Solomon's Key Review

Solomon's Key holds up surprisingly well after all these years, thanks to its interesting mix of action and puzzles.

Solomon's Key was originally an arcade game, but the Nintendo Entertainment System version probably got around a little bit more than the arcade machine in North America. The NES version was a mostly faithful version of the arcade game. Both versions put you in control of a character named Dana, who could create and eliminate blocks with his magic wand. The resulting Virtual Console game is an often tricky action puzzle game that doesn't look great but still plays quite well.

Creating and removing blocks lets you reach the top of the level or block bad things from getting to you.

Solomon's Key is broken up into different rooms. Each room has an exit door, which is locked. So first, you'll have to get to the key. Dana can jump, but his real power is that he can create and remove blocks directly in front of him with the touch of a button. This lets you create staircases, block enemies from getting to you, or dig your way through a mountain of blocks if necessary. You can also collect potions, which let you shoot a fireball. But potions can be limited, so they're best used as a last resort. Because the enemies move in mostly predictable patterns, you should be able to study their movements and find a way to get through the level. You're also working under a time limit, which can make the later levels really tricky. The game starts out simple but gets more intricate as you go deeper, maintaining a good balance between its platforming gameplay and the challenge of getting around the level without getting killed. There are about 50 rooms in all. Depending on how you do in various parts of the game, you can end up in secret rooms and get slight variations of the ending.

Like the other NES games available on the Virtual Console service, Solomon's Key is a very faithful emulation of the original game. You can use the Wii Remote held sideways or use a GameCube or Classic Controller to play. All of the available options work just fine. Graphically, Solomon's Key has a decent look to it that still holds up today. The game is still pretty colorful and the enemies are decently varied. The music is also catchy, which is helpful, because there isn't very much of it.

Solomon's Key isn't the highest-profile NES game around, but it still holds up reasonably well. Its blend of platforming and problem-solving also makes it one of the few Virtual Console games that still works even if you aren't necessarily nostalgic for its original release.

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The Good
Lots of rooms to figure out
hidden secrets give you something extra to shoot for
gameplay still holds up after all these years
The Bad
Music is catchy but repetitive
7.4
Good
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About the Author

Jeff Gerstmann has been professionally covering the video game industry since 1994.
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Solomon's Key More Info

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  • First Released 1986
    unreleased
    • Amstrad CPC
    • Arcade Games
    • + 7 more
    • Commodore 64
    • Famicom Disk System
    • Mobile
    • NES
    • PS4
    • Sega Master System
    • Sinclair ZX81/Spectrum
    7.6
    Average Rating224 Rating(s)
    Please Sign In to rate Solomon's Key
    Developed by:
    U.S. Gold, Tecmo, Koei Tecmo Games, Aisystem Tokyo, Probe Software
    Published by:
    U.S. Gold, Tecmo, Probe Software, Koei Tecmo Games, Salio
    Genre(s):
    Puzzle
    Content is generally suitable for all ages. May contain minimal cartoon, fantasy or mild violence and/or infrequent use of mild language.
    Everyone
    All Platforms
    No Descriptors