*********************************************
                 *Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow Boss Rush Guide*
                 *Version 1.1                                *
                 *Contact: LiteYear_99@hotmail.com           *
                 *********************************************


-------------------
|Table of Contents|
-------------------

Version History
Introduction
Recommended Equipment
Soma Walkthrough
Julius Walkthrough
Rewards
Credits
Copyright Information
Contact Information

-----------------
|Version History|
-----------------

Version 1.0
Released: May 12th, 2003
-First Release

Version 1.1
Released: June 24th, 2003
-Added a partial Julius Walkthrough
-Updated the rewards section
-Added a Credits section
-Other minor corrections

--------------
|Introduction|
--------------

The Boss Rush is a mode where you faced with the bosses that you defeated
earlier through your play through of the game.  In this mode, you face the
bosses in succession, with the goal of trying to defeat the lot of them as
quickly as possible.  The point of this guide is to provide a strategy to help
accomplish this goal, and to answer any questions that you may have about the
Boss Rush.

-----------------------
|Recommended Equipment|
-----------------------

Weapon: Claimh Solais

While the weapon isn't too necessary, since you'll be doing most of your
damage through Red Minotaur, this isn't bad for a couple of cheap shots
while the Axe is swinging.
How to Get: In the forbidden area, find the room with the ship.  Use Skula
to sink beneath the water, then walk left.  At the dead end, attack the wall
to break it, an inside will be the sword.

Armor: Dracula's Tunic

Again, not really necessary, and if you're using the Lubicant method, it is 
completely worthless.  Of course, the minor Str increase does help a bit...
How to Get: After you beat Graham, if you've gotten the good ending, you'll
be able to enter the room after him.  Inside is the Tunic.

Accessory: Chaos Ring

This is absolutely vital!  This ring negates the MP requirements for souls,
so you don't have to worry about Red Minotaurs high MP cost, or have to wait
for the recovery orbs.
How to Get: You must have 100% soul collection.  Enter the Chaotic Realm, and
find the room with the first Alastor (floating sword).  There will be an
opening in the top left of this room.  Enter it to grab your Chaos Ring. 

Red Soul: Red Minotaur

This soul deals incredible amounts of damage.  Plus, if you turn your back
to the enemy and summon it, you can get 2 of those devastating hits in.
How to Get: The best place to get this is on the Top Floor.  Outside, there
is a terrace with two Red Minotaurs.  You can use the Killer Mantle soul to
kill them in one hit.

Blue Soul: Black Panther

Simply put, this is your soul for speed.  Use it to move from room to room
as quickly as possible.
How to Get: This is in the same room as Dracula's Tunic.

Yellow Soul: Lubicant or Headhunter

Now, you have a choice here:
The Lubicant soul gives +102 Str when you have 1 HP, which saves an Axe time
on most bosses.  However, you are fighting with only one HP, so one hit and
your run is over.  Use Lubicant if you're daring, Headhunter if you're not. 
How to Get: Headhunter you'll get through the boss in the normal play through.
The best place to get Lubicant is on the Top Floor, right near the warp room.

-------------
|Soma Walkthrough|
-------------

Ok, you'll start in the room reminiscent of where you got your Giant Bat soul.
You can take as much time as you want in this room, as the actual time will
not start until you leave.  If you're going to use Lubicant, drink your 
Spoiled Milk to reduce your HP to 1.  After you're done with preparations (or
 listening to the music), enter the door to start the clock.
*Note: Searching through the menus after this point will still pause the
clock, so use it if you need a breather or something*
*Note 2: On my file, my HH soul gave +25 Str.  This will be the value that
the method will be based on.  The maximum for the HH soul is +33 Str/Def/Int*


Now, you'll enter the Creaking Skull's Room.   Nothing really noteworthy about
him, as you'll take him out before he has a chance to move.
Headhunter: The Skull will take either two Axe hits, or one Axe hit and two
sword hits to destroy.  You can use either the back method to score a double
hit with the Axe, or you can summon the Axe forward, and hit twice while the
Axe is swinging.  Dash away.
Lubicant: The Skull will only take one Axe and one sword hit.  Your choice
on how to deliver this.  I prefer to summon the Axe forward, hit with the 
sword, and let the Axe swing do him in. Then Dash on.
*Note: As you may have noticed, I have mention to dash as soon as the bosses
are destroyed.  You don't need to wait for the orbs to drop.*

Next up is Manticore, the easiest and quickest boss.  Both methods are the
same here: Dash up to the manticore, turn around, and summon the Axe.  All
you have to do is make sure the Axe hits both the Tail and the body to 
deliver the one hit KO.  Then Dash to the next room.

The next boss is the Great Armor.  One thing you should remember if you're
using the Lubicant method: be careful when dashing towards this guy.  When he
is "awakening", he sticks his sword out.   If you are dashing towards him,
you run the risk of hitting it, ending your run.  However, if you dash part
way, then walk into his "activation range", the sword shouldn't hit you.
Headhunter: It'll take both two Axe hits and three sword hits, or three Axe
hits to finish this guy off.  I prefer to use the two Axe/three hit method
in defeating him.  Just summon a Axe while facing away, then hit your three
times while the Axe swings.
Lubicant: Significantly easier, he'll just need 2 Axe hits.  Just summon it
to your back, and let it finish it off.
*Alternate: The Lightning Doll soul also work well against this boss.  He'll
take 3 attacks with the doll on the HeadHunter method, and two on the
Lubicant method.  I do believe this is slightly faster than the Red Minotaur.*

Now we have a Man Eater.  Just to confirm: no, he is not a boss in the game.
I don't know why he's here, but whatever.  Anyway, to defeat him, you have
to be a bit patient, wait for his third (top) eye to start blinking, and
summon the Axe to slice it.  This works for both methods.  Just wait half
a second after the fatal hit, because the body is still active during that
split-second, and you might get hit.

The Big Golem is next.  Be careful with him, sometimes during his attacks he 
might not be hit by the Axe.  This is more of a problem for the HeadHunter
method.
HeadHunter: He'll take 4 Axe hits to take down.  You'll have to get a little
lucky to take him down in two Axe swings due to the problem mentioned above,
but that shouldn't faze you much.
Lubicant: He'll only take 3 Axe hits this time.  You should have no problem
using two Axe attacks to deal that.

Another easy boss is next: the Headhunter.  Both methods are the same for
this one: Summon the Axe and try to time it so it hits the second he becomes
vunerable.  I like timing it so you summon your Axe when the head attacks to
the head (after it is pulled in by the tentacles).  The door takes a couple
seconds to open after his Gremlin form has been defeated.

Death represents a big step up in toughness .  He can be a bit of a problem
for Lubicant users though.
Headhunter: In his first form, his scythe take 3 Axe hits and a sword hit.
Summon the Axe when you enter the room, let it hit twice, summon another Axe,
and hit it with the sword to bring out his second form.  In this form, he
take 4 Axe hits, or 3 Axe and 4 Sword hits.  I prefer the 4 Axe hit method.
If he does his attack where he spins his Scythe, just duck under it, and
summon the Axes.  If he does his rush attack, well dodge it, and Axe him 
after it.
Lubicant: In his first form, he'll take 2 Axe hits and a sword hit.  At the
start, you should double hit with your Axe, and try to hit with your sword
to finish this quickly.  In his 2nd form, he'll take 3 Axe hits.  You should
deliver one just after he summons the Scythe, and then hope he does the 
Scythe Spin, where it is easy to nail him whit the Axe.  If he rushes you, 
avoid at all costs, wait until he comes back, and then Axe him.
*Note: If you kill him during his Scythe Spin, the scythe is still active
and can hurt you.  However, if you dash fast enough after Death's death, you
should dash under it and beat it out before it hits you.*

Legion will be your next target, and he has a lot of HP.  With him, delay
a half-second on your Axes.  You want to make sure your Axes double hit, and
if you summon them too fast, they might not.  This is especially important for
the Lubicant method.
Headhunter: Legion will take 8 hits with the Axe.  You should deliver the 
first 6 with no problem, and then dash through him, and deliver the last
2 hits.
Lubicant: You're going to need to heed that warning above.  He takes 6 Axe
hits, and you only have enough time to summon 3 Axes before he reaches you,
so make them count for their double hits.  
The door takes a good 5-10 seconds to open after Legion is fatally wounded,
so just wait by the door until it opens.

Balore is an extremely tough opponent for the Lubicant method, and still
tough for the HeadHunter method.
Headhunter: He'll take 7 Axes to take out.  You should do fine for the 
first two summons (ducking away from the hands when necessary).  Now, he
should change his eye to the fire beam shooting one, so dodge the fire as
best as you can and deliver the final three hits.
Lubicant: I'll go into detail for this boss.  He takes 6 Axe hits total.
When you enter the room, dash jump over his left hand, and summon an Axe.
Now, after you summon that axe, duck under his nose, and wait for the hands
to punch air.  Now, as the hands separate, jump and do another Axe summon.
When he raises his fists into the air, dash to the corner.  After his fists
slam against the ground, he should open his other eye.  Summon the third
Axe to double hit that eye, and you're done.  The beam will not hurt you,
and if you do this fast enough, the fire shouldn't reach you.
*Note: As an alternate method, once you get Balore into his eye-shooting
phase, you can equip the Medusa head soul, abd then jump up and hover by
him without worrying about the eye-beams.*

Graham is not as tough.  His teleporting gives you perfect opportunities
to set up your Axe.
Headhunter: In his 1st phase, he'll teleport around the room.  Wait for him
to appear, double hit with the Axe, then repeat.  After the second double-hit,
he'll appear in the middle of the room, and start throwing rotating spheres.
However, he'll remain stationary, and 4 Axe hits will finish him.  In his 
2nd form, it'll take 5 Axe hits to take him out.  I prefer to move to a corner
when he's emerging, summon 2 Axes, then slide under his hand (to evade the
lightning beam), and summon a final Axe to end it.
Lubicant: Much easier when compared to Balore.  In his first phase, he'll
take 3 Axe hits to place him in the center of the room.  Just be careful if
he summons those spheres.  He'll take another 3 Axe hits in the middle, and
you should have no problem dealing that before the spheres rotate towards
you (and even if they do, they're easy to dodge).  In his second form, he'll
only take 4 Axe hits.  As with the HH method, move to the corner as he's 
emerging, and you should be able to summon two Axes to double hit before the
lightning beam fires.

And that's it, you're done.  The clock stops the second you exit Grahamís
room.  In this room, you'll get your reward base on your time.  So you can
admire your new item as much as you want before picking it up.  You'll be 
able to see your exact time once you claim the reward.
Just for reference, the HeadHunter Method should take about 2:10, and my
fastest using it is 2:01:82.
The Lubicant method, if done right, is faster, and you'll probably net
a time under two minutes.  As of this writing, my best time with this method
is 1:42:95.

--------------------
|Julius Walkthrough|
--------------------

Yes, the boss rush can also be run by the other playable character in this
game.  Julius is a little more straight-forward, as he can't use any souls
or items, plus his stats can't be altered in any way.  However, he does have
sub-weapons, very similar to ones in previous Castlevania games.  The Cross,
the Cross Item-Crush, and the Pure Water all do holy-type damage, while his
Axe and whip do normal-type damage.  Written below will be a speed walktrough,
consisting of the fastest methods I've found to defeat each boss.  So, set
your Pure Water as your sub-weapon, and enter the door to begin the boss rush
once again.
*Note: For this walkthrough, I will specify when to wait for orbs, so unless
I say wait for the orb, you won't need too.*

The Creaking Skull is still as easy as it was with Soma.  Move up to it, fire
a Pure Water, and whip it into submission.  The Pure Water is sufficent enough
to kill it alone, but the whipping speeds the process up a little.  I usually
find I can get two whips in before the Pure Water finishes it off.

The Manticore is tougher than it was with Soma, but he still is pretty easy to
beat.  I've found two methods of eating him with nearly the same time.  The 
first it to handle it like you did with the Creaking Skull: Pure Water and 
whipping.  However, you might want to stand back a bit, as then the Pure Water
waves should intercept his fireballs, and you'll be out of reach of his tail.
I find that it takes 2 Pure Waters whit whipping to take it down.
The second method is using the Axe instead.  If you place your Axe right, you
can hit both the Tail and the Body.  It takes 3 Axes and 1 whip to finish him 
off, but you have to remember that you'll be unprotected from his fireballs.

The Great Armor is another easy one.  Again, Pure Water will be your best bet.
move in (watching his sword), and fire a Pure Water, and whip him.  If he sets
up an attack, use your teleport (L Button) to get behind him and fire off
another Pure Water, and whp him.  He shouldn't have the strength to last
through two Pure Waters with enough whipping.

***To be continued...***
    

---------
|Rewards|
---------

So, you want to know what this is good for?  Well, you can get 3 powerful
weapons should you finish fast enough.

Under 4 minutes: Valmanway
This sword allows a continuous attack when you repeatedly tap the attack
button. Its range is rather short, but it can pile up large amounts of damage
to slow moving enemies.

Under 5 minutes: Positron Rifle
This gun has a very good range, and can deliver 2 hits per attack.  It has
a pretty good attack power as well, though it doesn't count as a "cut" weapon, 
and has no element.

Under 6 minutes: Excalibur
The most powerful sword attack-wise in the game.  It has good range, and as
stated, does a good amount of damage.  However, it is also non-elemental, and 
does attack rather slowly.  I still prefer the Claimh Solais over this.

Over 6 minutes, or have received all the rewards already: Potion

You can get only one reward per run.  Additionally, you'll get the weapon
that corresponds to you're fastest time.  For example, if you're first run
is under 4 minutes, you'll get the Valmanway.  If you're 2nd run is also 
under 4 minutes, you'll get the Rifle.

---------
|Credits|
---------

This is just a section to acknowledge the people who sent me helpful
information.

Jon Alley, jared ingalls: For stating and confirming the boss rush reward
times.

Jake, Matt Green, and others: For giving the alternate strategy on Balore.


----------------------
|Copyright Information|
----------------------

Davin Shirley (aka LiteYear) wrote this guide in its entirety.  I give
permission for any site to use this, as long as the guide is in my name,
and no modifications are made to this guide.  I would appreciate to be
contacted if you do use my guide on your site, though.  The latest version
will always be found here:

www.gamefaqs.com

---------------------
|Contact Information|
---------------------

If you have some information relevant to this guide, including alternate 
strategies, boos times, or other what not, you may contact me either on the
GameFAQs Aria of Sorrow message board, or drop an E-Mail at:

LiteYear_99@hotmail.com

Note: I will not answer questions that have already been answered in this
guide.  That includes, but not limited to, questions about what equipment to
use, how to improve your time, etc.

This file is copyright Davin Shirley, 2003
---The End---