Tower of Babel

Tower of Babel is a computer game and designer for the Amiga, Atari ST, and Acorn Archimedes by Pete Cooke, developed by Rainbird Software, and released by Microprose Software in 1990. It is a puzzle played on three-dimensional tower-like grids viewed in vector graphics with filled polygons. Tower of Babel is a great puzzle, some being quite difficult to solve...




The plot is loosely based on the biblical story of the Tower of Babel. During its construction, the Tower caught the attention of a passing Zantorian spaceship. The Zantorians descended and left three spider-like robots to help the Shinarians build the Tower. However, distrust broke out among the two species, and the Shinarians betrayed the robots, stealing their energy packs, their klondikes. Playing the robots, it is the player's job to find the energy packs to be able to get back home to Zantor.

The Zantorians robots are called Grabber, Pusher, and Zapper. Each of these robots has different abilities. Grabber can collect klondikes and operate various devices, Pusher can push things further away, and Zapper can destroy things. Each puzzle includes any combination of these robots, depending on the Tower's design. In each tower, the puzzle's goal is either to destroy a set number of objects, collect a set number of klondikes, or both. Towers with klondikes to collect need Grabber, but the other robots can sometimes be unnecessary or even a problem... 



Here are scans of the manual pages:



Graphic Design

Tower of Babel offer three kinds of user interfaces:

The first kind consists of button and maps of the towers to navigate among the various options, run the game, run the designer, and choose a tower to solve. It is a clean user interface althrough at times not-so-intuitive: in particular, you must click "outside" of the border of some requesters/dialog boxes to cancel them or go back to the previous menu.
The second kind is the in-game user interface. It is quite easy to use and answer quickly to each command, although the latency of the robots can be at times misleading. It includes also controls to view the tower for different viewpoints (north, south, east, west) as well as controls to program each robot independently and to run the programs one at a time or together. When pausing the game, menus appear to configure the user interface or go back to the main menus. All the tower graphics are vector graphics with filled polygons with nice backgrounds with varying effects (for example, meteorites or thunder). They are a very nice and give to Tower of Babel a unique look and feel unprecedented at that time.
The third kind is the designer user-interface. With the Tower Designer, it is possible to create/edit your own groups of towers and share them with your friends! I think that it is the least acclaimed feature of Tower of Babel although it is incredibly powerful. With the designer, it is possible to create tower as interesting and difficult as the ones in the game. Maybe the game towers have also been created using the designer? In itself, the designer is easy to use and quite intuitive, showing clearly the group/tower being edited and it four different level and, for each level, it 8x8 floors.


Musics and Sounds

Music is very poor in Tower of Babel. Although there is a nice intro. music, kind of enchanting, during the game there is no music but three types of background musics (if any): a breathing sound and two different droning sounds. The sounds of the different objects are not very exciting but sufficient: some footsteps for the robots and sounds with zapping (as well as an explosion if an object has been zapped), pushing, grabbing, and elevators...



The animations are a strong point of Tower of Babel: thanks to its vector graphics, all the objects are animated and it is possible to see them move around either from the point of view of one of the robots or from one of the cardinal directions. They are very pleasant and well done, giving to the game its unique atmosphere. Some tower have weird colors to my taste but they add to the mysterious feeling of the whole game...



Tower Puzzles

There are 108 (12 ×9) differently-configured 8x8x4 towers (up to four floors of 8x8 squares each). Towers are arranged by groups of nine towers. To reach the next group, most of the towers of the previous group must have been completed but not all. Early towers are quite easy to complete but later ones (I am still in the second group!) are more difficult. The difficulty of some towers come from their designs but also from the time limits set to complete the towers. With time limits, it is best to program the robots to act in concert to complete the towers. Programming the robots is straighforward but you will have to experiment with your programs when they involve operating elevators or pushing blocks or grabbing klondikes because these operations are not immediate and may lead your programs to stop unexpectedly. A defining aspect of Tower of Babel is its atmosphere: the pace of the robots, defined as stately, the quality of the vector graphics, the background effects, all combine to create an addictive game!


Tower Designer

The designer is quite unique in its ability to easily create your own groups of towers. It offers all the objects found in the in-game towers plus possibilities to choose the moon, the background effect, the music, and so on. There should be goups of home-made towers out there on the Internet but none that I could find ... Remember also that to quit some requesters/dialog boxes, you must click "outside" of them!



If you want to save your games, you must prepare a save disk. For some unknown reason, the option to prepare this save disk is in the Tower Designer! From the main menu, you must choose Tower Designer → File → Prepare Disk.



Here are the solutions of the puzzles by groups of towers. You can also download this RAR archive containing RP9-Snapshots taken before each and every puzzle .



Tower of Babel is a great game, intriguing and unique. It will please puzzle-lovers but may confound causal players. The ability to create your own towers is wonderful to challenge friends; it is surprising that no Web site catalogs such home-made towers...



  • Musics: neutral;
  • Sounds: good;
  • Graphics: excellent;
  • Playability: excellent;
  • Lastability: a life-time!



  • Name: Tower of Babel;
  • Publisher: MicroPose;
  • Type: puzzle;
  • Date: 1990;
  • Hardware: Amiga OCS, 512Kb;
  • License: commercial;
  • Final mark: 9/10.


Further Reading


The last three changes:

Tygre - 2015-06-06 11:12:00 pm  |  Tygre - 2015-06-06 09:59:01 pm  |  Tygre - 2015-06-06 09:43:30 pm