Solomon’s Key (NES) Retro Review

Solomon’s Key is a 1987 puzzle game for the NES developed and published by Tecmo. Its about a man named Dana thats sent into “Constellation Space” in order to find “Solomon’s Key” to restore the world of light after demons were accidentally released. Just like Mighty Bomb Jack this game uses a GDV system to rate your score.

Very simple title screen with nice graphics but no sound. There is also no options but it does show you 1 bit of demo play, sadly the AI is a complete idiot and kills itself before it can complete the room.

Getting into the gameplay the graphics were simplistic but nice with seemingly decent music in the background. Controls were very easy to work out with A leting you create/destroy blocks and B using a fireball leaving jump to up on the dpad. Gameplay is quite interesting because of these controls but its also unbelievably hard. Not only do you have a time limit but you also can’t be hit by anything without dying (which makes the timers name annoy me since it makes you think its like Gauntlet’s life system). On top of this you only have 3 lives and no continues so its thought of as a very difficult game (although i heard theres a secret code and people playing emulated could just cheat or something).

And you seriously need cheats if you’re anything less than an expert at it. However i did find some tips that made me feel really smart. Firstly the electric balls only go around blocks so its a good idea to purposely block them off whenever possible, they are also easy to jump over like most other enemies. Secondly, enemies die if they fall which is the key to winning level 5 as you can lure the dragon things onto your blocks and then destroy them. As you can guess by those hints i do like this game although sadly i didn’t get very far at all…

Overall its quite a good game and its definitely difficult, because i only recommend playing this emulated (although I’d still grab a physical copy if possible).


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