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Solstice II

Solstice II is the sequel to the classic 1990 NES title Solstice: The Quest for the Staff of Demnos. Developed by Software Creations and published by Sony Imagesoft, Solstice II brings players back to the icy world of the evil sorceress Sonia. Like its predecessor, Solstice II is an isometric arcade adventure that incorporates elements of platforming, puzzles, and light RPG mechanics. Overall, it's an enjoyable return to the Solstice universe with some solid gameplay and level design.

In Solstice II, the heroic wizard Shadax has been captured by his former apprentice Sonia and imprisoned in her icy fortress on Death Island. It's up to Shadax's son Glendaal to journey across the land, defeat Sonia's monsters, and ultimately rescue his father from the witch's clutches. The basic premise follows the hero's quest structure typical of many fantasy stories. While the narrative isn't particularly complex, it provides enough motivation to drive the gameplay forward across Solstice II's eight levels.

Chilly Platforming and Puzzles

One of Solstice II's biggest strengths lies in its level design. The isometric 3D environments are imaginative and filled with icy caverns, slippery platforms, and treacherous traps. Navigating the levels requires well-timed jumps, careful block sliding, and general platforming skills. Solstice II also throws in some enjoyable block-pushing puzzles now and then to change up the pacing. Figuring out how to arrange sliding blocks to access hidden alcoves is satisfying. Overall, the platforming and puzzles are fair yet challenging, with save points spread reasonably throughout levels. The chilly aesthetics combined with slippery ice physics makes for tense but fun platforming challenges.

Tokens, Weapons, and Magical Scrolls

To progress in Solstice II, players must collect blue orb tokens scattered around levels. After gathering 12 in a given area, you can summon and battle the level boss. The token hunting provides a clear objective as you explore the environments. You'll also discover useful power-ups like projectile weapons and magic scrolls. While their effects are pretty straightforward - extra damage and area attacks - they add more options for combat and traversal. The basic spell system and variety of weapons give you different ways to approach enemies and bosses. Finding these items hidden in levels is rewarding without being overly puzzle-like.

LIFE 2 parts showing health and magic zero. Shows arabic style of man with Arabic turban on white coloured and green coloured clothing and shows silver spikes in castle area with nice animation style of orange floor and grey castle wall and green two support bars.png

Boss Battles and an Icy Endgame

The boss fights require you to summon them with tokens, putting a fun spin on traditional boss encounters. The Guardians themselves are large, screen-filling monsters with their own patterns and weaknesses to learn. Defeating them allows access to the next area. These battles encourage you to utilize the weapons and magic you've found effectively. At the climax, the final confrontation with Sonia herself is a fitting and tough finale that tests your skills learned across the journey. The ending also wraps up the story of Glendaal and his father Shadax nicely. While it doesn't reinvent storytelling or boss battles, Solstice II executes the fundamentals well within its icy setting.

Review: 8/10

In the end, Solstice II delivers a solid, polished sequel and a satisfying return to its fantasy world. The platforming and puzzles stand out thanks to clever level design and icy physics. Seeking out tokens and power-ups provides clear goals and variety in combat. Despite a simple story, the hero's journey structure fits the gameplay well. Solstice II may not revolutionize the genre, but its chilly setting and classic gameplay make it worth playing for fans of 90s arcade adventures.


*Great level design with challenging platforming

*Power-ups add gameplay variety

*Boss battles provide milestones in progression


*Basic storytelling

*Can feel repetitive after a while


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