Commodore User


Solomon's Key

Author: Mark Patterson
Publisher: U. S. Gold
Machine: Commodore 64/128

 
Published in Commodore User #50

Solomon's Key

King Solomon's mines. Heard of them? Good. As the legend has it, he really struck it rich, earning a fortune from his string of gold mines. He was so fantastically wealth there wasn't much that he couldn't afford. So ol' King Solly's got all this lolly lying around in these mega-fantastically dangerous vaults, not even collecting interest when he could have opened an account in a certain bank and entitled himself to a free filofax!

With all this wealth around, there's no way he can keep track of it all, especially the minor bits (like twenty-four carat diamonds). Knowing this, a little guy has decided to cash in on this minor loophole. Unfortunately, owing to circumstances beyond my control I haven't got any proper instructions for this game, and therefore I don't know the lead character's name. So I'll call him Bod for the sake of convenience.

Sadly for Bod, the treasure is not all contained in one room, but a little bit is stashed in each room leading up to the main treasure room at the end of the quest. Standing in Bod's way, though, are a lot of rocks and blocks which he must navigate to get to the next level. Basically, there are two types of block, zappable and unzappable. Zappable blocks you can vaporise in two shakes of an hero's finer. Or alternatively you can just as easily create blocks to build a gilded stairway to higher areas of the game to get keys and the other bits which help to make the game a lot more interesting. Of course Bod comes equipped with fireballs as standard. But what good are fireballs without the occasional critter to incinerate in a glorious display of pyrotechnics? The sort of things you'll encounter in the way of enemies tend to be the leftovers from Greo-Roman legend (you know, dragons, fire-breathing dogs, killer bees, spiders and the like).

Solomon's Key

The table of additional extras you can kid Bod out with is nearly as impressive as Bubble Bobble's, including extra firepower, potions and powerful fire bombs. The one thing that comes into play most of all in this game is that greased-out slimeball you call a head. Yes, this is one of those games which gets more than the trigger finger itching. Well, it managed to get me thinking (which hurt), and my reflexes working, which must be a minor miracle in itself.

The graphics are not stunning but they suit the game perfectly, and give it an overall more arcade-y feel. They're simple, colourful and well defined, but they do allow for some slight improvement. The sound wasn't terribly noticeable really, a bit like a soundtrack in an action movie when you're concentrating so hard on the action that the ears tend to close themselves off to the outside world. So suitably suitable sound effects, graphically graphic graphics, nothing immensely stunning really. But the game contains a real element which is not found too often nowadays - fun. Three letters, but vitally important to any game.

So from now on for me, it's goodbye eighteen directional scrolling, Hubbard-tronic music and hyperpan-chicken-soupo-nasal rays. It's funtime again for me, and well, Solly is the perfect answer: it's groovy, addictive and a lot of other boring things I could say which would fall victim to Mike's red biro - but I think you've all probably got the message.

Mark Patterson

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