Solomon’s Key (NES)

Solomon’s Key Box Art

Solomon’s Key

System: NES

Release Date: July 1987

Developer: Tecmo

Publisher: Tecmo

Genre: Puzzle

Okay, so, Solomon’s Key on NES is up next. It’s a puzzle game and I like puzzle games. I even kind of like Solomon’s Key, but I just couldn’t stick with it until the end. You are the wizard Dana and you need to seal away a bunch of chaos and darkness that was unleashed by the titular Solomon’s Key, which was a book written by the great king & magician, Solomon.

The first level is easy, the door is open and I’m about to get a fairy bell.

Dana has two abilities. He can create and destroy yellow blocks with the A button and can shoot fireballs with the B button, as long as he has them stored. Dana jumps by pressing up and ducks by pressing down. Diagonal jumps are possible as well as walking while crouched. All of these are needed to get through the levels. Well, except for the fireballs, but they can be helpful.

This is the bonus stage that you go to if you collect an astrology seal.

Dana needs to find a key to unlock a door to move from one room to the next. In fact, this game is a collect-a-thon. Find bells to summon fairies, which when you collect ten give you an extra life. Collect jars to earn fireballs, small ones hit one enemy, big ones hit multiple. Hourglasses either add to your life or set it to 5000. The higher your life when you go through the open door, the higher your score. The instruction manual talks about two pages of Solomon’s Key you can find, and a princess you can save, but I couldn’t stick around long enough to see these through.

This is level 13. I hate level 13.

Enemies act in one of three ways, that I saw. There are goblins and ghosts that move back and forth, destroying blocks if they are in the way. Goblins can be killed if you destroy the block beneath them. There are spark balls that crawl along the surface it is on, you can destroy the block they are on and have them fly forward to the next surface they touch. Enemies like the demonhead and saramandor will move in your general direction and disappear after some time.

Good luck finding an easy solution to keep the saramandors from reaching you.

You need to block some of your enemies to move up the level. Some of these that I played through were hard. I would have liked to have the patience to go through the game, but I got frustrated and felt that moving on would be a better use of my time.

Graphics: 1.5

Graphics are okay at best.

Sound: 1.5

Sound is okay at best.

Gameplay: 1.5

I think everything works like it’s supposed to, but this is a puzzle game that requires twitch reflexes.

Difficulty: 3.0

The puzzles get difficult and it is satisfying when you finally finish a level.

Fun Factor: 2.0

I had fun, but it didn’t make me want to stick around, unfortunately.

Overall Grade: 1.9

Solomon’s Key gets a C. I wanted to like it more than I did. It’s my style of game. I probably would have enjoyed it more if I could devote five hours to it.

Solomon’s Key Video Review on YouTube