When I first saw Solstice previewed in Nintendo Power magazine way back the 1989-1990 era, I thought the concept and graphics looked really cool. When I acquired the game later I confess that I was somewhat disappointed in it. With very limited continues, 1-Ups few and far between, and no saving system of any kind, I found it difficult to make any progress in it. This seemed especially true when compounded with the difficulty of making jumps over dangerous obstacles that made losing lives extremely easy. The lack of shadows sometimes makes it hard to tell where you are standing or how blocks are situated in the 3D space and where you are going to land when you jump. The graphics looked neat in the magazine screenshtos, but they are very tiny on the actual TV screen. Finally, the potions that you need to solve puzzles are finite and refills are rare, which made it hard to experiment.


Despite all of this, I'll admit that I don't think I have really given Solstice a fair chance. Ever since writing that (really crappy) review many years ago, I've gotten several emails from site readers who claim the game is actually very easy once you learn it, and that it can be beaten in about 15-20 minutes. Therefore, beating it fairly (without using the life and potion refill code, in other words) is a goal that I hope I will be able to accomplish some day. It would be easier now if I'm able to leave the NES turned on overnight. The lack of a save feature was more detrimental years ago because my parents weren't too keen on me leaving game systems turned on overnight.


But for now, let's turn our attention to Solstice's lesser-known sequel, Equinox. Although I was not a big fan of Solstice, this game still grabbed my attention when I saw it reviewed in the January 1993 issue of Nintendo Power. First of all...


I was taken aback by how much the main character, Glendaal, resembled one of the characters from two series of non-professional comics I was writing at the time called Image Arcane and The RAU. Christopher Paladin was an exiled elven prince who was usually dressed in "Arabian Nights" style clothing. Both characters had similar costumes, big round heads with pointy ears, long flowing hair (although Christopher's is sandy blonde, not chartreuse green), and a yellow strap around their torso (not shown in this image of Christopher, but believe me, it was on other ones.)

Yeah, it was amusing, but that alone probably wouldn't have convinced me to play it. But just from reading the NP article, it sounded like the game had made improvements over its predecessor. There was a save feature, larger graphics, and the ability to use weapons which would actually allow you to fight enemies and bosses. It sounded like they took all the ideas present in Solstice and improved upon them to make Equinox a true epic adventure as opposed to a diversional novelty game. In my opinion, they succeeded.

Equinox & Solstice Links

My Equinox Review - This review isn't one of the worst I've ever written, but it's still a crappy old category format review. Basically outlines some good and bad things about the game. I could probably write a much better review now. The screenshots were taken when emulation of Equinox was very poor, so there are weird black triangles all over the dungeon floors which don't normally exist in the actual game.

My Solstice Review - Really crappy old category format review that basically just whines about all the problems with the game. I hadn't even really beaten it legitimately and just assumed it wasn't possible without the code. I've since been informed the game is easy once you know what to do, but I didn't have the patience to experiment repeatedly with it back then.

Equinox Game of the Month - This is the article from when I made Equinox the "Game of the Month" before I retired that section.

The On-Line Solstice Shrine - This is the only site I know of that's entirely devoted to the Solstice game. It hasn't been updated in a very long time (since 2001), but contains a lot of detailed information, screenshots, and other goodies.

Chris Covell's Secret Page - This site contains some early development screenshots of Equinox. The original hero looked completely different and the ghost enemies are slightly different, too.

SNESmusic.org - Would you rather have the Equinox soundtrack in SPC format instead of those megabyte-consuming mp3s? Get it here!

Zophar's Domain - Want the Solstice soundtrack in NSF format? Find it here!

Tim Follin's Official Website - Do you like the music of Solstice and Equinox? Here is the offical website of one of the series' two composers.




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