The Quest of Ki is a prequel to the original Tower of Druaga
game. In it, Ki is sent by Ishtar to the tower to get back her (Ishtar's) stolen Blue Crystal Rod, leading to her capture by Druaga and subsequent rescue by Gilgamesh. It is one of the many spin-off games and products that reflect the huge popularity the Druaga series had in Japan in that era. The game also amusingly includes many D&D monsters, from well-known creatures like beholders to obscure entries like the Axbeak and Rust Monster. Kai must navigate 60 floors to end the story; however, there are 40 bonus floors afterwards which are unconnected to the story. These bonus stages include cameos by the ghosts from Pac-man and enemies from Dig Dug!
The player must navigate Ki, who is largely defenseless barring a couple of item pick-ups to be mentioned later, through each stage in as quick a manner as possible; the door which marks the end can only be opened with a key generally located elsewhere in the stage. If the timer runs out the player loses a life; making contact with an enemy, trap, or projectile will also cause Ki to lose a life. Should Ki make contact with an enemy, that enemy will disappear on the next attempt in the stage. Being hit by an enemy's spell will not make them disappear.
However, while Ki may be incapable of offense, she has all sorts of tricky movements at her disposal. Ishtar has granted Ki a magical tiara which gives her a form of flight; holding down the jump button will cause Ki to rise so long as the button is held down, and letting go causes her to begin to fall slowly. Be careful not to bump Ki's head on the ceiling, or she'll hurt it and fall to the ground with potentially fatal consequences should an enemy be waiting. Should the player get a game over, they can choose to begin the game again anew or continue from the stage they last died on.
In each stage are a variety of chests that contain items that can assist Ki... or hinder her if it's a trap. Items are only effective in the stage in which they are found; Ki is "reset" with each stage.
These are items that will help Ki on her quest. Well, most of them... some will in fact hurt Ki! Be careful! Most are found in chests and don't change in different play sessions, to be sure to remember which are bad.
- Wing: Allows Ki to float endlessly without touching the ground. You still have to be careful not to bump her head on the ceiling, though!
- Barrier: Protects Ki from one hit from an enemy.
- Timer: Grants the player extra time to complete the stage.
- Time Stop: Stops all enemies (and their projectiles!) in their tracks for a period of time.
- Gift Box: Rewards the player with 10,000 points.
- Special Flag: Grants the player an extra life.
- Warp: The quox appears and warps Ki further up the tower! How useful!
- Sleep: Stops some monsters from moving for the remainder of the stage, most notably slimes.
- Orb: Bribe the greedy ogre to make him stop blocking Ki's path with this.
- Cross: Chase vampires away with this!
- Ring: Makes Ki immune to will o' wisps.
- Lamp: Lets Ki see invisible enemies.
- Poison: Makes the timer count down much faster!
- ZAP: Found only near the end of the game, this warps Ki back down the tower, forcing the player to re-complete stages. Avoid it!