1234567890123456789012345678901234567890123456789012345678901234567890123456789
ABCDEFGHIJABCDEFGHIJABCDEFGHIJABCDEFGHIJABCDEFGHIJABCDEFGHIJABCDEFGHIJABCDEFGHI



*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*
*                  SUPER STARDUST HD - FAQ / WALKTHROUGH                      *
*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*



For the Playstation 3
Version 1.00 (10/1/07)
--------------------
by Rasputin77 (aka Bach741)



**BEGIN DISCLAIMER**
This is my first FAQ, so please don't be alarmed by its n00biness.  Super
Stardust HD is copyright Housemarque.  This guide is intended for free
circulation through all Internet related resources including web pages,
newsgroups, email, IRC, FTP and any other forums that exist.  The strategies
contained within (with the exception of info quoted directly from the in-game
directions, below) are copyright Rasputin77.  Any unapproved recycling,
rehashing, or redistributing of this information will result in prosecution to
the fullest extent of the law.  Plus, you'll just plain hurt my feelings, and
you don't want that, do you?
**END DISCLAIMER**



=========================
TABLE OF CONTENTS
=========================
>>>1. In-game Directions
>>>2. In-game Options
>>>3. Enemies
>>>4. Weapons
>>>5. The Rules
>>>6. Going About Following the Rules ('Modes')
>>>7. Score Multiplier
>>>8. Numbered Asteroids
>>>9. Shields!!!
>>>10. Visual Acuity
>>>11. Boost School
>>>12. Boost Maneuvers
>>>13. Token Retrieval (Chains)
>>>14. The Walkthrough
>>>15. FAQs
>>>16. Miscellaneous Tips
=========================



>>>1. In-game Directions

((**This section is taken directly from the in-game directions of Super Stardust
HD**))

In-Game Controls:

Left stick - move ship
Right stick - shoot
L1/R1 button - previous/next weapon
L2 button - boost
R2 button - bomb
Start button - pause menu

Gameplay:

Destroy asteroids and enemies for points.  Shoot green cores (which come from
within the large and some medium-sized asteroids) for bonus tokens.  Shoot
weapon ship pods for extra bombs.

Boost to ram through asteroids or to quickly escape enemies.  Use the bomb to
destroy nearby asteroids and enemies.  Clear five attack phases to complete a
planet.

Each of the asteroid types is weak against a specific weapon.  Use the optimal
weapon to quickly destroy them.  Look at enemy colors to discover their
weaknesses.

Clear the attack phases quickly for higher time bonuses.  Save your bombs for
additional points.  Destroy enemies and asteroids for a higher score multiplier.
Losing a ship resets the multiplier.

More points are awarded for destroying large groups at once.  Boost through
point tokens for a chain bonus.  Extra lives awarded at 1 million, 5 million and
10 million points.  Additional extra life every 10 million points.

Game Modes:

Arcade - Clear a planet to gain access to new planets.  Strive for the ultimate
global arcade high score!
Planet - Play any of the unlocked planets and shoot for the top of the global
planet high score list.
Co-op - Save the solar system with your friend!  Features a global high score
list.

Shoot asteroids for tokens.
Tokens degrade over time:
Extra ship > shield > cycled weapon (Ice Splitter / Rock Crusher / Gold Melter)
> points

Efficient weapon usage is considered to be the appropriate weapon used on the
appropriate asteroid - Rock Crusher on rock, Gold Melter on goldrock (red), and
Ice Splitter on icerock (blue).

((End of section with in-game directions of Super Stardust HD))



>>>2. In-game Options

Options:

Camera distance - Personally, I play with the game in 'near' mode, but you can
always select the other option ('far'), and see if it works better for you.

Game statistics - This is a pretty sweet place where you can find out all sorts
of stuff regarding your performance in the game; how many times you've destroyed
certain enemies, or played certain levels, or collected certain tokens, etc.

Credits - Give it where it's due.  A groovy tune accompanies a scrolling list of
the people who made this outrageously cool game possible.  Nothing new, is it?
=D



>>>3. Enemies

Throughout this guide, I will refer to anything that has the potential to damage
your ship as an "obstacle".  However, a good deal of these obstacles are not
free-floating asteroids, but rather independently-moving, reacting enemies.

Listed here is a list of all of them, and brief descriptions of each:

Centipedes (Hmm... asteroids?  centipedes?  Are we paying homage to something?)
- green, and fast, turning tight corners to lock on to your ship.  Pilot away
from them and shoot back, keeping your eyes on the horizon for more.

Black Centipedes - I actually think these look more grey/silver, with red heads.
DEADLY fast, and just as aggressive as the regular ones.  Use the same tactics
with these baddies, with plenty of foresight.

Mines - What I'm assuming are also what I've nicknamed the "red spikeys", these
will rain down upon the player, with obstacle indicators announcing their
presence.  Once they land, they will gravitate toward you, so be prepared to
move away and take the horde out.  As with most enemies in this game, these are
best destroyed with wide, sweeping arcs of the Gold Melter.

Black Mines - Another color discrepancy I must point out, these look more blue
to me than anything else.  They react MUCH faster than the regular mines, and
therefore overwhelm you more quickly.  Handle with extreme caution. (Or rather,
don't 'handle' them at all)

Spinners - I can't help but call these "Norelco blades", as in the electric
razor (with the 3 circular heads), because they look AND sound just like one!
After these enemies hover for a few seconds, they'll begin to spin much faster,
and start making noise.  As soon as this happens, divert your full firepower on
them, because they're about to rush in 'kamakazie'-style and take out your ship.
Dangerous in large numbers, but easy to take out with a boost.

Lurkers - Small purplish, saucer-shaped ships that move FAST... AND are capable
of firing upon you.  As the only enemy in the game with these combined
capabilities, you need to keep a very close eye on them at all times.  Problem
is, they like to "lurk" (so it's NOT just a clever name!) just outside of your
field of vision, and either rush in for the kill or snipe your ship from a
distance.  The Gold Melter isn't much help against them due to their distancing,
so use a ranged weapon and take them out!

Swarmers - Very small, and practically harmless, as long as you keep your
defenses about yourself.  They drop down in massive numbers, but in patterns
that are easy to avoid.  You can always use a bomb to take most of them out, but
some random boosts and decent weapon-work should take out a whole swarm of them
rather quickly.

Turrets - While they don't move, and should therefore pose the least possible
threat, these giant cannons fire 3 shots at a time, at your current location.
While that sounds easy enough to deal with, wait until you're in a fierce
firefight with asteroids and enemies everywhere, and 10 of them descend at once
to surround you.  Only smart piloting and keen shooting will take care of these.



>>> 4. Weapons

While personal playing styles are bound to be different from pilot to pilot,
it's somewhat agreed (at least from what I've noticed) that a particular
heirarchy of weapon preference should be utilized in order to fare better at
this game.  As it is not my place to tell you which weapon to use in certain
situations, all I can do is offer up my suggestions based solely on experience.

Gold Melter - By far the best weapon in the game, IMO, a stream of fire bursts
forth from your ship, and can be wielded like some giant, tamed whip.  After
playing through all 5 planets on multiple occassions, my stats suggest that I
use the Gold Melter about 85% of the time.  Increased in strength by collecting
the red Gold Melter tokens, this weapon has an INCREDIBLE ability to provide
defense from all directions, especially when powered up beyond 75% strength.

(TIP: "The wave" - An almost surefire way of safely maneuvering your way around
each stage, is with a constant stream of Gold Melter firepower pouring out of
your frontside.  By making a 'wave'-type of motion with the right control stick,
shooting back in forth in an arc roughly 90 degrees in width, the concentrated
power of the Gold Melter should be enough to carve a safe path out of - or into!
- almost any situation.)

Ice Splitter - Best used for the Icerocks (big surprise!) you first encounter in
Planet 3, this weapon has fantastic range when it's been powered up
considerably.  Really isn't much use for anything besides taking care of ice,
and eliminating distant threats, though.

Rock Crusher - While it does do a great job of crushing the regular
rocks/asteroids, it doesn't do anything a reasonably powered-up Gold Melter
will.  The spread of the Rock Crusher at 100% power is indeed impressive, and
might fit your needs IF you happen to be surrounded by plain ol' rock.



>>>5. The Rules

The Rules:

1. Don't die.
2. React quickly.
3. Get points.  LOTS of points.



>>>6. Going About Following the Rules:

SSHD (Super Stardust HD) is primarily about three things: control, reaction, and
focus. (What video games aren't, right?)

* Control - Not only will your ship need precision piloting, but your aiming
skills will be just as essential.

* Reaction - Knowing how to react as soon as you see something happening is key
to staying alive.

* Focus - Paying attention to not only your ship, but everything going on around
it, takes practice.

Any SSHD veteran will agree - you'll need a constant, steady application of all
three of these to achieve any sort of victory.  To succeed, you'll need to do
things like activate the right weapon to defend yourself from an onslaught of
debris (reaction), avoid fire from nearby enemies (control), and identify a
much-needed token located halfway across the stage (focus), boosting to it
before it disappears... all within the timeframe of only a few seconds.  This is
why I have nicknamed SSHD "Asteroids on Crack" - a truly fitting subtitle.

To apply the proper combination of these abilities, my suggestion to you is
learning to think and play in different 'modes'.  To help explain thebest course
of action to take in any given situation, I have categorized player activity
into these 'modes', and how I personally tend to change my train of thought
during each.

Of course, the gameplay in SSHD is usually far too frenzied and intense to allow
for a conscious adjustment between these modes, so they more-or-less happen
automatically.  Simply consider them templates onto which you can build your own
style of playing:


('Modes')


Mode 1 - Search & Destroy:  In this mode, not much is happening around you,
usually taking place during the beginning or ending of a phase.  Either new
rocks are falling and you need to get to them quick, or old remants are still
floating around containing tokens you should be collecting.  Technically, you
need to be 'searching and destroying' whatever gives you points (which is pretty
much anything), but there will be obvious moments when something is waiting for
you to shoot it down.

The best example of this is when a group of enemies signal the last wave of a
phase, and the "Enemies Remaining" bar appears towards the bottom of the screen.
When only one or two slivers of the bar remain, there are still enemies
somewhere that might not be viewable - either offscreen, or on the other side of
the planet.  Search them out, and destroy them.

Also, certain waves of obstacles won't appear until the previous wave has been
mostly or entirely destroyed.  If nothing's happening, do a quick sweep for
medium or large asteriods that might still be intact, or green cores that have
been released, but not transformed into tokens.  As always, clean house as you
go - you should be a whirlwind of destruction, leaving nothing but the
occassional shrapnel in your wake.

The concept is simple - if there's ever a lull in activity, then you still have
something left to do.  The game essentially progresses just as quickly as you're
able to clear obstacles.  Always keep in mind; time is a very important factor
in obtaining high scores.


Mode 2 - Defense:  Defense consists of minimal movement coupled with maximum
firepower.  It also demands a keen eye (covered more extensively in Visual
Acuity) in order to avoid incoming obstacles.  You will see red, pulsating
circles appear shortly before an obstacle falls towards the playing surface,
signaling where it will land.  (Let's call these 'obstacle indicators'.)  You
will play a large percentage of SSHD in Defense mode, which is primarily:

a) Clearing your immediate area while dodging (already-present) obstacles, and
b) Watching for (incoming) obstacle indicators so you don't get squashed.

Never "run away" from an obstacle. (Yes, my Self-Help book is going on sale next
month.) Dodge them, by all means, but there's no reason to continuously run away
from anything smaller than an overwhelming swarm of shrapnel/enemies.  Instead
of constantly piloting away from obstacles, shoot them.  It sounds painfully
obvious, but I've watched many-a-rookie spend excessive time on the lam while
they had tons of firepower at their disposal.  As soon as you assume the role of
mouse in the game of 'cat and mouse', you'll notice that your chances of getting
struck by a stray obstacle increases dramatically.


Mode 3 - Collection:  So you've searched for and destroyed a few large rocks,
broken them into 100 pieces and entered Defense mode so you don't get
obliterated.   Almost immediately you'll notice the tokens being released from
the green cores contained within.  While maintaining a decent amount of defense,
your next goal is to obtain these tokens (covered more extensively in Token
Retrieval) before they disappear.

At this point, a formula should be considered that will make or break your ship
(and your point multiplier) if it isn't acted upon correctly.  Again, it's
nothing to take too literally, but something like it should go through your head
during gameplay.  The forumla is:

Value of the token(s), minus (-) Current Danger = your likelihood to collect

Painfully obvious, I realize, but still relevant.  Here are a few situational
examples (using a scale of 1 out of 10):

Let's say you have no shield, are surrounded by several bits of shrapnel, and
see a shield token floating on the other side of the planet.

  Value (10, because losing a life is the last thing you want, so shields are
priority items)
- Current Danger (2, as the shrapnel isn't too hard to take care of, and you
aren't being attacked directly)
= 8/10, which would be a strong candidate for collection.  Boost through the
rocks and grab it.

Let's take the same scenario, but this time the shield token is in an area with
very heavy traffic, and is about to disappear.

  Value (again, 10)
- Current Danger (7, because you know you'll have to boost to make it in time,
and boosting INTO heavy traffic is sometimes ill-advised, especially with the
weak version of a weapon)
= 3/10.  You would almost be better off staying in defense mode, taking out all
immediate dangers, and shooting every green core you see in the hopes of finding
another shield.  However if your Boost-and-park abilities are up to par, it may
be worth the risk.

One more... how about you have no shield, and see a couple of point tokens
floating nearby (that you want to boost-collect) while you're being chased by a
barrage of the black centipedes.

  Value (despite the importance of points, I would only rank these a 2 or a 3)
- Current Danger (5, as the centipedes can be very fast, and will follow your
ship closely)
= -2 or -3 / 10!... or, in other words, strongly discouraged!  Unless you feel
like dropping a bomb to clear the centipedes (bombs really should be used as a
last line of defense), trying to zig-zag your way through a bunch of
unpredictable enemies for a paltry few-thousand points isn't the smartest thing
to do.  Boosting through the centipedes and collecting the tokens in one move is
an option, but will take good reflexes and aiming.

I don't follow this formula literally, and neither should you.  It's simply a
(haphazardly constructed) suggestion of how the process of determining
collection should take place mentally, and effect your game.  Being point-hungry
is great, but sacrificing your ship (and therefore, more points) is a grave
error you should never commit.  Remembering that one single ship has the
potential to earn you tens of millions of points is a great way to help keep
yourself from rushing into potentially fatal situations.


Mode 4 - Evasion:  This is the point where the alert sirens need to start going
off in your head.  Things have begun to get hairy, and hiding in your comfort
zone while staying in defense mode just doesn't seem to be cutting it anymore.

As you've probably noticed, most dangers are introduced in "batches".  Small
rocks, medium rocks and enemies - they all seem to show up in droves, and
sometimes in multiple droves.  There will be times, (plenty of times), when the
obstacle indicators and sheer voulme of on-screen activity will suggest to you
that it is indeed time to GTFO.  (Get the **** out!)  More often than not, the
action will be so frenzied that your first instinct will be to boost.  While
boosting is essential to Mode 5 (escaping), there is a different technique of
evading - one that will require a fairly steady hand.

Another key to SSHD is not using your resources until you absolutely need them.
This even applies to boosts, since they are exhaustible in the sense of taking
time to regenerate.  When things start to get congested, try calmly and manually
weaving your way through the traffic, and AWAY from wherever it's most dense,
shooting the whole way.  Sometimes you'll have a moment to pick out a nice,
clear area to head towards, but in many cases the direction you'll be most
interested in . . . is "AWAY".

You can use your weapons to carve yourself a path out of the mayhem, or (with
good visual acuity) you can pilot around obstacles while using your weapon to
protect your rear and sides.  This always involves paying extremely close
attention to the immediate area surrounding the ship, looking for obstacle
indicators, and identifying anything that might be traveling "towards" your
ship.


Mode 5 - Escape:  Or, as I like to call it, "AHHHHHHH!"  This mode involves less
of the 'dodging' aspect of evasion, and more of the "find a safe area or die"
mindset.  The true difference between this mode and evasion, is that there is no
initial time or room to maneuver manually.  This is when you have no other
options other than bombing, boosting, or sacrificing your shield (should you
have one).

Truth of the matter is, good SSHD playing should result in less of a need for
Escape mode.  If you're evading when you should be, aiming intelligently, and
not making more obstacles for yourself than you need (like breaking apart large
rocks when you're already swamped with smaller ones), this emergency situation
shouldn't happen often.  But, rest assured, it will happen, and pulling it off
isn't the spastic chain of desperate commands one might expect it to be.

Your first course of action is to boost.  Quickly!  Boost to the most open area
you can find, and concentrate on focusing your firepower in the appropriate
direction as soon as you get there.  Switch back quickly to Evade mode while
your boost meter refills, constantly moving "away" from the busiest regions of
obstacles and keeping your eyes peeled for strays.  Things will get very hectic,
very fast, so don't be afraid to drop one of those bombs if you need to boost
away and can't.  You will probably have tens of bombs at your disposal, and much
fewer ships to sacrifice, so do the math and be smart about it.

Also, keep in mind the curvature of the planets, and how escaping from danger in
a straight line might not always be the best bet.  You'll likely end up in the
same place you started, so try adding a little angle to your escape route.

The heirarchy of survival technique, when you're absolutely certain there is no
chance of evasion, should be:

Boost > Bomb > Shield > and then usually Death, unless you get really lucky with
the Gold Melter on overdrive.



>>>7. Score Multiplier

There's one number that matters the most in SSHD (aside from your score), which
also happens to be the one number to decrease the fastest - the score
multiplier.  The more you destroy, the higher your score multiplier becomes
(located in the lower-right corner of the screen).

To clarify, the scores shown on-screen for every action taken are already
multiplied by this factor.  For example, you'll notice that point tokens are
2,500 points each at the beginning of each ship's life.  Once the multiplier
increases (2x, 3x, 4x, etc.), each of these tokens will increase respectively in
value (5,000 points, 7,500 points, 10,000 points, etc.).  My suggestion is that
once you obtain a significant score multiplier, your attention should shift from
clearing debris, to collecting more point tokens... and more importantly,
collecting them in chains. (see Token Retrieval)  Once you lose a life and the
multiplier resets to 1x, I personally consider that the best time to overlook
the green cores, and "clean house" as much as possible.

Of course, collecting ANY value of point token in a chain is beneficial to your
score - the trick comes in the balance of deciding when you should be focusing
your efforts on clearing the playing field, and when you should concentrate on
obtaining as many token chains as possible.  Needless to say, that balance
shifts as the multiplier increases.  For example, when your multiplier is much
higher (8x, 9x or 10x which is the maximum), you're likely to spend much more
time lining up chain collects for more points, than you will clearing the debris
or going after other tokens.

Then again, once a green core has deteriorated to the point of being nothing
other than a point token, I suppose it really doesn't matter.  One of the
brilliant things about SSHD is that your own formula of gameplay will determine
how large of a score you can achieve.  Mix it up, set your own limits, and find
out what works best for you.

The bonus points awarded at the end of each phase (**Thanks to GameFaqs user
CKeur for helping to verify this**) is calculated as follows:

[2,000 + (number of remaining bombs * 100)] * remaining time * score multiplier



>>>8. Numbered Asteroids

This peculiar rock will show up like all the others, with an obstacle indicator
to tell you where it's landing.  However this asteroid is marked with a number
in the obstacle indicator, and is part of a chain of asteroids, all of which
need to be destroyed in a timely manner.  Once the first one (usually numbered
'16') has been eliminated, another one will fall, this time numbered '15'. After
that's been destroyed, then comes '14', '13', '12', and so forth.

Stay on top of these rocks!  (Well, not literally, or you'll explode...)
Regardless of where you are within the chain, if a numbered asteroid floats too
far from you, or even floats for too long without being destroyed, it will
disappear, and THE CHAIN WILL STOP.  This is bad, because the reward for
successfully completing a chain of numbered asteroids is the biggest green core
you'll ever lay your eyes on (which is really a tightly-formed collection of
smaller cores).

As soon as the last numbered asteroid has been taken care of, a final obstacle
indicator will appear, marked by the word "bonus".  Hold on to your spaceballs -
you're about to get an opportunity to score some major points.  The giant green
core can be taken out several ways.  You can shoot at it directly, but without a
weapon that's fully powered-up or in overdrive mode, many of the cores will
break apart and drift away before detonating, eventually deteriorating into
lesser tokens (provided they were greater to begin with, of course).  I've seen
some people use a bomb to take care of things, but while that does expose all
the tokens simultaneously, it obviously uses up a bomb which you should be
saving.

My suggestion is this: pilot your ship right up next to the giant core, and
boost straight through it.  You might not collect every single token, and you
might increase the power of a weapon you're not using, but you should be able to
collect a decent amount of points from it.  The higher your score multiplier is
at the time, the better.  Anything you didn't collect should start to drift
towards you, so reverse directions, wait a few seconds, then boost back through
whatever remains.



>>>9. Shields!!!

Contrary to what you might think, the shield should be treated as the greatest
token you can get - better than anything else.  When you don't already have one,
the shield is better than any weapon token or overdrive, better than any string
of point tokens... in fact, it's even better than an extra ship token.
(**Thanks to Gamefaqs user esb422 for pointing this out**)  "WTF", you say?
It's true.  Where a shield can protect you from a collision and still keep your
point multiplier active, an extra ship will reset the multiplier to x1 when it
is used.

So here's the lesson: if you DON'T have a shield, and you spot an extra ship
token, WAIT until the token cycles into a shield and then collect it, since it's
better to protect the life you're using and keep the multiplier going.  If you
collect the shield token while you already have an active shield, it will act as
a bomb, destroying everything in the area as soon as it's touched.  On the other
hand... if you DO have a shield and see the extra life token, grab that extra
ship!

Also (and this is entirely mental, but it seems to work for me), try not to
remind yourself you have a shield, if you can help it - the moment it's used,
you will remember.  Just go through the efforts to get one, and then forget
about it.  In my experience, as soon as I remind myself that I can afford to
have a collision, I'm much more likely to actually have that collision.  You
simply can't break focus in this game!  In my self-reassurance, I become too
comfortable, and let my guard down.  I find it best to fight tooth and nail,
100%, non-stop; let the shield be a convenient life jacket when a near-tragedy
strikes. Just something to consider!



>>>10. Visual Acuity

Since most of the obstacles in SSHD do not fire back at you, it is far more
important to pay attention to the direction everything travels in.  (The exact
same principle used in the Atari classic, "Asteroids")  After spending some time
with the game, your eyes (with training) will start to see everything at once -
which obstacles are travelling in which directions, at what speed, and more
importantly, which ones are heading straight for your ship.  Beginners will
inevitably get smoked by the most minor of dangers - usually small, unseen
obstacles that sneak up - simply because there is so much happening on-screen at
once.

Again, I'm going to be an uber-nerd, and suggest a formula to consider. It's
another obvious one; completely self-explanatory, but it does need to be stated:

Degree of Danger, minus (-) Possibility of Escape = Level of Focus

Pretty simple, right?  The more danger you appear to be in, the more you need to
focus your attention on your ship and its immediate surroundings.  When I enter
Escape mode after almost being overwhelmed, and boost to a clearer area of the
stage, I'm really only guessing, sacrificing a fraction-of-a-second of
peripheral vision to make the call.  There's no time to be picking and choosing
when an ungodly amount of flying debris is threatening your existence.

However once your boost is over, you'll be back in Evade mode (provided you
don't use any bombs), bringing your attention back to the immediate area
surrounding your ship.  You're still using peripheral vision to identify threats
and tokens, but also placing survival as the priority.

...It's better not to think about it too much.  Just relax your eyes, and let
them take control.  After enough practice, they'll send the messages through
your brain to your hands much faster than you can even hope to think about
reacting consciously.  :)



>>>11. Boost School

The boost (L2) should be your bread-and-butter!
>>Train yourself to use it often, as it has multiple purposes<<:


1. Speed - First of all, the boost gets you places, fast.  Since time is a
factor in achieveing higher scores, you want to finish each phase as quickly as
possible, so use it to help move around.  Just make sure you won't need it
immediately when you get to where you're going!

There is a standard, several-second recharge period before the boost will become
active after being used.  Fortunately, as you play the game more, you'll grow
comfortable with the recharge period, and almost be able to sense when it's
finished.  That, or just use your peripheral vision to eyeball the meter in the
lower-left hand corner of the screen.  It will glow blue when the boost has
recharged.  There's also a tone that sounds once the recharge is complete, so if
you have a good ear, use that.


2. Attack - Aside from your main weapon, the boost is a valuable tool for
destroying obstacles.  Not only are you invulerable to attack during the
maneuver, but you'll also incinerate pretty much any obstacle in your path (and
damage boss enemies as you pass through them), not to mention causing Massive
Damage as you rip through the larger rocks.  My favorite way to attack the bomb
carrier is to boost straight through its side, release both bombs, then circle
back around and pick up the tokens.  For static enemies like the turrets that
first appear on the 4th planet, you can boost straight through them instead of
pouring out the firepower, sometimes catching 2 or 3 in a single boost.
Experiment, and come up with your own uses.


3. Token Collection - Probably THE BEST USE for the boost, and the reason is
this; the more point tokens you can collect in a single boost, the more points
you will receive for them.  Each additional token obtained in a single boost is
given a larger multiplier (explained below), so it goes without saying, 'the
more, the merrier.'

You can also use the boost to fly through the green cores that release the
tokens.  In most cases you'll just release them, but if you hit the green core
dead-on, it is possible to obliterate it AND collect the token simultaneously.
The only drawback to this is collecting a weapon token in the process, and
therefore having no say in which weapon will be powered up (obviously because it
never has time to cycle).

Even if you're only collecting one point token, USE THE BOOST, because you'll
still receive a multiplier for doing so.  If you are picking up just one point
token, try to take out an obstacle or two in the process.  Circle around the
token until the trajectory you choose allows you to cause some extra damage...
just don't spend too much time lining it up.  There are bigger fish to fry.

Here are some examples (the score multiplier would be at 3x for these):

  Single point token: 7,500 points
  Single point token, collected with boost: 7,500 x 2 = 15,000 points

This is where it starts to get exciting.  Let's consider picking up 5 point
tokens:

  5 point tokens without boost: 7,500 x 5 = 37,500 points
  5 point tokens, collected in a single boost:
(7,500 x 2) + (7,500 x 3) + (7,500 x 4) + (7,500 x 5) + (7,500 x 6) =
15,000 + 22,500 + 30,000 + 37,500 + 45,000 = 150,000 points

Should you happen to make it to the 10x point multiplier, these boosts will draw
in absolutely monsterous points.  Let's say we're lucky enough to collect 6 in a
single boost:

  6 point tokens without boost: 25,000 x 6 = 150,000 points
  6 point tokens, collected in a single boost:
(25k x 2) + (25k x 3) + (25k x 4) + (25k x 5) + (25k x 6) + (25k x 7) =
50k + 75K + 100k + 125k + 150k + 175k = 675,000 points

Yes, that's right.  Over half-a-million in a SINGLE boost - all in less than a
second.

See where I'm going with this?  :)  Boosting through point tokens IS ESSENTIAL.
If you're picking up point tokens without boosting through them, you had better
be out of boost, or saving it for something more important!   There are
exceptions to the rule, however.  There will be moments in SSHD when your ship
will be literally surrounded by point tokens - upwards of 15 to 20 of them - and
you might have just used your boost, while at the same time being quickly closed
in by obstacles on all sides.  What should you do?

That's one of the great things about SSHD - you're given countless opportunities
to capitalize on big point and item bonuses, while at the same time being
coerced into making risky maneuvers, usually by the skin of your teeth.



>>>12. Boost Maneuvers

BOOST-AND-PARK:  The boost-and-park (copyrighted, lol...) is normally what you
end the Evade mode or begin the Escape mode with.  It's technically boosting out
of an over-populated area (over-populated meaning there is no room for you), and
into an almost over-populated area (which will likely be over-populated in a
matter of seconds).  As has been mentioned, your ship will be impervious to
damage during a boost - even for the fraction-of-a-second after you slow to a
halt.

Unfortunately, when you don't have much time to look where you're boosting to,
you can sometimes put yourself in a dangerous situation, i.e. surrounded by
almost as much crap as you were before you boosted!  This can also happen when
you try using the boost as an offensive device, and end up miscalculating the
landing (ending up IN the huge rock, instead of on the other side of its broken
remains).

To not only counter these errors, but also regain your composure after the
boost, it's my suggestion to do the boost-and-park.  It's real easy to do, check
it out...  (first you limp to the side like your leg was broken... j/k, I wonder
who will get that...) ...as soon as you stop from your boost, you 'park' (don't
go anywhere), take the Gold Melter, and 'lasso' it around you, quickly, creating
a circular wall of flame that, if adequately powered up, should protect you from
most enemies, as well as pieces of rock or gold.  You don't have to be spastic
about it - a nice, continual motion should do the trick.  If not, then just
point very quickly at everything close enough to destroy you... usually, the
flame takes care of the rest!

Boost-and-parking around ice is trickier, as the Gold Melter doesn't handle ice
shrapnel so well.  However, it is manageable as long as you continue making
small, minute movements (Defense mode) to avoid any shrapnel that isn't taken
care of by the Gold Melter.  In any case, I'm using the term 'park' loosely
here.  What it really should be called is the "boost-and-make-tiny-movements-to-
avoid-obstacles-as-you-clear-the-area-around-you" technique, but for the sake of
over-hyphenating this FAQ (yeah, I know, too late...), we will just stick with
'park'.  ;)

Even if your boost lands squarely on an obstacle, the fading power from your
boost plus quick movement and smart firepower can still save you.  While I'm
pretty positive the Gold Melter is the best weapon to perform this with, I'm
sure it can be managed with the other two using the same guidelines and
technique.



>>>13. Token Retrieval (Chains)

"Follow Me!"  All tokens disappear over time (which usually takes a good 10 or
15 seconds from the time they are released from the green cores).  Before this
happens, they tend to gravitate towards you.  In other words, if a token is
exposed and your ship is not moving, as long as it's close enough it will find
its way to you.  There is a neat little trick you can do to organizie multiple
point tokens into a line (or something close to it), in order to enable the
collection multiplier when you boost through them.  Since you can't turn (very
well) while boosting, this is important to learn.

Simply put, head away from the point tokens, and let them follow you.  They will
start to merge together, roughly outlining the path your ship has just taken,
like the trail of dust from the back of a car on a dirt road.  Once you reverse
direction, you can boost neatly through them, applying the collection multiplier
to most, if not all of them.  Just be careful, and take the time to line
yourself up well before you boost.  On many occassions have I pulled an about-
face and boosted too quickly without adjusting my trajectory first, sending me
screaming past everything I had just lined up, and circling back around with my
head hanging low to collect them at their lowest value before they disappeared.
:(

Here's an example of what I'm talking about:
Legend:
X - point token
O - ship
^, v - direction the ship travels in

Example 1:

X               X



         O


X                X


Here, we have the ship surrounded by 4 point tokens.  If we boosted now, we
would almost certainly only collect a multiplier on one of them.  So, we begin
to move away, drawing them closer together.


     X       X
         v
         v
         v
         O
    X          X

After a few more seconds of this motion, and the tokens should be relatively
lined up, and ready for boost collection.



        X
         X

        X
         X
         v
         v
         v
         O

That's it!  Just turn around, boost up, and get your points on.  TIP: After
lining up the tokens and turning around, I like to inch myself forward just a
little bit before boosting.  This way, I can at least make sure I'm going to
boost in the right direction, and not off at an angle which isn't good for
anybody.



>>>14. The Walkthrough:

Writing a walkthrough for this game is somewhat akin to writing a walkthrough
for the original Asteroids.  "Stage 1 - Shoot some asteroids.  Avoid the
shrapnel by moving around, and then shoot some more asteroids.  Watch out for
the UFO!  Shoot it for points, then move again while shooting more asteroids..."
Bleh.   Instead of being specific about anything, I'm just going to give you a
general idea of what to expect during each phase of every level.  Since everyone
invariably winds up finding their own favorite way to work through the hazards,
I figure a fair warning of what you'll be up against is walkthrough enough.  How
you react to the dangers, however, will be completely up to you.


Stage 1, Phase 1: Right away you get a few asteroids to play with.  Have fun,
and get to the green cores quickly in order to score some decent tokens.  Next
come a barrage of mines - kill them quickly, and clear the stage.  Hopefully you
already have a 2x multiplier, but if not don't sweat it.  There's plenty more to
destroy.

Stage 1, Phase 2: Mines and a bomb carrier are your welcome here.  Look for the
numbered asteroid and attack it, picking up tokens if you wish.  After the bonus
is collected, you'll get a few more large asteroids to destroy.  Here come the
centipedes!  Be smart about them, and don't be scared to run around collecting
remaining tokens if you like.

Stage 1, Phase 3: Medium rocks begin this phase, followed by more mines.  You
should still have tokens to collect, so keep your eyes peeled.  When the smaller
rocks start to fall, pay attention to the obstacle indicators, constantly moving
to avoid being hit.  A few larger rocks and mines constitute the final wave.

Stage 1, Phase 4: Again, you'll likely have plenty left to clean up - just in
time for more centipedes!  Mines will follow, along with some more asteroids.
Medium rocks are soon followed by more mines, and again you should have plenty
to destroy.  (A 5x multiplier is possible at this point, and possibly more)
More centipedes, another barrage of rocks, and more mines keep you on your toes
to the end.

Stage 1, Phase 5: Clear the debris as fast as possible, and get ready for a big
obstacle indicator - the first boss! (Saucer)  Keep your distance, but dash
through it if you like for extra damage.  Four weak points (engines) line it's
outer rim, so start shooting them.  When it starts spinning and shooting back,
retreat just a bit and dodge between the shots, taking care of asteriods the
whole time.  Remember to dash through to the other side of the boss if you end
up opposite of the remaining weak points.  He is not vulnerable to your attack
while he is firing, so be sure to keep your distance and take advantage of the
distance between the spreading shots.


Stage 2, Phase 1: A new planet!  And this time, goldrock - what the Gold Melter
was DESIGNED for!  Go crazy with it here, being sure to capture the numbered
asteroid in the process.  Here comes a new enemy - Swarmers.  Easily avoided,
but large in number.  Eliminate, watch out for medium asteroids, and welcome
another new addition - Spinners!  Enjoy the onslaught, and stay alive.

Stage 2, Phase 2: Swarmers welcome you, along with a nice barrage of small and
medium asteroids.  Keep your eyes open, and boost out of danger.  Mines will
soon join, and wrap up the phase.

Stage 2, Phase 3: More large asteroids for you to try your Gold Melter out on,
followed by some spinners and swarmers.  Standard stuff at this point.  Give
priority to spinners over swarmers (as always), and progress as normal.

Stage 2, Phase 4: Medium asteroids provide tokens, and soon swarmers join the
fight.  Close behind are the spinners.  Throw in some small and medium asteroids
just for fun, and we've got a party!  Be smart about your movements here, and
collect tokens.  The mines signal the final wave of this phase.

Stage 2, Phase 5: Cue the second boss! (Crab)  Again, clear the debris quickly
as you wait for the boss.  Make sure you're on the side where the red eye is
exposed, attack it directly, and watch out for the shots fired.  After pouring
enough damage on the weak point, the boss will reverse direction.  Boost to the
other side, continue to pour damage onto the eye, and STAY INSIDE when the arms
close.  (If you don't, you will be bombarded with missles)  While inside, try
staying directly in front of his eye (where there are no laser turrets), and
continue to pour the damage on, avoiding the small lasers fired.  With luck, you
will have won before the boss has a chance to run through two complete attack
cycles.


Stage 3, Phase 1: New planet, new rocks - the icerocks.  This is probably the
first good chance to use the Ice Splitter effectively.  Power it up fast if it
isn't already, and watch for the numbered asteroid.  More icerocks will show up,
but are taken apart easily with the Splitter.  Here come the lurkers, best taken
out with the powered-up Ice Splitter, IMO.  End the stage quickly.

Stage 3, Phase 2: Holy medium-sized asteroids, Stardust Man!  Keep your
distance, and be ready for more swarmers.  Continue to collect tokens (a 7x
multiplier is easily attainable by this point, as long as you haven't died...
much, if at all), and defeat the remaining swarmers to end it.

Stage 3, Phase 3: Here come the mines.  Do your thing, and get ready for more
medium icerocks too.  Lurkers come to play, and signal the end of the phase.

Stage 3, Phase 4: Some large asteroids kick things off, so just concentrate on
collecting tokens and staying alive.  Mines will try to ruin the party, so stay
smart.  More icerocks and more mines will likely keep you toggling between Ice
Splitter and Gold Melter here.  Play the evade mode heavily, and let the Gold
Melter fly when the goldrocks show up.  Swarmers signal the end of the phase.

Stage 3, Phase 5: You get to fight the 1st stage boss all over again, except
this time - TWO of them at once!  Use the same tactics, and keep in mind that
one boss can be used as cover against the fired shots from the other.  Also,
don't forget to boost!


Stage 4, Phase 1: Ahhh, turrets.  My friend and yours.  (Not really)  Use the
first several waves of them to study and understand them... because later on,
you won't have time to.  A numbered asteroid is your reward for dealing with
them, along with a shower of small asteroids and black centipedes.  Your evasion
techniques will no doubt be tested here!  Keep moving, and watch your back.
Large asteroids and spinners will signal the end of the phase.

Stage 4, Phase 2: Hooray, more turrets!  Oooh, and asteroids.  :(  Keep safe,
and boost to take out whatever turrets you are able.  Swamped yet?  Here come
the swarmers.  Clean house until the last of the swarmers are defeated.

Stage 4, Phase 3: Welcome to black mine country.  Not pretty.  Take even more
caution than you did with the regular mines, and keep your eyes peeled - they
can blend in with the color of the planet (since they're more blue than they are
black, IMO).  Spinners signal the end of this short, but potentially dangerous
phase.

Stage 4, Phase 4: goldrocks beg for the use of the Gold Melter, so get busy.
Just know that in breaking them apart, you're only making a bigger mess for
yourself.  :)  Here come the turrets, right in the middle of all the mayhem!
Mines will show up when you've taken enough turrets out, so don't be worried
about getting lonely.  Wash, rinse and repeat - except with black mines this
time.  Yay!  How about some more swarmers?  You got it.  Take them all out to
signal this ugly phase.

Stage 4, Phase 5: If stage 3-5 was two of the 1st level bosses, would you like
to guess what stage 4-5 might be?  BZZZZT, time's up.  Two 2nd stage bosses
would have been the correct answer.  So, again, treat each of the duo just as
you did their predecessor, obviously taking great care to avoid the increased
onslaught of firepower from them.


Stage 5, Phase 1: Here we go, the final planet!   Icerocks come in fast, so look
for the numbered asteroid.  Large asteroids continue the rush, with turrets to
help things stay lively.  Destroy, destroy, destroy!... oh, and stay alive.
That's important too.

Stage 5, Phase 2: Hello black mines - hopefully you have enough shrapnel left
over from the previous phase to keep things fun!  A few more icerocks will drop,
followed by more goldrock.  Black centipedes end the phase.  You may now
breathe.

Stage 5, Phase 3: Black mines and small lavarock are your welcome here.  Turrets
add a nice touch of coziness.  Watch those shots!  They'll be coming from every
angle.  More small lavarock rains down, so watch for obstacle indicators.  More
black mines signal the end of the phase.

Stage 5, Phase 4: Black centipedes AND black mines combine with large icerocks
to kick things off.  More black mines show up soon enough, with small lavarocks
joining the fray.  More black mines will keep you busy, and black centipedes
too.  This is truly the pinnacle of SSHD bad-guy enforcement.  How about a few
large icerocks to throw you off?  Oh, sorry... that shouldn't have been a
question, because here they come.  More black mines signal the end of the phase.
Phew.

Stage 5, Phase 5: Welcome to the final boss.  (Penguin Star)  Nothing special,
but there are LOTS of smaller asteroids to contend with during the fight.
Attack the first form directly (boosts work well here), and continue to keep
your distance as it transforms.  Continue to avoid all obstacles while a missle
onslaught ensues, until the first form disappears.  An identical second form
will appear, so just keep up the same recipe - dodge and destroy asteroids, keep
pressure on the opponent, and have patience.  Before long, this boss will be
destroyed.  Sadly though, IMHO, this is by far the easiest boss in the game
(even with the plethora of asteroids you must contend with during the fight).

Congrats, you've beaten SSHD... er, kind of.  Now try it again on Hard
difficulty!... where everything moves just a little faster, and takes a little
more "oomph" to destroy.  And, if you happen to beat that... perhaps things will
begin to get a little more........... insane?



>>>15. FAQs

This question was asked in the gamefaqs forums: "Are certain weapons more
effective than others versus certain enemies. If so, which ones?"

The answer is yes, but if you want an enemy-by-enemy breakdown, I would just
play through the game and figure it out as you go. Thing is... OK, maybe the
Rock Crusher can beat one certain enemy the fastest, but when there are 100 or
so of that enemy surrounding you, you're going to bust out the Gold Melter or
use a bomb to get the job done (and stay alive), instead of using a weapon you
can only shoot in one direction at a time. It's largely situational.

I notice the Ice Cannon can blast through pretty much anything, so I use it when
I need a long, direct shot. The Gold Melter is great for defense, or destroying
a swarm. Don't think of it so much as "which enemy needs which weapon". There
are exceptions, though. Like for the ice asteroids - I'll plow through those
with the Ice Splitter until the shrapnel starts to get heavy... then, I switch
to the Gold Melter and use boost to clear an area to breathe in.
Also, one more thing, it says in the in-game directions that looking at the
enemies' color will give you a hint as to what weapon will work best on them. So
if you really want to match up the best weapon for each enemy, keep that in
mind.



>>>16. Miscellaneous Tips

Clear the area - Because things happen so fast in SSHD, even the most minor of
distractions can cost you a ship; glancing at the score, looking around for
tokens, scratching your nose, etc.  Before you do anything that might last more
than half-a-second, either move somewhere safe... or clear the area around you!
If you're playing with the Gold Melter, this can be done with a quick turn of
the right analog stick.

Use the colors! - Since your eyes won't have much time to scan the entire
playing field for the most valuable tokens (extra ships, shields and bombs),
remember their respective colors and use that knowledge to pick them out in your
peripheral vision.  If something purple catches your eye, clear the area around
you, then glance over to confirm that it's a shield token.  Same goes for the
extra ships and bombs, although you'll likely know exactly when bomb tokens are
present as they do require the destruction of the bomb carrier beforehand.




Thanks to Housemarque for a great game.
Thanks to GameFaqs for posting my FAQ.
Thanks to SplaT for turning me on to SSHD.
Thanks to all the gamers for contributing to the threads.  Knowledge is power!

Peace