Solomon's Key
for PC

Company: Tecmo
Year: 1988
Genre: Puzzle
Theme: Unique
Language: English
Licence: Commercial
Views: 6688
Review by Wandrell (2013-10-12)

Simplicity is part of the charm of older classics, but also one of the pillars of any puzzle game. Giving you little they manage to offer a lot of variety, more than it looks at first, because who would have thought it was possible to create a game revolving about a stone block creating wand?

And that's all it takes for this game. You can create blocks, and you have to get to the exit. Nothing more, yet all the levels feel different.

Maybe it's in part because, unsurprisingly, in addition to being sort of puzzle game, this is also sort of a platforms game, after all you have to put those blocks to good use. And this expands from the first simplistic view I have. It's not just creating blocks, you have to use the to find your way out, and for that you can also destroy those blocks, using the same wand or just hitting them with your head.

Do you still need more than this? Well, there is. First of all, the exit is always closed, so you need to reach the key, and then head to the exit. Still sounds too easy? Well, there are of course some dangers stopping you from rushing out of the level. Traps await in ambush, and monsters patrol the place, each with their own quirk, and each with their own way to handle you and your blocks.

You have few ways to defend yourself against them. Making them fall to their death may be useful, or may just give you a few seconds, and there are some magical bottled fires to help you a bit. But most of the time it's better to just dodge them. Even more if you want to get the highest score.

Puzzle game, platformer and score chaser. Not a surprise when you know this is an arcade port, and it shows with it's punishing score mechanic: you get points for finishing the level, but those bonus points are quickly decreasing as time passes, a problem which can be reduced thanks to the bonus spread around the level, sometimes hidden, sometimes visible. Of course, if you try to get them you waste more time.

Among those bonus, the most important is the bell which is always on each level, and you are supposed to get. Grab it and a fairy appears on the door, grab the fairy as she moves aimlessly through the places and you get more points.

That most of it. The game changes very little from one platform to another, and this port didn't have much luck, ugly CGA graphics where it is hard to notice anything and repetitive music show the limitations of the PC back then, and make it painful to play.

Thanks to that, to that single point (along the fact this game was ported more successfully to other platforms, such as the NES), the game loses most of it's appeal. I rarely say so, but this game ends being too ugly, thanks to a lazy port, that there is little reason to play it instead of the other existing ones.

Comments (1) [Post comment]