Aurail (Arcade) FAQ v 1.0
By Brian McLean (bmclean84@hotmail.com)
Last Change: October 19, 2001

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Table of Contents:
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1. Revision History
2. Introductory Info
3. Game Walkthrough
4. Tunnel Strategies
5. Minor Other Things
6. Contributor List
7. Copyright

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1. Version Changes
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1.0 - Preliminary FAQ written.

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2. Introductory Info
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The story so far: What little story Aurail offers is given in the silent 
screens of the attract mode. Thereís a woman in a ship, apparently a ruler of 
some sort. All of those ships are suddenly destroyed, and then thereís a 
tank-like apparatus being launched while specs are rattled off one after the 
other. And there you have it! Go kill somebody. Seriously, the only extra 
information is offered in the ending, which I wonít spoil so early on.

What you will need to know, however, is how to control your land tank. One 
button is your gun, and if you hold it down you get a handy autofire 
function. While youíre holding the button down you can rotate but not move, 
also a very useful function for letting enemies walk into your line of fire. 
The other buttons have to do with an energy meter on the left side of the 
screen. Youíll pick up spheres with a ĎPí in them as you battle, and once you 
have 12 units the bar will turn blue. At any time that the bar is blue you 
can hit your shield button to put a shield around your vehicle, which is 
permanent until youíre hit. You can even stack up to three of these shields, 
and thereís enough room on your energy bar to hold on to another three 
shieldsí worth. In addition to the regular ĎPí spheres, there are much rarer 
spheres that are red with a green letter that carry about 50 units of energy 
as opposed to the regular 3! Finding one of these is practically an instant 
refill to 3 shields with energy to spare.

The other button serves two functions. In the overhead levels you can pick up 
what the game calls a Kite by finding a ĎDí powerup. This is a spherical 
object that flies overhead and circles around you. If you have energy 
remaining in your bar, you can use the kite button to send it out against a 
target and it will home in and fire at it for as long as you have energy or 
until you hit the kite button again. In the 3D tunnel levels, there is no 
kite and the button is instead used to turn around to face enemies that are 
behind you.

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3. Game Walkthrough
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Aurail is divided into 16 rounds. The first 12 follow a simple pattern of 
threes: An overhead round with an entrance to a tunnel, a tunnel round, then 
another overhead round with a boss at the end. 13 and 14 follows this pattern 
as well, but as youíll see 15 and 16 are special cases. Before every round 
starts (except 16), youíll got a screen detailing the number of lives you 
have left, the number of shields you have remaining, and your score, even 
though all three are readily available during normal game play.

NOTE: This walkthrough assumes you will be playing through the game on Normal 
difficulty. Via MAME or dip switches if you own the actual board, you can 
choose Hard difficulty, which for the most part only speeds up enemy bullets 
and makes the tunnel levels slightly harder by introducing tougher enemies 
earlier. It does make a big difference in the final tunnels, however, and I 
will note what to look for and what to do in its own section.

Round 1
-------

You start out simply enough in an arid looking area and nothing around you. 
If you advance just a bit forward, youíll run into your first enemies 
quickly, some medium-sized tanks. They have a very distinct shape and cannon 
to them and follow a very specific track. These guys have no AI other than 
trying to shoot in your direction at certain times. They are quickly 
dispatched by walking up between them and holding still while firing in 
either upper diagonal. Get used to simply holding the fire button down and 
using your position to hit several targets in different directions. This 
happens more than I can describe to you, and as we get further along I wonít 
take the time to explain how to destroy every last enemy in excruciating 
detail.

Youíll run into two more pairs of medium tanks, and right about then you 
should meet up with the singular most common enemy in the game, the small 
fighter. These things show up in groups of 2-5 in general, and move in an arc 
that sweeps near your tank and behind it. When they reach your horizontal 
plane theyíll shoot (they even flash a pair of lights first) directly at you 
and from fairly close range, making them difficult if youíre harried with 
other enemies around simply because they each take several shots to kill. 
Stand still and make a line of fire for them to fly through, which alone 
should knock off most of them. If any remain, use a second line of fire or 
just get out of the way if theyíre going to shoot. These things appear at 
regular intervals as opposed to showing up when you reach a certain point, so 
if you need to you can hang around long enough to take out the next group 
before moving on to buy yourself some time.

Just beyond that youíll see another pair of new enemies, fairly rare things 
that look like the upper body of a robot on treads. They move straight 
forward and shoot bullets in three directions if left alone long enough. 
Theyíre very weak and can be killed with just a shot or two in their 
direction. Dispatch them and move on. A brief jag to the left in the path 
gives you two more pairs of medium tanks. Theyíre easily dispatched by 
sticking close to the right side of the path. Youíll find some ground troops 
that are exclusive to this level, just send a few shots their way and sidle 
out of the way if one of them happens to flash and fire before theyíre all 
gone. A single medium tank joins the group; also quickly taken out from the 
same position once you know what angles you need to fire at.

There are three more medium tanks and a couple of ground troops, then you 
reach the end of the round. Guarding it is two medium tanks and two large 
tanks. These larger tanks could be nasty due to their laser cannon on top, 
but the truth is that theyíre limited to the same sort of tracks that the 
medium tanks are on, and in fact are even less mobile. You can line yourself 
up with either edge of the differently colored entrance to the tunnel, sit 
back just a bit, and fire at both of the tanks without exposing yourself to 
any danger. They can only fire at certain angles and are at your mercy in 
this manner. Once they are gone, there are a few people running away. You 
canít hit them with your gun, but theyíre 100 points apiece if you run them 
over. Get your sadistic kicks and letís move on to the first tunnel!

Round 2
-------

The tunnel rounds in this game are easy to explain. There are three possible 
positions for you to occupy in the width of the tunnel, clearly marked by 
lines on the floor. You travel down the length, shooting mines that are left 
in your way. The mines themselves do no damage to your shields, but they will 
deplete your energy bar by three units for each one you run into. There are 
no enemies until you reach a trap, as the game calls them. By hitting a 
certain spot within the tunnel or possibly by running into a mine, you can 
set off a trap and have to fight the tunnelís denizens. There are only four 
types of enemies in the tunnels (the names are made up, as I have none to 
work with):

Orb - Spherical, floats. Looks a lot like your kite, in fact. Shoots missiles 
relatively non-aggressively and dodges a lot. Comes in tan and red.

Glider - Somewhat conical in shape. Shoots missiles with medium aggression 
and deviates from its course the least. Comes in blue and red.

Mauler - A robot that looks like an upper body with arms and no real head to 
speak of. Fires missiles aggressively and will move to face you directly but 
rarely dodges away. Comes in gray and red.

Energy Mech - For lack of a better name, this is the most complete-looking 
mech and fires energy shots at you as opposed to missiles. Missiles can be 
shot down en route, but the energy shots absolutely must be dodged. Sometimes 
shies away from a collision and sometimes not. Fires aggressively. Comes in 
tan and red.

The colors of the enemies determine how many hits they can take, and go in 
order of gray / tan / blue / red, from least to most. In addition, the 
missiles fired by each color of enemy are the same color as the mech firing 
them, and red missiles take more hits to destroy than blue or gray! The 
importance of all this will be explained further in the tunnel tactics 
section.

As for the first tunnel stage, thereís little to worry about. All the mines 
are gray (yes, even the mines have colors and take varying numbers of hits!), 
the attacks are few and are all simple combinations of gray / tan enemies. 
Use this stage to familiarize yourself with the controls and how to use your 
rear indicator. As youíre fighting, at the bottom of your view of the tunnel 
ahead there will be blocks of varying size depending on where things are 
behind you. Keep in mind that in the midst of a fight you can only get a 
brief idea of whatís around you at best, but learn to recognize the biggest 
that a block can be before an enemy collides with you and know that should 
you ever see it, immediate action is needed.

After a few skirmishes the end of the tunnel is reached. It opens and off you 
go into the next round, simple as that.

Round 3
-------

As soon as this round starts, youíll see that you are surrounded by a 
semicircle of ground troops. This pervades throughout the game in several 
forms, so always be ready for quick bursts in several directions at the start 
of a stage. You can stand in the center of all of these guys and take them 
out with little difficulty.

Immediately past them are two medium tanks that travel horizontally, and then 
the path splits in two. It doesnít matter which you pick, but I find it 
easier to set things up from the right side. Wander through and find several 
more medium tanks, then a large tank. Use its lack of mobility against it 
again; it can only go so far to the right before it runs into a wall. Simply 
stand just to the right of that and fire away, itíll go in no time.

Beyond the big tank are no less than eight medium tanks, but since their 
positions never change and they work in pairs, it takes little time to 
memorize the best way to slide through them without them firing a shot at 
all. Next up are two walkers, things that walk forward and shoot a spread of 
three shots. This may sound very similar to those robots you found in round 
1, but these can adjust their aim to send the center shot directly at you and 
are thus more dangerous. They also take a few more hits, so be a little more 
careful with these guys. The best strategy is just to walk up towards one 
just off of center until you can hit both from where you stand, then do so.

Two more medium tanks follow, then one large tank after the other. Both of 
these have a wall preventing them from moving left. Exploit it! After theyíre 
destroyed you finally meet up with the first boss, a rather large vehicle of 
some sort. It looks fearsome, but itís no trouble with a little practice. As 
soon as the screen starts to scroll up, head to the left and stand at the 
bottom, one tank-width away from the left wall. Hold your position and fire 
to the upper right. When it starts moving youíll do damage to the left 
protective panel and eventually blow it off. If you do it fast enough, the 
first shot from the boss wonít come until that panel is falling away, and you 
can use that moment of dodging the spread of shots to reposition just to the 
right of your previous stance. From here you can hit the right protective 
panel and knock it off as well, just be mindful of the salvo of homing 
missiles that will be fired. Continuous fire to the upper-right should take 
care of three of the four, and a few shots to the right should take care of 
the last one. Once the second panel goes, you can finally damage the boss 
itself. If youíre positioned properly, you donít even have to move an inch. 
Just stay where you are and keep shooting, and the boss goes down without 
firing another shot! It takes a little practice to find the exact sweet spot, 
but once you do there is no reason to take a hit from this guy.

Round 4
-------

The second set of three rounds takes place in a more coastal location, with 
water on either side of the playfield. There are occasionally bridges to 
cross, but for the most part itís all one solid landmass to traverse just as 
in the first triplet. You canít fall off, so donít worry about walking right 
up to the edge. So without further ado, round 4 opens up peacefully. There 
are a couple of broad bridges that cross to the next island and just past 
them is your first new enemy, the regenerating turret. These appear to be 
circles with a greenish glow in them that rather small enemies come out of, 
up to four of them. They donít harm your shields, but will deplete your 
energy bar if they run into you. Once theyíre all destroyed, the greenish 
glow disappears and instead a gun appears in the middle. You can destroy this 
turret, but in a few seconds another appears in the same spot! The best way 
to handle this thing is to destroy the small enemies, disable the gun once, 
and be on your way before it comes back.

The path splits into left and right, and again Iíll take the right side for 
simplicityís sake. Youíll see a small island off to the right as well as a 
rectangular vehicle heading your way from above. This is a missile truck that 
fires two homing missiles at a time. These are always high priority to get 
rid of because itís almost impossible to shoot down missiles and avoid 
anything else thatís coming your way at the same time. Theyíre weak, however, 
so a few shots will take them out. Youíll also find that the right island was 
concealing two turrets in the ground, which pop up and attack. Memorization 
is the key for this and round 6. In later rounds, they will be much easier to 
spot. One hit destroys them.

As youíre walking up the path, you may have to deal with a few stray missiles 
from the truck that was rolling down the other aisle. Take your time, as the 
common small fighters will be attack regularly once again by this point and 
rushing will get you killed quickly. Just ahead are two more missile trucks, 
each one width of itself away from the edge of either side of the path. Take 
these out and move on.

Another regenerating turret greets you on the left. Take it out first and 
then edge forward until you see two more of the spread-firing walkers. Use 
the time before the turret regenerates to do some damage to the walkers, and 
destroy the turret again if necessary. A bit farther up youíll start running 
into another, larger air fighter. This one looks like it has little limbs out 
in front of it, and stays near the top initially. It flies back and forth and 
fires a few salvos of bullets in a fairly wide range then runs off again. 
These things tend to come in pairs and are more difficult to dodge than 
anything else so far. Thereís usually a hole in the bullets they fire that 
you can squeeze through, and if you canít destroy them outright theyíll fly 
off after shooting a couple of times, so patience is a virtue as always.

Two more missile trucks are after the new fighters (who now attack somewhat 
regularly) and as you go through the next narrow strip of land youíll find 
enemies that pop up out of the water. They only move left and right and fire 
a homing missile in either upper diagonal. Walk up between them and send a 
few shots in either direction then take out the missiles that will be headed 
your way. Youíll have to be quick, as the fighters flying overhead will seem 
more oppressive around here.

Another missile truck and an underwater fighter greet you, and then you have 
one more broad bridge to cross. There are regenerating turrets on either 
side, so take out the little enemies first and destroy both turrets before 
advancing. As you head forward youíll find the entrance to the tunnel blocked 
by two large structures, each with two laser cannons! The problem is that 
thereís not a lot of room to advance, so to keep the laser cannons as far 
away as possible youíll have to let the turrets remain on screen. Each cannon 
takes a few shots before being destroyed, and both cannons have to be 
destroyed on either structure before you can damage the main part of it 
(which now shoots three bullets at a time at you). Working on the laser 
cannons is more important that anything else, as theyíre the most difficult 
to dodge. Just keep an eye on the turrets and send a few quick shots their 
way when the gun starts to form again. Keeping to the extreme right or left 
may also aid you in taking out one structure at a time. Once theyíre finally 
dispatched, you can move into the tunnel and finish this unusually difficult 
round.

Round 5
-------

With the basics of the tunnels out of the way, these descriptions will get 
rather short. Itís another tunnel of the same type as round 2, just be 
prepared for some blue mines that will take more hits than the gray ones (and 
some gliders as well now). Also, when you hit a trap you can expect to fight 
two or even three sets of enemies before youíre allowed to travel down the 
path again. Actual patterns for enemy combinations will be covered in the 
section Tunnel Strategies.

Round 6
-------

Starting out this round, step up to the point where the path narrows in front 
of you and be ready for three hidden turrets to pop up. One is directly in 
front, and thereíll be one to each side as well. Youíll find a regenerating 
turret ahead, then another a few steps later. Stick to the left side of the 
path approaching the second turret as thereíll be two missile trucks to the 
right ahead, and you never want to be directly in front of those things if 
you can avoid it. After knocking out everything, head to the left further 
still so you can see an island with a large circular thing upon it. This 
spits out homing missiles in four directions but is thankfully rare and only 
takes a few hits. If it fires before you kill it, protect your flanks with a 
few shots to either side.

Just ahead are two more missile trucks, then another pair right behind them, 
slightly closer together. I said not to be in front of these things, but if 
you know where they are in advance and can destroy them before they fire, in 
cases like this narrower strip of land itís the only way to do things. A 
large tank is protecting the next section, and it only goes so far to the 
right for some reason. Regardless, this makes it an easy target like all the 
others and should be taken out accordingly. Another missile truck is coupled 
with some underwater fighters, and then a regenerating turret is at the end 
of the island. Watch the shadows in the water as you step out onto the long 
bridge. Those are four more underwater fighters and theyíll stop just before 
they get to the land. Have some shots ready for them as they come up and 
youíll only have two to deal with instead of four. Get rid of the others and 
keep moving; itís dangerous to stay still on that bridge! When you reach the 
end of it youíll have finally found the boss.

This boss comes in two parts. When you first arrive there will be three 
gigantic laser cannons on an island at the top of the screen and youíll be on 
the bottom island. Move immediately to the left as the screen scrolls up and 
line yourself up so that you can shoot diagonally at the opening of any of 
the three cannons, though the left one is preferred. They have a very 
predictable attack pattern: They open up, fire a laser straight down, then 
close and move to a different spot on the track while firing a few extra 
bullets straight down as well. Then the process repeats. These things are 
only vulnerable while theyíre firing their laser, and if you were fast in 
positioning yourself youíll wipe out the first cannon before it can even 
close up again. If it was the left one, you can then move slightly to the 
right and open fire on the middle one, as it wonít be able to go anywhere and 
will remain where it is to fire once more. With two cannons down the third is 
just a matter of opening a volley on it when you can and trying to guess 
where it will stop, which shouldnít take long.

Once all those are gone, the real boss shows up. He is only vulnerable in the 
glowing core of that huge laser cannon in front, but that is always exposed. 
You can fire at him while heís coming down, but be aware that he starts 
attacking immediately once heís in place. He will start off with either one 
or two shots from the big cannon in front. Several areas of him will flash to 
indicate that heís done with that weapon, and a second later he sends out two 
massive sprays of bullets that encompass almost all of the playfield. Then he 
moves to the left or right and the attack pattern repeats. Basically, you 
have to wait until heís done firing the big cannon, and in the moment that he 
takes to set up the spread shot you need to align yourself with him and be 
all the way forward on the island in a small blind spot between the bullet 
arcs. While youíre there, you can do a lot of damage to his core before he 
moves again, and three passes or so like that should finish him off. 
Sometimes the bullets will nick the back of your tank anyway even if your 
placement looks good, though the game seems to be more lenient if there are 
no shields surrounding you. After you destroy it, itís on to the next set of 
rounds!

Round 7
-------

Iíve always found this set to be the easiest for some reason. It probably has 
something to do with the fact that you can bounce shots off of all the walls 
surrounding you and cause maximum destruction in minimum time. Thereís 
absolutely nothing that canít be hit from afar with a bit of joystick 
wiggling and those reflective walls. But letís get on with it.

Youíll see two walls at the upper corners of the screen, and a design on the 
floor right in front of you. You can stand on this design and shoot 
diagonally at the walls, which will bounce and hit two spherical and somewhat 
speedy enemies, hopefully destroying them. Those enemies, which youíll see 
often now, move strictly left and right and fire a spread of bullets in five 
directions each time they stop. Theyíre usually not a problem as long as 
youíre not in a position to face them directly. There will be another pair of 
spheres, then youíll see some ground-mounted turrets. These donít hide at 
all, they simply sit on the ground and fire single shots at you after a 
while. There will be two on each side, and there are even walls to help you 
bounce shots into them. Notice that these walls in particular, however, move 
up and down periodically. For now itís not terribly important but youíll see 
it again before this set is over.

Beyond the walls youíll see two regenerating turrets. Only this time theyíre 
not releasing those small, weak enemies but bigger ones that fire pairs of 
shots with each stop instead! This will continue throughout the three rounds 
as well, so be prepared. Position yourself just inside of either moving wall 
of your choosing. They never fire straight forward, so youíre safe to stand 
directly in front of one as long as youíre back far enough. They stop right 
at the edges of the walls first, so youíll be able to take out both sets with 
little difficulty. Once theyíre gone the usual gun turrets show up and you 
can advance once more.

To the left immediately past that is a pair of the larger spherical enemies 
trapped behind a moving wall. By training your fire at the wall and waiting 
for it to go down, you should destroy them without a hitch. There will also 
be two new enemies rolling down. These guys will fire a pair of lasers 
directly in front of themselves, so as with the missile trucks you wonít want 
to be in front of them unless you know you can take them out immediately. As 
with everything else, if you donít take them out right away they move in a 
predictable pattern and are fairly slow.

Up ahead is a staggered pattern of walls and yet another spherical enemy 
(they werenít the most original with ship design!), this one firing homing 
missiles if left alone long enough. It fires in pairs but takes so long to 
get a shot off and is defenseless up until that point, so you should have no 
trouble getting rid of them unless youíre moving too fast. One more laser 
mech is down that hallway, then a few ground turrets guarding a regenerating 
turret. Stick close to the regenerating turret here as two more laser mechs 
will be rolling down the middle of the aisle and will provide you with easy 
targets if youíre out of the way.

Further ahead is a concave arc of five ground turrets and four of the 5-way 
spread shot spheres behind more moving walls. Take out the turrets first and 
then pick off the spread shooters, then advance and demolish another laser 
mech. Finally youíve reached the end!

Well, not quite. In something that looks taken right out of The Legend of 
Zelda, thereís a mechanical creature of some sort with a long neck blocking 
the path. And of course, the only weak point is the head! It sways back and 
forth and shoots one shot at a time at you. Each time you get a few shots on 
it, youíll see an explosion. There will be four explosions, and the fifth one 
takes more shots to get than the others but will destroy the creature. I like 
to stick to one side and let the head wander into my shots, which is pretty 
much as effective as trying to chase it down in this case. Onward!

Round 8
-------

Another tunnel, little to see here. Youíll see more blue mines as opposed to 
gray ones and more complex patterns of enemies. If youíre playing on Hard 
difficulty, youíll also see some of the tan energy mechs and some of the 
easier patterns involving red enemies. Also remember that occasionally youíll 
find ĎPí powerups in some of the mines, so destroy as much as you can. 
Reaching the end, youíre kicked out into the next round.

Round 9
-------

Starting out, youíll see four ground turrets on either side of you, hidden by 
moving walls. Just shoot all over the place in either direction and I 
guarantee that when those walls go down, mayhem will ensue. Clean up any 
turrets you missed with that first salvo and letís go!

Youíll find three pairs of 5-way shooters amidst various walls. Wait a moment 
to study where they stop if you need to, but as long as youíre not right in 
front of them or on a diagonal youíll have nothing to worry about. Take them 
out and find a regenerating turret up ahead. This one only has the small 
energy-draining enemies, which should be a cinch for you now! In the narrowed 
area immediately after there are four ground turrets, two laser vehicles and 
a homing missile sphere. This sounds daunting, but as you can reflect your 
shots all over the place you just need to stick to one side of the path and 
let them have it!

Two more pairs of 5-way shooters, then more homing missile spheres and a 
laser vehicle dead center confront you. None should be a problem, and they 
all give you energy for the meter. Isnít that nice of them? Two more 
regenerating turrets offer up those nastier twin-firing spheres and are 
protected with moving walls. Youíll want to stay at the bottom of either 
wall, and they wonít be able to hit you. Even if you donít get them as they 
just come out, their second position will be right in your line of fire and 
you can dispatch them all. Now the path narrows even further and a single 
laser vehicle challenges you. Just keep firing up and dodge if you must, then 
shuffle through the tunnel and confront the next boss!

This is actually one of the trickiest bosses in the game because of its 
attacks. Itís basically a vehicle on a large rectangular track that is very 
obvious. It has a ring around it with two openings, and the vulnerable points 
are everything thatís inside that invincible ring. It spins the ring around 
as it moves, so when you first spot it just run to the lower left corner of 
its track and take a few potshots at it.

The firing pattern of this boss requires some explanation. As it moves 
around, it will fire its laser cannons in your direction if you cross them. 
After a while, the boss will stop moving and the ring will also come to a 
stop, its opening directly facing you. You'll want to get out of the way 
because it has a very large ring laser spread that comes out of that opening! 
Your best bet by far is to move to a point where you can fire at an angle and 
either slip your shots in directly or bank them off a wall to get them in. 
Each of the four cannons of the boss will eventually be destroyed, leaving 
the core. If at all possible, you want to leave one cannon remaining but 
severely damaged so that you can destroy it quickly and get to work on the 
main portion when the boss stops next. Once all four cannons are destroyed, 
when the boss moves around it instead fires a wide spread of spherical shots 
to the left and right several times. The only safe spot is directly above or 
below it. It still stops to fire its ring lasers, however, and thatís your 
chance to finish it off. If you make it, itís onward to the next round where 
things get trickier!

Round 10
--------

This set looks more military than any of the rest of the game, and the 
defenses help keep up appearances! Right from the start youíll see six hidden 
turrets pop up in a semicircle ahead of you. Theyíre visible before they 
actually show themselves, however, due to the outline in the ground. Use this 
to your advantage; any time you see a rectangle like that you know a turretís 
about to show up.

Head up to find a missile truck (yes, theyíre back!) and a regenerating 
turret. Again they hold a different enemy, this time a curious sort of mech 
that walks around a bit and fires a spread of three shots, usually doing this 
twice before zipping off of the screen again at high speed. The best thing to 
do is advance past it, take out a mech like it thatís immediately ahead, then 
train your fire just to right of the regenerating turret. Two mechs will pop 
out and get destroyed immediately, and then you just have the gun itself to 
get rid of. Stick to the left of the path about one tank width away from the 
edge and youíll run into another new enemy, a twin laser mech. These are 
rather wide robots that will turn to fire a pair of spread-apart lasers at 
you. Thereís enough room, in fact, to fit your tank between them and thatís 
exactly what youíll want to do if youíre positioned properly. Fire at it 
until it goes down, then scoot forward and take out a set of three hidden 
turrets. To the right, you can see another twin laser mech. They canít fire 
behind them, so if youíre feeling sadistic you can just take it out for 
points and move on.

At the top of the line of hidden turrets two more missile trucks will roll 
down just to either side of the column. Take them out and follow the line of 
turrets. Youíll see another regenerating turret and if you fire straight up, 
all the mechs it produces will be taken out without getting a chance to cause 
any mischief. As you get to this point you should also be noticing a new 
fighter type, another large one with four laser cannons mounted in the back. 
They have no offense while in front, but if you let them get behind you their 
fire can be difficult to avoid. Shoot them down if you have a spare moment at 
all, and if you donít you can exploit the fact that they wonít usually fire 
at you if youíre immediately next to them. If only real war were so fair!

Another missile truck down the center is followed by a wide corridor with 
mounted laser cannons firing across at each other. Stick to one side or the 
other! I prefer the left side, as thereís a wall behind you that offers minor 
protection as you start your way upward. With the cannons on the right side 
offscreen and not shooting at you, the left side becomes relatively simple. 
Dispatch another pair of missile trucks and more large fighters. You may find 
an even larger type of fighter that is simply bristling with laser cannons, 
ten in all! This is your top priority if it shows up and the safe spot is 
directly in front of it, strangely enough. When you get to the end of the 
laser corridor youíve have two more missile trucks, then a set of four hidden 
ground turrets and one more missile truck down the center of that path. Once 
you take everything out, advance carefully! There are two laser cannons to 
the right side, which are easily destroyed, and immediately past that are two 
twin laser mechs. The way to get rid of them is to stand on a vertical line 
with the destroyed missile truck and advance one step at a time, firing until 
you hear yourself hitting something. Stay there for a second or two and 
youíll destroy it without it getting a chance to shoot at you. Then move to 
the right until youíre on or just above the last hidden ground turret and 
fire to the upper left to get the other one. With both destroyed, the way to 
the end of the round is clear!

Round 11
--------

You guessed it, more tunnel action. There should be almost exclusively blue 
mines in this one and youíll see some red enemies even on Normal difficulty, 
as well as the energy mechs making their appearance if they havenít already. 
Move quickly through, this shouldnít take long if you know your enemy 
patterns.

Round 12
--------

Surprise, surprise! You start out surrounded by hidden ground turrets! Blow 
them away and steel yourself, this is in my opinion the most difficult 
overhead level to survive. You start with a long, winding corridor in an S 
shape. There are regenerating turrets that block the entire width of the path 
and release the small, annoying energy stealing bots (they seem kind of like 
some tiny, incessantly yapping poodle now, donít they?). Take them all out, 
destroy the turret, and stick to the top of the path. If you fire as you 
move, youíll wipe out one of the two hidden ground turrets ahead as well, 
which will make your life easier while youíre trying to make the turn. You 
may have to destroy the turret several times before you can clear out the 
ground targets with all the fighters flying around as well, so take your 
time.

Another regenerating turret and another two hidden turrets are at the next 
turn, then one more regenerating turret before you get out into the open air 
again. Four hidden turrets are there to greet you, so say hello with your 
guns and breathe a little sigh of relief; Iíve always found that section to 
be the hardest on my shields.

Donít breathe too long, as that almost cartoony sound of a falling bomb is 
none other than a falling bomb! Youíll be under constant bombardment as you 
advance. You can see the shadows of the missiles as they head towards you, 
and once they stop theyíll fall where they are. Just keep out of their 
explosion and eventually youíll get used to the rhythm.

Two more regenerating turrets with those walking mechs show up, but thereís 
an interesting bug in the game here. Sometimes the first mech released on the 
left side is invincible! You can shoot it all day and your shells will just 
bounce harmlessly off of it. Thankfully it speeds off of the screen again 
after just two shots, so if it happens to you itís only a minor 
inconvenience. Another pair will get released, and then you can advance after 
destroying the turrets again.

A missile truck ambles down the center of the playfield, and then the 
familiar cannons of another laser corridor will make themselves obvious to 
you. Again, stick to the left side and work your way up slowly. Youíll have 
two missile trucks to destroy along the way, then youíll see three hidden 
turrets in a diagonal row. A twin laser mech is at the end of that row, so 
move up to be in line with those turrets and fire away at him and you should 
get him without incident. If you slide over youíll also see three hidden 
turrets arranged in a similar fashion on the other side of him.

Just ahead as a big insignia with a dragon in it on the ground. When this 
insignia is almost fully on screen, you will just barely be able to hit two 
more twin laser mechs on either side of it. Take them out before they can 
even fire, and keep firing as you walk through the narrowed part to wipe out 
another missile truck. Two laser cannons on either side of the corridor 
provide minimal resistance, and then youíre at the boss.

This boss looks the most complex aside from the final one, but is one of the 
easier ones to deal with. Start by walking up its left side so that youíre 
lined up to shoot at the lower half of a panel that will open up and release 
quickly moving spheres. As soon as the panel does open, your shots will 
obliterate anything that it releases and finally the panel itself. You can 
then slip down just a bit and get your shots in on the front panel, still 
firing to the right. Youíll still be bombarded with missiles, and this time 
one warhead splits into four missiles that land in either a circular pattern 
or a line, both of which are clearly seen by the movements of their shadows. 
Dodge these carefully, and when you blow off the front panel of the boss be 
aware that the extra little vehicle on the track behind the boss itself will 
start firing spreads of lasers every time a salvo of missiles explodes. The 
spot to be when it fires is next to the lowest wall jutting out near the 
lower left corner.

Once the left and front panels are gone, just repeat the process. Be aware 
that the left panel will regenerate, but if youíre firing at the front from 
the left side so that your right cannon clips the vulnerable part of the 
boss, when that panel regenerates youíll take it out again immediately and 
with no fuss. You may have to destroy it three or four times before the boss 
finally gives it up and lets you move on to the final set.

Round 13
--------

Almost there! This set is supposed to be somewhat palatial, but really it 
looks like more of what you saw in rounds 7 and 9. Careful advancing is 
critical, but be aware that the bombardment hasnít stopped! Now itís in the 
form of floating spheres that fly down the screen and explode in random 
spots, sending a spray of five bullets in your direction. In earlier rounds, 
these only appeared if you took too long. Now theyíre a fact of life, so 
shoot them down if you can and get out of the way if they start to flash!

You start this round with four ground turrets around you. Wipe them out and 
head right. A regenerating turret will have its little energy suckers ready 
to greet you and a spread-firing walker (remember those from the early 
rounds?) will be in your way as well. The quarters are a bit tighter, so as 
before ricocheting shots will be very useful to you. As you advance into the 
next horizontal corridor there will be another regenerating turret and some 
ground turrets to the side and a twin laser mech in front of you. Take it all 
out and move on to the final horizontal room. This one has two laser cannons 
and a few ground turrets. Be careful about advancing too far, because the 
last new enemy is blocking the path into the next area. Basically heís a twin 
laser mech, but even wider. He only fires his lasers straight down, but in 
addition he can fire spread shots of 3-5 bullets, aiming them at you like the 
walkers did. As he takes damage, first the left laser is destroyed, then the 
right, and finally the main body. Heís very troublesome if you let him on the 
screen with his full firepower, and obviously itís even worse if there are 
two (and there will be). Take him out by creeping closer until you hit him 
offscreen, then advance.

Some ground turrets and another big daddy mech await you, followed by 
regenerating turrets with the twin firing spheres. Stand just to the side of 
one turret and wipe out the spheres, then move up and to the side to deal 
with the two walkers that show up. More turrets, walkers, laser cannons, and 
5-way shooters show up in logical patterns that youíve seen in previous 
levels and shouldnít be a great hassle to you at this point. There will be 
some unusual writing on the floor and a pair of ground turrets arranged 
vertically, which is your cue that two more big daddy mechs are just ahead. 
Take them out carefully, then wipe out the laser cannons just past them. 
Almost done!

The entrance to the tunnel is closed, and the only way to open it is to take 
out two clones of the creature you saw at the end of round 7. Thereís one on 
either side, and the best way to do it if youíre on the left is to simply 
concentrate on that one first. Carefully take it out and try to keep the 
other from sliding its head onto the screen to fire at you as well. Once one 
is gone, you can hang out near the bottom and scroll just enough that the 
head of the other shows up but has little mobility, whereupon you can give it 
the fiery death it deserves. The tunnel doors now open, itís time to move on.

Round 14
--------

The last tunnel? The mines are almost all red here and take considerable 
damage before letting you through. Youíll see some of the most difficult 
enemy patterns and will always deal with three fights at each trap. Good 
luck, itís not easy!

Round 15
--------

You arrive and are not surrounded at all. Blank free space on all sides. 
Refreshing, eh? Donít let it fool you, there are actually laser cannons that 
are just out of view to the left and right. Stick left of right and wipe them 
out, as usual. There are only three pairs and then youíre suddenly at two 
gigantic circles on the floor with what look like magical patterns on them. 
Whatís more, thereís more writing on the floor in front of each. Iíll spoil 
these for you since theyíre so short, but the left one says ĎEasyí and the 
right one says ĎHardí. Simple enough! If you think youíre a tough guy you can 
try the hard one, but Iíll warn you now that theyíre not lying!

Oh no, another tunnel! If you picked the easy tunnel, youíre going to be 
greeted with some energy powerups, one simple trap, and you should be out 
again. Itís a piece of cake, really. If you picked the HARD tunnel, youíre in 
for it! Think round 14, but with slightly harder patterns and twice as long! 
Itís a sea of red out there and youíve got to be the best to get through it. 
If you die in that tunnel, remember that all future lives start at the 
beginning of the tunnel with only one shield, so death isnít an option! On 
the plus side, should you manage to make it to the end your reward is a 
metric ton of points (upwards of 300K!) AND you get a refill to three shields 
and a full energy bar automatically! Risk has its rewards, for sure.

Round 15, revisited
-------------------

Once youíre out of the tunnel, youíre still in round 15 and in an overhead 
view again. Itís the same sort of thing, you have six turrets surrounding you 
at the start and a few laser cannons to take out, along with one of those 
enemies that spews homing missiles in four directions from rounds 4 and 6. 
Another cake walk, which brings you to yet another set of magical circles. 
Three of them this time! Easy and Hard are still there, and the lower one 
reads ĎNormí, so it must be a sort of happy medium. You know what they are 
now, so pick the one you think you can handle and off you go! Youíll get the 
same treatment in the hard tunnel, and the normal tunnel has the same enemies 
as the hard one but is shorter. The easy tunnel is even more energy and two 
or three fights instead of one. Everyone should have it so rough.

Round 16
--------

The big finale! And in grand style, you start out completely surrounded by no 
less than ten turrets and two four-way missile shooters. You absolutely must 
take out those two enemies first before you go after the turrets! Wipe 
everything out and pick either side, theyíre both roughly the same. Be 
prepared for a big daddy mech almost immediately as you start up either path, 
and now youíll be able to see a curious new type of laser embedded in the 
walls. They fire at regular intervals and canít be destroyed, so you just 
have to walk through when theyíre not firing. After that small bit with the 
mech and two lasers youíre presented with two paths yet again. More writing 
on the floor: ĎEasyí and ĎHard.í Iíll tell you now that neither path is 
actually easy, but the hard path is quite hellish! Tight corridors and big 
daddy mechs all over the place, not to mention youíre still being bombarded 
with the spread-shot spheres! Take the left path and make it easy on 
yourself; the points to gain on the hard path are minimal.

The corridor is fairly straight and there are no really awfully tricky spots, 
but Iíll leave it to the reader to devise how best to tackle it for himself. 
Just remember to always take out any mechs/walkers before crossing laser 
lines! If you find turrets on the other side of that line, it gets fairly 
awkward to try to backtrack and get into a good firing position. If you make 
it to the end intact, itís boss time!

You come to an isolated arena-type enclosure with eight red spheres. You can 
shoot at them and do damage before they move, but once they do they simply 
teleport out and blink back in, this time in a circle around you. The key to 
this fight is to always destroy at least one sphere before they stop to fire! 
If one is destroyed, the rest of them all turn green and will fire their 
circular shots in a ring around the center of themselves rather than directly 
at you. For this reason, it is equally important that you donít move after 
they come in!

Each time they teleport in theyíll move faster until theyíre just barely 
possible to track by whirling the joystick around. After that they slow down 
again and become easier to hit. When only two spheres remain, they no longer 
turn green, so take them out as fast as you can! If you have more than one 
shield, just let them hit you once if you canít take them all out in time and 
your life will be made much easier when youíre given another chance to finish 
them off. Once theyíre all destroyed, a fighter flies onto the screen, the 
biggest of all so far! A man climbs out and sends sparkly stars all over the 
screen, which fades out.

Youíre on the moon! Or A moon, anyway. No time to look at the scenery, the 
real final boss is approaching quickly! Thereís a crater just to the lower 
right of you, stand directly on top of that and fire straight up as the 
gigantic mothership flies down. With continual fire youíll eliminate the 
exhaust pipe, cannon, and turret in the column youíre lined up with. You can 
then fire to the upper right and take out several more targets, but the 
turrets at the top will miss when they try to fire at you. Clean up anything 
thatís left and be quick about it, the boss doesnít waste any time in 
repositioning itself.

Just a bit to the right of that crater is where youíll want to be as the boss 
moves to the left, exposing a battery of laser cannons and another set of 
three small turrets. Destroy what you can of these, but the real target is 
the large circular port to the right of those small turrets, which will 
release fast-moving enemies just like the boss in round 12 did. In addition, 
the hangar door to the left opens and fighters start to fly out. These are 
weaker than they look, and if you stay directly below your main target and 
fire upward, youíll get all the fighters and eventually the port as well. 
Clean up the rest of the cannons and turrets if you have time and wipe out 
another wave of fighters, then the boss moves again.

Now youíll want to stand about a tank-length directly above that crater and 
fire to the upper right. Youíll smash another exhaust port, turret, and 
cannon and possibly a laser cannon as well before youíre forced to retreat 
slightly. Train your fire on the other large circular port, sparing a shot or 
two for anything else you havenít cleared up yet. You can take shots at the 
nearby laser cannons you probably havenít gotten to, but once both ports in 
front are gone almost all your shots should be headed for the section of ship 
where they were (which can now be damaged). Fire away until it falls off, the 
mothership will move again in a matter of seconds and youíll need the 
breathing room.

Once the ship moves and youíre basically surrounded by it, youíll see four 
cannons at the upper corners which will start firing immediately. Take them 
out as best as you can and stay out of the way of any remaining laser cannons 
if you can. The first ones you shot up will also be regenerating right about 
now, all the more reason to keep your distance. Eventually the ship advances 
one more time, revealing the huge core! It has a massive ring laser attack 
that takes up almost all of the available space, but luckily it has a bar 
atop it that flashes green just before it fires, giving you enough warning to 
get off to one side. Take out any remaining cannons, and the rest is cake! 
Reinforcements arrive and fire at the core, so you only have to watch out for 
the occasional firing of the main gun and any cannons that might suddenly 
regenerate on you. The core will turn orange after it takes some damage, and 
finally the ship explodes and the guy behind all this is left alone, 
defeated. Mission complete! As an extra bonus for winning the game, youíll 
get one million points for every life that you have in reserve (not counting 
the current one). If you didnít get all of the extra lives the game offers 
before finishing the game, youíll be awarded them and then given a million 
points for each, a sweet reward.

The ending text is the most fantastic part of the game. The people who made 
the Zero Wing text famous should have a look at the translation work down 
here. While not quite as awful, the incorrectly spelled words and just weird 
grammar is worthwhile reading. Oh, right, what it says. It says that even 
though they beat that guy, the real war between planets (the war of madness, 
as it calls it) is yet to begin. So much for a one man army winning it all.

====================================
4. Tunnel Strategies
====================================

The tunnel rounds in Aurail start out simple and become, in my opinion, the 
hardest part of the game by the end. Once you learn round 16 well enough, the 
task becomes surviving 15 without incident, after which the remainder of the 
game is almost a gimme. Iím going to try to detail the harder sets of enemies 
for you and how you should approach them, including the ultra-hard 
combinations only found in the last levels of Hard difficulty. Theyíll be in 
rough order from simple to difficult.

NOTE: All strategies assume youíre starting from the middle column and facing 
towards the end of the tunnel.

3 tan energy mechs in front: No problem. Head straight forward at full speed, 
firing all the way. When the first shot nearly hits you, dodge left and 
youíll run into the mech on the left. Thatís no problem, you only lose a 
little energy for ramming things. Turn around and slip back to the left side, 
backing up and firing at the remaining two until theyíre gone.

5 blue gliders (2 in front, 3 in back): Break to the left immediately and 
head towards the glider in front of you, firing all the way. You should 
destroy him just as you reach him. Turn around and slip to the left, backing 
up and firing away. Youíll get one or two more of them before theyíre on you 
again. Slide to the right and punch forward, then turn around once more to 
finish the group off.

1 red orb in front, 2 tan energy mechs in back: Head straight forward and 
fire. Jag to the left as you get closer to the orb just in case it fires a 
point blank shot. Turn around, slip back to the left, and back up while 
firing away at the energy mechs that you can now see. Destroy that one, then 
head back to the right and fire until the other is gone. The orb youíll be 
able to take out in one pass in most cases just by shifting back and forth 
between two columns, spreading your fire across them to catch it each time it 
dodges.

3 red orbs in front: Head forward and keep firing. Break right at the last 
moment or youíll get hit by a missile. Turn around and fire while backing up, 
which should take care of two of the three orbs. Finish off the last one as 
per the last strategy.

1 red glider, 2 blue gliders in front, 2 gray maulers in back: This one is 
simpler than it looks. Race forward down the center while firing at the red 
glider in the middle, which will die before you reach it. Break left after 
you pass the first blue glider and turn around, firing away. You may or may 
not get one of them, but it doesnít matter much either way. The gray maulers 
are easily disposed of and any remaining gliders can be caught by sliding 
back and forth and firing continually.

3 red gliders in front: Start by firing down the middle and break off to the 
left just as you reach them, turning around. Slide to the left and fire away, 
taking another pass if you need to for the remaining glider.

3 red maulers in front: Why not? Weíve got 3 red everything else. Rush 
forward and fire, dodging left as you run into the first one. Heíll die and 
leave you with just the two, which should be getting damaged from your fire. 
Slip to the left one column to lure them, then slip left again to bring them 
into your fire without their missiles to protect them for a moment. One 
should die before the other meets up with you. Ram him, turn around, and 
finish the job.

3 red energy mechs (1 in front, 2 in back): No big deal, but you have to be 
careful of the first one. Head to the left, fire a few shots, then fire a few 
in the middle, then fire a few in the right. Be extra careful of the second 
shot, it can be in either the middle or right lane and you obviously donít 
want to be wherever it is! By the time you turn around it should be gone, 
leaving you with two energy mechs in your column. Fire away while backing up, 
adjusting to the right as you need to. Both will die before they can reach 
you, just remember that youíll probably have one last shot to dodge at the 
end.

1 red energy mech in front, 1 red energy mech, one red glider, one red mauler 
in back: This is where things get tougher (and luckily, from here out youíll 
only see these combinations on Hard difficulty). Shift to the right to dodge 
the first shot while moving forward. Do what damage you can to the mech and 
let it pass you on the left. DO NOT turn around until it has fully passed or 
it will hit you with a passing shot! Weave back and forth quickly and take it 
out and take it out if you can. Shift over to the right and full speed ahead 
on that lone mauler, guns blazing! You should take it out with no problem, 
but occasionally the other energy mech will fire and force you to back off a 
bit. Either way, press on and turn around, and the other two robots should be 
softened up enough to just be an easy cleanup by now.

Two red maulers, one red energy mech in front, one red glider in back: 
Survival relies on getting to the left immediately. You absolutely must get 
there, punch forward, and take out the mauler in front of you as you pass or 
youíll have an awful time of it. As you turn around, slide left and do as 
much damage to the other mauler as you can before sliding over farther and 
dishing out some punishment to the glider. You may actually destroy the other 
mauler, but donít count on it. Instead, veer right and punch through again, 
whereupon you should be able to finish up with a bit more dodging and 
backpedaling.

The remaining combinations with five red enemies: Good luck, I donít have 
strict patterns for these. There is one that is basically the previous 
combination with one extra enemy, and as before if you donít get to the left 
and take out those missiles coming at you, youíre going to take multiple 
hits. The other fearsome one has two red maulers and something else all in 
the same column with two in back. Dash forward and dodge left just as you run 
into the first one and youíll probably destroy it. Dodge left and rush the 
lone energy mech thatís way back there for some reason, and use your radar to 
dodge incoming shots if you can since theyíll outrun you even at full speed. 
Once itís down to three enemies itís more manageable, but itís hectic like 
nothing else and the tactics I use still donít guarantee not getting hit.

====================================
5. Minor Other Things
====================================

As I mentioned in the walkthrough, there is occasionally writing on the 
ground or elsewhere that looks like some other language, but is in fact just 
a simple substitution process where most of the symbols even look something 
like the letters theyíre supposed to represent. For example, in round 13 you 
can see ĎDangerí written on the ground first, then near the two creatures at 
the end is ĎCentipede.í Not the most useful, but itís fun to see. The Game 
Over screen is chock full of it, practically offering a translation guide.

Want a big high score? Youíll have to finish the game. But you can impress 
people who donít know what a Ďgoodí score is by playing and continuing until 
youíre able to beat round 16 on the first life of a credit. Youíll have all 
the extra lives awarded to you (four in total) and get credit for the other 
two you had in reserve, so you should end up with a score slightly under 6.1 
million. Not bad, since someone who played on Hard difficulty, played all the 
way through the game without losing a life and took both hard tunnels in 
round 15 will only end up with about 7.4 million. Itís cheap, but thatís how 
it is.

Want to brag about a real high score? If you play MAME, head over to the MAME 
Action Replay Page (http://marp.retrogames.com) and show your stuff! Itís not just 
Aurail, all 3,000+ games that MAME emulates is there with recordings for 
everyone to watch and learn from, and a high score table to show whoís who. 
Can you beat my 6.77 million game done on Hard difficulty? One credit only, 
thatís the rule for all MARP games!

====================================
6. Contributor List
====================================

At present, this is a work of self. If you have anything to contribute, 
though, send your ideas, tips, strategies, and secrets to bmclean84@hotmail.com 
and Iíll verify it, put it up here and give you recognition! Free fame!

As always, Iíd like to recognize CJayC for hosting such a wonderful, 
comprehensive site and giving folks like me a place to put ideas that canít 
be crammed into an .inp file.

====================================
7. Copyright
====================================

This work is copyright 2001 Brian McLean. All rights reserved. You may keep a 
copy for your personal use but you may not distribute it in any form without 
express permission from the author.

(Legalese for: Ask me first. Iím not an ogre, Iíll probably say yes unless 
folks have to pay to see it)

--Finis--