Solstice: The Quest for the Staff of Demnos
"From Out of the Darkness... Shall Arise a Challenge To Your Wisdom" Join Shadax's quest as he searches through the deadly fortress of Kastlerock for the six pieces of the magical Staff of Demnos, in a brave attempt to save Princess Eleanor from the evil magician Morbius! Over 250 challenging rooms to explore. Brilliant 3-D graphics, music and sound effects. Powerful potions and magical keys. Fearless evil characters to defeat. Non-violent fun for the entire family!
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An extra star because it's MUCH shorter than Equinox.
Another entry in my ongoing "American covers are goofy as hell and Japanese covers tend to understand or respect the game far more than we ever do" research. An action puzzler with a little wizard in a fun medieval dungeon with cool Escher vibes, with the back of the box copy right there saying "non-violent fun for the entire family!", and what do my guys in the US do? Put him on the cover with a Groundskeeper Willie-ass six pack and pecs that can crush an empty beer can. He's not even shirtless in the game, guys! "Whatever you do, don't make Shadax the old friendly wizard look gay. No kids will buy this quirky puzzle game unless we make the main character look like the guy my wife told me not to worry about." Meanwhile, look at the Famicom cover. Look at it!
On the other hand, I can see the problem here, as the Japanese cover makes the game look far cooler than, erm, it actually is. Surely, though, there must be a golden mean between setting up reasonable expectations and fuckin Beefslab McJohnson up there?
Seventh GOTW finished for 2022. Sweet music, especially a few seconds into the intro theme. The isometric view coupled with only four movement directions can make for some complicated platforming, but the jump-and-grab mechanics for the blocks were often insanely hard and not very fun to repeat over and over to get that jump juuuuuuuust right.