A Very Basic Guide to Etrom - The Astral Essence ____________________________________________________ I picked up this great game for $5 at a game store. I judged this game by its cover and it turned out to be a great game, despite all the negative reviews and stuff I read online (*after* buying it). After noticing that GameFAQs has almost NO info on it I decided to write this guide. It's a very rough guide, as you'll see, but it will help with some tricky parts and there is a lot of stuff you have to do in the game with little or no clues or direction as to how to do it, mainly finding the 7 keys (which makes up like the whole first half of the game). I'm not going to go vastly overboard like most of the guides I see here, with the silly graphics made out of text characters, letters of thanks, introductions, preludes, "legal" crap, ridiculously detailed tables of contents, etc. I'll label sections but I'm not going to go crazy like "section 1.1.2x III a" and stuff like that. The game packaging proclaims that your mouse is your main form of input and you can play without a keyboard, implying that this is a favorable trait. Well, playing without a keyboard would be difficult at best, so keep the insert card handy to refer to key commands. Starting out You start the game in your apartment. There is a file on the floor right in front of you. Grab it, open your inventory and you'll see it in the area with the little squares. Right click it and it will open to show you the world map. I haven't found much use for the world map yet, maybe it will come into play later in the game. Exit out of that and go back into your inventory. You start with your axe (which is permanently equipped), a basic armor, a handgun, and some ammo. You have to manually equip the armor, gun, and ammo when you first start and if (when) you die before you complete the first mission. There's nothing else in the apartment, so explore if you want, get used to the controls, whatever. It takes a little practice to get used to turning the camera with the mouse but I think it's a neat feature. You can also use the arrow keys on your keyboard, but I prefer the mouse. Whenever you're ready, head to the door to GW7 and click it to leave your apartment. Streets of Sighundia IMPORTANT!! Your character states that he is not very well equipped to fight and should just avoid fighting until he is better equipped. That is mostly untrue, the gun you start with is actually pretty good, it can kill the enemies in the beginning in 1-3 shots. Another note, there are 2 types of enemies - some with guns and some with swords. Use the same weapon type to kill them, guns for guns, axe for sword. If you try to shoot a guy with a sword, his armor will block most of the shots and you will just waste ammo. If you try to hack a gun guy with your axe, he might run away, and if you chase him you will probably attract more enemies. Now look at your map. You will see four gates on the very outer walls of the city, east, west, north, south. These are pretty much the only places you will want to avoid right now, they are guarded by 5 or 6 more powerful and better-equipped enemies. Other than that, most enemies either wander or are standing in groups of 2-5. You'll probably be better off just forgetting about sneaking. It's painfully slow and it doesn't even work very well unless you are exactly 180 degrees behind an enemy. The enemies are mostly out in the open, they're not hiding and they don't pop out of nowhere, just remember if you are running, they will automatically attack you when you get within about 30 feet, no matter which direction they are facing. It's probably best to run around with your gun equipped, and if you attract a couple enemies at once, shoot the ones with guns first, you can kill them and switch to your axe (W button) before the sword guys get to you. It's pretty easy to see the difference in the enemies, the swords stick straight up, the guys with guns hold them with two hands like storm troopers. Just take small steps, don't click way off in the distance, and REMEMBER if you are running and you need to stop, for example if you get attacked from the side, switch weapons and you will stop immediately. When you kill enemies, sometimes a swirling blue ball will appear floating above their corpse. When you walk near it, your body will suck it in and it will restore some health. It gives you a percentage of your maximum health, at lower levels it will give you like 8 to 10 points and it will increase as your level rises. In the early 20s it gives around 100 points, it's pretty nice then cuz enemies tend to come in groups and can do a fair amount of damage. When starting out, one handy strategy is to avoid them when your health is full then come back for them when you need it. This eliminates time-consuming trips back to the shop to buy more drugs. Now you have two choices: either carefully explore the city and kill enemies for experience and loot, or just head straight for the sewers to complete the first mission. Exploring the city for experience is good because the enemies are really easy when you first start out. There is a catch though, if you gain a level THEN go into the shop, when you come out every single enemy will be back AND THEY WILL BE HIGHER LEVEL AND HAVE BETTER GUNS! So you should stay out of the shop until you your inventory is full, and/or you are ready to move on to the first mission. Also remember you can't save your game until you complete the 1st mission so if you die, you go back to the main menu and have to start over! So it might be better to just fight your way to the shop, stop in and sell anything you might have picked up, check out the equipment, etc, then head to the sewer. The sewer enemies are pretty easy, about the same as the ones above. It's a pretty short little run, there's no boss or anything. The temple is pretty cool but it has catches also. Talk to Johan, he goes through quite a spiel about the keys and stuff. There are two portals: one goes to Hagnan's Shop and the other goes back to GW7, it puts you right at the sewer entrance. There's the dimensional portal, the circle between Johan and Hagnan's portal. This is where you put the Aurun Keys when you find them. Then there's the Circle of Experience, where you go when you gain a level, and the Circle of time, basically a save point. I should say THE save point. You can save at any time by pressing F5 but if you leave the game, next time you start you will start in the temple, you will just have all the experience and items you gained up until you pressed F5 and saved. In the back room is a storage chest, just like in Diablo 2, it only has 24 small slots and 4 large. Once you start doing real missions, it's a good idea to stock it with ammo & supplies. The reason is this: once you discover the temple, you can warp back from almost anywhere (excluding arenas, boss rooms, etc) just by pressing T. When you warp back, you will appear in the middle of the circle room and there will be a blue shimmering portal. You can go about your business inside the temple, but IF YOU LEAVE THE TEMPLE BY ONE OF THE OTHER PORTALS, YOUR PERSONAL PORTAL VANISHES! This is an interesting twist, the game would be too easy otherwise, you could just port back from anywhere and hit the shop, sell a ton of stuff and buy whatever you need, then just jump back to where you were. That would be too easy, so I like the idea. Remember the catch about warping back with the T button, I learned that little tidbit when I ported back from the first BIG boss, went to the shop, ported back to the temple, clicked to portal again and it brought me back to the shop! I muttered obscenities the whole 45 minutes I spent hoofing it back to the boss location! So anyways, save it in the temple then click on either of the portals, if you have loot from the sewers or whatever you can go straight to the shop to sell and buy and check out the goods. Now you can explore the city without worrying about death. It's pretty easy to get up to level 4, you only need 30,000 XPs if I remember correctly. It would be extremely difficult to tackle the first real mission at lower levels, it would be really good to be level 8 so you can use hyper rifles. Hyper rifles and disruptors are the only guns that use heavy ammo. Any gun that uses light ammo pretty much doesn't work against zombies, and that's all that is in the labrynth under Disabel's hideout. You can try the Outlaw Arena, the unlimited time events aren't too bad, but the third event contains enemies with disruptors, so you might want to save that one. The first arena event gives you 30,000 money, the 2nd event gives 50,000, not too bad. You can also do the first mission for your buddy at the illegal gambling place. Forget about the G.A.S place, the 1st mission leads you to an apt where you step into a special portal, it drops you into a small and cluttered room with a large zombie and a big lizard guy that absolutely destroyed me at level 9. One thing you can do at this point is work on upgrading your stuff. Remember the city gates I talked about? The one on the WEST border doesn't have a disruptor enemy. If you upgrade your beginner gun to one that does more damage, you should be able to take out that little group pretty easy, that will net you a heavy machine gun at least. Remember that when using a gun you can RIGHT click on an enemy and your gun will do a double fire, using twice as much ammo but hitting twice as many times. Once you get a heavy machine gun, then you can take out the other gate groups, just kill the disruptor first. They are pretty easy to spot, it looks like a HUGE rectangle, almost the size of smaller enemies. There are also 2 secret levels to explore and plunder. The only problem is one is right next to the East city gate, so not only does it have a large group very near, there is also a disruptor and a heavy machine gun enemy guarding it. The other one has the same disruptor and heavy machine gun and also several normal enemies, the ones with assault rifles and swords around. The 2nd secret level has two entrances: one in a corner on the east wall and one in a corner that's hard to describe. If you look at the map as a backwards capital L, it would be in the corner. The one with two entrances is pretty small, just a quick run through. The enemies are about the same as the soldiers, some just attack with punches, some have handguns, and some have rifles. There are some safes containing valuables, weapon chests, and some other little things, you can make some good money. The one near the city gate is quite large. I haven't noticed if this game makes random dungeon maps, I don't think it does, so the second one basically forms a big square, with a couple small branches. The funny thing is, the first time I played through the game, I found a really sweet handgun in this dungeon, it had excellent damage and +10 accuracy AND it had double shot, so each shot was two bullets! The damage and accuracy was so good, the next best gun that the shop had was level 19! However, I started a new game just to mess around, and I scoured this dungeon and didn't find it. I was kinda hurrying, and I was picking up the handguns that the enemies dropped, just to sell for money, so maybe I did pick it up then accidentally dropped it thinking it was a crappy one, or maybe I was just lucky the first time. I don't know if every item box contains the exact same items every time. They also don't refill by the way.... So, if you get tired of levelling and hauling stuff to the shop to build your fortune, you can head to the first real mission. Like I said, the higher level you are, the better. The hyper rifles (and the disruptor if you want to get to that level) are life savers down in the labrynth, because for some reason light ammo weapons barely do anything to the zombie-like enemies, about 8 out of 10 shots just say "Armor Protection" which means zero damage, and when they do hit they do like 2 to 8 damage. I guess it's logical though, bullets would just go right through rotting zombie flesh. The hyper rifles are kinda like a shotgun, they just shoot one round with a big thumpy bang and do good damage to the zombies. The disruptor rocks, it's just a rocket launcher, so it does area damage, but NOT TO YOURSELF! YAY! So in the cramped confines of the labrynth, you can blast away all you want and not worry about killing yourself! The disruptor has a nice secondary fire too, you just aim at the floor anywhere and right click and it fires, so you can hit enemies if you see like their hand sticking out around a corner. I found one way to kill the disruptor guards early in the game. First you have to clear out all the enemies around one of the city gates so they don't interfere. Then get close enough to see the group of guards around the gate. If you can see which one has the disruptor, aim at him and shoot as fast as possible. You might be able to kill him before he gets close enough to shoot at you. If you don't kill him, just run away. The guys with disruptors and heavy machine guns run slower than you and the enemies with smaller guns, so you can run for a while then turn around and shoot some more. It's not too difficult to do... OPTIONAL SIDE QUEST: SECRET GAMBLING DEN - JIMMY GUISTO In GW7 you can see the Secret Gambling Den marked on your map, near the center. Inside, Jimmy Guisto will give you side quests. The first one is really short and simple, you have to deliver a package to Sharp Joy (cool name eh?) who runs another secret gambling place which is only like 3 blocks north. Whatever you do, DO NOT RIGHT CLICK ON THE PACKAGE, YOU WILL DIE! Apparently the package is a bomb! Just go to Sharp Joy's place, which is now marked on your map, and all you have to do is talk to him. Then return to Jimmy for your reward. This is a great quest for a lower level cuz you get a good bit of money and i think some XP also. Jimmy has another mission for you but you can't do until after the first main mission. You can however talk to him to get the mission, that way when you get to GW8 you can just go do it to save time. Disabel, The First REAL Mission Remember what I said earlier, about stocking your storage chest in the astral temple? It's a very good strategy because if you scrimp on ammo up to the boss, you're going to be hurting, unless you have your entire inventory full of regens. You'll need more regen drugs than ammo, so I would recommend having 5 clips in your storage and the rest of the spaces full of regen drugs. Again, it's unbelievably helpful to be level 8 so you can use the disruptor. Well first of all you have to fight your way up to the very northeast corner of the city, including taking out a city gate guard group, which includes a disruptor-weilding guard. Then you go up the little ramp to the platform with the tanks, around the back of that there are 3 rifle guards, which you can actually shoot from the flat ground on the side of the platform where they can't get you. Also, the very first time you go into the corner there are more guards by the trapdoor, they never respawn though. When you click the trapdoor you enter a large level that's just like the secret levels and the original sewer, same enemies, same map style. When you get there you talk to Disabel and read the weird story if you want. You agree to help her kill the monsters or whatever so she directs you to the trapdoor to her right. That's the entrance to the labrynth. The labrynth is pretty darn big, and the enemies are zombies. There are 2 types, the skinny ones and big burly ones. The skinny ones move SO slow you'll laugh, but they can attack pretty hard. No problem for level 7-8. The bigger ones run fast and carry either swords or assault rifles. Again, they're not terribly difficult, however sometimes when you get to a 4-way intersection, they big ones will pop out of thin air in a cloud of smoke, not only surprising you but making it hard to see what the heck is going on for a few seconds. The labrynth is pretty big, but it's just a plain grid shaped map. You can't get lost unless you refuse to use your map or something. When looking at the map, you start at the top right, and the exit is closer to the bottom left. Along the bottom of the map are rooms containing a couple rings and an amulet or two. Most of the rooms contain the instantly appearing sword and gun zombies, so it's better to stand out in the hallway a bit and shoot anything you can see before going in. This is where the disruptor comes in handy, if you're able to use it. Also of very important note are the portals in the rooms with the rings and amulet(s). They transport you to seperate little mini-levels where you can gain astral powers. For those who normally just skip everything and run through dungeons as fast as possible, well you can't beat the first boss without the powers. When you see a big glowing circle on the floor, like a portal without the overhead arches, just step in and it gives you the power. One good way to explore this labrynth is to go across from the start, down one row, across the other way, down, across, etc. That's if you want to gain all the xp and loot. I guess if you are one of the straight through types, you could just head straight south and clear out the whole south end, that's where the goody rooms are. Eventually you'll find the portal to the boss, when you mouse over it it says "astral portal" or something. It's kinda tricky cuz once you step through it, you can't use the T button to warp back to the temple, but if you warp back in the room that contains the portal, when you return the enemies will be respawned. It's not that big of a deal though, just be ready with your axe or disruptor. So on to the boss... First you appear in an empty room with a glowing door behind you, but you can't go back in. There's a door on the other end of the small room that leads to the boss. You can see a table or altar or whatever in the middle of the room, but there's nothing else there. The boss spawns when you walk into the room. I'm not sure if you can go back into the empty room or not, I was too busy running madly around trying to stay alive.... First of all, ENERGY WEAPONS DO NOT TOUCH HIM, NO DAMAGE PERIOD!! So don't go in and waste a bunch of disruptor ammo (if you have it). Like I said, the boss spawns when you enter the room, also two glowing lightning balls appear behind the altar, smaller enemies pour out of these. There are the two normal types of zombies (the skinny slow ones and the burly fast ones) and there are also mega zombies, they are exactly like the skinny ones but twice the size. They move at the same speed but do way more damage and are extremely hard to kill even with a disruptor. The axe can take care of them but it's still pretty tough. This is also where a disruptor is a lifesaver. Like I said the smaller zombies literally pour out of those portal things, and the disruptor shoots as fast as you can click, so you can clear those suckers out real quick. You'll need to keep moving to avoid the priest, his magic attacks can do upwards of 240 damage! Which reminds me, WATCH YOUR HEALTH! You should definitely have the highest regen drugs available to you at the time. Anyways after dying quite fast the first time (which was after spending another 45 minutes running back thru the sewer, Disabel's hideout, and the labrynth due to my lack of understanding of the portals), I figured out a strategy that seemed to work, well that is IF you are high enough to use the disruptor! Keep blasting the small enemies that pour out of the portals and eventually they will stop, however I think the mega-zombies keep coming, I was running out of regens so I didn't have time to keep trying to kill them. The priest doesn't move around much though so I was unfortunate enough to have a mega-zombie waling on me while trying to fight him... Which brings me to my next point, actually fighting the priest. Remember, guns don't touch him, and guess what, even your normal axe doesn't do anything to him! That's why you need the astral powers. There are 3 of them, trust me I explored every inch of the labrynth so I better not have missed any! You need to switch your axe to ice power, lightning doesn't do anything either. It's probably easier to open your inventory and click the icons on the star, although you can use the S and D keys to cycle forward and backward. The icon in the center of your star shows the axe MODE, when it's on the axe icon that's attack mode, the red star is spell mode. I didn't try the ice SPELL on the priest so I don't know how well that works. I just used ice attack and whacked away, using right click power attacks as much as possible, that would do sometimes over 600 damage. So just clear the small zombies, attack the giant ones if you want, then use ice power to attack the priest. He has over 4000 health so it might take a while. Just watch your health and magic power, and REMEMBER you can use drugs while you are in your inventory, just put them in your belt slots and right click them, your health/magic will be instantly higher when you exit the inventory, no waiting at all. It would also be nice to bring fury potions, they increase your axe damage. Actually I think I was using one when I saw a couple 648 point hits on the priest. Also, according to the manual (the PDF manual on the game disc), when you use your personal warp to the astral temple (T button), the return portal will stay there if you save and exit the game. I haven't tested it yet myself, but if it's in the manual you'd think it would be correct. So that would be another good reason to port back to the temple before stepping into the portal that leads to the boss, otherwise if you die, you're f*cked and have to all the way thru the labrynth and everything.... Sector GW8, After the Priest You get your first Aurum key or whatever they're called. In the Astral Temple, you can go to the Planar Portal (the circle to the left of Johan) and click on it, the key will go into one of the little circle things and it will glow. Strangely, Johan continues his "guru meditation!", so I had to figure out the next part myself! You need to get the key for sector GW8. You get it from the guy in the Outlaw Arena. You don't have to do any of the arena missions, but you do have to buy the key from him. It costs either $200,000 or $250,000 I can't remember which. Remember that in this game, any time you get a key for a locked door or trapdoor or whatever, it does NOT appear in your inventory or anything, you just go to the door and click on it and it will open. If you've been hoarding stuff from the dungeons and selling it at the shop, you should have a good bit of money. It doesn't take much to save up that amount anyways. Just always look VERY closely at dead enemies for credit cards. Also, if you haven't done either or both of the secret levels in GW7, you can make some good money from them, they have safes full of goodies that are worth big $. After you buy the key, the trapdoor that leads to GW8 is in the lower left corner of the map. If you haven't cleared the enemies from around that area yet, you will need to fight them now. There are some of the tougher soldiers, the ones with hyper rifles, heavy machine guns, and disruptors. These are the one-time enemies, after you kill them they won't respawn. Just be careful cuz the southern city gate is nearby, but I don't think it's close enough to attract the group of gate guards unless you run in their direction. Once you clear the enemies from around the GW8 trapdoor, click on it and you will be in a very small sewer level. It's shaped like a sideways T, you can run straight from the entrance and just go out to GW8 without facing a single enemy, or you can go down the one branch to the right. Down the branch there are some enemies and some goodies. First you will come to an area with some normal enemies, the guys in robes, some with swords & shields and some with guns. There are actually quite a few of them, maybe 10-12. No sweat, a couple disruptor shots clears them. Then there's one of the dead-end type sections, with walls on 3 sides and a group of enemies, including a mini-boss! They're all pretty easy, the mini-boss just has a handgun and you get 850 XP from him, then there are some safes and supply/weapon/drug chests for you to plunder! Wether you clear out the enemies or just run through, you pop up in sector GW8 after clicking on the other door... The first time you go into GW8, you automatically go into a conversation with Gheena, an old friend of yours. She explains how she can smuggle you into Ursiton where you can meet up with a secret rebel mole/spy whatever. You have to pay her $9,000 to travel to Ursiton, she says it's very risky and dangerous for her to do it for you and her rebels need guns and blah blah. You can go straight to Ursiton if you want or choose "Maybe later" or whatever the option is and explore GW8. There are 3 points of interest in this sector, the main one being the Secret Service hideout. The guy in there gives you two quests: REQUIRED SIDE QUEST: KILL KRIEK Kriek's hideout has a rather large sewer-type level that you can explore, with lots of enemies and goodies. Like the first big mission, you might want to stock your storage chest with health and ammo, and you will probably get so much loot that you will need to store some in your chest to make room for more. After the sewer level you will find another door to Kriek's actual hideout. It is a much smaller level, just like Disabel's actual hideout. There are normal enemies standing around all over, then in a seperate branch you will se a rather large group of enemies, Kriek is somewhere in that gang. I just unloaded my disruptor, I shot until it clicked out of ammo and when the smoke cleared, Kriek was standing there plinking at me with a silly little handgun. I made short work of him with my axe and got some good XP and loot. It was pretty easy at level 10. Then I just warped back to the temple and made a couple trips to the shop to sell my loot, upgrade my equipment, restock my supplies, etc... If you're a thorough explorer you might notice a trapdoor in the floor in one of the little side rooms around kriek's hideout. It leads to a rather large labrynth which contains a portal to a boss who holds one of the aurum keys. Sorry i don't have much more info but you should be pretty familiar with the labrynth levels by now, you run around, explore, get loot and XP, etc. The portal leads you to a standard boss room, the boss isn't very hard for level 12 to 14, kill him and get the key, then go thru the other door and i think it ports you back to GW8 so you can go back to the Secret Service place to talk to the guy and finish the mission and get a bunch of money and XP. OPTIONAL SIDE QUEST: KILL SHARP JOY Remeber Jimmy in the Secret Gambling Den? This is the 2nd mission. He tells you that his former accomplice and friend has actually betrayed him! He doesn't give too much detail but he wants you to kill him. He is in a secret hideout in sector GW8. This one is pretty short but much more difficult than just delivering a package. The entrance to Sharp Joy's hideout is very close to Kriek's hideout. Just go straight south from Krieks until you hit the wall, then go a little bit EAST. BE PREPARED! When you enter this hideout you appear with FOUR tough enemies blasting at you with guns. Every enemy in this hideout has a name and is therefore tougher than standard enemies. They only carry handguns and assault rifles but they do quite a bit of damage! I wasn't watching my health and I was down to less than 100 when I finally noticed, it was a miracle that I was able to jam the number keys fast enough to get some health back and not die. Well the real problem was that I had my handgun equipped instead of my disruptor which would have made short work of them. So if you survive that little group, you go on to a square section with walls, like you see in every sewer type level. It has a bunch more named enemies. Clear them out however you want and are able to. Then you come to one of the dead-end type sections, with walls on 3 sides and a gaggle of enemies in the middle. What's strange is that the boss (marked with a large permanent red circle on the ground around him) is actually named "Criminal Leader" instead of Sharp Joy. The enemies surrounding him all have unique names but are pretty easy to take out with a disruptor. Sharp is a standard mini boss, and a pretty easy one, especially if you use the disruptor to take out the other enemies cuz he will take plenty of damage so you can finish him off pretty easy. There are several safes and crates for you to loot. Then all you have to do is return to Jimmy in the secret gambling den in GW7 to collect your reward. You can do that any time, you don't have to immediately run back. You get a buch of XP (10,000 or 12,000) and a ton of money, like $200,000 or something. I couldn't see the exact amount cuz the numbers pop up on the screen in yellow type and the background is bright white, plus they are only on the screen for about 1 second, so it's very hard to see the actual amounts. After that I tried talking to Jimmy again but he didn't give me another mission, he just asked if I was there to gamble or something... URSATON Ok now back to the main stuff. You pay Gheena $9,000 to travel to Ursiton. You appear in the very southern area of the map. The enemies here are stronger and have better guns, most of them have either assault rifles or heavy machine guns, and there a lot with disruptors. By this point, you should definitely be high enough level to take them out. Hopefully you understand the armor system by now, you really don't have to worry too much about anything but NORMAL protection, the other stuff is for when you get to the Void Lands and stuff. In my adventures I was lucky enough to come across Aurum Soldier V armor, which isn't sold in the shop and has very good stats. Your main goal is the far north area. You'll see the map is pretty simple, there's 5 sections arranged in a cross shape. There are random weapon/supply/drug chests in Ursiton, a lot more than there were in GW7, so if you see one it might be worth checking out. Fight your way up to the north section, you will see it has 3 small fenced-in areas. You need the one on the left if I remember correctly. There is a door on the WEST side of one of the buildings inside that fenced area, that's where the spy is that you have to contact. He gives you a key to the "Mother Factory". Once you get the key, it might be a good idea to just warp back to the temple and prepare for a major mission. You know the drill, clean your inventory and fill your storage chest with health and ammo, this time you'll probably want more health drugs because of the enemies in the factory. I went in with more ammo than health my first time and it made things a little difficult. The enemies are very similar to the ones in the first mission labrynth, zombie types and soldier types. The zombies are very different here. They almost look like robots, they have bright glowing eyes and when they walk, their footsteps are very loud. They're called Abominyums, minors (smaller ones) and majors (larger). They move very slow, just like the other zombies. They hit very hard though, hence the reason for taking more health. Although when they drop the glowing blue power orbs you get a lot of health back, like 50-70. The soldiers don't do a whole ton of damage, but they can gang up on you and appear out of nowhere just like the labrynth. Here you must use your weapons wisely. I found that light ammo weapons are almost useless here, and even heavy ammo weapons don't do a whole ton of damage. Hyper rifles and disruptors work pretty well, but it's your axe that really shines here. However, you need to use LIGHTNING power, your normal axe doesn't do any damage, you will get the message that says "weapon ineffective" or whatever. As with the other levels that are similar to this one, it is easy to miss a corridor at an intersection. You have to look around to see the different branches and stuff. Your main goal is to reach the southernmost point on the map, but of course it's benficial to explore the whole thing. In the furthest south room is the portal to the boss.... This is an interesting boss. I had less trouble with this one than I did with the preist. The room setup is exactly the same (and it will be for a lot of bosses in the rest of the game): you start in a short hallway with a magic door (that you cannot go back thru) behind you and you are facing a doorway into another room. Thru the door you can see an altar but this time you can also see some enemies. They look like huge zombies. If you shoot at them, it starts the whole battle. It might actually be better to do it that way, cuz then 3 smaller enemies that look identical to the preist appear and block the doorway so the huge zombie things can't get thru and you can fight the boss one on one... The boss, Xamr, is just like a huge possessed soldier with a hammer, just like the normal ones in Ursaton and the dungeon you just went thru. YOU MUST USE BLOOD AXE POWER ON HIM, NOTHING ELSE WILL HARM HIM! The 3 mini-priest enemies will stand in the doorway and blast you with magic, and Xamr will wail on you with his hammer. He has over 4000 health, so it takes a good while to beat him. Fortunately he doesn't do nearly as much damage as the priest, so it's not quite as difficult. You could try shooting the mini-priests with a disruptor, just to reduce the damage you take while fighting Xamr. I didn't try it so it might not even damage them, I don't know. Again, Xamr was easier than the priest, so just wail on him, then take out whatever is left after he's dead. You get tons of XP, and a nice ring and of course, another Aurum Key. After cleaning up, you might as well just hit T to warp back to the Astral Temple, cuz the magic doors just bring you back to the labrynth level that led you to the boss. Back at the temple you can put the key in the Dimensional Portal or whatever it is, but Johan STILL won't talk to you! SECRET SERVICE MISSIONS W/AURUM KEY You might have noticed the dot on the map in Sector GW8, when you mouse over it, it shows "Secret Service Headquarters" or something like that. You can go in there at any time you have access to GW8. I actually waited to do them until after all 3 of the cities you can travel to thru Gheena. You would probably be safe doing this at level 8 or 9, I dunno. Anyways you go in the building and talk to the guy. There are only 2 missions from him. The first mission is pretty easy. You have to kill the head of police or something in Sighundia. After talking to the Secret Service guy (he gives you some important details) and accepting the mission, you are automatically warped back to Sighundia. You appear right outside of Hangan's Shop. You need to go just north of the shop, to the dead-end type street. There you will find a special Disruptor and some heavy ammo. The disruptor is totally sick, it does like 150-350 damage and I think it adds accuracy, and the required level is only 1! Of course it's too good to be true, cuz it disappears when you're done with the mission! The guy you need to kill is in the far north part of the city, near the gate thing. While you're in this mission, the city is now stocked with different enemies, there are lots of disruptor enemies and other tougher ones. They're no match for your super disruptor though. Even the main guy that you have to kill for the mission is a piece of cake, just unload on him. On second thought, you might want to try just taking out the normal enemies around him before killing him, then kill him with your axe to see if he drops any good loot. I just destroyed his whole group with the disruptor and then I got the mission accomplished message and was immediately warped back to the Astral Temple, so I didn't get to see if he dropped anything... The second mission is a little more complicated, but just as easy, or maybe easier. You get an Aurum Key in the 2nd one. The Secret Service guy tells you a story about some scientist that rebelled against the Secret Service and now you must kill him, and he's hiding in the abandoned railway system under Sighundia. He gives you an invisible key, so head over to the abandoned metro station... Once you get down there, drop onto the tracks and head left. The grate on the left wall is now a door. It leads to a big deserted underground labratory type place. The enemies in here are easy, they are called necrounborns, they look like zombie biker dudes, they have ponytails and sleeveless shirts. They are really easy at level 14, you could probably do this at 10 or 11. If you want to skip thru, just run straight thru from the entrance and you will reach the next door. If you want lots of SUPER drugs and some sweet EXPERIMENTAL drugs, explore the simple branches that go off to the sides. The drugs will come in very handy on bosses later on, if you feel like hanging on to them... When you reach the door at the end, it brings you to the control room. Inside is the mad scientist and you can see the Aurum Key right next to him. Either grab the key or talk to the guy, it doesn't matter. He rambles on and offers you treasure and/or power if you let him live and join him, you refuse and then he turns into the exact same enemy that was in the hall before, same health and everything except he has the red boss ring on him. Kill him very easily, then get ready for the pain in the neck part! READ THIS PART ALL THE WAY THRU BEFORE CONTINUING!! This part took me MANY tries, mostly just because I completely forgot about your demon power! When you click on the control panel to destroy the system or whatever, you automatically zone back into the hallway you fought thru and the 3 minute timer starts. You have to get back to the door you came in from, and there are more of the same enemies all over the hallway. I found that it's pretty easy and much faster to just use invisibility and run past all of them, cuz any way you use to kill them just takes precious time... HERE'S THE TWIST: When you get to a certain point in the hallway, the timer instantly goes to 30 SECONDS, no matter how much time you had left! I'm quite certain that it is physically impossible to run to the door in time, no matter how you do it, UNLESS YOU USE DEMON POWER! You run MUCH faster in demon form. So after many tries, including a few failed attempts while using demon power, I honed it down to this method: BEFORE clicking on the control panel, set your axe power to invisibility and spell mode and have 3 or 4 AP drugs in your belt. Click on the panel, and as soon as you zone back into the hallway cast invis and start running. BE READY TO CAST INVIS AGAIN AS SOON AS IT WEARS OFF! Now if i remember correctly (sorry i can't recall exactly since i was pretty much in a blind panic when i finally succeeded in reaching the door), you should run for about 20 more seconds after casting invis the 2nd time THEN JUST CAST IT AGAIN, THEN HIT "A" TO SWITCH FROM SPELL MODE TO AXE MODE! This is important cuz you need to use the right mouse button. A short time later you will reach the point where the timer jumps to 30 seconds. THE NEXT FEW SECONDS DETERMINES WETHER YOU PASS OR FAIL! You will see the gray text bar appear on the bottom of the screen and a message appears, something like "WARNING 30 SECONDS TO DETONATION". HIT THE RIGHT MOUSE BUTTON then your character says "Hell!" or something, HIT THE RIGHT MOUSE BUTTON AGAIN AND IMMEDIATELY HIT THE SPACE BAR TO CHANGE TO DEMON FORM!! Now is the hard part! Don't TRY to kill the enemies, TRY to run around them. Due to the way the camera and mouse controls work, sometimes when you run past an enemy and try to click further down the path to keep running, the mouse will instead try to attack an enemy behind you! This unforunate bug caused me a lot of grief in this mission. You might get lucky and just be able to run all the way to the door, but if you suddenly turn around you might as well try to kill the enemy(ies) behind you. I think I killed 2 or 3 and still made it to the door. You should be able to run around most of them, if not all of them. Anyways good luck and just keep trying, you need the Aurum keys so obviously you can't skip this one. You get a nice chunk of change for completing it, not to mention 12,000 XP for getting the key.... THE NEXT BIG CITY Well since Johan is no help, I guess it's up to you to figure out what to do next. It's pretty simple really, remember talking to Gheena and seeing 3 choices of places to go? Well you just gotta go to each one, probably in order. From the Astral Temple, just go back thru the tunnel to GW8 (killing the easy boss for a quick 850 XP if you want), talk to Gheena and choose the 2nd choice on the list of places to go. She'll tell you about your contact agent and a little about the place you're going to. It's a pretty simple place really. It's pretty big too, so you can explore the whole place if you want. There are plenty of weapon/drug/supply crates all over, it's very beneficial to explore. The enemies are pretty easy, there are NO disruptors, only heavy machine guns, hyper rifles, and guys with swords and shields. When you're done exploring, or if you just want to run straight thru, your target destination is in a little area in the furthest south point on the map. There's a secret doorway on the north side of the building in that little area, it's just one of the arched doorways that are on all the buildings, you just have to mouse over it and it will say "Secret Doorway" or something. Clicking on it leads you to another sector, CFM2 or something. On the map it is shaped like a big cross, with a smaller cross in the middle. The smaller cross is St. John's Cathedral. There are normal enemies all over the level, but on the southern side of the cathedral, there is a mini-boss with a group of 6 or 8 normal enemies. You can totally avoid him if you want, but he's pretty easy at level 12. Just shoot the gun guys, then take out the normal enemies with your axe, use right click power attacks to kill several at once, then focus on the boss. Using a Fury drug helps a ton. Oh by the way, USE LIGHTNING POWER for your axe! Anyways, you start in the right/east branch of the cross shape on the map, and you have to get to the opposite side (west). You'll see there are 3 or 4 structures in that area, the furthest south one has a door on the south side, it leads to a tiny hideout where you'll find your contact agent. He gives you an invisible key that will open a secret passage to the cathedral. He also rambles on about some parchments that will help bring down the theocracy or whatever. I think that part might be optional, but the parchment is just sitting on the altar thing in the boss room so I wouldn't take the risk of NOT picking it up, it would really suck to have to run all the way back thru 2 huge levels to get it! So after you talk to him you have to get back to CFM1, the sector you started in. Once there, you need to find your way to the furthest EAST cemetary. This sector is a little more maze-like than previous ones. You probably saw the cemetary areas on your way thru the first time. It's not too tough to find the furthest east one. The secret passage is just a grave on the ground, actually it looks just like a big slab of cement, and it will show you the name of it when you mouse over it. Clicking on it leads you to a standard labrynth-type level. It's a fairly simple one, and very similar to the one under the Mother factory. Same enemies, except here almost all the big zombie/robot guys are of the "Major" variety, they are much bigger and hit harder. Use Lightning power axe to take them out quickly. There are also the possessed soldiers, most have swords and some have guns. Nothing to worry about, just keep an eye on your health and use right click power attacks when they are grouped together. The layout is actually symmetrical on this one. The portal to the boss is in the very top right corner, so if you want to head straight there, go for it, but there are a lot of valuable goodies in the other rooms and plenty of XP to be gained. Not too much else. There is a new Astral Power in the room with the boss portal, so grab that before jumping into the boss battle... This boss was a joke, or maybe I just got really lucky, cuz I didn't use a single health potion! The layout is the same as the previous main bosses, you appear in a hallway looking into a room with an altar thing in the middle, and again you can see one of the bosses. This time there is a total of 2 enemies, one is like a freakishly huge robot/zombie guy (identical to the abominyums or whatever) and the other is like a smaller version of the priest boss. I think the big zombie guy is the main boss and the priest is a mini helper. The big guy just attacks with melee while the priest casts spells. Again, I started the fight with all 2400 health full, and ended with like 1400, it was just too easy. I used a Fury 4 power drug, that helped a lot, and I think I used Blood Axe power again. I destroyed the big guy first, then spanked the little priest. They each drop a ring and the big guy dropped the Aurum key. REMEMBER TO GRAB THE PARCHMENT OFF THE ALTAR/TABLE!! When I exited, I took the OTHER door, NOT the one that I came in thru. I don't know if they both bring you to the same place, but the one I went thru took me directly to the secret hideout with the contact agent in CFM2, where you talk to him and give him the parchment and he gives you a ton of XP and thanks you. From there, you might as well head back to the good ole Astral Temple.... SIDE QUEST - THE OUTLAW ARENA At level 13 I decided to take another crack at the outlaw arena. The unlimited time is easy, since you can take your time, but you get less money. I'll focus on the limited time missions. They're pretty tough, considering you don't get any map at all and I think the levels are randomly generated. They all contain the same enemies though, including disruptor enemies. It's impossible to explore the entire level in the time they give you, so luck plays a huge role in these missions. So it makes sense to save first. You can always go into the building then warp back to the temple and save, that way when you die you can just jump back into the return portal and try again, saves a ton of time. One important note about the limited time missions: the first mission just says "defeat gladiator whatever" and the second one says "defeat gladiator whatever AND escape before time runs out". The problem was when I killed the gladiator in the first mission, I still had to escape! I lucked out and found it in time though. A minor mistake by the developers or whatever. You get lots of money from the limited time missions. I certainly didn't need it, I was up to like 5 million by that point, I just wanted to do them for the sake of completing the game 100%. NEXT STEP: THE 3RD CHOICE OF PLACES TO TRAVEL TO FROM GHEENA This city is a slight step up from the last one, the enemies once again have heavy machine guns and disruptors. There are lots of little groups of shacks, be careful running into these if you're lower level (10, 11) cuz sometimes there are well-equipped enemies hiding between the buildings and it very hard to see them cuz the camera is hard to rotate in small spaces. You need to find your contact, he's in a well in one of the groups of shacks, basically dead south of the fortress in the center of the map. He will tell you how to get into the fortress and i think he gives you a key.... Oce you do that, the fortress is pretty easy. Just a standard labrynth-type level with the same enemies, the big robot-zombie types and the possessed soldiers. It's no problem if you're level 13 or 14. Sorry I can't remember much about it, but it's really no problem. It would be pretty hard to get to this point in the game at a lower level so you shouldn't need too much help, there aren't any puzzles or anything. Even the boss is pretty simple, if I remember correctly. I remember one thing, the boss room is identical to ALL the others so far, and in this one there are two portal things that spew out BIG zombie guys, Abominyum Supremus or something. One pops out every time you kill one, so just ignore them and kill the bosses. After the bosses are dead, you can run around and kill those guys for fast and easy XP. I hung around and killed lots of them and they never stopped, i eventually got tired and left.... NEXT STEP: REQUIRED SIDE QUEST WITH KEY - G.A.S. The Global Action Service building is marked on your map early on, but when I tried the first quest I got utterly destroyed. That was only because once again I completely forgot about the demon transformation power! I don't know what level you should be to try this, I would imagine at least 9 or 10. Anyways you go in the GAS building and talk to the guy, he tells you to check out the apartment which then appears on your map. It's over on the west side of the city, near the big city gate. The only thing in the apartment is the portal to the Ngawerk Guardian lair. It's a small and cluttered room, kinda like a rock cave. It's hard to run around cuz there's crap all over, like sticks and plants or something, just part of the environment. There is one of the huge slow-moving zombie type enemies, he's a lot weaker than the guardian so you should take him out first just to reduce the damage you'll be taking. Well I guess it doesn't matter if you're gonna be in demon form anyways. The Ngawerk Guarian is almost impossible to beat without demon form. I actually don't know how much easier he is in demon form, I just read on the etrom.net forums that that's how you're supposed to kill him. I actually used power of destruction spell mode, it took like 15 minutes of constantly casting cuz it would only do a tiny bit of damage each time lol So anyways sorry i don't know what level to try this at, you'll have to experiment yourself. He gives a ton of XP and the key, then when you go back to GAS the guy gives you a bunch more XP and money, and another mission, but I can't remember what it is, obviously it's not required cuz I just covered all 7 aurum keys.... NEXT STEP: DIMENSIONAL TRAVELS Remember, when you get each key you can click on the dimensional travels cirlce in the Astral Temple and one of the little circles will light up. Or you can save all 7 keys and do it all at once. Either way once you activate all the little circles, you can click on the main circle and it will give you 8 choices. The middle one is just the Astral Temple, it only shows cuz when you're in one of the other "dimensions" or whatever they are, you can go back to the temple with the center one (even though you can still use the T button to warp back immediately). Here's a funny story: I have such bad luck that I went to the ONE required area LAST! I didn't just visit each area, oh no, I explored each one ONE HUNDRED PERCENT! I spent god only knows how many hours uncovering the entire map in each one! Cuz of course that Johan guy in the Astral Temple is no help, and I didn't feel like scouring the forums on the official Etrom website (especially considering a lot of posts are in italian lol). On the plus side I got some REALLY sweet equipment and weapons from all my travels! Anyways I'll help you out and we'll just skip to the main stuff since you probably want to progress with the main story first. If that's the case, then your first destination will be the Swamp of Fate. When you click on the dimensional travel circle, it is to the left of the 12 o'clock position. In the swamp, you need to find the Temple of Fate. It's pretty easy, from the circle where you start, just go straight north until you hit the wall, then you can follow the wall to the east for a little ways but then it turns north, but you need to keep going EAST. If you can keep your path pretty straight it will bring you almost right to the temple. I don't remember exactly so if that's not accurate don't panic, it's a huge round building. You need to find the entrance on the WEST side, and you will see a spirit near the door. You can't go in, you have to talk to the spirit to get a mission. The spirit tells you that you need to have the 4 souls of the power demons or something. He doesn't tell you much else, like where to even begin looking for them.... This time I decided to search the forums on etrom.net and i actually found what I was looking for. Just go back to the Astral temple and click on the dimensional travels circle and go to the Lands of Kaos, it's to the right of the 12 o'clock position. It's a HUGE desert area. The map fills almost the entire screen! There are enemies and loot all over. If you see a group of dark green tents, look around for safes and the various types of crates containing loot. There's a totally sick weapon you should look for here in the lands of kaos. Go to etrom.net and go to the TOP SECRET AREA, there's a map of the lands of kaos with points of interest marked. There are two unique weapons here, but I don't remember which one is the really good one. It won't take long to hit both locations tho. You'll find it just sitting on the ground if i recall correctly, or it might be in a weapons crate. It's a really nice hyper rifle, it has really good damage, a huge accuracy bonus, and best of all the rate of fire is 2! Oh maybe the best part is that the required level is only 12! If you had this weapon at level 12 you could walk thru pretty much any enemy. Of course with a rate of fire of 2, you'll burn ammo pretty fast, especially considering it's heavy ammo which has less shots per clip. No problem if you're using the cheat tho... So I highly recommend looking for that weapon as soon as possible. Either way, you need to head west. Funny thing is, on the west wall of this zone is an area infested with huge mechs (big 2-legged robots with gigantic guns for hands). They can cut your health down REALLY fast, i think each time they shoot it hits 8 times. There's a couple ways to do this part tho. You could just use invisibility and run past them, but they give you 1500 XP each! That's a good bit. If you find that special hyper rifle and you use the cheat, you can take them out easy, usually it takes 2 double shots and one single shot. It's a little more difficult with a disruptor, it probably takes 5 or 6 shots. Or you can use your own mech! You might have read on the back of the game case and i think there's a screenshot in the card that comes in the case of the mechs. It's near the west wall, it's marked on the map at etrom.net. It shoots the same guns as the enemy mechs do, i think it hits 8 times and you can right click to fire a missile, but you have a limited supply of them, 32 i think. The missile will kill an enemy mech with one shot and it will damage any enemies that are close to it. It can take a lot of damage too. I never had one get destroyed, but if you see it getting close you might want to jump out cuz i read somewhere that you die if you're in it when it blows up. You need to find the portal, which again is marked on the map at etrom.net. However I think that location might be a little off, i'm pretty sure the portal is much closer to the west wall. When you find it and click on it, you appear in the standard boss room, the round room with a table or altar or whatever in the middle and the two small hallways that lead out of it. However in this one there are 4 portals. THEY ARE BASICALLY THE SAME! They lead to a simple labrynth type level, it's basically a big square with a small branch leading off of each side, each branch leads to a room that contains a mini-boss who has one of the 4 souls you have to get. The only difference between each of the 4 portals is that each one puts you right in front of one of the 4 rooms. In the middle of the labrynth is a room with another portal that brings you back to the room with the 4 portals. It's probably faster and easier to just pick one of the 4 portals, kill that boss and get the soul, then stay in the labrynth and run to the next boss. One interesting thing is the bosses spawn normal enemies and they spit them out very fast. I mean, they will spit out 2 enemies, and each time you kill one another one instantly pops out. If you use the cheat you can get lots of XP really fast here, just use a hyper rifle (preferably the double shot unique one), you can stand back and just shoot almost as fast as you can click, if you aim just right you never even have to move the mouse! Most of the enemies die from just one shot, so that means each click of the mouse gets you at least 300 XP, some give 500. I had just gained level 20, which took forever to get, then levels 21 thru 24 are nothing, like 200,000 each, so I used this method to get up to 24 in like 15 minutes, maybe less! Not to mention after doing that there was like a glowing yellow cloud on the floor from all the rings and gems they dropped lol IMPORTANT NOTE: you need to use demon power to kill the mini-bosses.