NoWorries presents:

the "How to" for speedrunning Shining Force

Game: Shining Force I
System: Sega Genesis
FAQ: Beating Shining Force I in under 7 hours
Written By: NoWorries
Allowed Website:
*If you have a website you would like to post this at just shoot me an email*
**As always, the most up-to-date guide will always be found at gamefaqs**

Version History: 1.0 Submitted 28 of May of 2014
                 1.3 Submitted 02 of June of 2014
    -Updated with the actual link to the online video
    -Improved a number of descriptions regarding paths
    -Completely rewrote a few sections to now include Guntz as a hero
                 1.7 Submitted 15 of July of 2014
    -Updated a few spots
    -Updated some times
	-Updated the Ideal Time as well added a sum of my best chapter times for
        what could be considered as "segmented". So as it stands, my best
        "single segment time" is 6:26 and "segmented" is 6:10
    -Updated with a new best time and a new video link
                 2.0 Submitted 30 of January of 2015
    -Updated some times
    -Rewrote a few sections to adjust for strategy changes
    -Broke an hour on Chapter 6!
    -Broke 70 minutes for Chapter 8!
    -Set a new personal best: 6 hours 4 minutes

        I have an actual video available to accompany the guide. It is
        available on youtube for your viewing pleasure. The link to my
        youtube is
        The link for the playlist is below
        You can also youtube search "Shining Force Speed in 6 hours"
    ~NoWorries, aka tskisoccer


            Table of Contents
        1. Introduction
            Character Overview
        2. The Guidelines
        3. The Walkthrough
            Chapter 1
              Sidenote: Stat Consumables
              Sidenote: Hero Deaths
            Chapter 2
            Chapter 3
            Chapter 4
              Sidenote: Levels
            Chapter 5
            Chapter 6
            Chapter 7
              Sidenote: End Team
            Chapter 8
        4. Discussion
            End Remarks
            Collecting the Sidenotes
            Abuses and Glitches
        5. Conclusion


-Who should be reading this FAQ?- #The NoWorries Contract to Greatness

    I put this in every faq I've ever written, and it goes something along the
lines like this. By writing this, I commit to you the reader that I will bring
to you not only my vastness of knowledge but do it with a sense of humour. I
understand it's easy to get bogged down in detail as well as a mush of opinion
but I strive to bring you something more than just a guide to greatness.
    So who should be reading this? This is a guide on how to beat the game,
Shining Force, in under 7 hours. It's a speed run. It's hard, it's tedious,
it may test you at moments, but rest assured it is a good feeling beating the
game with half a team of level 6 promoted heroes. There is a great level of
expert required skill for this run so if you are a newer player I don't want
to discourage you from trying this but it is going to be hard. For the more
veteran players, I wish you the best of luck.
    There will also be an accompanying video available on youtube on my
channel which will be a complete runthrough of the game. That particular run
is 6:04:23 which is currently my best published run. So on with this!


When it comes to speedrunning, there's always some rules, restrictions, and
guidelines to be set forth. For Shining Force, there's nothing completely
radical or insane to be made aware of. The game itself is extremely simple,
take Max and your team of up to eleven other characters and go forth into the
rather ordinary world of Rune as you battle your way through thirty battles
to vanquish Dark Dragon and accomplish one of the more reasonable RPG's for
speed running. Oddly enough, later Shining Force games are much more difficult
to even consider speed running as the games themselves are much longer as well
as the victory conditions for a number of battles is "kill them all" whereas
in glorious Shining Force I, we will be killing them all only a handful of

Right away you're probably thinking well that's just dumb. The game takes 10
hours at least, your party would be far too weak to actually beat some of the
battles, and just a couple of those first missions: how do you not kill
everything? What about the rng (random number generators)? How do you now
kill yourself over that?

Trust me, this is a question and a topic I've debated a number of times with
my older brother Frolki a number of times. The beauty of the situation is
that because the game operates on rng (but not TRUE randomness) there are
certain patterns and exploits to be worked out. Things like, Domingo's and
Max's tendencies to get focused over their allies is an exploitable factoid;
whereas getting Max to point A in a number of spots, winning the battle
despite there being a batallion of Rune Knights storming down his throat is
a purposeful aspect that they the game programmers put into the game that one
might as well exploit.

So how long does it take? As of right now, the time is highly variable as the
path continues to get improved and continues to change as newer methods are
developed. Dark Kobold would say that it takes just under 2 hours to beat the
game using tas (tool assisted speedrun) and that's using Lua and matlab to
really take advantage of the rng. Some of the people on the sgd (speed
gaming demos) would say the time is right around 7 hours. The ideal time I
have plotted right now is on the lower end of that, about 6 hours, maybe 6
and a half. My personal best right now is the 6:09 mark.

As for some of the most "specific" things regarding speed running, the first
and foremost is that this is "rts" or "real time strategy" or "real time
playing" AKA playing on a console and not an emulator. This is done for a
number of reasons and the biggest is the obvious difference between tas
and real time running. This is where the rng would seemingly get in your way
and make a glorious mess of things but that's where knowledge and skill come
into play and give us the advantage over the enemy. Now, that's not to say
that playing on an Emulator is frowned upon (I use one as my Genesis is, well,
let's just say it has seen better days). The difference is playing on an
Emulator and using something called
                                    Save States
If you play on an Emulator (like I do) don't use these things and you'll be
just fine. Most Emulators allow for saving just like a console would. I use
the Fusion and it required a bit of reading and figuring out how to create
the right folder so that it would save, but after that it was easy. The
Emulator saves, resets, and handles just like a console (mine even records).
Just don't be using Save States to redo misses and stuff. That's called

Ahem, anyways

So what do we have going for us? Luckily, there's not a whole lot of variable
concerning the things that matter most. Misses, level ups, enemy movements,
those are all rng and for the most part, we cannot control those. We can
control however things like, starting stats, people in our party, our hero
movements, in battle saving, as well as things like enemy placement and
victory conditions never change so we know exactly what we are up against
every step of the way.

We also have something else handy, and that's magic. Shining Force I was the
only Shining Force to include this style of magic and I'll explain slightly
better how this works.

In Shining Force (SF), your hero's level is continually remembered by the game
engine. You can promote at 10 all the way up through level 20, and when you
promote your level number resets to 1, but your hero's level stays at where
it was at. The biggest and most obvious way to see how this is exploited is
using Khris as she learns Heal 4 at level 21. If you don't see where this is
going, try leveling her to 20 and then promoting her; she'll learn the spell
with the promotion as she is now "21" even though she was 20 just a moment
ago. The advantage here is that we have access to some extremely powerful
magic in the game that normally is impossible to learn due to the learning
curve of experience caps. Tao learns Blaze 4 at 20, Anri learns Freeze 4 at
23, and Domingo is a pain in my bottom but he learns it at 26 so even among
those 3 heroes you can see how much more effective the ladies are as they
learn their spells much quicker as they never have an experience cap problem.

In SFII and later, they fixed this by giving hero's "true level" which resets
upon promotion to the original amount, 20, so a spell that was learned at 44
for example, could only be learned at level 24 promoted which for speed
running purposes is impossible. In any case, let's get on with this.

    Character Overview
This is a very quick "spoiler" style section so that you can have an idea just
what each character will do for this run. As it is a speed run, every action,
every choice, every character; they must be important otherwise we are losing
out on valuable precious seconds. Things like moving right to the shop as
opposed to left to do other stuff first... it all makes a difference and adds
up. I suppose a quick note; I'm not getting all the characters. Some people
have discussed "100%" for this game including all the characters but let's be
realistic. There is nothing in this game that actually counts (or is countable
towards a goal) that could be considered "100%". For example, Donkey Kong 1,
2, and 3 all give the percent completion due to the sidequests in the game.
Banjo Kazooie has a definitive "100%" if you get all the notes, puzzle pieces,
and break all the doors getting all the cool stuff (Cheato maybe not needed).
In Shining Force, there is none of that. What's 100%? Grab all the chests?
Kill all the monsters? Find all the useless items hidden throughout the game?
It makes no sense. Therefore, the game is technically "any percent" as we
don't grab all the characters though frankly, defining "100%" as getting all
the characters is lame in my opinion. Anyways:

If you are familiar with my character guide available on gamefaqs, that will
help you to understand my stance towards certain heroes.

    The "Required Bunch"
        This is everyone you either use, are forced to use, or serve some
        purpose. It is different than the next section which includes some
        required characters, but they are never placed on our team and we
        will never need their services
    You have to have him. It's alright, he's quite good at the end with Bolt
    2 and Freeze 3. However, through most of the game he is an absolute pain
    in the ass to deal with trying to not have him die
    In a more recent run, I was able to promote Max as early as Chapter 4. If
    this opportunity presents itself; go for it. Having a stronger Max later
    speeds things up as he isn't just a body on the battlefield
    A much better Knight than Mae, his shining moment is his starting spot
    for Battle 9 allowing you to "skip" it one turn faster. Allow him to
    perish in Battle 10 as Pelle is superior
    Though, if (and this is getting ahead of myself) your gladiator is not
    level 10 by Chapter 4 (so if Gort isn't a level 10 Warrior), I'd suggest
    in lieu of using Gort, just keep using Ken until you later have him perish
    as the Power Spear provides much more utility than Gort with the Middle
    Axe. Gladiators are cool but if you can't have one by Chapter 4 it is
    not worth it. Trust me
    She's useless. Her Bronze Lance is good for Ken, and she can tank some,
    but as a fighter she's useless. Use her for Battle 3 and let her taste
    the cold steel of a Rune Knight
    He's amazing. He comes and is fantastically strong and stays that way for
    this run. With no 20/20 Arthur to contend with, Pelle will always
    be used and you'll be very happy
    The wonder-machine. A recent discovery that he is in fact, still a secret
    character, however, he doesn't require much trickery to find him. He's
    standing there in Pao waiting for you! It's like he's begging you to take
    him. I must admit, I didn't plan on using Guntz initially, but I forgot
    about one small feature: land effect
    Guntz isn't affected by terrain. That's really all you need to know. Thus
    he makes Chapter 6 much much easier. That being said he falls off pretty
    hard unless you get some really nice attack level ups so he'll likely
    become a bolter with the Halberd as Kokichi and Pelle run the show
    The winged knight of legends. He's awesome for this run and largely the
    reason why this works
    Luke serves a very important 2 battles. His high base power makes the
    first two battles breezy. However, Gort is a much better choice for this
    run and we in fact don't need him much past battle 2. So once he has
    attacked that Dark Dwarf blocking Max's path, let him die. He'll get over
    it (and get revived by the game once you win)
    This beefy Warrior is the ideal choice for a Gladiator who can wield the
    Atlas with much success. Furthermore, testing has shown that Luke is a
    poor substitute for Gort as his early defense just doesn't get high
    enough quickly enough. So use Gort if you are having a Gladiator
    That being said however: if Gort isn't level 10 by the end of Chapter 4
    then be prepared to sever ties with him as he really needs to be about
    level 3 promoted by the end of Chapter 4 if he has ANY hope of
    accomplishing much of anything in Chapter 6 and beyond
    She's a pretty lady and useful for power runs. Here for a speed run she's
    beyond ideal and works wonderfully. If things go long she only gets better
    with age with Blaze 4 one shotting almost any unit in the game and Boost
    if it goes really long is very helpful.
    One important thing to note: Tao has approximately 19 battles to level 19
    times if you want her to be 20 before Chapter 8. Because of how many
    battles are skipped (6 of them give or take) this means that if Tao is
    12 by Battle 14 (Balbazak) then she will need to level every single
    battle that she fights in (and twice in one of them) as Battle 25 is the
    last battle for Chapter 8 and she only fights in one Battle in Chapter 7
    She's honestly the worst of the mages for this run due to her very low
    levels. That aside though, having another Freeze 3 for the end is very
    helpful and magic damage will almost always be better than physical for
    much of the game outside of bosses
    You really only need her for 2 battles which is fine though she needs to
    be in for others because she needs to level twice. Bolt 2 is just that
    helpful here that it is worth it. In 28, Colossus, Bolt 2 works on the
    Chimaera/Dragon force as well as later against the line of Armed Skeletons
    and Horsemen. For Dark Sol those enemies group up nicely and she roasts
    them well for us. Dark Dragon also HATES Alef so keep that in mind for
    keeping her distance from your other units
    He's really the other reason why this works. Once you have Domingo and
    Kokichi it pretty much becomes the flying duo run while Max flits along
    with them hoping not to die. His ability to get focused is very helpful,
    but the flying mage portion is helpful for setting up kills, snipes, and
    skipping battles
    He's useless and I hope you have him perish in the first battle. We don't
    need healers in this run
    She's rather useless too though you need one of them for the Shade Abbey
    battle and since she joins later than Lowe, I'd say use her. Afterwards
    you can prepare her for the "Great Beyond" and never use her services
    This guy is also largely useless. However, as we can't really have 4 mages
    Max and 7 other strong fighters (not enough experience to go around) the
    reason Torasu works is Aura but mostly, he starts with Shield which is
    invaluable against Dark Dragon and Colossus to some extent. Shielding Max
    and positioning him so allies can't get affected is a great way to abuse
    beating Dark Dragon at such low levels. Note that it is useless against
    Demon Breath so the main head needs to be brute forced
    But I do want to reiterate: Shield is baws
    He's the only required archer for this run and his use lasts two battles.
    Archers barely gain attack and are dependent on arrows they may never get
    to use. We won't be using them much, mostly because Kokichi fills that
    role way better. If he dies in the first battle it's not a big deal
    either as we would prefer Ken to live
    This guy (er... Centaur) was part of my original plan but then rejected
    due to the lack of levels available to him. However, at level 1 promoted
    with the Buster Shot he deals ~48 attack which is extremely respectable.
    His life, defense, and agility are all very low, but having the ranged
    Lyle is much preferred (especially against Mishaela)
    Ah ha he's much better than his wife. Better starting stats and better
    promoted stats, while he won't be in the final fights (no reference
    intended) he is simply invaluable for sniping until Kokichi and
    Domingo come along
    Sadly we won't be using this chick (no pun intended) a whole lot. Balbs
    has better starting stats so let her get axed right away
    He's invaluable again for several battles. However, DON'T EVER promote
    him and be prepared to part ways with "Zappa" once his attack doesn't
    get above 30 or so. Don't even think about promoting him and then trying
    to work with him, 22 attack is simply not going to cut it
    An update on this: DON'T EVER TRY IT. Promoted Zylo gains ~24 experience
    killing things so even boosting him is just a pain in the ass. Just don't
    try to promote him ever
    There are few words worthy to describe Musashi. He brings your best non
    legendary sword weapon to the team, he hits hard, he has amazing defense,
    he simply rocks this shit
    Hanzou is underwhelming to say the least, though he joins and will
    probably be better than almost every person on your team except Musashi.
    His high speed is an ideal Power Ring wielder though if it breaks against
    Dark Dragon he will be very sad
    The "Not so helpful for the Speed Run"
        ^^^Pretty self explanatory no?
    We won't be seeing much of him this run. Shame
    We are forced to recruit him but don't use him. He kinda sucks
    Thankfully we don't ever have to see Gong as he both doesn't get a weapon
    and is a slow healing healer. Skip him
    Yup you don't actually have to recruit Diane. I'd suggest taking advantage
    of that situation as you really don't need her, at all
    Since the last update Vankar and Lyle have switched positions. Ever since
    Guntz was discovered, Vankar has proceeded to fall off quite hard. Now
    I don't even bother with Vankar at all. Probably for the better as Pao
    was upset with him for sleeping on guard duty (true story)
    The baby dragon couldn't hurt a fly. He's slow, and doesn't move far. Bleu
    simply has no place on your team for this run
    He is actually required though his recruitment is very easy and doesn't
    take any extra time. But I still wouldn't use him, ever. Probably not
    even for a power run, he's really not worth it


2. The Guidelines

As with any good challenge, we have to have order and guidelines to measure
fairness and have accuracy for what we are accomplishing. So here's the list:

1. Time starts after naming Max. Not in that screen, but when you actually
   accept the name for him and the game begins. This is done mostly to reduce
   the frustration of speeding through naming, not to mention gives you a
   chance to be creative with the name and not worry about it adding time.

   Time ends with the lethal damage being dealt to Dark Dragon. Not at the
   beginning of your attack, but once the damage is dealt and he has faded
   from sight.
2. For Chapter times, (with the exception of the first chapter starting),
   time starts after you get the option "would you like to save?" That is
   coincidentally the end time of the previous chapter. This is the only
   real moment when taking breaks is acceptable as the chapter has ended but
   the next one doesn't start until you click yes save.
   For Battle times, time starts when the screen goes black and you hear the
   "click click click" of the battle starting. Just like for Dark Dragon, time
   ends when you "finish" the battle. For boss/kill all battles, when you
   have dealt the final blow is your victory. However, for entering town win
   conditions, you're time ends once you say "yes" to Nova to leave enemies
   on the battlefield
3. Just to reiterate, this should be done on console and not emulator. I
   understand many people don't have consoles or would prefer to play on an
   emulator. That's fine, just be prepared to receive grief as it's not what
   is "standard" by the guidelines set forth. Assuming you don't use any save
   states to "abuse" the rng, it could be questionably OK though a number of
   spots use in battle saves (IBS) which for an emulator takes less than a
   second to both use and to save whereas the console can take 5 seconds each
   time rather easily.
Other than that, I don't think there's a whole lot else. There's no known
obvious glitches to abuse, there's no super skipping ahead or anything like
that. Just our wits versus the game! Let's do this!


3. The Walkthrough

    Chapter 1
It makes hardly any difference, but naming Max only a single letter as opposed
to Max (call him Z or A for example) is a tiny bit faster, or as Kobold put
it, saves 29 frames I think is what he said. Not a lot, but certainly "worthy"
of mentioning. Anyways... the game starts up, you talk to Lowe and we're ready
to go. Now, I imagine we can't skip getting the basic core heroes without
tasing so go right to the King (the lady in the central walkway can block you
so be careful). For text, always holding up or down makes it scroll faster and
I found holding B instead of A or C is safer as you can't try then talking to
someone after it ends. Just be mindful of spots where you need to say yes so
you don't cancel out right away! Now head south, get your team to join, return
to the king (not return of the king) and get your 100 gold from the king. I
suggest spending it all on medical herbs, giving 2 to Max and Tao, and giving
3 to Ken and Luke. You could sell both wooden staves here as well but we
shan't be needing more than 10 herbs until we start buying seeds. Now head to
the gate and get this thing started!

Once inside the battle, I turn off battle messages and turn up the message
speed to 4. The only place where this makes a difference is in healing which
we will use some. If you really need the messages on so you know how much you
did, that's fine. It really doesn't make that much of a difference and Dark
Kobold has said something like, "doesn't actually save that much time," or
something like that though it would be interesting for him to replicate his
two hour run with messages on to see if it does add time. Anyways

  Battle 1
    Ideal 3:34:5
    My Best 3:34:5

This is about as ideal as it gets, as such this is the current ideal time
which is also my best time. The strategy is simple, but what has to happen
in this battle is rather complicated so here's a short list:

    -Max must level (+1 attack, +1 defense is a minimum)
    -Tao must level (+3 magic points is a minimum)
    -Lowe must die
    -Hans must die
Those four requirements set up Chapter 1 to be extremely fast for you, so if
it doesn't happen, I'd consider restarting. Tao can get 2 MP, it's not like
"huge" but it's certainly annoying as +3 gives her an extra Blaze for the next
battle. It's more important that Max and Tao both level, and Hans and Lowe
both die. We don't need either of them and they slow us down by about four
minutes or so in this chapter.

Strategy-wise, it's pretty simple. With Ken/Luke positioned on the right side
with Hans or Tao within range, you can take out the Rune Knight in a single
round. The trigger for the movement of the second batallion is that Goblin
who is offset from the others. It looks like

           Space           | Goblin | Wall | This row is the trigger
    Hole | Goblin | Goblin | Space
Once you move up there, they move down. I tend to put Lowe on the "Space"
while moving the others up the side. He takes a few hits but like I said,
getting him killed is super helpful for speeding things up.

Once the Rune Knight dies, the battle ends. Go ahead and give Max the Short
Sword and Luke the Middle Sword.

  Battle 2
    Ideal 8:10
    My Best 8:10
I hope you did those four requirements, as it makes such a difference (this
is really the only spot in the entire game where stats matter, Max getting
+1 attack and Tao getting +3 MP as opposed to +2). With Hans and Lowe dead,
our movement is very easy. Ken can move up one, Tao move 2, Luke move 2, and
Max complete that little trio. Now as you're moving up, don't block Tao or
Luke. It is good to note that if Tao only received +2 MP, then she is the
least important moving up as 3/4 of her Blaze will go towards the three Dark
Dwarves; leaving just 1 spare.

For Goblins, Ken/Max will do ~4, Luke will do a minimum of 8, and Tao does
6-7. As you can see, a Luke+4 kills a Goblin while Tao can roast several
bringing them low. However, Dark Dwarves pose a problem (2-3 from Ken/Max) so
guaranteeing Tao has 6 MP to Blaze all 3 Dark Dwarves helps a bunch (minimizes
attacks on them then with Luke killing them instantly).

To win, have Max one spot to the right of the bridge. Luke attacks the dwarf
and Tao blazes; then Max sneaks in for the win. Hopefully Luke dies here as
he is not needed past this point.

Inside Guardiana, there's a couple things to do. First, go recruit Gort and
then go watch the King die/recruit Mae etc etc. After you regain control go
to the treasury and take the two top chests in either column for a Power and
Defense Potion (use the Defense on Max). Now go to Nova.

THIS IS IMPORTANT. Whenever you have quite a bit of swapping to do (items)
using Nova can save quite a bit of time as he is less clunky than just manual
swapping as he allows for multiple swaps.

Anyways, the way the items swap is quite easy. Give Max back his Middle Sword,
have Luke give two herbs to Gort and the other to Tao, and then have Mae give
her Lance to Ken in exchange for a medical herb. If you do it correctly you
can minimize trades to five actions; which is why we stack Ken and Luke the
way we do. If for some reason you are low on medical herbs you should restart
and figure out what you did wrong.


    #side note#
We get 5 stat increasing items in this game, defense pots, power pots, breads
of life, legs of haste, and the turbo pepper. This is the rule of thumb:
  Defense pots --> Max
Max needs to be hit a number of times so making sure he can get hit 3 times as
opposed to 2 is helpful through these. By level 3 Max should gain +3 defense
but he can easily have 1 or 0 so use these liberally as these are the most
useless in the run. Any leftover use on Domingo (Max should stop getting hit
after chapter 2 so you can save them from then on, though it is important to
ensure that Max does not die in 2 hits from a Gargoyle. As their attack is 26,
making sure Max has a ratio to require 3 hits is very important)
  Power pots --> Balbaroy
These things serve really one purpose, letting Balbaroy snipe. The first 2 you
get in the game are going to Balbs for +4 to his attack, this alone cuts down
90% of the trouble later in the game. Later on, he'll get promoted once you
get the handy dandy Broad Sword as that basically gives him +4 more attack.
The other Power Potion we get in Chapter 6 can be skipped although I picked it
up for Lyle this last run
  Breads of life --> Domingo
His best use outside of having magic is drawing aggro, so give him the bread
to help him out. You can consider saving a couple though to make sure people
have at least 22 life in chapter 7 and 8 to survive the beam attack from the
robots. But I'd mostly just use them on Domingo =)
  Legs of haste --> Balbaroy
You only get a single chicken leg and even +2 agility can be meaningless. As
it stands however, using it on the promoted Balbaroy is what we want as we
need him faster than Kokichi
  Turbo Pepper --> Musashi
I'd prefer the Mobility Ring to have another, but as it is, the most important
person to increase is Musashi as he can't fly like Kokichi can. Without the
Turbo Pepper, Musashi is much slower, so give it to him
    #ring side note#
While we're at it, let's address the rings
  Power Ring --> Generally not to be put on your best person; it needs to be
on a fast person capable of boosting your team. Often Balbaroy will hold it
for sniping bosses
  Speed Ring --> Generally it's going to be on Anri (though before she is 6
be careful otherwise she'll go before Tao and that's not good). There are a
couple spots though where this will go on your sniping hero to be used for a
neat little glitch, the Speed glitch. Basically it works this way. By moving
someone, then equipping this at the end of their turn, they will get their
turn much sooner the next round as their agility is boosted (as close as we
can get to tas manipulation). This only works at low levels (like not post 6
or 7 so much) and only in a handful of spots, but it can be helpful (most
noteably for Balbaroy in chapter 5)
  Mobility Ring --> This thing gets handed around a lot to whomever needs it.
Generally it'll be on Guntz, though it'll be everywhere
    #End side note#

  Battle 3
    Ideal 8:32
    My Best 8:32
This is a tricky battle but surprisingly short when you sneak Max in like a
fairy. With Mae, move her to the spot that is up one, left one from the bridge
(basically not the point where the rivers connect, but one lower). This will
choke the bats off and she's rather expendable so it works well. Everyone else
needs to kill the Dwarves as best they can while Tao can blaze each bat
individually leaving them for someone to hit them. If you don't miss them at
all, you're set up for a sub 9 minute.

Now moving up, we need to do two things, herb anyone who is wounded (only herb
Mae if everyone else is healed), and be mindful of the trigger. Notice that
strange strip of land above the other spot where the rivers connect? Not the
connection closer to the Rune Knights, but the other one. That line is the
trigger for the remaining enemies to charge. The gameplan (while healing) is
to position ourselves on that line. It should look something like

    Mae | Ken | Tao | Gort | Max | River
              | Rvr | Rver | Rvr | River

There will be some space between you and the Rune Knights. Now we want to
avoid deaths here, and the movements need to go something like this. If you
can, time your moves with the enemy taking their turn (a good clue of this
is when the Bats get their turn as they are very fast and tend to lead each
round). From where Max is currently, he needs two turns to make it into
Alterone so you need to move people up. Your best bet is to try and "wall" so
that no Rune Knight can block Max entirely into Alterone. It basically looks
something like

                                  RKnt | Alterone
                                  RKnt | Alterone
                              1 |  2   |
                              3 |  4   |
                              5 |  6   | River
                              7 | Rver | River
                              8 | Rver | River
That is your basic target region to get there. Max in any of those spots can
make it to Alterone, but obviously you need him to not die/get surrounded.
Ideally, you can get Max to spot 2 or 4, Gort to 1, 2, or 4, and Ken to 1 or
3. Tao can't move well but she can usually get to 5, 6, or 7, while Mae can
move up almost anywhere and stand in a blocking position. It's tricky, but
not hard.

Anyway, now that we're inside things are very cool. Go ahead and strip Max of
all his stuff (give his sword to Gort) and begin looting Alterone. In the
shop where you talk to the fine gentlemen letting you into the castle, just
grab the left most chest (healing seed). Head up and get pushed by the lady
for the chest and now head into the castle. Inside, the only chests we want
are the Bread of Life, Middle Sword, Defense Potion, and Healing Seed. The
first three are all in that backroom area (on the left side). The chest on the
right contains a medical herb if you are desperate as well as the chest near
the Dragon's Head has Healing Seed (which we will likely grab on our way out).
We don't want to visit a shop yet (and usually you don't need either anyway)
but it's good to note.

  Battle 4
    Ideal 11:36:5
    My Best 11:36:5
You don't need Hans, Mae, or Lowe for this (or Luke!) By going clockwise
(which is up as opposed to right) the enemies group up much better into 4
groups basically, the bats and rune knights (2 and 2), the reinforcements (2
more bats), the never moving bridge knights (2 of them), and the final
frontier which is the 4 dwarves and archers and mage so you can see the
importance of Tao having at least 17 magic so she can get off 3 blaze 2's and
a blaze 1. Mine only had 16 so I opted for 3 blaze 1's but in either case, the
battle is much easier this way due to enemy groupings and if you can happen
to not get misses on bats (combined with at least 1 blaze 2) sub 12 is very
much possible. Just know that the end group (the Dark mage, 2 Elves, and the
Dark Dwarves) don't ever move once they're in position.

Once you end the battle (first kill them all we've had darn it!) sprint to the
king then use the dragon head and bail out on this chapter!

Ideal 45:00
My Best 45:46:8

    For this best run, my second battle was slow about 40 seconds and
    I bought a Short Axe for Luke though he was dead >.> but sometimes
    you forget things like that

To think that my first runs at this game I was over an hour and now I'm
under the sub 50 minute mark... It's amazing and shows (1) how the rng
can really mess with you and (2) how the strategies continue to improve and
get better and even less rng dependent. In fact, I am trying very hard NOT to
have any rng dependent things happen because it's hard to replicate. If you do
get rng lucky (like double crits on Marionette or something) that's awesome
but don't count on it, ever. Vice versa, it's why we're not relying on levels
or stat growth because those are so rng dependent. Anyone familiar with my
character guide should be familiar with that, and in particular, if you look
at Musashi you can see his 11-13 levels have had some nice bumps; though not
one time so far have I managed to get him to gain an attack. He may get more
tankier, but at that point it's pointless due to all the defense piercing.

It's a seemingly short chapter, though actually one of the longer ones in the
run. Things that can screw you up: unlucky misses, unlucky enemy crits, and
unlucky movement. If all goes off well, you may break 50 minutes which would
be awesome. The question you're probably asking is what about hero deaths, so
let's side note for a moment.


    #side note, Hero Deaths#
If Max dies, if it's chapter 1 just restart the run. Later on, just hope he
dies quickly as opposed to being almost done with the battle.

If Tao, Anri, Domingo, Gort, Pelle, Guntz, Musashi, Hanzou, Torasu, Alef, or
Kokichi die, you probably want to revive them after the battle.

If Lowe dies, never revive him

If Mae dies, never revive her

If Hans dies, never revive him

If Ken dies before the end of Chapter 2, we need to revive him. We simply can
not use Mae as a substitute due to her positioning in Chapter 3 battle 9 as
she starts one space to the left of where Ken does and Ken starts just perfect
for moving to block for Balbaroy. After that, if he dies don't revive him.

If Luke dies after Battle 2, he's served his purpose.

If Khris dies before Shade Abbey, you'll need to revive her or Lowe for Shade
Abbey, and then have them die again soon

That's it for now, we'll cover more later

    #End side note#


    Chapter 2
In Rindo, all you've got to do is grab the Speed Ring (second row, third
house), talk to the Mayor and move out (leave the Speed Ring on Max)

  Battle 5
    Ideal 10:37:332
    My Best 10:37:332
This is one of my most exciting improvements. First things first, if you still
haven't gotten rid of Lowe, Hans, or Mae now is the time. The next thing is
make sure Max has the Speed Ring not equipped. Take out the dwarves and bats
(if you move to max movement each time, Ken or Max should be able to kill one
of the dwarves that Tao blazes) allowing you to put people through to avoid
getting choked. Try to get off as many blaze 2's here to clear things out, and
with any luck by about 6-7 minutes you're heading towards Manarina. Send
everyone left and careful to not block Max or Tao. By all going left, the
troops never organize leaving themselves spread out which is quite nice as Max
is less likely to die though you have to be careful as they tend to not aggro
unless they can move within range and attack.

As Max can only move 3 spaces through the desert, he needs 3 turns, going 1,
3, and then 3 into Manarina so good positioning is key, and basically on the
turn before moving into Manarina equip the Speed Ring. This is an interesting
little glitch that when dealing with similar agilities, will give the newly
raised agility priority thus you can "cheat" and people will get their turns
sooner with equipping the speed ring. Fighting up here is not nearly as
important anymore because of this, it's just much more about positioning

Inside Manarina, we have only 2 things to do so talk to Anri, then follow her
but grab the Domingo Egg first, and then talk to her recruiting her. Give her
the Speed Ring but don't equip that on her yet. I would also give Khris Anri's
Power Staff, because holy hell it whacks hard. Go ahead and dive into the

  Battle 6
    Ideal 8:39
    My Best 8:39
It was a sub 10 goal of mine, and I demolished it. So let's talk for a moment
about what happened here:

    A slightly longer (49:46 Chapter 1) resulted in my core being 5-5-5
    (Max, Tao, and Gort). As such, Tao had 22 magic points for this fight
    That definitely helped. The other huge thing was giving Khris the Power
    Staff that Anri brings as it lets Khris hit for ~9 to bats
Anyway, the strategy stays largely the same. Have Tao zap the zombie on the
right; and on Anri's turn equip the Speed Ring and kill it (you need at least
one 8 damage roll, it can happen). Max, Ken, and Gort (or hell even Khris) can
whack the other zombie to death (but don't move anyone in unless Tao rolled
well and did 8 to the zombie).

After your first turn, you need to pay attention to the Dark Mage on the
bridge. If he hasn't gotten his turn yet, you have to delay a round but no
big deal. Regardless, Anri is going to zap the bridge zombie and the goal is
to Blaze 2 the entire bridge. Obviously this only works if the Dark Mage has
already moved otherwise Anri dies, or Tao dies to a Sniper. To work around
this, you can use a Bread of Life on Anri. She tends to have 8-10 base hit
points and even just a +1 raises that to where you would need to get very bad
rng for her to die (the whole point being then to not have to waste an extra
turn setting up)

For the Bats, the bridge is their trigger so try to time movement across with
AFTER their turn that way you don't get choked in movement. At some point, I
like to give Gort back the Speed Ring so he can double turn against the Dark
Mage trio to kill em (this is where Tao having at least 17 MP comes in handy).

Send Ken to get the Power Ring, and you'll probably need to boost someone. It
is just too hard to save magic with all those bats and honestly, Max can stand
pretty far back from the Skeleton (about 5 squares) to let Ken boost him from
farther out. Done, move along

Time to go advance some story and head back to Rindo

  Battle 7
    Ideal 5:37
    My Best 5:37
This is a rather straight forward battle in all reality. Before that battle
starts, this is important:

    Ken have the Power Ring
    Gort have the Speed Ring EQUIPPED (not worried about glitching here)
Everyone is going to go left and throttle your way to Marionette. Your first
turn should look like a Blaze 2, several attacks and take out the dolls on
the left. Your next round is tricky, but simple to do. The Evil Doll can kill
Anri and hurt most people, so I would use Gort to bait (put him basically as
far up the left as he can). Ken on his turn needs to BS, battle save. As soon
as the screen goes dark you can reset the game and start again. The reason
with this is we need a minimum of two boosts to beat Marionette so by using a
BS we can guarantee that because if the Ring breaks you hit reset and try
again. We will be doing this a lot so get used to it.

Anyway, Gort needs to get boosted, but not before he has taken damage (refer
to "Boost Glitch" if you are unsure why). I would also boost your next best
attacker, and this is just happens to be Max most games. It's OK. If you miss
Marionette regardless you have to restart as you have half a team so don't be
afraid to use Max here. Just don't attack Marionette until after she has taken
a turn.

By stomping up the left, the bats will barely affect us, and Tao/Anri can
take out some of the enemies who do get close. Whole battle takes 4 rounds
and less than 6 minutes including the BS. If you get unlucky here that's why
the BS can be helpful as well.

After that, just grab the most top right chest for the defense pot then head
out. Chat to the mayor do the whole burning thing and head out. Before
starting Shade Abbey, equip the Speed Ring on Max, make sure the Power Ring
ain't broke (and it's equipped on Ken), and make sure Max has some
combination of life/defense enough to survive 2 attacks (18/21 damage from
zombies/skeletons). Use that defense pot on Max most likely. Also make sure
that Max has 2 healing seeds and Ken 2 as well (you may need to give away his
Spear; no big deal). If you have to buy seeds now is a good time to buy two
Antidotes. Sometimes we can get poisoned and they are way faster than using
the Priest. Some food for thought as my last run there were no poisonings.

  Battle 8
    Ideal 5:46
    My Best 5:46
Boy this battle can be tricky. The general idea is for Gort, Ken, and Max in
that order to choke enemies (positioning between the pews as opposed to one
space below the pews is better, it draws the skeletons over faster). Tao blaze
2 liberally, Khris fight the zombie on the right, and Anri do what she can.
Once the Zombie is dead, then Khris should heal whoever needs her love. On
their first turn, have Tao/Anri roast the zombie on the left while you get set
up. Ken should boost Gort on his first turn so Gort can smack Skeletons in one
attack. If it doesn't break, boost Max too. If still not broken, he can boost
himself as well at this point. Either way, the battle is short and fast and
optimal depends on how much usage you get out of your power ring as well as
the misses that happen. The Ghoul in particular is extremely annoying and
hard to hit so saving at least 4 casts of magic from Anri/Tao can save you
from spending round after round missing the darn thing.

Get your birds and move along

Ideal 40:30, 1:25:30
My Best 44:24, 1:32:06

    A collection of my best times would put me much closer, only about two
    minutes off the ideal time. However, the individual best battle times
    may not reflect the overall best chapter time

Things are going to get exciting now! Meet your most helpful recruit for the
next 3 chapters, Balbaroy. Amon, not so useful. This chapter was definitely
one approaching the hour mark when things first started but due to some huge
improvements (over 6 minutes on the desert, 4 minutes on Marionette) things
have improved drastically. One thing that has made a noticeable difference,
no important deaths. I know I've played this a few times, but let me stress
just how tedious it is to go to priests for revival. My non battle time for
chapter 2 this past run was less than 8 minutes; that's from the very end of
chapter 1, all the walking around, and all the way to the very end of chapter
2, only 8 minutes! To go to the priest is first a detour, but to revive can
take close to 30 seconds a hero and later in the game it can get extremely
time consuming skipping the 6 dead heroes we need to stay dead. I cannot
stress enough smart movements, trying to avoid the death of important heroes.


    Chapter 3
We finally get some new weapons; but not right now. The plan right now as soon
as we can: give Balbs the Power/Speed Ring, use both Power Pots on Balbs, and
head to battle 9. If the Power Ring is broken; go repair it obviously. If it
is broken, buy 3 Power Spears here as well. If the ring isn't broken, pick up
the Spears afterwards along with any Healing Seeds if you are running low.

  Battle 9
    Ideal 1:33
    My Best 1:33
All you do: Balbs moves one spot right of the stairs, Amon below him, and Ken
below her. With Balbs boosted, he kills the mage on his second turn and thus
you end the battle very quickly, potentially closer to a minute depending on
when Balbs feels like getting his turn. If Balbs doesn't slay in a single turn
then about 3 minutes is your next best "ideal."

It would be nice to turn around and leave but we need that moonstone. Have
Max grab it (Tao's dress is her searching down in the bottom left corner if
you want) and head out. Get the Lunar Dew and go recruit Zylo (just stand in
front of him and use it, don't talk to him). Now we need him and we need to
start planning a bit here so head to Nova. Also don't forget to 'recruit'
Kokichi by watching him fly his cruiser. Oh, you also have to bring Zylo into
your party. Don't forget that

  Battle 10
    Ideal 12:57
    My Best 12:57

The strategy stays largely the same though the tactics are different. At the
beginning of the level boost Zylo, if it breaks, head back and repair it. Now
don't let him take damage and he can kill up to 4 units, though 2 skeletons
and a pegasus knight work well. Basically move Max up everytime, and use
everyone else to fend off the troops. But kill everything, it's faster than
walking into the bridge. Try to have Ken, Amon, and Khris perish here
because their services are no longer needed.

Strangely enough for Zylo, IBS is faster than going and repairing so I would
just opt to do that for this battle instead

  Battle 11
    Ideal 4:36:8
    My Best 4:36:8

Not much to say, fly Balbaroy over and kill the Silver Knight before the
Laser Eye attacks. Boost him about a turn before getting there and I'd suggest
Speed Ring glitching on his second turn (equipping it at the end of his second
turn) as this bypasses the Pegasus Knight movement and keeps his speed higher
for the battle.

If you have Amon alive still, you can get Anri's dress (search up from where
the left most Elf is standing on the bridge) which will get her killed for you
as well. Adds about a minute but a single minute isn't that big of deal when
we're talking appeal =)

Ideal 26:00, 1:51:30
My Best 27:27:4, 2:00:11:6

If you get a sub 2 minute for 9 and a sub 5 minute for 11 you are set up to
go out quicker than 30 minutes for this chapter which would be outstanding.
As it is, sub 35 is really what you're aiming for and that comes from cutting
out (or what I call from here on out, skipping) battles 9 and 11 and just
doing the best you can in 10. As it is, this chapter is quite short and only
takes longer if Balbs feels like missing key units which sadly not much you
can do about it =(


    Chapter 4
Holy crap, quite a bit to do now. First, go right to Elliot and talk to him.
Now return to the first wagon and grab the chest and talk to the shopkeep
to buy 2 long swords and any power spears you skipped earlier. Go talk to
the "queen" (grab those treasures too) and let Pao leave. Kokichi will join
up without you moving. Now head up to Nova for some serious swappage. Our team
is going to be Max, Pelle, Gort, Tao, Anri, Balbaroy, Kokichi, and Zylo with
four dead people. Though Ken if he's strong enough could be used for a stint.
It's weird isn't it? We almost have our final team, it's kind of scary.

  Battle 12
    Ideal 15:00
    My Best 15:39
An update from the previous run. It is "faster" to do a sneak and just try to
get the heat axe and avoid killing everything. However, it is barely faster,
maybe a minute or two, and you miss out on tons of experience. The best bet
is to plunge forth into the wild and massacre everything for experience. Once
you get near Elliot boost people who are not close to leveling (and ranged
helps) and beat him down. If you have to (and it's not that big of a deal) you
can surround him with people like Pelle, Zylo, and Gort/Ken. They can
survive a blow from him and by doing this you can get more people attacking
dear old Elliot which does bring him down faster (as opposed to 3 people).

Afterwards, it's pretty simple. Promote Gort, or boot him if he's not 10 yet.
Repair the Power Ring if need be, and go grab both Domingo and Guntz. Yes
Guntz. Worried about missing him? You shouldn't be. He's waiting for you
because he loves you. Our team should look like:
    Gort (if promoted)
    Dead Amon and Dead Khris

    # Side note, Gladiators #
Gladiators are awesome. The Atlas is a beast of burden and the Heat Axe turns
your gladiators into a slaying machine, not to mention access to another
blaze 2 and later, two atlases for blaze 3. It's awesome and they tend to get
a good solid amount of defence early on as well allowing for slightly better
tanking especially after your paladins are promoted and die if you sneeze on
them. It is a sad sight but sometimes we just have to make those choices.

    # End side note #

  Battle 13
    Ideal 8:00
    My Best 8:04
These things give great experience! Too bad we're not fighting most of the
enemies... The basic plan is to always move to the max, and kill the top
door guard before the right one to end the battle (Hellhound, then Artillery).
You can always attack, but just make sure you're moving well. Pelle and Zylo
should march north (always moving to the max) so they take out the Hellhound
(the two things next to it never move). Balbaroy should try to keep up but
his target is the Artillery (29+ magic number so boost is fine here).
You'll likely only kill the 7 most closest units towards you, but that's fine.
Try to avoid getting blocked on the stairs/ladders by the silver knight/priest
combo because dear god that's annoying

Head through the door now, go recruit Ernst (doing it this way, we skip his
long animation), make sure people are alive, the ring is solid, and then head
to Balbazak.

  Battle 14
    Ideal 8:26
    My Best 8:26
This battle is just a bloodbath, very little room to work with means it can
be HELL in here. As it is, we have some considerations. Max, Tao, Anri, and
Kokichi to some extent are what we would describe as "squishy" meaning don't
let them get hit. Guntz, Pelle, Zylo, and Domingo if he's gained some
defense are what we would describe as "tanks" (throw Gort in there too if he
leveled well as his Gladiator). If you don't know where this is going, set
Zylo on the right side to soak up bats (either next to the Artillery or even
within attack range of them works well). Domingo should move up and Freeze
the Silver Knight. This chokes off many of the other enemies letting you
position yourself. Use lots of aoe spells and blow through the enemies. With
a little luck it won't take all that long. As with Elliot (and every boss from
here on out) make sure to use BS to boost multiple people. One special regard
for this battle is how much AoE you can get off. These units don't have that
much life and even Blaze 2 (x2) can nearly wipe them. In the case you have
Tao up with Blaze 3 it becomes even more apparent and can shave minutes off
your time by blasting through the enemy.

Ideal 41:15, 2:32:45
My Best 44:07, 2:44:52:5

You can see that I have a bit of improving to do myself, though to be honest,
this chapter signifies the start of "boss rng" becoming an issue as most of
these fights become directly correlated with their length depending on how
many boost misses you have to endure. Anyway, I feel it's time for another
important side note


    #Levels Side Note#
You're probably wondering how the hell is this possible and what level my team
is. Well, they're low. But it's not a huge deal. Because of how SFI works with
levels, each level from one to another matters so little, that short of
getting 4 or 5 levels, you have no guarantee that your hero is going to be
like noticeably better than before (hence, the trend of always taking the new
people and replacing old ones). But, there are some important levels to keep
track of, if you remember, magic is one, so let's dive into this.

Max, should be 9 by chapter 6, 10 by chapter 7 (no more than 10) (unpromoted
    of course) he becomes a caster with the sword of light. On the other hand,
    having a promoted Max by chapter 5 means that he will be significantly
    stronger which as we all know, is great
Gort should be 10 by the end of chapter 3 (or at least very close) or
    boot him from your party
Pelle should be at least 10 by chapter 6, though you can promote him once
    he hits 10. He'll likely be vastly over-leveled but this is OK
Guntz should be promoted by the end of Chapter 5 (for that battle)
Kokichi should be at least 10 by chapter 6
Tao should be 4 by battle 3 (during it is fine), 12 by battle 14, and 20 by
    chapter 8
Anri should be 6 by Shade Abbey (hopefully), 13 by battle 14 (highly unlikely)
    and 16/23 by chapter 8
Domingo needs 4 asap, and 13 asap

The latter 3, are the only ones that matter. As for everyone else
Lowe never levels
Ken will probably by about 9 when you replace him
Luke will be about 3
Khris may be 4, though 2 is always possible
Hans shant level
Lyle basically needs to be promoted by Chapter 8 though not before Chapter 7
Amon may level but it doesn't matter
Balbaroy will get to about 4 promoted once he gets ditched
Zylo typically gets to about 16, though his usage is largely dependent on
    getting attack, at least 35 by chapter 6 if he wants to continue to be
    used otherwise he's scrapped
Alef should level at least twice (to get Bolt 2) but even if she hits 20 don't
    promote her (unless somehow she is 20 by battle 28) but in that case you
    have other problems
Torasu may level twice, he may also just sit there
Musashi can go up to 5 levels, but he could also only level twice
Hanzou probably won't level but once, maybe twice

Gong, Arthur, Diane, Ernst, Bleu, Vankar, and Adam are either skipped or
never used so naturally they won't level.

Basically, don't stress too much about levels. Like really they don't matter

    #End Side Note#



    Chapter 5
  Battle 15
    Ideal 7:17:5
    My Best 7:17:5

It's a straight forward battle and with a larger team, no trouble whatsoever.
Zylo needs to aggro those P Knights, do this by moving him far south both
turns. Domingo needs to aggro the top right flyers, do this by sending him
pretty much straight to the right. This part is essential as not aggroing
all of the enemies as quickly as possible adds at least 2 minutes to your

From there, Pelle and Guntz all can handle the left side with some
assistance. There's not much strategy, just try not to ever have someone not
attack if they are capable of attacking. Also regarding levels, it's important
for Guntz, Kokichi, and Max to all be 10 here (Max is the least important but
it still really helps) because we want to promote them all soon. Balbs won't
get promoted until after 16 regardless of his level and Pelle likely will be
promoted here as well. I bring this up as leaving enemies for ensure these
levels can safe a truckload of trouble down the road.

Now that we're here, grab all 4 of those chests (skip the most right one) and
when you're done, get in your boat and head to the next battle. Make sure
Balbs has the Power, Speed, and Mobility Ring and head out (yes there's just
that little to do, like you don't even have to talk to the King).

  Battle 16
    Ideal 3:46
    My Best 3:46

We're using all the abuses here! Well not quite. We need only to kill the Mage
and it takes Balbs 3 turns to get there and believe it or not he won't get
attacked, especially if you fly Domingo out just a little to draw aggro
(everyone else should be cramming into the stairwell to avoid fighting). Have
Balbs with the Mobility Ring fly up, up and up boosting on his second turn to
kill the mage on his third turn. Don't believe me? The middle group of enemies
will move to Domingo and head down avoiding Balbs. The worms move up to the
mage with the skeleton, and the hellhounds move down. You have nothing to fear
except Balbs getting his turn before the worms have a chance to move at all.
The only reason I say to give Balbs the speed ring IF you are feeling lucky
you can use the speed ring glitch on the same turn you boost Balbs to maybe
get his turn sooner (hence, breaking 4 minutes). I say if you're lucky though
as the speed ring gives him 14 agility (assuming no levels) so it's possible
that the left worm (the one we need to move) won't get his turn until after
Balbs. It's not a huge deal, but it's safer to have Balbs just not get his
turn right away as opposed to waiting an entire extra round. As for fighting
the things that make it to your stationary force, if Balbs is less than a turn
away, then just sit (unless you can kill, unless you're a mage). If Balbs has
only had 1 turn, go ahead and kill whatever it is (seabat most likely). The
path for Balbs, for me, was move to the max on the left side (he was one space
over from the main path, and in that corner) then moved 9 spaces up, and then
moved in and equipped the power ring to deliver the fatal blow

Afterwards, avoid talking to people best you can and go to the king. Maybe
repair if need be, otherwise, head on out. I have (on a more recent run) had
Kokichi and Balbaroy both 10 at this point so I elected to promote them before
leaving Waral so they could get some more experience. Balbaroy, switching to
a Steel Sword stays about the same with attack and Kokichi similarly with the
Lance swap stays about the same. This doesn't always happen and doesn't
always have to happen. The reason why promoting them at 10 and not later than
10 is their "kept" stats post 10 are really bad until 16+. For full details,
you can check out my character guide available at Gamefaqs. Similarly though,
if you can promote, Pelle, Guntz, Balbaroy, or Kokichi, always do so when you
can as the promoted growth helps a bunch. Balbaroy just don't promote him
until AFTER Battle 16. You need his stats not to be punished.

  Battle 17
    Ideal 10:00
    My Best 10:12:7
This battle is easy yet tricky. We may have several promoted heroes; we may
have none. Regardless, the plan is accomplished in two stages.

Stage One: Moving past the two wooden panelings triggers movements of the
           conch. By waiting until your second (or even third round) to do
           so results in far less enemy movement (and less enemy turns) so
           taking out the enemy (mostly the sea bats and the two other Conch
           not the ones at the head of the ship) before setting up
Stage Two: Getting Domingo, Pelle, and Guntz on the left side of the pillar
           to throttle the enemy while Tao and Anri blast everything down with
           AoE. Pretty simple. Also, for anyone who was just promoted, try to
           get them to level at least once here as it's extremely helpful for
           the upcoming battles though once again, Max isn't all that
           important to stress over

Ideal 27:15, 3:00:00
My Best 28:18:676, 3:13:11:6

This time has continued to shrink and shrink which really pleases me. One
noticeable thing is that clean well executed battles results in lower times.
For instance, my best run thus far has had some pretty good luck and whatnot,
but not almost 11 minutes worth of better luck which is how much time was
sliced off. The reason for such improvement is fairly obvious: cleaner and
more well executed battles. Chapter 5 is exceptionally special due to how
much time can be added due to clunky battle orders on the ship. Not properly
moving to aggro enemies alone can add almost 5 minutes which when the chapter
is less than 30 minutes to begin with... that's a huge amount of time added.

Ideally sub 3 hours here would be simply incredible. As I've narrowed that
margin now by another 11 minutes; anything is possible =)


    Chapter 6
This chapter can make or break you. To start things off, promote anyone who
needs it (Pelle, Guntz, Kokichi, Balbaroy) (not promoting mages until 20,
don't promote Max until chapter 7). Repair anything we need, buy 2 Chrome
Lances (give them to Pelle and Kokichi), and get ready to move out.

  Battle 18
    Ideal 4:55:7
    My Best 4:55:7
Yeah looks ideal right?? It's pretty simple, with the Mobility Ring on Domingo
and the Power and Speed Ring on Kokichi roll out, using your other troops to
take out the artillery. We have to be careful not to trigger the extra troops
now so don't move anyone else forward except Kokichi who is in the mountains
and Domingo who hugs the mountains. Freeze 2 + Boosted Kokichi takes out the
Durahan and wins the battle. Of course use the speed ring glitch to try and
get Kokichi to get his turn sooner as that's about the only thing to slow you
down, of course unless he misses.

Inside Dragonia there's not much to do. If the ring broke repair it, and if
you promoted Balbs the Broadsword is in the top right house. Other than that
head into the main house to grab the halberd and shower of cure and start
things up. Equipment-wise, give Guntz the Halberd, but I'd leave everything
else (Gort can take back the Speed Ring, or Pelle if Gort's not there) Make
sure Guntz gets the Mobility Ring back. Also if Boken is being a dick (his
positioning is random but if he's blocking your path to the Broad Sword just
skip it for now and try again later) although you could just skip that sword
entirely though it does help Balbs quite a bit.

  Battle 19
    Ideal 9:29
    My Best 9:29

This battle isn't hard, but it is annoying. For one thing, don't move to fight
Kane until you are very ready otherwise the Dullahans move and well they kill
things. Very quickly.

The basic strategy is move forth and destroy. Now if Max isn't 10, he needs to
get there. Use your weakest/not death worry person (usually Zylo, though Balbs
works) to help Max fight the Gargoyles to level. If he is 10 (still don't
promote Max until Chapter 7) then have him hide by the stairs with a guardian
(maybe Zylo) while everyone else trucks forward.

Everyone else moves forward to Kane. The Golems/Mages are blown apart by magic
quite easily. You can move in people to fight just be very careful as Freeze 2
hurts and Golems can hurt the underleveled. Moving to Kane, I highly suggest a
BS here to get off multiple boosts. While boosting, take out the lower
Dullahan and Mage to remove them from the posse. Once they're down, you can
move in though before focusing Kane I highly suggest killing the other two of
his posse as both can insta-kill your party (though always have the boosts
fight Kane). Kane doesn't regenerate health so assuming no bad misses you can
end this and move on without too much trouble.

From here you gotta head back to Rudo after doing the Kane thing; talk to both
sisters and then head out (making sure everything is repaired again)

  Battle 20
    Ideal 17:07
    My Best 17:07
This battle sucks but we can make is easy on ourselves.

    1. Give Guntz the Halberd/Mobility Ring
    2. Have Gort (this may not happen)
    3. Keep everyone together (Tao, Anri, and Pelle may be useless)
It's far safer, not exposing the flyers to danger, and letting Domingo
really soak up damage. Guntz steamrolls here and I'm sure dropping time here
won't be hard at all as it continues to melt. The only real strategy is:

    -Avoid letting Horsemen attack (they hurt)
    -Have your "2 spacers" just move down as opposed to around the mountain
     (Anri, Tao, Pelle, etc) because it reduces the time it takes for the
     curser to move to them if they just chill)

  Battle 21
    Ideal 12:45
    My Best 14:56
This battle is by far one of the most interesting in the whole run simply due
to how variable it is but each time I cut some time and now breaking the 13
minute barrier doesn't seem nearly so far away. If Zylo is still alive here,
then use him to grab the upper two right chests (White Ring and Healing
Shower) otherwise Max will grab those. If Zylo is alive, Max can grab the
Power Potion (bottom right) otherwise just skip it. Balbs will grab the two
left chests (Evil Ring and Healing Seed) and perhaps the Black Ring (left of
Mishaela) depending on the time. You can grab the Sword of Light during battle
(in fact, I suggest you do try to because if someone ends the battle in front
of it then you have to re-enter which is a good 30 seconds added).

Anyway, the nearby Gargoyles die quickly and easily; the Horsemen are an
absolute pain so just be careful with them. The Mages aren't a problem as long
as you move and attack smartly. The Belial are annoying as per usual but
really they go down easily.

Against Mishaela, you want either Pelle or Guntz to be smacking her in the
face and Lyle to be shooting her from afar. If they can string together two
hits in one round, then the next round you can kill her reasonably even if
Dullahan are still alive. Granted, leaving Dullahan alive is pretty much only
if Domingo can tank Bolt 2 and two Dullahan attacks. Either way, it's kinda
a mish-mosh-posh of an ending but as long as you can get two boosted attacks
against Mishaela the battle ends fairly quickly afterwards hence why having
Lyle is beyond important.

Ideal 55:00 , 3:55:00
My Best 58:05, 4:11:16:1

And I've finally beaten an hour. It's very exciting. Granted the ideal overall
could be lower but until I can get closer to 4 hours I'm not overly concerned
with exact precise ideal measurements. They're more like "guidelines" for how
well things could go; especially since they can get crushed by several minutes
depending on how well things go or if I develop newer better strategies for
taking a certain battle. Regardless! It's very exciting.


    Chapter 7
This chapter is short and easy but not without tricky dicky moments, mostly
the Tower Battle but for all the wrong reasons. Anyway, revive anyone you
need, repair any broken weapons, buy Gort a new Axe, and head down and do
the whole jail thing. At this point, go recruit Musashi, and then go to Nova
and swap out everyone who isn't Max, Balbaroy, Domingo, or Kokichi, we only
need those 4 for the next 2 battles (oh, you don't need to revive right away
as long as none of those 4 are dead, just less swapping). Go ahead and give
Balbaroy Musashi's Katana, Max the Mobility Ring (I hope he's 10 and able to
promote...), and Kokichi the Power and Evil Ring (Speed Ring to Balbaroy).
You're set up now for the next 2 battles. Don't equip the evil ring yet though

  Battle 22
    Ideal 7:24
    My Best 7:24
The only thing I can do to improve this battle is for Max to have much higher
agility to get his turn faster on he last round. As it is, use the evil ring
liberally when in doubt of missing and only use it on Wyverns at the end to
avoid missing. Balbs with the Katana hits like a truck and you can take down
enemies quickly, always moving Max 4 spaces towards your goal. The only real
tricky spots are the very beginning and the very end. On Kokichi/Balbs first
turn, don't move them to the max, but move them just a few spaces right of the
town. This should lure 1, maybe both the Belial but not the Jets. Later, when
near the Tower, that peak of the mountain? (just past the pathway) is two
spaces long. Move Domingo to the right square and Max to the left square. This
will allow you to take down the Wyvern and not have anything else drawn to you
because Torch Eyes = Bad. Oh and if Balbs misses here (Kokichi should always
use the Evil Ring unless for some reason it's broken) you'll get around 9
minutes. If Balbs doesn't miss, that's how you'll get to 7:40 because if he
does miss Max has to use the Sword and not move otherwise Torch Eyes come and
moving Max up like that doesn't get you any closer to your goal. Sucks
doesn't it. Oh well, 7:40 or 9:15 isn't bad or much of a difference on rng.

Go ahead and grab both treasures but you shouldn't need to do anything with
them yet. The Demon Master's magic number is 51 and Kokichi with Boost and
equipping the Evil Ring is +23 attack (+19 from the Power Ring) so you're
looking at +25, +23 or +48 from Halberd/boosting and Kokichi has a minimum of
11 attack from promotion so +59 is his attack (or 8 more than the magic
number). Bottom line, he should kill it without Devil Lance. This is important
as to not need to uncurse Kokichi to give it to Pelle later (if the Evil Ring
breaks, sucks) but it's our best bet. Also, take note of agility here. Part
of this strategy is Balbs moving before Kokichi on his third turn (others
don't matter) and Balbs is going to speed ring glitch here on his second turn
for another +4 to agility. If Balbs doesn't have a comfortable amount of
agility more than Kokichi at this point, use the Legs of Haste (I needed to)
otherwise you should be good. My Balbs had about 18 agility and Kokichi had
about 18 as well so the glitch works fine, but the 1 legs of haste is
otherwise worthless so it's fine to use anyway.

  Battle 23
    Ideal 3:34
    My Best 3:34
The easiest battle in the whole game and you don't even need rng here to go
for you, just not horrible against you. Here's basically how it plays out:
-Balbs third turn he gets the Valkyrie (please make sure he has an open slot,
things get cluttered with broad sword/katana/speed ring)
-Kokichi's third turn he kills Demon Master, ending battle in around 4 minutes
-Domingo stands there and tries not to die

The longer version goes something like this. Domingo from where he starts is
going to move up approximately 3 spaces, and then 5 spaces on his next turn
(if you're confused, he's going to end up 3 spaces from the Torch Eye south of
the chest, but in the middle of the wall). This allows for good enemy
movement, something we'll get into here in a moment. After Domingo's first
move, the two worms will move, one away, the other closer. Have Kokichi and
Balbs kill this one (I'd suggest using the Evil Ring if you can just so
Kokichi can move up 1 space further, oh and the mobility ring should be
equipped here). The Steel Claw (the nearby one) will attack Kokichi. He should
live if you've done things properly up to this point and he's about level 6
or so (or has at least 22 life to take a beam). Here's the first rng scary
spot. They attack for 43 and he has 9 base defence on promotion with 15 health
so as long as you've gained a mediocre bunch of stats, (about 20 points
divided between health and defence) you'll be OK otherwise you need to mod
things slightly so Kokichi isn't exposed to get attacked.

The second turn (Domingo moving up 5 spaces) has Balbs moving to a spot 2 away
from Domingo, up one left one, so he's diagonal from Domingo. Make sure to
equip the Speed Ring here. Kokichi moves up to the max and boosts himself.

Several things will attack Domingo but he should live, nothing will attack
Balbs or Kokichi if you've done this right (the Torch Eyes don't move
threateningly and the Steel Claw in front of the chest moves to the spot right
below the stairs so that's why keeping people away from there helps). From
here, Domingo needs to do nothing (if he has 85+ exp he can cast a spell to
go up a level) and Balbs grabs the Valkyrie, and Kokichi once at the Demon
Master equips the Evil Ring and takes him out. All in 4 glorious terrifying

Now, this battle relies very little on RNG however because of how bad it can
get (steel claw kills Kokichi, Balbs doesn't move before Kokichi on the third
turn, Kokichi misses Demon Master, super mega death crits) it takes a long
time to return to battle. I'd suggest on Domingo's first turn doing a BS that
way if things go bad it's an easy fix. You could even do one on Kokichi's
third turn AFTER you've gotten the valkyrie if you feel really afraid however
it's really not necessary. Even if you miss the whole battle only takes 4
minutes so redoing that isn't that big of a deal especially as you aren't
that likely to miss (Demon Masters aren't known for their evade) so I would
not worry about it.

Do the whole story thing, go get your party back together. We're going to use
Torasu just not now because he dies right away unless Domingo is faster than
Jets, which he may or may not be. They have 33 agility so be aware. In any
case, our team is setting up for the end, so it looks like a side note.


    # Side note, End team #
Max - Sword/Chaos Break + White Ring + Shower of Cure
    Max is useless, he can be a caster kinda but you really have to be careful
Pelle - Evil Lance + Power Ring + Halberd
    Pelle is great. Just be mindful of two things. That Power Ring is moving
    to Hanzou once you get him, and that Vankar may get all the praise if he
    is doing better than Pelle. The Halberd is for guaranteed damage and/or
    you can't get to the target
Tao, Anri - Lots of healing items
Torasu - Use Shield liberally
Kokichi - Evil Ring + Valkyrie
    Kokichi is great, the whole reason this works
Domingo - healing
    Domingo is great, but not for casting
Musashi - Turbo Pepper + Katana
    Musashi is awesome
Hanzou - Doom Blade + Power Ring + Healing Seed + Shower of Cure
    His speed is very high and very useful. He gets the Power Ring because
    you will always get to boost and attack in the same turn
Alef - Lots of healing
Gort - Heat/Great/Atlas/Atlas
    If you have Gort, that's his set up (drop the Great Axe later for some
    healing) and he does decently. Like Vankar, he may not make the cut
Guntz - I give him a Halberd and later he blocks Armed Skeletons from
    spawning though his role and Pelle can easily be swapped
Lyle - Buster Shot and that's it. He dies from ambient stares so don't waste
    giving him healing to hold
    # End side note #

As we prepare to enter battle 24, we need to bring members back in but most
importantly is making sure Musashi gets +2 from the Turbo Pepper. This calls
for a PS and a restart if it doesn't. +1 seems like it may cut it however
there are several spots I know from experience that +2 does make the
difference where +1 wouldn't.

  Battle 24
    Ideal 6:55
    My Best 7:03
I've been saying for a long time breaking 7 minutes would be awesome and
damnit it's possible though for now hovering at 7 minutes is pretty much
ideal. Whole battle takes less than 2 rounds can you believe that? Here's
the general idea:

-Domingo blocks off the 3 jets on the right
-Everyone else crushes things on the left

That's the general idea. My weaker Domingo (12) takes about 7 damage from
Jets which is fine as he won't even get hit all that much. Everyone else is
pounding the left side of the map. Here's the step by step more or less:

The nearby jet needs to be killed, Musashi or Pelle is good for this task
The left side group, 2 worms, Demon Master, and Torch Eye tend to group up
nicely before your slow team moves. If you can have someone over there, the
Torch Eye will move into the perfect position for Bolt 2/3 excellence. For
reference, the Demon Master moves down 3 spaces from your team, and the worm
tends to move down up 1 right 1 from that spot, so positioning someone near
there (right above it) will bring over the Torch Eye (assuming is hasn't
moved yet) making a nice 4 for getting bolted. If that doesn't happen, still
make use of your spells for wiping. Pelle and Kokichi can fight, but magic
is always an option. Incidentally, don't equip the Evil Lance on Pelle unless
you need to otherwise you risk him taking needless damage (so basically the
same for Musashi). Use Max and bolt 2 liberally here as well.

Because I got off a great bolt 3, Pelle didn't even have anything to attack
that was nearby (ignoring those 3 jets on the right which I suggest doing so,
don't even attack them unless Domingo is close to leveling) so I had him
boost Kokichi (because the Evil Ring broke, otherwise bolt 3 is very helpful
coming up, so boosting himself instead is better). Everything comes down very
clumpy (this is the enemy second round, which is another reason why getting
someone, Gort or Musashi) to that spot is so important. Basically we're going
to win this round so throw everything we've got (except Domingo) up and at
Chaos who goes down quickly though magic sucks hard against him. Blaze 3 does
about 5 damage, Freeze 2 does about 4 damage, and Bolt 1/2 does about 6
damage so use those spells to clear out the enemies so Musashi, Pelle, and
Kokichi can attack Chaos. With just a little bit of luck, Chaos goes down and
nobody dies. Just for the record, Max used bolt 2 to deal the final 5 damage
to Chaos for my 7:08 run which was awesome. The only way that run could've
gone better is if I hadn't wasted 3 spells on Jets (it's a waste, is better to
have Domingo just stay/heal and Anri to not go over there) and if someone had
crit Chaos. Musashi didn't even attack Chaos so that alone is room for
improvement potentially. This round also included the magnificent bolt 3 so
that alone keeps it at 2 rounds and not 3 rounds. If you can't get that
awesome bolt off it slows things a bit as you need to be a bit more careful,
as Max dies to everything on this battlefield unless spells are thrown his
way, which he might die anyway so it's risky business.

From here, it'd be awesome to just head right and into the next battle though
I need to repair which you may need to as well. Even if people die, don't
revive them just yet (unless they're Kokichi/Domingo) because they're all we
need coming up. I have experimented with swapping out but honestly that takes
a bit longer than I care to do and since my team is super slow anyway, they
all take their 1 second turn at the same time so it's no big deal.

  Battle 25
    Ideal 4:30
    My Best 5:14:887
If you use Domingo (because Kokichi is weaker) then look to get it done in
about 7 minutes. But if a boosted Kokichi has over 80 attack (Armed Skeletons
have 69 combined bulk, meaning that 80+ should OHKO) then it saves more time
to uncurse Kokichi, give him the Mobility Ring, Evil Ring, Valkyrie, and the
Power Ring and let him fly solo. It takes ~20 seconds to uncurse him but the
Mobility Ring cuts an entire turn of movement so it's worth it. My time could
be faster but thanks to (1) Kokichi missing and (2) Kokichi dying but
luckily I had an IBS, I managed to keep going. I imagine 4:30 to 4:45 is
about as low as it can realistically go
Ideal 41:30, 4:36:30
My Best 44:10, 4:55:26:4

    This chapter is pretty straight forward with the only real variable
events coming in the first and last battles. If Kokichi is somewhat faster
than Balbs, you have to mix it up slightly for 23 by stuttering your turns
so that Kokichi takes 4 turns to get to the Demon Master instead of 3; this
allows Balbs to get the Valkyrie on his third turn. We then turn our attention
to battle 25 and if a boosted Kokichi has 80+ attack as we can do the above
strategy less we have to use Domingo. It's possible that Balbaroy could make
a substitute appearance here as his move is considerably better however even
with the Katana he will only likely do ~40 to 45 damage meaning that his
attacks tickle the Armed Skeleeton. Besides that the chapter is straight
forward and just requires good execution and movement here otherwise you end
up extremely dead and extremely sad.

Most Recent (Best) Run
Max - 4
Pelle - 8 (Evil Lance)
Guntz - 8
Gort - (lulz unpromoted level 5)
Tao - 18
Anri - 15
Alef - 16
Domingo - 10
Kokichi - 10
Musashi - 11
Torasu, Hanzou, and Lyle haven't leveled (Lyle being level 1)
As you can see, it's a mess. I'm on the verge of getting some really key
spells here but damn my team looks quite unprepared (we are) but in either
case; this is the team that has beaten 7 chapters so far in less than 5 hours.
I know I know I can't believe it either.

Previous Run
Max - 8 (Insane luck with Max...)
Pelle - 6
Guntz - 10 (Guntz will have the Evil lance...)
Gort - N/A (No Gort on my best run... so Lyle instead {level 1})
Tao - 18
Anri - 14
Alef - 16
Domingo - 11
Torasu - 16*
Musashi - 11
Kokichi - 9
Hanzou - 10*

The * indicates people who haven't leveled (obviously I haven't gotten Hanzou
quite yet) and the mages are all unpromoted. It's a bit different than what
my guide states but these are the levels of my published run which is my best.
Normally, Max would be about 1 or 2 promoted, Pelle would be higher than Guntz
and you may have Gort, Tao probably closer to 16, Anri far far off Freeze 3,
Alef is on par, Domingo the same (though sometimes lower) and Kokichi can be
6 to 12 depending on his growth.


    Chapter 8
Ahhh Runefaust, the glorious end. This chapter is easily the longest and
hardest but to be honest that's OK as we've skipped large quantities of the
game so far so it makes sense to have a chapter where skipping is out of the
question for the most part. As it is, we have one more glorious beat em up,
with 4 boss battles though the Ramladu battle is easily the most difficult
battle in the game and the Colossus battle being the most time consuming. Even
a level 26 Domingo and Kokichi took a long time to fly around and beat the
main baddie as there are so many defense piercing jerks in this chapter. The
fight with Ramladu isn't much fun either, as you are on a constant timer of
Torch Eyes approaching on your position.

As for getting this started, find Hanzou at the entrance, head to Mahato to
gain entry into the castle, and then go and revive your team. At this point it
is quicker to have a large mass revival to have no dead people. As it seems
unlikely that you won't need to revive from Chapter 7 (I tend to have some
dead people after Chaos) it's a natural trip there anyway. This most recent
run I had 3 dead members; and it took 52 seconds to just revive them versus
1:30 to revive all my dead members; showing that it takes about 38 seconds
to revive 7 dead members (it's slightly longer but when you compare to just
skipping reviving them) so go ahead and do that. As we know that we have at
least one more trip back here (after Ramladu) it's faster to have no dead
people laying around.

Anyway; now it's time to make our team. Without a doubt your team should
look something like:
And not in that order. That's 11 members so who should be 12? Most likely
we're looking at Guntz. However in the event that Gort is still hanging
around and doing well then Guntz will likely get axed. It's possible that
Guntz could be better than Pelle but I've found that Pelle just gains better
stats typically plus surrending the Move Ring to Tao over Guntz is another
huge factor.

Just one more thing! (Sorry I know I keep on going!) The best way to look at
this chapter is as such: 20 minutes for 26 and 27
                         20 minutes for 28
                         20 minutes for 29 and 30
                         10 minutes of nonbattle time
So far, reducing 28 below 20 minutes has proved near impossible and my best
combined 29 and 30 was 19:57 (best best would be about 18) meaning that to
cut time we need to spend less time out of battle and more time in it. This
means we only want to revive twice (before 26 and after 27). Also it is
possible to cut time out of the first segment, as my best combined is again
about 19 minutes though best best is about 16 minutes. But this is all very
technical and tedious so I apologize. Just focus on doing each pair in about
20 minutes and you should get your time around the 70 minute mark.

  Battle 26
    Ideal 12:09:75
    My Best 12:09:75
The only way to break 13 minutes is through a combination of Musashi hitting
Chimaera, and the Evil Ring not breaking. If you can get off 3 casts with it,
and get some physical hits against Chimaera, then there's not too much of a
problem. That being said, the battle becomes much easier once they are dead
as nothing else on the battlefield moves so take advantage of that. Try to
combo spells on the outside groups so the priest can't heal himself. For
casting bolt 3 on the skeletons, make sure to cast your other spell first
otherwise the priest will die and that takes more time for individual casts.
Something to consider is at this point, doing IBS for Evil Ring casts is
much quicker. It takes about 13 seconds to IBS and to actually uncurse
Kokichi and repair a broken ring takes on the magnitude of 30 seconds or so;
but that doesn't even factor in to how much time is lost by not having Bolt
3 in certain spots; mostly this battle. I'd suggest IBS before each Bolt 3

Should you get the chests? Depends on your team. If you have Gort then grab
the Atlas. Are both Pelle and Guntz doing well? Then take the Halberd.
Regardless, send Torasu to grab the items (Atlas on left, Halberd on right)
  Battle 27
    Ideal 4:41:689
    My Best 4:41:689
Ideally, Pelle, Musashi, Hanzou, Kokichi, and Max all survive the robot
rampage to make it to Ramladu who then dies in 2-3 rounds of attacks. That's
how the ideal (it's one I've actually gotten) can happen. It's tricky but
doable (and replicable)

I boosted Kokichi with Hanzou and used him and Domingo to make a "wall" to
reduce the movement of the robots. Kokichi, Max, Musashi, and Pelle all were
able to get to Ramladu and everyone else eventually died a horrible death
though Alef got Bolt 2 which is helpful in the next two battles. It's a rush
against time and not a pleasant one at that.

Heading into Colossus, make sure everything is repaired. Stocked I wouldn't
worry so much about, I did 1 huge stocking and it's been fine. The general
strategy here is to try and minimize needing to go back to town, however, it
makes no sense to take 35 minutes if you don't use anything so keep that in
mind. Ensuring that Musashi, Domingo, Pelle, and Hanzou have a Healing Seed is
helpful though as they are most likely to get bashed by something strong.
  Battle 28
    Ideal 20:00
    My Best 20:01:8
The difference between ideal and my best is that the ideal time does not
include (non battle time) the three and a half minutes you saw after my 20:03
that had several important dead people and some important broken items. As it
currently stands this is the most questionable battle and I've run it about
10 times with mixed results. The exciting thing is that the essence of the
battle is true, it's just pulling it off consistently. Here's the basic plan:
Wall Wall Hanz Wall
Domi Wall Anri Wall
Musa      Max  Alef
          Tora Pelle
Basically, the walls are the walls, the hole marks the entry way, and most of
the people are interchangeable although that particular set up is best. That
way only Domingo and Musashi are attacked by Chimaeras so hopefully no double
criticals of death. This will line up the Chimaera on the left nicely for a
Bolt 3/Bolt 2 from Kokichi and Alef nearly killing them (40+ damage) and the
Blue Dragon on the right won't attack anyone allowing you to burst it down.

On a different note, Lyle is so slow that he almost always is last. You can
take advantage of that by battle saving (I would strongly suggest doing so on
his first turn that way you can avoid Musashi/Domingo dying).

After that, 2 more from the right (another Chimaera and Dragon) will start
coming towards us but Musashi/Hanzou can choke these easily in that mid
pathway. Meanwhile, Kokichi and Domingo can start taking out the center mid
area with the skeletons and archers. The key is that until you break into that
area, none of that moves, and none of the jets move, but the other flying
units will move. Always trying to use Musashi and Hanzou to choke, you can get
them to fly in and hopefully not attack all that much while you then burst
down with magic.

With regards to winning this thing, and this is why it's so frustrating as
the two deaths I had to fix were just dumb movement on my part, is Kokichi
(boosted) and Domingo sneaking up the right side and past the Colossus. Blaze
3 isn't particularly dangerous and in fact shielding Max with Torasu will be
the perfect distraction. If you can save 20 MP for Domingo to use two of his
Freeze 3's against the main Colossus, that accounts then for a maybe miss from
Kokichi otherwise you need Kokichi to hit twice. It can happen, but saving MP
is a safer route.

As it is, you definitely want to avoid going to town if you can. If something
is forcing you too then by all means, do it. Otherwise...

Max, Pelle/Guntz, Domingo, Kokichi, Hanzou, Musashi are all very important
    (of Pelle/Guntz, whoever is strongest)
Alef if she knows bolt 2 (just for battle 29, she's useless in Dark Dragon)
Tao if she knows blaze 4
Anri if she knows at least freeze 3
Torasu is expendable. Just make sure he doesn't have showers on him
Gort is expendable unless fat. Mine at level 7 whacked for a pitiful amount
so he was worth the blaze 3 that Atlas came with. When the Armed Skeleton
annihilated him in Dark Dragon's battle, I didn't even blink
Lyle (like Gort) is expendable

As for broken items, the only one that matters is the Power Ring which should
not be used yet so no big deal. That's why we have atlases and halberds; it's
OK if they break. It's better if the Evil Ring doesn't break, but don't sweat
if it does, just don't use it again. Anyway, let's do this. I'd BS as soon as
you get into Dark Sol in all honesty.
  Battle 29
    Ideal 7:04:6
    My Best 7:04:6
This battle is easily one of the most scary ones in the entire run but it's
mostly because you NEED people to hit Dark Sol and it also helps to have the
Dragons move before your team (on round 2). Basically here it is round by
round (it really shouldn't vary much from this).

Round 1, SET UP

    We want to minimize damage from Torch Eyes but also cram people in there.
    Max can move up 6 spaces to the very top of the path. Hanzou should make
    it to the middle and Musashi to the beginning of the path. Who goes in
    depends on turns and Torch Eyes, but hopefully Pelle is below Max and
    Tao is below Hanzou (and she's zapped a Torch Eye) but like I said, eh
    On the outside, Kokichi and Domingo on the left, don't worry about Guntz,
    and cram in there
Round 2, PANIC

    We want to get as many people up but without triggering sharp point teeth.
    If the Dragons have moved (taken their turn) then Hanzou and Musashi can
    go fight the Robots otherwise they need to hang back a bit as it mixes up
    our gameplan. Everyone else crams up and no Torch Eye should live
Round 3, FIGHT

    We're killing Dark Sol this round. This means ignoring the Dragons and
    getting as many people in there as possible. Blaze 4 and Freeze 3 do good
    damage (with Lyle about 50 damage or so) meaning that you need some 100
    damage out of Musashi, Max, Pelle, Hanzou, and Kokichi although my Kokichi
    usually zaps with Bolt 3 but that just depends on how many Robots are up
    there. It'll come down to the wire but you should be able to. The Dragons
    are hard and frankly a waste of time
  Battle 30
    Ideal 11:00
    My Best 11:19

This battle is 1000% easier with level 4 magic but actually only speeds
things up by about 3 minutes. It's just a lot easier if Tao knows Blaze 4,
let me say that. As it is, focusing the heads down together works best, but
due to my team being extremely weak and crappy I ended up tackling the outer
heads and then moving in. This was due to no good magic, so I wanted to take
out the weaker ones and then throw everything I had at the last one. The good
graces gave me all the boosts I needed, and Dark Dragon fell in just twelve
minutes, thus ending the game. It was a great run, and I have notes a mile
long only to improve it myself. I certainly hope it helps you.
Shield is stronk

Ideal 1:07:10, 5:43:40 <--Yes under 6 hours can you believe it?
My Best 1:09:00:737, 6:04:27 <--What what look at that time :D

There. We've done it!


4. Discussion

    End Remarks
As you can see, the ideal time for the game runs in just under 6 hours. What
that time gets you is everything I just did, just optimized with no power
deaths, no crappy annoying misses (8 of them or something) and excellent
moving on your part (oh and no deaths). It seems highly unlikely to actually
break 6 hours on this game though you can rest assured I will try my best to
do it. As it is, I managed to cut down well over 25 minutes from my previous
run with some new paths, some of which have only been ran once, so there's
easy time there to melt not to mention the most obvious problem, my under
leveled mages. I brought along all the mages and Alef was the only one
pulling her weight. An obvious side effect brought on by the increased number
of skips is the lower levels to be distributed. While annoying, it obviously
is faster so now we have to figure out how to optimize what we get so that
this doesn't happen in the future. As strange as it is, even Freeze 2 is still
helpful to have in the end. It's just really useless in 28, 29, and 30 for the
most part.

In regards to my most recent run, here are some of my notes (full video will
be uploaded to youtube as per usual):

1. It's been probably two months since I picked up the game but went ahead
   and am giving it a full whirl. Sometimes life is crazy that way
2. Chapter 1 shows off that I'm a bit rusty. Movement isn't precise and
   overall things are slow. But I'm an optimist
3. I've learned that saving magic is really important for the Cave and Shade
   Abbey as magic takes down the Skeleton much more quickly than Boost and
   the Ghoul has such high evasion that saving some magic is much more
   reliable and frankly faster
4. The Chapter 3 path is down pretty much to perfection. If I can hit P
   Knights every time like this most recent run then that helps. Also getting
   sub 2 hours for the first 3 chapters is still a goal!
5. Chapter 4 really shows how important it is for Anri to be 8 and Tao to be
   12 as Anri having AoE for Elliot and Tao having a stronger spell to use
   (as well as mashing Balbazak to death) can save several minutes. One thing
   to note here is that including Balbazak, there are only 7ish battles left
   for them to get experience in before Chapter 8. This means at 8 and 12,
   they both need to level 8 times in less than 8 battles if you want their
   core spells before Chapter 8. Getting them in like 26 is fine too, though
   in Tao's case, promoting her before then only makes her that much better
   for 28, 29, and 30 as her early promoted levels are baws
6. In Chapter 5, Battle 15, it is imperative that you send Domingo to the
   right to aggro the units. Other than that this chapter is short and easy
   and only takes so long because of all the promotions
7. This Chapter 6 continues to get better each and every time I play this.
   Getting under an hour I have to say was the highlight of the run even with
   how much time was dropped. Obviously, the big thing here is not ending the
   battle without the Sword of Light/someone in front of it
8. Chapter 7 continues to be a pain in the ass despite there being very little
   variable to it. That being said, having the updated plan for a too fast
   Kokichi helps tremendously
9. The moment Tao learns Blaze 4 is the moment Guntz ceases as a unit
   basically. Nah I'm kidding, but Tao having more move is better than him
   though it doesn't make a huge difference for Guntz as Chapter 8 is pretty
   close quarters. One huge thing is that by this point using the Halberd is
   pretty much better damage than attacking for whomever doesn't get the Evil
   Lance although I can safely say that Guntz through some 7 levels gained 3
   attack I'm pretty sure whereas Pelle gained about 8 or 9 so the decision to
   have Pelle with the Evil Lance was fairly supported


  Collecting the Sidenotes
  Side Note: Stat Items and Rings

Defense Potions:    Max
  These things are rather useless for the most part. However, they are quite
  essential early for Max not dying as there are a number of spots (like Shade
  Abbey) where he must get attacked. Later, you can use these on Domingo if
  you so desire as Max shouldn't ever get attacked post Chapter 2 for the
  most part.
Power Potions:     Balbaroy
  These things are helpful for one reason, Balbaroy killing the Master Mage
  in a single attack. But really, they do help him contribute as the +4
  damage makes him not terrible until you ditch him in Chapter 7. The last one
  in the Demon Castle you can skip though Lyle would appreciate it (though
  skipping is still probably best)
Bread of Life:     Domingo
  These things are the epitome of useless. Even if you stacked them all on
  someone for +4 or +6 health, that makes no difference. As it is, it takes
  a few seconds to grab them and putting them on Domingo who is used mainly
  for tanking isn't horrible. You could use them to try and get to the 22
  health barrier for surviving Torch Eye beams but I have found there aren't
  many people who fit that bill. The last run I had I could have used it on
  Tao to put her at 22 but who would have known she would have had 21 life at
  that point considering I used these on Domingo several chapters ago
Legs of Haste:     Balbaroy
  You only get one, so using it to guarantee he goes before Kokichi in the
  Tower of the Ancients is best. My last run Kokichi ended up vastly quicker
  but hey, that's just bad luck for me I guess (not really)
Turbo Pepper:      Musashi
  Use it on him. Make sure he gets +2 movement
Power Ring:        Ken/Balbaroy/Zylo/Kokichi/Hanzou
  Generally speaking, the Power Ring is -never- on our best attacker as we
  prefer them to be boosting other allies. Ken will do some fighting with it
  though he generally boosts others first. Balbaroy has it for sniping, and
  Zylo for his one battle does it for very much the same. Then Kokichi has it
  until Hanzou gets it as Kokichi is the stud and we want him to attack for as
  much as possible
Speed Ring:        As needed, then Musashi
  Until Musashi gets it (and always holds it because he is a slowass) the ring
  is always moved around to perform "Speed Ring" glitches. Often it will be on
  Anri because she's usually slow and keeping her up with Tao is helpful
Mobility Ring:     As needed, though Guntz is a hog
  This thing is invaluable and I wish we had more of them. As it is, once you
  get it in chapter 5 you basically never keep it on one person, giving it to
  whomever needs it most. For you, here is a quick rundown of what to expect:
    Battle 16 (first time we have it) - Balbaroy (optimization)
    Battle 17 - Guntz
    Battle 18 - Domingo (optimization)
    Battle 19 - Guntz
    Battle 20 - Guntz
    Battle 21 - Guntz
    Battle 22 - Max (optimization)
    Battle 23 - Kokichi (optimization)
    Battle 24 - Guntz
    Battle 25 - Kokichi (optimization)
    Chapter 8 - Guntz (best spellcaster if Guntz dies after Battle 28)
                *If Tao gets Blaze 4 give it to her

  Side Note: Hero Deaths

Basically, we don't want people to die. It's a pain having to revive them and
in certain cases if they die we are forced to restart because of how crucial
they are. There are some heroes who do die; those are either forced or "we
want them dead" kind of deaths. Here's the general breakdown:

If Max dies at any point beyond Chapter 1 just do the best you can. In Chapter
1 I would say restart your run. Post Chapter 1 as long as the run isn't
horrible you shouldn't restart because of how long this is. The run even ideal
takes six hours so restarting at the end because of a Max death would be awful
I mean you don't want to die but restarting sometimes is just out of the

If Tao, Anri, Domingo, Gort, Pelle, Lyle, Musashi, Hanzou, Torasu, Alef, or
Kokichi die, revive them after the battle. There are some exceptions (like if
you're sniping with Kokichi) but otherwise just deal the best you can. If
someone dies in Battle 28 against Colossus I'd advice against reviving unless
it's Kokichi, Musashi, Pelle, or Blaze 4/Freeze 3 (mostly because they're not
that needed for the last couple battles).

If Lowe, Mae, Hans, or Amon die, never revive them. In fact, it is heavily
advised to have them die at some point (this is because we need dead bodies
for Chapter 7 (at least 8 of them).

If Ken dies before the end of Chapter 2, we need to revive him. We simply can
not use Mae as a substitute due to her positioning in Chapter 3 battle 9 as
she starts one space to the left of where Ken does and Ken starts just perfect
for moving to block for Balbaroy. After that, if he dies don't revive him.

If Luke lives past battle 2 then we are worried about getting rid of him

If Khris dies before Shade Abbey, you'll need to revive her or Lowe for Shade
Abbey because it is essential to have a Healer for that battle.

Note that Ken, Luke, and Khris are all better off dead once you no longer need
them (see that's 7 dead bodies) so we need one more. Your choices are Zylo,
Balbaroy, Ernst, or Bleu. As Balbaroy gets used in Chapter 7, that leaves Zylo
for your other death. Bleu and Ernst never get used so it's clunky to use them
whereas Zylo is used and is useless post Chapter 5 unless he has 35+ attack.
Mine tends to stick around mostly for utility and healing but it is entirely
possible and recommended to kill off Zylo at some point through Chapter 6 or
even at the end of Chapter 5, making him your last necessary death person:
            Lowe, Mae, Hans, Amon, Ken, Luke, Khris, and Zylo.
Balbaroy may join this list later but either way...

Also, in Chapter 8, revive everyone. I realize I say "never revive them" but
that's only because we need dead bodies until Chapter 8. It only takes about
40 more seconds to revive all the dead people as opposed to just skipping
past them and we pretty much have to visit the Chapel twice in Chapter 8 so
keep that in mind.


    Side Note: Levels
You're probably wondering how the hell is this possible and what level my team
is. Well, they're low. But it's not a huge deal. Because of how SFI works with
levels, each level from one to another matters so little, that short of
getting 4 or 5 levels, you have no guarantee that your hero is going to be
like noticeably better than before (hence, the trend of always taking the new
people and replacing old ones). But, there are some important levels to keep
track of, if you remember, magic is one, so let's dive into this:

Max: 10 by Chapter 7
Gort: 10 by Chapter 4
Pelle/Guntz: 10 by Chapter 6 at a minimum
Kokichi: 10 by Chapter 6
Lyle: 10 by Chapter 7
Tao: 4 by Battle 3, 12 by battle 14, and 20 by Chapter 8
Anri: 8 as soon as possible (no later than Chapter 4 if possible), and 16 by
      Chapter 8 (23 if possible)
Domingo: 4 as soon as possible, and 13 as soon as possible (Chapter 8 strongly
The latter 3 are the most important. As for your other teammates:

Lowe should die in Battle 1
Ken will be between 7 and 9 when he dies/is replaced
Luke will be about 3
Khris may be level 2 but it doesn't matter
Hans should die in Battle 1. His level does not matter
Amon should die before the end of Chapter 3. Her level does not matter
Balbaroy should aim to get promoted by Chapter 6 (the Broadsword is just that
    awesome). He will probably be about level 4 promoted once you ditch him.
Zylo will be between 12 and 16 when he dies/is replaced. If his attack is
    over 35 then he could still be used some but it is very unlikely to
    happen unless you are very lucky.
Alef needs to be 17 by Battle 28 as that's the only reason to use her. If she
    dies in Battle 28 it's OK, though getting her through 29 is helpful
Torasu will probably not level nor does he need to
Musashi can go up about 5 levels but again he does not need to
Hanzou probably won't level but he too can go up about 3 levels though he
   does not need to either.

Gong, Arthur, Diane, Ernst, Bleu, Vankar, and Adam are either skipped or
never used so naturally they won't level.

Basically, don't stress too much about levels. The most recent run I had only
half a team, with Max, Pelle, Anri, Tao, Domingo, Kokichi, Torasu, and
Musashi (Hanzou had died against Dark Sol) and things worked out. Magic is key
here, as well as Musashi, Evil Lance, and the Valkyrie all hit very hard so
physical levels aren't important for stats.


    Side Note: End Team

This is basically how our end team will look:
Max - Sword of Light/Chaos Breaker + White Ring + Shower of Cure
    Use him exclusively for healing and Bolt 2/Freeze 3
Pelle - Evil Lance + Halberd
    Pelle is great. In fact, he's usually still the better option over Guntz
    for the Evil Lance although paying attention to their levels does help
Tao, Anri - Maybe the Mobility Ring
Torasu - 2 Shower of Cure
Kokichi - Evil Ring + Valkyrie
Domingo - Healing Seeds and maybe the Mobility Ring
Musashi - Turbo Pepper + Katana + Speed Ring + Healing Seed + Black Ring
Hanzou - Doom Blade + Power Ring + Healing Seeds
Alef - Itemless
    She can hold onto Healing Seeds if you want but she usually does not
    survive into Dark Dragon
Gort - Heat/Atlas/Atlas + Healing Seed
    You may not have a Gladiator due to levels
Lyle - Buster Shot
    That's it, really
Guntz - Halberd + 3 Healing Seeds
    He is usually much weaker than Pelle and tends to just blocked Armed
    Skeletons from spawning. You will probably only use him for Bolt in the
    end battles (consider even giving it to Pelle in Battle 29).


  Discussing the Glitches/Abuses

    The Speed Ring
Not so useful later on, but early that +4 agility can make someone get their
turn much faster. It can be used on someone to get 2 attacks in a row, or
more importantly to allow Max to move twice in a row. Later on, the Speed Ring
should be on someone slower who needs more turns, usually Anri or Musashi

The game programmers decided these two almost always have priority. In fact,
it goes something like

Max > Domingo > Healers/Mages > Archers/Flying Units > Everything else

To the point to where enemies will move past viable targets to stand in line
and not attack just because they're closer to someone. As a result, this is a
very helpful abuse especially once Domingo can take a hit or two. For Max
sadly this run you won't be using this so much later on however early you can
still get some nice use out of it

    The Boost Glitch
This is definitely a glitch as the game will even say "boost has ended" but it
actually hasn't. Boost is supposed to go away after 1-4 turns, but in fact
stays until you've taken damage, or gone up a level. Curse damage does not
count as damage; you have to be attacked. This is the most helpful and abusive
of all the glitches as you can boost someone for 8 or 9 minutes so long as
your careful. It reduces the need to BS as much as well as allows you to take
out many more enemies being able to take advantage of knowing not to level or
who recently leveled and whatnot. Many thanks to Darkkobold for this one


5. Conclusion


This is copyright me, Todd Lesinski AKA NoWorries. As such, you cannot use
copy any part of this guide and claim it as your own. I'm not a stickler so
long you make a reference somewhere saying that this guide was so helpful for
whatever purpose you are using this for that would be great. If you are a
cheat bastard then may a ball-eating plague be struck upon you and all
consequent men in your family until you right this wrong.

    Contact Info

If you feel the need to contact me about ANYTHING pertaining to THIS guide;
you may contact me at         (AT)   [.]
Please specify "SHINING FORCE I SPEED RUN" to differentiate from my other
Shining Force guides/works out on the webs. I do appreciate your time. If you
don't do this, I probably won't respond. I may also not respond because I'm
very busy but I will do the best I can.

Gamefaqs - For getting me into guide writing
Awesome Games Done Quick (AGDQ) - For getting me into Speed Running. It is
    technically run through the Speed Game Demos
    Which is their channel. AGDQ is their charity event that raises money for
    Cancer and it's fascinating even if you are not big into video games. But
    big thanks and shout out to them for getting me serious into actually
    doing this and maybe you'll see me at AGDQ 2016 running this game if I
    can consistently get it down to six, six and a half hours.
DarkKobold - The brave soul who TASed this game in under two hours. Your
    video was both awesome to watch and extremely helpful for giving me ideas
    how to run this faster. Naturally I'm not tassing so I can't get the
    double crits like you do with Lua but I think I worked it out pretty well
    for myself =)
    But the Boost Glitch was invaluable, thank you
    His webpage:
Myself - For enjoying this game far too much. It's unhealthy
You the reader - Well, without you folks, this isn't nearly as fun. Also, I
    hope you enjoy the video. Just don't be too harsh as it's far from
    perfect; I just wanted you to have something to have in tangent with
    this guide as words aren't perfect sometimes
Camelot Software Planning and Sega - obviously, for making the game

Length - 115615