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Video Game / Solomon's Key

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Solomon's Key (Solomon no Kagi) is a Puzzle Platformer by Tecmo.

The player controls the wizard Dana, who has the magic power to make brown stones appear and disappear in front of him, which can not only help Dana progress through the single-screen levels but affect the movement patterns of enemies and reveal hidden items.

The original Arcade Game was released in 1986, as was a somewhat altered version for the Nintendo Entertainment System. U.S. Gold then released ports for Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, Commodore 64, IBM Personal Computer and ZX Spectrum, which were developed by Probe Software. There was also a Sega Master System version published exclusively in Japan.

A few sequels were produced, some of them dolled-up:

Not to be confused with the IOS game Solomon's Keep.

Provides examples of:

  • Actionized Sequel: Inverted by Solomon's Key 2, which removes the timer and most instances of moving enemies, making the game slower-paced.
  • An Ice Person: In Solomon's Key 2, the blocks that Dana creates become ice blocks useful for putting out fires.
  • Anti-Grinding: The Medicine of Mapros (clear jars with golden liquid in the arcade; jars labeled "E" in the console ports) grants the player an extra life upon collection. HOWEVER, it's impossible to score Infinite 1-Ups using this method, as these jars are only available during the first attempt at clearing a level; losing a life removes them until the level is cleared or continuing after running out of lives.
  • As Long as There Is Evil: Druidle, the Big Bad of Solomon's Key 2, claims after his defeat that when people "forget about courage and wisdom" he'll be back.
  • Block Puzzle: Solomon's Key 2 has ice blocks that can be slid around and made to fall.
  • Blue Means Cold: Most of the ice in Fire 'n Ice is colored blue.
  • Collision Damage: Contact with any enemy in Key and Club will cost Dana one life, even when they're falling to their own death.
  • Content Warnings: Parodied on the Fire 'n Ice box art:
    "WARNING: This cartridge contains logic puzzles that may be HIGHLY ADDICTIVE / Caution and restraint are recommended"
  • Damage Discrimination: Primarily in Key.
    • Played straight since enemies' fire attacks cannot directly hurt other enemies (though destroying blocks on which Dragons, Gargoyles, and Goblins are perched will result in their demise).
    • Averted in Dana's case when casting fireballs. Fireballs will not only roast any enemies in their path, they'll also incinerate any hapless fairies that get caught in the line of fire.
  • Falling Damage: Dragons, Gargoyles, and Gobins will fall to their demise if the block underneath them is destroyed, regardless of how far they descend.
  • Fanservice: Clearing the final bonus mission of Solomon's Key 2 provides a scene in which a bathing beauty rewards Dana with a kiss.
  • Frictionless Ice: Mostly averted in Fire 'n Ice, as Dana won't slip on any ice that isn't black.
  • Genre Blindness: Boss fights in Solomon's Key 2 always begin with Dana approaching the boss, only to fall through a trap door and have to solve another puzzle to get out. Apparently not once does he ever think to just not stand in the exact same spot every time while the boss monologues at him.
  • Kill It with Fire:
    • Fireballs are available at Dana's disposal in Key and Club.
    • Dragons, Gargoyles, Salamanders, and Panel Monsters all produce fire from their mouths.
  • Level Editor: Solomon's Key 2 has one with many of the objects present in the developer-made levels, excluding the gimmicks seen in boss stages.
  • Level Goal: Each level is completed by passing through a door that must first be opened by collecting a key which may or may not be in plain sight.
  • Lighter and Softer: Solomon's Key 2 has bigger and cuter sprites, a more candy-coloured palette, and more forgiving gameplay (you have unlimited lives, and levels, except boss levels and the final world, can be played through in any order even if you don't complete the previous one). The game is even framed as a bedtime story told by a grandmother to her grandchildren. That's not to say that it doesn't get Nintendo Hard as you proceed, though.
  • Magic Mirror: The evil Mirrors of Camirror serve as Mook Makers.
  • Multiple Endings: In the NES version, beating all the levels without collecting the hidden items leads to a rather perfunctory ending which simply has Dana walk out of the now-sealed cave. The ending can be improved if you get the Pages of Time and Space and/or the fairy princess.
  • 1-Up: Collecting ten fairies rewards Dana an extra life in Key and Club.
    • Extra lives can also be earned by collecting jars known as the Medicine of Mapros (described above), but only on the first attempt at completing a room.
  • Our Fairies Are Different: Fairies are summoned by obtaining the Bell of Lyrac, and collecting ten fairies gives Dana an extra life.
  • Pipe Maze: Later levels in Fire 'n Ice include pipes that must be utlizied.
  • Ratchet Scrolling: Some of the boss confrontations in Fire 'n Ice scroll upward, usually causing the floor to drop in a fire. Fortunately, whatever parts of the tower that were covered in fire will loop back to the top unscathed.
  • Score Multiplier: Two of the items in Key are potions that multiply the Bonus/Life counter by two or five. This increases the bonus awarded, but not the amount of time available, as the timer's countdown rate is also multiplied by the potions' respective values.
  • Songs in the Key of Panic: In Key, the music takes on a tone of impending doom once the timer drops to 2,000.
  • Timed Mission:
    • Each level in Key must be completed on a time limit labeled "Bonus" or "Life" in the NES version. The hourglass powerups here reset the timer to a set value (be it either half of the full base value), which may actually mean less time to finish the level if collected carelessly.
    • Averted in Solomon's Key 2, where the timer counts up without limit.
  • Use Your Head: Dana can break brown blocks from below by butting his head into them in Key and Club.
  • Vancian Magic: A very simple version: fireball spells are used up when cast, and are stored on a scroll of limited length.
  • Western Zodiac: Hidden in every fourth room (out of 48) is a constellation symbol from the Zodiac that unlocks a bonus room.
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle!: Happens twice in Solomon's Key 2. After being told that Druidle kidnapped the wise man's daughter, you rescue her in stage 8...only for her to reveal that they still have her big sister. Then you beat stage 9 and rescue her, too...only for Druidle to intervene and kidnap her again, unlocking the final stage.