Solstice Instruction Manual (for NES)

Instruction Manuals for the NES

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Solstice(tm) - The Quest for the Staff of Demnos

Instruction Manual


The legend of Kastlerock *

When darkness slithers through the land,
On Evil's foul and fiendish hand,
Ere blackness o'er man's hards has crossed,
Recall these words of legend lost.

Neath Kastlerock's well guarded walls,
One hope for man in ancient halls.
Safe hid from Evil's searching eyes,
The shattered Staff of Demnos lies...

Each hundred years on full moon's rise
High in the winter solstice skies,
The spell that cloaks the staff shall break,
Revealing that which all could take...

*excerpt from the ancient rune poem as translated by Shadax the sorceror


How to use the controller

Game Screen
A Button: Push to jump.
B Button: Push to pick up and drop objects.
A+B : Push both to jump and pick up an object at the same time.
Start : Push to start the game or activate a potion.
Select : Push to enter the Select Screen.
Pad : Push to move in any of four directions within a room.

Select Screen
A Button: Push to view map or statistics.
Pad : Push to select a potion (potions can only be activated in the Game
Select : Push to return to the Game Screen.


The quest for the staff of Demnos

As the full moon rose high above Kastlerock on the eve of the winter
solstice, Morbius the Malevolent grinned a wicked grin and continued to ready
the impending ritual, the sacrifice of a helpless damsel to the forces of
darkness in return for total domination of the world. But this was no simple
girl, he thought in his black and twisted mind, this was the beautiful
Princess Eleanor of Arcadia, the land of his sworn enemy. It was too perfect,
too perfect.

Not even that accursed Staff of Demnos could stand in his way now. For years
his spies had used every conceivably horrible method to find it, and if they
could not succeed, surely no one else would. Besides, with or without the
magic Staff, his evil plans would succeed. With or without it, he would
become the supreme symbol of evil, the Black Baron of Darkness. Then all
would be forced to grovel at his feet. And he would plunge the world into a
deathly darkness from which it would never return. Everything was prepared.
Nothing could stop him now!

The fearsome fortress of Kastlerock had long been the stronghold of Morbius
the Malevolent. Built high atop a tremendous cliff of jagged rock, rising
straight up from the Sea of Sorrows, the castle had withstood the onslaught
of many great armies over the centuries.

Rumors of secret halls and rooms protected by deadly black magic and
ferocious man eating beasts had entered the legends of old by the few
fortunate prisoners who had escaped Morbius' torturous clutches. They
trembled while talking of the dreaded Caves of the Doomed Souls, an endless
labyrinth of catacombs carved out of the shear rock cliff far beneath the
castle walls. The words crept from their tongues when they spoke of the four
deadly towers of the main castle, as if with a mere mention they could be
transported back by some of Morbius' evil black magic.

Brave men cowered in fear when they heard the terrible tales of torture in
the Gardens of Pain and the Blood Gardens just to the west of the castle.
Women and children wept when told of the grisly horrors that befell the
unsuspecting who wandered aimlessly through the Slaughter Yards that
protected the Tower of Tears at the northernmost boundary of Kastlerock. And
few words could describe the hideous screams of terror from the foolhardy who
mistakenly tumbled into the Mines of Insanity, never to be heard from again.

But, no stories could compare with those of the eastern grounds of the castle
where the Tower of Ultimate Terror stood surrounded by the gruesome Stonehedge
Gardens whose massive walls were said to be made from the crushed bones of
Morbius' unfortunate victims. Of the Tower itself, little was known. Many
believed that it was the site of Morbius' secret workshop; such an
overwhelming sense of fear hung about its walls. Certainly, it was the source
of his evil powers; as for many days now a black cloud could be seen pouring
forth from it, spreading across the land, and choking off the last hopeful
rays of the sun.

The old sorcerer Shadax stood at the foot of the great cliff of Kastlerock
and stared into the blackness above. Having sailed unseen across the Sea of
Sorrows, he now set his mind firmly on the task at hand. He knew a secret way
into the castle, a way unknown to even Morbius himself. He'd discovered it by
carefully translating the ancient rune maps and poetry he'd found in the
Library of the Oracles in far off Arcadia. But he knew getting in was the
least of his worries. After all, Morbius would never expect that someone
would actually want to get into Kastlerock.

Hopefully, his disguise would provide him with the element of surprise he so
needed. After all, who would suspect that an old man could cause any trouble
in such a deadly powerful place. But he was not the withered old beggar he
appeared. His true identity remained safely concealed beneath his tattered
cloak and hat, and there it would stay until he possessed the strength he
needed to confront Morbius. For powerful as Shadax was, he was still no match
for the vast forces of darkness growing daily in the hands of the evil Baron.
For this task he needed the strongest of allies; he needed the awesome power
of the Staff of Demnos.

According to legend, this magical Staff had been forged long long ago in the
mystical fires of the mythical Elf Kingdom of Old Earth. And legend had it
that he who possessed this mighty weapon, would rule Heaven and Earth. How it
had wound up in the hands of mankind is a tale far too long to tell here, but
in the wise hands of the Ancient kings of Arcadea, it had provided centuries
of peace and prosperity.

However, many years ago, for fear that it would fall into Morbius'
increasingly powerful grip, the Staff had been beoken into six pieces, a
spell of invisibility had been cast upon them, and they were scattered to the
far corners of the continent. But, once again Shadax knew something his enemy
did not.

If the ancient rune poems were true, the pieces of the staff had been hidden
in the last place Morbius would ever think to look: in his own castle. And
only once every hundred years, would the spell be broken, allowing the pieces
of the staff to be seen once again by human eyes; on the eve of the winter
solstice when the full moon rode high in the heavens. That is if the ancient
poems were true... if he could even find where the staff was hidden in this
deadly place... if, if, if...

But, this was not a time for idle thinking. Morbius had sent most of his vile
forces throughout the land in search of the broken pieces of the magical
staff leaving Kastlerock thinly guarded. If ever Shadax's plan were to
succeed, it would be this night. It was time to claim his rightful place as a
king among men, or vanish anonymously into the black abyss of history.


The journey through kastlerock

Shadax, armed only with a few magic potions and a magic map, must venture
through the more than 250 rooms of Kastlerock in search of the six pieces of
the Staff of Demnos. Only after the staff has been reassembled can he hope to
defeat the merciless Morbius and free Princess Eleanor.

The magic potions

There are four different magic potions, each having unique and powerful
properties. The potions are stored in beakers which are located on the Select
Screen. Each beaker can hold up to four doses of a potion (at the beginning
of the quest there are only two doses in each beaker, but more can be found
along the way). While a beaker is full, no additional potion can be added to
it. You can use any number of different potions at the same time in a given
room. But remember, once you leave, all spells will be broken.

Blue Potion (The Shield of Life):
This spell gives you invincibility against moving enemies and moving enemy

Purple Potion (The Elixir of Destruction):
This potion destroys all moving objects in a room.

Yellow Potion (The Guardian of Time):
This potion stops time, freezing all moving objects in place (you can still
movae these objects by pushing them or picking them up).

Green Potion (The Eyes of the Blind):
This potion casts a spell which makes all invisible objects suddenly appear.

To use a potion, first press select to enter the Select Screen. Then use the
control pad to choose one of the four potions. Press select again to return
to the Game Screen. Then push the start button to activate the potion. A
potion's spell only lasts as long as you remain in the room. If you wish to
activate another potion in the same room, repeat the process described above.

The magic map

This map keeps a chronicle of every room that Shadax has entered and
indicates all the possible exits (some rooms may have secret exits that
appear on the map but won't appear on the Game Screen until you perform
certain tasks). Rooms only appear on the map after Shadax has entered them.
The map is located on the Select Screen which is accessed by pressing the
select button. Any room on the map that is outlined in white had other rooms
above and/or below it. If you press the A button while viewing the map, it
shows you the number of rooms you have visited and a percentage of the total
number of rooms, plus the total number of magic objects you have found (i.e.
potions, pieces of the staff, etc.)

The magic elfin boots

These green elfin boots allow Shadax to jump higher than he is able to at the
beginning of the quest. It is essential that he find these boots in order to
complete his journey.

The four keys

There are four keys hidden throughout Kastlerock. In order to complete the
quest, Shadax must find all four keys. Once the sorcerer has found a key, it
will become visible on the Select Screen. These magical keys enable the
Shadax to journey through rooms that were previously impassable. Each key
will do one of the following:
- Make blocks appear in a previously empty room
- Make a door appear in a solid wall


Blocks and hovering crystal balls

Movable blocks appear in many rooms of the castle. Sometimes they fall from
above and other times they can be found lying on the floor. Shadax can use
these blocks to move safely through rooms. The blocks can be picked up by
jumping on them and then pressing the B button. They can then be carried
anywhere in a room and released by pressing the B button again. They can also
be picked up and carried through the air by pressing the A and B buttons at
the same time and then pressing the B button again to release the block in
the air. Falling blocks can be frozen in mid-air to be used as steps (use the
yellow potion). Other blocks can be used as protection from the large
poisonous pyramid spikes and other enemies of the old sorcerer. However, they
will not provide protection from the deadly needle spikes that cover the
floors in many of Kastlerock's rooms. The Hovering Crystal balls can be
pushed through the air and ridden by Shadax. They cannot, however, be picked
up and carries.

The hats of life

There are many blue hats scattered throughout the castle grounds. When Shadax
picks one up, it gives him an extra life. He can collect as many hats as he
finds. The Select Screen keeps a record of the number of lives the sorcerer
has left. although the screen only registers up to ten hats at one time,
Shadax can continue to pick up and use more than ten total hats.

Blasting bombs

In several rooms, rotating blasting bombs can be exploded to create holes in
solid walls which allow passage to previously blocked off passageways.
However, the detonators for the bombs must be searched for, as they are
hidden in nearby rooms.

The portals

Several rooms have floor portals in them which provide the only access to
certain parts of Kastlerock. In order to transport Shadax through a portal,
jump on top of it and press the B button. The sorcerer will disappear and
then materialize in another portal room.

The spinning coins

These coins allow Shadax to use the continue mode to return to a certain
point in Kastlerock after he has lost all of his lives instead of having to
start all over from the beginning. The coins are located in various rooms
throughout the castle.


The perils of kastlerock

The rooms and grounds of Kastlerock are filled with danger. Many floors are
covered with poisonous spikes and deadly monsters are always lurking around
the next dark corner waiting to pounce on the unsuspecting sorcerer. These
creatures include the following exotic killer beasts:

Marching Skulls
Evil Eyeballs
Bow-legged Trolls
Slime Balls
Attack Furs
Tripod Spiders
Tusk Demons
Four-eyed Head-feet

In some rooms deceptive conveyor belts have been strategically placed to hurl
the unwary Shadax to his doom. In other rooms bridges and floor tiles vanish
without a warning, leaving the sorcerer to plunge to his death on the spikes
below. Floating air mines, which block many passages, wait to explode at the
slightest touch, while wide chasms and mighty towers challenge Shadax to
attempt deadly leaps in order to continue on his journey.


Winning the game

To win the game Shadax must rescue Princess Eleanor after finding all six
pieces of the magical Staff of Demnos before he is destroyed by the evil
forces of Kastlerock. He should be sparing in his use of magic potions, as
there is a limited supply of each and they are essential to his ultimate
success. He should also pay careful attention to the magic map. If it shows
doors where none appear on the game screen or indicates rooms above or below
existing rooms when no exits or entrances are in sight, he must believe the
map. It offers his best chance to solve the many mysteries of the forbidden
castle and complete his dangerous quest...

But remember, surviving the treacherous fortress of Kastlerock takes far more
than a few magic potions and a magic map. It takes nerves of steel and the
courage to try new and daring things. It takes superior reflexes and a
determination to face the unrelenting perils that block your every move. It
takes a clever mind and a passion to succeed against insurmountable odds. But
most of all it takes the conviction that in the end good shall always triumph
over evil.



Produced by the Solstice Team

Programed by Mike Webb
Graphics by Mark Wilson
Music by Timothy Follin

Associate producers/Los Angeles
Jeff Benjamin
Larry Castro

Associate producers/Tokyo
Yuji Takahashi
Ryotaro Hasegawa
Cozy Watanabe

Executive producers
Richard Kay, England
Shigeo Maruyama, Japan
Hiroaki Ishikawa, US

Packaging Design
Carol Roy
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