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:
- Zipang (1990) for the PC Engine — Developed by Arc and released by Pack-In-Video as a tie-in for a Jidaigeki film.
- Solomon's Club (1991) for the Game Boy
- Solomon's Key 2 (1992) for the Nintendo Entertainment System — A more casually paced, puzzle-oriented game in which Dana's mission is to put out fires. Released in the U.S. as Fire 'n Ice.
- Solomon (2000) for the Game Boy Color — Includes a Level Editor. Released in the U.S. as Monster Rancher Explorer.
Tropes appearing in this game:
- An Ice Person: In Solomon's Key 2, the blocks that Dana creates become ice blocks useful for putting out fires.
- 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.
- 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"
- Fanservice: Clearing the final bonus mission of Solomon's Key 2 provides a scene in which a bathing beauty rewards Dana with a kiss.
- 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.
- 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.
- Our Fairies Are Different: Fairies are summoned by obtaining the Bell of Lyrac, and collecting ten fairies gives Dana an extra life.
- Timed Mission: Each level must be completed on a time limit labeled "Bonus" or "Life" in the NES version. The hourglass powerups here reset the timer to a certain value, which may actually mean less time to finish the level. 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.
- 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.