Solstice (video game)

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Solstice The Quest for the Staff of Demnos Cover.jpg
North American cover art
Developer(s)Software Creations
Programmer(s)Mike Webb
Artist(s)Mark Wilson
Composer(s)Tim Follin
Platform(s)Nintendo Entertainment System
  • NA: June 1990
  • JP: July 20, 1990
  • EU: September 26, 1991

Solstice is a puzzle-oriented video game for the Nintendo Entertainment System created by Software Creations[1] and influenced by Ultimate Play the Game's Knight Lore and Pentagram.[citation needed] Its theme music was scored by composer Tim Follin.[2]


The events of the game occur at the Winter Solstice. On the eve of the Winter Solstice, Morbius the Malevolent kidnaps Eleanor, Princess of Arcadia, to sacrifice her ritually and become the Evil Baron of Darkness.[3] Shadax the wizard, after witnessing the kidnapping,[4] heads to Morbius' stronghold, the fortress Kâstleröck, to rescue Eleanor. Once while researching Kâstleröck in the Library of Arcadia to find a way to overthrow Morbius,[5] Shadax learned of a secret entrance into Kâstleröck and the whereabouts of the Staff of Demnos, an ancient weapon with the power to defeat Morbius. The staff was hidden in Kâstleröck because that was where Morbius would least expect to find it.[6] Morbius' spies searched for the Staff but did not find it because it was broken into six pieces and made invisible.[7] However, every one hundred years on the Winter Solstice all six pieces become visible.[8] Knowing a way in, Shadax enters Kâstleröck to reassemble the Staff of Demnos, overthrow Morbius' forces of darkness, and save Princess Eleanor.[6]


The player controls a wizard named Shadax and explores a maze of isometric rooms and gardens of the fortress Kastlerock to find the six pieces of the Staff of Demnos, the only weapon that can defeat Morbius. The non-linear adventure game does not impose a fixed sequence of play, although Shadax must collect various keys, depress "plungers", and set off bombs before he can enter parts of the dungeon. Shadax can jump, pick up objects, and use various potions, and must generally avoid touching monsters to survive.

By solving a room's puzzle, the player obtains a necessary item or proceeds to another room. The player must avoid pitfalls, spiked floors, and monsters (such as slimes and trolls). Some monsters are used to solve puzzles. Shadax can also simultaneously jump off a falling block and pick it up to use again. In some rooms he must do this repeatedly to cross a gap.

On completing the game, the player receives a percentage score. The game has 252 rooms, each worth 1, and 52 items, each worth 5. Visiting all rooms and getting all items is worth 512, or 100 percent.



Tim Follin's music loop for the title and demo scenes runs for nearly three minutes before starting over. It draws upon Arabian and Irish folk themes and other rock themes, using varied orchestration and complex rhythms while frequently shifting tempo and timbre. The website Flying Omelette says "Solstice has one of the best opening theme songs I've ever heard in an NES game."[9]


A sequel to Solstice was released for the Super NES titled Equinox.


  1. ^ Instruction booklet, p. 3
  2. ^ Solstice: The Quest for the Staff of Demnos (credits) MobyGames. Accessed February 9, 2011.
  3. ^ Instruction Manual, p. 7
  4. ^ Solstice: The Quest for the Staff of Demnos (Opening Sequence) Archived 2011-12-23 at the Wayback Machine.
  5. ^ Instruction Booklet, p. 9
  6. ^ a b Instruction Booklet p. 10
  7. ^ Instruction Booklet pp. 4, 7
  8. ^ Instruction Booklet p. 4
  9. ^ "Solstice Review". Flying Omelette. Retrieved 14 February 2013.

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