Solomon's Key for the NES was released in Japan on this day in 1986.
The campaign screen. As you win missions, you gain access to new solar systems. Each has 3 or 4 planets (missions), with different objectives, difficulties and rewards.
Before attacking a planet, you can send a probe or a spy. You can learn the strength of the enemy army or know the entire map from the satellite view (unexplored area is not darkened).
With the credits earned from winning missions, you can upgrade or buy new weapons, upgrade future allied units or buildings or buy support (lives or free to call reinforcements).
You can switch between first person and third person view at any time. Additionally, several HUD types can be selected, each taking a different amount of screen estate.
You need to be at a claim square to call in a citadel (costs 800 Z). It will then be delivered and take some time before being online. You can refill your energy and some weapons at a claim square.
A citadel being delivered. When carried to the battlefield, buildings are very weak and you should therefore protect them against enemy attacks.
A facility has just been delivered. You can order these, as well as turrets, as soon as a citadel is called in. The circles around the citadel indicate it is not yet online and slowly powering up.
You can place up to 3 turrets in a citadel perimeter. Each can be either a SAM turret (anti-aircraft, especially bombers) or a laser turret (anti-ground units mainly).
Enemy soldiers can be killed by shooting them or, as shown here, rolled over, which takes less time and is more satisfying.
Enemy factories located outside of an enemy citadel perimeter will spawn units every specific interval. Here a tank is emerging from the ground of a tank factory.
An AAV (aircraft) is taking off from an AAV facility. Better shoot it now as they can be bothersome, especially when several are swarming around your Wraith.
Although they can attack from a distance, AAVs like to dive upon their targets to get close and precise shots.
Soldiers planting explosive charges. This is the first method available to destroy enemy buildings. The damage being relatively low, you will quickly switch to bombardments and later K-sat attacks.
One bomber just released its payload over an enemy building. The first bomb is a bit off and did not deal much damage but the three others are just above and will be enough to destroy the building.
A cluster of enemy bombers facilities protected by several turrets. These can be vicious as they aim by anticipating from your speed and direction and their projectile speed.
Several bombers and their AAV escort are attacking one of my citadels, while my AAVs and turrets try to intercept them. Boosted bombers carry anti-AAV laser cannons.
An enemy K-sat building. It should be one of your first targets or you will probably lose one or more citadels. A K-sat can be built once you have the technology and own two power buildings.
Unleashing a K-sat (Killer satellite) attack on an enemy citadel. Each attack need the K-sat to be reloaded (long delay) and costs 900 Z (upgrades can lower it to 600 Z).
A second later, the citadel is entirely destroyed. Later in the game, enemy citadels are stronger and the K-sat, if not upgraded, will not remove all their energy.
The imperial core, the final objective, has a protective energy barrier, as powerful as a K-sat attack, quickly travelling along a defined path (yellow arrows). Cross it and you die.
These anti-aircraft missiles will get high in the sky before homing onto their targets. Not a default weapon, it must be bought and optionally upgraded in the technology screen.
The spline gun is a "vampire" weapon. It will drain an enemy's energy and add it to your own energy. Useful when wandering away from a citadel.
The mortar is a weapon that you will quickly want to buy. It is efficient at destroying buildings. Notably, it can help finishing off a building only partially destroyed by bombardments.
These are automatic mine deployers and will spit a good number of mines in the area before disappearing. Good for planning traps.
Once you have finished the game, you will be able to replay any mission and are granted a bonus weapon, the anvil. It destroys any enemy unit or building it falls on.
The vital triangle of power. It lets you choose how much of your Wraith energy is allocated to speed, weapons and shield. A 4-state toggle key allows you to max each or have a balanced distribution.
Jumping over here is possible and provides a nice shortcut. You will however need to allocate all power to speed and gain some momentum by rolling and reaching max speed before the gap.
In large battles, it can become difficult to distinguish allied forces (green symbol) from foes (red symbol), unless you learn your units design.
This canyon, like other narrow places in the game, is a likely place for an ambush. Expect enemy troops to be teleported to surround you.
The grey area is some sort of toxic sand and will damage your Wraith. You can avoid that by using the bridge, but you will have to destroy the turret guarding it first.
From left to right, money pick-up, repair (energy restore) pick-up, ammo replenishing pick-up. This is a trap and as soon as you pick one, you will be surrounded by teleported enemies.
You can move into light blue water but cannot go through deep blue water. From time to time, pick-ups are dropped from the sky. A distinctive beep helps you locate them.
If you want this pick-up, you will have to cross the lava. This will damage you but can be worth it, often providing shortcuts.
Some missions have special objectives rather than total annihilation of the enemies. Here you must prevent enemy missile convoys from reaching their destination.
When you die, as long as you have Wraiths remaining, you can respawn at the most recent citadel or start location if you own none. Additional lives can be bought before a mission or found as pick-ups.
At any time, you can take direct control of any citadel. A bar helps you keep an eye on the energy of the unmanned Wraith. A key cycles between every owned citadel.
Taking control of a distant citadel is useful for shooting at enemies if you think the automated firing system is not good enough or for placing turrets even when the Wraith is far away.
The satellite view lets you order facilities such as power buildings which mine resources, set waypoints, see a global map, repair buildings and also keep an eye on your Wraith.
A citadel under attack will emit an alert and blink in the satellite view. Medium/high (yellow/red) damage should quickly be fixed. Citadels have different numbers of slots for buildings.
As soon as you have two facilities of the same type you can order a boost building, which give access to boosted units, with better weaponry and armor than basic units.
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