The Story Behind Solomon’s Key, One Of The Most Challenging NES Games

Constellations, retard puzzles, magic, and a Taoist priest hit in this odd though intensely difficult nonplus diversion called Solomon’s Key.

Published by Tecmo as an arcade diversion in 1986, it was ported to a NES in 1987. Michitaka Tsuruta was a categorical engineer and he explained over email how he drew a strange impulse for Solomon’s Key from Lode Runner. Lode Runner was a 1983 diversion expelled by Broderbrund in that we erase blocks and trap enemies as we make your approach by a formidable set of mazes. Tsuruta got a thought of giving players an additional ability; they wouldn’t only destroy tiles, though emanate them as well. This in spin became a core judgment behind Solomon’s Key.

The diversion indeed began as some-more of an movement title, though a developers “came to a passed end,” Tsuruta explained. “Then my boss, Mr. Kazutoshi Ueda, suggested it should be a nonplus game.” Ueda became a personality of a group and helped emanate a simple structure. But afterwards he quit Tecmo to turn a initial member of Atlus. At that point, Tsuruta took over as “the categorical executive and finished a rest. So it started as an movement diversion and finished adult as a puzzle. we theory that’s because it became a opposite kind of game.”

Solomon Key’s gameplay mixes a nonplus and movement elements smoothly. Track down a pivotal in any room, equivocate enemies and obstacles, afterwards shun once a doorway is unlocked.

The pretension for a diversion came about when a sales manager, Mr. Harano (who after left Tecmo and co-founded Atlus), beheld there were several equipment in a diversion with a star-like symbol. He asked what they meant and another of a developers explained, “‘It’s a sign of Solomon,’ and combined there’s a book on sorcery called The Key of Solomon.” Tsuruta explained, “Hearing that, Mr. Harano murmured, ‘I like it’ several times. Thus a pretension was decided. Having staid a title, we reconstructed a story accordingly, centered around a Book of Magic.”

The story is a mixture of elements fabricated from a Bible, DD, and Lao-tzu. A good aristocrat named Solomon hermetic a society of demons into a place called a Constellation Sign regulating a eponymous key. A Taoist priest who found a pivotal incidentally expelled all a demons behind into a wild. It’s adult to a magician, Dana, to enter a Constellation Sign and use his necromancy to sign a darkness.

Dana’s enchanting abilities are twofold; he can emanate and destroy mill blocks, and he can expel sorcery fireballs. The Constellation Sign is done adult of about fifty perplexing bedrooms that pull their designs from a zodiac. Blocks censor many secrets and power-ups like additional lives, value bags, and even warps that let Dana skip ahead.

Solomon’s Key starts off simple. An rivalry beast is trapped on a brittle mill retard that impedes Dana’s path. After Dana breaks a stone, a beast falls and disintegrates, training players a basement of how a retard celebration works. There’s also a Bell of Lyrac above a Ram pitch in a room that’s totally optional. Players can form a step with a blocks to stand a room and ring it, that liberates a angel from a exit. To finish a level, squeeze a key, save a fairy, and leave.

This simple rubric gets some-more and some-more formidable as enemies boost in series and a constellation-based pattern becomes some-more convoluted. “Mr. Ueda was especially in assign of movement parts, and his friend, Mr. Masanobu Endou, did a really formidable nonplus sections. After Mr. Ueda’s departure, we began creation a Famicom version. We asked a formulation staff during Tecmo to come adult with a theatre designs. We test-played any theatre to confirm their arrangement. we remember checking to make certain a puzzles sundry from theatre to theatre so that they wouldn’t emanate identical impressions for some-more than several bedrooms in a row.”

Tsuruta’s categorical work enclosed a pattern and pixel art for a “main characters, monsters, and fairies.” Throughout a stages, gargoyles, dragons, and demon heads do their best to forestall Dana from escaping. An boost in obstacles and cunning wall chain make traversal arduous. Each room is a cosmological deathtrap that requires we to map out Dana’s track previously and put your reflexes and platforming skills to a ultimate test. Tsuruta took impulse in his beast designs from Greek mythology as good as a film Jason and a Argonauts. “I consider these are a basement of my sketch monsters. we also desired personification a diversion called Gauntlet during a time. The monsters in that diversion shabby me, too.”

Tsuruta has left to work on many other games, including another NES classic, Mighty Bomb Jack, as good as a supplement to Solomon’s Key. On my end, it was extraordinary to get in hold with one of a creators of a game. Solomon’s Key was one of a beginning games we played on a NES, though we never could kick it, as it was so hard.

I recently decided to give it another go and popped it in to play it again. we did transport better, though it was as formidable as we remembered (watching a speed curtain finish it in fourteen mins was humbling). As we played, we couldn’t assistance though consider behind to a days when a Nintendo was still comparatively new. Not everybody had a console and we tended to rally towards those kids who did. It’s no deceit to contend that Nintendo games felt like a explanation after a Atari. The diversion palettes were colorful, there was familiar music, and they seemed leaps over what any of us had gifted before. Solomon’s Key was one of those games that done me feel a clarity of astonishment when we initial played it.

I’m always beholden to a developers who combined a games of my childhood. And like Solomon’s Key, training some about some of a mysteries behind their growth helps open doors that clear a small bit of my past. Now greatfully forgive me while we try to work on my key-finding skills, wishing my thumbs were only a small bit faster.

Michitaka Tsuruta’s talk was translated by Daisuke Onitsuka.

More tabs ...