Solomon's Key for the NES was released in Japan on this day in 1986.
The intro FMV is well-done - and is one of the very few such videos in the game
Note the detailed, realistic character modeling in the video
The game's starting scene done with in-game engine - the hero Dart is reading a newspaper while birds are watching him
The game's first battle - naturally, it's just the hero; and if the enemies aren't slimes, they must be evil enemy soldiers
The first explorable location of the game - Dart's destroyed home village. Note the glowing save sign
Helena Prison, the first dungeon-like area you'll venture into
This is the world map. It's horribly linear even by Japanese RPG standards
Character equipment and information
The game's pre-rendered backgrounds offer some nice - if sterile and somewhat artificial - views
Early battle in a cave dungeon. Shana is shooting at a monster with her bow
Another day, another forest clearing - and remember, if your path doesn't take you to the goal, it will point to a conveniently placed treasure chest
Open-air battle. To inflict any kind of reasonable damage, you'll have to time those attacks for combos over and over again. Lavitz here is exercising
One of the towns you'll visit in the first quarter or so of the game. The game likes zooming out in many locations
The game comes on four discs. Each time you have to swap one, pictures with such simple, yet nice-looking art appear
Finally you gain some dragon transformation abilities. Rose here is one of the first - see how her battle command menu changes to correspond to the new form
Dragon transformations are shown with some eye-candy. Albert is preparing to embrace his new self
Interior locations in populated areas have some interesting angles and viewpoints more often than not. This is just an inn in one of the towns
This is not a dragon transformation, but rather a dragon spellcasting in progress. Dart is ready to inflict some fire-based damage
A lovely-looking city - nearing the climax of the game's first part
Dragon attacks are handled a bit differently - you'll have to time them as well as measure their power. Haschel here has found his new cool purple identity
Castle dungeon. Nice statue!..
You don't say. One of the game's all too many examples of contrived, pathetically inept dialogue
Dart and his friends apparently decide that Greek Orthodoxy is the right way of following the Apostolic teachings
A controversial suggestion in a mayor's house...
Sailing towards new lands! We are about halfway through the game now
This town is built on water. You'll have to climb a bit to reach eccentrically-placed item shops
This menu shows your final, full party. Naturally, only three can fight at the same time
No Japanese RPG is complete without extended scenes from your companions' pasts
Mid-game battle in a forest. Check out my new companions - and see how two of my guys are poisoned...
Nice snowy mountain dungeon. Those ugly arrows appear by default, but you can remove them
At least since Final Fantasy VII, no Japanese RPG is complete without heterosexual childhood friends who share ambiguous somewhat-romantic scenes
See Meru do a little victory dance after having defeated an enemy
Each chapter opens with such screens
Nice effect - footprints on the sand
Later in the game you'll be able to synchronize your dragon attacks. The screen morphs into this afterwards
Late-game dungeons have, as usually, a more abstract, cold feel...
...and can even have a slight sci-fi touch
Late-game enemies like pounding you with hit-all attacks
A decisive boss battle (one out of a fairly long row) late in the game
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