>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
==========================================================

Mystical Ninja: Starring Goemon - Hardcore Challenge Guide

==========================================================
<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

Optimized for viewing in a browser (specifically Firefox in Courier).

Directory
_______________________________________________________


1. Introduction
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 
2. Version History
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
3. General Tips
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
4. Walkthrough
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
5. Ending
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

1. Introduction
_______________________________________________________

So if you are here you probably already know what this game is and you 
probably love it.  Maybe you got a little tired of it after beating it 
many times.  So I came up with an idea I have tried myself to instill 
some more life into this game.

A Hardcore Game I am defining as trying to get through the game as fast 
as possible.  Because of this, you will not be getting any life gauge 
increases.  So if you want to show off more, you can call it a "as fast 
as possible no cat game."  Except at one point you can shave time off 
by going through a path with a cat directly blocking you, so you might 
have to get a silver one at a certain point.

There are no random stat tables, no random observations of characters, 
and generally just no pointless filler in this faq.  Except for this 
introduction.  But that doesn't count.  Also, version history is simple 
and straightforward: 1 = first version, 2 = second version, etc.

If this is your first time through the game, then this walkthrough is 
not for you.  While the walkthrough is jam-packed with lots of details 
that others may skip over because they are areas simple enough to 
progress through if you just want to beat the game, this walkthrough 
will very likely not help you get the most out of your first few times 
through the game.  For that I recommend Ushiwaka's FAQ/Walkthrough.  It 
contains all the information you could need and an extensive and 
friendly walkthrough for those needing guidance.

Oh and if your game time ends up being over 4 hours, you probably 
missed the point of this guide.  We are going for a maximum challenge 
speed run here buddy!

I sold my copy of this game around a year ago, but before I did, I 
managed to beat the game with a time of 2:36.  As far as I know, this is 
probably the world record.  Feel free to take it on though.

If you are planning a console speed run or emulator tas of this game and 
want advice, you can send the link to the video of your run to my email 
and I will give it a look.  I have found a good number of improvements 
to the original strategies I outlined but only remembered to incorporate 
a few into this final version.  However, if I watch the video of your 
run I will be able to offer advice as I remember specific tactics from 
watching the game.

2. Version History
_______________________________________________________

1 - 6/8/2005 - First version; thus, no changes since the last version.

Final - 2/28/2009 - Made a few improvements to a few sections.

3. General Tips
_______________________________________________________

- Do not kill any enemies unless absolutely necessary (or once you 
master the below technique).  Do not waste time picking up items an 
enemy drops.  The only exception is if you are about to die and a 
dumpling was dropped and you feel you will be unable to make it to the 
next health regeneration point otherwise.

- When killing an enemy, practice the technique of striking the enemy 
without pausing or stopping first.  This can be performed by jumping 
and striking in mid-air.  Run forward, jump towards the enemy, use your 
weapon at the same time as you jump off the ground (a near-simultaneous 
A+B if you will), and keep pressing forward the entire time to not stop 
moving.  If at any point you stop moving forward then you messed the 
technique up.  If at any moment in the air the weapon is withdrawn and 
not being held outward as if thrusting then you messed the technique up.  
Practice this until you nail it because it will ensure invulnerability 
and fast kills.

- YOU WILL DIE!  This almost cannot be avoided if you are trying to get 
the best time possible.  There are points in the game (i.e. Ghost Toys 
Castle) where you can save quite a few minutes overall by taking damage.  
However, once you have gotten really good at this game dying should not 
happen more than twice; three times would definitely be the max.  You 
need to improve at this game until making it through the game with only 
five hearts does not seem to be that much of a problem to you.  I don't 
know what happens when you run out of lives because it never happened to 
me.  Possibly you are forced to start from the last point you saved 
from.  Which brings me to my next point.

- DO NOT SAVE!  It takes extra time to save.  Just figure out the 
points where the narrator asks you to save and be ready to move that 
cursor over to "no."  Because of this, if you run out of lives and the 
penalty is to start over from the last save point, then your game is 
over.  Which further emphasizes this is a "hardcore game."

- Take the fastest path from point a to point b.  If you are in a room 
and there is nothing strange about it that I address in the 
walkthrough, then point your character directly at the next door and 
move him or her directly to it.  We are going for the straight line 
route here.  It saves time.

- Jump on ladders.  If you have to ascend a ladder, jump on to it from a 
decent distance away, saving yourself the time needed to climb up to 
that point and to run to the bottom of the ladder.  While on the ladder, 
jump up it instead of climbing up it.  However, do not jump near the top 
because you cannot pull yourself above the ladder and continue while 
jumping.

- Watch out for the flute trap.  When you are teleporting somewhere as 
Yae, when the dragon lets you down the flute will still be the item 
selected for you to use.  Everyone knows what happens: you drop down 
off the dragon, see a baddie floating right at you, jump right at it, 
prepare to destroy it, and suddenly everything freezes as Yae plays the 
flute.  You can cancel it by pressing B but this still is preventing you 
from making progress.  Needless to say this wastes a decent bit of time.  
Eventually you will train yourself to avoid this, but until then, be 
warned.

- You need approximately 1125 ryo to beat this game.  300 for the 
fortune teller, 800 for the cucumber, 5 for the donation box, 5 for 
Ghost Toys candles, 10 for Festival Temple Castle burning platforms, and 
5 for using Goemon sudden impact power at Musashi.  Because stopping to 
kill enemies and collecting their ryo wastes a good amount of time, I 
point out the best place in the game to make the money you need fast.

- At certain points in the game, you can lose 5-10 seconds to get some 
insurance in case you mess up later.  The first few times you try this 
hardcore game, you might need to do these.  I denote these by this 
notation:

=======================================================================
Sidepath Alert!

Blah blah blah.
=======================================================================

These include places where easily accesible surprise packs or sparkling 
dumplings exist.  Even though they are easily accessible, they are 
still somewhat out of the way.

- Save at the last point.  Because the game clock won't be able to 
determine your time after this point, start a timer after the last save 
point, round it to the minute, and add it to the game clock at the last 
save point.

- Beat the Consecutive Boss Fighting Mode a few times.  Since you are 
forced to go through all four bosses with less health and ammo than you 
probably earn for one boss, this causes your Impact skills to be honed 
quite a bit.

- When in Impact, use only the Grappler, Super Punch+Kick, and Super 
Laser combination.  It is the most powerful and quickest way to knock 
down the gigantic robots.  If you cannot use the Super Laser after the 
Super Punch+Kick because the gauge is not full, then fire ryo at the 
robot as it reels backward and falls over.  Although the robot is 
invulnerable during this time period, hitting it with ryo will still 
build up your Super Laser gauge.

- Switching between characters uses up a few seconds every time you do 
it.  Try to keep this to a minimum.

- Some characters appear to be faster than others.  Maybe it is an 
optical illusion because he is small, but Sasuke seems to sprint faster 
than anyone and Yae appears to come in second.

- Sasuke is best equipped for killing non-boss enemies.  He can do the 
jump and strike and hit everything all around him.  This proves 
invaluable in saving time and not taking unnecessary damage.

- You can survive ridiculously high falls.  Take advantage of this.  
Also, if you do not want to absorb the landing and stutter, thrust your 
weapon outward near the end of the fall to save some time.

- Use that right-c button to keep yourself from getting lost.

- Most cinematic sequences cannot be skipped with the start button.  
That only brings up the status screen and wastes time.  A few do work 
though and will be indicated in the walkthrough.

- Whenever you are in conversation with someone, hit the A button as 
fast as possible to save time and go through it as fast as possible 
until you have to make a decision.  Make sure not to botch the decision 
and have to go through the conversation again.

- Get good at getting exactly to the place you want to teleport to on 
the teleportation screen fast.  Whether this means scrolling forward or 
backward through the locations should be known to you.  They happen to 
go in logical order of when you visit them.

- If in shallow water, jump while swimming to save a few seconds.

- When swimming underwater as Yae the mermaid, hold A and B.  B is 
faster and holding A gives you a couple quick kicks in between the 
longer strokes.

4. Walkthrough
_______________________________________________________


Goemon's House to Transformed Oedo Castle
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Hit start to skip the cinematic sequence.  Walk out of the house and 
immediately turn left.  Follow the lane to the door and go through it.  
Here go straight, past the hopping thief (he cannot catch you), under 
the red gate, and then turn a right and go through a door.  Here go 
straight and left to Kai Highway.  Here point yourself directly at the 
entrance to Mt. Fuji and go right toward it without falling into the 
water below.  The flying monsters are easily killed and the ground ones 
easily dodged.  To save time later on in the game, you can either enter 
the coffee shop and immediately leave now or when you return.  The 
choice is yours, but you need to be able to teleport there instead of 
Oedo Town to save a minute later on in the game.

At Mt. Fuji, head towards the first ladder you see and go up it.  The 
bullet shooting monsters are easily avoided.  Be aware the falling 
rocks here are destructible.  Take a right after the ladder and climb 
up the next ladder you see.  Take a left and hug the mountain until you 
go up the next ladder you see.  Take a right and follow the path to the 
next ladder.  Take a left here and use smart jumping to make it past 
the flipping panels without having to stop or falling down.  Take a 
right into the door in the mountain near the end.

At this point, head up while hugging the wall so the springs will 
either miss you or hit you without knocking you down.  Again, smart 
jumping prevents having to stop during the flipping panels.  Make it 
all the way up and out the door back to the outside of the mountain.  
You should exit the mountain facing outward.  Take a left from this 
perspective and head up the next ladder.  Take a right and follow the 
path to the next ladder.  Head up this ladder and go left into the door.  
Head immediately into the house by jumping across the gap.

Talk to the guy in there and be aware the right decision at the end of 
the conversation is the second choice so do not speed through too fast.  
The chain pipe might have greater range but it will usually force you 
to stop while attacking.  Consider this pro and con carefully when 
deciding which weapon to use in the future.  Exit the house.

=======================================================================
Sidepath Alert!

Exiting through the top doorway on the mini-map leads to a sparkling 
dumpling.  This causes a loss of about 10 seconds.
=======================================================================

Exit the mountain through the bottom door on the mini-map.  Once 
outside, immediately jump off the mountain and as far forward as you 
can.  Exit through the large doors.  Once back on Kai Highway, direct 
yourself back to town and head there as fast as possible.

Back in town, go forward and right down the path.  Back in this large 
area, head forward until you can go back left through the gate.  Head 
through the gate and keep going until you see the large doors on the 
left.  Go through these doors and across the bridge and through the 
next large doors.  Use the chain pipe to cross the gap on the right 
side.  Follow the path and use jumping to save time by cutting corners.  
Go through the doors and then up the path taking tight turns around the 
corners.  Go through the next doors.  Go forward and then take a right 
into the next set of doors when they appear to enter Transformed Oedo 
Castle.


Transformed Oedo Castle
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Head straight through the next room.  In the next area, turn left and 
start using the chain pipe to pull yourself across the gaps.  Realize 
that the chain pipe has a longer range than you think it does and you 
can usually pull yourself to a star block from wherever you are which 
is faster than walking or jumping.  Grab the silver key and turn 
around.  Go through the door with the silver lock.  In here, go forward 
and take a right into the door.

In here, try to kill more than one enemy with one hit.  The fatter 
robots take two hits so after the first hit knocks one over turn to 
another robot and hit it while the fatty is getting back up.  Try to 
kill the enemy nearest to the podium where the silver key shows up 
last.  Also, if an enemy is too far away to be killed fast, quickly 
switch to the ryo weapon and kill it from far away.  Go back out the 
door when you have the silver key.

From here go out to where there is a bunch of platforms floating in the 
water.  Locate where off in the distance in front of you and a little 
to the left there are two yellow circular platforms.  Head for the one 
farther away from you.  Get on to it from the water (swimming is slower 
than running though so plan your path accordingly) and get onto the 
wooden platform.  Follow the path out of the water area and to the door 
with the silver lock.  Go through the door.

In this next area, go forward and then take a right into an open area.  
Keep going toward the door in front of you while destroying the 
floating panels along the way.  If you do it correctly, the silver key 
will appear before you reach the door.  Otherwise stop and destroy a 
couple more to get it to appear.  Jump forward and grab the key and you 
should be able to open the silver lock door while you are coming down 
from grabbing the key.

In here take a right and go through the door.  Follow the path and 
dodge the enemies on your way to the door.  In here is another room 
with enemies who must die before you get a gold key.  Follow the same 
instructions I gave earlier for getting the silver key in a similar 
room.  Head back out the door and down the path in the next room.  Go 
through the door and get your chain pipe ready.  Use the chain pipe to 
go across the gap.

=======================================================================
Sidepath Alert!

Of the two doors in front of you, the one farther away has a sparkling 
dumpling.  However, it also has a large amount of coins.  Because of 
this, it is not such a large waste of time to get it if you need the 
health.  Be sure to read the end of this section though to see how to 
collect ryo quickly.
=======================================================================

Go through the nearer of the two doors with the gold key.  Go to the 
other end of the room and get on the elevator.  In this next room, head 
forward and then take a left.  Jump over the strange enemies attempting 
to push you off while advancing.  If you get hit once it is not a big 
deal, they do not usually cause you to lose much speed.  In this next 
room, wait for the block to fall in front of you and jump on it.  Jump 
to the next block as soon as you can and get the silver key.  Go past 
the third block and through the silver lock door.

In this next area, follow the path until you are horiontal from the 
yellow platform in the water.  Jump over to it and continue on to the 
path going through the first door you see.  Use rapid chain piping here 
to make your way to the door.  Here go through the door on your left.  
Head across the room and grab the silver key (you don't have to kill 
any robots; especially annoying are the new darker colored robots who 
take two hits, do not bother killing them at all).  Head back out the 
door and then through the door on your right.  Here chain pipe the 
second star block and jump to the walkway leading up to the door.  Go 
through the door.

Take a right and follow the path.  Grab the sparkling dumpling along 
the way.  Jump across the platforms without getting the map item along 
the way because that will only waste time.  In the next room head to 
the door on the other side ignoring or avoiding every enemy along the 
way.  In this room go forward and through the door on the right.

This room can be tricky for those not so awesome at jumping.  Look to 
the right and jump on the block when it falls.  As soon as the block is 
a little bit above the green stone platform jump onto the green stone 
platform from the wooden block.  Jump onto the next block when it is 
lowered and then the next block when it is lowered.  As soon as you 
make it onto the last block jump over and through the door.  Now go 
over and ride the elevator up.  Go through the conversation with the 
weirdo.  Then turn left and go through the opening doors dodging the 
cat along the way.

In this room is a very easy boss that can be killed fast and without 
getting hit.  First, equip the chain pipe because it attacks much 
faster in this situation.  Next, run right up to his red spot and start 
whailing on it.  After a part breaks off, he starts to spin around with 
lasers.  Jump over the lasers four time while talking to someone on the 
phone or whatever else keeps you interested during this pathetic 
attack.  You can hit him a few times with the chain pipe while dodging 
the lasers.  He will stop exactly where he started so after you jump 
over the fourth laser position yourself just to the right of where the 
fifth laser will stop and start whailing on him before the laser even 
dieappears. He will start taking damage and a part will break off in no 
time (literally, almost no time at all).  Rinse and repeat until 
satisfied.  Exit through the door that the screen centers on.  Talk to 
the two people in the next room and be warned you will be asked to save 
at the end.

Now you are outside the castle.  Now we are going to make the money 
needed for the rest of the game.  Inside the entrance to the castle are 
six pots with four Ryo coins each inside. 5 x 4 x 6 = 120.  120  Ryo 
each time you enter the castle and exit.  Keep doing this until you 
make around 1080.  The other 45 you will probably make on accident from 
killing enemies who are too much of a pain to avoid or from other 
places.  1050 is probably too little.  1100 is too much.  Also realize 
the pots may be on the way out so it would not waste time to get them 
if you feel like you have enough and are at the other side of the room.  
Use the same technique you use on enemies to get the pots.  Get the 
first coin on the way down and then run a tight circle to get the other 
three.  If one has gotten reasonably far away while you were getting 
the others, it might be wise to just let it go.  Once you are done, 
start on the next section.


Transformed Oedo Castle to Yamato
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Outside of the castle, take a left and follow the path.  At this next 
part, go halfway down the path and then jump left over the railing.  
Quickly jump over the next railing and go through the door.  If your 
feet do not trip up on the railing on your way over then your jump will 
be clean. If they do get stuck, then you will stutter a bit on your 
landing.  In the next area head towards the door at the opposite end 
using whatever tricks you used last time here to save time.  Head 
across the bridge and through the door.  Here take a right, go under 
the gate, and take a left.  Go through this door and in the next area 
go forward and then right through the large doors.  Head across the 
bridge, talk to the guards, and go through the large doors.

Here in Musashi, go across the bridge and take a right.  Go through the 
door that you see.  In this tunnel, follow the path while taking sharp 
turns around the corners and traveling in direct lines.  Enter the 
Shinano-Iga area.

In this new area, head straight up the incline and look for steps in 
the hill.  Head up the steps sticking to the right side.  Once the 
steps stop follow the path to the right.  Go up the step there and head 
back to the left.  Jump across these gaps quickly while collecting the 
Ryo along the way.  As tempting as it looks, you cannot make a shortcut 
jump up the incline from the first platform, you must jump to the 
second one before going up the incline.

=======================================================================
Sidepath Alert!

There is a sparkling dumpling right in front of you.  You lose about 5 
seconds getting it.  This is your first health regeneration point since 
Mt. Fuji and since you probably skipped that one, this one might be a 
good idea to grab especially because your next opportunity is not for a 
while and you have to fight a mini-boss in between.
=======================================================================

Make the final jumps up the steps and head down the road toward the 
large house (faster route along the grass of course).  Get through the 
conversation with the weird guy as fast as possible and sit through the 
Impact theme song.  Watch out for the save game question as well.  Get 
as much health and ammo as you feel like knowing that neither is really 
useful in the fight.

In this fight against the large robot Kashiwagi, Grapple him as soon as 
you can and then use the Super Punch.  If you have the bar built up, 
use Super Laser immediately after finishing the Super Punch.  Otherwise, 
grapple him as soon as he gets up.  If he is invulnerable and jumps 
around, Grapple him as soon as he lands.  Never should he be able to do 
any attack on you.  After you finish him off quickly without taking a 
hit, you will be sent back to the ground.  Get through the conversation.  
Beware of the save.  At first, the screen will have you facing the wrong 
direction but then scrolls around to the correct one.  However, you 
should be fast enough that you are moving right away.  Because of this, 
realize you should head in the direction he is facing and opposite that 
of the screen.

Head down the path and through the door to Zazen town.  Go forward and 
get through the conversation with Yae.  Go through the door, across the 
bridge, and through the door.  In this area go through the door to your 
left.  Walk up and converse with Benkei.  Afterwards jump off the 
bridge and go through the passage to your left.  Jump up the steps in 
the wall and talk to Ushiwaka.  Be aware the first decision you need to 
choose is the second choice.  Now begins the fish-catching fun.

To get three blue fish, drop off to the right and collect fish as you 
go returning when you are done.  For the five yellow fish, drop off to 
the right again (notice there is a yellow fish diagonal from Ushi in 
the initial area).  For the eight red fish, take the path to the left 
this time and follow it all the way to the end to collect the fish.  
Return and receive the Achilles Heel.  Now drop to the left and follow 
the path until underneath the bridge with Benkei on it.

Look for the ladder on the right wall and head up it.  Go over to the 
bridge.  Here you challenge Benkei.  If you aim the log to hit him right 
before he lands from his jump, you should be able to beat him in under 
25 seconds (for the third jump, press the B button right before he 
begins to jump).  Get through the conversation and go through the door.  
Welcome to Yamato.


Yamato to Ghost Toys Castle
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Yamato has a building in the middle that you won't even have to visit 
in this game.  Follow the path while making sure to be aiming at the 
exit in the lower left of the mini-map.  Jump down when you reach the 
edge of the path.  Now in Bamboo Forest, just run straight through.  In 
the Kii-Awaji Island area, follow the path until you come to the open 
area.  Head in a direct path to the path branching from the mainland to 
an island.  This takes you up a hill with a house to your left.  
However, before you go:

=======================================================================
Sidepath Alert!

There is a surprise pack right behind the house to your left as you go 
across the hill.  This results in a 5 second loss of time which is an 
awesome bargain for something as great as a surprise pack.  Unless you 
are a master of this game, I suggest taking this sidepath.
=======================================================================

Head along the path to the island.  Enter the house and talk to the 
woman inside.  At this point I heavily suggest being Goemon with a 
chain pipe.  Get through the conversation and get on the dragon.  While 
on the dragon, one type of flying enemy (with faces) will come right at 
you and could just as easily be dispatched with the pipe.  But the 
other enemy (with wings) will fall behind or get in an otherwise 
awkward position if you are continually going forward (which you should 
be).  In this area killing the enemies with faces is nearly essential 
because you cannot outrun them and dying is bad because you restart the 
dragon which is a big waste of time.  Make your way along the dragon 
until you reach the drum.

The drum is another very easy boss.  A severe warning here though: the 
game will glitch somewhat easily.  So if you get hit, do not do 
something like try to get into his fin.  This will cause bad things to 
happen such as the game crashing or you teleporting off the dragon and 
dying.  The drum is easy because you hit him with Goemon's chain pipe 
and then stand next to the dragon's back middle fin.  This ensures you 
will not fall off and 99% of the time you do not get hit.  When the 
drum stops spinning (early indicator: changes back into original color 
from yellow) hit him again then stand next to the back middle fin 
again.  Rinse and repeat.

After enduring the lengthy conversation, start heading up the steps 
with Goemon.  The rocks can be destroyed again.  When there is a 
building on the right and left, go through the one on the right.  Upon 
reaching the summit, toss 5 ryo into the donation box while running 
toward it.  Head back down the mountain ignoring enemies along the way.  
Keep going until you reach Folkypoke Village.  Here follow the path 
until you go through large doors to your left.  In the new area, 
immediately pull a 90 degree turn to the right and go through the door.  
Here go through the door directly across from you.  Welcome to Tosa.

Follow the path and jump down.  Go across the bridge and then up the 
path.  Go through the door to the Vine Bridge area.  This area is kind 
of crap for this type of game where you are going on speed and 
challenge.  There is a certain threshold speed where you go any faster 
and you will fall on the darker colored planks.  Figure this speed out 
and use it on the longer gaps and jump across the shorter ones.  Once 
across the bridge go through the door.  Detailed instructions: run, 
jump across gap, run, kill enemy, walk slowly, run, jump, run, jump, 
run, walk slowly, run, jump, run.  If you are feeling exceptionally 
bold, just jump onto the planks that will fall and then immediately jump 
from them onto a safe plank.  You have to be quick though.

Now you are in Iyo.  Follow the path and take the fork to the right 
when given a choice.  Enter the coffee house.  Talk to the woman dressed 
in a red kimono in the middle of the house.

=======================================================================
Sidepath Alert!

The old woman sells dumplings which restore your health.  At this 
point, your last regeneration was after Transformed Oedo Castle so you 
might really need this.  I usually have about two to three hearts at 
this point so it is a judgment call to be sure.  You lose about 5 
seconds doing this.
=======================================================================

After that exit the coffee house and play the flute as Yae.  Travel to 
Zazen Town and talk to Ushiwaka.  Drop off the path to your right and 
follow the path to the ladder and back to the second main area of town.  
Go into the second door on your right and switch to Ebisumaru.  
Converse with Ushiwaka.

This next part only makes a difference of about 5 seconds to half a 
minute depending on how skillful you are, so just follow some basic 
tips.  You can kill enemies while behind objects.  After he shakes his 
nose twice it is safe to start coming out because by the time you are 
out from behind the object the door is usually just about closed.  Once 
you have seven dumplings you might as well just go for the eighth one 
because it doesn't matter if you are being assaulted as you get the 
eighth one or if the door is closed.  Also, the dumplings fall 
regularly without regard to when you snatch them up so do not go after 
one that just fell if the door is about to be opened.

Converse with Ushiwaka.  Change to Yae and teleport to Iyo's coffee 
house.  Follow the path outside the coffe house, jump over the railing 
near the end, and take a left at the wall.  Head along this wall and 
switch to Ebisumaru.  At the far end of the building along the right 
wall, use the magic to make yourself tiny and go through the hole.  In 
this area go forward and then left.  At the first opening on the left, 
use the tiny magic again to go under the red ceiling.  Go forward and 
follow this path until near the end.  When there is a large stone block 
just behind you and to the right, turn around to the right and go up the 
ladder.  Switch to Goemon and use the chain pipe with some long distance 
and sometimes no-look piping to make it across the gaps.  Make some 
careful but fast jumps at the end and then enter Ghost Toys Castle 
through the large doors.


Ghost Toys Castle
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
You should still be Goemon from the chain piping.  Switch to ryo, charge 
up a flaming shot, and hit one of the candles with it as you are running 
forward.  While still running forward, charge up the other shot and hit 
the other candle.  By the time you reach the door it will be open.  In 
the next area just go through the door at the opposite end.  Here jump 
over the spikes while just trying to get through as fast as possible.  
In the next area take the path forward, to the left, and through the 
door.  In this area go forward a bit and then turn to the right.  Jump 
onto the circular boat-thing and get transported across the water.  Jump 
onto the path and collect a dumpling along the way if needed from the 
spikes earlier.  Jump over the spikes that rise up along the path.  Go 
through the door at the end of this path.

In this area note the enemies like to jump.  Therefore, if you are still 
Goemon, just start throwing ryo at them to save time.  If you are not, 
use the normal technique to kill the enemies and grab the silver key.  
Go through the silver lock door.  Here you need to do a diagonal jump 
forward and to the left.  Once in the water, swim to the incline leading 
to the door.  Go through the door and then in the new area hop onto the 
elevator and ride it down.  In this area jump across the panels without 
falling.  If you do fall, get back onto the closest panel because 
swimming's slowness really gets you here.  At the end of the panels jump 
onto the wire grid thing and ride the elevator back up.  At the top turn 
to the left and head to and through the door.

In this area, head forward quickly and jump on the switch to turn the 
crane game on.  Then turn to your left and jump onto the small pillar to 
get the silver key.  Then make a jump to the left onto the pillar with 
the silver cat.  Try to not get the silver cat by landing on the corner.  
This is possible to do, I have done it, but could be difficult.  If you 
do hit the cat, you lose a few seconds, but this is the only time a cat 
gets in your way so do not worry about losing the "no cat" bragging 
rights.  Now jump off the pillar and over the railing into the area 
beyond.  Turn to the right and get ready to play the crane game.

For the crane game, after you beat the entire game a few times the crane 
game becomes something easily won on the first time.  It is a real 
practice makes perfect thing.  You have to watch the shadow of the crane 
as it moves along the ceiling and the game gives quite a bit of 
forgiveness on missing the camera.  Turn into Ebisumaru while the crane 
is bringing the camera to you.  Go over and pick up the camera.  Then 
turn around and head in the opposite direction to the door and go 
through it.  Follow the path through the different rooms using the same 
techniques as before.  Note the boat room has returned the dumplings.  
Once you reach the room with a door in front of you with a silver lock, 
a door to the left you entered earlier, and panels in the water, go 
forward and through the silver lock door.

In this room, switch to Ebisumaru if not already him and pretty much 
stay as him the rest of the dungeon.  Equip his camera and charge it up.  
Release the camera and use it as soon as the icon stops flashing in the 
lower left of the screen.  Avoid the map item in the middle of the 
platform.  Destroy the ghosts quickly once they become vulnerable and 
head through the newly opened door under the red thing (only in a game 
like this do I have to keep describing objects in the game as "things").  
Go through this next area up the incline and aiming for the door on the 
left.  Collect a dumpling along the way if necessary.  In this room use 
the camera and destroy the ghosts quickly again.  A nice trick is to 
stand in the middle so all the ghosts come right at you.  After using 
the camera, a quick swipe of the hammer will take out every one of them.  
Afterwards collect the silver key and exit the room.

Now head forward jumping over the spikes and trying to not fall in the 
red water along the way which will damage you.  Use the silver key on 
the silver lock door and go through.  Avoid the enemies and go up the 
stairs to your right.  Follow the path and take the elevator up.  Head 
to the door on your left that is not locked and go through it.  Go up 
the walkway to your left in this room while saving time by making jumps 
to skip running.  This room is a real pain for traveling through 
quickly.  You have to jump on the first spinning top when it is on the 
left side because you need the little extra space to make it onto the 
spinning top.  The next two are aligned travelling reverse of the first 
one.  The last one travels the same as the first one.  It appears to be 
possible to jump from the first one directly to the fourth one by moving 
very quickly and anticipating when the earliest you can make it to the 
second one is.  However, this proves very difficult to impossible.  
Falling is worse than anything else here.

After you collect the silver key jump into the water and start swimming 
back.  Hopefully you die along the way and are transported to the 
entrance of the area which makes for a very efficient and time-saving 
exit as opposed to riding the tops back.  Otherwise swimming still gets 
you there faster.  In this room where you were earlier, turn to the left 
and go through the door with the silver lock.  This next area is another 
place where massive time can be saved if you take damage.  First, follow 
the path forward and use normal jumping and runnings skills and tricks 
to save time as you make it across the traps and platforms.  At the end 
will be a door which you should go through.

In this room use the camera and hammer to kill three ghosts and three 
other things.  Collect the silver key and exit the room.  Here, head to 
the right using the spinning tops to make it to the end with the silver 
lock door.  The platform with the silver lock door cannot be accessed 
except by riding the spinning tops.  After going through the silver lock 
door, run like a madman through this area to the other end with a door.  
Just ignore the jump ropes and hope they do not hit you.  After going 
through the door, use your camera to reveal the floor.  Grab the gold 
key at the end forward and to the right.  And obviously:

=======================================================================
Sidepath Alert!

Been a while since one of these was available.  There is a surprise pack 
sitting in an easy and obvious location forward and to the left of the 
entrance.  You only waste about 5 seconds getting it so again, just like 
the one on Kii-Awaji Island, this is recommended getting until you are a 
master.  Especially because you will die in this dungeon once or twice.
=======================================================================

After getting the gold key exit the room and run across the jump rope 
room again and through the door.  Now eyeball the walkway off in the 
distance in front of you.  Take a long leap of faith and swim like mad 
to the walkway.  If you swim while jumping you will lose a heart and a 
half so take that into account.  Yes there is a sparkling dumpling 
around but it takes so long to get it is definitely not getting a 
sidepath mention.  Go through the door with the gold lock after going up 
the walkway to the platform.

In this room, go forward and take the first left and through the door.  
Here all you need to do is hit the pool ball with the red arrow over it.  
No aiming is necessary.  Because of this, as you probably have already 
seen in the credits, it may be advantageous to switch to Goemon and use 
his ryo.  It really is a matter of personal preference and probably 
luck.  Get the silver key after it appears and go through the silver 
lock door.  Make it through this trap room by jumping over the spinning 
spikes to save time.  At the fork take a left and follow the path to the 
diamond key.  Now head back down the path and:

=======================================================================
Sidepath Alert!

And another one very soon.  On the way back down, if you take a fork in 
the road to the left and not back to the entrance, there is a sparkling 
dumpling.  This results in a loss of time of just over 5 seconds.  If 
you have only lost one life so far and got both the surprise packs, this 
is probably not an issue.  Yes your life gauge is looking pretty bad 
because of the swimming and you probably got hit once in the trap room, 
but if you have three lives, you definitely have got spares to burn.  If 
you have one life or zero, grabbing this dumpling might not be such a 
bad idea.  Actually, a better way of grabbing it is to jump into the red 
water and swim over to its location from the diamond key, drastically 
reducing the time loss to almost time saved but losing half a heart in 
the process so be warned of that.
=======================================================================

Go through the door back to the pool room and through the door in there 
on the right side of the wall at the end.  Back in this larger room go 
forward and then take a left at the fork.  Follow the path and go 
through the diamond lock door.  In this room run straight to the 
elevator and go up it making sure you are Ebisumaru.  Now we have 
another boss fight which, instead of very easy, can be considered just 
easy.

Do the camera thing and then switch to Goemon and equip his chain pipe 
and hit him in the heart.  Run tight circles around the boss stopping 
when you are right behind him.  He should be attacking in front of you 
while you are behind him.  When the heart appears just smack it with the 
chain pipe very quickly.  His heart will flicker and, if you continue to 
assault his heart, it is possible to hit the heart again before it is 
removed which will allow you to beat the boss in half the time.  If he 
jumps far away and starts throwing bombs just run in a circular path 
toward him and aim to get behind him again as soon as you can.  It is a 
possible you might get hit during this battle.  After he takes several 
hits he goes down and you are forced into a lengthy  conversation with a 
weird guy and Dancin'.  Be warned there is a save option at the end.  
After the end you are transported outside of the Ghost Toys Castle.


Ghost Toys Castle to Festival Temple Castle
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
As soon as you are out, do the flute thing and teleport to Zazen Town.  
Once there head forward until in the first main area.  Go up the stairs 
and then take a right going through the door at the end.  Travel through 
the indoor path and through the door.  Follow the path and jump off at 
the turn.  Go forward and through the large doors.  Head across the 
bridge, through the door, and into the Shizen region.  Follow the path 
all the way to the end and through the door.  Here in Izumo, take a left 
and head towards the coffee house.  Go in and out of the coffee house 
quickly to trigger it as a teleporter location.  Now head out of the 
coffe house and take a left (in the perspective of facing out from the 
coffee house).  Follow the path all the way to the door.

The desert can be tricky to explain.  Initially, you want to head 
towards the right and go up an incline.  After a short while, it will 
appear that you can either deviate left or right along the path (you 
will notice the incline will suddenly peak).  Take a right and then 
continue forward.  A very short while after this to your left you should 
see an oasis.  Head down and aim directly for the battery.

=======================================================================
Sidepath Alert!

Another easy and quick to get sparkling dumpling in this area right near 
the battery.  Your last health regeneration was probably the one near 
the end of Ghost Toys Castle.  This takes about 5 seconds to grab, but 
you might have virtually full health.  The next health regeneration is 
not until the end of Festival Temple Castle though so take that into 
account and try to figure out how good you are at this next section 
before and in Festival Temple Castle.
=======================================================================

Pull out that flute and teleport back to the Izumo coffee house.  Now 
head toward the middle of the area and take the path up the large hill.  
Follow the path all the way to the house and go through the door.  Here, 
go straight for the tree and then go up the platforms behind the tree.  
Once at the top of the tree, use the camera to get the second battery 
and make it through the lengthy conversation as fast as possible.  After 
finishing this sequence exit the lake and head down the hill aiming in 
the right direction.  After you fall down the hill on the right side, 
you should see large doors right in front of you.  Might as well go 
through them.

Now you are in Hagi.  Head straight in front of you all the way to the 
end and there should be large doors to your right right before you hit 
the wall.  Go through them.  Now you are in an area I would rather not 
try to spell.  Go forward here and look for wooden fences in the 
distance.  Follow the road in between the fences after jumping over the 
fence on the right.  Go through the doors that are right of where the 
path ends.  In this cave area follow the path all the way to the end and 
use Sasuke's fire cracker to open the door.  At this point you will 
actually want to save your game at the fence outside the door.  Enter 
the door to reach Festival Temple Castle.


Festival Temple Castle
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Once you enter this dungeon which is rather bright and cheerful, look 
for a gap in the fence on the left immediately.  Go through the gap and 
look for a gap in the wall to the right of the gap you walked through.  
After going through this gap take a right and follow the path and 
through the door.  In this room head forward and out of the path by 
going through the gap.  Take a left and jump across the gaps.  Go 
through the door.  In this area go forward across the water and take a 
right once you approach the spinning spikes and through the door.  In 
this room go forward and then left and go through the door.  This next 
area will be a sort of template for the next 15 minutes; you will spend 
your time running around areas like this one in this dungeon.  Take a 
left and follow the path until there is a door on your right.  Enter 
this door.

In this area just run straight forward and up the stairs and through the 
door.  In this next area jump quickly up the stairs and then over to the 
right.  Let the stairs move upward and then as soon as you feel you can 
jump over to the area with the door go for it.  Go through this door.  
In the next area take a left and follow the wall until there is a door 
on the left.  Go through it.  Jump onto the moving platform second from 
the left.  Jump over to the right and through the door.  Grab the silver 
key and then exit quickly.  Jump all the way to the third platform 
quickly.  Jump over to the left side and go through the door.  Take a 
right and follow the wall until you can go through the door on your 
right.  Once in here head immediately for the moving stairs in the 
middle.  Cause them to move up and at the minimum point jump up to the 
door and go through it.

Once in here jump to either the right or left ladder and make your way 
up it.  Use Goemon's chain pipe to reach the platform with the door.  Go 
through the door.  Back out here, follow the path left until the door 
that you entered through earlier appears forward and to the right.  Go 
through this door.  Go forward and left here and through the silver lock 
door.  Turn left and follow the path all the way to the end.  You will 
have to jump over a railing and onto the platform at the end.  Go 
through the door on the platform.  Here take a right and follow the path 
all the way to the end with the kunai of severe cold.  Grab it and get 
through the explanation then head back all the way to the entrance of 
the dungeon using whatever skills and tricks you feel like.  Note that 
like Goemon Sasuke now has a distance shot.

At the entrance, head up the stairs and take the path to the right 
heading underneath the stompers along the way which will not hit you if 
you go fast and hug the wall.  At the end of the path will be a door on 
the left wall.  Go through it.  In this room freeze the platforms while 
moving forward and jump onto them and across the gap.  Go through the 
door on the opposite side.  In this room go forward and to the right.  
Jump on to the platform and start freezing the platforms.  You should 
freeze all four of them while standing on the platform and not while in 
the air.  They need to be low.  The third one should be done halfway 
between your platform and the fourth burning platform.  Make your way 
over and along the path while jumping around the corner as a shortcut to 
save time and avoid the samurai type thing.  Go through the door at the 
end of the path.

Here just run along the path fast and the fire foxes will be unable to 
do anything.  Watch out for the gap between the ends on the sides and 
the wall.  Go through the door on the left wall near the end of the 
path.  Here freeze the platform halfway between you and the area with 
the key.  It would really be a shame if you fell at this point, so have 
a little extra caution.  Go over and grab the gold key.  If you are 
having extreme ryo issues, bust open the pot for around 40 ryo.  After 
you get the key, fall down and go through the door which is under where 
you got the key.  Here you should go to the right a bit and then jump 
over the railing. Now head left and make your way all the way back to 
the room where there was a silver lock in front of you and an open door 
forward and to the left (this room was discovered after going through 
the spinning spike water room; for further information check paragraph 
one of this section).

Go through the door on the left in this room.  In this room, go through 
the door with the gold lock on the right.  In this next room, follow the 
path until right before the first fire fox on the left.  Right before 
him, jump onto the overhang.  Follow the overhang until you are past the 
water, saving valuable time by running instead of swimming.  Once you 
are past the water, go through the door on the right wall.

This area, as you probably would have guessed, can make or break your 
game.  You need to pull this area off fast and flawlessly.  Get the 
camera angle to something you will like as you head down the path 
because if you fight the camera angle here, you are finished.  Jump onto 
the platform to your right as it comes almost all the way over, but then 
maske a somewhat difficult jump onto the area beyond.  Get onto the 
first fin as it begins to slow down toward you indicating it is reaching 
the shortest distance.  Once the fin begins to slow down jump onto the 
area beyond.  Make your way up the first ladder, turn around and go up 
the second, then wait for the second fin to arrive.

Once the second fin comes, jump onto it and immediately begin running 
for the center.  Grab the sparkling dumpling which is directly along the 
way and on the center platform.  From the center platform jump onto the 
third fin directly across.  Ride this one up a lot and as it slows down 
make a quick jump onto the area beyond (it looks too high but it is 
not).  Alright hopefully you did this fast without falling once.  Now 
head over to the ladder forward and to the left and go up it.  Go 
through the only door in your sight after you are up the ladder.  Now 
make your way across to the far end and through the door.  Choose a 
character who is going to work well for the next boss (Goemon? Yae? not 
Sasuke! Ebisumaru is iffy) and drop down to fight.

Now you fight a boss.  Unfortunately, fighting this boss in hardcore 
mode is going to end up being FRICKIN INSANE.  Since the bosses before 
were so difficult and all it really justifies doing this.  Anyway, for 
the first mode just run around in a circle on the outside.  After he 
throws the third blue, um, let's call them clouds.  After he throws the 
third pair of blue clouds, stop and hit the red clouds back at him.  Do 
this four times and try not to get hit as you strike the red ones back 
because if you do it too late they hit both of you.  Now that was not so 
bad.  Now the boss goes into crazy mode though.

Continue the tactic of running in a circle on the outside and I doubt 
either one of us would really feel like counting the number of green 
clouds before he throws the red pair.  The red pair go slower than the 
green ones do though so you can make it through this part with hopefully 
only a scratch or two.  Just stop to hit the red ones.  Try not to get 
hit by them and in this instance all through this boss battle do not 
jump and attack the clouds.  If you have three hearts or more at the end 
of crazy mode then you are doing fine.  Now we enter psycho mode.

And crap.  This is where you get buried especially if this is one of 
your first times trying this hardcore game.  Wow, he wasn't so hard when 
we had a high life gauge was he?  I have tried so many different things 
with this mode.  Running circles and reversing direction.  Running close 
and back out.  A combination of the two.  Well, he tends to throw them 
in a circle and going in and out, close and far away.  You need to run 
with his throws and be close when he throws far away and far away when 
throws close.  Oh yeah of course, sounds so easy when I say it.  So good 
luck and I'll see you in a bit.

Well actually there is another trick that works sometimes.  Stand right 
next to him until he throws the first cloud and then run to the outside 
and stay there.  Only move on the outside if a cloud is about hit you.  
Normally you take less damage this way.  And you only have to hit the 
red clouds back three times for this mode.

On further review, it appears that the tactic of standing still in this 
mode and moving a bit out of the way if a cloud is coming toward you is 
the best option.  You might even have as much as three hearts left over 
at the end of the battle if you use this strategy.  The thing is though, 
the whole him having a lower probability of hitting you if you stand 
still than if you move makes me think "particle in a box" every time and 
that sort of bothers me.  I feel elementary quantum mechanics needs to 
stay out of video games.

So, after the game has mercy on you and you beat the boss, endure the 
lengthy conversation afterwards and get through it fast.  Be warned of 
the save option at the end.  You are then transported outside of the 
Festival Temple Castle.  Oh and that was the hardest part of playing the 
game this way so pat yourself on the back.


Festival Temple Castle to Gourmet Submarine
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Unlike from Ghost Toys to Festival Temple, this next interlude is a long 
one.  But we are going to do a few things that will make things faster 
and easier.

So head down the path towards the only other yellow dot on that mini-map 
to exit the cave.  Then follow the path to the gap in between the wooden 
fences.  Now head toward the yellow dot in the lower left of the mini-
map.  Go through the door there and follow the path.  Get yourself 
through the long sequence.  Immediately afterwards, play that magic 
flute and get yourself to Oedo Town.  Go forward from the direction Yae 
is facing and through the door.  Here follow the path to the right and 
go through the door at the very end.  In this area go through the second 
door on the right.

Another weird mini-game.  Since this one has a forced time limit that 
you must endure, there is nothing you can do to speed it up.  Therefore 
just win it and be done with it.  Exit the house, take a left, and go 
through the door at the end.  Follow the path and take the fork to the 
left when it is available and through the door.  Head across the bridge 
and out the large doors.  Welcome back to Musashi.

This time go across the bridge and go to the left.  Follow the path and 
take the incline to the left when presented with a choice.  Jump across 
the gap and use sudden impact on the metal box.  As soon as you can fit 
through the gap left of the metal box, go through it and jump up onto 
the raised area and go through the door.

In this area jump onto the wooden floating platform.  Make your way 
across the rotating platforms recognizing that an angle of less than 45 
degrees platform rotation is very do-able.  Jump onto the raised area 
and go through the door.  In this next area head over to the ladder to 
your right and go up it.  Now make your way quickly across the floating 
platforms to your right ignoring the raised area in front of you.

=======================================================================
Sidepath Alert!

By taking the fork to the right at the wooden platforms, you can reach a 
sparkling dumpling.  This loses about 5 to 10 seconds of your time.  If 
you feel you might run out of health but can tough it out, you might 
want to wait until the sparkling dumpling on top of Mt. Fuji a little 
while later.
=======================================================================

Take the left fork at the wooden platforms to continue.  Follow the path 
to the red switch and hit it with your weapon.  Jump on the first 
floating platform immediately by getting onto it from the area 
horizontal to it if needed.  Make a continuous jump from the second to 
fourth platform.  From the fifth platform jump onto the raised area and 
go through the door.  Here run straight through ignoring everything and 
go through the door at the end.  You are now in Festival Village.  Go 
forward and jump down off the ledge.  Aim for the stairs going upward 
and go up them.  Turn around near the top and jump over to a bald man in 
a blue robe.  Talk to him.  Whip out the flute of awesomeness and get 
yourself to the Kai coffee house.  Yes, that is why I told you to enter 
it way earlier in the game.

Go back up to Mt. Fuji.  For information on how to do this fast, see the 
beginning of this walkthrough.  Note the sparkling dumpling if you did 
not get the last one and need one now.  After you get the upgraded 
weapons (second choice again) head for the closest door (if you need the 
sparkling dumpling make it that door you exit through; note this results 
in a loss of maybe only 1 or 2 seconds this time around) and go out it.  
Materialize the magical flute in front of you and teleport to Festival 
Village.  Head straight and up the same stairs as before.  Go through 
the door in front of you.  Take a right here and follow the path to the 
large doors and go through them.

Here in Mutsu you need to go left and follow the path until you see the 
large doors a great distance in front of you.  Then take a right and go 
up the incline near the stone inscription/mini-obelisk.  Go up and 
strike the big obelisk with your improved weapon to incur yet another 
strange event in this game.  Follow the path to a ladder and go up it.  
Follow the path to a ladder and go up it.  Follow the path to a ladder 
and go up it.  Follow the path to a ladder and go up it but first go 
across a bridge.  Hug the inside track for all these paths.  When you 
reach the house go in it.

Talk to the Witch and get through the sequence.  Get back outside, play 
the flute and teleport to Festival Village.  Yes this is faster than 
running.  Oh and by the way, if you did not know, there is an amusing 
scene with the Witch if you talk to her afterwards as Sasuke.  Save it 
for a non-hardcore game though.  Turn around and go through the door.  
Follow the path and take the fork to the right when it is available.  Go 
through the door at the end of the path.

In here follow the path until the path goes left and you have the option 
of jumping off.  Do so and aim for the door below.  Go through the door.  
In this next room read the sign and get Yae's mermaid powers.  This 
mini-game is pretty easy but sometimes the game will be dumb and get you 
stuck at the top for 10 seconds or more by throwing the oyatakas down 
all over the place (read: exactly where you are) and you cannot see 
where they are coming from.  If the game is not dumb, then just blaze 
through it with your old skool gaming skills (Galaga without shooting or 
complex enemy movement comes to mind).

Afterwards, exit the room.  Now make your way out of Uzen Tunnel using 
jumps to cut corners and save time where appropriate.  Make your way all 
the way back to Mutsu (the area with the Witch).  This time keep going 
toward the large doors (the yellow dot in the lower left corner of the 
mini-map).  Go through the doors.  In this area, head toward the lower 
left area on the mini-map.  Once you are in the water, switch into Yae 
as a mermaid.  Keep going to the lower left and submerge yourself to hit 
the red switch.

Now make your way to the upper left yellow dot on the mini-map.  Go 
through the hole in the wall.  Here you really need to pull up the mini-
map.  Follow the path on the mini-map and take the first left under a 
sort of ice triangle gate that is possible.  Take another left and go 
under the next ice triangle gate.  You should now see the back of the 
submarine.  Go toward the middle on the right side and swim to the pipe.  
Once inside, swim upward and then turn around at the top and swim 
against the current.  Once you can swim up (you should see a yellow 
flashing "in" and an arrow), do so.  Become human again at the top and 
ride the elevator up.  You are now in Gourmet Submarine.  Oh but first:

=======================================================================
Sidepath Alert!

When you first enter the area where I tell you using the mini-map is a 
must, there is a surprise pack forward, down, and to the right.  The 
reason I am mentioning this after I instruct you to enter the Gorumet 
Submarine is because this is the worst sidepath in the game that does 
not waste enough time to not be considered at all.  You really should 
not need another surprise pack because if you needed them at any point 
you got two already and this one is over 10 seconds out of the way.  2 
lives is more than enough for this point in the challenge.  However if 
you read ahead then the choice is yours.
=======================================================================


Gourmet Submarine
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Shortest dungeon of the four.  Strange but true.  In the first room, 
head towards either door.  They both lead to the same place and are of 
negligible time difference.  If in the lava room, just keep jumping to 
the left and forward and go through the door.  The last jump you will 
lose half a heart.  Using the chain pipe slows you down.  If in a room 
with enemies go forward and take a sharp left.  Go through the door and 
jump across the gap and go through the door.  Now in this room jump onto 
the first floating wooden platform.  From here jump onto the center 
platform and then the wooden platform to the right.  Keep going and go 
through the door.

In this room just keep going forward and jumping across gaps eventually 
going through the door at the end.  If you are not Goemon then who 
cares.  You will only lose half a heart if you jump your way across the 
final part of the lava because after you fall in you will make it out 
without getting hurt again.  In this next room go up the walkway and 
make your way across the platforms to the silver key.  The pattern is 
emtpy panel, panel with enemies, and panel with seafood.  Get the silver 
key, jump down into the water, aim for and go up the walkway, and go 
through the door.  Here jump across the first gap then jump into the 
lava again and keep going through it to the ladder.  Go up the ladder 
and through the door.

=======================================================================
Sidepath Alert!

At the center platform between the three wooden platform, taking the 
right path leads to a delay of about 5 seconds and a sparkling dumpling.  
You probably need this because the last regeneration was a while ago 
(likely Mt. Fuji) and you just braved the lava.  Unless you died at some 
point.  Then you probably have enough health.  Check the next sidepath 
though for a reason to skip this one.
=======================================================================

Now in this room go straight across the wooden platform and two regular 
platforms and through the silver lock door.  Here go straight ahead and 
take a left when possible.  Go down the elevator and fall into the red 
water.  Go through the door underwater near where the elevator ends up.  
Hrre stay low and go fast hugging the right wall.  Collect the lower ryo 
along the way if you really, really need it (read: you are below 800).  
Go through the door on the right wall at the end.  Here go forward and 
right to collect the silver key.  Then turn around to the left and go 
straight ahead to the silver lock door (what was the point of that 
anyway).

In this room go to the left and follow the path until there is an 
incline on your right.  Go up the incline, become human, and jump down 
and through the door as you fall.  This room lets you show off your 
skills again.  Go forward along the conveyor belt and jump to the next 
conveyor belt in front of you.  Immediately jump to the next conveyor 
belt and jump down it to go down faster.  Jump to the platform and grab 
the silver key and then immediately turn to the right and jump into the 
lava.  Bounce your burnt butt all the way to the ladder, go up it, and 
go through the door.

In this room look ahead at the gold lock door and then turn to the left 
and follow the path to the raised ledge.  Jump up to the raised ledge 
and pull yourself up.  Grab the gold key and turn around.  Aim for the 
gold lock door and go through it.  In this room grab the silver key and 
leave.  If you have a good amount of health you can burn yourself to 
dodge the bazooka.  Otherwise do some skillfull jumping.  Exit the room 
and go forward and to the left to the silver lock door and go through 
it.

In this room do the Yae mermaid thing and swim down to the door on the 
left.  In this room swim up to the platform forward and to your right.  
Get on the elevator and switch to Ebisumaru on the way up.  Now use his 
camera to reveal the path.  Follow the path and use skillful jumping to 
create shortcuts.

=======================================================================
Sidepath Alert!

By continuing along the path past the door and to the right, a sparkling 
dumpling is in sight.  This one delays about 5 seconds and whether is it 
preferable to the other one in this dungeon is shaky.  However since 
this one appears later it probably gets preference.
=======================================================================

Go through the door at the end of the path.  In this room kill the two 
enemies quickly and grab the silver key when they die.  Go through the 
next door.  In this room get on the bowl to your right and get as far 
away on the bowl from the fire fox as possible.  If you do this they 
will not be an issue at all.

Ride the bowl to the middle and jump on the one to the left.  Ride this 
bowl to the raised area and jump onto it.  Go through the silver lock 
door on the left.  In this room use the camera and then smart jumping to 
create shortcuts.  If you have at least a couple hearts (and you should 
considering the two sparkling dumplins in this dungeon), skip doing the 
camera and go straight for the diamond key.  Grab the diamond key and 
exit the room.  Back in this room, jump on to the bowl and ride it to 
the middle.  Get on the bowl going to the right and ride it back to the 
raised platform.  Go straight ahead and through the diamond lock door.  
Here ride the elevator up.  In this sort of anti-climactic room, just 
sprint along the grid railing collecting the two dumplings along the 
way.  Go through the door and sit through the lengthy sequence.  Be 
warned of the save option at the end.

You now fight another Impact battle (been a while since the last one 
really) against Thaisamba 2.  The same Grappler, Super Punch, and Super 
Laser rule applies here.  He jumps around in and out of the water at 
first which makes him a bit more annoying to Grapple than the last large 
boss.  However, you can get the first Grapple easy by looking at where 
he is underwater on the radar.  Then just Grapple him right after he 
lands from your Kick at the end of the Super Punch.  After doing this 
three times in under 20 seconds, he does the underwater thing.  He 
charges at you right away from the center but if you expect that the 
attack is nothing but a joke.  Timing a Super Punch for his charge would 
be awesome but difficult.  If you do it though and follow with a Super 
Laser then one more Super Punch afterwards and he goes down.  Otherwise 
do a regular Punch, Grapple, Super Punch and Super Laser, then one more 
Super Punch to finish him off.  If he summons whirlpools from a distance 
away, stop that short with a Super Laser.


Gourmet Submarine to Gorgeous Musical Castle
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
This part of the guide address areas you have already been to.  
Therefore, I am only giving directions on where to go next and how to 
get there.  I am not telling which railing to jump over or which corner 
to turn faster because you should already know those by the amount of 
time you spent in these areas.

So you start off outside the Sea of Japan.  Finish talking to Impact, 
beware the save, and then it is flute time.  Get yourself to Zazen Town.  
Go through the doors to the first main area and then through the door on 
the left.  Talk to Benkei then exit back through the same door.  Go up 
the stairs and take the path to the right to the end.  Go through the 
door to the indoor area.  Take a left at the first place where there is 
a gap and get on the stone right in front of the lake.  Talk to Kihachi.  
Go back out and to the left and through the door.  In this second main 
area, go down and talk to the woman in the red kimono near the corner of 
the path (you're jumping down the railing here right?).

Now that we have triggered the next event, go through the second door on 
your right (the one leading to the Golden Temple).  Talk to the priest, 
get the gold key, and exit back out.  Go through the door to your right, 
across the bridge, and through the door into the Bizen region.  Go 
through the gold lock door directly to your right.  Talk to the guy in 
that house.

This training is obviously a place where you can save time or not.  Do 
not fall.  If the choice is between saving a second near the top and 
falling all the way to the bottom, make the smart choice.  Zoom out on 
the camera angle once to see farther up the tower because they start you 
all the way zoomed in.  Anticipate when the the platforms will be 
available and if you can make another jump immediately after the one you 
just made then go for it.  Watch out for the yellow bumpers though 
because they have this ability to defy physical laws and bump you clear 
off if you get too close to them.  If you feel like you can jump your 
way out of something that should make you fall, then go for it.  Just 
use those mad jumping skills and the stuff you learned from playing 
Mario 64 probably.  A great time to finish in is with 60 seconds left.  
If you cannot do this, I suggest becoming more daring.

After finishing the training, wrap up your conversation with the guy and 
exit the house.  Oh and a big note: with this ability Sasuke can cut 
large amounts of time off at various points.  I will mention the points 
where he can save over 10 seconds, but it should be obvious where to use 
this skill.  He can now jump much higher and drift as he jumps.  Think 
about it and figure it out.  He can especially save time in the next 
dungeon.  Anyway after exiting the house go back to the Zazen Town 
second main area.

Go through the second door on your left.  Follow the path all the way to 
the end, make your way up to the raised area, and make the exchange of 
800 ryo for a cucumber which has to be extortion.  Now head all the way 
back to Kihachi.  Make the exchange for the miracle item.  Now get out 
of town through the Yamato region because it is the cloest area outside 
of town.  Play that flute sadly for the last time and teleport on over 
to the Festival Village.  Go through the village to the Mutsu region.  
Go through this region to outside the Sea of Japan.  Here follow the 
path all the way to the end instead of jumping in the water.  Go through 
the large doors at the end and get on top of the large circular stone.  
Beware of the save and be transported to outer space.


Gorgeous Musical Castle
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Head up the pathway and go through the door to your left.  In this room 
slide yourself behind the upright panels and run straight through to the 
door collecting a sparkling dumpling and ryo along the way.  After going 
through the door, follow the grid and take a left at the only fork.  
After using the super jump magic to save lots of time, grab the silver 
key and turn around.  Follow the path back to the silver lock door and 
go through it.  In here are two saprkling dumplings which you do not 
need because you just got one.  Jump on to the first fan and super jump 
to the one right next to the gold key.  Grab the gold key, jump onto the 
fan, super jump to the fan nearest the original platform, and make your 
way out the door.  Falling here is not faster because the ladder takes 
too much time to ascend.

Back in this large room, jump down and aim to the left.  Go through the 
door that you should see.  Rambo through these next two rooms only 
getting hit once in each.  Drop down to the left in this room (easy to 
get sparkling dumpling in here; again you do not need it) and through 
the door.  Back in the first room of the dungeon, take a left and go 
through the gold lock door.  When in here immediately look to your right 
and super jump up to the floating purple panels.  If you cannot reach 
those at least go for the ledge.

Up here use super jump to save time while dodging the map item.  Use 
super jump to bypass the metal box and grab the gold key across the gap.  
Drop down to the left and through the door.  Jump onto the first fan, 
super jump to the second to last fan, and then super jump to the raised 
area and go through the door.  In here head straight for the small hole 
in the forward and left direction.  Do the mini magic, through the hole, 
normalize, grab the gold key, mini magic, and back through the hole.  
Normalize and jump down to the incline below you going through the door 
on the way down by holding back.  Follow the path in this area and 
through the door.

In this next room jump onto the first platform and super jump your way 
onto the ledge after the first time it rotates.  For the next block, 
super jump to the ledge again after its first rotation.  For the next 
block, super jump to the left side of the ledge immediately after you 
jump onto the ledge.  For these last two blocks, if they are too far 
away to reach by jumping then super jump to them and continue as normal.  
Grab the diamond key, drop down right below it, and backtrack out two 
rooms to the area where you used the gold key.  Here immediately head 
for the ladder to the right, ascend it, and then turn around to the 
right and super jump to the diamond lock door and go through it.

Now take a right and rambo your way along the path.  At the end super 
jump to the door and through it.  Now look to the right and super jump 
over to the ledge.  Hit the red switch and ascend the block stairs.  
Swim directly for the door at the end of the water and go through it.  
Welcome to Kyushu Village.  Or whatever its name is.

Here follow the path and go through the gate.  In this area, stay a safe 
distance away from the rose flower throwers and jump if they throw 
flowers because in this game the flowers are lethal.  Two of them and 
you probably die.  So use those skills.  Continue following the path all 
the way to the next gate.  Right before this gate take a left and go 
through the door there.  Head straight for Omitsu and talk to her.  
Afterwards, exit and take a right.  Go through the door you see along 
the way and go straight for Wise Man.  Finish the conversation and exit 
the restaurant.  Take a left and through the gate.  Follow the path 
until you reach tbe barricaded door.  Bust through the door with your 
upgraded weapon and go through the next door on your left.  You are now 
back in Gorgeous Musical Castle.

Almost done, beautiful.  Charge forward, take the stairs to your left, 
and go through the door on that side.  Make your way across the gap 
using super jump to get from the second platform to the door directly in 
front of you, not the door to your left.  If you feel brave, super jump 
from the first platform to the second one as well if you feel it saves 
time which it probably will not unless they are moving away from each 
other in which case you probably will not make it anyway.

In this room, get onto the first conveyor.  Super jump to the second 
conveyor.  Super jump to the third conveyor.  Jump over and hit the red 
switch.  Jump back onto the conveyor and super jump back to the second 
conveyor.  Super jump to the ledge with the door.  Go through the door.  
Note that each of these super jumps should be done with minimal distance 
in between because you barely make them.  In the lava room, jump into 
the lava and make your way to the ledge in front of you with the red 
switch.  Hit the red switch and a ledge will appear underneath a door 
which is forward and to the right of you.  Jump into the lava and head 
over to it.  If your health is getting dangerous you might want to get 
onto the ledge from the nearby blocks.

In this room follow the path and go through the door at the end.  In 
this area equip a ranged weapon as you jump onto the circular block.  
Throw your weapon at the red switch and ride the elevator to the top.  
Zoom out all the way and keep super jumping up to try and get the 
diamond key as fast as possible.  Once you do the stairs appear and you 
should super jump up them and through the door.  Hre immediately go 
forward down the slide and aim for the right.  Go through the door.  
Here take a left and super jump to the middle rotating block and then 
super jump to the ledge.  Go through the door.

Here go right until Dancin's painting is to your right.  Then jump left 
over the railing and fall through the door by holding right.  Sprint 
through the next room to the door at the far end.  In this next maze 
area watch out for the flower throwers again.  Follow the path and at 
the first turn take a right and at the second fork take a left.  Go 
through the door at the end of the path.  Here jump through the hole and 
sprint your way across the rotating walls.  If you super jump whenever a 
hole is unable to be avoided you should never have to stop.  Jump 
through the hole at the end and go through the door.

Jump onto the ledge.  Get through the conversation.  Watch the sequence.  
Get through the conversation.  Remember to save at the end and start the 
timer immediately after it says "your game will be saved."  When you are 
attempting to destroy stuff to get ammo and health, it is actually 
essential to do well this time because you need all the ammo you can 
get.  Now it is time to fight Balberra.

If you have beaten Consecutive Boss Fighting Mode a few times, then this 
is a breeze.  You should have gotten over 450 ammo and 600 oil, both of 
which is more than you are allotted to do the entire four bosses with.  
As soon as you see the boss, start firing at the red spot in the middle 
until it blows up.  Then start targeting the cannons on the left.  After 
blowing the three of them up, start shooting bullets at the green 
appendage on the lower left and shoot a super laser at the bottom 
metallic thing if you can.  Afterwards, shoot bullets at the three right 
cannons (if they shoot spikes at you ignore them because you have more 
than enough health).  Then finish off the right green appendage with 
more bullets.  If you were unable to destroy the bottom metallic thing 
earlier destroy it now with bullets.  If you left a cannon then destroy 
it now.

Now begins the cycle of little things coming out to hit you and the 
middle opening up after you destroy them.  Shoot massive bullets at the 
little things until they are destroyed.  Super Laser the opening.  
Destroy the little flying things again.  Use bullets on the opening.  
Destroy the little flying things again and use one final Super Laser to 
devastate Balberra.  A Super Laser is not difficult to target with if 
you notice the opening moves right and then moves back left at some 
point or goes right the whole time.  Just aim about one and a half 
crosshairs to the right initially and after it becomes obvious which 
pattern will be followed (give it about 3 seconds), use the Super Laser 
sequence, and then it will connect.  Now you fight D'Etoile.

You should still have over 600 oil.  However, you will probably only 
lose 100 in this fight.  Just be aware health is not an issue in this 
fight.  Initially you should Grapple him and do the Super Punch thing.  
After you Kick him away, Grapple him immediately and do the Super Punch 
again.  If he starts flying around just Grapple him when he lands 
because at this point you should be a master at targeting that Grapple.  
After doing this a third time he will be below 1000 health 20 seconds 
into your battle.  If he throws balls at you ignore them and Grapple 
because you have more than enough health.

Note that you need to be entering in the Super Punch buttons as he is 
about to be in front of you so that it begins immediately after he is 
directly in front of you otherwise he will fly away.  Of course, that 
should not be an issue because the entire game you should have been 
timing the Super Punch to begin as soon as the large boss was in front 
of you.

After he is below 1000 health he will go to the center of the screen and 
begin some weird asteroid move.  Well, this is the obvious time to shoot 
a Super Laser right at him.  This halts an attack which you would have 
to had to sit through and lose quite a bit of time plus it is the 
easiest time to hit him with a Super Laser.  After he gets nailed the 
fight is virtually over and he becomes desperate.  After hitting him 
with the Super Laser immediately Grapple and use a Super Punch.  Now he 
should be almost dead.  Knowing this, D'Etoile will fly off the screen 
and start charging in fast.  Use your radar to see where he will come in 
the first time.  Knock off his shield with a Punch, Grapple, Super 
Punch, and enjoy the ending.

Also, stop your timer as soon as his health reaches 0000 and you are 
unable to do anything.  According to time attack rules, the timer stops 
at the point of last input, and that would pretty much be it.

Congratulations!


5. Ending
_______________________________________________________

I hope that everyone found this FAQ useful, and now for the legal stuff.

This FAQ can be used by any site as long as none of its content is 
changed and credit is given to me.  This FAQ is copyright by me.

However, the latest updates can be found only at www.gamefaqs.com.  If 
you are viewing this FAQ from a different host site, then I cannot 
guarantee that this is the latest version.

Contact me at lich85faqmusic@hotmail.com.

I have received 003 emails about this FAQ so far. Thank you to everyone 
who emailed me.

GameFAQs Contributor Name: Lich85
Check out my other FAQs if you want.