GHOSTS'n'GOBLINS / MAKAIMURA (Arcade) A COMPREHENSIVE GUIDE TO BEATING THIS GAME by Unco Lober CONTENTS STAGE 1 including how to beat Arremers consistently. STAGE 2 including how to attack rapidly. STAGE 3 and a bit on version differencies. STAGE 4 STAGE 5 including information on the Satan boss in different versions. STAGE 6 (single Unicorn, double ogres - Revision G and CCC versions). ASTAROTH SECOND LOOP APPENDIX Basic mechanics. Weapons guide. STAGE 6 walkthrough (twin Unicorns, single ogres - as seen in the original arcade US version and some others). This guide covers detailed strategies for all levels of all versions of the original Arcade game. The Capcom Classic Collection versions, which you are probably playing, are based on the Japanese revisions, and these are the ones that take precedence; most of the time, I will explain strategies for all versions and mention major differences, though. Stage 6, for example, is too different, and I've added a special section for the double-Unicorn, single-ogre, hidden-Arremer versions of it in the Appendix. Another appendix contains a weapon guide just incase. In short, though, all weapons other than the Lance and Dagger are objectively inferior, and you need Shield by the end of stage 6 to complete the game. THE MISSION OF THIS GUIDE is to provide actual strategies to beating various enemies in this insane game. Makaimura (the original name for G'n'G) is all about learning. You can't pass most of the later stages without learning exactly how every enemy acts and reacts. Fighting Arremers is a nightmare - and an impossibility when there are several in a row - unless you know how to do it right. WALKTHROUGH STAGE 1 One of the hardest aspect of Ghosts'n'Goblins series is the randomness of enemy spawn. If you ever had trouble with medusa heads in Castlevania, keep in mind that every G'n'G/Makaimura game including this one is like that from first stage to last. Roughly half the enemies are static and non-respawning, and half are random and infinite. On stage 1-1 (Graveyard), the spawning enemies are the Zombies. They can spawn under you, but you can dodge if you're quick. Go forward as fast as you can. Hitting the gravestones enough times may produce the Magician monster. It shoots sparks that can turn you into a frog; sparks kill you if you don't have armour. The road above is easier. Zombies spawn on the upper ledge, too, but if you choose to walk below, you will have to dodge the flower projectiles all the time, which can be tricky if you're not used to the game mechanics yet. Crows shouldn't be a problem - look out and shoot in advance. When the upper ledge ends, slow down. There's a red gargoyle monster called the Red Arremer sitting on the plain ahead, and it's one of the trickiest and most hated enemies in video game history. Fighting an Arremer may seem impossible or completely luck-based at first, but there is strict logic to it's behavior. The difficulty with Arremers is that they lack obvious patterning - they dodge your attaks and aim straight at you. Actually guiding them into a pattern is the main objective here. 1. Unless Arremer is already doing something, it's going to dodge your attacks. There's a weapon Arremer can't dodge... but only in the later games, not this one. 2. It won't dodge the first attack launched at it, though, so land the first blow as fast as you can before it sweeps into the sky. 3. Arremers can sweep at you at random angles, including directly from above and from outside the screen, and shoot projectiles at you. You can probably beat an Arremer through losing the armour or luck, but that's not enough, because later in the game there are going to be several of them in a row, especially in the later levels, and unless you can kill them consistently, you're gargoyle fodder. Here's what you do to beat an Arremer: 1. Don't shoot randomly hoping to hit it. If you keep shooting, the Arremer will just get at a strange angle and murder you. 2. As it flies to the side, it may just glide above, but mostly it'll probably try to either shoot a spark or sweep. Sparks you can only dodge. But if the Arremer sweeps, run away (and don't shoot - you don't have the time and it'll break the pattern) until it starts to rise again. When it starts to ascend, turn back and run under it. 3. This will almost always end in Arremer landing right away. It reacts thus to you passing under it. As it lands, you can often land one hit and repeat. Arremers take three to die. But that's troublesome, because occasionally they can trick you or dodge. You can do better, though. 4. After the Arremer has landed, don't jump or shoot. The monster will probably go back and forth on the ground a bit, maybe shoot a spark, but most often it waits a few seconds and then charges at you. 5. You will have to recognize this charge - it's different from the normal running. A harging Arremer can not dodge. Tricking Arremers into charging it the main way of dealing with them. Normally, they charge if you stand still for long or get too close - of course, only when they are on the ground themselves. The only danger here is that if the Arremer decides to shoot a spark first, you will have to jump, and it'll probably make the Arremer change it's plans. So, in order to kill the Arremer consistently, you have to 1. make it sweep at you, 2. run away until it starts to go up, then run back right under it, 3. which would make it land, 4. so that you could trick it into charging you by standing still and not shooting. It still isn't easy, but you will have to learn this or you won't get past stage 3-2 (five Arremers with random enemies spawning around), let alone the horror that is stage 6. This concludes the information you need to beat the red gargoyle. Now look at the tombstone to the right (the last one before the water pit). To the left of it there's a tombstone and a cross on the background. Jump over that to have armour appear. It's a secret to everybody. (This and other armour spawns will only work if you don't have armour on) The moving island actually has a tricky pattern to it - look closer, it doesn't just shuttle, it occasionally stops at mid-point and goes back, probably killing you as you try to jump on or off it. On the other side of the water pit is a checkpoint which persists even if you take a continue. 1-2 (Forest). Levels 1 through 4 have mid-checkpoints. What this game doesn't have is checkpoints before bosses. I hope you didn't think the Arremer was the stage boss - it was just a regular enemy. Passing the six floating armours is a matter of hand-eye coordination - I believe they occasionally fly a bit differently, so you will have to judge on the spot. Normally, it's possible to evade the first three on the small island. You can only kill them from behind, which is pointless outside building the highscore. There are two groups of the armours, and the general rule is, you rarely have to retreat, but when they show up, you normally wait for them to pass before advancing. Random spawning whatever things - I hear these are actually ghosts - can shoot spears forward or from above and are better killed off before there's too much of them, just like the zombies. Walk forward unless you get cornered. Jump and kill ghosts that fly too low - but don't overdo the latter and don't hunt for the high-flying ghosts. There are going to be two shooting flowers, and the second one is set a bit low, so you will have to crouch to hit it with the spear. STAGE 1 BOSS - "Unicorn". This cyclops may look intimidating, but it's nothing compared to an Arremer you've just beaten. It may run ahead; jump a little towards you; jump to where you stand; and shoot projectiles. 1. It won't run if you don't. 2. It won't do the big jump unless you're too far away. 3. It won't shoot unless you give it time. You have to land ten hits. The main trick here is that if you shoot, the Unicorn will most likely jump straight up, thus posing no danger. Jumping yourself would be a mistake, though. What you do is stand and try to time your attacks so that you don't miss it - only shoot as it gets low enough to get hit again. If you keep shooting it just as it lands, more often than not it'll keep jumping, probably dying thus. If you aren't precise enough, the Unicorn may try to jump slightly towards you. Don't run away unless necessary, or it'll shoot or stampede. Just back off a bit and shoot as quickly as possible - it would jump straight up again. There's your key. STAGE 2. 2-1 is a very short segment where you have to climb up, then jump to the right. Climb up and to the right as fast as you can and don't hunt - dodge and only kill if the enemy's in range. Once there's nowhere to climb, go right; when you don't see platforms anymore, jump as far as you can - WARNING! the last platform before the solid ground will fall into the water, so you will have to run a few steps and jump again. But this is not hard at all. Hard is what follows. 2-2 (The Town). This is the last checkpoint on stage 2. This is the place which overwhelmed many players and made them give up on the game. It's nothing compared to further horrors, but it's the first place in the game that really looks impossible when you first try it. It isn't, though. The first house you pass will spawn gremlins. They run towards you and then go up. These monsters are a bit tricky; they're also infinite here, and they can follow you. It's easier to jump over than trying to shoot them all because of the quick random spawn. NB: this place is good if you have a bad weapon and want to fish for a better one - the gremlins die easily and often carry pots. To the right is the multistoried house full of ogre monsters. These are the second worst (after Arremers) stage monster and you'd want to learn fighting them properly, or you'll never survive stages 5 and especially 6. An ogre would: 1. Shoot through the floor if you're directly below. 2. Rush at you if you're on the same ledge and they're facing you. 3. Shoot forward if you try to run away. They take a load of punishment and keep advancing as you shoot, so, normally, you will have to have some free space between you and the ogres. It's also possible to shoot a few times, jump over, shoot twice, jump over, etc.. There's an even better maneuvre, though. RAPID FIRE technique. The real trick here is rapid fire. Lance, Dagger and Shield are best suited for this. Rapid fire isn't a cheat and doesn't require hardware adjustments. Now, the logical way would be to hit the button as fast as you can. The truth is, though, fast button presses make Arthur fire the slowest. Maybe this was a design flaw, or, more likely, it's one of the intentionally maddening things that comprise Makaimura. Try finding the rhythm. It must be constant and not very fast. To find it, 1. Try tapping as fast as you could and see how often the weapon goes. 2. Tap a bit slower, until your projectiles shoot much faster. That's it. 3. Normally, when an ogre is running at you, you will instinctively tap faster. Don't! If your rhythm is constant and presses are at the correct speed, you'll hit so fast the ogre is completly stunned; if it still manages to advance, you're probably hitting the button too fast. Now, navigating the house is maddeningly hard if you can't rapid-fire (or have a torch, ha ha), but if you actually can do this trick, things quickly become rather manageable. Learning this is still no walk, though. Got to the right until you hit the wall, ascend, kill ogres, repeat, until you get to the right side of the buiding and must get to the first floor again. Now, you can just kill all the ogres beforehand - they don't respawn, - but you probably won't bother. The tricky part would then be descending the ladder to a floor where an ogre is waiting. It can see you starting from mid-point of your climb, and you can't jump off the ladder either. The only way to do this effectively is being patient. Let the ogre walk away far to the left, then descend and either run to the next ladder (normally you can run and descend before the ogre shoots). After you get out of the building, there is no checkpoint. Proceed to the right. Pay attention to the red crows - they can home in on you - and don't be hasty with the platforms. There really is no strategy here that isn't obvious. This may be the easiest segment of the whole game. STAGE 2 BOSS - two Unicorns. That's right, there are two of them now. BUT you don't have to trigger both at the same time! If you're cautious, you can fight one and then the other. The strategy persists. Fighting two is tricky and unadviseable unless you're looking for an added challenge - which you aren't, not with what's coming in stage 3. STAGE 3. 3-1 (Caves). Bats can occasionally descend low enough to hit you, but not every time, and are rarely dangerous. Zombies shouldn't scare you by now, not after the ogre house. The new enemy here is the living stalagmite called the Monster Tower. It can shoot purple orbs from the top mouth, bottom mouth, or both at once. The shots fly straight ahead and are counterable with the Shield if you have it (i.e., are on you second loop). The stalagmite can be hit when it's firing, which isn't all that tricky. The biggest problem would probably be the zombies. There are only two stalagmite monsters before the checkpoint, though - if you have problems, you may try just rushing this segment. The upper ledge is no different from the lower ledge in any way. 3-2 is the first truly hard part of the game. Right at the start an Arremer appears - and it's already aware of you. Let it pass above, and it'll land. Have Arremer rush you and kill it. Refer to the guide above if you fail (see STAGE 1) - there are only a few Arremers in the game that take a different strategy, and I'll mention them specifically. Ghosts from 1-2 spawn here, and they can occasionally corner you. You can see how they predictably spawn at specific places, though. Move forward and up and you will see another Arremer sitting on the cliff. You can jump toward it and kill it before it soars if you're precise. A good idea would be not shooting until you're standing a few steps away from it, and using the rapid fire technique; more often than not, the Arremer will not be able to fly. There is a SECRET ARMOUR obtainable soon after this second Arremer. (As always, it only appears if you are in underwear already.) Walk until you see a ladder, ascend it and go to the left, then jump towards the cliff on the upper-right - the armour will appear atop the ladder you've just ascended. Don't go up, though. Get the armour if you need it and return. Go to the right instead - the upper route is mostly the same, but a bit harder. There's an Arremer in the trench. Make sure you kill the ghosts that may spawn before you jump at it. Again, a good idea may be not shooting before you land on firm ground - this way the Arremer may not be able to fly at all. Yet another Arremer sits on the cliff ahead, and you can't punk him the way you probably did the previous two. You have to scare him with a spear and then fight him normally. WARNING! The platform to the left of the Arremer spawns a gremlin somewhere midpoint, and you better turn around and shoot it before it gets above and adds to frustration. There's a trick to this Arremer, though - you can just run to the right under it and jump off the cliff. That's where you're supposed to go anyway, and this Arremer won't be able to follow you if you're fast enough. Also, there's another armour hidden here: if you jump from the very edge and fly as far as you can, you will have an armour below. There's an occasional glitch in it's spawning, though. There's another Arremer down the trench. Kill it using the normal technique and proceed to the boss. LEVEL 3 BOSS - The Dragon. Here comes the first difference between the versions of the games: some versions have slightly modified boss A.I.. For this particular boss, though, all versions have the same general pattern: 1. It flies around, going either higher or lower based on where you were when it turned. 2. It will occasionally shoot projectliles that are blockable with the Shield (you can only have it this early if you're on second loop, though). 3. It will occasionally drop or ascend sharply. You can chop off segments by hitting it's tail to make it easier to jump over, which is a good thing, but doesn't damage the monster itself. The Dragon can be killed with several hits to the muzzle. One thing to remember is, you normally can't just tackle it head on - you won't be able to land enough hits before it reaches you. STAGE 4. 4-1 is a crazy, borderline broken platforming segment with no random enemies and an Arremer in the end. Describing this is almost impossible - you will have to get a feel of the questionable physics at play here. It's nothing like any proper platformer, whether intentionally or not (physics like this never return in later Makaimuras). It's not hard, but physics are misguiding. The general trick is, 1. Your-height platforms must be passed with a forward jump. 2. Slightly-above-your-height platforms (there are two of these) are normally reachable with a straight jump up as the platform is flying towards you. 3. When two platforms at same height intersect, the one that automatically drags you is actaully the one you need - let the new platform steal you. This level is short, so watch the platforms, see some mild trickery in their movement and pass safely. When you see an Arremer below, you're almost at the checkpoint - it's triggered when you enter the bridge ahead. You can jump a few paces to the right of the Arremer and kill it before it flies. 4-2 (The Bridge). Shield weapon starts dropping here. If you happen to get it, keep it, as it's a rare drop and a necessity for completing the game. It makes the game a bit harder, though. Because it freaking sucks. See the weapon guide appendix if you need info. On the bridge, you just run straight ahead and never stop - you have much better chances this way. I have never seen the pillars of fire actually get anyone, so don't be afraid of them. The random gremlins are a bigger problem, but, normally, they can't catch you if you're constantly moving ahead. Jump-shoot them when they get near, and you'll pass the bridge safely. After an Arremer (you might want to sneak up on it and kill it before it flies - else, use the normal method) you will fight another dragon - it's exactly like the one in stage 3. STAGE 5 - Castle Entrance. There are not going to be mid-level checkpoints anymore. It's even worse than it sounds, because the next two stages are some of the most hardcore things in video game history. Check out the gremlin above - it's carrying a spark. They spawn randomly and shoot these sparks, then attack. Now check out the skull ahead - there's a jumping goddamn skeleton hiding there. You can kill the skeletons before they jump, but walk too close and they're all over the screen. Run to the right, and the ghosts will start spawning, too. Shoot the skull, climb the ledge. This is the place where it's easier to get (or accidentally lose) weapons, because there's just so much stuff spawning all around the place. There are two bats above, they're proximity triggered and normally fly below upper ledge, but ocasionally at shoulder height when you're at it. I suppose you should farm for the Shield here if you haven't got one already. The actual advice here is - look out, they're everywhere and keep spawning. Pass this as fast as you can, don't hunt anything, but don't rush either. I prefer going one ledge up, then to the left (where two skulls sit), then up and to the left of the bat, then further left. Run to the left and climb the ladder. See the Arremer to the uper-right? Careful. First, kill everything currently on the screen - it's probably one gremlin and one ghost. There's a bat high above and it occasionally dives really fast, but more often than not it's a non-issue - it just flies toward the end of the screen. The Arremer above will awake the moment you ascend the ladder, but there's an easy trick to beating it: run towards it and when you're about three or four block away, shoot. It almost never escapes. Look out for the ghost that spawns above as you ascend the ladder to the left. Now here'e the stage 5's ogre gauntlet. There are multiple ways to pass it. Here's the shortest, though: 1. Go to the left. 2. Jump on the cliff, then onto the ogre platform, and climb quickly. 3. Here, wait until the ogre walks past the ladder from right to left, and climb EXACTLY when it's just passed it - this way you will always have enough space to rapid-fire the monster into oblivion. (3a. Unless a gremlin spawns, or a ghost. In that case, you will have to kill it before going up, or it'll certainly catch up as you fight the ogre.) 4. When you get onto the ogre ledge, run straight to the right until you've passed the ogre above, and only then turn around and rapid-fire. 5. To the right is the moving platform, but if you're already here, you've successfully passed the hardest part of the gauntlet. Jump on the platform, run to the right and jump. 6. Climb the ladder, kill the ghost that spawns above it, run right, rapid-fire the ogre, jump, rapid-fire another ogre if it happens to see you - and climb the ladder. That's it, you've passed the gauntlet and are ready to fight the new boss. No checkpoint, though. Climb a few ladders and keep to the left unless you already know how to fight Satan (yeah). STAGE 5 BOSS - Satan. It's just a red mothman and not Satan, but whatever. This is the boss that has different patterns in different versions, too. The US Arcade version has the broken, crazy patterns and 8 HP on the boss, while other versions mostly have the normal patterns and 4 HP. Capcom Classic Collection on the consoles and PSP all apparently carry the (localized) Makaimura Japanese revision G, which is the more adequate of the bunch indeed. If you're playing the US version, the patterns are borderline inexplicable and half the time unavoidable. Here I give patterns for the Revision G / CCC versions - because in the US version, the Satan boss just hangs around a bit and then homes in on you and murders you and that's it. The mothman (Satan) has a few attack patterns outside the ordinary projectile, the latter not being a problem if you carry the Shield - as you well should. Killing the mothman with a normal weapon like the Lance isn't all that hard, even in the US version, because you can just keep your distance. But the Shield is almost melee - meaning that you will have to stand four blocks or less near the boss, which puts you in immediate danger, because the mothman is just so fast. But you better start learning to beat it with the Shield, because next level you WILL have to beat two of them with the Shield if you want to progress towards the final boss - if you beat the Satan bosses in stage 6 with any other weapon, you're teleported to the beginning of Stage 5. So. It's only vulnerable when it's not covering itself with it's wings. It's got several attack patterns depending on it's relative posision: 1. Slightly above you: will fly straight forward, is duckable (but not in the Arcade US version - there you just die). 2. Almost near the top of the screen: will fall towards you and chase you until either it hits or you jump over it. Jumpable, but you can't run away no matter what. The moment you jump, it'll soar back up agian, but will lower and be open to attack (except if you're playing the US version - there it may hang even higher and shoot completely out of your reach). 3. Below you: it will ascend at an angle. 4. Exactly at your height (or ocassionally slightly above you, as in point 1): fly directly at you. Jumpable, but you can't run away. The mothman'll go up the moment you jump over it (or it catches up with the coward). Normally, you hit it a few times close-up, then retreat. It will make sure it's on the same screen, following you if needed, and soon do one of the patterns, depending on it's relative position. Evade it (or get hit), and you will more often than not have the chance to retaliate. If you don't manage to kill it at this point (as is sometimes the case if it is/was too high to hit previously), the process repeats. STAGE 6 - Castle. This place is going to do you in, and do you in repeatedly. It's ten times more hardcore than the previous stage, and then there are two Satans in the end, with no checkpoints. Make sure you have the Shield! Don't lose it to random drops! Don't beat the level unless you have it or you'll have to redo stages 5 and 6! At first, there's this joke with five skulls and a ghost above. But on the top of the ladder there's a Unicorn monster. Chances are, you aren't going to have trouble, but you may refer to STAGE 1 BOSS segment above. This point can be different in different versions, though. There may be two Unicorns on that same ledge, which makes them unbeatable. Yes, there may be an unpassable part in some of the versions - you will have to lose armour no matter what, except for the times where you're ridiculously lucky, because there just isn't enough space to fight both Unicorns at once. In some versions one Unicorn won't fight unless you hit it accidentally. The Capcom Classic Collection on the consoles and PSP have one Unicorn, as do the later Japanese revisions on the Arcade. If you're playing the version with two unicorns, look to the appendix in the end. I will discuss Level 6 in the broken versions - it's not impossible, but it takes some trickery to pass. Here I'll deal with the (supposedly) later, more adequate revisions - which are the ones Capcom maintains in modern compilations, so they must he be final ones. Thus, if you're playing the one-Unicorn version, just kill the poor bastard. Two ledges above is a Dragon. Keep in mind that there's a set of armour soon, so if you get hit here, it's probably okay. When you have killed the dragon, do the following: 1. Go to the right of this dragon-pen and climb. 2. Climb until you're on the same level as the Arremer. 3. Ignore the second Arremer waking up above, jump towards the closer one and shoot it before it flies. (As always, remember to hit the ground and only then rapid-fire.) 4. Jump back down again! This will lose the second Arremer and you won't have to risk fighting him later. There are enough Arremers above as is. More than enough. Now go up the ladder on the right and don't faint - there are two ogres at once. The trick here is to keep both ogres to the same side of the ladder - left - and climb as the closer ogre is passing the ladder from right to left. I don't advise attempting to fight them on both sides - though feasible, it'll probably make you tap the fire button faster out of sheer nerves, lose the rhythm, fail the rapid-fire and get murdered. Having done them both, go to the right. Near the skull, a set of armour will drop if you are in underwear. Kill the skull anyhow. To the right, there was an Arremer, but we punked him by jumping earlier. Keep both ogres above to the right, climb and rapid-fire. Keep an eye on the upper ogres, though - they're occasionally adventurous if you aren't being quick. Kill the skull and walk to the left - but be cautious. See the two Arremers? They need not wake at all. Don't pass the ladder, and they won't; climb up and run right. Kill two more ogres and a skull, but don't run past the ladder as there's another Arremer above. This last Arremer in the game will wake anyway as you reach it's platform, but if you haven't wakened it earlier, you will be able to just shoot it before it can fly. It's one of the two Arremers in the game that almost never fly. Just don't wake the skull and don't shoot until the Arremer's in your range. THEN you also do the skull in. Just because you can, what after having almost beaten one of the hardest games in the arcade. Run to the left, kill whatever needs be and climb. STAGE 6 BOSS - two Satans. You need not fight both at once. The second Satan is to the far right and will only wake if you really run around. The less risky ladder is again to the left, but pros use the right one and attack earlier. The pattern is exactly the same, except you have less space to run around and you have to win twice in a row. Winning this fight isn't all that hard with a Lance or a Knife, but you MUST have the Shield here if you want to get to stage 7 and beat the game. STAGE 7 - Astaroth. If you have the Shield (Cross in the original Japanese version), after you beat the mothmen, you will advance to stage 7, which only consists of the final boss. There's princess Prin Prin - or Guinevere in the US version. Prin, if you must know, is onomatopoeia for "jiggle", like pudding or, well, girly amenities. That figures. You really need to save the girl - save her from Japan itself. Be warned, though. You're only on your first loop by now. After you beat the Astaroth, the game will send you to stage 1 on slightly higher difficulty. You need to beat the game twice to save Prin Prin. I know what you're probably feeling. But that's how it is. ASTAROTH. The trick to killing him isn't obvious, but he's plenty easy. Astaroth only has one pattern - fireballs at a 45 angle from one of his mouths. Arthur automatically faces the boss and you can shoot forward while retreating, too. What you have to do is land ten hits between the mouths. If the shield makes a blue spark, you've missed. Yellow spark is a hit. Ten times, and he's done. You can lose and continue - Astaroth is a seperate stage, so it's fine if you fail at first. He isn't hard, though, not compared to what you just went through, and you will finish him soon enough. What I did to hit the right spot was shoot as I was landing, almost before ground. LOOP 2. Difficulty here is slightly raised. Sparks and other projectiles apparently fly faster, though that's about it - I really didn't feel any definitive increase in difficulty. You start with the Shield, and I was able to go through the whole game with it just fine, having only the most minor difficulties with stalagmites on 3-1. When you finally reach Astaroth again, it's going to be the real thing. Do him in just like the last time... ...and you have conquered the original Ghosts'n'Goblins! Prin Prin will kiss you, you will get 70,000 points, the game will congratulate you, and you'll be set free into level 1 incase you want to work towards even higher score. That's it, though! You have really won. APPENDIX BASIC MECHANICS The weapon you have stays between stages, loops (after you beat the final boss) and even continues - to reset the weapon you have to restart the game. If you've picked a new weapon, the old one is lost - it's unfair, it can be frustrating, but that's it; make sure you look out for pots in order to not accidentally pick a new weapon if you already have a good one. Weapons are not balanced - some are clearly worse than the others and serve as traps. All except fot the shield (cross in the original Japanese version) are available through random drops in all six stages; shield is available through random drops in stages 4 through 6. After you beat stage 6, you can only get to stage 7 if you have the shield; otherwise you'll be teleported to stage 5. WEAPONS GUIDE How to get a weapon: Weapons occasionally fall out of pots the enemies are carrying. There's a rule that governs the drops, with every fifth drop being a randomly chosen weapon. In levels 4, 5 and 6 the Shield (Cross) Lance: You start with this and it happens to be the second best weapon. It's only worse than the knife, and not by much if you know how to rapid-fire. Knife: The only difference between this and the Lance is that you can have three knives on screen and only two Lances. But if you know how to shoot rapidly, there's no real difference. Torch: The worst weapon in the game, the torch is never useful. In the whole series, there's only about one place where the torch is actually handier than other weapons... and that's not in this game. There is no reason to get or keep it. Axe: Slow and unwieldy, the Axe is almost just as bad as the torch. Shield/Cross: The special weapon required to get to the final boss is the hardest to use. It is fast and can deflect projectiles, but it's range is only 4 paces, making it almost a melee weapon. To hit with the shield, you have to get very close. All in all, it is a horrible weapon compared to even the torch, and the only reason to ever have it is to pass to level 7. But it doesn't drop too often, so if you get it even on level 4, it's best to keep it. It is possible to beat every stage with the Shield, but some places and bosses are much harder with it than with any other weapon because of it's abysmal range. STAGE 6 WALKTHROUGH for revisions with twin Unicorns, single ogres, invisible Arremers and 8HP Satans. Although platforms and graphics were left intact, stage 6's enemy placement was completely redone by whoever was doing the US localization. This version is occasionally considered the easier of the two, and it is to some degree, but the twin Satans in the end are nigh unbeatable due to double HP and insane patterning. I will provide a guide to beating this stage consistently, but I can't help with the Satans, because I really don't get how they work in the US version and can only ever kill them through luck. The first problem is the twin Unicorns, which apparently happens in some Japanese revisions, too. Beating them without losing the armour is not impossile, but very, very hard. There's a replacement armour soon enough, so it really is a better idea to do the following: 1. Climb up, then run a few paces away from the right Unicorn. 2. Jump right back at it without shooting. 3. It will hit you and you'll get kicked onto the above ledge. Done. 4. Don't shoot. Unicorns jump whenever you shoot, and they can jump high enough to hit you on the ledge above. Get to the dragon and kill it. You can't afford to get damaged, but really, the Dragon boss isn't all that hard if you're careful. You've killed two already - and, chances are, you will be able to have quite a bit of practice killing this one every time you die in the gauntlet above. Climb up and kill the Arremer on the right before it flies. Now, see why this version is considered easier by some: there's only one ogre above. Climb and kill it while it's far enough from the ladder. Go to the right, pick the armour, punish the skull and kill another ogre. Climb, rapid-fire, run, climb. Single ogres don't require as much planning as twins. As you run to the right again, get rid of the ogre. See, there are no Arremers in the windows - this again is often cited when people say this revision is easier and more fair. Now, as you climb the ladder with a skull almost on top of it (don't climb all the way through), an Arremer will appear out of nowhere. Climb back, fight the Arremer the normal way (can't sneak on this one). Then get back to the ladder and climb high enough to rouse the skeleton. Climb back. It's impossible to get up while it's there - it will block your ascension almost every time and hit you. What you need to do is lure it to the side of the screen. Most of the time, the skeleton will just hop off the ledge - finish it as it falls, because it may occasionally jump back. Sometimes it won't fall, and you will have to run a bit to the left, then lure it back to the right edge. None of this is present in the single-Unicorn revisions. As you finally ascend the ladder that was guarded by the skeleton, act quickly: 1. See the ladder on the left? 2. Run towards it, but stop exactly four blocks before it. 3. Crouch and shoot to the left. 4. An Arremer will appear from below and get hit. Even if it shoots, you will do it in and not get hit most of the time. Just remember to stop at exactly the fourth block - it's the best spot for this. Kill the ogre if you need and go up the ladder to meet the bosses. Good luck with them - they've got double HP. VERSION HISTORY 1.0 - The full guide is written. CREDITS Written by Unco Lober. July 24 2011. Reuse with permission. Not for commercial use.