Friday, June 12, 2009

Retro Game of the Day! Solomon's Key

Greetings! Today's trip back to yesteryear is none other than Tecmo's Solomon's Key, a little-seen arcade cab action/puzzler that turned out a decent showing on the NES back in the dawn of its day (1987). A fairly well-known and respectable title to us game nerds, yet all but invisible ot the unwashed masses, Solomon was another vitim of "name sounds boring, screenshots look uninteresting, box cover looks ridiculous" But my buddy Rene' lent me this game, there was not much else to do that weekend, I gave it a spin.

Fell in love, instantly. Charming graphics, sound effects, instant-hook mechanic and gameplay. Not that Solomon was unerringly deep, it just put it's best foot forward ad had you from the moment you "got" what was going on. That creepy, nervous music still plays in my head to this day.

Gameplay basically consists of a single screen for each level, your little guy appears and he must find the key tucked away on the other end of the screen. Always in plain sight from the get-go, yet blocked by any number of creatures or elements or.. shooting.. things. Grab the key and get to the door before the time limit expires and you're good - grab a few hidden fairies along the way and nab some bonus points if you're a tough guy. Sounds easy right? This game will kick anyone's ass. Not unbeatable by a long shot, or so they tell me, but it's a tough damnd game, a few screens in. Mechanic-wise, you've got a wand which can create/destroy blocks and you can smash them from beneath with your head as well. Build stairs to walk up, collect (very limited) fireballs or super-fireballs - but watch it, one touch from the enemy and you're dead..

Highly recommended and securely within my top 25 NES games of all-time.

You must be patient, thoughtful, cunning, and quick on your feet. This is not a game for you button-mashers. Solomon's Key holds up incredibly well to this day, never mind these unimpressive screenshots - the world is alive with character, color, and pressure, but SUCH a gratifying feeling when you start clearing the tougher levels. They sure don't build them like this anymore! Nope, now all Tecmo makes is Ninja Eviscerating games, I suppose..

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