Ninja Gaiden III: The Ancient Ship of Doom
Boss Guide- Best Non-Invincible Fire Wheel strategies and techniques
V1.21 (7/28/99) (Minor rephrasing; Fixed a typo)
By "Emptyeye" (emptyeye@juno.com)
This Guide appears at
www.gamefaqs.com and vgstrategies.about.com

There are 10 sections:
I: History of This Guide
II: Absolute Basics
III: Ninja Power-Ups...Their Costs and Functions
IV: Scroll Locations
V: Recommended Maximum Ninja Points
VI: Boss Strategies
VII: Unlimited Continues?
VIII: Other Difficult Sections
IX: This Guide's Future (Once more I need help...)
X: Legal Stuff (If you'd like to use this)

Section I: Guide History

V1.0: Contained Sections I-VII, IX and X......Never publically released due
to a crappy ISP.

V1.1: First Release; Added Section VIII

V1.2: Modified the description of the Invincible Fire Wheel
and added something to the description of the Windmill Throwing Star

V1.21: Current Version; Minor rephrasing; Fixed a typo

Section II: Absolute Basics
This was a later addition to my previous FAQs....I put it in here from the
start because not everyone has directions or early Nintendo Powers like I do.
Note that this only applies to the actual NES version of the game; emulator
users are out of luck.

Well the Control Pad moves Ryu in whichever direction you press, the A button
jumps, and the B button swings your sword. Simple enough? Obviously you can 
combine these functions; i.e. A then B will swing your sword in mid-air.
When on a wall, hold A and then press the control pad away from the wall to
jump off of it. If you find yourself hanging on the side of a pedestal or
what not, climbing up to the top and then pressing A and toward the pedestal 
will 'Quick Kick' you onto the top of the pedestal or wall. In addition
you can grab onto the bottom of some things, like chains. Just jumping toward
something that can be grabbed from the bottom will allow you to grab it. To
get off, either jump away or hit Down+A to jump down. Simply hitting A will
make you jump on top of whatever it is you were grabbing.
Oh yeah, one last thing: when you have a Ninja Art, pressing Up on the 
control pad+B will use that Ninja Art, except when you're on a wall, in which
case press whatever direction you want the art to be thrown in (if into the 
wall, just hit B) and B.

Section III: Ninja Power Ups...Their Costs and Functions
The inspiration for this section was the same as that of Section II.
The cost and appearance of each power-up is listed in parantheses next to its
name. A - means that there is no cost for it (Or that it isn't a Ninja Art)

Blue Ninja Power Up (-; looks like a Japanese symbol on a blue background): 
Adds 10 Ninja Points to your total (these are used to cast Ninja Arts).

Red Ninja Power Up (-; looks like a Japanese symbol on a red background): 
Instantly maxes out your Ninja Points.
 
Elixir (-; looks like a slim blue bottle):Instantly recovers 6 bars of energy.

1-Up (-; looks like Ryu's head): Grants an extra life.

Windmill Throwing Star (10 Points; looks like a large orange-red throwing
star on a white background): Sends a throwing star out for a short distance, 
then it comes back to you! Also cuts right through any enemy that gets in its
way (Save for most bosses)...if you dodge it on its return it will whip back 
and forth around you until you finally do decide to catch it. You begin 
each act with this Power-Up, and also "Receive" it (Often losing a better 
Power-Up) when you die.

Art of the Fire Wheel (8 Points; looks like a large drop-shaped fireball):
Sends fire at about a 50-60 degree angle diagonally upwards.

Fire Dragon Balls (8 Points; looks like a small red ball surrounded by 
flame): Shoots three fireballs at various angles diagonally downwards.

Up & Down (10 Points; looks like a diamond; the top half is white and the 
bottom half is orange): Two blades, one going up, the other down, fly 
vertically for a short distance, then cross each other twice before 
disappearing. Much more useful than I've made it sound.

Invincible Fire Wheel (20 Points; looks like 3 red fireballs in a wheel,
seperated by a triad of white.): For 
approximately 4 seconds, you cannot be hurt by enemies, as fireballs 
swirl about you.

Scroll (-; looks like....a scroll): Adds 10 Points to your Maximum Ninja
Point total.

Super Sword (-; looks like...a sword): Gives Ryu a Strider-like extension on
his sword, thereby doubling its range.

Section IV: Scroll Locations
This sections gives the locations of the scrolls in the game. If I missed one
(I can't help but think I did, even though you can see what the power-ups
are), please E-mail me and I'll give you credit for making the discovery.
The locations are given as follows: Level and Section (e.g 7-2B), Number of
Power-Up in section (e.g. 3). These numbers are seperated by Semi-Colons (;).

Scroll #1: 2-2C; 4 (Climb up the left wall and hit it with your sword)

Scroll #2: 3-2C; 4 (It's the fourth one up, but actually the fifth one you'll
grab. You have to climb up to the platform above it, kill all the enemies, 
then climb back down the left wall, kill the enemy, and finally hit the scroll
with your sword)

Scroll #3: 4-1A; 8 (Just hit it with your sword)

Scroll #4: 6-2A; 3  (Use the Up & Down on the brain-thing above you, climb
up the right wall, kill the enemy on the left platform, jump the gap and
hit the scroll with your sword)

Scroll #5: 7-3B; 4 (You're on crumbling platforms so there isn't much you
can do other than hit it with your sword on the fly)
(NOTE: You can get scroll 5 three times. Once before fighting Clancy, another
in between the First and Second forms of Clancy, and a third between Clancy's
Second Form and the War Droid)

Section V: Recommended Maximum Ninja Points
This section gives the recommended Maximum Ninja Points for each Boss in the
game. I guess I'll mention now that I took the boss names from The Ninja 
Gaiden Homepage (www.classicgaming.com/ninjagaiden/frames.html),except for
The War Droid which was taken from Lance Steele's Ninja Gaiden Tribute (No
longer Online...*sniffle*); I am aware that there are several different names
for the bosses in this game. Also, I do not believe that it is possible to
get more than this number of Ninja Points at these points in the game 
without using Game Genie, etc.

Mantis Warrior (Stage 1-2A): 040
Night Diver (Stage 2-3A): 050
Great Koganei (Stage 3-3A): 060
Sandeater (Stage 4-3A): 070
Ryu's Doppelganger(NOT a Bio-Noid; Details in Section VI) (First Form [Stage 
5-3A]): 070
Ryu's Doppelganger(NOT the Foster Bio-Noid; Details in Section VI) (Second 
Form [Stage 6-3A]): 080
Clancy (First Form [Stage 7-4A]): 090
Clancy (Second Form [Stage 7-5A]): 100
Clancy (Third Form [Stage 7-6A]): 110

Section VI: Boss Strategies
This section goes into specific strategies for each of Ninja Gaiden III's
bosses. The best Ninja Art to use appears after the boss's name and is listed
in parentheses. A note that this guide assumes that you do not enter each
battle with the Invincible Fire Wheel, as it renders you immune to all 
attacks as long as you don't touch the boss himself. As such, it would be
easy to say 'Use the Invincible Fire Wheel' (I almost did), but I sought to
avoid that in previous FAQS with the Jump & Slash, and so did the same here.
This guide ALSO assumes that you DO have the Super Sword in each battle. 
Without it you're basically doomed, sorry to say.

Mantis Warrior (none)- This boss takes a few steps, throw three flames onto 
the ground, takes a few more steps, throws more fire, and so on. He can only
be hurt when he is throwing the fire, but there is a delay between flames.
Just run in and wail away with your sword, jumping over the flames when he
throws them. You may have to move back when he advances as well.

Night Diver (none)- Night Diver flies around in what is more or less a 
figure-8 pattern, stopping to throw Fire Dragon balls straight down at you. 
Just hit him with your sword when possible, especially when he's low and 
throwing fire, and try not to get caught under him. Using the platforms in
the rooms can help you get height to hit him as well.The Art of the Fire Wheel
is useful for when he flies high but it's really not necessary (you don't 
have enough Ninja Points for more than six hits at the most).

Great Koganei (Art of the Fire Wheel)- The Great Koganei do somersaults
around their room. Every three somersaults, they stop for a moment to throw
Mindmill Throwing Stars at you. However, only one of them can be injured 
(It's the one on the right when you first walk in). To beat this boss, when 
you walk in, get whatever blows you can in before they stop somersaulting, 
making sure you end up between the two monsters. As they begin to throw their
stars, jump over to the right. Wait for the vulnerable one to jump onto
the platform (If you'd like you can pursue him, getting in more hits with
your sword), and when he does, unload the Art of the Fire Wheel on him. From
here, you have 2 options. Either try to loop around to the right again (This 
puts you away from the vulnerable one), or take a hit or 2 and deliver the 
remaining blows as it jumps around one more time.

The Sandeater (none)- This boss walks around for a time, then disappears into
the ground. After throwing the Art of the Fire Wheel at you 5 times, he will 
pop up wherever you're standing. He will then repaet the pattern. As soon
as you walk in, get near the left platform. As he comes up, jump up and hit 
him. Repeat this until he drops down, when you should hit him as much as you
can, retreating a bit whenever it looks like he will hit you. Using this, you
should be able to get in 7-8 hits before he dives underground (The most I've
ever done is 10). Then, climb up to the center platform. After the fifth Fire
Wheel, jump down, wait for Sandeater to follow, and strike the remaining 
blows.

The Ryu Doppelganger's First Form (Art of the Fire Wheel)- The Ryu
Doppelganger throws Mindmill Throwing Stars and jumps high into the air twice.
He then jumps to the other side of the room, throwing Fire Dragon Balls
straight down. He then repeats this. Not much to say here, other than jump
the Stars and hit him with your sword when you can. The Art of the Fire Wheel
is handy because you can hit him whenever he jumps into the air. It's fairly
difficult to hit him otherwise because you basically have to wait until he's 
done jumping across the room before you can pursue him. 
(NOTE: You may have read that this is "The Ryu Bio-Noid". It's not. If you
watch the cinema that plays right before you fight it, Foster talks about
using Ryu's life energy to make a "Superior Bio-Noid". Foster does not have
that life energy yet. No life energy = no Bio-Noid. Got it? If not stop 
reading now, as the next one is more difficult to explain.... :)

The Ryu Doppelganger's Second Form (Up & Down)- He shoots a fireball, 
charges the wall, and repeats. Easy, right? Not quite, because of a couple of 
things. First, the battle takes place in what is essentially quicksand. Sink 
too far, and you die. Secondly, the boss cannot be hurt while he is charging
you. Lastly and most annoyingly, every time he hits the wall, Goblin Eyes 
fall from the ceiling. The basic strategy is this: climb whatever wall the 
Doppelganger is about to charge into. Just before he hits, jump down and 
strike at his back. If you think you'll be hit by a Goblin Eye, Up & Down it.
After striking the Doppleganger 3-4 times, climb the opposite wall. Repeat
the pattern until victory is yours. 
(NOTE: THIS IS NOT THE FOSTER BIO-NOID. DO NOT E-mail me about this. "Gimme
proof", you say. Fine. The following comes from the Ninja Gaiden Homepage,
whose url I mentioned earlier. AND I QUOTE: "[And yes, it is the Doppelganger. 
This did not become obvious to me until I played through the Japanese version. 
I know this because in the Japanese version, the doppelganger always refers 
to Ryu as 'Original,' and does so in the second person. Foster never does 
this. And in the very first line that the Act VI boss says, he calls Ryu the 
'Original.' He also makes a reference to their previous fight, and Foster 
never actually fought with Ryu. Case closed. It's not up for debate, the 
facts are in.]" A quick note that none of this is mentioned in the U.S.
version of the game. Don't go looking for it, it isn't there.)

Before moving on to the final bosses, let me say this: when you first get
to Level 7-3A (With the spikes)....DIE! I know what you're thinking. You're
thinking, "But Emptyeye! The whole reason I'm reading this guide is so I DON'T
die! WHY HAVE YOU TURNED ON ME?!?" Calm down, there's a good reason. You get
250 seconds of game time per life. This time is NOT replenished between 
stages, not even for bosses. That said, if you try to get through 7-2 and 7-3
(Or even all of Act 7 if you're that good, which even I'm usually not) on
one life, you'll get to the boss with at most 5 seconds on the clock. You
try beating 3 bosses in 5 seconds (Without cheating devices that is). Let me
know how well you do. Got it? Okay. Let's move on.

Clancy's First Form (Art of the Fire Wheel)- Clancy hovers around the room,
throwing fireballs at you. The annoying part of this battle comes when you
actually hit him--he sends down 3 bolts of lightning directed at where
you're standing. You have to run from these bolts, but sometimes they hit you
ANYWAY (It's not your fault...I think it was bad programming myself). Hit
Clancy 3 or 4 times (preferably with the Art of the Fire Wheel; it's quicker)
, then run around (preferably in one direction). Repeat this until you claim
victory (Note: after running out of Fire Wheels, you'll only be able to get
in one or two hits before the lightning comes crashing down).

Clancy's Second Form (Art of the Fire Wheel)- Clancy is now a face in the
center of the wall. His attack is basically that he summon 5 fireballs up
from the ground to his right (your left) hand. He then releases these in one 
larger heat-seeking fireball that can be avoided easily enough by running 
toward the hand from which it's released. Clancy will then summon the fire to 
his LEFT (your right) hand, and repeat the pattern. Basically just whip the 
Art of the Fire Wheel at him, dodging the rising fire and running away from
the heat-seeking fireballs. When you run out, jump up at his face and hit him
another couple of times per summon/release. Rejoice about your victory--then 
prepare for a fight with...
(NOTE: Depending on how good you are at Act 7--7-3 in particular--you may
want to lose this battle on purpose the first time so you can recollect
the scroll in level 7-3. Be aware, though, that losing all your lives
sends you back to the beginning of the act!)

The War Droid (Windmill Throwing Star)- Several attacks come into play here.
The first you will see is that the Droid moves back and forth toward and away
from you. It also fires a wave beam from its lower gun, and has a reflecting
laser it can fire from one of its other turrets. You'll see a red orb in the 
Droid's center but ignore it for now. What you want to focus on is the 
different colored panel above the orb. Hit it with your Windmill Throwing
Star. You'll get at least 2--and sometimes 3--hits per Star each time. If you
don't have Windmill Throwing Stars just whack it with your sword. 
After the panel goes down, 2 cannons on the Droid will fire beams at you (The
previous attacks have been disabled). NOW you can work on the red orb. Stay
between the beams, jumping and striking the orb with your sword, until that 
too goes down. Then watch the (Rather illogical, as the Ninja Gaiden Homepage
points out) ending! Woo-hoo! :)
(NOTE: Again, losing this battle on purpose the first time may not be a bad
idea, because you can go back and get that 7-3 scroll a third time [Besides
the fact that you'll have the Art of the Fire Wheel the first time, if you
followed this guide!])

Section VII: Unlimited Continues?
I came across something weird one day as I was playing through this game. 
Normally you only get 5 continues, but I MAY have found an unlimited continue
code... I sadly am VERY hazy about the details but I think this is how it 
"Went down", so to speak....
Basically, I was trying to find a sound test (There is none, as it turns out,
according to The Ninja Gaiden Homepage [Geez it's getting a lot of exposure
thanks to this guide! :) ] ). Finding none, I played the game to Act 4, then
turned it off. I played again from the beginning later that day, got to Act 5,
and when I got Game Over, saw that the '0' in '05' had been replaced by a 
Japanese symbol! I got to Act 7 before giving up (What can I say, it was an
off day... :P ) and being down to 2 continues--and the weird Japanese symbol
was still there! Curious, I decided to try jumping off a pit in the beginning
of Act 7 a few times to see what would happen. Well, after 5 continues, I was
STILL continuing from Act 7! I tried again, and encountered (after once again
losing all my lives):
                                GAME OVER
                                    '9
And I was still on Act 7. I turned it off (As I said, it was an off day). I
tried to duplicate the feat but couldn't. I then E-mailed Tecmo of America
(The makers of Ninja Gaiden III) and some other people (Including the author
of the Ninja Gaiden Homepage) about this, and got no response. If anyone
knows anything about this--even if it was just a once-in-a-lifetime glitch in
the game--please, PLEASE E-mail me about this! I can beat the game without 
continuing now (Not to brag or anything, just don't worry about crushing my
spirits :) ), so I won't care if it IS just a bug. But I must know what
happened! As usual, you will get credit for whatever you say.

Section VIII: Other Difficult Sections
Ken Gagne E-Mailed me asking for help on getting through Level 7-1.
Here you are: This level is annoying in that you are constantly being blown
to the right. This would be good except that progress is made by going to
the LEFT. Go left until you come to the first platform (For this, as well
as the rest of the level and future walkthroughs, it will be assumed that
you kill enemies not mentioned with your sword). Walk just about to the edge
and kill the robot that comes toward you. Jump to the next platform. Kill 
the guy in back of you. Jump over the fireballs that come toward you, kill
the robot that shoots them, and turn and kill the back guy. Get the Fire
Dragon Balls and grab onto the platform to your left (DO NOT jump on top
of it, at least not yet.). Proceed to your left slightly, then use a Fire
Dragon Ball; when timed correctly, it will take out both of the enemies that
are under you. Now you can--in between fireballs--jump up and take out the 
enemy above you. Fall onto the next platform (DO NOT jump..you're far above
it, so you can just fall onto it) and jump and kill the guy who comes 
running toward you. Jump onto the next platform, kill the guy in back, then
take out the one in front. Proceed until the Fire Dragon Balls, at which 
point you should activate the Invincible Fire Wheel (Which you should have
grabbed earlier) and run until you come to the Windmill Throwing Star. After
the Fire Wheel runs out, grab the Windmill Star and go as far as you can to 
the left (Without actually jumping off the platform) and use the Windmill
Star--you should be able to take out 2 enemies at once. Jump to the platform,
kill the guy in back of you, and proceed to the end of the level, ignoring
the final swooping enemy. 

Section IX: This Guide's Future
Well, I'll admit something: I kind of rushed this release, in other words
it's not as "refined" as my previous FAQs were. This can, however, be a good
thing (For me anyway), as it means I'll make plenty of updates (I need 
something to do over the summer). But there can also be other things. Tell me
what levels you find difficult in this game and I'll write complete 
walkthroughs for them. Tell me about alternate boss strategies and I'll write
them in too. Well that's it for now. Have fun....
-Marc

Section X: Legal Stuff
*Yawn* Okay here we go: Basically, as long as I know about it, you can do
whatever you want with this guide. About the only thing you CAN'T do is
say you wrote it. Otherwise, you can post it on your webpage or whatever, as 
long as you contact me about it first (Don't be afraid, I'll say yes, but 
it's nice to know where it's going). My sources besides my own playing were:
The Ninja Gaiden III Instruction Manual (For the Game Basics, which I 
paraphrased), Issue 27 (Mega Man in Dr. Wily's Revenge) of Nintendo Power 
(For the names of some of the Power-Ups), The Ninja Gaiden Homepage (For
Boss names and other info), and Lance Steele's Ninja Gaiden Tribute (For the
name of the War Droid...this site is no longer online, as mentioned earlier).