#590 – Solstice: The Quest for the Staff of Demnos

                                                                                                    But… you already have a staff.

 

                           

                                                                The Eyeball Robe triplets think you’ve gone far enough.

 

PLAYERS: 1

PUBLISHER: Sony Imagesoft

DEVELOPER: Software Creations

GENRE: Puzzle/Dungeon-crawler

RELEASE DATE: June 1990

 

That crazy staff of Demnos! Always getting lost, it is! In Solstice, you’ll need to track down six pieces of the staff amidst 250 rooms of puzzles, trolls, blocks, and potions. Don’t let the number ‘250’ scare you, though: you don’t have to search all the rooms to beat the game, nor should you since most of them hold nothing of value. As you explore, keep an eye on your map via the pause screen, though be aware the map will not highlight any items, blocks, or unsolved puzzles.

 

Puzzles in Solstice are often obtuse, unless you understand a technique called block-jumping. Block-jumping involves absorbing a block into your wizard robe by pressing ‘B’, then press ‘A’ + ‘B’ at the same time to release the block and jump off of it to get a boost. This move will propel you to previously unreachable locations, and you’ll be able to jump across beds of spikes and enemies. Potions are also an essential part of puzzle-solving, though your quantities are limited. Blue potions give you invulnerability, yellow freezes enemies, blocks, and elevators, green reveals hidden blocks within a room, and purple will destroy any enemies with a room. Later rooms require lots of experimentation, which is a fancy word for saying ‘many deaths until you figure out what you’re doing.’ While Solstice gives you five or six lives to gamble with, you have to discover continues and extra lives throughout the rooms if you want to take down the game in one playthrough (and you’ll have to eventually, as there’s no save feature – b’oh!). Solstice doles out pleasure and pain in equal measures, which is to say, it’s the best dungeon crawler on the NES.

 

B

 

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  • The music in this is some of Tim Follin’s best work. The intro theme is like 8 bit prog rock!

  • Anonymous

    This looks interesting I must say…

    Also, extra kudos points for managing to review a game called ‘Solstice’ on June 21st, which as you may or may not know is actually the day of Summer Solstice.

  • Anonymous

    This game was great! I always found the old dude on the cover to be quite humorous. He is absolutely massive! Have you ever seen a wizard that was so large? He’s friggin jacked.
    Which is funny because in the game he looks nothing like that.

    Anyways, good review of a good game.

    Sleepyweasel

  • Rom Woodhouse

    Love your box art caption!