap.

* The teleporter at 3(13,25) bringing you to 3(18,25) is a hard riddle - but I have to grant you that you left the scroll downstairs giving the right hint. I just remembered it too late ;o)

* The riddle with the pit at 3(19,09) is pure guesswork - if you don't get it right - and there's no clue, since you don't see the blocked stairs - you are trapped if you enter any of the pits in the hope to be able to move on. I'd suggest a clear hint (a wall text or something like that). Otherwise it's impossible to know you have to open the pit, throw something in and then close it again before taking a pit down to commence your way.

* The scroll at 3(07,23) is either a clever riddle or a tip on the hat to the "holy scroll" - I could not decipher it, but I liked it anyway.

* After beating the dragons at 3(03,30) and finally concluding the blue, green and orange towers I would have wished for a shortcut back to 9(21,25) to use the two mirrors of dawn and commence my way to the final dungeon part. Not necessary, but would be a goodie, since the dungeon is very long anyway.

(part 3/4)

(part 4/4) ***CONTAINS SPOILERS***

* The start of the final part having to step on the pressure plate at 10(10,25) and thus releasing all kinds of horrors on the party was... very hard. Luckily I could reach the stairs and fight from there... if I had been cornered there would have been no chance of survival for my party.

* I found the berzerker/dragon fang room around 10(34,18) also a little too tough. If you died in there once you can adjust your tactics and eliminate the demons before from the outside, but first in you can hardly survive except if you can still back out by any chance.

* Silver coin "treasure slot" at 10(16,37) was very neat - especially after getting two goodies I did not expect the ful bomb coming, which hit me by surprise and very painfully.

* Putting water elementals als "blockers" in the corridor of fire at level 10 was an appreciated irony. The way back though (I'm a stubborn enough player to have walked all the way back after the "sacrifice" part (novelty!) to level 5) was unnecessarily boring. Healing my party after each few steps was possible but made me yawn. A simple button at the end to deactivate it would have done the trick - when you come back you release the trigger again anyway...

* The "Zo Ful Ra" text escapes me. (Zo for opening the first door, Ful [Ir] for the second one, but Ra ?

* The master key at 11(37,46) is probably to enable you to get up and find some fountain for your party - but again through the whole corridor of fire and very likely there's no more food up there if you don't go back all the way to level 1 ("Fast food"). This is a general problem of the dungeon - simply too little nourishment all the way and sometimes badly positioned - I admit I simply cheated here - it was getting really annoying.

Your dungeon implementation has wonderful variations between riddles, mechanisms, monsters and searching for the way on, to improve I therefore can only suggest to simplify the dungeon design while keeping up the puzzles and tricks. You’re very good already so I’d say you can try maximizing your efficiency by creating best efforts using minimum design – and add some food, I’ll pay for it ;o) It was a real pleasure playing this dungeon – maybe it ought to have been Towers of Chaos”? Stunning effort!

Regards, PitD

P.S.: Just look at the time between part 2 and 3 and guess the number of times I tried...