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BLACK

ADVANCED COMBAT

By aaxe

Version 2.5

---------------------------
~~ COPYRIGHT INFORMATION ~~
---------------------------
Copyright 2005, aaxe

This may be not be reproduced under any circumstances except for personal,
private use. It may not be placed on any web site or otherwise distributed
publicly without advance permission. Use of this guide on any other web site or
as a part of any public display is strictly prohibited, and a violation of
copyright.  Just contact me via GameFAQs if you wish to reuse this material.

-------------
~~ HISTORY ~~
-------------
Version 2.5, 10-25-2005 - Added Smoke Bomb sections and Back-turned sections.
Various corrections.  Reorganized Discussion sections.

Version 2.0, 10-21-2005 - Corrected Changes section thanks to Megla Zero, 
Spark0, d3licious and provett

Version 1.5, 10-05-2005 - Addendum.  Corrections

Version 1.0, 09-21-2005 - Initial release.  Copy of original document with 
first version of Black changes.

-----------------------
~~ TABLE OF CONTENTS ~~
-----------------------
1.  Prologue
	a.  Introduction
	b.  Changes from the Original Game
	c.  Essentials
		1.  instant Block
		2.  instant Charge
		3.  On-Landing
		4.  Auto-Targeting
		5.  Free Form Combos
		6.  Rolling Techniques
		7.  Wind Path
		8.  Enemy Awareness
		9.  Projectile Use
		10. Ninja Gaiden Tribute

2.  Conventions
	a.  General Movement
	b.  Conditions
	c.  Requirements
	d.  Properties

3.  Basic Combat
	a.  Basic Combat Overview
	b.  Enemy Types
		1.  Small
		2.  Regular
		3.  Large
		4.  Boss
	c.  Weapon Discussion
		1.  Classes
		2.  One-Handed Melee Weapons
		3.  Light Two-Handed Melee Weapons
		4.  Heavy Two-Handed Melee Weapons
		5.  One-Handed Projectile Weapons
		6.  Two-Handed Projectile Weapons
		7.  Smoke Bombs		
		8.  "Useless" Weapons
	d.  Ninpo Discussion
		1.  Art of Firewheel
		2.  Art of Inferno
		3.  Art of Ice Storm
		4.  Art of Inazuma
		5.  Summary
	e.  Auto-Targeting
	f.  Weapon Differentiation
		1.  One-Handed vs. Two-Handed
		2.  Light Two-Handed vs. Heavy Two-Handed
		3.  Dragon Sword vs. Kitetsu
		4.  War Hammer vs. Dabilahro
		5.  Nunchaku vs. Flail
		6.  Lunar vs. All
		7.  Unlabored Flawlessness vs. All
		8.  Unlabored Flawlessness vs. Dark Dragon Blade
		9.  Dragon Sword vs. Nunchaku vs. Lunar

4.  Advanced Combat
	a.  Move Recovery
	b.  Command Buffering
	c.  Just Frame
	d.  Audio Cues
	e.  Downed Advantage
	f.  Rolling Techniques
	g.  Essence Avoidance
	h.  Protection and Invincibility
	i.  Additive Damage
	j.  Combo Flow
		1.  Sections
		2.  Breakers
		3.  Transitions
		4.  Enders
	k.  Encounter Comboing
		1.  Distance
		2.  Time Span
		3.  Frugality
		4.  Hinderance
		5.  Benefit
		6.  Difficulty
	l.  Enemy Priority
	m.  Enemy Awareness
	n.  Enemy Status
		a.  Offensive
		b.  Defensive
		c.  Support
		d.  Team
		e.  Unaware
	o.  Fighting Engine Conditions Discussion
		1.  Charge Level (charge)
		2.  Charge Level 1 (charge1)
		3.  Charge Level 2 (charge2)
		4.  Charge Level 3 (charge3)
		5.  On-Landing (OL)
		6.  On-Landing Cancel (OLC)
		7.  instant Charge (iC)
		8.  instant Charge On-Landing (iCOL)
		9.  instant Block (iB)
		10. In Air (IA)
		11. While Running (WR)
		12. instant While Running (iWR)
		13. While Blocking (WB)
		14. Wind Path (WP)
		15. vertical Wind Path (vWP)
		16. horizontal Wind Path (hWP)
		17. Block (BLOCK)
		18. Guard Break (BREAK)
		19. Guard Crush (Crush)
		20. Ninpo Cancelling (NINC)
		21. Step Canceling (STEPC)
		22. Near an Enemy (NEAR)
		23. Near a Wall (NEARWALL)
		24. Near a Downed Enem (DOWN)
		25. Level Ground (LEVELG)
		26. Wind Run (WINDRUN)
		27. Wall Cling (WALLCLING)
		28. Wall Run (WALLRUN)
		29. vertical Wall Run (vWALLRUN)
		30. horizontal Wall Run (hWALLRUN)
		31. ceiling Wall Run (cWALLRUN)
		32. Phantom State (PHANTOM)
		33. Low Health (LOWH)
		34. Area Affect (AREA)
		35. little In Air (lIA)
		36. Delay (DELAY)
		37. Wall Cling Cancel (WALLCLINGC)
	p.  Fighting Engine Status Discussion
		1.  Block Stun (BLOCK)
		2.  Hit Stun (HIT)
		3.  Stagger Stun (STAGGER)
		4.  Guard Break (BREAK)
		5.  Guard Crush (CRUSH)
		6.  Clear Away (CLEAR)
		7. reverse Clear Away (rCLEAR)
		8.  Multiple Opponent (MULTI)
		9.  Throw (THROW)
		10. Decapitate (DECAP)
		11. Recovery (REC)
		12. Essence Technique (ET)
		13. Ultimate Technique (UT)
		14. little Launch (lLaunch)
		15. Launch (LAUNCH)
		16. Self-launching (SELFLAUNCH)
		17. Absorbing Life (ABSORB)
		18. Projectile Strike (PROJ)
		19. Just Frame (JF)
		20. Behind an Enemy (Enemy)
		21. Grounding Knockdown (GROUND)
		22. Spin Stun (SPIN)
		23. Crumple Stun (CRUMPLE)
		24. Wall Stun (WSTUN)
		25. Wind Path Stun (WPSTUN)
		26. vertical Wind Path Stun (vWPSTUN)
		27. horizontal Wind Path Stun (hWPSTUN)
		28. Parry (PARRY)
		29. Weapon Locking (LOCK)
		30. Protection (PROT)
		31. Invincibility (INV)
		32. Counter Hit (CH)
		33. Distance (DIST)
		34. Burrowing (BURROW)
		35. Back-turned (BT)
		36. Unblockable (UB)
		37. Area Affect (AREA)
		38. Confusion (CONF)
	q. Combo Growth
	r. Advanced Shuriken Use
	s. Depth
	t. In-depth Move Discussion
		1.  Flying Swallow
		2.  Red Hot Iron Brand
		3.  Izuna Drop
		4.  Six Paths Spin
		5.  Flying Bird Flip Options
		6.  Counter Attack
		7.  Runaway Lightning
		8.  Wind Run
		9.  Soul Bind
		10. Soul Eraser
		11. Cremator
		12. Dragon Slaughter
		13. Guillotine Throw
		14. Dark Dragon Gates of Hell
		15. Dragon's Claw
		16. Burial Kick
		17. Steel Severer
	u.  Dial-A-Combo
	v.  Enemy Arsenal
	w.  Phantom Invincibility
	x.  Boss Vulnerability
	y.  Smoke Bombs

5.  Character Traits
	a.  Advanced Enemy Abilities
	b.  Easy
	c.  Normal
	d.  Formidable
	e.  Deadly

6.  Hidden Moves
	a.  All Weapons
		1.  Who Watches the Watchers
		2.  Burial Kick
	b.  Dragon Sword
		1.  Tranquil Clearing
		2.  Rooted Windmill
	c.  Kitetsu
		1.  Soul Bind
		2.  Soul Eraser
	d.  Dragon Sword/Kitetsu
		1.  Life's Circle

7.  Move List
	a.  Dragon Sword/Plasma Sword, True Dragon Sword/Plasma Sword Mk. II
	b.  Nunchaku
	c.  Vigoorian Flail
	d.  War Hammer
	e.  Dabilahro
	f.  Spear Gun
	g.  Wooden Sword
	h.  Kitetsu
	i.  Unlabored Flawlessness
	j.  Dark Dragon Blade
	m.  Lunar
	n.  Shuriken
	o.  Windmill Shuriken
	p.  Incendiary Shuriken
	q.  Bow
	r.  Strong Bow
	s.  APFSDS Arrows
	t.  Explosive Arrows
	u.  Smoke Bombs

8.  Move Matrix
	a.  Melee
	b.  Melee Notes
	c.  Projectile
	d.  Projectile Notes
	e.  Ninpo
	f.  Ninpo Notes
	g.  Essence/Ultimate Technique
	h.  Essence/Ultimate Technique Notes

9.  Move List Discussion
	a.  Dragon Sword
		1. Level 1
		2. Level 2
		3. Level 3
		4. Level 4
		5. Scroll
	b.  Nunchaku
		1. Level 1
		2. Scroll
	c.  Vigoorian Flail
		1. Level 1
		2. Level 2
		3. Scroll
	d.  War Hammer
		1. Level 1
		2. Level 2
		3. Scroll
	d.  Dabilahro
		1. Level 1
		2. Level 2
		3. Level 3
		3. Scroll
	e.  Spear Gun
		1. Level 1
		2. Scroll
	f.  Wooden Sword
		1. Levels 1-6
		2. Scroll
	g.  Kitetsu
		1. Level 1
		2. Level 2
		3. Level 3
		4. Scroll
	h.  Unlabored Flawlessness
		1. Level 1
		2. Scroll
	i.  Dark Dragon Blade
		1. Level 1
		2. Scroll
	j.  Lunar
		1. Level 1
		2. Level 2
		3. Level 3
		4. Scroll
	k.  Shuriken
	l.  Windmill Shuriken
	m.  Incendiary Shuriken
	n.  Bow
	o.  Strong Bow
	p.  APFSDS Arrows
	q.  Explosive Arrows	
	r.  Smoke Bombs
	s.  All Weapons

10. Black Specific Features
	a.  Essence Farming
	b.  Repeat Encounters
	c.  Enemy Changes

11. Free Form Combos
	a.  Damage Discussion
	b.  Dragon Sword
	c.  Nunchaku
	d.  Vigoorian Flail
	e.  War Hammer
	f.  Dabilahro
	g.  Kitetsu
	h.  Unlabored Flawlessness
	i.  Dark Dragon Blade
	j.  Lunar
	k.  Standard Shuriken
	l.  Windmill Shuriken
	m.  Incendiary Shuriken
	n.  Wind Path

12. Legacy Advanced Combat
	a.  Ninja Ryukenden
	b.  Ninja Gaiden Trilogy
		1.  Ninja Gaiden
		2.  Ninja Gaiden and the Dark Sword of Chaos
		3.  Ninja Gaiden and the Ancient Ship of Doom
	c.  Summary

13. Conclusion

14. Credits

--------------
~~ PROLOGUE ~~
--------------
If you wish to skip the bulk of the discussion of the Combat Engine, then 
simply skip to the Essentials Section to see the list of techniques that 
are required for high-level play.  Otherwise, simply read on.

INTRODUCTION
------------
This document will outline the advanced techniques that Ryu may utilize to
confront his adversaries.  While the canned combos and basic moves are listed
for comprehensiveness, the scope of this document is to expand upon the basic
tools outlined in the game.  There are many facets to the Combo System that go
undocumented both in-game and in the manual itself, so it's up to the forum
members of this board and other boards in particular to hash out the specifics.
Please see the credits section for the people responsible for gathering this
information.

The primary difference between this game and every other action game ever 
created to my knowledge is that this game incorporates fighting game hit 
properties and statuses heavily into the combat engine.  Whereas most games 
include the bread and butter HIT, CLEAR, IA, THROW, GROUND and WALLSTUN 
statuses, Ninja Gaiden incorporates over 50 statuses and properties that are 
specifically assigned to specific strikes, weapons, attacks and even other 
states.  There are even inter-dependencies between the statuses such as the 
ability to CRUMPLE and opponent after placing them in SPIN state.  This does 
not even include the hundreds of different, animated reactions that are induced 
by simple HIT state.  No other action game currently features this depth of 
combat.

Note that this document will not entail specific strategies for specific
enemies unless used for demonstration.  This document is to outline the combos
both canned and free form as well as the properties of the strikes themselves.

Ninja Gaiden Black is a very complex rewrite of the entire original game.  
Hurricane Packs 1 and 2 are included (more or less) in this game.  But, 
depending upon which level of difficulty you've selected, the gameplay changes 
drastically.

CHANGES FROM THE ORIGINAL GAME
------------------------------
There are a ridiculous amount of subtle changes between this game and the 
original as well as the Hurricane Packs.  For the purposes of this document, 
we will outline the combat-oriented ones, only.

1.  Smoke Bombs - Smoke Bombs are one of the only COMPLETELY new weapons (if 
the Hurricane Packs are considered).  They are very helpful on the Chapters 
where other Projectiles are worthless like Chapters 3 and 4, since the MSAT 
and Samurai on these particular levels are almost totally immune to all 
Projectiles available to you at that time.  They are also very handy for 
EXTREMELY aggressive enemies as well.

Lastly, the Smoke Bombs seem specifically designed to assist Ryu in the 
Boss encounters that feature minions.

2.  Lunar - If you didn't get the Hurricane Packs, the Lunar is the best 
and most profound addition to the game.  See its section for the discussion.

3.  On-Landing Tweak - The On-Landing (OL) condition has been tweaked for 
the better.  Before, whenever you landed from a jump, whatever OL property 
would override everything else.  Now, the OL will only come out for moves 
intended to utilize OL.  As an example, before if you tried to do an Azure 
Dragon OL, you would get some derivative of Haze Straight Slash (depending 
upon the available Essence lying around).  Now, you will get an additional 
Azure Dragon instead of the OL Y attack overriding.

4.  Nunchaku Buffing - Aside from Normal Difficulty setting, you now begin 
with the Nunchaku.  However, it was not rebalanced as far as strength is 
concerned (as it first appeared in Chapter 4 in the original game), so now 
it is the weapon of choice for Chapter 1.  Ryu has also gained the ability 
to do Fire Pit in any point during Dragon Slaughter for both the Nunchaku 
and the Flail.

5.  Kitetsu Buffing - Kitetsu is now an upgradable weapon with three levels.  
Also, it no longer leaches life.  You can now issue consecutive Soul 
Erasers as well as performing Blade of the Dragon Tail.

6.  Dark Dragon Blade Buffing - The Dark Dragon Blade is now the strongest 
weapon in the game aside from the Unlabored Flawlessness (UF) at 5% 
health.  In the original game, it only excessively Guard Broke but was 
identical in damage to the UF, but now almost every attack is stronger 
than the normal UF, particularly the Raging Thunderous Blade (Bird Flip, 
X/Y).

7.  OL X for Dragon Sword moved from Level 2 to Level 3.  See the Hidden 
Moves section for Tranquil Clearing.

8.  Guillotine Throw Tweak - The command for issuing the Guillotine Throw 
has changed from NEAR IA Y to NEAR IA X+A.  This is a great addition as 
before it was very difficult to differentiate between doing a Flying Swallow 
and the Guillotine Throw.  Now, it is impossible to confuse the two.

9.  Six brand new enemies - These enemies were absent even from HPs.

	a. Silver Samurai - Upgraded Samurai invade Hayabusa Village in 
	difficulties over Hard.  They also accompany Doku in the Zarkhan 
	Stadium battle.  They Block even more excessively than regular 
	Samurai.
	
	b. Greater Bast Fiends - The Fiends that resemble feline demons now 
	have a Greater version with flat ears, red eyes and black skin.  
	They are MUCH more aggressive and have a higher constitution.  
	However, I have not seen a new move specific to these variation, 
	although, their moves seem to Guard Break much, much more.

	c. Greater Moat Fish - This creature is immune to the Harpoon gun.

	d. Flame Ninja - This is a variation of the Black Spider Clan that 
	is much hardier and possesses command over the element of fire.

	e. Doppleganger Fiend - Even though all six of them fight totally 
	differently, I list this as a single new enemy.  The Doppleganger 
	can fight with the Flail, True Dragon Sword, Dabilahro, Kitetsu, 
	Lunar and Unlabored Flawlessness.  Additionally, each version can 
	command all Shuriken and Ninpo and change them on the fly in 
	seemingly unlimited quantities.  The Dabilahro Doppleganger can 
	also utilize Explosive Arrows with the Strong Bow.

	f. Explosive Bats - One word: Fun!

10. Brand New Hurricane Pack Enemies - These enemies were added in the 
Hurricane Pack and are obviously included in Black as well.

	a.  Ishtaros - This Fiend looks like an huge, evil version of 
	Rachel.

	b.  Nicchae - This Fiend is a supreme version of a bipedal Alma.

	c.  Masked Ogre - Huge, reptillian sub-bosses with Dinosaur masks.
	If you shattered their masks, they go berserk.

	d.  Vigoorian Berserker - Large, skeletal warrior that brandishes 
	a huge, two-handed sword.  This creature has the most extensive 
	move list in the game.  Once you inflict enough damage on them, 
	they also go Berserk and expand their movelist greatly.

	e.  Bast Fiends - The Fiends are catlike and possess the most 
	extreme mobility of any other enemy in the game.  They also 
	possess Flying Swallow.

	f.  Shadow Imp - Another evolution of the Imp class of Fiend.  
	These monstrosities are much larger than the regular Imps, but 
	smaller than the Greater Imps.  They have a very good set of 
	new strikes and a throw.  They are also totally immune to 
	Shuriken.

	g.  Vigoorian Ninja - This enemy resembles Doku's Samurai, and 
	wields a Windmill Shuriken.  They fight like Black Spider Clan, 
	but are MUCH more hardy.

	h.  MSAT (Mechanized Special Attack Team) Soldier - The SAT 
	soldiers are totally encased in robotic armor which grants them 
	shuriken immunity.  They have a few new moves as well and carry 
	light sabres.

	i.  MSAT Riot Guard - The Riot Guards are upgraded just like the 
	Soldiers.  These guys don black armor.

	j.  MSAT Grenadier - These soldier don gold armor, and their 
	rate of fire increases ridiculously.  The grenades themselves 
	are much more powerful.

	k.  Mechanized Vigoorian Infantry - The Military joins in on the 
	mechanized fun, too.  These guys get a bunch of move upgrades and 
	shuriken immunity as well.

	l.  Mechanized Vigoorian Heavy Infantry - Lastly, the RPG soldiers 
	get the robotic treatment as well as an increased rate of fire, 
	damage and accuracy.

11. You get different combinations of starting equipment amongst the 
difficulty levels.  Normal has the standard configuration.  On Hard, Ryu 
begins with the Nunchaku while the Lunar is in the Shadow Ninja Fortress.  
Very Hard allows the use of the Nunchaku at the beginning as well, but 
puts the Lunar in Hayabusa Village, while Master Ninja lets you begin 
with all three.

12. New Armlets and Ribbons - There are several brand new Armlets that really 
diversify the gameplay choices in the game.  Additionally, on the Ninja Dog 
mode, Ayane will give you an Arm Band for free that is identical to each 
Armlet.
	a. Sun Armlet/Band of Power - Increase attack power by 20%.

	b. Moon Armlet/Band of Protection - Decreases damage by 20%.

	c. Fortune Armlet/Band of Spirit - Double the Ninpo Essence absorbed.

	d. Potency Armlet/Band of Strength- Increases the strength of kick 
	and throw techniques appreciably.  This combined with the Nunchaku/
	Flail makes for a very nice combination, and the weapon of choice 
	for a bunch of different encounters.

	e. Benediction Armlet/Band of Wealth - Increases Yellow Essence 
	absorbtion by 20%.

	f. Celerity Armlet/Band of Light - Decreases the time needed to 
	charge either an ET/UT by a one second.  This may sound totally 
	useless, but it is suprisingly useful for a bunch of scenarios that 
	crop up on Master Ninja Mode, I've found.

13. Removal of Intercept - This was the biggest balancing done after the 
Hurricane Packs.  For how fun it was to utilize, Intercept made the game a 
little too easy.  I for one, would have liked to see it balanced out (like 
having the frame window shortened), but it makes for a much more difficult 
game with its absence.  

For this reason, I keep my original copy of Ninja Gaiden with save games for 
the two Hurricane Packs.  The lack of Intercept in Ninja Gaiden Black 
(along with the omission of the original Trilogy), makes the original Ninja 
Gaiden useful.

14. Jewel of the Spirit Smith - In one of the Missions, you can find an 
additional Jewel that does not appear in the single player game that will 
upgrade a weapon one level.

15. Ultimate Technique Death Essence - The game now allows different things to 
be released by enemies if killed by a UT.  In particular, Berzerkers can now 
release Blue Essence when killed with a UT.

16. Dabilahro Nerfed Slightly - Some strikes no longer Guard Break and Asura 
Slash has been made much weaker.  Additionally, on Master Ninja, many bosses 
have become immune to it outright.

17. Simultaneous Bosses - Amazingly, the graphics engine allows two 
simultaneous bosses on screen at the same time.  These battles are the most 
intense single-player gaming experiences that I have ever known.

18. Minions now fight along-side the bosses now in difficulties above Normal.

19. Minions killed by bosses no longer release Essence if the Boss did a 
majority of the damage to them, since it would presumably go to them anyway.  
Also, those enemies killed by bosses in this way don't count as kills for 
you, and they immediately respawn as opposed to waiting for the next cycle.
(Thanks to Megla Zero, Spark0, d3licious and provett for this point).

20. New Boss Ai/Moves - Bosses have been tweaked appreciably.  There are WAY 
too many instances to itemize as every single boss has seen some sort of 
upgrade or new move.

21. WR State Altered - It now only takes under one step to be in WR status.  
This was changed just slightly from the original game, but it makes WR moves 
(which are almost always very powerful or state-inducing) much easier to 
utilize in regular combat.  This, combined with the fact that the OL 
condition won't override attacks where it shouldn't apply, and we have a 
whole new set of combos to look into.

22. Every enemy upgraded - Above Normal Difficulty, every single enemy 
was tweaked to AT LEAST possess one Guard Breaking move.  Most enemies 
underwent major revisions.

ESSENTIALS
----------
This document has grown to a rather large size, so it seems necessary to 
summarize the techniques that will get you started on your way to Advanced 
Combat without having to read the entire thing.  Therefore, this section will 
list the techniques that are required for high-level play.  You can use the 
document find function (Ctrl+F or Edit->Find) to locate the description of 
the technique listed.

1.  instant Block - Ryu is a defensive powerhouse.  To the experienced player 
very few attacks will actually ever connect with him.  The instant Block 
technique is vital to avoiding damage in the game.

2.  instant Charge - Ryu's most powerful techniques are usually too time-
consuming to pull off mid-encounter.  Therefore, the instant Charge state 
exists.

3.  On-Landing - The On-Landing status is unique such that it gives certain 
moves distinct differences.

4.  Auto-Targeting - The Auto-Targeting system of Ninja Gaiden is sublime.  As 
such, it is easy to take it for granted.  One should read this section to 
understand how to determine what enemy you can strike.  Aside from the camera, 
this is the single most misunderstood aspect of the game.

5.  Free Form Combos - The bulk of the research done by myself and the people 
contributing to this document is contained within this section.  It outlines 
many Combo variations that are not readily evident.  It is organized by 
weapon or technique.  THIS GAME IS NOT DIAL-A-COMBO.  Anyone expressing 
otherwise is simply stating their own ignorance.

6.  Rolling Techniques - It is fairly safe to say that Ryu's defensive options 
are more important than his offensive options in this game given that he is 
completely outnumbered almost every step of the way.  Consequently, the game 
designers have made Ryu the most defensively capable game character ever.  It 
is absolutely essential to high-level play to understand the evasive options 
of this section.

7.  Wind Path - One of Ryu's most effective techniques is the Wind Path.  
It's not altogether obvious that you can turn around in mid-air, post-Wind 
Path and strike your opponent.  This trait makes it an essential tool in the 
player's arsenal.

8.  Enemy Awareness - This concept is two-fold.  Both the player and AI 
awareness are discussed in this section.

9.  Projectile Use - While Ryu heavily favors his melee arsenal, projectile 
use is integral to the game.  Do not neglect it.

10. Ninja Gaiden Tribute - In my opinion, this is the single greatest fan 
fiction project I have ever seen.

oasisbeyond.cjb.net

Click on the Ninja Gaiden Tribute link either bittorrent or direct download.
I cannot recommend this thing enough.  If you have even a passing interest in 
Ninja Gaiden, this movie is 100% NECESSARY.  Bear in mind that it is a totally 
comprehensive spoiler.

-----------------
~~ CONVENTIONS ~~
-----------------
We'll use standard fighting game conventions in this guide as Ryu's arsenal
depends greatly upon his orientation to his opponents.  Please refer back to
this section when perusing the Move List section.

General Movement:
The directions will follow a numbering system used in fighting games, but
altered for the 3D nature of the game.  The numbers reflect positions of the 
joystick in those games, but we alter it for this discussion:

789
456
123

Where 8 represents a jump straight up (A), 7 and 9 represent jumping away from
(4+A) and toward (6+A) an opponent, respectively, 1 and 3 represent rolls away
from (4+L) and towards (6+L) an opponent respectively, 6 represents regular
movement towards his opponent and 4 represents regular movement away from his
opponent where 5 represents Neutral position.

, - Then: Input right side command after left side command
/ - Or: Left side command can be substituted with right side command
~ - Quickly: Input right side command very quickly after left side command
+ - And: Input left side and right side commands at the same time
() - Hold: Hold the button longer than a simple tap
	r - Release: Following Charge, release the button or direction
[] - Optional: Commands within brackets are optional
360 - 360 degrees: One whole 360 degree rotation of the left analog stick
tap - Merely tap the button
... - Pause before the next command is issued
etc... - Et Cetera: Too many options to list after the last command
repeat - Repeat: repeat the previous command
oscillate - Oscillate: Oscillate between the two listed command
charge - Charge Attack: Hold the button used to initiate the command for 
differing severities.  If no digit is provided, any level of charge will do.
charge1 - Charge Level 1: Charge the attack just long enough to get out of 
the standard Y attack, but before the ET level.
charge2 - Charge Level 2: Charge the attack long enough to gain ET, but not 
UT
charge3 - Charge Level 3: Charge the attack long enough to gain UT and 
possibly longer
dist - Ryu must be close to the enemy given that distance affects damage in 
this game.

Commands:  You can obviously reset your commands to however you want them, but 
this is the default configuration.
X - Light Attack: X Button
Y - Heavy Attack: Y Button
B - Projectile: B Button
A - Jump: A Button
R - Reset camera: Right Trigger
L - Block: Left Trigger
W - Karma Window: White Button
K - Map: Black Button
S - Inventory: Start
RC - Switch Camera Mode - Right-stick Click
LC - Switch Encounter Timer - Left-stick Click
X+A - Wind Run - X+A Buttons
Y+B - Ninpo - Y+B Buttons

RW/Roll - Reverse Wind/Roll: L+any direction, Ryu will roll
RJ - Roll Jump: Cancel a roll recovery animation with a jump and vice versa
RC - Roll Cancel: Cancel recovery, block, stun or attack animation with a Roll
JC - Jump Cancel: Cancel roll animation with a jump
FPP - First Person Projectile
HP - Hurricane Pack

Conditions:  These designations represent conditions in which Ryu or an enemy 
can reside.

OL - On-Landing: When Ryu contacts the ground after a jump without an attack.

OLC - On-Landing Cancel: When Ryu cancels the On-Landing state with a Block.

iC - instant Charge: When the Charge animation from a Y attack is skipped due 
to certain conditions.

iCOL - instant Charge On-Landing: Instant Charge gained from an On-Landing 
condition.  Now that there are two ways to achieve iC, this term is no longer 
redundant.  

iB - instant Block: Instantaneous block mid-combo w/o the transition animation.

IA - In Air: Ryu must be in the air and not currently attacking.

lIA - little In Air: Same as IA, but is not capable of granting OL.

WR - While Running: Ryu must be running or a run must be buffered.

iWR - instant While Running: WR condition can be buffered by jump/Wind Path.

WB - While Blocking: Used in Counter Attacking, enemy must strike a blocking 
Ryu.

WP - Wind Path: Successfully Wind Path off of an enemy, stunning them, when 
only WP is designated, either vWP or hWP will suffice.  Whenever Ryu is IA, 
you can press A over an enemy, and you will Wind Path off of them.

vWP - Vertical Wind Path: Wind Path off of an enemy by jumping straight up.

hWP - Horizontal Wind Path: Wind Path off of an enemy by jumping at them.

BS - Block Stun: The simple block animation, only keeps the enemy from 
attacking.

GB/BREAK - Guard Break: When either Ryu's or an enemy's block is defeated.

GC/CRUSH - Guard Crush: When an large enemy's attack is interrupted, and when 
Ryu is Guard Broken with damage received, Guard Crush does not imply Guard 
Breaking.

NINC - Ninpo Canceling: Using a Ninpo to cancel the entire recovery of moves.

STEPC - Step Canceling: Using a Nudge to cancel the recovery of the DS/
Kitetsu WR X, as soon as the X comes out, you must quickly return the stick to 
Neutral and then quickly move the stick back to forward.

NEAR - Near an enemy.

NEARWALL - Near a wall.

DOWN - Near a downed enemy.

LEVELG - Level Ground: Ryu must perform this over level ground.

WINDRUN - Wind Run: X+A, Ryu's auto-homing, jump attack.  Now has PHANTOM 
status.

WALLCLING - Wall Clinging: Ryu must cling to the wall without running.

WALLRUN - Wall Running: Ryu must be wall running for certain properties to be 
applicable, when only WP is designated, either vWallRun or hWallRun will 
suffice.

vWALLRUN - vertical Wall Running: Ryu will run straight up a wall.

hWALLRUN - horizontal Wall Running: Ryu will run along the wall.

cWALLRUN - Ceiling Wall Running: Ryu can run across the ceiling briefly.

BEHIND - The enemy is directly behind Ryu.

LEFT - The enemy is slightly to Ryu's left side.

RIGHT - The enemy is slightly to Ryu's right side.

PHANTOM - Ryu will leave a Phantom image of himself behind.  This usually 
indicates some frames of invincibility.  Ryu perfects this ability later in 
life when he can summon two identical Phantoms that will obey his movement 
and attack commands (although he hasn't mastered this technique in this game).

LOWH - Low Health: Ryu has very low health, and his health bar is flashing red.

DELAY - Delay: Denotes when a strike must be delayed, the frame window is 
extremely small.

Requirements:  These designations appear immediately after the name of the move
and describe its requirements.

Lvl# - Weapon Level: Designates at which level the move is available
Scroll - Scroll Technique: Technique is gained via scroll
# Essence - The number of Yellow Essence Orbs needed to activate a move
DS - Dragon Sword
PS - Plasma Sword
Nun - Nunchaku
Lunar - Lunar Bo
Flail - Vigoorian Flail
Kit - Kitetsu
WarHammer - War Hammer
Dabi - Dabilahro
TDS - True Dragon Sword
PSM2 - Plasma Sword Mk. II
UF - Unlabored Flawlessness
DDB - Dark Dragon Blade
Shuriken - Shuriken
Windmill - Windmill Shuriken
Incendiary - Incendiary Shuriken
Bow - Bow
SBow - Strong Bow
APFS - APFSDS Arrows
Expl - Explosive Arrows
Smoke - Smoke Bombs

Ninpo - Any Ninpo Art must be selected
Firewheel - Art of Firewheel must be your selected Ninpo
IceStorm - Art of Ice Storm must be your selected Ninpo
Inferno - Art of Inferno must be your selected Ninpo
Inazuma - Art of Inazuma must be your selected Ninpo

Izuna - You must have acquired the Izuna Drop scroll
Counter - You must have acquired the Counter Attack Scroll
Guillotine - You must have acquired the Guillotine Throw Scroll

Sun - Armlet of the Sun
Moon - Armlet of the Moon
Benediction - Armlet of Benediction
Fortune - Armlet of Fortune
Tranquility - Armlet of Tranquility
Celerity - Armlet of Celerity
Potency - Armlet of Potency

All - You can do this move with any weapon
SMALL - Small Enemy: Small enemies.  See Enemy Types Section.
REG - Regular Enemy: Regular enemies.  See Enemy Types Section.
LARGE - Large Enemy: Large enemies.  See Enemy Types Section.
BOSS - Boss Enemy: Boss-type enemy.  See Enemy Types Section.

D: - Denotes the damage in number of hit points
(#,#) - Denotes that an input accounts for more than one strike

Properties:  These designations follow the commands of a move and describe its
affects.

BLOCK - Block Stun: The inability for an enemy to attack back while defending 
against Ryu's onslaught.  Many different animations for differing Block Stuns 
exist for both Ryu and enemies.  This does not mean that they cannot evade.

HIT - Hit Stun: The inability for an enemy to attack back while being struck 
by Ryu.  Many different animations exist for the different ways in which 
Ryu can strike an opponent and vice versa.  Hit Stun denotes the generic 
animation with no other special properties.  This is assumed for a successful 
hit, so it is never denoted except in discussion.  This does not imply Guard 
Break.

One of the most obvious signs of polish in this game is how many different 
animations every creature has for the different ways of being hit or being 
killed.

STAGGER - Stagger Stun: A longer Hit Stun where the enemy either falls 
backwards slightly or doubles over in pain.  This usually means that the 
opponent will not be able to dodge or block the next hit.  This does not 
imply Guard Break.  Applies to Ryu as well.

BREAK - Guard Break: Break the block of a regular, blocking opponent for
long enough to Ryu to strike them and induce HIT, a different animation and 
property from a Block Stun.  Applies to Ryu as well as noted in the Conditions 
section.

CLEAR - Clear Away: Knock Regular enemies away.  Applies to Ryu as well as 
noted in the Conditions section.  Does not imply Guard Break.

rCLEAR - reverse Clear Away: Knock Regular enemies towards the attacker.  
Applies to Ryu as well as noted in the Conditions section.  Does not imply 
Guard Break.

MULTI - Multiple Opponent: This move will strike multiple opponents.  Ryu's 
strikes will always register damage with whatever is in the way, but moves with 
this property are obviously designed to strike multiple opponents 
simultaneously.

THROW - Denotes a move where Ryu captures the enemy in some way and throws 
them.  Applies to Ryu as well as noted in the Conditions section.

DECAP - Denotes a move will decapitate regular enemies if their health is low.

DEAD - Denotes a move that will kill or decapitate regular enemies with full
health, also used to designate dead body.

REC - Recovery: An attack that causes significant recovery time, however, you 
can usually still iB or Ninpo Cancel.  However, in the case of Flying Swallow, 
the recovery for that move is TOTALLY uncancelable.

ET - Essence Technique: A Y attack were a single Yellow Essence is used to 
activate the move.  You can also achieve this state by simply charging 
whatever move long enough.

UT - Ultimate Technique: Depending upon the level of the weapon, the most
devastating Essence attack, unblockable by many enemies.  It requires either 
2 Yellow Essence or a single Blue or Red.  You can achieve this state simply 
by charging it long enough as well.

lLAUNCH - little Launch: Enemies will be launched into the air, but not long 
enough to be attacked, however, they will still be placed in GROUND state 
when they land.

LAUNCH - Regular enemies will be launched into the air long enough to be 
attacked.

SELFLAUNCH - Both Ryu and any enemies will be launched into air.

ABSORB - Life Force Transferal: Ryu will absorb the life force of the enemy.  
Applies to some enemies as well.

PROJ - Projectile: Ryu will throw the weapon, and it can return to him.  
Applies to some enemies as well.

JF - Just Frame: The move must be input in a certain frame window.

BEHIND - Behind an Enemy: The enemy must be behind Ryu.

GROUND - Grounding Knockdown: Regular enemies will be knocked down instantly. 
Ryu will return to the ground as well if IA.

SPIN - Spin Stun: Regular, non-blocking/Guard Broken enemies will be spun 
around, unable to attack momentarily.  Applies to Ryu as well.

CRUMPLE - Crumple Stun: Regular non-blocking/Guard Broken enemies will 
be stunned briefly before dropping to their knees, with certain moves, they 
will be spun.  Applies to Ryu as well as noted in the Conditions section.

WSTUN - Wall Stun: When you throw or hit an enemy into a wall, they will be 
stunned appropriately.  Applies to Ryu as well.

WPSTUN - Wind Path Stun: Every regular enemy has two unique Wind Path Stun 
animations, most Large enemies have one, and a few bosses do as well, when 
only WPSTUN is designated, either vWPSTUN or hWPSTUN will suffice.

vWPSTUN - Vertical Wind Path Stun: When Ryu jumps straight up and Wind Paths 
off of an enemy, you will get vertical Wind Path Stun.

hWPSTUN - horizontal Wind Path Stun: When Ryu jumps at an enemy and Wind Paths 
off of them and continues his forward momentum, you will get horizontal Wind 
Path Stun.

PARRY - Parry: Some enemies have the ability to parry Ryu's attack and render 
them harmless.  This also introduces a unique PARRY stun to Ryu.  He must 
cancel either by, ROLLC, NINC, etc...

LOCK - Weapon Lock: Causes Ryu and his opponent to lock each others' weapons.

PROT - Protection: Ryu is granted some sort of Protection during the attack 
frames of this move, but is not totally Invincible.  This usually means that 
either Ryu can't be knocked out of the move, but can still register damage 
or vice versa, but not both.

INV - Invincible: Ryu is TOTALLY Invincible during the attack frames of this 
move.

CH - Counter Hit: When either Ryu or an enemy is hit during an attack 
animation.  This will frequently change the status and/or damage inflicted 
by the strike.

DIST - Distance: Some moves (like Flying Swallow) will register more damage 
if they are started closer to Ryu.

BURROW - Burrowing: Some Fiends can burrow under the ground making themselves 
invincible.

BT - Back-turned:  There many instances where an enemy is MUCH more vulnerable 
in the rear than it is from its flank.  In these scenarios, the enemy either 
has a specific way to attack Ryu from a BT status, or they won't be able to 
Block the next hit.  It's usually very difficult to induce a BT status, but 
it is almost always very beneficial.

Unblockable - There are a couple of techniques in the game that are totally 
unblockable by Ryu, and some that Ryu possess that enemies will not be able to 
Block as well.  Both the enemy and Ryu must do their best to avoid the attack 
rather than block it.

AREA - Area Affect: A technique, Ninpo or projectile that will affect an area 
around the intended target.

CONF - Confusion: An enemy will be confused.

------------------
~~ BASIC COMBAT ~~
------------------
Basic Combat Technique is the way of playing where you are simply capable of
utilizing the canned combos, infrequently implementing projectiles and relying
heavily upon Ninpo.  Team Ninja has implemented many fighting game ideas
(Buffering, On-Landing, proximity, move interruption, cancellation, etc) to
accommodate those of us who like to show a bit of flair when dealing with the
enemies.  Additionally, Basic Combat entails the ability to simply block and
roll out of the way of obvious incoming attacks and manually re-orienting Ryu
mid-combo to face enemies in his vicinity.

The purpose of this document is to expand upon these basic techniques as Ninja
Gaiden has without a doubt the most complex and gratifying combat engine in any
action game.  Successfully beating the game is not as important or enjoyable as
using Ryu as diversely as possible.  It is just as impressive watching Ryu
skillfully avoid damage as it is inflicting it.

BASIC COMBAT OVERVIEW
---------------------
The Basic Combat Engine is detailed in the manual and in the in-game menu.  Ryu
has the ability to use an immense cache of techniques even starting out in the
game.  Offensively, he has a literal encyclopedia of moves and canned combos
and magic techniques.  Defensively, he can Block, instantly jump and/or roll in
any direction, Wall Run, Wall Stick, Flip, Counter Attack.
When engaged in a combo, Ryu can point himself in the direction of any attack
and instantly orient the next blow in that direction.  All of these things can
be considered beginning techniques.  One cannot hope to finish this game
without first grasping these inherent abilities as button mashing will not get
you very far.  Indeed, Murai seems designed specifically to counteract button-
mashers.

ENEMY TYPES
-----------
There are four different classifications of enemies as far as the hit 
properties of the Combat Engine are concerned.  The classifications are small, 
regular, large and boss.

1.  Small - These enemies are almost always harmless.  It usually only takes 
one hit from any weapon to kill them.  They are utilized in the game solely for 
the purpose of generating Essence.  Small enemies include Bats and Crows, but 
unfortunately, Ancient Phantom Fish and Exploding Bats are members of this 
category as well.

2.  Regular - Regular enemies comprise the bulk of the encounters in the game.  
These enemies are roughly human-sized and all of the hit properties talked 
about in this document apply to them.  They can be easily Thrown, Launched, 
Guard Broken, Spin Stunned, Crumple Stunned, Grounded, Decapitated, etc.  When 
referencing a Combo listed in this document, it will always work with a 
regular enemy, but not necessarily with a large one.  Regular enemies include 
SATs, Imps, Soldiers, Ninjas, etc.

3.  Large - Large enemies consist of a different constitution altogether.  They 
cannot easily be Thrown, Launched, etc.  However, there are specific moves or 
series of moves with each weapon that can induce almost every property onto 
almost every large enemy.  But, in most cases, it is very difficult to do so.  
If a move is listed as having a Guard Break property, that will almost never 
affect a large enemy.  Large enemies include Gallas, Ogres, Evolved Imps, etc.

4.  Boss - Boss enemies have a totally different set of rules from the other 
three classes.  Typically, you cannot do any of the afore-mentioned properties 
although, you can still sometimes Wind Path and Weapon Lock them.  To induce 
any sort of Stun usually requires the use of a specific move or a large amount 
of damage.

WEAPON DISCUSSION
-----------------
Every move in the game has some use. The combos in particular are very
specifically designed, and I will discuss this in the next section. Likewise, 
the weapons serve particular purposes.  Every weapon is fairly balanced and has 
very specific strengths and weaknesses. Of course, the Nunchaku and Wooden 
Sword are the weakest, while the Dragon Sword is the most well rounded and the 
Unlabored Flawlessness is the strongest in certain scenarios and the Dark 
Dragon Blade has the strongest UT on a single opponent.  

1. Classes - There are three classes of the melee weapons: One-Handed, Light 
Two-Handed and Heavy Two-Handed and two classes of projectile weapons: One-
Handed and Two-Handed.  The One-Handed weapons include the Dragon Sword, 
Kitetsu and the Wooden Sword.  With these weapons, you can Shuriken Interrupt 
during almost any Combo Section, and Ryu will quickly return the weapon to its 
scabbard (with the appropriate animation).  Likewise, he has a unique walking, 
running and nudging animation while brandishing the weapon.  Light Two-Handed 
Weapons include the Nunchaku, Flail and Lunar.  Like the One-Handed Weapons, 
Ryu does not need to return the weapon to his back after every combo or before 
he can move.  As such, there are unique movement animations for these weapons 
as well.  However, you cannot Shuriken Interrupt combos with these weapons for 
the most part, since both of Ryu's hands are occupied most of the time.  Heavy 
Two-Handed Weapons must be returned to his back before Ryu can do anything 
after a Strike or Combo.  

The One-Handed Projectile Weapons include Shuriken, Windmill Shuriken, and 
Incendiary Shuriken.  The Two-Handed Projectile Weapons include the Bow, Strong 
Bow, APFSDS and Explosive Arrows.  One-Handed Projectile Weapons can be used 
mid-combo with the One-Handed and Light Two-Handed Melee Weapons and they can 
be utilized in the air.  Two-Handed Projectile Weapons cannot, though you can 
aim them in the First Person with two levels of zoom.  Smoke Bombs do not 
really fit into either of these categories as they are not projectiles.

2. One-Handed Melee Weapons:  The weapons are based upon the Katana and as such 
Ryu employs many strikes that are related to the Bushido style of Samurai 
combat.  Ninjas weren't usually known to have such quality weapons, as most 
employed the much shorter (and many times lower-quality) Ninja-To (which 
neither Ryu nor any of the other Ninjas in the game wield).

Dragon Sword - This weapon has the most abundant move list. It also possesses 
the most hidden techniques and serviceable combos as you can see in the Free 
Form Combos section. However, one of its UT's is only useful against either 
launchable or very tall single enemies whereas many other UT's are far more 
useful and do not require contact with an enemy for activation.  To make up 
for this, the DS is the only weapon with two separate UT's.

Kitetsu - Every game needs a trick weapon, and the Kitetsu fits this
description nicely. Once you offset the life leaching with the Tranquility
Armlet or appropriate upgrade level, this weapon becomes extremely enjoyable 
to use. You get Life Absorption, Weapon Projectile, Excessive Decapitation, 
Flying Swallow, Izuna Drop, etc...  It's not as useful as the True Dragon 
Sword, but its flashiness makes up for this in spades.  Also, it magically 
splits into two phantom swords with many of its moves.

Here is another great little tip from timebomb13rob on the GameFAQ's board:

"We all know if have the Kitetsu and the Armlet of Tranquility armed your 
health bar won't diminish or increase.  But, if you use a Ninpo like the 
IceStorm, Inazuma or Inferno (but not Firewheel) during the animation your 
bar will increase like if Ryu didn't have the Kitetsu equipped.

Wooden Sword - The Wooden Sword is a place holder until you get the Unlabored 
Flawlessness.  As such, there is offensive reason to ever utilize this weapon.  
This weapon is only good for placing restrictions upon your play-style.  That 
is, if you want the game to be as difficult as possible, you will utilize the 
Wooden Sword exclusively.  It cannot Decap and nor does it have any ET/UT's or 
Azure Dragon for that matter.

3. Light Two-Handed Melee Weapons:  These weapons are largely based upon the 5 
systematized weapons of Kobudo.  In Feudal Japan, it was illegal for a commoner 
to brandish a bladed weapon like a Katana.  The Okinawans cleverly converted 
their farming implements into weapons that could pass as mere tools.  These 
weapons were the Nunchaku, Bo, Kama, Tonfa and Sai.  The Kama and Nunchaku are 
represented by the Vigoorian Flail and Nunchaku, the Lunar represents the Bo 
while the Samurai Mages wield Sai.  Only the Tonfa is absent from the game.

Nunchaku - The sole purpose for this weapon is Combo generation. The low damage
and lack of decapitation allows you to rack up ridiculous combos if you're
shooting for Essence (in the HP at least).  If you equip the regular Shuriken
as well, you can rack up 100 Hit combos very easily only using three enemies.  

You can get much more use out of the Nunchaku in the difficulties above Normal.
You only attain the Flail in some of the difficulties after you collect so many 
Scarabs while you start off with the Nunchaku.  Therefore, you might never get 
the Flail and will have to contend with this weapon instead.  Regardless, it 
is very useful up until the point where you can gain the Flail.

Vigoorian Flail - No significant launching ability really balances this weapon 
out. Its Flying Swallow derivative Red-Hot Iron Brand is actually much safer 
than Flying Swallow given its options. High combo generation is key to this 
weapon as well, and it excessively DECAPs which could either be a positive 
aspect or a detriment depending upon what you're trying to accomplish.

Lunar - This weapon is somewhat of a combination of the One-Handed and Light 
Two-Handed varieties.  Like the other Light Two-Handed weapons, the combo 
ability of this weapon is extremely high while it suffers in damage ability.  
Unlike all other weapons (other than the Wooden Sword), this is the only 
weapon that gains the DECAP feature once it is leveled up.  Unlike the other 
Light Two-Handed Weapons, you can both Launch and Self-Launch with this 
weapon.

4. Heavy Two-Handed Melee Weapons:  These weapons are very much opposed to 
Asian weapon philosophy of succinct, portable and agile construction.  They 
are much more representative of medieval European weaponry.

War Hammer - This is arguably the least useful of the two-handed weapons, but
does have some unique properties. The best is the 360 degree UT and the Six 
Paths Spin throw. Obviously, damage is very high at the cost of slow startup 
and recovery, although Ninpo Canceling can offset this somewhat.  A one-Hit 
kill Counter Attack is very useful. However, there is no Launching (Self or 
otherwise), and no Shuriken Interrupting.  It is by far the cheapest two-handed 
weapon, so those that aren't able to farm up enough Essence can still get a 
fully upgraded Heavy Two-Handed weapon for only 5000 Essence (since you pick up 
this weapon by free at the beginning of Chapter 8).  Not bad.

Dabilahro - This weapon is extremely powerful. It has the same drawbacks as the
War Hammer, but it also has the problem of a linear UT. However, Flaming Hell
Slash is arguably the safest and most damaging technique in the game. Although,
it was nerfed slightly in damage and protection in this version because of this.
It is the most expensive weapon in the game to upgrade aside from the Unlabored 
Flawlessness.  It is a bit unbalanced, though, with the Asura Slash.

Unlabored Flawlessness - This is the best weapon in the game for the skillful. 
Its usefulness has been lessened greatly given the stingy Essence engine and 
throw happy enemies now. Forest Winds and Mountain Fires at 5% health and Sun 
Armlet will kill most enemies with one use. Likewise Flying Dragon Falling 
Slash with the same situation will decimate most bosses. Plus, you get an 
Izuna Drop with this weapon.  Its UT is very powerful against multiple 
opponents, but there is more powerful Technique against singular ones.

Spear Gun - A projectile weapon that Ryu utilizes both underwater and on land.
It has no Combos, and has the additional restriction of not being able to 
Block while armed with it.

Dark Dragon Blade - Depending upon what difficulty you are playing this game 
at, you get this weapon in different ways.  Regardless, it is free in both 
approaches although a significant amount of work is necessary in either 
approach.  Given this, it is an interesting choice of a weapon.  At first 
glance, it is not all that powerful, as it is the Sealed Version of the 
Blade.  This would explain why you don't get all the techniques that the 
Dark Disciple can utilize.  Regardless, there are four things that make it 
worthwhile: it's free, it EXCESSIVELY Guard Breaks; more so than any other 
weapon, its UT is the most damaging in the game against one opponent, it 
has the most differentiation of regular Y attacks of any other weapon.

Aside from these things, it also is the only weapon that leaves a black trail, 
and it glows purple.  So, aesthetically, it is a cool choice as well.

5.  One-Handed Projectile Weapons:

Shuriken - Ryu starts off with these weapons, and has an infinite amount of 
them.  Given their extremely low damage, their usefulness could be questioned.  
However, they are extremely useful for Combo generation, enemy interruption, 
distancing and canceling.

Windmill Shuriken - Ryu may attain this weapon for free in Chapter 4.  Given 
the fact that you can use this weapon infinitely, it is the projectile weapon 
of choice.  Its damage is significant and can cause DECAPs.  However, you 
cannot throw this is as many different ways as you can the regular shuriken.

Incendiary Shuriken - This weapon can not only destroy enemies very quickly, 
but also can give Ryu access to areas by destroying walls.  It has the same 
limitations of the Windmill Shuriken.

6.  Two-Handed Projectile Weapons:

Bow - Ryu gains this weapon in Chapter 2.  While you cannot Combo with it, 
it is extremely strong and can kill some enemies in one hit.

Strong Bow - Ryu can trade his Bow for this weapon in Chapter 8.  The arc of 
the arrow's path is removed given the strength of the weapon.

APFSDS Cores - Armored Piercing Fin-Stabilized Discarding Sabot arrows are 
capable of penetrating hardened targets like Tanks and Helicopters as well as
being able to penetrate multiple "soft" targets (i.e. humans) in a row.

Explosive Arrows - The have an area affect that makes them very useful for 
taking out clustered enemies.

7.  Smoke Bombs:

These unique "Projectiles" really aren't projectiles at all.  Ryu drops it 
at his feat and proceeds to Reverse Wind away.  They cannot be utilized IA.  
This weapon gives you a temporary reprieve from enemy onslaughts, once 
dispensed.  It is the only purely defensive weapon in the game.  If you deploy 
them appropriately, enemies will become confused and target the smoke cloud 
instead.

You can dispense them in the same scenarios as One-Handed Projectiles, but 
you there are many Two-Handed Projectile Weapon restrictions placed upon it 
them well.

See the Advanced Combat Section for more details.

8.  "Useless" Weapons:

There are no useless weapons in the game.  Every weapon, no matter how weak,  
is effective when you first acquire it at least .  In many cases, the 
"superior" version of the weapon is either prohibitively expensive, or 
unlocked via Scarabs.  Therefore, those that play the game without 
Scarab Hunting or Essence Farming can still enjoy a wide variety of offensive 
options.

The only exception to this is the Wooden Sword.  However, the more hardcore 
Ninja Gaiden fans have elected to complete the game using only the Wooden 
Sword as a sort of zen-like mastery of the game.

NINPO DISCUSSION
----------------
Ryu has the ability to utilize four types of Ninpo throughout the game.  
There is a fairly undocumented feature in the game that makes Ninpo use not 
as simple as it initially seems.  A large amount of moves can be instantly 
cancelled using Ninpo.  In particular the slower Two-Handed Melee Weapon 
Techniques can be totally cancelled with Ninpo.  The lack of animation in 
the canceling in some instances can be explained away by Ninja Magic as 
well.  This allows for a saving grace in many instances where Ryu has 
misjudged an action.  Each Ninpo in the game serves a fairly particular 
purpose.

1. Art of Firewheel - While the Firewheel does not make you invincible like the 
other Ninpo, you do have the ability to actually move around during its 
execution while being VERY well protected.  Unfortunately, you can never 
upgrade this Art.  Each time you touch an enemy with Firewheel, it does 33 
points of damage, and in the case of REG enemies, they are CLEARed away.  You 
are invincible in the startup frames, however.

2. Art of Inferno - This is arguably the most damaging of the Ninpo.  You have 
the ability to aim the fireball as well.  The explosion is an area affect, 
so you can take out clustered enemies.  Some enemies are either partially 
or totally unaffected by this technique.

3. Art of Ice Storm - Ice Storm allows you to rack up huge combos and increase 
your Essence Generation.  It is especially useful against three or more 
ground-based enemies, since each hit on each enemy counts as an additional 
hit.  The damage done is not significant when compared to Inazuma or Inferno, 
however, so this Art has its place.

4. Art of Inazuma - Inazuma is the safest and easiest Ninpo to use.  It auto-
targets all surrounding enemies and strikes them instantaneously.  
Unfortunately, it is not the strongest Ninpo in the game, and some enemies 
are either partially or totally unaffected by this technique.

5. Summary - Keep in mind that many bosses are simply immune or have 100% 
effective defenses to one or all of the Ninpo types.  There doesn't seem to be 
any silly, contrived way to determine if a particular Ninpo will be ineffective 
towards any single boss (like use Fire on Ice enemies).

Lastly, its interesting to note that Ryu has command over 4 elements in-game 
(water, wind, fire and electricity), yet he commands control over Earth as 
well as demonstrated with the fight with Vigoor's First form.

AUTO-TARGETING
--------------
Apparently, there is also some confusion on how Ninja Gaiden handles the 
targeting of enemies.  Obviously, there is some system in place, but some 
people have incorrectly surmised that the game is totally dependent upon 
auto-targeting the closest enemy.  This is not true at all.  The system in 
place is much more complex, but at the same time, user-friendly.

Ninja Gaiden employs a user-controllable, auto-lockon system.  There is no 
button that makes Ryu lock-on to an enemy, and neither is there an on-screen 
indicator.  However, Ryu will actually look at the enemy that is auto-
targeted.  He'll turn his head appropriately in all directions.  If the enemy 
is behind him, he'll look as far as he can to whatever side the enemy is 
closest.  Even if the enemy is burrowing in the case of Imps, Ryu's head and 
eyes will follow the enemy while underground.  The system is always on.  The 
way that it works is that the game will auto-target the closest, offensive 
enemy.  By offensive, the game means the closest enemy that is attacking or 
not Grounded, Burrowing or Dead.  Even though this system is in effect, it is 
user-overridable at any time, so should you want to continue to juggle that 
dead body lying on the ground rather than striking the alive and attacking 
enemy standing right next to you, you have this choice.  This is a fact.  You 
can be surrounded by a group of enemies and can re-orient Ryu to whatever 
enemy in whatever stage in his combo.  The only time this will not work is if 
the enemy is out of melee range (although shuriken aiming will still work).

The only exception to this rule is that some combos need to be Combo Broken 
in order to branch.  Combo Breaks are performed with the Block button.

Example:
Stand outside the Stairway to the Imperial Gates where the Imps will respawn in 
groups forever as long as you leave the area after the last one is defeated.  
Select any Shuriken, and stand right in the middle.  The Imps will most likely 
surround you, so jump up in the air and push a direction along with B.  You can 
pick which one in range to throw it at.  Likewise, if you are grounded and have 
a Fiend in front of you and in back of you, you can X the enemy in front, and 
then immediately, 6+Y the enemy behind you.  If you're in the air, you can X, X 
the enemy that you juggled and turn away from him and Helmet Splitter a enemy 
underneath you. If you've got your Inferno going, you can point in the 
direction of the enemy that you want to hit. The camera won't change until the 
Fireball actually comes out, but you have control over it. It defaults to the 
closest enemy that is currently offensive (i.e. attacking, not dead, grounded 
or burrowing), but you have control over it at all times as long as the enemy 
is in range.  Also, you can combo break all combos with a press of the L 
trigger, so if you are in the middle of Cremator, you can switch to Dragon and 
Phoenix.  In most cases, the appropriate animation must still finish, however.

The only weapon that doesn't allow you to do the Auto-Targeting override is the 
Bow, since moving the stick in a direction puts in FPS mode.  However, if 
you simply align yourself with an enemy before you hit B, you will target that 
enemy in most cases such that the input would look like 6(5), B instead of 6+B.

Those that detract from the combat system of Ninja Gaiden are simply either 
unwilling or unable to explore the depths of the combat options available to 
you.  No game currently released gives you as many options concurrently and is 
as capable of forcing you to realize those options as this game on the highest 
difficulties.

WEAPON DIFFERENTIATION
----------------------
One of the not-so-obvious facets of the Combat Engine is just how different 
all of the weapons (much less the attacks) are from one another.  This section 
will attempt to delineate the differences.  As stated before there are the 
three classes of melee weapons: One-Handed, Light and Heavy Two-Handed.  But, 
it may not be so obvious why one would use the War Hammer over the Dabilahro, 
or why one would use the Nunchaku at all.  This section will explain this.  See 
the Weapon Discussion section above for definitions of the weapon classes.

1.  One-Handed vs. Two-Handed - The Dragon Sword, Plasma Saber, the Wooden 
Sword and Kitetsu are considered the One-Handed Melee weapons, even though Ryu 
uses both hands for a good amount of the attacks.  Regardless, it would be 
possible to wield the Dragon Sword, Plasma Saber and Kitetsu with one hand 
effectively whereas the rest of the weapons would be fairly useless.  This 
is the distinction.

The practical differences between the One-Handed and Two-Handed Weapons are 
four-fold.  The One-Handed weapons are very well rounded while the Two-Handed 
Weapons (both the Light and Heavy varieties) are for the most part specialized 
to a specific role.  While the One-Handed weapons dish out average damage and 
average strike number, the Two-Handed Weapons specialize in either Combo 
generation in the case of the Light Two-Handed Weapons or damage generation in 
the case of the Heavy Two-Handed Weapons.  In both cases of the Two-Handed 
weapons, a specialization in one area means a lack of prowess in the other 
(combo vs. damage).  

The second difference between the One-Handed and Two-Handed Weapons lies in the 
usage of projectiles.  Ryu is MUCH more capable of deploying projectile weapons 
while utilizing the One-Handed Weapons.  While he is still able to utilize them 
mid-combo with the Light Two-Handed weapons, the usage is restricted when 
compared to the Dragon Sword/Plasma Saber, Wooden Sword and Kitetsu.  
Conversely, Ryu cannot really use projectiles at all mid-combo when using the 
Heavy Two-Handed Weapons.

The third difference is that the One-Handed Weapons have a very nice aerial 
repertoire while the Two-Handed Weapons are relegated to ground use largely.  
The One-Handed Weapons are both able to inflict LAUNCH and SELFLAUNCH and at 
the same time stay suspended in the air longer to deal with those foes that 
have just been launched.  At the most, Two-Handed Weapons have lLAUNCH.  See 
the Basic Combat Overview for definitions of theses statuses.  The Lunar and 
Unlabored Flawlessness are the exceptions of this rule as will be described 
below.

The fourth difference is in the walking and running animations.  Ryu can walk 
or run with both the One-Handed and Light Two-Handed Weapons unsheathed for a 
time.  There are separate idle, standing, walking, nudging, climbing and 
running animations for every weapon in between the two classes.  But, the 
Heavy Two-Handed weapons must be returned to Ryu's back before he can move 
around.

So, if one is attempting to determine which type of weapon is most suitable, 
the answer is determined by what kind of role is desired.  Does one want to be 
specialized or well-rounded?

2.  Light Two-Handed vs. Heavy Two-Handed - As touched upon above, the Light 
Two-Handed Weapons are used to generate high combos while Heavy Two-Handed 
Weapons are used to generate high damage.  To compliment each other, the Light 
Two-Handed Weapons don't generate a lot of damage with each strike, and the 
Heavy Two-Handed Weapons aren't capable of large Combos.  So, if your aim is 
to complete the game as quickly as possible, but still kill enemies, you would 
most likely elect to use the Two-Handed Weapons.  If, however, you are going 
for Combo Count and Essence Generation, then the Light Two-Handed Weapons 
should be your focus.

Secondly, the UT's of the Light Two-Handed Weapons are autocombo attacks 
whereas every UT for the Heavy Two-Handed Weapons (aside from the Dark Dragon 
Blade) is a single, extremely damaging attack.

3.  Dragon Sword vs. Kitetsu - The Dragon Sword/Plasma Saber is the 
utilitarian weapon of the game while the Kitetsu is the "trick" weapon.  As 
described in the Weapon Discussion sections, the Kitetsu has the most status 
effecting attacks in the whole game, and even some statuses are unique to 
Kitetsu alone.  While, it may seem obvious then, to use Kitetsu exclusively, 
there are two balances for the weapon in regards to the comparison between it 
and the Dragon Sword/Plasma Saber.  However, there are even balances to those 
balances.  The Level 3 Dragon Sword/Plasma Saber have similar damage 
statistics to the Kitetsu.  So, before you gain the True Dragon Sword, the 
damage between the two weapons is fairly interchangeable.  However, this is 
balanced out by the fact that Kitetsu slowly drains Ryu's life (even though 
it won't kill you).  This unfortunate side effect can be offset in two ways.  
You can either acquire the Armlet of Tranquility, or you can judiciously 
employ Soul Bind into your gameplay.  Once you upgrade Kitetsu, this 
hinderance is eliminated as well.

However, once you have acquired the True Dragon Sword/Plasma Saber Mk. II, 
Ryu's ultimate weapon is more powerful with single strikes.  Again, this is 
still balanced out by the fact that Kitetsu's UT is more useful than the 
True Dragon Sword's UT.

4.  War Hammer vs. Dabilahro - At Levels 1 and 2, the War Hammer is much 
more useful than the Dabilahro given Steel Severer and Six Paths Spin.  These 
two moves all by themselves make the weapon useful.  See the In-depth Move 
Discussion section on why this is so.  However, if you have the funds, the 
Level 3 Dabilahro is a very efficient killing machine, and the War Hammer 
becomes much less attractive.  But, given the fact that you can achieve a 
fully capable, Level 2 War Hammer for just 5000 Essence in total (given the 
in every scenario the War Hammer is free), it should be plain to see how 
useful the weapon is, even aside from the unique moves.

5.  Nunchaku vs. Flail - The Nunchaku and Flail are very similar at Level 1.  
At Level 2, you get some very unique techniques with the Flail, whereas it is 
impossible to upgrade the Nunchaku.  Depending upon which difficulty of the 
game you are playing the Nunchaku have VERY different levels of usefulness.  
On every difficulty above Normal, you get the Nunchaku at the beginning of 
the game and thus, WAY before the Flail, whereas on Normal, their retrievals 
are but 1 or 2 Chapters apart.  Indeed if you forgo the collection of 
Scarabs altogether, you might NEVER acquire the Flail on some of the 
difficulties.  In this case, the Nunchaku is very useful for a LARGE portion 
of the game.  Oddly enough, on Master Ninja, the first Chapter seems designed 
for you to use the Nunchaku.  I simply have not had an easier time of the 
first Chapter than when I'm using the Nunchaku.

The Nunchaku are incapable of DECAP whereas the Flail excessively DECAPs.  If 
one is attempting to keep the enemies around longer, and therefore keep their 
Combo Count up, then the Nunchaku are a much better choice.  Aside from this, 
though, the Flail is the clear choice.

6.  Lunar vs. All - The Lunar is somewhat of a combination of all of the 
Weapon Classes even though it is placed into the Light Two-Handed Weapon 
classification.  Unlike other Two-Handed Weapons (aside from the Unlabored 
Flawlessness), the Lunar has lLAUNCH, LAUNCH and SELFLAUNCH capabilities.  It 
is still hampered by the Two-Handed Weapon projectile use limitation, however.  
Aside from this, the Lunar is also the only weapon that gains DECAP ability 
throughout its lifespan (aside from the Unlabored Flawlessness).

The Lunar only gains the LAUNCH and SELFLAUNCH properties at Level 3, however.  
At this point, in the game, most of the other weapons are extremely useful as 
well.  But, regardless, the ability of a high Combo Count generating weapon to 
inflict LAUNCH and SELFLAUNCH statuses is very attractive.

7.  Unlabored Flawlessness vs. All - The Unlabored Flawlessness and Wooden 
Sword gain a damage bonus inversely proportional to Ryu's health.  Therefore, 
whenever Ryu is low on life, the damage for both of these weapons increases 
appreciably.  This is a totally unique property in the game.  In the original 
game, the Unlabored Flawlessness was without a doubt the best weapon in the 
game.  A person with high skill could easily breeze through the rest of the 
game upon retrieval of this weapon.  However, this was balanced out by the 
fact that it was (and actually still is) prohibitively expensive, and you have 
to be at very low life to utilize it to its full potential.

In the later difficulties, the usefulness of the Unlabored Flawlessness was 
truncated severely.  This was done in two ways.  First, every single enemy in 
the game was given at least one move that was unable to be Counter Attacked.  
Secondly, the bosses' resiliances to the effects of the UF were increased 
dramatically.

8.  Unlabored Flawlessness vs. Dark Dragon Blade vs. Dabilahro - Most people 
believe that the Dark Dragon Blade is useless given the presence of the 
Dabilahro and how difficult it is to acquire.  This is not necessarily the 
case.  The Dark Dragon Blade's unique property is that it BREAKs excessively. 
 Secondly, the UT for it is arguably the most useful in the game.  And for 
those that aren't adept at keeping a low level of life for the Unlabored 
Flawlessness to function properly, the Dark Dragon Blade is a final 
alternative.

9.  Dragon Sword vs. Nunchaku vs. Lunar - With the arrival of Black, 
everyone's approach to Ninja Gaiden changes 100%.  It is impossible to 
complete Ninja Gaiden Black using the same strategies as is utilized 
in the original Ninja Gaiden.  That is covered in more detail later in this 
guide, but the biggest cause of this is the fact that you basically start the 
game with 3 weapons.  While you technically have to acquire the Lunar, that 
happens so quickly in succession (10 minutes into the game) that it is as 
good as starting with it outright.

At Level 1, these three weapons are ENTIRELY different and serve entirely 
different, yet complimentary purposes.  In the Dragon Sword, you again have 
versatility and launching, in the Nunchaku you have protection and speed, and 
in the Lunar you have reach and power (the fact that you can pull off a Raven 
Streams on Chapter 1 is almost an unbalancing advantage).

Throughout the game, the Nunchaku quickly begins to lose its luster as the 
Flail is introduced.  The advantage of the Flail is that it is a Light Two-
Handed Weapon with a Flying Swallow derivative named Red-Hot Iron Brand 
(which is actually more useful than Flying Swallow itself to the advanced 
Ninja Gaiden fan).  However, the Dragon Sword and the Lunar progress very 
similarly in ability throughout the game.  There will always be a scenario 
when a Lunar will be a slightly better choice of weapon that the Dragon 
Sword or Flail.

---------------------
~~ ADVANCED COMBAT ~~
---------------------
Advanced Combat entails all of those finer details that are not readily
apparent without some element of discovery.

MOVE RECOVERY
-------------
Most of Ryu's moves incorporate some number of frames where he is vulnerable to
attack and cannot attack again.  You need to be aware of moves that may inflict 
heavy damage; they also put Ryu at an extreme disadvantage if they miss.  The 
most obvious case of a high risk, high reward move is the Flying Swallow.  Some 
enemies can dodge this attack altogether which will force Ryu into a landing 
animation where he is completely vulnerable.  Learn the disadvantages and 
vulnerable or cancelable frames of every move.

To compensate, you can instant Block from almost every move where Ryu has
recovery frames.  This will not protect you from Throw moves, though, and you
cannot instant Block during the attack frames of a move.  To compensate for
this, you can usually Ninpo Cancel in these scenarios (although you cannot 
cancel Flying Swallow at all).

COMMAND BUFFERING
-----------------
Command Buffering means that you can input the commands for a move during the
animation of another move, and it will come out after the previous move has
completed.  You can buffer all 360 moves in the animation of many other
animations.  This makes it easier to perform these moves outside of regular
circumstances.  You can also buffer the WR condition as well as several other
conditions.  The timing is usually pretty strict such that the spin of the 
joystick must coincide with the end of the previous move's animation.

JUST FRAME
----------
Just Frame is a term borrowed from the fighting game world that means that a
command must be input in a certain frame window in the character's animation
for it to come out correctly (where a frame equals 1/60th of a second).  This
does not mean that you can simply mash the buttons to get the technique to come
out.  To qualify as a Just Frame, the input must be done in the correct window.
If it is not, another move will be done, the move simply won't come out, or you 
will miss out on the benefit of the earliest possible activation.  Several 
moves and many combos rely on this precise timing.

The tilde (~) character implies Just Frame as well, as the command must be 
issued extremely quickly after the previous command or the following move will 
not come out.

AUDIO CUES
----------
Almost every enemy has a death rattle.  That is, when you land killing blow,
it will instantly give a unique sound that signifies its death.  This happens
even before you can usually notice its death animation.  The significance of
this is that if you're battling a particularly troublesome group of enemies,
you can instantly determine when it's time to move onto another enemy by the
sound the make when they pass on.

Additionally, enemies make certain sounds which signal more damaging moves, so
you'll be forewarned of the imminent danger.  The most obvious examples of this
are Smaugan's Flame Wing Attack and Alma's Column Throw.

DOWNED ADVANTAGE
----------------
Most regular enemies have a Knockdown state in which they are still vulnerable 
to Ryu's onslaught.  You can hit the prone bodies of enemies with almost 
everything in Ryu's arsenal aside from a few auto-aiming projectiles.  One of 
the more useful techniques is to perform a Flying Swallow or Red-Hot Iron Brand 
on a fallen foe.  Additionally, you can continually launch, re-launch and combo 
a dead body for sometime before it explodes in a pool of blood.  The only 
exceptions to this are Masakado and the Doppleganger Fiend.

While attacking a dead enemy will usually make you miss your Encounter Time 
Bonus, it can help you generate additional Essence, or keep you out of harms 
way of a particularly hard to avoid attack.  Some enemies are without a death 
rattle, unfortunately.  As such, it's sometimes a good idea to go for a bit 
of overkill.

An interesting detail is that all enemies have different death animations 
depending upon how they are killed.  Sometimes, they will fly backwards, end 
over end if killed with a CLEAR move.  Sometimes, they will be knocked face 
first into the dirt if killed with a GROUND move or if they're killed on their 
feet; stumble backwards.  Then, obviously, you have the DECAP death scenario 
as well as CRUMPLE and the generic death animation.

ROLLING TECHNIQUES
------------------
One of the most important techniques in the game is Roll Jumping.  Ryu can
cancel the recovery animation of a roll (Reverse Wind) with a jump and vice
versa.  What this means is that he can continually move much faster than
regular running by continually rolling then jumping and then rolling again.
This technique is called Roll Jumping.  You can avoid pretty much every
projectile in the game by using controlled versions of this technique.  It is
absolutely essential to even survive many of the boss encounters in the game,
Alma in particular.  It is a technique to be mastered, though, as it is simply
not a matter of continually pressing roll followed by jump.  Ryu must be aimed
to effectively defend against the more severe projectiles in the game.  Ryu is 
Invincible during a very small frame window in the roll, too.

You can also cancel the recovery animation from a Guard Break/Crush with a roll
as well, and then proceed to Roll Jump.  Guard Breaks/Crushes happen when a
strong enemy hits Ryu with enough force to remove his block and throw his
weapon back.  While you are vulnerable during this animation, you can cancel it
with a roll.  Of course, you're vulnerable during some frames of the roll as
well.

The combination of these two techniques makes Ryu quite a defensive force.

ESSENCE AVOIDANCE
-----------------
Ryu gathers Essence simply by being around it.  You can walk near it, jump away
from or into it and be thrown in its vicinity to pick it up.  The Y charging
moves of almost every weapon have an Essence Technique and an Ultimate
Technique.  If you suck up just one Yellow Essence, you'll get only the Essence
Technique (which is different than just charging Y as well).  If you suck up
more than one Yellow or a single Blue or Red, you'll get the Ultimate
Technique, which is usually an auto-combo or a devastating single strike.  Note
that some enemies will drop the maximum amount of Yellow Essence if they were
killed by a UT.

Sometimes, it can be difficult to farm enough Essence to activate this Ultimate
Technique.  Which is why a method to guaranteeing Essence Avoidance exists.  As
long as you are holding the Block button, you will not gather Essence.  You can
be thrown into it, you can stand or jump right on top of it, but it won't be
gathered.  You can even jump in the air over it and as long as you keep the
Block button held in, it will stay put.  Ryu can Roll Jump and perform many
attacks in the air with the Block button held.  This is a very powerful
technique for unleashing multiple Ultimate Techniques as you can kill just two
enemies of any kind and be assured that you can pull of an Ultimate Technique.

From kkkkkk_1 on the GameFAQs board:

"Lastly, I don't know if a lot of people know this, but you can do a lot of the 
normal moves of the game while holding onto Block. You can jump, do instant 
Charge landings, and Flying Swallow without letting go of Block if you do a 
roll (by nudging the analog stick) first - useful if you need to instant 
Block."

This is a better description of what I touched upon.  It is useful for Essence 
Avoidance as well.  Ryu will also neglect to gather Essence if he continually 
attacks without using a Charge move.

If Essence is too far away from you, or you are unable to reach it, you can 
always begin an ET/UT to pull the Essence toward you, and let go of Y as it 
comes in range, although this is EXTREMELY difficult to do consistently and 
can be considered JF.

ENCOUNTER COMBOING
------------------
You can neglect to pickup Essence from an encounter if you know that another
encounter is going to happen in an adjacent area.  This technique is called 
Encounter Comboing.  You can then utilize that Essence to begin the encounter 
with a UT.  You can pull it through walls and doors as well.  There are many, 
MANY scenarios where this is possible throughout the game.  Some levels can 
be Encounter Comboed ENTIRELY.  This is EXTREMELY useful to get some of 
those Encounter Counters that seem impossible.  

From kkkkkk_1 from the GameFAQs board:

"You can kill the wildlife and use their essence for UTs as well. Most crows 
and rats leave behind a small blue orb so you can do an ET or UT right at the 
start of an encounter."

By extension, you can also use any non-enemy Essence to do this as well.  In 
the first level particularly, there are many chests where non-enemy Essence 
can be utilized for an ET/UT.  This results in some very interesting 
approaches to level completion especially in the Ninja Fortress and Tairon 
Chapters.

For this type of gameplay to work, you'll need to memorize the encounters in 
the game for both the regular game and additional difficulties, since they all 
differ greatly.  You must keep several things in mind when trying to judge 
whether or not an encounter is a viable candidate for comboing.

1.  Distance - What distance is there to cover between the Encounters?  If the 
distance between the two encounters is too far, the Essence will dissipate 
before you can reach your next set of enemies.  If an additional wave of 
enemies appears in the same spot, this point is obviously moot.

You can usually look for shortcuts to the next area, or plan out a method 
of traverse that might include Wall Running or clever traversal.  You might 
have to get creative.

2.  Time Span - How much time would it take to get between the Encounters?
Again, if you can't get to your new location before the Essence disappears, 
then it will be for naught, and you're better off just utilizing it for its 
inherent properties.

You can usually save a lot of time by exiting the area right after the last 
enemy is killed, but you need to be careful that you don't leave to early or 
your Encounter Bonus will be completely lost.  Of course, if you are not 
concerned with Karma at all, since it has no bearing in the game whatsoever, 
you can disregard this idea altogether.  If this is an acceptable course of 
action, MANY additional Encounters become combo-able.

3.  Frugality - Is the Essence better used for Currency, Health or Ninpo?  
If you are concerned with Ryu's own survival, wealth or spiritual wholeness, 
then sometimes it is better to go ahead and utilize the inherent properties. 
Obviously, if your game has developed to the point that your considering how 
efficiently you can Encounter Combo the entire game, you'll probably not need 
to be replenishing your Ninpo or Health.  Although, you need to keep getting 
those weapons.

4.  Hinderance - Is there some occurance to keep the Essence from being drawn?
That is, do you need to go get a Scarab, or trigger a cutscene or some other 
such hinderance?  Keep in mind, that Essence stays afloat regardless of what 
is going on in the game outside of only a couple of factors.  An area can 
even load (like the transition from Dworku Monastery Annex to the Monastery 
interior), and you can still pull the Essence through the door.  However, 
there is only one Encounter close enough for you to be able to use any 
Essence that you generate outside the door.

5.  Benefit - Would the Encounter actually benefit from an Encounter Combo?
Some Encounters are so easy, that you don't necessarily need to utilize a UT 
make them easier.

6.  Difficulty - Given all of the above factors, is it simply too difficult 
to accomplish?  If you have to hold down Block, jump over a tree, open a 
door and flip a switch to get to your next Encounter, it might not be 
possible to keep from gathering the Essence around you.

PROTECTION AND INVINCIBILITY
----------------------------
There are many instances where Ryu is totally Invincible, but there are also
many instances where Ryu is merely well protected or unable to be knocked out 
of his attack but still capable of taking damage.  Instances of Invincibility
include UTs' attack frames (but not dash or leap frames), all Ninpo except 
Firewheel, Flying Swallow's Attack Frames, Talisman of Rebirth use and certain 
Combos.  Instances of Protection include Firewheel and the 360 moves for the 
Dabilahro, War Hammer and UF.  Believe or not, you can actually be hit out of 
Firewheel in this game.  To test this, fight against the Pill Bugs or enemies 
with explosive attacks.  You are also vulnerable during Cremator.  Fighting 
the most large enemies can show you this.

No attack in this game is 100% safe.  One of the balancing things about the 
combat engine is that it is impossible to utilize only one technique throughout 
the entire game.  While one technique might make you Invincible to fireballs 
you can still be thrown out of it, or the recovery will get you.  A good 
example of this is Cremator.  This is one of the safest techniques in the game 
against regular enemies.  You are very well protected from the front or back, 
and you cannot be hit by projectiles (just like Murai when he uses it).  
However, you can be thrown from the side, you can be Flying Swallowed, and you 
can be hit by an Uninterruptible Attack.

If someone claims that this is not the case, they are simply misinformed.

The Hurricane Pack took great strides to even the game out and these balances 
have been implemented into Black.  The Counter Attack has been greatly balanced 
by fact that most of the enemies have been given either Guard Break or Throw 
moves.  Likewise, the ability to attack from Bird Flip has been countered 
greatly by the enemies that can hit you in mid-air now.

ADDITIVE DAMAGE
---------------
Unlike most other action games, the damage scaling in Ninja Gaiden is
considerable.  That is, Ryu does not register damage for one attack only.  He
will take damage for anything that legitimately hits him, anytime.  This means,
that Ryu getting knocked into a wall and being hit with a Tail Swipe at the
same time will register the damage for both attacks.  The only time that this 
doesn't apply is when Ryu is being actively thrown.  He seems to be 
Invincible to additive damage in throw frames.

Weibull has put together some great videos showing this effect in particular.  
Logon to his FTP server (http://weibull760.dyndns.org:8989) and download the 
the "Need to work on Intercepts" and other various videos.  The Intercepts 
video shows how Nicchae kills Ryu with FULL health with two volleys of 
consecutive Firewheels, and there was nothing he could've done to stop it once 
he missed the first one, since he was WALLSTUNNed on the first hit.

Another shows how Ryu can be killed at full health by three simultaneous Helmet 
Splitters issued by three different SAT Fiends all at the exact same time.

However, Ryu will trade damage in many instances of the game.  Times when Ryu
will take damage, but cannot be interrupted are in the initiation dashes or 
leaps of the UT's.

COMBO FLOW
----------
The combo system is fairly robust and is composed of several pieces.  Sections,
Transitions and Enders make up the combo flow and each has unique properties.

1. Section - A section is simply the moves of a command that don't have the
unique properties of a transition or ending.  In between each section, you can
reorient Ryu to point in the direction of an enemy, throw a projectile (unless 
either the melee or projectile is Two-Handed), iB (Instant Block), Combo Break 
or Ninpo.

2. Breaker - A Combo Break is when you tap Block quickly, so you can break the
combo flow and restart the series.  It won't register as animation, but it will
immediately end the command chain.  You'll still commit the animation of the
last strike, but you can then buffer what you want your next move to be.  It
doesn't work as well with repetitive combos (Cremator and Dead Soul Bind), but
you can still do it.  If you have impeccable timing, you can forgo the L in 
some cases, but it makes it easier.  However, this will not suffice for some 
Combos such as Izuna Drop, when you'd rather not do the Drop part, but would 
rather Helmet Splitter.  In this case, you must Combo Break or Shuriken 
Interrupt.

3. Transition - A transition is a section that has more than one branch.  That
is, the next move could be multiple different melee attacks.

4. Enders - Many of the combos in the game can be interrupted with projectiles
and defensive maneuvering.  The exception to this is in the Combo Ender.  The
longer or more damaging combos' final strikes will typically generate a
severely safe and damaging technique at the cost of a long recovery or starting 
animation.  Unless you have dispatched every enemy (or at least every one in 
the current round), you'll be very vulnerable to attack.  There are many times 
where it is advisable to not end a combo, so you can escape retribution.  
However, almost every Combo Ender can be Ninpo Cancelled.

ENEMY PRIORITY
--------------
Most battles in Ninja Gaiden require you to fight more than one type of enemy 
at the same time.  If a different enemy type is not around, then typically an 
identical enemy will take up a support role to complicate matters.  This makes 
the battles much more strategic on many levels, and few other action games 
can claim this feature.  So, it's important to know going into any encounter 
which enemies should be concentrated on first.  In the case of projectile 
using enemies, Ryu should almost always do his best to neutralize that threat 
first.

ENEMY AWARENESS
---------------
This concept applies to both how one should treat enemies, and how the AI 
determines aggressiveness.  First of all, it is extremely important for Ryu 
to be aware of his surroundings at all times.  This includes both enemies 
and structures as some of Ryu's most damaging techniques come from Flying 
Bird Flip and Wall Running.  Also, almost every enemy has either a ranged 
or distance attack that can easily strike Ryu from off screen.  Once 
awareness has become a focal point of one's play style, the game becomes much 
easier.

ENEMY STATUS
------------
Enemy Status is a concept that has two parts: AI Decisions and Life Stages.

1. AI Decisions - Depending upon the surroundings and available health, the 
enemies in this game possess extremely complex behavioral routines.  Almost 
all enemies have at least four observable AI trees: Offensive, Defensive,  
Support and Team while some others possess a fifth routine of Unaware.  
You'll notice that sometimes the exact same enemy will react totally different 
given different scenarios.

	a.  Offensive - The enemy will aggressively attempt to engage Ryu 
	in melee combat utilizing its entire arsenal.  Although, it will 
	use its projectile arsenal reservedly.

	b.  Defensive - The enemy will retreat and position themselves 
	making Ryu come to them for the most part.  They will Block or 
	evade EXCESSIVELY and wait for Ryu to make a mistake.  Some enemies 
	will even circle Ryu, waiting for him to screw up.

	c.  Support - The enemy will not engage Ryu within melee distance 
	at all, and instead stand on the periphery and pelt him with 
	projectiles or magic.  Those enemies without projectiles always 
	have an attack that is difficult to detect (burrowing, ritual) 
	and will use this instead.

	d.  Team - One could probably right all of these instances off to 
	coincidence.  But, having played now 100 hours of Ninja Gaiden 
	Black, there have been SO many instances repeated maneuvers coming 
	from two separate enemies, that I have to believe that this is 
	purposeful.  That is, one creature will issue an attack that 
	forces Ryu into an evasive manuever only to be caught with the 
	second enemy's attack.

	e.  Unaware - The AI routines for the game are fairly diverse.  One 
	particular aspect involves enemy awareness.  It's fairly well known 
	that the enemies in Ninja Gaiden are possibly the most aggressive 
	and cunning in any game, ever. There is one aspect to the encounter 
	where they altered this trend slightly at least for certain enemies.  
	Enemies can be unaware of Ryu.  Human enemies like Samurai, Vigoorian 
	Military and SATs can go on regular patrol without making visual or 
	aural contact with Ryu.  However, once Ryu comes within their VERY 
	large range, they become aware of him, and are TOTALLY relentless in 
	their attacks.

	Conversely, Fiends and Ninjas are 100% aware of Ryu at all times and 
	are also 100% relentless.  However, some Large enemies and Large 
	Fiends are somewhat impartial to Ryu's presence (but not all, 
	obviously).  If Ryu is outside their comfort zone, they will let him 
	be for the most part.  How this breaks down into a percentage is 
	unknown as there are many times when a Gallas will walk around his 
	area, but then all of a sudden decide to pounce upon Ryu from very 
	far away.  However, many times, they will make visual contact with 
	him and attack without any provocation whatsoever.  This is 
	intentional as no other enemy in Ninja Gaiden displays this behavior.

	This can be overridden in specific scenarios as well.  For example, 
	in the Hidden Underground, there is a battle in the hallway before 
	the Ritual Room where Ryu gains the Grail, there will be a Ghul 
	battle with a single Gallas present at all times.  This particular 
	Gallas will NEVER be unaware of Ryu even if he is out of eyesight 
	at the other end of the hall.  The Gallas will do everything it 
	can to be on top of Ryu whenever possible.

What causes the AI to make these decisions is not terribly obvious.  For 
example, in the Dynamo fight, sometimes the SATs will simply wait around 
on the outside and pelt Ryu with EXTREMELY annoying gunfire (breaking up 
his WR status), and at other times, they come in full gusto trying to get 
some hits in.  On the Ishtaros fight in Mission Mode, the Monk Fiends 
that support Ishtaros almost NEVER use any of there Melee arsenal (which 
is vast).  

As far as the Team Status is concerned, the most obvious example of this 
is Phase 5 of the Giants of the Underworld battle.  This is the battle 
where you must fight Ishtaros and Nicchae simultaneously.  I have been hit 
by a Laser/Teleport Throw combination so much, that I can't help to think 
that this particular setup is purposeful.  That is, Ryu will get hit by an 
Ishtaros Laser, and Nicchae has already setup her Teleport Throw to catch 
you in your vulnerable frames (without even hitting the ground).

2. Life Stages - Several enemies in game as well as obvious bosses have 
different Life Stages.  That is, once you either hit them a certain way or 
diminish their health sufficiently, their AI and moveset changes 
appreciably.  This is most obvious in Ogres and Berserkers.

In some cases, it is beneficial to maximize damage to the enemy before it 
enters the more dangerous life stage.  That is, you can keep from 
shattering Ogres' masks entirely by only attacking their body or behinds, 
and you can save a UT until after a Berserker has gone berserk.

FIGHTING ENGINE CONDITIONS DISCUSSION
-------------------------------------
There is some doubt as to whether or not the Combo System in Ninja Gaiden is 
really as fully featured as this document attempts to prove.  Some believe
that the game consists of mostly useless moves with several over-powered
techniques that can be utilized without fail in every scenario.  This could 
not be further from the truth.  And most likely, these arguments are started 
by people that have only played the game on Normal difficulty (if at all).

The game doesn't randomly pick whether or not a move will Guard Break, 
Decapitate, CLEAR, GROUND, etc...  It is all based on several factors.  The 
size of the enemy, the type and health of the enemy, the distance to the 
enemy and the move utilized and the difficulty setting all determine the 
properties of the hit as well as the damage.

So, looking at the move list at the bottom of this document, I have tried to
compile a list of combos and the effects of their single hits therein.  While
it may seem random that you get hits tacked onto pre-existing combos per
level of weapon, this is not the case.  

This list is obviously not conclusive.

1.  Charge Level (charge) - The heavy melee attacks in the game (as well as 
the Two-Handed Projectile Weapons) have varying degrees of severity 
depending upon how long you hold down the attack button.  There is an 
EXTREMELY complex set of scenarios dictating when and where you should use 
each level of charge.  We will discuss this below.

2.  Charge Level 1 (charge1) - Charge Level 1 is the amount you must hold down 
the button to attain an attack that overrides the standard attack for the 
strike but not enough for an Essence Technique.  

For this particular level, you would only utilize this if you don't want to 
issue the standard Y attack.  In almost every scenario, the first level charge 
will always grant you more strength at the expense of a long startup or 
recovery animation.

In particular, this can be deadly with the Two-Handed Melee Weapons, as the 
standard Y attacks are capable of being iB'ed, but the charge1 versions are 
not.  Converserly, though, Ryu leaps whenever he utilizes these charge1 
versions, so if you need to avoid an incoming low strike and followup without 
giving enough time for the enemy to evade or block, these strikes are very 
useful.

3.  Charge Level 2 (charge2) - At Charge Level 2, you have attained the ability 
to do an Essence Technique.  Ryu's weapon will continue to glow, but he'll give 
off a level 2 Essence Explosion which is discernable by white rings.  
Additionally, the sparks that Ryu will constantly emit will be purple in color. 
In every case, the ET is not as damaging as the UT, but there are many 
scenarios where you do not want to unload a full UT.  

One specific example of this is when you're attempting to hit Encounter Time 
limits.  If you utilize a UT when an ET would've sufficed, then you most 
likely will not hit your Encounter Time Limit, and thus, not receive your 
Time Bonus for the Encounter.

4.  Charge Level 3 (charge3) - At Charge Level 3, you have achieved the 
ability to issue an Ultimate Technique (UT).  Ryu emits a full Essence 
Explosion which is denoted by orange and red rings and will emit red sparks now 
instead of purple.   Unless you are fighting a boss or an extremely agile 
enemy, then you can chalk up some guaranteed damage.

Additionally, you can hold this state as long as you want if you want 
strategically release your UT.  There are many scenarios where you would want 
to delay your release to maximize your slaughter; like say if all the enemies 
have not spawned yet, or an enemy hasn't returned to a state where it can be 
struck.

5.  On-Landing (OL) - Ninja Gaiden implements a fairly unique technique of 
On-Landing.  That means when Ryu lands from a jump that did not include a 
Grounding move (such as Y attacks IA), then the 10-20 or so frames in which 
Ryu first contacts the ground is considered On-Landing.  There are several 
unique properties to this state.

6.  On-Landing Cancel (OLC) - There are times when you might want to forgo the 
On-Landing condition.  In such a case, if you tap L On-Landing, you can negate 
its effects and do whatever normal move you'd like.  The L must be tapped just 
as Ryu's feet touch the ground, however, and you cannot be inputting a 
direction.  You must return the joystick to the Neutral position.  Therefore 
it would look like:

On-Landing Cancel - IA, ...[5~]Block, etc.
Actual Commands:  IA, ...[5~]L, etc.

You can actually forgo the Block altogether if you have awesome timing.  The 
first frame of Ryu's recovery animation (i.e. the instant that his momentum 
shifts from downward to upward) is the first frame where OL is not available.

In Black, the engine has been tweaked to the point that you'll only be granted 
OL for the standard Y moves and the X moves where applicable.  This is a 
wonderful addition to the engine such that you can now do whatever strikes you 
want when contact with the ground is made.

7.  instant Charge (iC) - The charging animation can take some time, which is 
why the developers implemented an "instant Charge" condition to the move list.  
Ryu will skip the animation before the weapon begins to glow.  This is an 
extremely powerful technique.  But, You can be knocked out of it, however.  The 
benefits from an instant Charge are threefold when compared to a regular Charge.

- You skip the initial frames of unsheathing the weapon altogether.  This is an 
obvious frame advantage.

- You do not need to hold Y in order to gather Essence.  It will automatically 
come to you fully regardless of how long you had Y depressed.

- Depending upon how you initiated it, you are granted some invincibility 
frames at the release of the Y which you do not have if simply had Charged.

8.  instant Charge On-Landing (iCOL) - One of the most useful facets of the 
fighting engine is the ability to gain a CHARGE state On-Landing.  To attain 
it via On-Landing, you must hold or tap Y just as you're landing from a jump 
that did not include a melee attack as the last strike.  If you do this, you'll 
get an instant Charge condition.  

9.  instant Block (iB) - If you see an incoming attack, you can stop your Combo 
(but not strike) and hold Block.  You won't register a Block animation until 
the enemy strikes you, but it will be blocked nonetheless as long as you are 
in recovery frames.  Ryu is very defensively capable and a lot of people 
overlook this ability.  Again, the absence of a transition animation in this 
particular scenario can be explained away with Ninja Magic.

10. In Air (IA) - When Ryu is in the air, he has special properties applied to 
him.  Obviously, an entirely new set of attacks are opened up as well for both 
the projectiles and the melee weapons.  Depending upon the weapon your using, 
Ryu could spend as much as 50% of his time in the air.

With the One-Handed Melee Weapons and the Lunar, Ryu has as much offensive 
ability in the air as he does on the ground.  This game would be much more 
difficult to complete without the use of Blade of Nirrti or Izuna Drop.

11. While Running (WR) - One of Ryu's most beneficial states is While Running. 
After he has taken 3/4 of a step with full joystick tilt (or buffered it as in 
the next item) Ryu will be in the WR state, and has a different set of attacks 
available to him for both the melee weapons and some of the projectiles.

For the melee attacks, in every case, you either get a much more damaging, 
much safer or state-inducing attack once WR is attained.  This is one state 
that seems to be neglected more than anything else, as it is difficult to get 
into the state if you don't know the tricks.  See the next item.

Aside from that, you can also usually get your first attack of the encounter 
to come off as a WR attack.

12. instant While Running (iWR) - Ryu can buffer a While Running state while 
doing a lot of other actions.  Jumping and attacking are both candidates for 
iWR buffering, so if utilizing an iCOL is not a wise choice for any given 
situation, one might want to use iWR as a backup.

One of the better iWR buffers is the Wind Path, but we will cover that more in 
its section.

13. While Blocking (WB) - While you are holding the Block button, you are 
considered While Blocking.  There are three facets of gameplay that are 
available in the While Blocking status.  One is strategically useless for all 
intents of purposes, but looks cool, while the other two are potentially both 
life and time saving throughout most of the game.

Ryu will neglect to gather Essence whenever he is in While Blocking status (as 
well as attacking status).  See the section on Essence Avoidance for more 
details.

The other extremely useful action from WB is obviously the Counter Attack, 
see its section for more detail as well.

As far as the useless technique is concerned, it is named "Who Watches the 
Watchers."  If you hold Block and slightly push the left analog stick in a 
direction, then Ryu will slowly turn on access with the appropriate animation.
In theory, you could use this to line up jumps, but I've never really found a
scenario where this was useful.  I'll be more than happy to listen to 
suggestions.

14. Wind Path (WP) - When you press A in the vicinity of an opponent standing 
on the ground while Ryu is still airborne, he does the Wind Path move.  He'll 
disappear, leave a PHANTOM and teleport off of their body; briefly stunning 
them along with a unique animation.  This is very useful later in the game when 
you come upon regular opponents that have Uninterruptible Attacks (i.e. Gallas' 
Tail Swipe and Bite).  You are also granted a VERY SMALL number of INV frames 
as you PHANTOM.

A newly discovered property of the Wind Path is that it grants you iWR upon 
reaching the ground, even if you reverse your direction mid-air.  Needless to 
say, this is EXTREMELY powerful as it is VERY difficult to gain WR in the 
middle of the fight.  Obviously, you cannot come in contact with a wall off of 
your Wind Path, but other than that, there aren't any restrictions.

15. vertical Wind Path (vWP) - If you Wind Path vertically off of an enemy, 
aside from getting the vWPSTUN (as described in the next section), you are 
also given a unique, strategic positioning as well as a guaranteed followup 
hit.  The only enemy aside from Bosses that seem able to nullify a WPSTUN are 
Berserkers.

When used with a projectile, Ryu will gain a huge pause in the air (which may 
or may not be a beneficial thing), and then after the adminstration of the 
projectile can follow up with a melee strike right over the enemy.  

Additionally, you can Guillotine Throw from a vWP.

16. horizontal Wind Path (hWP) - With a horizontal Wind Path, you are granted 
the ability to put a HUGE amount of distance between your enemy and yourself.
Of course, you can negate this if you wish to stay within close confines, but 
immediately issuing a direction and an attack post-hWP.

17. Block (BLOCK) - Hold Block.  Don't do this too much, or you will be thrown 
or Guard Broken.  The AI specifically looks for turtling Ryus.

18. Guard Break (BREAK) - Guard Breaking applies to Ryu as well as his enemies, 
although they are handled a bit differently.  A Guard Break against Ryu will 
register as his weapon being thrown back, and he will be unable to attack for 
the duration of this animation aside from Ninpo.  He has many defensive 
options in this scenario, however, which usually begin with the timely use of 
a Reverse Wind.  He cannot Counter Attack a Guard Breaking move.

19. Guard Crush (CRUSH) - Guard Crushing applies to Ryu as well.  It has the 
same properties except for the fact that a bit of damage is applied to Ryu 
regardless of the fact that he was blocking.

20. Ninpo Canceling (NINC) - The only time when Ninpo will actually Combo is 
during an Grounding Move or a Combo Ender.  It will cancel the recovery frames 
of these two types of moves.  However, when using the Heavy Two-Handed Melee 
Weapons (War Hammer, UF, Dabilahro, DDB), if you see danger imminent, you can 
cancel the recovery of every Combo Section into a Ninpo.  Typically, these 
Combo Enders or Two-Handed combos are only capable of iB or Ninpo Canceling. 
This will be outlined in the Free Form Combo section.

Typically, the best Ninpo to use is Firewheel in this scenario, since it will 
not immobilize you.  However, if you're looking for a high Combo count, Art 
of Ice Storm is a nice option as well.

21. Step Canceling (STEPC) - There is a very specific way to use Ryu's Nudge 
(6~5) to cancel the recovery of the WR X of the Kitetsu and the DS.  This is 
very powerful as it will give you access to every attack in each weapon's 
arsenal immediately following a WR X.  The only moves that Combo normally out 
of WR X are an additional X or Azure/Scarlet Dragon.  Using this technique, 
you have access to the entire arsenal at the same frame advantage as the 
Combo-able moves.

22. Near an Enemy (NEAR) - This status dictates that Ryu must be in immediate 
proximity to an enemy.

23. Near a Wall (NEARWALL) - Ryu must be in the vicinity of a Wall for this 
condition to apply.

24. Near a Downed Enemy (DOWN) - Ryu must be positioned over a DOWN enemy for 
this status to apply.  This will usually allow you to issue the DOWN attacks 
like Fiend Sealer on the enemy.

25. Level Ground (LEVELG) - Ryu must be performing his attacks over Level 
Ground for this status.  The reason for this is that Ryu will either need 
consistent amounts of air time to correctly pull off the techniques, or 
that the enemy must be on the same horizontal plane as Ryu.

26. Wind Run (WINDRUN) - When completing a Wind Run, Ryu will jump off of the 
ground, get an regular Explosion, and attain a Phantom as well.  This move 
will automatically align Ryu with the nearest Enemy.

27. Wall Cling (WALLCLING) - If Ryu jumps at a wall, but does not issue a 
direction when hitting the wall, he will very briefly cling to it.  From 
this status, he can direct which way he would like to Bird Flip off of the 
wall.  

This may seem fairly useless, but it can be very useful in arenas that don't 
have a lot safe areas.  If you're enemies are all stationed off to your 
left side, you can then jump off to the right to try to attain an iCOL.  If 
your looking for a potential Wind Path host, the Wall Cling can help you 
locate this lucky enemy.

28. Wall Run (WALLRUN) - One of Ryu's more acrobatic abilities (or 
impossibilities depending upon how you want to look at it) is the ability 
to run along any wall.  The benefits to this ability are so obvious, that 
they don't really need to be restated.  There are two versions of the Wall 
Run as well.

29. vertical Wall Run (vWALLRUN) - With a Vertical Wall Run, Ryu is able to 
reach higher elevations and possibly even grab ledges (or flip over them 
entirely).

30. horizontal Wall Run (hWALLRUN) - With a hWALLRUN, Ryu gets the ability 
to Flying Swallow or Red Hot Iron Brand, depending upon the weapon.  The 
traits of the hWALLRUN versions of these moves are different as well.

31. ceiling Wall Run (cWALLRUN) - Ryu has the ability to take 1 or 2 steps 
across the ceiling of a room, if it is low enough.  Useful?

32. Phantom State (PHANTOM) - Whenver Ryu does anything especially cool, 
he'll almost always produce a Phantom proving it.  His Phantom is a colored 
sillouette of him performing whatever action it was that granted him Phantom 
status.

33. Low Health (LOWH) - When Ryu is low on health, his life bar will change 
accordingly.  There are differing degrees of LOWH as well.  Once you get down 
to 10% health, your Health Bar will change to red.  Once you get down to 5% 
health, your life bar will begin flashing red.

The only benefit in the game that this has is with the use of the Unlabored 
Flawlessness.  Once you enter into that 10% stage of health, the Kanji on the 
UF will begin to glow signifying that it is activated.  At this stage, the 
damage done by the UF is astounding, so much so that it should probably be 
named the FU.  You will watch entire halves of Bosses life bars disappear 
with correct utilization of the UF.

However, it is only fully powered once your lifebar is flashing.  Given that 
almost every enemy will kill you with one strike when your health is at 10% 
of maximum, it only makes sense to stay in the 5% range if you can.

The only creatures that seem to be immune to the effects of the UF are Vigoor 
itself, Alma, Nicchae, Ishtaros and the Vigoorian Berserkers.  While it is 
exceedingly difficult to utilize the UF correctly with some of the more agile 
bosses, they will still succumb to its effects.

35. little In Air (lIA) - This status is the same as the IA status, however, 
there is one restriction.  Ryu will not be granted OL upon contact with the 
ground.  Only a couple of techniques in the game will put Ryu lIA, and 
they are almost always Counter Attack based or move based.

36. Delaying (DELAY) - Ryu has the ability to delay almost every single 
strike in his arsenal regardless of whether or not the strike resides in 
a Combo.  The animation engine is extremely robust as it deals with this 
feature flawlessly.  That is, if you delay a strike to the very extreme of 
what is capable, Ryu will still animate accordingly.

This feature is almost totally unutilized in every video I have ever seen.
Nonetheless, it is extremely useful with dealing with AI mindgames.  Yes, 
in this game, you can actually trick the enemies into commiting to an attack 
and then hitting them with a an attack of your own.

The easiest way to begin practicing your technique is to equip the Dragon 
Sword, Kitetsu or Plasma Sword.  Any of the basic combos allow you delay any 
strike in the procession.  The frame window depends on the strike, but a lot 
of times, you have almost 20-30 frames to play with, so if you issue an X 
with the Dragon Sword to initiate Crimson Slash, then you have a window of 
20 to 30 frames in which to decide to issue your next X (or Y if you don't 
want Crimson Slash).  When battling Imps on the highest difficulties, you'll 
find that it is EXTREMELY difficult to hit them outright.  Even if you do 
manage to hit them with a strike, if that attack doesn't have any special 
properties other than Hit Stun, then the Imp can evade even the next strike.
You'll also find that almost every Regular Enemy can cancel their own attacks 
on the higher difficulties if they see a big attack coming.

Because of this, strike delaying can really help in acheiving those Encounter 
Time bonuses.  If you just mash the X, X, X of Crimson Slash out, you'll 
almost never hit an Imp on Master Ninja.  However, if you issue the X, put in 
a little pause (while watching out for a iB opportunity), you'll see that 
sometimes, that Imp will commit to a strike, and then you can hit them with 
the following X, given that the second X of Crimson Slash has a much smaller 
frame window than the first X.

This is but one example of the power of the ability to delay any of the strikes 
in your arsenal.

37. Wall Cling Cancel (WALLCLINGC) - There are many times Ryu will want to 
distance himself from the fray in order to rethink his strategy.  This will 
usually involve the attempt to get a OL attack off.  However, there are many 
scenarios where Ryu is in a small room or next to a wall where the contact 
with the wall would prevent him from getting to his OL state.

In these scenarios, it's possible to utilize Shuriken to keep the WALLCLING 
from happening.

FIGHTING ENGINE STATUS DISCUSSION
---------------------------------
This section will cover the statuses that Enemies can place themselves in 
and can be placed into by Ryu.

One facet of the game that I have not researched much at all are the hit 
properties of a successful attack (i.e. one that is not Blocked).  There are 
many facets of this system that must be explained to fully utilize Ryu's 
abilities effectively.  Crumple and Spin Stunning are extremely useful to 
achieve, but take some planning to setup.  We will look into this more in 
future versions of this document.

1.  Block Stun (BLOCK) - Block Stun is the animation and restriction placed 
upon an enemy when it successfully blocks Ryu's attack.  It simply means that 
the enemy will be unable to strike Ryu back.

An enemy that has the capability of blocking will usually do so excessively. 
So much so, that they'll need to be Guard Broken in order to be struck.  It 
is necessary to familiarize oneself with Ryu's arsenal to the point where 
with each weapon, it is known which strikes Guard Break and which do not.

2.  Hit Stun (HIT) - Depending upon the weapon used, the enemy struck and even 
the type of strike, an enemy will be put into a HIT status.  There are MANY 
different types of HIT animations across the enemy bestiary.  In terms of 
restrictions, the only hinderance to an enemy placed in HIT is that it cannot 
attack back.  It can still Block or evade the next strike even if it is part 
of a combo.

3.  Stagger Stun (STAGGER) - STAGGER is the general term used to denote a 
longer, standing HIT status that actually carries along with it the inability 
for the enemy to avoid a following strike.  It is very beneficial to one's 
playstyle to memorize which strikes in Ryu's arsenal are STAGGER inducing.  
There are many different animations for the different STAGGERs, but they all 
basically follow the same pattern of behavior.

4.  Guard Breaking (BREAK) - There seem to be three types of constitution in 
the game as far as how characters react to Ryu's strikes while they are 
blocking.  An enemy in Block Stun will simply be unable to strike Ryu back.  
If Ryu strings together consecutive Block Stunning strikes, he will not break 
through a continuously Blocking opponents.  Regular humans and the humanoid 
Fiends can be Guard Broken rather easily whereas the larger Fiends take much 
more punishment before they are affected.  Large enemies don't even Block, and 
you need to hit them with particular moves to knock them out of their attacks.  
A move that will GUARD BREAK a large enemy will typically CLEAR a regular 
enemy.  The third class is reserved for Boss type creatures that are either 
impervious to Block Stun altogether or must be attacked a certain way to 
initiate it.  On higher difficulties some regular enemies must be Guard 
Broken in order to be hit at all (i.e. Doku's Samurai).

5.  Guard Crush (CRUSH) - A Guard Crush on an enemy is a two-fold meaning.  On 
Regular enemies, a CRUSH means that the enemy was Blocking, but you defeated 
that Block and conferred damage onto them as well.  On Large enemies, CRUSH 
means that you somehow interrupted an attack of theirs.  Strikes that induce 
CRUSH are almost always slower than their regular state-inducing counterparts, 
so it is wise to study the effects of this state.

There are many times where you will want to interrupt what a Large enemy is 
doing, since most attacks from Large enemies remove significant portions of 
their lifebar.

6.  Clear Away (CLEAR) - Like most action games, Ninja Gaiden has a CLEAR 
status that means on a successful hit, the enemy will be knocked away from Ryu 
a signficant distance, and will then be placed into DOWN status.  This type of 
status is EXTREMELY useful as the enemies in Ninja Gaiden tend to rush Ryu.  
Any way that Ryu can thin the numbers of enemies actively attacking him is 
usually a good path.

7.  reverse Clear Away (rCLEAR) - reverse Clear Away: Knock Regular enemies 
towards the attacker.  In this case, the enemy will be knocked towards Ryu.  
This property is unique to Kitetsu, although many enemies have this ability 
as well.

8.  Multiple Opponent (MULTI) - Many strikes in Ryu's arsenal are specifically 
designed to take on multiple opponents at the same time.  Usually, this means 
that the strike is either weaker than regular strikes or takes longer to 
initiate or finish.  One needs to weigh the bonuses and restrictions of these 
strikes to determine when and where to implement them.

9.  Throw (THROW) - One of the most powerful and sparse attacks in the game 
come in the form of Throws.  Both Ryu and the enemies of the game have access 
to this type of attack that will defeat Block outright.  In every case, 
the setup of a throw is either obvious, slow starting, complicated or slow 
ending, such that it takes a bit of finesse to utilize the attack 
appropriately.

In Black, the Guillotine Throw has been made very, very powerful.  On the 
enemies that can BLOCK or evade strikes at their leisure, the Guillotine 
Throw will usually take them by surprise.

10. Decapitate (DECAP) - Ninja Gaiden has a fairly robust system for dealing 
with enemies once they have been killed.  That is, the properties of many 
strikes change depending upon if the enemy was killed with it or not.  Some 
strikes gain the GROUND status, while others get DECAP.  That is, the enemy 
will lose its noggin.

11. Recovery (REC) - Every attack has some frames where the attack window 
has closed, but the ability to issue another action outright has not opened 
yet.  This is called recovery.  Some games neglect this aspect of gameplay 
altogether which, in my opinion, devalues the combo engine altogether.  Why 
would one chose a lighter strike over a heavier strike if there are no 
consequences in issuing the heavier strike?  Additionally, this usually 
means that the animation suffers greatly as well.  The character will be 
in the middle of an animation, and then instantly jump into the frames of 
another with no transition animation whatsoever.

The Recovery Engine in Ninja Gaiden is fairly complicated.  There are at 
least 3 versions of Recovery present in the game.

	a.  Light Recovery - In light recovery, Ryu has many options of 
	cancelling the recovery.  He can iB, NINC, Shuriken Interrupt, 
	STEPC, or even issue an attack specifically designed to cut 
	the recovery frames of a particular move down.  Most strikes fall 
	into this category.  Please see the appropriate sections for the 
	Recovery options listed.

	b.  Medium Recovery - Ryu can still iB, NINC and sometimes issue 
	an attack, but most likely these will be his only options.  
	Flying Bird Flip options and Combo Enders typically fall into this 
	category.

	c.  Heavy Recovery - Ryu is basically screwed if the move that 
	instills heavy recovery whiffs.  The most obvious candidate for 
	Heavy Recovery is Flying Swallow.  You cannot cancel the recovery 
	of Flying Swallow with anything.  Ryu is absolutely, totally 
	vulnerable.  He cannot even iB.

12. Essence Technique (ET) - As outlined in the charge sections above, 
Ryu has the capability of issuing extremely strong attacks in the form of 
Essence Techniques.

13. Ultimate Technique (UT) - The most powerful techniques in the game come 
in the form of Ultimate Techniques.  Ryu will have to either charge long 
enough to store the appropriate energy, or absorb two Yellow Essence, or 
either a single Blue or Red Essence.

14. little Launch (lLaunch) - Ryu can knock his opponents up into the air.  
But, sometimes, there is not enough time to do anything to the enemy in 
this state.

15. Launch (LAUNCH) - The ability for Ryu launch an opponent up into the 
air while staying planted on the Ground.

16. Self-launching (SELFLAUNCH) - The ability for Ryu to launch both the 
enemy he attacked and himself up into the air.

17. Absorbing Life (ABSORB) - Ryu can leech the life of any enemy and confer 
it upon himself.  This property is unique to Kitetsu.  See Soul Bind.

18. Projectile Strike (PROJ) - Ryu will throw the weapon away, and it will 
return to him.  Both the journey away from and back to Ryu will strike 
opponents, and the return strike will rClear Regular Enemies back to him.  
This property is also unique to the Kitetsu.

19. Just Frame (JF) - Just Frame is a term borrowed from the fighting game 
lexicon.  It means that the input of an attack must be made within so many 
frames of something else happening.  Ryu runs at 60 frames per second, which 
means that every second, the screen is refreshed 60 times. There are some 
attacks or defenses in Ninja Gaiden that are determined by a fraction of 
those frames, which means that they are seen much less in gameplay.  However, 
if one can master the timing of many of the Just Frame attacks, a significant 
battle advantage is presented.

20. Enemy Behind (BEHIND) - When an enemy is standing behind Ryu, certain 
special characteristics are present.  Many of the light strikes in the game 
will change animation accordingly.

21. Grounding Knockdown (GROUND) - An enemy falls down not just because they 
have endured a significant amount of damage.  Ryu must actively attempt to 
knockdown an enemy with specific strikes.  The most beneficial state for an 
enemy to be in for Ryu is DOWN.  You must use a GROUND move to put an enemy 
in this state.  If an enemy is in DOWN state, then there is basically nothing 
they can do if Ryu is persistent enough in his attacks aside from Masakado 
and the Dopplegangers.

Keep in mind that not all Bird Flip attacks are GROUND attacks.  For instance, 
the One-Handed Melee weapons' Bird Flip+Y attacks do not GROUND a healthy 
enemy, while the Heavy Two-Handed Melee do.

22. Spin Stun (SPIN) - Several attacks in Ryu's arsenal will cause a non-
blocking enemy to spin around briefly to its side which makes it vulnerable to 
a follow up attack.  While this may seem like a simple correlation, it's really 
not the case.  The enemies in Ninja Gaiden have the ability to cancel their 
attacks more so than even Ryu can in some cases.  Many enemies have what could 
be described as excessive evasive abilities.  They can flip and cartwheel out 
of the way of Ryu's strikes mid-combo.  However, when they are stuck in a Spin 
Stun, they are unable to evade or Counter Attack which on the higher 
difficulties (and the Mission Mode in particular) is extremely useful.  
Additionally, if you kill an enemy with a move that usually induces Spin Stun 
or hit them with consecutive SPIN strikes, they will Crumple Stun instead.  
They can simply Block, however, and avoid the SPIN or CRUMPLE.

23. Crumple Stun (CRUMPLE) - Almost nobody talks about this extremely useful 
hit property.  It seems to be unique to the Dragon Sword's Violent Gale and 
the Kitetsu's Soul Bind.  You get different animations for each type, but the 
effect is the same in both instances.  They will slowly drop to their knees 
and then to the ground.  Regular enemies are TOTALLY prone during this 
animation.  You have two options at this point.  You can either utilize this 
time to attack another active enemy, or you can then immediately follow-up with 
a technique which you know will kill the prone enemy.  Ryu is very prone to 
this as well.

24. Wall Stun (WALLSTUN) - When Ryu throws an enemy into a wall, that enemy 
will be uniquely stunned and animated.  That enemy will also be damaged upon 
hitting the wall.  Depending upon the height of the enemy's body upon making 
contact, it will either slide down, or slump over on the ground immediately.

If it is possible, Ryu should attempt to maximize the height of the enemy's 
body as to ensure a followup attack.  It appears as though a WALLSTUN without 
a slide is shorter than a typical GROUND stun.

25. Wind Path Stun (WPSTUN) - Wind Path is arguably one of Ryu's most useful 
techniques.  You can Wind Path vertically or horizontally.  If you've jumped 
at the enemy, then following the Wind Path you can quickly re-orient yourself 
towards the enemy and attack.  This simple addition to the system, makes Wind 
Path EXTREMELY powerful.  

Additionally, there is a separate animation for Ryu for a vertical Wind Path 
as opposed to a horizontal Wind Path.  

Combining the two effects of the WPSTUN and the acquisition of iWR from it, you 
can totally incapacitate two enemies at almost the same time.

26. vertical Wind Path Stun (vWPSTUN) - If Ryu jumps straight up and Wind Paths 
off of an enemy, he will flip upside down and right himself mid-air.  
Concordantly, the enemy will animate being knocked to the ground.  

27. horizontal Wind Path Stun (hWPSTUN) - If Ryu jumps at the enemy with a 
vector, he will animate differently as will his enemy.  The enemy will be 
forced to turn in the opposite direction as Ryu uses the enemy to continue 
his forward momentum.  The enemy will be knocked closer to the ground than 
if merely hit with a vWP.  While there doesn't appear to be any bonus for a 
horizontal Wind Path Stun, this is just another example of the unbelievable 
amount of detail given to even the smallest aspect of the game.

28. Parry (PARRY) - Many enemies in the game have the ability to Parry Ryu's 
attacks and leave him open for a followup attack.  The animation of a Parried 
attack is unique, but it can be Roll Canceled just like a Guard Break.  
Typically, enemies that possess a Parry technique will use it judiciously, 
therefore a creative way of initial engagement is usually called for.

29. Weapon Locking (LOCK) - Several of the bosses in the game can be Weapon 
Locked.  When this happens, Ryu and the Boss will be face to face pushing each 
others' weapons against the other.  Ryu needs to mash on his buttons to win 
this little status, otherwise he will be thrown off balance.

30. Protection (PROT) - Some are not able to be interrupted, and some attacks 
will make Ryu immune to damage.  When an attack or technique grants Ryu one of 
the previous attributes, BUT NOT both, it is said to grant protection.  

That is, there are MANY attacks in both Ryu's and the enemies' arsenals that 
grant one of these traits, but not both.  The charge1 attacks in Ryu's arsenal 
cannot be interrupted, but Ryu will still take damage during their executions.

31. Invincibility (INV) - When a strike cannot be interrupted and Ryu will 
not take damage, it is said to grant Invincibility frames.  Many enemies' 
attacks will share this attribute.

32. Counter Hit (CH) - When you strike an opponent in their attack frames, it 
is counted as a Counter Hit.  Sometimes, Ryu is granted special properties, 
and in many cases more damage is applied.  This applies to the enemies as well.

33. Distance (DIST) - Some attacks have different severities depending upon 
the distance between the attacker and the recipient.  The most obvious example 
of this is Flying Swallow, such that if you FS somebody from across a room, 
you will inflict less damage than if you did it right in their face.

34. Burrowing (BURROW) - The Imp class of Fiends are capable of Burrowing 
under the ground, making themselves totally invincible.  This is an annoying 
trait, but one benefit of it is that the offensive options out of a BURROW are 
usually very limited, such that you can plan accordingly for their egress from 
the ground.

35. Back-turned (BT) - When an enemy's backside is presented to Ryu, Ryu is at 
a tactical advantage.  While, Ryu doesn't have any moves that can take 
advantage of a Back-turned enemy (or none that we know of currently), most 
enemies have a set of attacks that they utilize when Back-turned.  This is 
actually an advantage to Ryu, since you'll have a smaller subset of attacks 
to worry about when dealing with a BT enemy.

There are several ways to attack BT.  You can either hWP, you can utilize 
Stab of Extinction with Kitetsu (if the enemy blocks the return hit), or you 
can simply position yourself accordingly utilizing Reverse Wind.

It remains to be seen if attacks to a Back-turned enemy actually do more 
damage or produce different properties.

36. Unblockable Attack (UB) - Many enemies have one or more attacks that will 
hit through Ryu's guard no matter what.  These attacks need to be realized as 
quickly as possible and avoided at all costs.

37. Area Affect (AREA) - Many attacks in the game from both Ryu and the enemies 
will have an Area Affect.  That is, the attack itself will take up a lot of 
room in whatever space the battle is taking place.

Some attacks are instantaneous, some surround the creature or Ryu, some can 
be placed in an area and left there while more attacks are leveraged.  Some 
common examples of Area Affects are enemies' Ritual Spell attacks, Smoke Bombs 
and Ninpo.

38.  Confusion (CONF) - Sometimes, it is possible for Ryu to confuse an enemy 
such that it will either be unable to mount an affective offense, or it will 
be unable to defend itself.  In a large crowd of enemies, this status is 
extremely beneficial.  

For example, once the heads of Ghuls have been liberated from their bodies, 
they will no longer be able to track Ryu.  They will move around randomly and 
attack randomly.  Secondly, once Ryu issues a Smoke Bomb, most enemies will 
focus intently on the Smoke Cloud (if it is at least between Ryu and the 
enemy when it was released), and neglect the real Ryu entirely.

COMBO GROWTH
------------
As you progress in level of weapon, combos will have more 
Guard Breaking moves introduced into the flow.  For instance, we will discuss 
the progression of the basic combo for the Dragon Sword.

You can do Crimson Slash over and over again to a Blocking enemy, and you
will never Guard Break.  You either have to do a singular Guard Break move
before you start this combo, or interrupt the enemy mid-swing for this combo 
to be successful.  Even then, most of the quicker enemies can cancel their 
attacks in their attack frames if they see a strike coming.  You have access 
to this Combo from the beginning of the game.  To test this, play Chapter 2, 
The Hayabusa Ninja Village on Very Hard.  The Samurai Block pretty much 
incessantly.  If you use nothing but Crimson Slash, you will see that you 
have to interrupt an attack to even hit them most of the time.

However, once you upgrade to Level 4 by acquiring the True Dragon Sword, this 
combo finally gets a Guard Breaking Y at the very end.  At that point, though, 
you will have to follow up immediately with something else as the recovery 
from that Y at the end is significant.  But, it isn't even as simple as that 
as the X immediately preceding the Y is a Grounding Knockdown (even though it 
doesn't BREAK).

Ryu starts off the game with Tiger Roar.  This Combo will Guard Break on its
last hit.  You will have to follow up with something quickly to even inflict
damage.  However at Level 2, you get Fang of the Wolf which tacks an extra
strike onto the end which Decapitates under the correct conditions.  Finally, 
at Level 3, you get Blade of the Dragon's Tail which gives you a Clear Away 
strike after the Decapitation strike which will knock regular enemies 
away.  However, in Dragon Tear, the final Y does not Clear Away whereas Blade 
of the Dragon's Tail does.  There are obvious scenarios where one would want 
to knock an opponent away, keep them close or knock them to the ground.  All 
of the weapons follow this design scheme where you have to pick and chose where 
it appropriate to GUARD BREAK, CLEAR or GROUND, etc...  The Heavy Two-Handed 
Weapons simply trade Combos for singular Guard Breaking strikes.  Combo 
differentiation is not limited to Guard Breaking or Clearing strikes, 
obviously.

ADVANCED SHURIKEN USE
---------------------
You can cancel many attacks with a Shuriken 
Interrupt both on the ground and in the air.  Likewise, you can cancel shuriken 
with attacks as well.  The longer attack animations of the Windmill Shuriken 
and Incendiary Shuriken allow you to fake the shuriken toss and cancel it 
completely into an attack as long as the attack is done soon enough.

Also, you can manually aim your shuriken as well.  If you have three Fiends
surrounding you, you have the option of which one to hit with the left analog
stick.  If you chose to not input a direction, the closest, offensive one will 
be auto targeted.  You can override this with a direction while on the ground 
or in the air at any time, as long as the Fiend is within Ryu's attack range 
(i.e. not behind a wall, burrowing or dead).  You can tell whom Ryu is locked 
onto by his head.  He will look at the Fiend he is going to strike.  Very 
subtle and very, very cool.

Lastly, shuriken will interrupt many enemies' attacks in the game.  If an
attack is imminent, you can usually throw a single Shuriken to interrupt it or
force the enemy to Block or Evade.

DEPTH
-----
Couple these ideas with the fact that you will very seldom fight 
one enemy at a time much less one TYPE of enemy in this game, and you can see 
that the Combo system is complex and very much necessary.  Never before in an 
action game was it necessary to not only gauge when to use quick, light strikes 
versus slower, heavier strikes, but also necessary to gauge the different 
properties of each of those types of attacks.  In one attack, Violent Gale, 
you have the choice to Spin Stun an enemy if you think that will be enough and 
then be immediately capable of launching in to a different move, or self-
launching from another similar move, or to tag the extra hit onto the move to 
get that Crumple Stun (and in the process, introduce recovery).  Couple this 
with the fact that neither one of Crumple or Spin Stun attacks Guard Break, 
but the launching and self-launching attacks do and you have an unbelievably 
deep system.

As you see at the top of this document there are a plethora of other hit 
properties which are unique to strikes in the system.  Each facet is equally 
as complex.  It is simply not thrown together willy-nilly.  The system is very 
deep and extremely balanced.  Over the life of this document, I might begin to 
discuss each property in-depth.

IN-DEPTH MOVE DISCUSSION
------------------------
1.  Flying Swallow - This move is not the over-powered equalizer that some 
people claim it to be.  It's recovery is extremely long and it's not even 
guaranteed.  Additionally, whereas most moves that introduce recovery long 
enough to be thrown by an enemy, you could always Ninpo Cancel.  This is 
not the case with Flying Swallow.  You cannot Ninpo Cancel Flying Swallow.  
Of course, if you take the precaution of casting a Firewheel before doing 
a Flying Swallow, you will be much more protected. But, if you are facing a 
throw-happy group of enemies, your Flying Swallow landing is a guaranteed 
throw against you.

To prove that Flying Swallow is not overpowered, you can select Chapter 3 
and the Level 2 Dragon Sword.  The SATs will be crawling all over this level.  
Now, on the Normal setting, if you do a Flying Swallow at somewhat close range 
or from the wall, you will get a Decapitation with one hit.  However, if 
select a harder difficulty, or initiate the move from a different distance, 
you will not get a Decapitation.  To further this observation, the SAT Riot 
Guards can block the FS outright as can many, many other regular enemies 
throughout the game.  With the arrival of Black, many enemies have acquired 
an attack SPECIFICALLY to defend against Flying Swallow.

Generally, it is not possible to iC from a successful Flying Swallow.  The
falling and landing animation of Flying Swallow will not Combo or cancel into
anything.  Additionally, it is the only attack in the game that cannot be Ninpo 
Cancelled.  So, you must Shuriken Interrupt to change your state from Flying 
Swallow to simply IA. Once you throw a shuriken, you revert back to simply 
being IA. The frame window between the attack frames and recovery frames is 
very small, so I would list this as a Just Frame.  You cannot throw a shuriken 
too late or too early for this to work. To do this with Flying Swallow, you 
must be attacking in one of the following scenarios.

- Flying Swallow Resistant Enemies: Where you have initiated the Flying Swallow 
before the apex of your jump. It must be done VERY quickly.  The Flying Swallow 
will bounce off the enemy, and you will be able to iC normally.

In the case of Ghuls, once the Fiend loses its head, though, you will not be 
granted IA status.

- Wall Run Flying Swallow - The Flying Swallow done from the Wall Run will
allow you to Shuriken Cancel every time regardless of if there are even any
enemies around.

- Wind Path Flying Swallow - Believe it or not, you can actually Flying
Swallow off of a successful Wind Path if the enemies line up correctly. Very
cool looking.

- Blocked Flying Swallow - You can obviously do anything you want if your
Flying Swallow is blocked.  You are instantly put in an IA state.

2.  Red-Hot Iron Brand - One of the ways that the Vigoorian Flail is superior 
to the Dragon Sword is that the Flying Swallow type move of Red-Hot Iron 
Brand recovers in an IA state.  Unlike the Dragon Sword, your options from 
Red-Hot Iron Brand are much more diverse as you can Sweeping Strike, Dragon 
Emperor Kick or iCOL with it without Shuriken Canceling.

3.  Izuna Drop - In the same pattern, people seem to think that Izuna Drop 
is invincible.  While it is very flashy and cool, it's very detrimental to 
attaining Time Bonuses, and you have no protection whatsoever in the three 
strikes leading up to the actual grab.  Almost every enemy has an uppercut 
move specifically designed to pluck Ryu out of the air.  However, if an 
opportunity opens up, and you are able to successfully use it, then you also 
get splash damage upon the landing.

4.  Six Paths Spin - This move is commonly overlooked as it appears identical 
to Hundred Man Slash of the Dabilahro and the Dark Dragon Blade.  However, it 
is actually a throw as opposed to Hundred Man Slash.  If you hit a regular 
enemy with the spike during the spinning, that enemy becomes impaled on the 
weapon, spun around and smashed into the ground.  Additionally, the body that 
is impaled on the spike can strike other enemies during the spinning.

5.  Flying Bird Flip Options - The techniques in the game that could be argued 
as being overpowered are the Flying Bird Flip attacks.  The Y attacks from 
Flying Bird Flip are the most damaging in the game aside from UT's.  As such, 
they could be abused somewhat given the fact that Ryu was fairly well 
protected while Wall Running.

Prior to the HP, enemies did not have a good defense against continued use of 
Flying Bird Flip attacks.  Now, many enemies have very good defenses against 
abuse of the Wall Run including Jump Interrupting attacks and Flying Swallows 
of their own.

There is an additional distinction between Two-Handed Weapons and One-Handed 
Weapons in this category.  The One-Handed Weapons will not GROUND their 
enemies upon success with their Flying Bird Flip strikes whereas Two-Handed 
Strikes will.

6.  Counter Attack - This technique was VERY abusable on regular enemies 
prior to the HP.  This was due to the fact that many enemies lacked Guard 
Breaking or Throws.  So, you could select a Heavy Two-Handed Weapon, and 
simply Counter Attack each move and get One-Hit Kills for it.  In the HP, 
every enemy has at least one Guard Breaking move or Throw neither of which 
can be Counter Attacked.  Keep in mind that both the Counter Attack techniques 
and number vary greatly between weapons.

7.  Runaway Lightning - NEAR X, ...NEAR Y (JF)
While it's not a hidden move, Runaway Lightning is very difficult to pull off.
Runaway Lightning is a Just Frame attack meaning, that when you input the Y
after the X determines whether or not you get Wide Heavens or Runaway
Lightning.  If you input Y too early or too late, you'll get the move where Ryu
kicks the enemy up into the air.  In Runaway Lightning, Ryu climbs up and over
the enemy, jumps into the air, does a flip behind the enemy, and he strikes the
enemy in the back of the head.  The frame window is pretty big, but you have to
pause after hitting X before hitting Y.  Additionally, I've found that both
hits from the X have to hit cleanly (i.e. the enemy can't block or roll out of
the way) for Runaway Lightning to come out.  It instantly grounds an enemy and
makes you Invincible during its execution.

From JynxShot on the GameFAQ's board:
"With the level 2 flails, pressing the X button once will have Ryu strike 3
times with the blades.  Every strike is accompanied by a 'whooshing' noise.  The
first 2 strikes are in front of Ryu, hitting your target. The third strike and
noise is Ryu pulling the other half of the weapon back over his shoulder.  When
you hear the 3rd 'whoosh' noise, as Ryu pulls it over his right shoulder, hit Y.

Frankly, after the initial hits, as long as Ryu is pulling the chucks over his
shoulder, hit Y. Listening for the 'whoosh' noise will help nail your timing
down."

8.  Wind Run - For a long time I thought that the Wind Run move (X+A) was 
useless.  It simply jumps you to the nearest enemy or wall or whatever 
direction you push (in the case of no surrounding enemies).  It doesn't 
make sense that you need an extra move to have you jump to an enemy when 
you could just as easily do it yourself.  But, whenever you're fighting 
Gallas and want to interrupt the Tail Swipe or Bite, Wind Run can prove 
very useful.  Additionally, the Wind Run has been given a PHANTOM and a 
ground launching effect in Black.  You can continually Wind Run one right 
after the other without any landing animation whatsoever.  You don't even 
need to Roll Cancel.  It is a JF command, though.

With the addition of Minions to the Boss Battles, Wind Run proves EXTREMELY 
useful without having to worry about camera issues.

9.  Soul Bind - I have given the name Soul Bind to the 6+X, X, X, X, X move 
where Ryu (or Doku for that matter) impales his enemy and their soul jettisons 
out of their back where the wound is made.  The Soul then traces around the 
body and transfers to Ryu.  You do not need to input the X, X before the Crazed 
Bones Slash (6+X) for the move to come out as stated in Dead Soul Bind.  The 
most obvious advantage to Soul Bind is that it transfers life from the enemy to 
Ryu. However, this is the least useful of the properties as the amount of life 
both absorbed and transferred is nominal.  It will help in a Bind (pun 
intended), though.  There are two much more useful properties of a successful 
Soul Bind, however.

First of all, a successful Soul Bind Crumple Stuns an enemy.  Read the 
description above for the bonuses of this hit property.  Obviously, this is 
extremely useful in setup as most enemies are defenseless once Grounded, and 
the Crumple Stun makes them even more prone as they will be unable to do 
anything during its animation.  This gives Ryu the ability to possibly 
concentrate efforts elsewhere.

Secondly and most importantly, you also gain TOTAL invincibility during its 
successful execution.  You cannot be thrown or attacked in any way to interrupt 
the Soul Binding.  This makes it a candidate for one of the most useful moves 
in the game.  The only other times where Ryu is in this state is during the 
execution of a UT.  On top of this, you can follow the Soul Bind with 5 other 
Soul Binds.

Obviously, all of this must be balanced out somehow, and it is.  First off, 
the Soul Bind is not a Guard Break.  Therefore, enemies can block it outright. 
Secondly, its attack frames are fairly slow which means that it can be dodged 
outright and Ryu cannot instant Block from it.  Next, the damage from a Soul 
Bind is nominal.  Lastly, if you do not do a Soul Eraser (Y) immediately 
following an of the Soul Binds, the recovery is ridiculous.  If Ryu is only 
engaged with one foe, then this is moot since it grants CRUMPLE.  However, if 
there are other enemies around, beware.

10. Soul Eraser - You can only issue a Soul Eraser post Soul Bind.  It seems 
like an obvious choice, and it's true that you should usually follow Soul Bind 
with Soul Eraser (unless you're looking for a Crumple Stun).  However, the most 
powerful property of this attack was discovered by Shadowblade786 which lead to 
the creation of this section.  As shown in Chosen Soul Eraser in the Free Form 
Combo Section below, you can actually target Soul Eraser.  So, you are not 
limited to simply Soul Erasing the enemy you are Soul Binding.  You can chose 
any surrounding enemy.  This makes this technique extremely useful.

In Black, you can issue three consecutive Soul Binds with a significantly 
upgraded Kitetsu.  You can aim each of these independantly as well.  It's a 
bit difficult to setup given Crazed Bones Slash is so slow.

11. Cremator - Another extremely safe and repetitive technique is found in the 
Level 2 Vigoorian Flail.  Cremator is the series where Ryu very quickly flips 
the Flail over his shoulders and protects his back and front with the blades.  
Contrary to popular belief, you are not Invincible while doing this move.  
Large enemies have many attacks that can knock you out of it, and many other 
enemies have other techniques that will defeat Cremator outright.  Also, Ryu's 
flanks are vulnerable to attack.

Consequently, you have the ability to orient Ryu as you see fit once Cremator 
has started (just like most of the other combos in the game).  This is 
important, because Ryu's flanks are vulnerable, and you may want to 
concentrate the brunt of the attack on an incoming enemy rather than the one 
you originally targeted.

Oddly enough, we see why Projectiles are deflected by Cremator whenever Ryu 
tried to throw Shuriken at Murai.  He uses Cremator with the Nunchaku and 
deflects the Shuriken back at us.  Ryu is not as adept at this technique as 
Murai is, so Projectiles are simply deflected.

There are several options to the end of Cremator.  One of them is discussed 
below, but another much more destructive option is to Ninpo Cancel the 
extended recovery of Cremator.  If you have Art of Icestorm equipped and have 
captured 3 enemies in your Cremator, then you will be looking at a 100+ Hit 
Combo will relatively little effort.  The dichotomy of something called Ice 
Storm following something called Creator so nicely should not go unnoticed.

12. Dragon Slaughter - The other option is to issue a Y after the last 
X (it must be precise), and you will get a very well protected clearing move 
called Dragon Slaughter.  There are instances will you will not want to use 
this technique, however, as listed above.

13. Guillotine Throw - While this move is offensively very useful, it has one 
of the worst recoveries in the game.  As such, you pretty much need to use it 
in a very linear fashion.  That is, if you have a lead enemy that can be 
thrown into its counterparts, then that will allow you to recover in time.  
However, if you do this move on a single enemy and its body doesn't hit any 
other enemies, then you can expect a quick retribution.  Use discretion.  
Basically, it's only useful for crowd control, nostalgia and flash factor.  

A new method of achieving the Guillotine Throw as been discovered, though.  
You do not need the forward momentum previously thought.  You can Guillotine 
Throw from a vertical WindPath.  This makes vWP fairly useful indeed.

Combined with the Armlet of Potency, this Throw has become extremely useful.

14. Dark Dragon Gates of Hell - The Dark Dragon Blade is almost always 
overlooked as a viable weapon given that those who wield it most likely have 
a Level 3 Dabilahro or Unlabored Flawlessness.  When compared to these two 
weapons, the Sealed Dark Dragon Blade seems a bit underpowered.  This is not 
the case.  Without going into specifics as to why, there is one move that 
stands above the others in certain scenarios.  The UT for the Dark Dragon 
Blade, Dark Dragon Gates of Hell, is unique as it is the only Heavy Two-Handed 
Melee Weapon autocombo.  It does more damage than any other UT in the game on 
a single enemy, and like all other autocombo UT's, you can direct it at any 
enemy.  The Dark Dragon Blade is EXTREMELY useful in the Mission Modes where 
the UF is not available.

The most important facet of Dark Dragon Gates of Hell is that it cannot be 
cancelled by bosses.  Even if they block it, the move will activate 
regardless (unlike every other autocombo UT in the game).

15. Dragon's Claw - This Level 3 Lunar Combo is SEVERELY overused.  It is very 
long, very weak and very breakable.  However, there are some good aspects to 
it.  Namely, the Guard Break that comes with the first hit of the Y at the end. 
Unless the enemy evades this strike, then they will be both Guard Broken and 
Cleared Away in the same series.  While this is useful, the Lunar has much 
more damaging and specialized techniques that should replace this one unless 
Ryu is completely outmatched.

It would be hard to find a noobier combo.

16. Burial Kick - It would be easy to place this move in the flash category and 
miss some of the more useful properties of the move.  It's quite easy to set 
this move up to follow an extremely hard strike that you know will kill a 
regular enemy.  The benefit of setting this up is that the Burial Kick will 
usually cancel recovery of a hard strike like Haze Straight Slash or Divine 
Cicada.  That way, you can recover quickly and negate the unfortunately side-
effects of the more lagging moves.  Very, subtley useful.

17. Steel Severer - This move along with Six Paths Spin fortifies the War 
Hammer as a viable alternative to the Dabilahro (especially if you forgo the 
final Dabi upgrade).  This is the quickest Heavy Two-Handed Melee weapon attack 
in the game.  Controlled use of this strike will get you out of almost any 
problem.  The attack and recovery frames rival the Light melee weapons.

DIAL-A-COMBO
------------
One of the most pervasive, incorrect, obviously desperate and pathetic 
arguments that people wage against Ninja Gaiden is that it incorporates a 
"Dial-A-Combo" system.  Of course, it goes without saying that it is pathetic 
and sad anytime someone has a vendetta against a videogame of all things, but 
those that cling to this argument in particular are very amusing.  Anyone who 
states this is either simply misinformed or outright lying.

Dial-A-Combo was invented with Mortal Kombat 3.  Midway was largely unable to 
come up with a deep and competitive fighting engine, so Dial-A-Combo is what 
the game implemented.  The defining characteristics of a Dial-A-Combo system 
are thus:

1.  The move list is composed of largely interchangeable strikes that have no 
differentiating features other than appearance.

2.  Arbitrarily assigning specific button presses to those interchangeable 
strikes.

3.  The player is totally unable to branch these "combos" from one to another.

4.  The opponent is unable to defend against the combo once it has started.

Ninja Gaiden's combos feature NONE of these things.

In contrast, Ninja Gaiden implements two levels of melee strikes; light and 
heavy.  Heavy strikes are always slower and more powerful than light strikes.
In most cases, they out-range the lighter strikes, but are more linear.
As such, they are not interchangeable, and the only people to claim this are 
those that aren't capable enough to see this obvious fact (or feign 
ignorance).  Every strike in the game has specific reach, recovery, damage 
and hit property list.  This is covered in the Move List section.

Even in the middle of a combo, it is obvious whether a light strike or a 
heavy strike is utilized.  There are usually pauses or repositionings done 
before Y strike comes out in the combo, much less a directional input.

Every weapon can branch its combos in AT LEAST 2 different combos and AT 
LEAST 2 different ways.  Each path will always have a specific feature as 
well.

Lastly, it should be obvious that no combo is guaranteed in Ninja Gaiden.

ENEMY ARSENAL
-------------
One of the most difficult things to do in the game is to memorize the hit 
properties and tendencies of all the enemies.  Once, you do this, however, 
you will be pretty much unstoppable.  You can classify creatures by whether 
or not they have at least one throw, Guard Break, Guard Crush or Unblockable 
Attack.  Since these are the only moves capable of defeating a Block, they 
should be placed in priority of what you are looking to avoid.

Tecmo was wise to the general population of Ninja Gaiden discovering this, 
so in both the Hurricane Packs, they tweaked EVERY single enemy to possess 
at LEAST one Guard Breaking move, and this was carried over to Black.  This 
way, it was impossible for Ryu to stand there and simply Block.  In most 
cases, enemies were given multiple new moves.  I will outline these moves 
in the new Enemy Guide.  Aside from the Normal difficulty setting (where 
the original Enemy abilities are retained for the most part), all of these 
changes were implemented in the rest of the Difficulty levels in Black.

In most cases, these moves are telegraphed somewhat, so you should plan 
accordingly.  For example, Imps do not possess either a throw, Guard Crush, 
Unblockable Attack.  So, you never have to be concerned with an Imp 
outright defeating your Guard on their own.  However, MANY of their moves 
in the Hurricane Packs and Black Guard Break.  What this means is that you 
constantly have to be worried about simultaneous attacks.

PHANTOM INVINCIBILITY
---------------------
This is a little known, but extremely useful tool in Ryu's toolbox.  
Whenever Ryu does a move that produces a Phantom, that usually means that 
he's granted a split second of complete invincibility.  This is great to 
know if you're having a lot of difficulties with Black Spider Clan Ninja.  
So, if they stick you with an Incendiary Shuriken, you always have at 
least three ways to disarm it so to speak.  You can do an attack from a 
Flying Bird Flip, Wind Path, or some other attack that grants 
Invincibility frames.  You can also Block right as the Shuriken is 
exploding, but you'll still take damage.

This also holds true for about 20 frames of the Reverse Wind move.

BOSS VULNERABILITY
------------------
With the exception of a few instances, none of the bosses have a treasure 
map way of being defeated.  And in almost every case, something that works 
on one difficulty setting (like Flying Swallow) is totally negated in the 
next higher difficulty.

On the Master Ninja in particular, it appears as though bosses are totally 
immune to UT's.  This is not the case.  You have to hit bosses during their 
attack frames if you want the UT's to register damage or (in the case of 
auto-combo UT's) activate.  This just another facet of the excellent 
balancing of the game.  This was purposefully designed this way as most 
bosses won't block the rest of the UT if it actually registers.

Of course, there are even exceptions to this rule as Dynamo is immune to 
Asura Slash and Alma Awakened is immune to all of the Dragon Gleams aside 
from the base, uncharged one.

SMOKE BOMBS
-----------
There has been some debate as to whether or not the newest addition of Smoke 
Bombs was actually needed.  After some in-depth research, I have discovered 
some quantifiable uses for these unique "Projectiles".  

1. Movement - The first neat little finding is that you can control which 
way you roll.  This is pretty useful as you can extend your Reverse Winds by 
throwing a Smoke Bomb at the end of a Reverse Wind.

2. Offensive - While it doesn't do damage, I would rate the following as an 
offensive technique. If you blow one up in an enemy's face, they will always 
do a little evasive manuever to get out of the smoke (if they have one). This 
happens on the Master Ninja difficulty setting, as well.

What's nice about this is that while they're focused on the cloud, you can 
actually go up to them attack their posteriors, and they won't block or evade 
since they'll technically be in BT state. This is extremely useful for getting 
Time Bonuses on Master Ninja.

3. Defensive - When you throw it out without being surrounded, any enemy that 
has the smoke cloud in its line of site rather than Ryu, they focus on it 
intently. This goes for almost every enemy I've seen even on Master Ninja 
(Ogres, Berserkers, even Phantom Fish!!!). Some enemies will chose to attack 
the smoke.  I've seen Berserkers fire their projectiles at it, Flame Ninja 
throw their shuriken at it, Ogres pounce on it, and Monk Fiends will even put 
their rituals down on it.

Phantom Fish have a special case. They will actually pursue the smoke cloud. 
However, if Ryu is between the fish and the cloud, they will attack him 
instead.  There should probably be more research done as to what enemies will 
react to them and which ones won't.  Bosses won't react to their presence 
whatsoever, but their minions will hold to their behavior in the regular 
procession of the game.  Therefore, Smoke Bombs are the "projectile" of 
choice for Boss encounters on Master Ninja, since almost no boss is 
vulnerable to projectiles anyway.

----------------------
~~ CHARACTER TRAITS ~~
----------------------
The enemies in the game fall into several distinct categories based upon their
abilities.  Most characters possess basic abilities like combos and
projectiles, but certain abilities elevate the enemy to a different level of
difficulty. These tangible abilities include: Teleportation, Guard Breaking,
Throwing, Counter Attacking, Uninterruptible Attacks, Severe Projectiles and
Deadly Attacks.

For a description of enemies, please refer to my Bestiary/Enemy Guide.

ADVANCED ENEMY ABILITIES
------------------------
Teleportation - The ability for an enemy to instantaneously appear and
disappear removing Ryu's ability to inflict damage upon them.  This also gives
them the ability to sometimes strike Ryu without warning.

Guard Breaking - When an enemy possesses the ability to break Ryu's guard, this
makes Ryu vulnerable to a follow-up attack by another enemy.  Ryu's only
defense in this instance is to RC or JC.

Guard Crushing - When an enemy both Guard Breaks Ryu and damages him slightly
in the process.

Throwing - Some enemies possess the ability to grapple with Ryu; totally
negating his Guard.  This a very dangerous technique as Ryu must actively avoid
it, rather than just holding block incessantly.

Counter Attacking - Very few enemies possess the ability to strike Ryu through
an attack, but the danger is there.  Secondly, some enemies have the ability to
anticipate Ryu's attack and block it in a way where Ryu is made vulnerable.

Uninterruptible Attacks - Most larger enemies possess attacks that CANNOT be
broken by anything in Ryu's offensive arsenal.  No matter what, the enemy will
complete the animation regardless of what Ryu does to interrupt it.  Ryu can
either avoid it or utilize a Ninpo to become immune to it.  There is a third
option such that Ryu can Wind Path off of regular enemies if he has enough
time.  This move will cease the animation of the Uninterruptible Attacks of
regular enemies.

Severe Projectiles - Most enemies possess projectiles of some sort, even if
this involves making themselves the projectile.  But, certain enemies have
projectiles that can either Guard Break Ryu or penetrate his guard altogether.

Deadly Attacks - Usually, a boss will possess at least one Deadly Attack that
will drain a majority of Ryu's health in one strike.  Ryu must do his best to
avoid these attacks.  Frequently, though, the severity of these attacks can be
lessened if you quickly press the attack buttons.  Some regular enemies possess
this ability as well.

Invincibility - Some enemy attacks render them invincible.  You must either 
evade it, or change to an invincible state yourself.

Extreme Mobility - Some enemies have extreme dodging abilities such that they 
can separately evade each strike within in a combo.  Frequently, they must be
hit with an extremely quick attack in order to be stunned long enough to be 
hit.

EASY
----
Enemies in this classification possess no ability to inflict damage on Ryu if
Ryu chooses to constantly block.  That is, they do not possess either Guard
Breaking, Throws, Severe Projectiles or Deadly attacks.  Enemies that fall into
this category are Shadow Clan Ninjas, Lesser Fiends, Bats, etc...

NORMAL
------
Enemies in this classification possess at least one of the afore-mentioned
abilities and attack in groups of three or more.  This group is composed of
Black Spider Clan Ninjas and the Vigoorian Military.

FORMIDABLE
----------
Formidable enemies possess more than one of the aforementioned Advanced
Abilities, and almost always attack in groups of three or more.  The various
Gallas and Fiendish MSAT soldiers belong to this group.

DEADLY
------
Most bosses (but not all) fall into the deadly category as most of them possess
multiple attacks that can either break or defeat Ryu's guard outright and at
least one Deadly Attack as mentioned before.  Alma and the Evolved Fiends both
reside in this category.

------------------
~~ HIDDEN MOVES ~~
------------------
There are at least three hidden moves in the game.  I will update this FAQ as
more are uncovered.  The names are of the discoverer's creation.

ALL WEAPONS
-----------
1.  Who Watches the Watchers - (L), 4/6
If you lightly press the analog stick left or right while blocking, Ryu will
slowly shuffle clockwise or counter-clockwise.  I haven't found a use for this.
But, it's cool to continually face enemies as they circle you.

2. Burial Kick - NEAR, DEAD/DECAP X (CLEAR)
Ryu will kick the dead body of a foe away if it hasn't fallen to the ground,
yet.  You can know if this move is usable by the either the Death Rattle uttered
by a slain enemy, or a decapitation.  This is useful, because the body will
release the Essence away from Ryu, so you don't have to worry about avoiding it
(if you're attempting to do so).  Additionally, the body will strike other
enemies as well.  The kick is a totally different animation than any other
attack in the game, and its attack window is much faster.  Lastly, it's 
wonderful for cancelling the recovery of the slower Heavy attacks.

There is not damage listing available for it, since the kick is only usable on 
an already expired enemy.  However, it would be interesting to see what damage 
is applied to enemies that are hit by a fellow enemy's body, either by Burial 
Kick, Guillotine Throw or Six Paths Spin as an enemy can be killed by any of 
these scenarios.

DRAGON SWORD
------------
1. Tranquil Clearing (Lvl2) - OL X (MULTI)
This undocumented move makes Ryu do a spinning slash that can be comboed
extensively upon landing from a jump.  It does more damage than a standard X.

2. Rooted Windmill (NEAR) - 6+X (DECAP)
If an enemy is near to Ryu when he initiates his Windmill Slash, Ryu will spin 
in place and hold the DS in both hands instead of rolling some distance.

KITETSU
-------
1.  Soul Bind - 6+X, X[, X, X, X, X, X] (All X's Absorb, INV, Final X GROUND)
I have given the name Soul Bind to 4 X's following the Crazed 
Bones Slash (6+X).  You do not need to input the X, X beforehand for the move 
to come out, hence the absence of "Dead" designation.  And to further 
differentiate between the two strikes, Soul Bind grants INV.  Crazed Bones 
Slash only grants CRUMPLE.

2.  Soul Eraser - 6+X, [6+]Y [, [6+]Y, [6+]Y] (CLEAR, PHANTOM)
Likewise, you don't need to input the slashes of Dark Rain for Soul Eraser to 
come out.  Additionally, you can direct the actual Eraser part.  Kitetsu 
gains additional Soul Erasers at additional levels.

DRAGON SWORD/KITETSU
--------------------
1. Life's Circle - BEHIND/LEFT/RIGHT X
One of the great aspects about the animation engine is the attention to detail.
Ryu's opening strike of Crimson Slash or Dark Rain animates totally differently 
depending upon Ryu's orientation to his targeted enemy.  That is, if the enemy 
is directly in front of him, Ryu will bring the DS/Kitetsu straight down with 
both hands from over his head.  If the enemy is behind Ryu, he'll do a little 
turn beforehand.  If the enemy is to Ryu's right side, he'll slash with one 
hand from right to left, and he'll reverse this motion if the enemy is to his 
left side.

The third X of Crimson Slash shares this property as well.  In that case, the 
slash is 360 degrees, one-handed, horizontal and very, very quick.  It also 
CLEARs on CH.

---------------
~~ MOVE LIST ~~
---------------
I will include a comprehensive move list as to facilitate the discussions in
this FAQ.  To provide worth to the lists, I've included conditions and
properties to the moves as well.  Please note that there are at least three
hidden moves in the game.   I will update this FAQ as more are uncovered.

DAMAGE DISCUSSION
-----------------
I've now added a Damage Listing to each move as well.  If a Damage Listing is 
surrounded by parenthesis (7,7), then that means that the move strikes more 
than once, and the damage is listed for each strike.  This information is 
based on observations taken during the game played on Normal and Very Hard.  
Damage was calculated by killing certain enemies with regular shuriken only.  
Each shuriken counts as one hitpoint.  Then, certain enemies were killed on 
Normal and then Very Hard to calculate the differences between the hitpoints 
between the two difficulty levels.  The following information was derived:

Normal
Lesser Shadow Clan - 30
Shadow Clan - 50
Black Spider Clan - 250
Lesser Imp - 60
Imp - 100
Gallas - 450

Very Hard
Lesser Shadow Clan - 36
Shadow Clan - 80
Black Spider Clan - 300
Lesser Imp - 80
Imp - 160
Gallas - 800

Then, each strike in each move was used exclusively to kill the enemy, and the 
enemy's total health was divided by the number of strikes it took to kill it.  
In the case of enemies that cannot be hit with shuriken, the then known Damage 
Listings were used to kill the creature.

The Damage Listings now apply to every level of the weapon where D1 equals a 
level one weapon, D2 equals a level 2 weapon, and so-on.  If a question mark is 
present, that means that the move's damage quotient has not been verified, 
yet.  The lack of a number immediately following the D indicates that the 
damage is the same regardless of weapon level.

The damage listing above were gathered from the original Ninja Gaiden.  The 
amounts have since changed even on Normal, but I have not invested the time 
necessary to recalculate.  For the purposes of the movelists, the damage 
listings should still be considered best estimates.

DRAGON SWORD/PLASMA SWORD, TRUE DRAGON SWORD/PLASMA SWORD MK. II
----------------------------------------------------------------
"A Japanese Sword handed down in the Hayabusa Ninja Clan.  It is carved out of 
the fang of a Dragon."

"The Legendary Ultimate form of the Dragon Sword achieved by fitting the 
Dragon's Eye into it."

This is Ryu's ancient katana that the story is based upon.  The move list is
compatible for the 4 versions of the sword.  It's the most developed and well
rounded weapon in the game.  

You upgrade the weapon the same on all difficulties.  In Eternal Legend, you 
start with a level 2 Dragon Sword, you can upgrade to Level 3, but are granted 
the TDS in a chest in one of the phases.

1.  You acquire the True Dragon Sword/Plasma Sword MK. II the same way as 
well.  In Eternal Legend, you begin with the Level 2 Dragon Sword, Counter 
Attack, Izuna Drop and the Guillotine Throw.  You acquire the True Dragon 
Sword/Plasma Sword MK. II at the end of the 3rd Phase after defeating the Ice 
Fiend.

1. Ground Attacks

Crimson Slash - X, X, X
D1: 10, 10, 15
D2: 15, 15, 20
D3: 22, 22, 33
D4: 33, 33, 44

Dragon Tear (Lvl4) - X, X, X, Y (Y DECAP, BREAK)
D4: 33, 33, 44, 50

Tiger Roar - X, X, Y (Y BREAK)
D1: 10, 10, 20
D2: 15, 15, 25
D3: 22, 22, 40
D4: 33, 33, 66

Cloven Helmet - X, Y, X, Y (1st Y SELFLAUNCH)
D1: 10, 25, 15, 30
D2: 15, 30, 20, 30
D3: 22, 40, 28, 40
D4: 33, 33, 33, 50

Fang of the Wolf (Lvl2) - X, X, Y, Y (1st Y BREAK, 2nd Y DECAP)
D2: 15, 15, 25, 32
D3: 22, 22, 40, 32
D4: 33, 33, 50, 50

Blade of the Dragon's Tail (Lvl3) - X, X, Y, Y, Y (1st Y BREAK, 2nd Y DECAP,
3rd Y CLEAR, REC)
D3: 22, 22, 40, 32, (20,40)
D4: 33, 33, 50, 50, (25,50)

Fiend's Bane Kick - X, X, 6+X, X (3rd X STAGGER, 4th X CLEAR)
D1: 10, 10, 15, 10
D2: 15, 15, 20, 15
D3: 22, 22, 28, 20
D4: 33, 33, 38, 22

Early Winter Rain - X, X, 6+X, Y (3rd X STAGGER, Y STAGGER, REC)
D1: 10, 10, 15, (2,2,4)
D2: 15, 15, 20, (4,4,6)
D3: 22, 22, 28, (6,6,8)
D4: 33, 33, 38, (10,10,12)

Blade of Nirrti (Lvl2) - X, Y, X, X, X, X (Y SELFLAUNCH, PHANTOM)
D2: 15, 30, 20, 20, 20, 40
D3: 22, 40, 28, 28, 28, 50
D4: 33, 35, 33, 33, 33, 50

Izuna Drop (Scroll) - X, Y, X, X, X, Y (1st Y SELFLAUNCH, 2nd Y MULTI, THROW, 
BREAK)
D2: 15, 30, 20, 20, 20, 40
D3: 22, 40, 28, 28, 28, 50
D4: 33, 35, 33, 33, 33, 60

Windmill Slash - 6+X (DECAP)
D1: 25
D2: 25
D3: 30
D4: 30

Blade of the Undefeatable - Y (BREAK)
D1: 30 
D2: 35
D3: 40
D4: 50

Haze Straight Slash - Charge Y (BREAK, CRUSH, DECAP)
D1: 40
D2: 50
D3: 60
D4: 70

Extinction Straight Slash (1 Essence) - Charge Y (ET, DECAP, PROT, REC, 
PHANTOM)
D1: (25,25)
D2: (40,40)
D3: (50,50)
D4: (55,55)

Hundred Wing Blade (2 Essences) - Charge Y (UT, INV, PHANTOM)
D1: (5,20,20,20,20,20,50)
D2: (5,20,20,20,20,20,50)
D3: (10,25,25,25,25,25,62)

Storm of the Heavenly Dragon (Lvl4, 2 Essences) - Charge Y (UT, INV, PHANTOM)
D4: (10,25,50,50,50,50,50,50,50,50,50,100)

Azure Dragon - 6+Y (SELFLAUNCH)
D1: 25
D2: 30
D3: 40
D4: 45

Scarlet Dragon - 6+(Y) (Launch/BREAK)
D1: 30
D2: 35
D3: 45
D4: 50

Blade of the Twin Dragons (Lvl4) - 6+(Y), Y, Y (1st Y Launch/BREAK, 3rd Y 
CLEAR)
D4: 50, 50, (75,25)

Violent Wind - WR, X (SPIN)
D1: 20
D2: 25
D3: 36
D4: 46

Violent Gale (Lvl2) - WR, X, X (1st X SPIN, 2nd X CRUMPLE)
D2: 25, 28
D3: 36, 38
D4: 46, 50

Thunderclap Kick - WR, Y (2nd Strike of Y CLEAR)
D1: (5,5) 
D2: (5,5)
D3: (10,10)
D4: (10,10)

Flying Crane (Lvl2) - 360+Y (DECAP, MULTI, lLAUNCH)
D2: (25,25)
D3: (30,30)
D4: (33,33)

Gleaming Blade (Lvl3) - 360+Charge Y (DECAP, MULTI, lLAUNCH, PROT)
D3: (31,31,31,31,35)
D4: (33,33,33,33,40)

Roaring Gleam (Lvl3, 1 Essence) - 360+Charge Y (DECAP, MULTI, lLAUNCH, 
PROT)
D3: (31,31,31,31,35)
D4: (33,33,33,33,40)

Annihilating Gleam (Lvl3, 2 Essences) - 360+Charge Y (UT, DECAP, MULTI, 
lLAUNCH, PROT, PHANTOM)
D3: (35,35,35,35,40)
D4: (40,40,40,40,50) 

True Dragon Gleam (Lvl4, 2 Essences) - 360+Charge Y (UT, DECAP, MULTI, 
lLAUNCH, PROT, PHANTOM)
D4: (50,50,50,50,60)

Fiend Sealer - DOWN, Y
D1: 80
D2: 100
D3: 150
D4: 200

Tranquil Clearing (Lvl3) - OL X (MULTI)
D2: 20
D3: 28
D4: 40

Burial Kick - NEAR, DEAD6+X (CLEAR)
D1: 10
D2: 10
D3: 10
D4: 10

2. Counter Attacks

Gleaming Cross (Scroll) - WB, Y (MULTI, DECAP, INV)
D1: (25,25)
D2: (25,25)
D3: (25,25)
D4: (30,30)

Fiend's Bane Kick (Scroll) - WB, X[, X] (First X Launch, 2nd X CLEAR, PROT)
D1: (5,5), 10
D2: (5,5), 10
D3: (5,5), 10
D4: (10,10), 20

3. Jumping Attacks

Blade of the Empty Air - A, X
D1: 15
D2: 20
D3: 28
D4: 33

Helmet Splitter - A, Y (BREAK, GROUND)
D1: 20
D2: 25
D3: 40
D4: 50

Blade of Nirrti (Lvl2) - A, NEAR, X, X, X, X (4th X DECAP, BREAK, PHANTOM)
D2: 20, 20, 20, 40
D3: 28, 28, 28, 50
D4: 33, 33, 33, 50

Izuna Drop (Scroll) - A, NEAR, X, X, X, Y (Y THROW, MULTI, BREAK)
D2: 20, 20, 20, 40
D3: 28, 28, 28, 50
D4: 33, 33, 33, 60

Air Destruction Slash - 7/9, X
D1: 22
D2: 30
D3: 32
D4: 42

Falling Dragon Blade - 7/9, Y
D1: 25
D2: 30
D3: 34
D4: 44

Flying Swallow (Lvl2) - 9, NEAR, 6+Y (DECAP, PROT, REC, PHANTOM)
D2: 50
D3: 55
D4: 60

Guillotine Throw (Scroll) - 9, NEAR, X+A (THROW)
D: 33

Wind Path - NEAR, A (PHANTOM)
D: 0

4. Wall

Cicada Slash - X/Y
D1: 25
D3: 30
D3: 46
D4: 50

Flying Bird Flip - A
D: 0

Flying Swallow (Lvl2) - WR, X/Y (DECAP, PROT, REC, PHANTOM)
D2: 50
D3: 55
D4: 60

Divine Cicada Slash - Flying Bird Flip, X/Y (BREAK, DECAP, MULTI, INV, 
PHANTOM)
D1: 44
D2: 54
D3: 64
D4: 68

5. In Water

Wave Reverser - On Surface X/Y, X/Y
D: 25, 30

Ripple Slash - While Swimming On Surface X/Y
D: 40

Floating Blade - Underwater X/Y, X/Y
D: 30, 30

Gleaming Water Dragon - While Swimming Underwater X/Y
D: (25,40)

NUNCHAKU
--------
"A weapon made by joining two sticks together with a chain.  It is very suited 
to free-form combo attacks."

This weapon is one of the standard 5 systematized weapons of Kobudo consisting
of two rods connected by a chain.  There isn't a lot of use for this weapon
once the Flail has been located, unless you are trying to avoid decapitations.
You cannot achieve decapitations with this weapon.  

You attain this weapon in Chapter 4 on the Normal Difficulty setting, but in 
every other setting, you begin with this weapon which increases its usefulness 
appreciably.  It is the weapon of choice for Chapter 1 on Master Ninja.

1. Ground Attacks

Dragon and Phoenix - X, X, X, X, X, X (Last X BEHIND, RIGHT)
D: (4,2,2), 8, 8, 8, 8, 10

Fire Pit - X, X,[ X, X, X, X, ]Y (Y CLEAR)
D: (4,3), 8, 25

Wide Heavens - X, Y (Y lLAUNCH)
D: (4,3), 17

Sweeping Kick - 6+X (CLEAR)
D: 10

Flame Wheel - Y, Y (2nd Y CLEAR)
D: 17, 40

Auspicious Crane - Charge Y
D: 25

Auspicious Phoenix (1 Essence) - Charge Y (ET, DECAP, CLEAR, PROT, PHANTOM)
D: 75

Gathering Clouds (2 Essences) - Charge Y (UT, INV, PHANTOM)
D: (5,10,10,5,10,10,15,15,20,25,10)

Earth Slide - WR, X (GROUND)
D: 13

Thunderclap Kick - WR, Y (2nd Strike of Y CLEAR)
D: (10,10)

Demon Chaser - DOWN, Y
D: 80

2. Counter Attack

Ring of Heaven Kick (Scroll) - WB, X/Y (Launch)
D: 20

3. Jumping Attacks

Sweeping Strike - 7/8/9, X
D: 20

Dragon Emperor Kick - 7/8/9, Y
D: 33

Guillotine Throw (Scroll) - 9, NEAR, X+A (THROW)
D: 33

Wind Path - NEAR, A
D: 0

4. Wall

Flying Bird Flip - A
D: 0

Hell Drop - Flying Bird Flip X/Y (PHANTOM)
D: 30

Mountain Crane - Flying Bird Flip, X/Y, Y (2nd Y MULTI, CLEAR, PHANTOM)
D: 30,(20,20)

5. In Water

Aqua Thrust - On Surface X/Y
D: 15

Water Formation Kick - Underwater X/Y
D: 20

VIGOORIAN FLAIL
---------------
"A weapon used by Medieval Vigoorians; it can be swung like Nunchaku in 
combat."

The Flail is an advanced, Nunchaku-type weapon with ornamental kama connected
by a chain.  The Kama themselves are part of the systematized 5 weapons of 
Kobudo.  Team Ninja saw fit to combine the two distinct weapons successfully 
into one deadly implement.  Most strikes will decapitate.  The Flail will 
generate the highest combos, but the combo enders have the significant 
recovery.  This weapon doesn't have any significant launchers available.

In the original game, you attain this weapon in Chapter 6 out of a chest.  
However, the varying difficulties, you are granted this weapon after you 
retrieve a certain number of Scarabs.  In Eternal Legend, you start off with 
this weapon.

1. Ground Attacks

Dragon and Phoenix - X, X, X, X, X, X (2nd/5th X STAGGER, 4th X PROT, 6th X 
REC, CLEAR, BEHIND, RIGHT All X DECAP)
D1: 
D2: (5,5,4), 17, 17, 17, 17, 20

Cremator (Lvl2) - X, X, X, 6+X, X, X, X, X (4th-7th X, PROT, 8th X REC, CLEAR, 
PROT, All X DECAP)
D1: 
D2: (5,5,4), 17, 17, 11, (5,5), (5,5), (5,5), (5,5)

Dragon Slaughter (Lvl2) - X, X, X, 6+X, Y (Y, DECAP, MULTI, CLEAR)
D1: 
D2: (5,5,4), 17, 17, 11, (20,25)

Fire Pit - X, X,[ X, X, X, X, ]Y (Y DECAP, CLEAR)
D1: 
D2: (5,5,4), 14, 50

Wide Heavens - X, Y (Y lLAUNCH)
D1: 
D2: (5,5,4), 33

Runaway Lightning (Lvl2) - NEAR, X, Y (THROW, PROT)
D2: (5,5,4), 67

Sweeping Kick - 6+X (CLEAR)
D1: 
D2: 20

Flame Wheel - Y, Y (2nd Y CLEAR)
D1: 
D2: 33, (25,25)

Auspicious Crane - Charge Y (CLEAR)
D1: 
D2: 50

Auspicious Phoenix (1 Essence) - Charge Y (ET, DECAP, CLEAR, PROT, PHANTOM)
D1: 
D2: 65

Gathering Clouds (2 Essences) - Charge Y (UT, INV, PHANTOM)
D1: 
D2: (?,?,?,?,?,?,?,?)

Ripping Thunder (Lvl2) - 6+Y, Y, Y (2nd Y DECAP, 3rd Y CLEAR)
D2: 25, (25,25), 50

Earth Slide - WR, X (GROUND)
D1: 
D2: 13

Thunderclap Kick - WR, Y (2nd Strike of Y CLEAR)
D1: 
D2: (10,10)

Demon Chaser - DOWN, Y (DECAP)
D1: 
D2: 100

2. Counter Attack

Ring of Heaven Kick (Scroll) - WB, X/Y (Launch, INV)
D1: 
D2: 50

3. Jumping Attacks

Sweeping Strike - 7/8/9, X
D1: 
D2: 30

Dragon Emperor Kick - 7/8/9, Y
D1: 
D2: 33

Red-Hot Iron Brand - 9, NEAR, 6+Y (DECAP, PROT, PHANTOM)
D1: 
D2: (15,10,5)

Guillotine Throw (Scroll) - 9, NEAR, X+A (THROW)
D: 33

Wind Path - NEAR, A
D: 0

4. Wall

Flying Bird Flip - A
D: 0

Hell Drop - Flying Bird Flip X/Y (PHANTOM)
D: 50

Mountain Crane - Flying Bird Flip, X/Y, Y (2nd Y DECAP, MULTI, CLEAR, 
PHANTOM)
D: 50,(40,40)

5. In Water

Aqua Thrust - On Surface X/Y
D: 15

Water Formation Kick - Underwater X/Y
D: 20

WAR HAMMER
----------
"Rachel's War Hammer.  A Fiend Hunter's weapon, it is suitable for taking the 
heads off of Fiends."

Rachel's large, ax-like, two-handed hammer is a good weapon to use against
Fiends, at least until you have a fully upgraded Dabilahro.  The Six Paths Spin
is unrivalled in usefulness when used against crowds of Fiends.

Ryu comes across this weapon the same way in all the difficulty levels.  He 
acquires the weapon after he travels to the Shadow Realm in Eternal Legend.

1. Ground Attacks

Ram's Head Drop - X
D1: 26
D2: 40

Horse Head Crush - X, X (2nd X BREAK)
D1: 26, 26
D2: 40, 40

Gleam of Heaven and Earth - X, Y (Y GROUND, DECAP)
D1: 26, 100
D2: 40, 180

Surging Wave - Y
D1: 40
D2: 67

Flaming Torrent (Lvl2) - Y, Y (2nd Y DECAP, CLEAR)
D2: 67, 70

Thunder Tremor - Charge Y (BREAK, GROUND)
D1: 50
D2: 67

Rage Tremor (1 Essence) - Charge Y (ET, PROT, PHANTOM)
D1: 80
D2: 100

Tremor of the Heavens (2 Essences) - Charge Y (UT, PROT, PHANTOM)
D1: 150
D2: 200

Steel Severer - 6+X (DECAP, CLEAR)
D1: 35
D2: 40

Flaming Whirlwind - 6+Y (DECAP, BREAK, CLEAR, REC)
D1: 50
D2: 67

Earth Slide - WR, X (GROUND)
D1: 13
D2: 13

Thunderclap Kick - WR, Y (2nd Strike of Y CLEAR)
D1: (10,10)
D2: (10,10)

Six Paths Spin (Lvl2) - 360+Y (THROW, CLEAR, MULTI, PROT)
D2: (20,20,20,50)
D2: Throw (150)

Corpse Crusher - DOWN, Y
D1: 100
D2: 160

2. Counter Attack

Reigning Spiral (Scroll) - WB, X/Y (DECAP, CLEAR)
D1: 80
D2: 100

3. Jumping Attacks

Avalanche Drop - 7/8/9, X/Y
D1: 40
D2: 60

Guillotine Throw (Scroll) - 9, NEAR, X+A (THROW)
D: 33

Wind Path - 7/8/9, NEAR, A
D: 0

4. Wall

Flying Bird Flip - A
D: 0

Rolling Thunder - X/Y
D1: 60
D2: 80

Raging Thunder - Flying Bird Flip, X/Y (DECAP, GROUND, REC, INV, PHANTOM)
D1: 75
D2: 100

5. In Water

Aqua Thrust - On Surface X/Y
D: 15

Water Formation Kick - Underwater X/Y
D: 20

DABILAHRO
---------
"A two-handed sword used by ancient Vigoorian Berserkers.  Due to its 100-
pound heft, it is very powerful."

This large, two-handed ornamental blade is instrumental in Ryu's arsenal.  
It is very useful for the Gallas unless you have the Unlabored Flawlessness.

In the normal and Hard difficulties, you gain this weapon after 
retrieving a certain number of Scarabs and reaching Chapter 8.  On higher 
difficulties, you must break the door in Drawbridge Square to acquire it.  
you begin with this weapon in Eternal Legend.

1. Ground Attacks

Destroyer of Armies - X, X, X, X
D1: 26, 26, 26, 30
D2: 36, 36, 36, 36
D3: 40, 40, 40, 40

Whirling Empire Blade (Lvl3) - X, X, X, X, X (5th X CLEAR)
D3: 40, 40, 40, 40, 50

Flaming Hell Slash (Lvl3) - X, X, [X, X, X,] Y (Y, DECAP, CLEAR, REC)
D3: 40, 40, 40, 40, 50, 80

Gleam of Heaven and Earth - X, Y (Y GROUND, DECAP)
D1: 26, 100
D2: 40, 180
D3: 50, 180

Inferno Slash - Y (DECAP, BREAK, REC)
D1: 50 
D2: 67
D3: 67

Purgatory Slash - Charge Y (GROUND, REC)
D1: 50
D2: 67
D3: 100

Hundred Demons Blade (1 Essence) - Charge Y (ET, PROJ, PROT, PHANTOM)
D1: 80
D2: 90
D3: 100

Asura Slash (2 Essences) - Charge Y (UT, PROJ, MULTI, PROT, PHANTOM)
D1: 100
D2: 150
D3: 200

Flaming Inferno - 6+X
D1: 33 
D2: 33
D3: 33

Flaming Whirlwind - 6+Y (BREAK, CLEAR, DEAD, DECAP, REC)
D1: 80
D2: 90
D3: 100

Earth Slide - WR, X (GROUND)
D1: 13
D2: 13
D3: 13

Thunderclap Kick - WR, Y (2nd Strike of Y CLEAR)
D1: (10,10)
D2: (10,10)
D3: (10,10)

Hundred Man Slash (Lvl2) - 360+Y (MULTI, CLEAR)
D2: (20,20,20,50)
D3: (25,25,25,60)

Corpse Crusher - DOWN, Y
D1: 100 
D2: 160
D3: 180

2. Counter Attack

Reigning Spiral (Scroll) - WB, X/Y (DECAP, CLEAR, DEAD, MULTI, INV)
D1: 60
D2: 80
D3: 100

3. Jumping Attacks

Foot Crusher - 7/8/9, X/Y
D1: 35
D2: 40
D3: 60

Guillotine Throw (Scroll) - 9, NEAR, X+A (THROW)
D: 33

Wind Path - 7/8/9, NEAR, A
D: 0

4. Wall

Flying Bird Flip - A
D: 0

Thunderous Blade - X/Y
D1: 40
D2: 60
D3: 80

Raging Thunderous Blade - Flying Bird Flip, X/Y (DECAP, CLEAR, REC, INV, 
PHANTOM)
D1: 60
D2: 75
D3: 100

5. In Water

Aqua Thrust - On Surface X/Y
D: 15

Water Formation Kick - Underwater X/Y
D: 20

SPEAR GUN
---------
This firearm is a harpoon delivery system.  Ryu can use it both above and
underwater.  Ryu cannot block with it armed.

On most difficulties, you acquire this weapon off of a dead Black Spider 
Clan Ninja in Chapter 11.  On Very Hard only, you must gather 35 Scarabs 
to acquire it.  It is not available in Eternal Legend.

1. Ground Attacks

Spear Shot - X/Y
D: 25

Earth Slide - WR, X (GROUND)
D: 13

Thunderclap Kick - WR, Y (2nd Strike of Y CLEAR)
D: (10,10)

2. Jumping Attacks

Dragon Emperor Kick - X/Y
D: 33

Guillotine Throw (Scroll) - 9, NEAR, X+A (THROW)
D: 33

3. In Water

Spear Shot - On Surface/Underwater X/Y
D: 60

WOODEN SWORD
------------
A wooden, practice sword that Ryu can purchase.  Once your health drops to one
tenth and five percent of your total health, you get a large offensive boost,
and it will glow.  You can upgrade this weapon to the Unlabored Flawlessness.
You cannot achieve decapitations with this weapon.  It will increase in 
strength slightly with each upgrade, but not enough to make it a viable weapon.

Muramasa will sell this weapon to Ryu on most difficulties, but on Hard, you 
get it after so many Scarabs.  It is not available in Eternal Legend, but it 
is available for most Mission Mode missions.

1. Ground Attacks

Crimson Slash - X, X, X
D: 5,5,5

Tiger Roar - X, X, Y
D: 5,5,10

Cloven Helmet - X, Y, X, Y (1st Y SELFLAUNCH)
D: 5, 8, 5, 10

Fiend's Bane Kick - X, X, 6+X, X
D: 5,5,5,8

Early Winter Rain - X, X, 6+X, Y
D: 5,5,5,(2,2,2)

Blade of the Undefeatable - Y
D: 10

Scarlet Dragon - 6+(Y) (Launch/BREAK)
D: 10

Sweeping Kick - 6+X (CLEAR)
D: 10

Earth Slide - WR, X (GROUND)
D: 13

Thunderclap Kick - WR, Y (2nd Strike of Y CLEAR)
D: (10,10)

Fiend Sealer - DOWN, Y
D: 50

2. Counter Attacks

Gleaming Cross (Scroll) - WB, Y (INV)
D: (4,4)

Fiend's Bane Kick (Scroll) - WB, X[, X] (2nd X CLEAR, PROT)
D: (2,2),5

3. Jumping Attacks

Blade of the Empty Air - A, X
D: 5

Helmet Splitter - A, Y
D: 10

Air Destruction Slash - 7/9, X
D: 6

Falling Dragon Blade - 7/9, Y
D: 15

Guillotine Throw (Scroll) - 9, NEAR, X+A (THROW)
D: 33

Wind Path - 7/8/9, NEAR, A
D: 0

4. Wall

Flying Bird Flip - A
D: 0

Cicada Slash - X/Y
D: 15

Divine Cicada Slash - Flying Bird Flip, X/Y (INV)
D: 20

5. In Water

Wave Reverser - On Surface X/Y, X/Y
D: 5, 10

Ripple Slash - While Swimming On Surface X/Y
D: 20

Floating Blade - Underwater X/Y, X/Y
D: 10, 10

Gleaming Water Dragon - While Swimming Underwater X/Y
D: (15,20)

KITETSU
-------
"The weapon used by Doku, it is a cursed Japanese sword that feeds off souls 
of those it slays. "

Doku relinquishes this demonic, life-siphoning, duplicating Daito (Japanese
long sword).  It has many unique properties such as: projectile-capability,
Invincible life-force transferal, excessive decapitation and cloning.  In 
Black, the unfortunate tendency to leech the user's life-force has been 
removed altogether.  Many of the Kitetsu's strikes are weaker than the TDS, 
but its special properties more than make up for this deficiency.

In all of the difficulties, you acquire this weapon after defeating Doku.  In 
Eternal Legend, you gain the Kitetsu after defeating the Hydracubus.

1. Ground Attacks

Dark Rain - X, X, X (3rd X DECAP, GROUND)
D: 20, 20, (10,10)

Stab of Overpowering Evil - X, X, Y (PROJ, DECAP, GROUND)
D: 20, 20 (25,25)

Dead Soul Bind - X, X, 6+X, X[, X, X, X, X, X] (All X's after Soul Bind 
Absorb, INV, Final X CRUMPLE)
D: 20, 20, 25, (10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10)

Soul Bind -  6+X, X[, X, X, X, X, X] (All X's Absorb, INV, Final X GROUND)
D: 25, (10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10)

Soul Eraser - [X, X, ]6+X, [X, X, X, X, X, ][6+]Y (CLEAR, PHANTOM)
D: 20, 20, 25, 50

Soul Eraser (LEVEL3) - [X, X, ]6+X, [X, X, X, X, X, ][6+]Y[, [6+]Y, [6+]Y] 
(CLEAR, PHANTOM)
D: 20, 20, 25, 50, 50, 50

Blade of Nirrti - X, Y, X, X, X, X (BREAK, PHANTOM)
D: 20, 35, 20, 20, 20, 50

Izuna Drop (Scroll) - X, Y, X, X, X, Y (1st Y SELFLAUNCH, 2nd Y MULTI, THROW, 
BREAK)
D: 20, 35, 20, 20, 20, 60

Stab of Extinction - Y (PROJ, DECAP, BREAK, SPIN)
D: (25,25)

Haze Straight Slash - Charge Y (DECAP, BREAK, CRUSH)
D: 50

Extinction Straight Slash (1 Essence) - Charge Y (ET, DECAP, BREAK, PHANTOM)
D: 100

Bassara (2 Essences) - Charge Y (UT, MULTI, DECAP, PHANTOM)
D: (?,?,?,?,?,?)

Crazed Bones Slash - 6+X
D: 25

Azure Dragon - 6+Y (SELFLAUNCH)
D: 35

Scarlet Dragon - 6+(Y) (LAUNCH, BREAK)
D: 35

Blade of the Twin Dragons (Lvl3) - 6+(Y), Y, Y (1st Y Launch/BREAK, 3rd Y 
CLEAR)
D4: 50, 50, (75,25)

Beheaded Demon - WR, X[, X] (X SPIN, 2nd X MULTI, DECAP, CLEAR)
D: 33, 33

Thunderclap Kick - WR, Y (2nd Strike of Y CLEAR)
D: (10,10)

Hundred Curses Slash - 360+Y (MULTI, DECAP, SPIN)
D: (11,11,11,11,11,12)

Fiend Sealer - DOWN, Y
D: 100

Burial Kick - NEAR, Dead 6+X (CLEAR)
D: 10

2. Counter Attacks

Gleaming Cross (Scroll) - WB, Y (DECAP, MULTI, INV)
D: 50

Fiend's Bane Kick (Scroll) - WB, X[, X] (First X LAUNCH, 2nd X CLEAR, PROT)
D: (5, 5), 10

3. Jumping Attacks

Blade of Nirrti - 7/8/9, X, X, X, X
D: 20, 20, 20, 50

Izuna Drop (Scroll) - 7/8/9, X, X, X, Y (Y THROW, MULTI, BREAK)
D: 20, 20, 20, 60

Helmet Splitter - A, Y (BREAK, GROUND)
D: 50

Air Destruction Slash - 7/9, X
D: 32

Falling Dragon Blade - 7/9, Y
D: 34

Flying Swallow (LEVEL2) - 7/9, NEAR, 6+Y (DECAP, PROT, REC, PHANTOM)
D: 33

Guillotine Throw (Scroll) - 9, NEAR, X+A (THROW)
D: 33

Wind Path - 7/8/9, NEAR, A
D: 0

4. Wall

Flying Bird Flip - A
D: 0

Cicada Slash - X/Y
D: 50

Flying Swallow (LEVEL2) - WR, X/Y (DECAP, REC, PHANTOM)
D: 33

Divine Cicada Slash - Flying Bird Flip, X/Y (BREAK, DECAP, MULTI, INV, 
PHANTOM)
D: 66

5. In Water

Wave Reverser - On Surface X/Y, X/Y
D: 25, 30

Ripple Slash - While Swimming On Surface X/Y
D: 40

Floating Blade - Underwater X/Y, X/Y
D: 30, 30

Gleaming Water Dragon - While Swimming Underwater X/Y
D: (25,40)

UNLABORED FLAWLESSNESS
----------------------
The ultimate form of the Wooden Sword is a large, two-handed Oar with glowing,
red Kanji.  Once your health drops to one tenth or five percent of your total
health, you'll receive a large offensive boost, and the Kanji will glow.  In
this state, it is the most powerful weapon in the game.

Ryu creates this weapon the same way in all difficulties by spending an 
inordinate amount of Essence upgrading the Wooden Sword.  This can only be 
done fully after Chapter 8, but you can get every other level up until that 
point.  It is unavailable in Eternal Legend, but it is available for many of 
the Mission Mode missions.

1. Ground Attacks

Flaming Hell Slash - X, X, Y (Y CLEAR)
D: 60,60,80
DM: 

Flying Dragon Falling Slash - X, Y, X, X, X, X (Y LAUNCH, 5th X GROUND, REC, 
PHANTOM)
D: 60,70,60,60,60,70
DM: 

Izuna Drop - X, Y, X, X, X, Y (1st Y SELFLAUNCH, 2nd Y MULTI, THROW, BREAK)
D: 60,70,60,60,60,80
DM: 

Forest Winds and Mountain Fires - X, (Y), Y (1st Y SELFLAUNCH, JF, 2nd Y CLEAR)
D: 60,75,100
DM: 

Boulder Splitter - Y (BREAK, REC)
D: 80
DM: 

Steel Splitter - Charge Y
D: 90
DM: 

Tempered Steel Splitter (1 Essence) - Charge Y (ET, CLEAR, PROT, PHANTOM)
D: 100
DM: 

Earth Splitter (2 Essences) - Charge Y  (UT, MULTI, DEAD, INV, PHANTOM)
D: 350
DM: 

Flaming Inferno - 6+X
D: 55
DM: 

Flaming Whirlwind - 6+Y (BREAK, CLEAR, DECAP, REC)
D: 60
DM: 

Earth Slide - WR, X (GROUND)
D: 13

Thunderclap Kick - WR, Y (2nd Strike of Y CLEAR)
D: (10,10)

Hundred Man Slash - 360+Y (MULTI, CLEAR)
D: (40,40,40,80)
DM:

Corpse Crusher - DOWN, Y
D: 200
DM: 

2. Counter Attack

Reigning Spiral - WB, X/Y (DEAD, INV)
D: 160
DM: 

3. Jumping Attacks

Flying Dragon Falling Slash - 7/8/9, X, X, X, X (BREAK, DECAP, PHANTOM)
D: 60,60,60,70
DM: 

Izuna Drop - X, X, X, Y (Y THROW, MULTI, BREAK)
D: 60,60,60,80
DM: 

Avalanche Drop - X/Y
D: 70
DM: 

Guillotine Throw (Scroll) - 9, NEAR, X+A (THROW)
D: 33
DM: 

Wind Path - 7/8/9, NEAR, A
D: 0

4. Wall

Flying Bird Flip - A
D: 0

Rolling Thunder - X/Y
D: 100
DM: 

Raging Thunder - Flying Bird Flip, X/Y (GROUND, DEAD, REC, PHANTOM)
D: 150
DM: 

5. In Water

Aqua Thrust - On Surface X/Y
D: 15

Water Formation Kick - Underwater X/Y
D: 20

DARK DRAGON BLADE
-----------------
"An evil blade that has been sealed away by the Hayabusa Ninja clan.  Chaos 
brings out its hellish power."

Aside from the Unlabored Flawlessness at five percent health, this is actually
the strongest weapon in the game.  It has many, subtle properties that prove it
so, as almost every move is either a Guard BREAK or a CLEAR Away.  Also, the
Dark Dragon Gates of Hell is nearly stronger than Earth Splitter on one foe.  
This weapon represents the Sealed version of the sword as you cannot do many 
of the moves that are seen in the game when it is used.  However, you do get 
a lot of the exact same combos.

On difficulties above Normal, Muramasa will give you a sealed version of the 
Dark Dragon Blade for collecting all 50 Scarabs.  Ryu comes across this weapon 
at the end of Phase 4 in the Eternal Legend after defeating Doku.

1. Ground Attacks

Gleam of Heaven and Earth - X, Y (Y BREAK)
D: 50, 100

Flaming Hell Slash - X, X, Y (1st X BREAK, 2nd X DECAP, 3rd X CLEAR, INV)
D: 50, 50, 100

Dark Dragon Descending Fiends - Y (BREAK)
D: 80

Dark Dragon Flaming Demon - Charge Y (CLEAR)
D: 100

Dark Dragon Cauterizing Slash (1 Essence) - Charge Y (ET, MULTI, DECAP, CLEAR, 
PROT, PHANTOM)
D: 160

Dark Dragon Gates of Hell (2 Essences) - Charge Y (UT, DEAD, INV, PHANTOM)
D: (?,?,?,?,?,?)

Hundred Demons' Bite - 6+X (BREAK)
D: 50

Flaming Whirlwind - 6+Y (DECAP, CLEAR, REC)
D: 200

Earth Slide - WR, X (GROUND)
D: 13

Thunderclap Kick - WR, Y (2nd Strike of Y CLEAR)
D: (10,10)

Hundred Man Slash - 360+Y (MULTI, CLEAR)
D: (40,40,40,80)

Corpse Crusher - DOWN, Y
D: 200

2. Counter Attack

Reigning Spiral (Scroll) - WB, X/Y (DEAD, DECAP, MULTI)
D: 200

3. Jumping Attacks

Fool Crusher - 7/8/9, X/Y
D: 70

Guillotine Throw (Scroll) - 9, NEAR, X+A (THROW)
D: 33

Wind Path - 7/8/9, NEAR, A
D: 0

4. Wall

Flying Bird Flip - A
D: 0

Thunderous Blade - X/Y
D: 100

Raging Thunderous Blade - Flying Bird Flip, X/Y (CLEAR, MULTI, DECAP, INV, 
PHANTOM)
D: 150

5. In Water

Aqua Thrust - On Surface X/Y
D: 15

Water Formation Kick - Underwater X/Y
D: 20

LUNAR
-----
"A weapon said to contain mysterious power of the Moon.  It's made of a strong 
Willow Tree."

The Lunar is a Bo, and Ryu uses Boujutsu whilst handling the weapon.  This is 
another weapon from the 5 systematized weapons of Kobudo like the Nunchaku and 
the Kama pieces of the Vigoorian Flail.  The weapon's strengths are the 
substantial mid-combo protection, combo length, non-contact UT and coverage.  
Its weaknesses are relative its relative weak strength and lack of a Flying 
Swallow type move.

1. Ground Attacks

Raven's Strike - X, X, X (2nd Strike of 3rd X SPIN)
D1: 8, (4,4,4), (5,5)
D2: 10, (5,5,5), (5,5)
D3: 14, (7,7,7), (10, 15)

Dragon's Claw (Lvl2) - X, X, X, Y (1st strike of Y BREAK, Last strike of Y,
CLEAR, DECAP)
D2: 10, (5,5,5), (5,5), (5,5,10,10)
D3: 14, (7,7,7), (10, 15), (25,25)

Raven Light - X, X, Y (Y, GROUND)
D1: 8, (4,4,4), 25
D2: 10, (5,5,5), 30
D3: 14, (7,7,7), 44

Twilight - X, Y (Y CLEAR)
D1: 8, 30
D2: 10, 33
D3: 14, 44

Infinite Fury (Lvl2) - X, Y, Y (1st, 3rd strikes of Y BREAK)
D2: 10, 33, (10,10,10,12)
D3: 14, 33, (12,12,12,14)

Arc of the Moon - Y
D1: 30
D2: 40
D3: 50

Soul of the Crescent - Charge Y (1st strike of Y BREAK, 2nd Y CLEAR)
D1: (25,25)
D2: (30,30)
D3: (33,33)

Shrouded Crescent (1 Essence) - Charge Y (ET, CRUSH, PHANTOM)
D1: (30,30) 
D2: (40,40)
D3: (50,50)

Raven's Veil (2 Essences) - Charge Y (UT, MULTI, DECAP, PHANTOM)
D1: (25,25,25,25,30)
D2: (30,30,30,30,40)
D3: (50,50,50,50,60)

Lion's Rage - 6+X (Last Strike of X LAUNCH)
D1: (4,4,4,4)
D2: (5,5,5,5)
D3: (8,8,8,8)

Lion's Rage (Lvl2) - 6+X, X (Last Strike of X's LAUNCH)
D2: (5,5,5,5), (5,5,5,5)
D3: (8,8,8,8), (8,8,8,8)

Lion's Rage (Lvl3) - 6+X, X, X (Last Strike of X's LAUNCH)
D3: (8,8,8,8), (8,8,8,8), (8,8,8,8)

Black Widow - 6+X, Y (Last strike of Y CLEAR)
D1: (4,4,4,4), (10,10)
D2: (5,5,5,5), (20,20)
D3: (8,8,8,8), (25,25)

Black Widow (Lvl2) - 6+X, X, Y (Last strike of Y CLEAR)
D2: (5,5,5,5), (5,5,5,5), (20,20)
D3: (8,8,8,8), (8,8,8,8), (25,25)

Black Widow (Lvl3) - 6+X, X, X, Y (Last strike of Y CLEAR)
D3: (8,8,8,8), (8,8,8,8), (8,8,8,8), (25,25)

Crescent Strike - 6+Y (LAUNCH)
D1: (5,10)
D2: (10,15)
D3: (15,20)

Full Moon Strike (Lvl3) - 6+Y, Y (1st Y LAUNCH, 2nd Y SELFLAUNCH)
D3: (15,20), (10,15)

Lunar Explosion (Lvl3) - 6+Y, Y, Y (1st Y LAUNCH, 2nd Y SELFLAUNCH)
D3: (15,20), (10,15), 40

Purgatory's Rivet - WR, X (CLEAR)
D1: 15 
D2: 20
D3: 33

Twin Serpent Strike - WR, Y
D1: (20,10,10,20)
D2: (30,10,10,30)
D3: (40,15,15,40)

Raven Streams (Lvl3) - 360+Y
D3: (25,25)

Nirmanakaya - DOWN, Y
D1: 100
D2: 150
D3: 200

2. Counter Attack

Concealed Thrust (Scroll) - WB, X/Y (CLEAR, MULTI, INV)
D1: (8,8,10)
D2: (10,10,15)
D3: (15,15,20)

3. Jumping Attacks

Tempest - 7/8/9, X
D1: 12
D2: 15
D3: 20

Phantom Moon - 7/8/9, Y (GROUND)
D1: 30
D2: 35
D3: 40

Guillotine Throw (Scroll) - 9, NEAR, X+A (THROW)
D: 33

Izuna Drop (Scroll) - 7/8/9, NEAR, X, Y (Y THROW, MULTI, BREAK)
D: 20, 80

Wind Path - 7/8/9, NEAR, A
D: 0

4. Wall

Flying Bird Flip - A
D: 0

Phantom Moon - X/Y
D1: 30
D2: 35
D3: 40

Gibbous - Flying Bird Flip, X/Y (CLEAR, MULTI, DECAP, INV, PHANTOM)
D1: 40
D2: 45
D3: 50

5. In Water

Aqua Thrust - On Surface X/Y
D: 15

Water Formation Kick - Underwater X/Y
D: 20

SHURIKEN
--------
"A simple, cross-shaped throwing star."

These four-sided, hand-thrown, metal projectiles occur in a limitless 
supply thanks to Ninja Magic.  They will disappear shortly after being 
thrown as to not give away the Ninja's presence.  

Ryu always has access to standard Shuriken in every difficulty.

1. Ground Attacks

Ground Throw - B
D: 1

Iron Rain - B~B~B~B (JF)
D: 1, 1, 1, 1

Flood Waters - WR B
D: (1,1,1,1)

2. Jumping Attack

Rain Drops - B
D: (1,1,1,1)

3. Wall

Platinum Rain - Flying Bird Flip, B
D: (1,1,1,1,1,1)

WINDMILL SHURIKEN
-----------------
"A giant shuriken with four folding blades.  When thrown, it returns to the 
thrower like a boomerang."

Ayane's "Legendary Weapon" is hidden in an Alley next to Han's Bar in 
all but the Hard difficulty levels.  You must give Muramasa a certain number 
of Scarabs to acquire it on Hard.   When Ryu throws it, it unfolds in mid-air 
and then returns to him.  He stores it folded up on his left arm.  It makes 
a "whoosing" sound as it travels to the target.  This is especially 
noticable if you have surround sound hooked up and throw the Windmill 
Shuriken at the screen and listen as it travels to the back speakers.

In Eternal Legend, Ryu acquires this weapon after defeating the first wave 
of Vigoorian Ninja.

1. Ground Attacks

Ground Throw - [WR 6+]B
D: 25

2. Jumping Attack

Aerial Throw - 7/8/9, B
D: 25

INCENDIARY SHURIKEN
-------------------
Ryu can uses these explosives as an offensive weapon and to open up pathways 
in the game.

On all difficulty settings, Ryu acquires these fused, explosive devices in 
Chapter 6 from the Archive in the Monastery.  He finds them in the first chest 
in Eternal Legend, and like all other projectiles in the Eternal Legend, Ryu 
has an infinite amount of these weapons.

1. Ground Attacks

Ground Throw - [WR 6+]B
D: (1,50)

2. Jumping Attack

Aerial Throw - 7/8/9, B
D: (1,50)

BOW
---
Ryu acquires the bow from an injured Ayane in Hayabusa Village on all 
difficulty levels during the 2nd Chapter.  It is not available in Eternal 
Legend.

1. Ground Attacks

Single Shot - B
D: 20

Tensioned Shot - (B)
D: 25

Precise Shot - (B) 1/2/3/4/6/7/8/9 [R, R, repeat] rB
D: 25

STRONG BOW
----------
"A composite bow made in Vigoor in medieval times.  It cannot be pulled by 
people of average strength."

On all difficulty settings, Ryu acquires this weapon by placing his standard 
Bow in a receptacle in an abandoned building overlooking the Military Supply 
Base Main Gate during Chapter 8.  In Eternal Legend, Ryu finds it in a chest 
at the top of the Core.  Like all other projectiles in Eternal Legend, Ryu has 
an infinite amount of arrows for the weapon.

1. Ground Attacks

Single Shot - B
D: 50

Tensioned Shot - (B)
D: 55

Precise Shot - (B) 1/2/3/4/6/7/8/9 [R, R, repeat] rB
D: 55

APFSDS ARROWS
-------------
Ryu finds these arrows in the Military Supply Base of Chapter 9 on all 
difficulty settings.  Ryu acquires them out of chests in the 2nd Phase 
in Eternal Legend after which, Muramasa will sell them to Ryu.  Like all 
other projectiles in Eternal Legend, Ryu has an infinite amount of these 
types of arrows.

1. Ground Attacks

Single Shot - B
D: 100

Tensioned Shot - (B)
D: 110

Precise Shot - (B) 1/2/3/4/6/7/8/9 [R, R, repeat] rB
D: 110

EXPLOSIVE ARROWS
----------------
"Arrows with explosive tips.  Very destructive."

Ryu finds these arrows in the Military Supply Base of Chapter 9 on all 
difficulty settings.  Ryu acquires them out of chests in the 2nd Phase 
in Eternal Legend after which, Muramasa will sell them to Ryu.  Like all 
other projectiles in Eternal Legend, Ryu has an infinite amount of these 
types of arrows.

1. Ground Attacks

Single Shot - B
D: 150

Tensioned Shot - (B)
D: 160

Precise Shot - (B) 1/2/3/4/6/7/8/9 [R, R, repeat] rB
D: 160

SMOKE BOMBS
-----------
Ryu can utilize these weapons to disrupt an enemy's attack

1. Ground Attacks

Single Drop - B
D: 0

-----------------
~~ MOVE MATRIX ~~
-----------------
There is much too much data contained with in the Move List section to be 
quickly surveyed (unless you are as obsessive about this game as I am).  
Therefore, I have constructed this Matrix to visually show the strengths 
and weaknesses of these tools.

Keep in mind that while this section is purely opinion-based, I have done 
significant amounts of research to come up with these figures.

Attributes determine the effectiveness of the weapon in certain categories.  
The Attributes range in effectiveness on a scale from 1 to 10, where 1 is 
the least effective and 10 is the most effective.  Please, note that this 
scale should not be compared to a scholastic scale.  That is a 6 or lower 
is not a failing score.  Rather a score of 5 denotes average ability in 
that particular attribute.  A 0 indicates no effectiveness in that 
Attribute whatsoever.  The Attribute listings are as follows:

Strn - Strength: How hard does the weapon hit on average
Agil - Agility: How quickly do the strikes come out
Rang - Range: What kind of range does the weapon have
Tech - Ultimate/Essence: How useful are the Ultimate/Essence Techniques
Cmbo - Combo Potential: What is the weapon's Combo potential
Prjl - Projectile Use: How useful are projectiles with the weapon
Brak - Guard Break: What is the Guard Breaking potential of the weapon
Prot - Protection: What sort of protection does the weapon provide 
Aerl - Aerial: How competent is the weapon in the air
Mult - Multiple Opponents: How well does the weapon strike multiple enemies
Watr - Water Effectiveness: How well does the weapon handle in the water
Prty - Special Property: Does the weapon have many special properties
Decp - Decapitation: How much does this weapon decapitate or bloodlet
OVER - OVERALL: Overall effectiveness of weapon; not an average

MELEE
-----
This section covers the melee weapons.  The Weapon listings are as follows:
DS1  - Dragon Sword Level 1
DS2  - Dragon Sword Level 2
DS3  - Dragon Sword Level 3
PS1  - Plasma Sword Level 1
PS2  - Plasma Sword Level 2
PS3  - Plasma Sword Level 3
Nun  - Nunchaku
Lnr1 - Lunar Bo Level 1
Lnr2 - Lunar Bo Level 2
Lnr3 - Lunar Bo Level 3
Wood - Wooden Sword
Fla1 - Vigoorian Flail Level 1
Fla2 - Vigoorian Flail Level 2
Hrpn - Harpoon Gun
Kit1 - Kitetsu Level 1
Kit2 - Kitetsu Level 2
Kit3 - Kitetsu Level 3
War1 - War Hammer Level 1
War2 - War Hammer Level 2
Dab1 - Dabilahro Level 1
Dab2 - Dabilahro Level 2
Dab3 - Dabilahro Level 3
TDS  - True Dragon Sword
PSM2 - Plasma Sword Mk. II
UF   - Unlabored Flawlessness
UFM  - Unlabored Flawlessness at Maximum Strength
DDB  - Dark Dragon Blade

    |Strn|Agil|Rang|Tech|Cmbo|Prjl|Brak|Prot|Aerl|Mult|Watr|Prty|Decp|OVER|
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
DS1 |  3 |  5 |  5 |  2 |  5 |  5 |  3 |  4 |  6 |  3 |  5 |  5 |  4 |  4 |
--------------------------------------------------------------------------|
DS2 |  5 |  6 |  5 |  2 |  7 |  6 |  4 |  6 |  8 |  5 |  5 |  5 |  5 |  5 |
--------------------------------------------------------------------------|
DS3 |  6 |  7 |  5 |  5 |  8 |  7 |  5 |  7 |  8 |  6 |  5 |  5 |  6 |  7 |
--------------------------------------------------------------------------|
PS1 |  4 |  5 |  5 |  2 |  5 |  5 |  3 |  4 |  6 |  3 |  5 |  5 |  4 |  4 |
--------------------------------------------------------------------------|
PS2 |  5 |  6 |  5 |  2 |  7 |  6 |  4 |  6 |  8 |  5 |  5 |  5 |  5 |  5 |
--------------------------------------------------------------------------|
PS3 |  6 |  7 |  5 |  5 |  8 |  7 |  5 |  7 |  8 |  6 |  5 |  5 |  6 |  7 |
--------------------------------------------------------------------------|
Nun |  4 |  7 |  1 |  3 |  5 |  4 |  2 |  6 |  4 |  6 |  3 |  2 |  0 |  4 |
--------------------------------------------------------------------------|
Lnr1|  3 |  7 |  6 |  7 |  5 |  4 |  2 |  5 |  4 |  6 |  3 |  3 |  0 |  4 |
--------------------------------------------------------------------------|
Lnr2|  4 |  8 |  6 |  7 |  7 |  5 |  3 |  9 |  5 |  7 |  3 |  5 |  5 |  5 |
--------------------------------------------------------------------------|
Lnr3|  5 |  9 |  6 |  7 |  9 |  7 |  4 |  9 |  8 |  9 |  3 |  7 |  8 |  8 |
--------------------------------------------------------------------------|
Wood|  1 |  4 |  6 |  0 |  3 |  5 |  1 |  1 |  3 |  1 |  4 |  0 |  0 |  1 |
--------------------------------------------------------------------------|
Hrpn|  5 |  1 | 10 |  0 |  2 |  7 |  5 |  0 |  3 |  1 | 10 |  1 |  0 |  3 |
--------------------------------------------------------------------------|
Fla1|  5 |  7 |  1 |  6 |  5 |  4 |  2 |  7 |  8 |  8 |  3 |  6 |  7 |  5 |
--------------------------------------------------------------------------|
Fla2|  6 | 10 |  2 |  6 |  9 |  5 |  4 | 10 |  8 | 10 |  3 |  8 |  9 |  7 |
--------------------------------------------------------------------------|
Kit1|  4 |  6 |  8 |  5 |  7 | 10 |  5 |  7 |  7 |  7 |  5 |  8 |  7 |  7 |
--------------------------------------------------------------------------|
Kit2|  6 |  8 |  8 |  7 |  8 | 10 |  6 |  9 |  9 |  8 |  5 |  9 |  9 |  8 |
--------------------------------------------------------------------------|
Kit3|  6 |  9 |  9 |  8 |  9 | 10 |  6 |  9 |  9 |  9 |  5 | 10 |  9 |  9 |
--------------------------------------------------------------------------|
War1|  7 |  1 |  7 |  7 |  1 |  1 |  6 |  5 |  1 |  5 |  3 |  5 |  3 |  5 |
--------------------------------------------------------------------------|
War2|  8 |  2 |  8 |  7 |  2 |  1 |  7 |  7 |  1 |  8 |  3 |  7 |  4 |  6 |
--------------------------------------------------------------------------|
Dab1|  7 |  2 |  8 |  8 |  3 |  1 |  6 |  8 |  1 |  5 |  3 |  5 |  6 |  4 |
--------------------------------------------------------------------------|
Dab2|  7 |  3 |  8 |  8 |  4 |  1 |  7 |  9 |  1 |  6 |  3 |  5 |  7 |  5 |
--------------------------------------------------------------------------|
Dab3|  7 |  4 |  9 | 10 |  5 |  1 |  8 | 10 |  1 |  8 |  3 |  5 | 10 |  8 |
--------------------------------------------------------------------------|
TDS |  7 |  8 |  5 |  8 | 10 |  9 |  5 |  7 | 10 |  7 |  5 |  9 |  7 | 10 |
--------------------------------------------------------------------------
PSM2|  7 |  8 |  5 |  8 | 10 |  9 |  5 |  7 | 10 |  7 |  5 |  9 |  7 | 10 |
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
UF  |  8 |  5 | 10 |  7 |  5 |  3 |  8 |  4 |  4 |  5 |  3 |  5 |  8 |  8 |
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
UFM | 10 |  5 | 10 |  9 |  5 |  3 |  8 |  4 |  4 |  6 |  5 |  5 |  8 |  9 |
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
DDB |  8 |  1 |  9 | 10 |  2 |  1 | 10 |  3 |  1 |  2 |  3 |  6 |  9 |  8 |
--------------------------------------------------------------------------

MELEE NOTES
-----------
In this section I will describe why I gave certain weapons certain 
effectiveness ratings.  If you disagree or would like to question some 
rating, please do so in the GameFAQs Ninja Gaiden board.

1.  Strength - This one is easy enough.  Unlabored Flawlessness at maximum 
strength beats out every other weapon by an order of magnitude.

Black has balanced the Nunchaku to be EXTREMELY useful in the early part of 
the game; pre-Chapter 4 where it appears in Normal Difficulty.  On Master 
Ninja the Nunchaku is the weapon of choice on Chapter 1 BY FAR.

2.  Agility - The Flail conquers this section for having the least 
amount of REC moves, the most useful Red-Hot Iron Brand, and Runaway 
Lightning has to count for something.

The War Hammer and DDB come in last for obvious reasons.

3.  Range - Dabi, Unlabored Flawlessness and the DDB all take the top spots 
with Flaming Inferno.  UF gets the nod, though, for Flying Dragon Falling 
Slash. Kitetsu places well for Soul Bind and Stab of Extinction.

Flail and Nunchaku come in last for obvious reason.

4.  Ultimate/Essence Techniques - Asura Slash and Gates of Hell tie for most 
useful UT.  Watch any of the HP2 videos for proof of this.  True Dragon 
Sword/Plasma Saber Mk. II edge out the competition as well for variety 
between Storm of the Heavenly Dragon and Annihilating Gleam.  If only we 
got to keep Hundred Wing Blade...

The lack of Annihilating Gleam hurts the Level 1 and 2 Dragon Sword 
significantly.

5.  Combo Potential - Again, it should be no surprise that the Dragon/
Plasma Sword takes the top spot here.  Too many options.  Kitetsu, 
Lunar Level 3 and Flail Level 2 follow closely behind; Kitetsu for all of 
the WR options, Lunar for LAUNCH and SELFLAUNCH and the Flail for Cremator 
and extensive Y options.

The War Hammer Level 1 comes in last, but regains a bit of ground when you 
upgrade and receive Six Paths Spin.

6.  Projectile Use - Kitetsu nudges out the Dragon Swords for projectile use 
because of Stab of Extinction.  To understand this Attribute and the 
differences between One-Handed, Light Two-Handed and Heavy Two-Handed 
Weapons, check the Weapon Differentiation section. 

The Heavy Two-Handed Weapons all come in last besides the UF for its aerial 
capabilities. 

7.  Guard Break - The DDB defeats all of the other weapons' Blocks all day 
long.  If you've got some turtling enemies, there is only one cure.  The 
other Heavy Two-Handed Weapons place well, too.

Once again, the Harpoon Gun and Wooden Sword bring up the rear.

8.  Protection - The Flail scores a 10 in Protection due to the general 
coverage given to Ryu's flanks and back by pretty much every move in the 
movelist.  Cremator also increases its ranking due to the fact that the 
only thing that can hit you out of this move are various Uninterruptible 
Attacks.  Kitetsu scores highly, because you are totally invincible during 
Soul Bind.  The Dabilahro should be obvious, but in case it's not, 
Destroyer of Armies is ridiculously safe and Asura Slash is nearly broken 
as far as protection is concerned.

You'll note the jump between the DS1/PS1 and DS2/PS2.  That's to account 
for both the addition of Dragon Gleam and Tranquil Clearing and the 
expansion of the circular Fang of the Wolf.

The Wooden Sword scores a 1 due to the lack of any charge moves or Azure 
Dragon.

9.  Aerial - The Dragon Swords nudge out Kit for not having an OL X.  Lunar  
and Flail are tied because Red-Hot Iron Brand and Izuna Drop are 
interchangable as far as usefulness is concerned.  Lunar would score higher 
if the Izuna wasn't so hard to get into.  The big jump from Level 2 Lunar 
to Level 3 is the addition of the SELFLAUNCH Full Moon Strike.

All of the Heavy Two-Handed Weapons score equally poorly, except the UF 
which obviously has a competent air arsenal.

10. Multiple Opponents - Level 2 Flail tops the Lunar for multiplicity 
just because of Cremator.  The War Hammer edges into the top 3 because of 
Six Paths Spin.

11. Water Effectiveness -  This is a no brainer.  Spear Gun.  Next.

12. Special Property - Kitetsu alone reigns supreme here.  It is the only 
weapon capable of inflicting every single state available in Ninja Gaiden.
The Dragon Sword follows closely behind with Flail placing third due to 
Runaway Lightning and Red-Hot Iron Brand.

Again, the poor, broken Boken stays after class.

13. Decapitation - Whirling Empire Blade takes off heads left and right, 
so the Dabi naturally secures the top spot.  Right behind it are Kitetsu, 
and the Flail (largely for Cremator).  The Lunar doesn't deal enough 
damage, so the noggins don't go flying as much.  Therefore, it doesn't place 
with the number 2 guys.

The Nunchaku, Level 1 Lunar, Wooden Sword and Harpoon Gun are incapable of 
DECAP, so they score a 0.

14. Overall - It should come as no surprise that the True Dragon Sword/
Plasma Sabre Mk. II comes in first.  Its overall versatility and ability 
to handle every situation in the game makes it an easy choice.  The 
Unlabored Flawlessness at maximum strength is a little less usable, but 
not enough to deduct any points.  The Dabi would've score higher if it 
could deal with the special case bosses better (i.e. Smaugon, Alma, etc.).
In Black, Kitetsu has gained some significant buffing.  At level 3, it 
is a force to be reckoned with and competes with the TDS/PSM2 very nicely.

Concordantly, it should also not be surprising that the Wooden Sword 
comes in last.  It avoids a goose egg by being useful for play-limiting 
options (i.e. walking around like a badass and killing everyone with 
nothing but a stick of wood).

This particular Attribute will probably change the most over time.  Tecmo 
has addressed Asura Slash, so the Dabi is balanced nicely.

PROJECTILE
----------
This section compares the differences between the Projectile Weapons.  
Keep in mind that the scale is based solely on the Projectile Weapons 
and has no relationship to the Melee Weapons whatsoever.

Unless something changes, we'll assume limited uses of the weapons 
which will affect overall effectiveness.

The Weapon listings are as follows:
Shu - Shuriken
WShu - Windmill Shuriken
IShu - Incendiary Shuriken
Smok - Smoke Bombs
Bow - Bow
SBow - Strong Bow
APFS - APFSDS Arrows
Expl - Explosive Arrows

    |Strn|Agil|Rang|Cmbo|Brak|Aerl|Mult|Prty|OVER|
-------------------------------------------------
Shu |  1 | 10 |  5 | 10 |  0 | 10 |  1 |  1 |  5 |
-------------------------------------------------|
WShu|  4 |  5 |  5 |  8 |  5 |  5 |  3 |  5 | 10 |
-------------------------------------------------|
IShu|  6 |  5 |  5 |  8 |  0 |  7 |  4 |  5 |  8 |
-------------------------------------------------|
Smok|  0 |  5 |  4 |  0 |  0 |  0 | 10 |  8 |  8 |
-------------------------------------------------|
Bow |  5 |  1 |  8 |  1 |  2 |  0 |  1 |  1 |  2 |
-------------------------------------------------|
SBow|  6 |  1 | 10 |  2 |  4 |  0 |  1 |  8 |  5 |
-------------------------------------------------|
APFS|  8 |  1 | 10 |  2 | 10 |  0 |  8 |  9 |  6 |
-------------------------------------------------|
Expl| 10 |  1 | 10 |  5 |  5 |  0 | 10 | 10 | 10 |
-------------------------------------------------

PROJECTILE NOTES
----------------

1.  Strength - This one is easy enough.  Explosive Arrows blow 
everything else away... literally.

2.  Agility - Standard Shurikens allow the most mobility in every scenario.

3.  Range - With the capability of zoom, the Strong Bow and its ordinance 
outclass everything else in this attribute.

4.  Combo Potential - Again, the Standard Shuriken most easily incorporate 
themselves into Combos.

5.  Guard Break - Armor Piercing Arrows defeat guard and plating quite 
handily.

6.  Aerial - The Standard Shuriken rule the skies just by the sheer number 
of different uses.  Incendiary Shuriken nudge out the Windmill Shuriken for 
Ryu's ability to throw 2 IA.

7.  Multiple Opponents - APFSDS Arrows will pass through targets and the 
Explosive Arrows have a fairly large blast radius.  Smoke Bombs share in 
the spotlight here for their MASSIVELY useful effects upon multiple 
opponents.

8.  Special Property - With the area effect and speed of the Explosive 
Arrows, no other projectile comes close.

9.  Overall - Throughout the course of the game, the Windmill Shuriken 
always seems to be the fall back.  But, the usefulness of Explosive Arrows 
cannot be overlooked.

There has been some research done as to the special properties of Smoke 
Bombs.  There now exists a very concrete reason why one would ever use 
these.  On the Chapters that make Shuriken nearly useless (Chapters 4 and 
2), and when you are totally overwhelmed by a large number of quick, 
aggressive enemies, they are pretty useful.  But, their biggest bonus 
comes from dealing with Minions.  See the Smoke Bomb section for more 
details.

NINPO
-----
This section compares the differences between the Ninpos.

Unless something changes, we'll assume limited uses of the Ninpo and Level 
3 acquisition which will affect overall effectiveness.

The Weapon listings are as follows:
Fire - Fire Wheel
Ifno - Inferno
IceS - Ice Storm
Inza - Inazuma

    |Strn|Agil|Rang|Cmbo|Prot|Mult|Prty|OVER|
--------------------------------------------
Fire|  4 | 10 |  1 |  5 |  5 |  3 |  8 |  5 |
--------------------------------------------|
Ifno|  8 |  5 |  9 |  1 | 10 |  5 |  5 |  4 |
--------------------------------------------|
IceS|  6 |  0 |  4 | 10 | 10 |  8 | 10 |  8 |
--------------------------------------------|
Inza| 10 |  0 | 10 |  2 | 10 | 10 |  0 | 10 |
--------------------------------------------

NINPO NOTES
-----------

1.  Strength - Inazuma at Level 3 handily beats out the other Ninpo as 
far as strength is concerned.

2.  Agility - The ability to move while in Fire Wheel makes this the 
primary reason to use it over the others in some cases.

3.  Range - This Attribute should be self-explanatory.

4.  Combo Potential - Ice Storm is the obvious choice here as it's damage 
is spread out over many, many hits as opposed to deliverying all of its 
payload in one strike.

5.  Protection - All Ninpo aside from Fire Wheel grant you INV.  However, 
you are still fairly well protected from Regular enemies with Fire Wheel.

6.  Multiple Opponents - Inazuma edges out Ice Storm for multiplicity due 
to its instantaneous nature.

7.  Special Property - Ice Storm looks cool...

8.  Overall - Inazuma has saved me more times than any of the other 
techniques combined.

ESSENCE/ULTIMATE TECHNIQUE
--------------------------

The Weapon listings are as follows:
ExtS - Extinction Straight Slash
HnWB - Hundred Wing Blade
SoHD - Storm of the Heavenly Dragon
RGlm - Roaring Gleam
AGlm - Annihilating Gleam
TGlm - True Dragon Gleam
APhx - Auspicious Phoenix
GaCd - Gathering Clouds
RTrm - Rage Tremor
TroH - Tremor of Heavens
HuDB - Hundred Demons Blade
ASls - Asura Slash
Bsra - Bassara
TSpl - Tempered Steel Splitter
ESpl - Earth Splitter
TSpl - Tempered Steel Splitter Maximum Strength
ESpl - Earth Splitter Maximum Strength
DDCS - Dark Dragon Cauterizing Slash
DDGH - Dark Dragon Gates of Hell
SCrt - Shrouded Crescent
RaVl - Raven's Veil

    |Strn|Agil|Rang|Cmbo|Aerl|Mult|Prty|OVER|
--------------------------------------------
ExtS|  4 |  7 |  6 |  2 |  3 |  2 |  1 |  3 |
--------------------------------------------|
HnWB|  5 | 10 |  6 |  6 |  1 |  8 |  5 |  6 |
--------------------------------------------|
SoHD|  9 |  3 |  7 |  6 |  8 |  1 |  7 |  8 |
--------------------------------------------|
RGlm|  5 |  1 |  1 |  6 |  5 |  7 |  5 |  5 |
--------------------------------------------|
AGlm|  6 |  1 |  2 |  7 |  5 |  8 |  6 |  5 |
--------------------------------------------|
TGlm|  7 |  1 |  3 |  8 |  7 |  9 |  6 |  6 |
--------------------------------------------|
APhx|  3 |  7 |  6 |  2 |  3 |  2 |  1 |  3 |
--------------------------------------------|
GaCd|  7 | 10 |  6 | 10 |  2 |  9 |  6 |  7 |
--------------------------------------------|
RTrm|  5 |  3 |  4 |  3 |  2 |  2 |  3 |  1 |
--------------------------------------------|
TroH|  6 |  4 |  5 |  4 |  5 |  5 |  8 |  5 |
--------------------------------------------|
HuDB|  5 |  3 |  9 |  3 |  4 |  1 |  5 |  3 |
--------------------------------------------|
ASls|  7 |  4 | 10 |  6 | 10 | 10 |  8 | 10 |
--------------------------------------------|
Bsra|  7 | 10 |  6 |  7 |  3 |  9 |  9 |  8 |
--------------------------------------------|
TSpl|  5 |  3 |  5 |  1 |  3 |  3 |  5 |  3 |
--------------------------------------------|
ESpl|  8 |  5 |  6 |  1 |  8 |  6 |  7 |  7 |
--------------------------------------------|
TSpM|  7 |  3 |  5 |  1 |  3 |  3 |  6 |  5 |
--------------------------------------------|
ESpM| 10 |  5 |  6 |  1 |  9 |  5 |  9 |  8 |
--------------------------------------------|
DDCS|  8 |  8 |  7 |  6 |  8 |  6 |  8 |  6 |
--------------------------------------------|
DDGH| 10 | 10 |  8 | 10 |  5 |  7 |  9 |  9 |
--------------------------------------------|
SCrt|  4 |  2 |  6 |  5 |  2 |  5 |  4 |  5 |
--------------------------------------------|
RaVl|  7 |  9 |  7 |  8 |  9 | 10 | 10 |  8 |
--------------------------------------------

ESSENCE/ULTIMATE TECHNIQUE NOTES
--------------------------------
This section will describe the benefits and hinderances 
between the various techniques in the game.

1.  Strength - Dark Dragon Gates of Hell and Earth Splitter  Maximum Strength 
split the crown so to speak.  If every hit of Dark Dragon Gates of Hell hits, 
it is slightly stronger than Earth Splitter, but not enough to deduct a point.

Some people will probably argue Asura Slash's Strength rating.  It placed 
this lowly due to the fact that all three prongs have to hit the enemy to 
register full damage.  So, the only way that you're going to achieve that is 
to either face an EXTREMELY large enemy, or be right up in their face.

Obviously, the Essence Attacks rate the lowest in this scale.  Curiously 
enough, though, Hundred Wing Blade places fairly low.  Izuna Drop actually 
hurts more than Hundred Wing Blade.  I guess that this is to account for 
Izuna Drop's vulnerability.

I need to do a lot more research into the actual damage listings of the 
various UT's.  This particular attribute will fluctuate greatly in the 
coming versions, most likely.

2.  Agility - For the most part, the autocombo attacks reign supreme here. 
The startup animations of all of the autocombos usually utilize a very 
long dash that needs to make contact with at least one of the intended 
victims.  In addition to this, you have complete control over the intial 
enemy selected and any enemies in range once the autocombo is initialized.  
Raven Veil claims a high spot for its allowance of control once the 
technique has started.

The techniques that score poorly in this category are those that you have 
little control over such as Storm of the Heavenly Dragon, Shrouded Crescent 
and the Gleams.

3.  Range - Range defines both how far Ryu can strike out against his enemies 
with the technique or how far reaching the projectile is from the technique. 
Asura Slash and Hundred Demons' Blade (not Bite) are the top performers in 
this category.  Dark Dragon Gates of Hell scores higher than the rest of the 
autocombo ET/UT's due to the seemingly longer initiation dash, and the length 
of the Blade itself.

The Gleam techniques of the Dragon Sword round out the bottom.  They score 
lower than Raven's Veil due to the fact that you can actually control the 
tornado in Raven's Veil.

4.  Combo Potential - Combo Potential obviously means how conducive the 
technique is to your Combo Counter.  While all hits register as separate 
strikes on the counter, it is better to space them out than do them all at 
once.  This way, if there are any respawns taking place, they'll happen in 
staggered intervals allowing you to keep you count up.  For this reason, the 
multi-hit techniques like the autocombos score higher than the all at once 
techniques.  Gathering Clouds saves the day here, as the extreme amount of 
lighter strikes kicks the count up noticeably.

Gates of Hell and other Heavy Two-Handed strikes place very low in this 
category by design.

5.  Aerial - This unique trait entails the ability to intercept airborn 
opponents.  Storm of the Heavenly Dragon tops this category for obvious 
reasons.  Although, it is a bit hard to setup.  Cauterizing Slash performs 
well as Ryu jumps up into the air with the initial swing.  Asura Slash 
just dominates this category as well.  This is one of the areas that needs 
to be balanced in this game.  Asura Slash shouldn't really affect airborne 
opponents at all.  The other column UT's (Earth Splitter and Raven's Veil) 
score appropriately.

6.  Multiple Opponents - This property aligns with the Combo Potential 
property, but is more concerned with body count than Combo generation.  
Therefore, the Heavy hitting techniques can score well in this category, 
unlike the Combo Category.  Once again, Asura Slash dominates in this 
category, but True Dragon Gleam and Raven's Veil score just as well given 
Asura Slash's forward-facing requirements.

Storm of the Heavenly Dragon scores poorly given the very strict activation 
requirements as usual.

7.  Special Property - Rounding out the categories is the Special Property 
Attributes.  These entail little details that aren't summarized with the 
rest of the lot.  Raven Streams gets a 10 in this section for being a 
moveable Ice Storm for the most part.  Bassara and Dark Dragon Gates of 
Hell score highly for getting a full-on Essence Explosion with every 
single hit.

8.  Overall - The usefulness of Dark Dragon Gates of Hell and Asura Slash 
are unquestionable.  The Essence Techniques bring up the rear in this 
scenario.

--------------------------
~~ MOVE LIST DISCUSSION ~~
--------------------------
This section will dissect every move of the game.  This section will be 
organized by weapon and level.

DRAGON SWORD
------------
As stated before, the Dragon Sword is the most upgradeable and well-rounded 
weapon in the game.

1. Level 1: You begin the game with the Dragon Sword at this level.  The 
Dragon Sword is a katana and even though Ryu is a ninja, he wields it with 
striking fluidity.  Ninjas were not known to carry such large and unwieldy 
weapons for the most part.  They preferred much smaller and disposable 
armament due to their chosen type of combat.  If a ninja was going to use a 
sword at all, it would have most likely been a ninja-to which was a very 
short sword with no guard and a straight blade.  However, all ninjas in this 
game wield katanas, as it's a much more elegant-looking weapon.  To 
compensate, the sword-type that Ryu and his enemies utilize looks to be a 
cross between a standard katana and a wakisashi in length, so it may be used 
both single-handed and two-handed easily.  

The Dragon Sword itself is fairly ornate for a katana.  The tsuka (grip) 
is fairly short given the length of the sword.  The menuki (grip ornament) 
is some sort of gold encasing while the tsuka-ito (grip-wrap) is a deep red 
color; wrapped in the traditional sense.  It is unknown what the tsuka-ito 
is made out of as it was usually cotton.  But, given that the blade itself 
is made out of a Dragon's Fang; one can only surmise from where the grip 
wrapping came.

The scabbard is without a sageo (cord), and it's now apparent how it 
attaches to Ryu thanks to the modelling change in Ninja Gaiden Black.  It 
is attached to his armor in a housing of sorts.  This is an odd placement 
as samurai swords where generally worn at the waist.  The scabbard's 
kojiri (tip) is gold as well.

The Plasma Sword is an altogether different animal.  It's a longer light-
saber type device fashioned with a green energy blade, a mechanical hilt 
with several adjustment controls and what can only be described as a 
containment device for a scabbard.  It gives off a green wave and a static 
sound whenever it is swung.

- Crimson Slash - Crimson Slash is one of Ryu's beginning Combos.  Ryu 
slashesonce, horizontally from right to left, reverses this strike slashing 
laterally across the enemy's abdomen with one hand, then spins quickly around 
bringing the Dragon Sword down over his head in a two-handed strike.  This 
Combo has no special properties whatsoever.  Therefore, it can only be used 
as an opening series on enemies that don't Block or Evade.  However, you can 
utilize it on Guard Broken, Attacking or Stunned enemies.

The opening strike differs depending upon where the enemy is in relation to 
Ryu.  See the three versions of Life's Circle in the hidden moves list for a 
description of this as well as Tranquil Clearing.  All four of these instances 
subtly change the animation of all of the Dragon Sword strikes.

- Tiger Roar - Ryu slashes twice like Crimson Slash, but instead of finishing 
with a reverse strike, he brings the Dragon Sword down with his right 
hand accompanied with a stomping motion.  This last strike is a Guard Break.  
At higher levels, you can follow this Guard Break immediately with two more 
Y strikes.

- Cloven Helmet - This is an unlisted Combo that introduces the SELFLAUNCH 
property.  Ryu begins with an standard X Slash, but then follows quickly 
into Azure Dragon.  He then does an aerial version of the first strike of 
Crimson Slash, and then issues a Helmet Splitter.

- Fiend's Bane Kick - Ryu slashes from right to left, then quickly left to 
right, and then stabs straight forward impaling the enemy.  This gives a 
unique animation where the regular enemies double over and get stuck in a 
STAGGER (which introduces the branching possibility here).  Ryu then spins 
in place very quickly while kicking the enemy away with the Clearing Kick 
portion for which the Combo is named, which turns him around one additional 
revolution due to the force of the kick.  A non-blocking enemy will be 
Cleared.

This is a very robust branching Combo, such that the Double Over Hit Stun 
gives you the ability to Combo Break here as well.

- Early Winter Rain - This Combo proceeds like Fiend's Bane Kick, but 
instead of a Clearing move at the end, Ryu does three extremely quick kicks 
to the face of the enemy which induces a STAGGER.

This is a very robust branching Combo, such that the Stagger Stun gives 
you the ability to Combo Break here as well.

- Violent Wind - This is one of Ryu's most powerful starting techniques.  
He lunges out with the DS from right to left while taking a huge step 
forward while his torso is almost parallel to the Ground.  By itself, it 
induces Spin Stun which is benefit enough.  Its power is not limited to 
that obviously.  At Level 1, it Combos into both Azure Dragon and 
Scarlet Dragon.  However, you can Step Cancel it as well which will give 
you EVERY other offensive option at the same frame advantage as the 
Azure Dragon, Scarlet Dragon and Level 2's Violent Gale.

- Windmill Slash - This is a very useful offensive/defensive option.  Ryu 
does a Reverse Wind while attacking with the DS.  You can substitute 
this move for every starting X of every DS Combo.  This gives you a 
placement option, as you move a significant distance during the initiation 
of the move in whatever direction you like.  It also grants iWR which at 
Level 2 is DEVASTATING, because it gives you instant access to Violent 
Gale.

This move will also DECAP.

- Rooted Windmill - Another hidden move comes from the fact that there are 
actually two Windmill Slashes.  If the enemy is farther than arm's reach 
away from Ryu, then he'll Reverse Wind along the ground with the Dragon 
Sword held in one hand and slash.  If the enemy is NEAR, then Ryu will 
flip in place on the ground and hold the DS in both hands for the slash.  
Very cool.

- Blade of the Undefeatable - This is Ryu's stand-alone Guard Breaking 
move.  Ryu unsheathes the DS, quickly grasps it with both hands and 
slashes VIOLENTLY from right to left.  He picks his right leg off of the 
ground slightly and slams it down with the cutting motion.  Since this is 
Guard Breaking, the benefits are obvious.  You would typically choose to 
do OL Y instead of this move, but if you're looking to NOT absorb Essence, 
but still need a powerful, Guard Breaking strike, this is the one to use.

It DECAPs as well.

- Haze Straight Slash - Ryu will unsheathe the DS like in Blade of the 
Undefeatable, but instead of grasping it with both hands, he holds it out 
with his right hand and cradles the hilt with his left while the hilt of the 
blade absorbs energy as long as Y is held.  The blade will grow brighter 
and brighter until it stops absorbing energy.  Once released, Ryu instantly 
dashes along the ground with both feet (and an accompanying camera position 
change, usually), charges forward and brings the blade to bear to his left 
side with both hands slashing straight though any non-blocking enemies while 
actually traveling through the enemy's body.  It will usually strike twice.

This move Guard Breaks and DECAPs.  It is also a candidate for OL.

- Extinction Straight Slash - This move appears very similar to to Haze 
Straight Slash except for the fact that it is accompanied by an Essence 
Explosion before the release of the button.  Also, Ryu will emit an Essence 
Explosion with the release of the Y button along with leaving a Phantom 
behind.  This strike also Guard Breaks, DECAPs, but it hits harder 
than Haze Straight Slash.  Also, a Blocking enemy will stop Haze Straight 
Slash, whereas Ryu will travel through their body in Extinction Straight 
Slash, unless we're talking about a Boss character.

- Hundred Wing Blade - This is Ryu's beginning UT.  After either charging 
long enough or gathering the pre-requisite Essence, Ryu emits a full Essence 
Explosion (Red and Orange rather than just white).  After releasing Y, he 
begins the move just like Extinction Straight Slash, such that he dashes 
forward, leaving a Phantom.  Unlike Extinction Straight Slash, Ryu must make 
contact with the enemy to really start the series.   If he makes contact, he 
follows up the Extinction Slash part with two consecutive 360 degree one-
handed slashes from left to right, a violent one-handed slash from right to 
left, another slash from left to right, a spinning, jumping one-handed 
slash, vertically  from right to left  and then finally disappears in mid-
air, leaves a Phantom, reappears and falls while slashing diagonally down 
from right to left.  It is pretty evident that Ryu does this entire series 
with one hand with every strike being accompanied by an Essence Explosion.  
If the other Ultimate Techniques didn't exist, this would be one of the 
cooler things to do in the game.  It is a shame that it is replaced outright 
with Storm of the Heavenly Dragon, once you create the True Dragon Sword.  
But, that is one of the balancing aspects of the game as SotHD is only 
really effective against singular foes.

Ryu is totally invincible during the attack frames, and the move is 
unblockable to all but Boss characters.  You can direct every single hit 
as well, so if you're surrounded, you can pick which enemy to strike.  You 
can hit Bosses with it too, if you time the initiation strike to hit them 
in their vulnerable attack frames (which is not easy to do).

- Azure Dragon - Ryu unsheathes the DS with his right hand, does a 360 spin 
very quickly and uppercuts the enemy into the air while at the same time 
jumping up to meet them while grasping the DS with both hands.  The move 
obviously SELFLAUNCHes and BREAKs.

- Scarlet Dragon - Ryu unsheathes the DS and grasps it in both hands to his 
right side.  He then scrapes the blade along the ground (producing sparks) 
which will both LAUNCH or BREAK depending upon whether or not the enemy is 
Blocking.  This strike gains additional strikes with the True Dragon Sword.  
It is also stronger than Azure Dragon as far as damage is concerned.  It's 
extremely useful for crowd thinning as you can knock enemies over ledges 
fairly easily with this move.

- Fiend Sealer - When Ryu positions himself over a downed enemy, Ryu will 
bring the DS above his head with both hands with the blade pointed down.  
He then stabs the Grounded enemy through either the back or torso depending 
upon how the enemy is lying on the ground.

- Burial Kick - Ryu quickly spins from left to right (the opposite of every 
other kick in the game) as he CLEARs the enemy away.  You can only perform 
this move on enemies that are DEAD or DECAP and still standing.  The use of 
this move comes with the fact that the enemy's now Dead body, becomes a 
projectile that will strike other enemies.  You can even hit jumping enemies 
out of the air with this kick should they happen to attack while you're 
clearing a dead enemy.

- Blade of the Empty Air - Ryu slashes from left to right much like in the 
first strike of Crimson Slash.

- Helmet Splitter - Ryu places the DS between his legs and jumps down to the 
ground running the opponent through.  Like most Y attacks, this move Guard 
Breaks.  It also GROUNDs.

- Air Destruction Slash - Ryu does a fully diagonal 360 degree spin in the 
air with the DS unsheathed before landing.  It is very useful for catching 
flying enemies before they can attack.  Ryu will brace himself on the ground 
after the move much like falling from a high altitude.

- Falling Dragon Blade - Since Ryu is jumping with a vector in this move, he 
brings the DS over his head with both hands and slices down vertically to his 
right side while falling.  It's fairly difficult to land this move after 
acquiring the Level 2 Dragon Sword due to the fact that you'll usually get 
Flying Swallow instead.

- Cicada Slash - Ryu will spin in the air vertically once, and come down 
striking with the DS from above his head.

- Divine Cicada Slash - You can only issue this move from a Flying Bird 
Flip.  Because of this limitation, it is one of the most powerful moves in 
game.  Ryu will disappear and leave a Phantom, reappear, spin vertically in 
the air one more time than he does with Blade of Nirrti, and brings the DS 
down on his enemy with both hands in an overhead strike.  This move Breaks, 
DECAPs, will hit MULTI and you are invincible during the execution.

Every person's Dragon Sword technique should include this move liberally.  
Unlike the Two-Handed Melee weapon versions of this technique, this attack 
will not GROUND.

- Wave Reverser - While stationary on the surface of the water, Ryu can strike 
twice vertically; once down and then another time up lifting himself out of 
the water slightly.

- Ripple Slash - While swimming on the surface of the water, a single slash 
will be performed

- Floating Blade - While stationary underwater, Ryu can slash twice.

- Gleaming Water Dragon - While swimming underwater, Ryu unsheathes the DS 
and spins like a corkscrew through the water slashing liberally all the 
while.  On difficulties above Hard, this technique becomes essential.

2. Level 2: You can upgrade your Dragon Sword to Level 2 in Chapter 3, The 
Skies of Vengeance.  The sword does not change in appearance at this time.

- Fang of the Wolf - This is a continuation of Tiger Roar.  Now, after the 
Guard Break Y, Ryu will spin around quickly with a little jump with the DS 
outstretched in one hand and decapitate his enemy with one strike.  This is 
MULTI and DECAP move that is very, very useful.

- Blade of Nirrti - Ryu will perform the first strike of Crimson Slash, 
quickly follow it up with Azure Dragon, and then perform aerial versions of 
the first two strikes of Crimson Slash, pull the blade back through the 
enemy in a vertical slash.  After this, he disappears leaving a Phantom, 
reappears and spins vertically in the air twice along with his Phantom and 
brings the blade down vertically with the enemy's body to the ground with 
an Essence Explosion happening where the enemy lies.

- Flying Swallow - Ryu disappears in mid-air, leaves a Phantom, reappears 
and flies forward spontaneously with the DS and slashes from left to right
traveling through any non-blocking enemies.  If it is blocked, Ryu bounces 
off and recovers in IA state.  This move BREAKs and DECAPs.

This is Ryu's bread and butter move.  If you are not using this move on 
regular enemies, then you are not playing the game correctly.  However, it 
is not overpowered as there is significant, TOTALLY-UNCANCELLABLE recovery 
frames in the landing animation.  Because of this, you need to refine your 
Flying Swallow technique and simply not just throw it out at any time.

There are very specific instances of when this move should be used.  If you 
are apt to throwing this move out randomly, you will be met with failure time 
and time again.

- Violent Gale - This is a continuation of Violent Wind.  Now, instead of 
only being able to Combo into Azure Dragon, Scarlet Dragon or STEPC, Ryu 
will slash back the other way from the initial X.  This strike is also a 
Spin Stunning Strike and as such, the second X will Crumple Stun a Spin 
Stun enemy.

You can also reverse the direction of the second X at any time.  So if you 
wanted to "cross up" any enemy, you could run it through on one side, and 
then come back the other way.  Ryu can cover a lot of ground offensively 
with this move.  It's extremely good for positioning.

- Flying Crane - Ryu spins around once, DS unsheathed and then jumps up 
himself launching any opponents close to him.  This move classifies as a 
little Launch (lLAUNCH) move as you don't have enough time to do something 
aerial to them before they hit the ground.  Still, it's a very useful move 
when getting pounded on by several enemies at once (which is pretty much 
the entire game).  You'll want to watch out for enemies avoiding this move 
as they will wait to Counter Attack you once you land.  Some enemies will 
SPECIFICALLY wait for this move to finish before attacking (Imps in 
particular).  On a successful hit, your enemy will be placed in DOWN 
status (if they aren't DECAP outright).

3. Level 3: You can upgrade your Dragon Sword to Level 3 in Chapter 5.    
The sword does not change in appearance at this time.

- Tranquil Clearing - This is an interesting move that isn't listed in the 
move list.  Even more interesting is that you don't get it until Level 3, 
and Team Ninja decided specifically to move this technique from Level 2 to 
Level 3.  Ryu will land on the ground spinning around once on axis while 
holding the DS out.

At any rate, this is the OL X move which Combos extensively.  When you 
feel that an OL Y will get interrupted, this is just as good an option.  
Also, you can think of this as your OL Combo option while the Y's are 
generally OL Power options (just like the X and Y buttons themselves).

Anything that starts with an X can be substituted with OL X.  It's a MULTI 
move.

- Blade of the Dragon's Tail - After the DECAP Y strike of Fang of the Wolf, 
Ryu has one more option where he quickly back flips and somehow strikes 
vertically with the DS on both sides of his body at the same time in a 
figure-8 type of motion.  It's very cool looking.  This is the final step 
in the Tiger Roar Combo. In the event that the enemy wasn't killed with 
the DECAP Y previous to the last strike, you can hit Y again and get the  
CLEAR move.  

You can also catch enemies that are trying to attack you from behind by 
repositioning yourself mid-combo.

- Gleaming Blade - Flying Crane now gets a Charge option.  Now, Ryu will 
kneel with the DS off to his left waiting to initiate the spin.  This 
is a different stance than the Y Charge.  This is extremely useful for 
when you want to delay the onslaught.  Unfortunately, the properties of 
this move are very confusing.  You cannot be knocked out of it once the 
spin starts, but when you can actually take damage is very ambiguous.  
To get total INV status, you need to get to Roaring Gleam.  Otherwise, you 
will only trade damage.  However, ANY amount of charge outside of Essence 
will grant you 3 spins on the ground before Ryu does his lLaunching strike.

The move BREAKs, DECAPs, SPINs, lLAUNCHes and is MULTI.

- Roaring Gleam - This is an expanded version of Gleaming Blade once you get 
one Essence.  You get an Essence Explosion and 2 extra spins as well.  The 
best part is that you get granted INV status briefly while you are in 
PHANTOM state.  Some Bosses are immune to this technique at higher 
difficulties and as such, you need to avoid charging this long or absorbing 
Essence.

4. Level 4: You automatically receive the True Dragon Sword in Chapter 13, The 
Fiendish Awakening.  At this point, you can see the Dragon's Eye in the hilt, 
and the sword gives off a faint white glow at all times.

The Plasma Saber gains a crackling energy type of effect once the Dragon Eye 
is affixed to it.

- Storm of the Heavenly Dragon - Ah yes, the move that every Ninja Gaiden owner 
shows to his/her friends.  While this move has seen some action in the 2D 
realm never before has this looked so good.  Ryu does two consecutive Azure 
Dragon-like uppercuts and disappears mid-air leaving a Phantom as usual.  But, 
instead of simply reappearing, he teleports away, Flying Swallows the enemy 
TEN times from every possible direction juggling them in the air.  He then, 
teleports above the enemy and issues a wall-less Divine Cicada Slash.  The 
coolest part of the move happens, though after Ryu lands, as he actually 
wipes blood off of the DS's blade.  BADASS.

- Blade of the Twin Dragons - Scarlet Dragon becomes EXTREMELY useful in this 
Combo.  After Ryu drags the DS along the ground, he then does a cartwheel 
like motion with the DS in one hand slashing the enemy, and then follows up 
with a little Azure Dragon, followed by a complete back flip accompanied by 
a vertical strike.  This last strike CLEARs, DECAPs and BREAKs.

- Dragon Tear - Crimson Slash finally grows up.  Ryu can now follow the 
overhead final X of Crimson Slash with an additional spinning, jumping, 
two-handed Grounding, DECAP, Guard Breaking strike. If you know the enemy was 
not killed by the 3rd X in Crimson Slash, the Y will almost certainly 
DECAP while they are still lying on the ground.

- True Dragon Gleam - This is the Ultimate Technique of Roaring Gleam.  If 
you gather 2 Essence, Ryu gets the Ultimate Essence Explosion, plus an 
accompanying Tornado.  Extremely useful.

5. Scroll: These are various Scrolls that you can pickup or purchase 
throughout the game.

- Izuna Drop - This moves looks just like Blade of Nirrti except for the fact 
that for the Y attack, Ryu captures the enemy's body, lifts it up higher into 
the air, flips both himself and the enemy upside down, initiates a spin where 
the bodies spin multiple times in the air, as they both fall, and then finally 
drives the enemy's head into the ground with an Essence Explosion, and then 
gingerly flips away.  The Throw section of the move Guard Breaks enemies that 
happen to be caught in the blast radius and also GROUNDs.  You are invincible 
during the Throw section.

- Gleaming Cross - The Y Counter Attack looks and acts a lot like Flying 
Crane.  This difference is that it's unblockable and instantaneous.

- Fiend's Bane Kick - After the strike connects with a WB Ryu, he spins and 
strikes with both a DS slash from right to left followed seamlessly by a fierce 
Roundhouse kick to the face that Launches the enemy.  He can then chose to 
continue the move with the second X where he will finish his first revolution, 
jump and spin into the air at the same time and CLEAR the mid-air opponent away 
with an jumping Roundhouse.

NUNCHAKU
--------
Depending upon if you are playing the original difficulty or harder, you attain 
this weapon in different ways.  On the Normal difficulty, you gain it off of an 
expired Black Spider Clan Ninja in Chapter 4, Imperial City Infiltration.  On 
all other difficulties, you begin the game with it.

At first glance, the Nunchaku looks fairly generic with its gray, unadorned 
handles, single chain and silver caps.  However, the rods that compose the 
Nunchaku are very long in general.  The length of the two rods seems close to 
what would be found in a three-section staff.  Again, this is probably just 
Team Ninja exercising their artistic license.

It gives off a light-blue wave with every swing.

1. Level 1 - You cannot upgrade the Nunchaku.

- Dragon and Phoenix - This is the standard cancelable, branching Combo of 
both the Nunchaku and Flail.  With the first X, Ryu steps forward holding the 
Nunchaku with both hands (right-hand over left-hand over his right shoulder) 
and strikes by bringing the handle over his shoulder and chambering (catching) 
the other handle under his armpit.  Then, he flicks his wrist and so the 
Nunchaku flicks back from under his shoulder striking again and flinging back 
over his shoulder to be caught by his left hand again.  He strikes twice with 
one press of the X button.  Also note, that there is less recovery on this one 
strike than any other strike in the game.  The second X simply makes him pull 
the Nunchaku under his armpit with his right hand doing a vicious uppercut.  
The third X makes him switch hands very quickly after catching the handle by 
winging the Nunchaku across his torso and flinging it over his left shoulder 
to catch it with his right hand and reversing the stance.  

Now his left hand is over his right over his left shoulder.  The fourth X makes 
Ryu swing the Nunchaku with his left hand across his torso from left to right, 
where the handle taps his back and reverses motion back to right to left while 
Ryu guards with his right hand.  The fifth X makes Ryu catch the handle behind 
his back with his right hand to flip it vertically in front and swing it 
behind him and over his head, so that he can catch the handle with his left 
hand and repeat the motion.  This strike gives him 360 degrees of protection 
as he whips the Nunchaku around his waist again and flips it out vertically 
with one additional, vertical twirl of the striking rod.  The final X has Ryu 
catch the handle once again in his right hand behind his back, do a 360 degree 
turn and uppercut with the handle.  He then re-chambers with his armpit, and 
then returns back to his initial stance with an outstretched, guarding left 
hand.  Phew.  You'll want to avoid the sixth X more often than not as the re-
chambering is considered recovery, although if you and your enemy are fairly 
isolated, you can get away with it.  

Upon closer inspection, the momentum of the final uppercut continues as the 
handle taps Ryu on the back, and then Ryu will twirl the Nunchaku horizontally 
behind him waist level, then twirl and subsequently chamber the Nunchaku to his 
right, vertically before returning to his original stance.  I used to consider 
this last move recovery, but technically it isn't.  Ryu is vulnerable in the 
front for this section, but all of that twirling behind his back registers 
damage.  So, the last X of Dragon and Phoenix actually hits BEHIND and RIGHT. 

Each X only corresponds to about 20 or so frames, so it's fairly difficult to 
know when to branch.  But, once you get the hang of it (largely by going by the 
whoosh sounds), you'll be branching seamlessly in no time.  To most people, 
this no doubt looks like a bunch of stick flicking.  However, to a martial 
artist, it is very good form and a very competent and challenging series.  The 
astounding part is that every possible move out of Dragon Phoenix at every 
stage is animated accordingly.

Some of the strikes in this series have NO recovery whatsoever given that Ryu 
returns to his initial stance.  At these points, you can Shuriken Cancel as 
well as with the Dragon Sword and Kitetsu.

- Fire Pit - Ryu will perform the first three strikes of Dragon and Phoenix, 
but then do a 360 degree spin while swinging the Nunchaku laterally from his 
reversed stance gained from the second X.  The final strike will CLEAR enemies 
away.

With the last X, Ryu will fling the Nunchaku at waist level 180 degrees in 
front of him with a 360 degree turn for strength and then return to his initial 
stance.  With Black, you can now stick Fire Pit in any point of Dragon and 
Phoenix, and the game is animated appropriately at each step.  Amazing.

- Wide Heavens - Ryu issues his first 2 strikes from the single X command, 
and then immediately, jumps, flips upside down by kicking the opponent off 
their feet and then spinning mid-air with another kick to lLAUNCH the enemy.  
This is a great move, and you can use it just about anywhere with the Nunchaku 
(even interrupting most Combos).  However, since it is lLAUNCH, you don't 
have as many options as say with the Dragon Sword, but the opponent does land 
GROUND as will every lLAUNCH move.  You are also considered IA during the last 
part, so you have those options as well, even though you won't be granted OL.

- Sweeping Kick - Ryu holds both handles in his right hand performs a vicious 
Reverse Kick (not what you think) to the midsection of the enemy Clearing 
them.  This is a very competent crowd control strike.

- Flame Wheel - Ryu flexes back a bit to make the move stronger and unleashes 
the handle with his left hand horizontally across his midsection. He lets 
the handle tap him on the back before reversing the motion, doing a mountless 
inverted double kick to the face and at the same time continues to swing the 
Flail in his left hand to the enemy's knees.  (Both sets of simultaneous 
strikes register as damage).  Once he's upright again (but still flipping), 
he catches the handle in his right hand and returns to his initial stance.

In the beginning, Ryu takes a few very short, quick steps forward striking 
vertically before inverting his body to do the simultaneous kicks to the 
face and horizontal slashes to the knees. 

- Auspicious Crane - Ryu flexes back a bit charge the move as the handles 
gather energy.  He will then dash forward bringing the Nunchaku around from 
right to left, and it will twirl a bit at the end.

- Auspicious Phoenix - This move begins the same way as Auspicious Crane.  
But, after Ryu gathers an Essence or simply waits long enough, he then 
disappears leaving Phantom, reappears and dashes forward while striking with 
Nunchaku as he holds the left handle.  The Nunchaku will tap once on Ryu's 
left side before he returns it to his initial stance. 

- Gathering Clouds - Ryu totally gets pumped thinking about guitars and hot 
babes.  Then he gathers the REAL ULTIMATE POWER in his 'chucks and then 
totally flips out and kills people.  For real.  The enemies crap their pants.

Ryu dashes forward and delivers many single strikes while the weapon trades 
hands very quickly.  Midway through the series, Ryu turns 360 degrees and 
swipes the weapon across the enemy's (or enemies') face with with the 360 
eye-level swipe.  Ryu again issues several hand-swapping strikes before then 
issuing a the jumping, 360 degree Phantom, feet-clearing, Mountain Crane 
(without the assistance of Flying Bird Flip, one should note) with an 
additional 360 degree swipe at the face.  Then, Ryu will catch both handles 
in his original stance, but instead chamber with his right armpit and guard 
with his left outstretched.  He will then crouch a bit before returning to 
initial stance.

- Earth Slide - While Ryu is running forward (or granted iWR), he slides 
across the ground with his leg out, Grounding the enemy.

- Demon Chaser - When Ryu positions himself over a downed enemy, he'll raise 
his leg and striking arm and then step on the enemy's neck and strike them in 
the back of the head or their face (depending upon their position) with the 
Nunchaku.

- Sweeping Strike - While IA, Ryu will simply swing the Nunchaku from right to 
left.

- Dragon Emperor Kick - While IA, Ryu will flip upside down, right himself and 
then come crashing down on the enemy with an outstretched leg.  You can do 
this at anytime IA even if you're in the middle of a move.  It will cancel a 
variety of things as well.  Very useful.

- Hell Drop - When Ryu performs a Flying Bird Flip, he'll disappear, Phantom, 
and then reappear spinning twice, and then bringing the Nunchaku down on the 
opponent's head.

- Mountain Crane - You can extend Hell Drop with an additional Y OL.  Ryu will 
whip the Nunchaku around his body and then back again while spinning 360 
degrees himself.  Ryu will land in a kneeling position and pick himself up 
with a 360 degree turn while sweeping the weapon around his midsection for a 
vicious CLEAR attack while creeping forward a step.  You get both a PHANTOM 
at the apex of the jump, and an Essence Explosion upon landing. Again, this 
move will CLEAR and BREAK.

- Aqua Thrust - While on the surface of the water, Ryu will kick straight out.

- Water Formation Kick - While underwater, Ryu will kick straight out which 
moves him backwards slightly.

2. Scroll - There are no unique Scroll moves for the Nunchaku.

- Ring of Heaven Kick - While Ryu is blocking, he will flip his Nunchaku out, 
but do a circular vertical kick that will LAUNCH the attacking enemy.

VIGOORIAN FLAIL
---------------
Depending upon if you are playing on Normal Difficulty or not, you attain this 
weapon in different ways.  Normal Difficulty, you gain it from a chest in the 
Underground Cemetery in Chapter 6, The Monastery.  On other difficulties, you 
must collect so many Scarabs before Muramasa will give it to you.

1. Level 1 - At Level 1, the Nunchaku and Flail are somewhat similar, however, 
the Flail is capable of DECAP and is MUCH more prone to do so than most other 
weapons.

The Flail is not really a flail in any sense of the word.  It's more like a 
combination of a Nunchaku and Kama.  A flail is a European weapon with a very 
distinct handle and a some sort of barbed implement attached via a chain.  One 
would never use the striking face and the handle interchangeably.  In contrast, 
the Vigoorians modified standard Nunchaku and Kama designs in order to generate 
this deadly weapon.  The weapon is composed of two kama (one-handed sickle) 
with wooden shafts for handles.  The heads are composed of metal, spherical tips
forged with a single curved blade and adorned with 4 spikes on each head.  
These two kama are then attached by a small length of chain.  The blades 
themselves are carved fairly ornately and have some nice flourishes upon them.

It would take an inordinate amount of skill to wield this weapon without 
hurting oneself.  If you watch the animations closely, Team Ninja was very 
careful to make the weapon believable using the Nunchaku animation.  Whenever 
a rod/kama taps Ryu's body, the blade is always facing out.  Likewise, Ryu 
always grabs the right places and there is no discernable clipping whatsoever 
(even during the hectic Gathering Clouds).

- Dragon and Phoenix - The only difference between this series and the one with 
the Nunchaku is that every strike in this series can DECAP.  As such, there 
will be gallons of Fiend or Human blood on the ground, walls and in the air, 
all in the appropriate spray patterns of every single strike.  Remarkable.  
See Nunchaku Dragon and Phoenix.

- Fire Pit - The final Y in this series can DECAP.  See Nunchaku Fire Pit.

- Wide Heavens - See Nunchaku Wide Heavens.  The two flipkicks still count as 
blunt force damage rather than cutting damage.

- Sweeping Kick - See Nunchaku Sweeping Kick.

- Flame Wheel - The second Y can DECAP.  See Nunchaku Sweeping Kick.

- Auspicious Crane - This move can DECAP.  See Nunchaku Auspicious Crane.

- Auspicious Phoenix - This move can DECAP.  See Nunchaku Auspicious Phoenix.

- Gathering Clouds - This technique tears it up.  See Nunchaku Gathering Clouds.

- Earth Slide - See Nunchaku Earth Slide.

- Demon Chaser - This technique can DECAP.  See Nunchaku Demon Chaser.

- Sweeping Strike - See Nunchaku Sweeping Strike.

- Dragon Emperor Kick - See Nunchaku Dragon Emperor Kick.

- Red-Hot Iron Brand - We finally come to Flail's Real Ultimate Power.  Ryu 
will disappear in mid-air, like Flying Swallow, and he'll fly forward very 
quickly, as well.  However, unlike Flying Swallow, Ryu will strike the opponent 
and do a flip over them with the Flails a-flailing.  See the In-depth Move 
Discussion section for more details.

- Aqua Thrust - See Nunchaku Aqua Thrust.

- Water Formation Kick - See Nunchaku Water Formation Kick.

2. Level 2 - The Flail becomes much more ornate when it is upgraded to Level 2.
Muramasa can do this in Chapter 7 - The Hidden Underground.  

Muramasa goes all out on this weapon, once Ryu allows him to upgrade it.  
Virtually none of the existing hardware is reused.  The wooden handles are 
replaced with what looks like to be metal, while the heads and caps are 
completely redesigned with what looks like to be gold and platinum.  The 
blades of the two kama are serrated, and given their new size, they look like 
they would do as much blunt force trauma as stabbing or cutting damage.  The 
blades themselves are elongated slightly and on the whole the weapon appears 
much shinier.  Not to be outdone by the rest of his handiwork, Muramasa 
attaches four red jewels into the hilts of each kama.

Regardless, Ryu wields it just as nimbly as the Nunchaku or the level 1 Flail.

- Cremator - Cremator starts off like the first three strikes of Dragon and 
Phoenix, but then Ryu opens up the can.  He continually flips the Flail over 
his shoulders and trades hands at an INSANELY quick pace decimating everyone 
around him.  The final X has Ryu chambering the Flail to the right-side, then 
returning to starting position.  See the In-depth Move Discussion section for 
more details.  The ending of Cremator has Ryu chamber the Flail under his 
right arm while he blocks with his left hand.  This is different than the more 
robust ending of Dragon and Phoenix.  Additionally, you don't get the BEHIND 
protection.

- Dragon Slaughter - The final Y of Cremator makes Ryu jump and spin in the 
air, land with a sweeping strike at the enemy's legs knocking them off of 
their feet, and then reversing the swing and swiping them again across the 
midsection to CLEAR them.  See the In-depth Move Discussion section for more 
details.

- Runaway Lightning - Ryu will begin with his standard Flail strike, but then 
proceed to climb up the enemy's body, jump off of them, turn around in mid-air, 
and strike them in the back of the head, Grounding them.  See the In-depth Move 
Discussion section for more details.

- Ripping Thunder - Ryu will quickly do a 360 degree eye-level roundhouse kick 
from left to right to the enemy, but unlike Sweeping Kick, this move doesn't 
CLEAR and only a produces Stagger Stun.  However, following the move up with 
an additional Y gives you two quick strikes from the Flail; one left-to-right 
horizontal, waist-level strike and an immediately following vertical over-the-
shoulder strike.  The second strike can DECAP.  Lastly, you can give 
another Y if you wish that issues another hopping, reverse kick that this time, 
will CLEAR the enemy.  Ryu lands kneeling supporting himself with his right 
hand.

3. Scroll - See Nunchaku Scroll section

- Ring of Heaven Kick - See Nunchaku Ring of Heaven Kick.

WAR HAMMER
----------
In the original game, you can acquire the War Hammer after Doku captures 
Rachel.  In Mission Mode, you receive after reaching the Shadow 
Realm.

1. Level 1 - The Level 1 War Hammer is always free, no matter what version of 
the game you are playing.  The Level 1 War Hammer is much more powerful than 
the Level 1 Dabilahro.

There really isn't an analog for this weapon in the real world.  No normal 
human would be able to use this thing with any amount of dexterity whatsoever.  
It appears very other-worldly.  It's not composed of any wood or steel, as it 
looks like it's composed entirely out of a smooth, flawless stone.  There 
really doesn't appear to be anything hammer-like about this weapon at all 
(much like the Vigoorian Flail).  The striking surface of the weapon is double-
headed such that there is a huge ax blade on one side and a gigantic pike on 
the other.  During the course of the game, Ryu and Rachel both use both sides 
to inflict grievous wounds upon their foes.  Unless the material used to forge 
the weapon was both extremely rigid and extremely light, then no normal person 
would be able to wield this weapon with any efficiency whatsoever.

The weapon possesses two handles.  The long shaft connecting the head to the 
jeweled hilt is the general use handle, but this shaft also has another nub 
protruding out of it as well much like a tonfa.  Only Rachel ever uses this 
nub, however.

There is a single blue jewel embedded in the hilt of this weapon, and it glows 
blue.  A murky blue wave accompanies every swing of this weapon, and it seems 
to have some sort of connection to the world around it as it is able to 
elicit small eruptions from the ground.

- Ram's Head Drop - Ryu pulls the War Hammer off of his back and swings it 
over his head in a vertical strike imbedding the spike side into the ground.

- Horse Head Crush - Following Ram's Head Drop, Ryu quickly pivots around the 
imbedded weapon and uppercuts with the ax side of the weapon.  Ryu is left 
standing with the weapon lying on the ground in his right hand briefly before 
he returns it to his back.

- Gleam of Heaven and Earth - After the War Hammer touches the ground from 
Ram's Head Drop, Ryu jumps into the air with the head of the weapon still on 
the ground, pivots around the weapon and then pulls it off of the ground and 
smashes it into the enemy while he himself hits the earth.

- Surging Wave - Ryu spins slightly has he cleaves the War Hammer around his 
body from left to right.  This move is much safer than the aerial version that 
the Dabilahro possesses.

- Thunder Tremor - Ryu charges the War Hammer much like holding a baseball 
bat.  The Hammer glows blue.  When you release Y, Ryu jumps up in the air with 
a Phantom, and smashes the Hammer spike first into the ground.  The ground 
explodes at the impact point and rocks and debris jettison up.

- Rage Tremor - This move appears similar to Thunder Tremor, but a large 
circle of light and gas is emitted in the place where the spike strikes the 
ground.

- Tremor of the Heavens - This move appears similar to Rage Tremor, however, 
a huge circle of light and gas explodes in 360 degrees around Ryu when he 
strikes the ground.  This circle is composed of 5 or 6 of the Rage Tremor 
explosions.

- Steel Severer - Ryu very quickly spins around and uses his shoulder as a 
fulcrum as he pivots the War Hammer off of his back and hits the enemy with 
the ax side of the weapon.  This is the quickest Heavy Two-Handed Melee weapon 
strike in the game.  It CLEARs as well.  See the In-depth Move Discussion 
section for more details.

- Flaming Whirlwind - Ryu quickly slides forward in a kneeling position while 
swinging the weapon diagonally from right to left.  Any enemy hit will be 
CLEAR or DECAP.

- Earth Slide - See Nunchaku Earth Slide.

- Corpse Crusher - Ryu brandishes the War Hammer with his right hand and 
shoves the head of the weapon straight down through the enemy's prone body.

- Avalanche Drop - Ryu removes the War Hammer from his back while in mid air 
and gains a bit of momentum as he swings it back a bit before he swings it 
down while falling to the ground very quickly.

- Rolling Thunder - Ryu removes the War Hammer from his back while in mid air 
and swings it down while falling to the ground very quickly.

- Raging Thunder - Above the ground, Ryu Phantoms, flips vertically twice and 
then slams down the War Hammer while falling very quickly to the ground.

- Aqua Thrust - See Nunchaku Aqua Thrust.

- Water Formation Kick - See Nunchaku Water Formation Kick.

2. Level 2 - The Level 2 upgrade is EXTREMELY cost efficient and useful given 
the Six Paths Spin.

At level two, Muramasa takes a fairly obvious path in the redesigning of the 
weapon.  He affixes another jewel in the hilt and rounds out the curves of the 
implement a bit more.

- Flaming Torrent - Ryu spins the War Hammer an additional time after the 
Surging Wave cleaving whatever enemies that are in the way.  It's interesting 
to note how useful this guy is as well.  You get all of the benefits of the 
Lunar's Shrouded Crescent, but with MUCH more damage.

- Six Paths Spin - This is reason enough to pick the War Hammer as a weapon.  
It move is totally unique to this game.  Ryu See the In-depth Move Discussion 
section for more details.

3. Scroll - You have access to the very powerful Reigning Spiral Counter Attack.

- Reigning Spiral - Ryu performs a Flaming Whirlwind instantaneously.

DABILAHRO
---------
You acquire the Dabilahro after collecting 25 Scarabs in the original game 
Normal Mode.  In different difficulty levels, you attain it after a higher 
number of Scarabs or in one of the buildings in Tairon.

1. Level 1 - The Level 1 Dabi is fairly analogous to the War Hammer 
functionally, but couldn't be farther from it in appearance.  The Dabi is 
simply a monstrous 100 lb. two-handed sword.  The design is very simply 
composed of a gigantic single-edged blade connected to an ornate handle.  
It's encrusted with a single red jewel.  The Vigoorians were fairly straight 
forward with its design as opposed to the Flail.  It leaves behind a white 
and red slash whenever it cuts through the air.

While it would seem that this weapon would take little to know agility to use, 
this is not the case with Ryu.  He spins the weapon around very gracefully 
given its heft.  In difficulties above Normal and in the Mission Mode, the 
Vigoorian Berserkers wield a similar, albeit demonically enhanced version of 
this weapon with as much fervor as Ryu does.

- Destroyer of Armies - Ryu smashes the Dabilahro down and does an uppercut 
with it.  But, before he re-sheathes the weapon, he slashes once with one hand 
from right to left, then again from left to right.  One of the cooler things 
about this Combo is that if you put a brief pause as Ryu does the uppercut from 
the second X, then Ryu will be oriented in such a way, that he'll spin around 
to do the side-to-side slashes.  This is a very nice little touch.

- Gleam of Heaven and Earth - See War Hammer Gleam of Heaven and Earth.

- Inferno Slash - Ryu jumps up in the air, holds the Dabilahro behind him 
and over his head with both hands, and swings the sword down onto the ground 
in front of him as he lands.  He holds the blade to his left side.

- Purgatory Slash - Like with Inferno Slash, Ryu will jump into the air, but 
he'll do it much higher with Purgatory Slash.  Additionally, he'll bring the 
sword out in front of him much more when he brings it down to the ground.

- Hundred Demons Blade - This move looks like Purgatory Slash, but now you 
get a Phantom (with some Protection), and when the blade hits the ground, 
it sends out a red shockwave along the ground in a straight line.

- Asura Slash (2 Essences) - Ryu performs the same motions as Hundred 
Demons Bite, but instead of one shockwave coming out, a shockwave with three 
trails spreads out before Ryu.  It resembles a dragon's foot.

- Flaming Inferno - Ryu sticks the sword straight out in front of him with both 
hands.  This is an alternative starter to every X Combo much like OL X or 6+X 
with the DS.  The reach on this thing is ridiculous, but you pay for it in 
damage, obviously.

- Flaming Whirlwind - See War Hammer Flaming Whirlwind.

- Earth Slide - See Nunchaku Earth Slide.

- Corpse Crusher - See War Hammer Corpse Crusher.

- Foot Crusher - See War Hammer Avalanche Drop.

- Thunderous Blade - See War Hammer Avalanche Drop.

- Raging Thunderous Blade - See War Hammer Raging Thunderous Blade.

- Aqua Thrust - See Nunchaku Aqua Thrust.

- Water Formation Kick - See Nunchaku Aqua Thrust.

2. Level 2 - You only receive a nominal increase in strength and the 360 
move in Level 2.  It is better to upgrade the War Hammer for much less if 
you don't intend on upgrading any further as you gain the Six Paths Spin 
with level 2.

I guess Muramasa is unhappy with the bulk of this weapon, so for the first 
upgrade, he cuts a huge circular chunk out of the blade.  The handle also 
receives a single, tiny spire.  It looks like the weapon could now be used 
as a halberd as well for its hooking properties even though Ryu doesn't use 
the weapon as such.

- Hundred Man Slash (Lvl2) - This move looks identical to the Six Paths 
Spin, however, it is not a throw.  It simply CLEARs any enemies struck by the 
blade.

3. Level 3 - At Level 3, the Dabilahro is a very oppressive weapon.  The last 
time Muramasa forges the blade, it comes back with yet another notch in the 
blade itself and increased the mass of the tip.  It is now truly a fearsome 
looking implement of destruction.

- Whirling Empire Blade - Ryu performs his Destroyer of Armies, but at 
the very end, he spins around quickly while kneeling for the final horizontal 
strike.  There will be a brief Essence Flash as Ryu's knees touch the ground 
with the last slash.  This will ruin most enemies' days.

- Flaming Hell Slash - The Flaming Hell Slash can be input any time after the 
initial two X's of Whirling Empire Blade.  After that, Ryu spins around and 
cleaves the sword around from right to left with one hand.  The great thing 
about this move is that you can input it at any point after the first two X's 
and it will animate accordingly.  You can use this move to single out enemies 
that might be holding back until you finish.

4. Scroll - At Level 3, the Reigning Spiral is a one-hit kill on most 
regular enemies.

- Reigning Spiral (Scroll) - See War Hammer Reigning Spiral.

SPEAR GUN
---------
You cannot block with the Spear Gun.  As a consequence, you cannot Counter 
Attack, either.

Ryu attaches this weapon and its holster to his leg.  Whenever he is not 
using it, he returns it to its holster.  He uses both hands to fire it, and 
there is significant recoil on the weapon.  It has unlimited ammunition as 
well.

1. Level 1 - This weapon is really only useful underwater.  Muramasa will not 
upgrade this weapon.

- Spear Shot - Ryu takes the weapon off of his leg, and fires once while 
stabilizing the gun with both hands.

- Earth Slide - See Nunchaku Earth Slide.

- Dragon Emperor Kick - See Nunchaku Dragon Emperor Kick.

WOODEN SWORD
------------
You acquire the Wooden Sword either buy purchasing it in the original game, or 
buy collecting various numbers of Scarabs in the different difficulties or 
paying for it.

The Wooden Sword is a simple boken.  A practice sword used for samurai in 
training.  Any damage caused is due to sheer blunt force trauma.  As such, this 
weapon is simply a place holder until you are rich enough to upgrade into the 
Unlabored Flawlessness.  Many people wonder about the design choice of having a 
boken transform into a huge paddle, but that story is a very well-known tale in 
Japan.  It's based on the legendary Swordsman and author of the Five Rings, 
Myamoto Musashi.  For more information on this legend, see the Story Synopsis.

1. Levels 1-6 - The only differences between the Level 1 DS and the Wooden 
Sword are that the Wooden Sword glows white when at low health, it does 
significantly less damage, it cannot DECAP and it replaces some of the DS's 
moves with the Nunchaku.  If Ryu were a pacifist, this is the weapon that he'd 
utilize.

- Crimson Slash - See Dragon Sword Crimson Slash.

- Tiger Roar - See Dragon Sword Tiger Roar.

- Fiend's Bane Kick - See Dragon Sword Fiend's Bane Kick.

- Early Winter Rain - See Dragon Sword Early Winter Rain.

- Blade of the Undefeatable - See Dragon Sword Blade of the Undefeatable.

- Sweeping Kick - See Nunchaku Sweeping Kick.

- Scarlet Dragon - See Dragon Sword Scarlet Dragon.

- Earth Slide - See Nunchaku Earth Slide.

- Fiend Sealer - See Dragon Sword Fiend Sealer.

- Blade of the Empty Air - See Dragon Sword Blade of the Empty Air.

- Helmet Splitter - See Dragon Sword Helmet Splitter.

- Air Destruction Slash - See Dragon Sword Air Destruction Slash.

- Falling Dragon Blade - See Dragon Sword Falling Dragon Blade.

- Cicada Slash - See Dragon Sword Cicada Slash.

- Divine Cicada Slash - See Dragon Sword Divine Cicada Slash.

- Wave Reverser - See Dragon Sword Wave Reverser.

- Ripple Slash - See Dragon Sword Ripple Slash.

- Floating Blade - See Dragon Sword Floating Blade.

- Gleaming Water Dragon - See Dragon Sword Gleaming Water Dragon.

2. Scroll - The Wooden Sword has no unique Scroll moves.

- Gleaming Cross - See Dragon Sword Gleaming Cross.

- Fiend's Bane Kick - See Dragon Sword Fiend's Bane Kick.

KITETSU
-------
You gain this weapon after Doku's defeat in both the original game and the 
rest of the Difficulties.  The sword splits into two spectral swords for 
most of the weapon's movelist.  While it may appear as though Kitetsu is 
simply a tricky version of the Dragon Sword, this is not at all the case.

1. Level 1 - Muramasa will now upgrade Kitetsu for you in Ninja Gaiden 
Black.

The Kitetsu resembles a traditional katana more closely than the Dragon 
Sword.  It's got a much more severe curvature to the blade, the hilt is 
longer, and the scabbard possesses a sageo unlike the DS.  Even though 
Ryu animates identically between the DS and Kitetsu (for the appropriate 
moves), Kitetsu is a much larger weapon, and it it much more curved at 
the end.  You get a little more reach with Kitetsu then you get with the 
Dragon Sword.

As you'll realize soon enough, the Kitetsu drains the life of its user.  
This affect can be offset by the Armlet of Tranquility and as such, it 
should go hand-in-hand with the use of Kitetsu.  If you do not possess the 
Tranquility Armet, the Dead Soul Bind needs to be employed judiciously 
to return your leached life.  This blade gives off an evil, red glow when 
it is put to use.

- Dark Rain - Ryu will slash once from right to left, do a complete 360 
and strike from left to right with the blade.  Then, Ryu will wield 
Kitetsu, breaking it into two blades, and then with the final two 
strikes, he will then spin the blades around him bringing them down on of 
the enemies head all the way to the ground.  Unlike the DS, the strikes 
in this series are much more capable of DECAP.

- Stab of Extinction - Ryu will unsheathe Kitetsu, spin 360 degrees and 
toss the blade away at neck level while kneeling on the ground.  The 
blade will spin around whilst in-flight, and it will cut through 
anything in its path both on the way away from Ryu and back towards him.  
Regular enemies will be Cleared both on the way away from Ryu and on the 
way back, while Large enemies will be SPUN.

- Stab of Overpowering Evil - Ryu will strike twice and then immediately 
go into Stab of Extinction.

- Dead Soul Bind - Dead Soul Bind is just Soul Bind with the two strikes 
of Dark Rain leading into it.

- Soul Bind -  The Kitetsu's bread and butter move is Soul Bind.  After Ryu 
runs the enemy through, he will proceed to push the Soul out of their body 
through the exit would and absorb it; healing himself in the process.  There 
are so many properties and uses for this move that it warranted its own 
section.  Please see the In-depth Move Discussion section for more details.

- Soul Eraser - If one decides to forgo the Soul Bind in Dead Soul Bind, 
Ryu can issue a Y attack that will make him disappear, Phantom and dash 
forward with Kitetsu out in front of him.  See the In-depth Move 
Discussion Section for more details.

- Blade of Nirrti - See Dragon Sword Blade of Nirrti.

- Haze Straight Slash - See Dragon Sword Haze Straight Slash.

- Extinction Straight Slash - See Dragon Sword Extinction Straight Slash.

- Bassara - The Ultimate Technique with Kitetsu is very unique looking.  
Ryu will pull Kitetsu apart and begin thrashing enemies left and right with 
the two blades spinning them furiously.  More specifically, he'll Extinction 
Straight Slash right into the enemy, pull the blade apart and slash right 
to left, left to right sequentially with either blade, slash right to left 
again with both blades at the same time with an overhead strike to boot.  
Ryu will then twirl each blade over and under each other for a total of six 
strikes in under a second; three times to his left side, and then three 
times to his right side.  Finally, Ryu will jump into the air, spinning, 
Phantom and bring both blades down and pull them through the enemy to each 
side whilst landing on the ground in a kneeling position.  He will then 
force the blades together again over his right shoulder.  Each strike is 
accompanied with a full Essence Explosion as well.  

- Crazed Bones Slash - Ryu will stab Kitetsu forward and twist the blade into 
the enemy's abdomen, impaling them.  It grants you Crumple Stun instantly.  
You can also follow this up with Soul Bind.  Unlike the following Soul Binds, 
you are 100% vulnerable during the execution of this move.  You need to make 
sure that you can get into a Soul Bind before doing this strike at all.

- Azure Dragon - See Dragon Sword Azure Dragon.

- Scarlet Dragon - See Dragon Sword Scarlet Dragon.

- Beheaded Demon - In Beheaded Demon, Ryu will be running forward, place the 
blade in front of him and pull Kitetsu apart into its twin pieces, sticking 
his arms out to the side.  The second X will make Ryu spin counter-clockwise 
while bringing the blades parallel to each other and slashing from right 
to left.  He'll then force the blades back together.  This move DECAPs.  
Unlike Violent Gale, the 2nd X in this series CLEARs.  This is one of the 
areas in which the Kitetsu is superior to the DS.

- Hundred Curses Slash - Ryu splits Kitetsu into its twin blades and 
proceeds to spin around hold the blades out.  Ryu completes two full rotations 
while jumping before landing with the blades pointed parallel to his starting 
position before Ryu merges the blades back together.  This technique DECAPs 
excessively and Spin Stuns as well.

- Fiend Sealer - See Dragon Sword Fiend Sealer.

- Burial Kick - See Dragon Sword Burial Kick.

- Helmet Splitter - See Dragon Sword Helmet Splitter.

- Air Destruction Slash - See Dragon Sword Air Destruction Slash.

- Falling Dragon Blade - See Dragon Sword Falling Dragon Blade.

- Cicada Slash - See Dragon Sword Cicada Slash.

- Divine Cicada Slash - See Dragon Sword Divine Cicada Slash.

- Wave Reverser - See Dragon Sword Wave Reverser.

- Ripple Slash - See Dragon Sword Ripple Slash.

- Floating Blade - See Dragon Sword Floating Blade.

- Gleaming Water Dragon - See Dragon Sword Gleaming Water Dragon.

2. Level 2 - Level 2 introduces the Flying Swallow which makes Kitetsu 
as functional as the Dragon Sword.

- Flying Swallow - The only difference between this move and the Dragon 
Sword's technique is that Kitetsu gives off a red glow unlike the DS's 
white glow.  See Dragon Sword Flying Swallow.

- Soul Eraser - You get an additional Soul Eraser at Level 2.

3. Level 3 - At Level 3, the Kitetsu is arguably superior to the 
Dragon Sword (at Level 3 as well).

- Blade of the Twin Dragons - Scarlet Dragon becomes EXTREMELY useful in 
this Combo.  After Ryu drags the DS along the ground, he then does a 
cartwheel like motion with the DS in one hand slashing the enemy, and then 
follows up with a little Azure Dragon, followed by a complete back flip 
accompanied by a vertical strike.  This last strike CLEARs, DECAPs and 
BREAKs.

- Soul Eraser - You get a final, additional Soul Eraser at Level 3.

4. Scroll - Kitetsu has no unique Scroll moves.

- Gleaming Cross - See Dragon Sword Gleaming Cross.

- Fiend's Bane Kick - See Dragon Sword Fiend's Bane Kick.

- Izuna Drop - See Dragon Sword Izuna Drop.

UNLABORED FLAWLESSNESS
----------------------
Once you upgrade the Wooden Sword up to Level 7, you attain this 
weapon.

1. Level 1 - At 5% health, this is still the strongest weapon in the game.  
The Unlabored Flawlessness is a gigantic, two-handed oar with glowing red 
kanji running the length of the weapon.  The kanji translate roughly to 
Unlabored Flawlessness (at least an English sounding version of what it 
actually means).  When Ryu's life is at 5% and flashing, the kanji glow 
very brightly.  This is to signify the insane increase in damage.

- Flaming Hell Slash - Ryu pulls the Unlabored Flawlessness off of his back and 
swings it over his head in a vertical strike imbedding the blunt edge into the 
ground.  Ryu then quickly pivots around the imbedded weapon and uppercuts with 
the weapon.  Ryu is left standing very briefly with the weapon lying on the 
ground in his right hand briefly before he swings it horizontally with one 
hand.  He borrows this move from his Dabilahro style with this like-named 
strike.  This is one of those moves that animates differently depending upon 
how long Ryu delays the attack and where the enemy is positioned relative to 
Ryu.

- Flying Dragon Falling Slash - This series resembles the Dragon Sword's and 
Kitetsu's Blade of Nirrti, but there are significant differences both 
functionally and cosmetically.  Ryu cannot perform Blade of Nirrti or the 
Izuna Drop without an enemy to strike.  Conversely, you can perform Flying 
Dragon Falling Slash at any time.  Also, it looks much cooler as Ryu is 
swinging around a man-sized oar with one hand while being magically suspended 
in mid-air.  The last strike it much different from Blade of Nirrti.  Ryu 
Phantoms and does a couple flips before he brings the UF down with both hands 
to the ground with extreme force.  This is a bread-and-butter move for this 
weapon.

- Forest Winds and Mountain Fires - Ryu swings the UF down into the ground, 
quickly pivots around the handle and uppercuts up without leaving the ground. 
As the enemy falls back down, Ryu spins 360 degrees and bats the enemy's body 
away like a baseball in mid-air.

- Boulder Splitter - See Dabilahro Inferno Slash.

- Steel Splitter - See Dabilahro Purgatory Slash.

- Tempered Steel Splitter - This is a more powerful version of Steel 
Splitter.

- Earth Splitter - Ryu phantoms, jumps up into the air and flips multiple 
times.  He then places the UF between his legs while an explosion goes off in 
mid-air.  Ryu drops down through the explosion pushing it into the ground 
with the UF when second flaming geyser erupts from where he hit the ground.  
It hurts a lot, but the range isn't so great.  He then pulls the UF out of 
the ground.

- Flaming Inferno - See Dabilahro Flaming Inferno.

- Flaming Whirlwind - See War Hammer Flaming Whirlwind.

- Earth Slide - See Nunchaku Earth Slide

- Hundred Man Slash - See Dabilahro Hundred Man Slash.

- Corpse Crusher - See War Hammer Corpse Crusher.

- Avalanche Drop - See War Hammer Avalanche Drop.

- Rolling Thunder - See War Hammer Rolling Thunder.

- Raging Thunder - See War Hammer Raging Thunder.

- Aqua Thrust - See Nunchaku Aqua Thrust.

- Water Formation Kick - See Nunchaku Water Formation Kick.

2. Scroll - The Unlabored Flawlessness has no unique Scroll moves.

- Reigning Spiral - See War Hammer Reigning Spiral.

- Izuna Drop - See Dragon Sword Izuna Drop.

DARK DRAGON BLADE
-----------------
You acquire the Dark Dragon Blade 3 different ways depending upon if you're 
playing the original Difficulty or not.  In the original game, you cannot 
acquire it at all.  In higher Difficulties, you get it for gathering 50 
Scarabs.

1. Level 1 - Most of the single strikes with the DDB are Guard Breaking.  
All of the Charge and Essence moves are accompanied by a black wave.  
Muramasa won't upgrade this weapon, either.  It's the sealed version of the 
blade.

As readily apparent during the opening cinema of the game, the Dark Dragon 
Blade is an extremely ornate and vulgar weapon.  The hilt appears to be a 
golden representation of a dragon's head, and the gigantic fanglike 
structures extend down from the bottom; hence the dragon's maw.  The guard 
is composed of two, long spires that extend straight out from the weapon.  
The Blade is composed of Black Dragon bones and looks metallic and somewhat 
glassy at the same time.  The blade itself is carved to resemble a black 
flame rising out of handle and there are red characters (not kanji) etched 
into both blunt faces of the sword.  The markings are Vigoorian.

Whenever the blade is swung, a black trail is left behind, but the Blade 
glows purple when its full strength is being utilized.

- Gleam of Heaven and Earth - See War Hammer Gleam of Heaven and Earth.

- Flaming Hell Slash - See Unlabored Flawlessness Flaming Hell Slash.

- Dark Dragon Descending Fiends - Ryu jumps forward a bit and thrusts the 
Blade down at an angle in mid air.

- Dark Dragon Flaming Demon - Ryu suddenly dashes forward and slashes 
horizontally.

- Dark Dragon Cauterizing Slash - Ryu spins 720 degrees, pulls the Blade up 
to neck height and slashes an additional 360 degrees.  He then jumps up into 
the air in a circle while slashing the Blade backwards at the enemy's neck, 
yet again.  The final strike is accompanied by an Essence Explosion.

- Dark Dragon Gates of Hell - Ryu phantoms and dashes an EXTREMELY long 
distance into the enemy where he hits them by smashing the Blade down into 
the enemy's feet.  If this strike connects, then Ryu performs an auto-combo 
with the Blade whipping it around as it if weighed nothing.  First, he 
uppercuts them while holding the weapon with one hand.  Then he quickly 
slashes left and then right.  The right slash spins Ryu around, so he must 
slash to the left again spinning to correct himself while cradling the Blade 
with both hands.  Then, he performs another uppercut, and then finally 
spins the Blade over his head, turns around showing his back to the enemy 
and strikes the enemy with a behind-the-back stab.  Each hit is accompanied 
by a Full Essence Explosion and a very thick, metallic *chunk* sound.  

- Hundred Demons Bite - See Dabilahro Flaming Inferno.

- Flaming Whirlwind - See War Hammer Flaming Whirlwind.

- Earth Slide - See Nunchaku Earth Slide.

- Hundred Man Slash - See Dabilahro Hundred Man Slash.

- Corpse Crusher - See War Hammer Corpse Crusher.

- Fool Crusher - See Dabilahro Fool Crusher.

- Thunderous Blade - See Dabilahro Thunderous Blade.

- Raging Thunderous Blade - See Dabilahro Raging Thunderous Blade.

- Aqua Thrust - See Nunchaku Aqua Thrust.

- Water Formation Kick - See Nunchaku Water Formation Kick.

2. Scroll - The Dark Dragon Blade has no unique Scroll moves.

- Reigning Spiral - See War Hammer Reigning Spiral.

LUNAR
-----
You can acquire the Lunar in Hayabusa Village on Normal and Hard.  On 
Very Hard, you can get it in the Shadow Ninja Fortress and on Master 
Ninja, you begin the game with it.

1. Level 1 - The Level 1 Lunar is still a very formidable weapon.

The Lunar at Level 1 resembles any common bo.  It's a fully sized staff, 
red and capped with gold.  At this stage, it is a blunt force weapon and 
is not capable of decapitations.

- Raven's Strike - Raven's Strike is the Lunar's base Combo.  Ryu slashes 
from right to left once, and then brings the staff back to his right side 
while twirling the Bo.  The final X makes Ryu spin around 360 degrees 
while bringing the weapon around at the same time.  Finally, he twirls it 
one last time, and it ends up held with his right hand off to his right 
side while he kneels slightly.

- Raven Light - Ryu slashes from right to left with the Bo, and then 
twirls it vertically for several hits on his right side, before bringing 
above his head with both hands an swinging down vertically to the ground 
accompanied with a little hop for force.  This is a Grounding move.

- Twilight - Ryu strikes once from right to left with the Lunar and then 
stabs forward once with the end of the Bo.

- Arc of the Moon - Ryu rears back clasping the Lunar with both hands, 
and then spins around once with the Lunar outstretched horizontally.

- Soul of the Crescent - Just like in Arc of the Moon, Ryu rears back, 
but charges for a bit while the Lunar collects energy.  Once released, 
Ryu will swing around like Arc of the Moon, but hit harder.

- Shrouded Crescent - After collecting a single Essence or waiting long 
enough, Ryu will get an Essence explosion.  After releasing Y, Ryu will 
spin around twice.

- Raven's Veil - After collecting two Essence (or waiting long enough 
again), Ryu will create a Hurricane with his spinning motion and will 
rotate at least 5 times decimating all around him.  He'll end the move 
with an ending pose like Raven's Strike.

- Lion's Rage - Ryu will quickly spin the Lunar laterally to his right 
side and then flip it over and spin it laterally to his left side.  He 
will edge forward slightly while doing this.

- Black Widow - After Lion's Rage, Ryu will spin the Lunar out in front 
of him with one hand in a circle forming a shield of sorts, and then 
quickly grab it, spin around while ducking and swing the Lunar 
horizontally.

- Crescent Strike - Ryu spins once very quickly and flicks the Lunar 
around his shoulders horizontally before spinning the Lunar in a reverse 
motion with a vertical strike which Launches.  This is analogous to the 
Scarlet Dragon with the DS and Kitetsu.  Ryu will hit the enemy with both 
ends of the Lunar.

- Purgatory's Rivet - While Ryu is running, he will stop abruptly, bend 
backwards and flick the Lunar out in front of him twice.  This move CLEARs.

- Twin Serpent Strike - Ryu will use his running momentum to flip upside 
down, strike out in front of him with the rod.  He'll then spin the Lunar 
in his left hand under him.  Once Ryu becomes parallel to the ground, he'll 
hold the Lunar next to his waist while spinning on axis.  This makes Ryu 
appear to be a saw blade, before he lands on his feet.  Ryu will then land 
on his feet and commit one more 360 degree revolution before chambering the 
Lunar again.

- Nirmanakaya - Ryu jumps up quickly next to a GROUND foe, and brings the 
staff down across the enemy's body.  This is much quicker than the rest of 
the DOWN striking attacks in the game.

- Tempest - Ryu somersaults in mid-air several times before crashing down 
to the ground.

- Phantom Moon - Ryu turns in mid-air with his body parallel to the ground and 
spins several times with the Lunar held out before crashing down to the ground.

- Gibbous - Ryu phantoms before spinning one more time than Tempest before 
flying down to the ground with a crushing strike while holding the Lunar with 
both hands.

- Aqua Thrust - See Nunchaku Aqua Thrust.

- Water Formation Kick - See Nunchaku Water Formation Kick.

2. Level 2 - Level 2 gives you one of the safest techniques in the game, 
Dragon's Claw.

Aside from the Unlabored Flawlessness, this weapon undergoes the most drastic 
transformation.  When Muramasa reforges this weapon, he adds a pair of spires; 
one to each end, metallic spiral ridges, the shaft is colored black and a crown 
of two, sharp pikes on each face of the weapon.  At Level 2, this is a terribly 
fearsome weapon both in design and function.  Since the spires and pikes are 
added the weapon gains the ability to decapitate and shed blood.

- Dragon's Claw - Ryu adds in a little hop kick and a final 360 vertical flip 
where he both kicks and strikes with the Lunar and then reverses the 
Lunar's motion by swinging it back over his shoulder, Clearing anybody struck 
by it.  This arguably the safest technique in the game as you are constantly 
moving, and there is a Guard Break mid-Combo.  However, this series is 
EXTREMELY weak in strength and the quicker enemies can evade every strike in 
the series.

- Infinite Fury - Level 2 lets Ryu repeatedly stab forward after the initial 
Y stab of Twilight several times, before lunging straight forward with a 
very strong thrust.

- Lion's Rage - Level 2 adds one more revolution to the series where he moves 
the Lunar over to his left side.  Also, that X can now LAUNCH.

- Black Widow - Additionally, Level 3 allows you to tack on an additional Black 
Widow to the additional X of Lion's Rage.

3. Level 3 - Level 3 grants you a 360 move and extensions to the other 
series Combos.

At Level 3, Muramasa exchanges the silver hardware for gold, and then returns 
the rod back to its original, red color.

- Lion's Rage - Level 3 adds the final revolution to the series.

- Black Widow - Additionally, Level 3 allows you to tack on a Black Widow 
to this additional X.

- Full Moon Strike - Ryu can now SELFLAUNCH out of Crescent Strike by flipping 
the Lunar around his shoulders while jumping in the air.  This is analogous to 
Azure Dragon for the DS and Kitetsu.

- Lunar Explosion - Lunar Explosion simply allows for a Phantom Moon to be 
performed after a Full Moon Strike.

- Raven Streams - Ryu rears back a bit before spinning his body and 
simultaneously rotating the Lunar around his body before catching it in his 
right hand and blocking with his outstretched left hand.  He commits two 
horizontal Lunar twirls.  The first rotates around his mid-section while the 
second is spun around his head.

4. Scroll - Both the Counter Attack and Izuna Drop are slightly different 
from the other weapon's iterations.

- Concealed Thrust - Ryu immediately initiates the Y strike of Infinite Fury.  
However, you get one less thrust out of the Counter Attack version.

- Izuna Drop - It only takes one X to setup the Izuna Drop with the Lunar.  
Otherwise, see the Dragon Sword Izuna Drop.  The timing and spacing is MUCH 
more strict with the Lunar.  I'm assuming that this has to do with 
balancing out the weapon.  The actual animation once Ryu has captured the 
opponent is identical.

SHURIKEN
--------
- Iron Rain - B~B~B~B (JF)
Ryu will throw four shuriken while standing in VERY quick succession.
Additionally, a different arm animation will accompany each toss.  This will
come out as quickly as his running and jumping shuriken throw.  There is a 
benefit to this as you must do this mid-combo to gain the benefits of the 
move.  If you do not get the four unique arm animations, enemies with 
excessive mobility (Imp Fiends) will be able to dodge the Shuriken mid-combo.

- Platinum Rain - Bird Flip, B
Ryu will throw six shuriken very quickly after a Bird Flip.  As with any Bird 
Flip option, you gain a significant advantage attacking from this lengthy setup.
The most powerful property of this technique is that it grants you IA status at 
every stage of its animation, AND you do not get a landing penalty if choose 
to attack.  This is EXTREMELY useful.  With any other Bird Flip option, you are 
usually hit with an extended landing penalty from which you can usually only 
NINC or iB.  However, with Platinum Rain, you get the usual Bird Flip advantage 
(2 add'l Shuriken), but land as you do from a regular jump (with the ability to 
iCOL).  So, if you've setup a Divine Cicada but have noticed that all of the 
Imps you intended to cascade down upon decided to make a hasty retreat, you 
can alter your strategy and at least get some add'l damage in.

- Flood Waters - WR B
Ryu will throw four shuriken very quickly WR.  You can do it in any direction 
and still keep Ryu's forward velocity.

ALL WEAPONS
-----------
Ryu can perform the following moves with any weapon.

- Reverse Wind - This is the technical name for Ryu's Roll movement.  He will 
somersault along the ground with his weapon unsheathed and recover upon both 
feet.

- Wind Path - Ryu disappears right above an enemy and leaves a Phantom behind, 
while reappearing on the enemies' shoulders and jumping off of them.  There 
are actually two versions of Wind Path, hWP and vWP.  See the Wind Path 
Move Discussion for more details.  The visual difference between the two is 
such that the Vertical Version makes Ryu do another flip IA above the enemy.

- Guillotine Throw - Ryu grabs the neck of the enemy while being inverted in 
the air over the enemy and then uses his weight to flip over the enemy's 
shoulder and throw them at the same time.  This move is very useful for 
crowd control, and it is unblockable.  However, you are hit with SIGNIFICANT 
recovery upon successful completion of this move.  See the In-depth Move 
discussion section for more information.

- Thunderclap Kick - Ryu jumps forward, kicks and then flips over while in 
mid-air and kicks again.  A successful strike with the second kick will 
CLEAR.  Later on in Ryu's life (i.e. the DOA series), Ryu adds in a third 
revolution and an additional kick.  He then lands on the ground crouched and 
supporting himself with one hand.

- Block - Ryu has different block animations for every weapon.

	1.  Dragon Sword/Kitetsu/Wooden Sword - Ryu unsheathes the sword and 
	holds it almost totally, perpendicular to the ground, upside down.  
	The blade reacts appropriately depending upon how Ryu is hit (from the 
	side, straight-on, above, etc...).

	2.  Nunchaku/Vigoorian Flail - Ryu holds both ends of the weapon and 
	pulls them tight out in front of them diagonally to the ground.

	3.  Lunar - Ryu holds the Lunar in the same fashion that he pulls the 
	two halves of the Flail tight.  That is, he holds it out in front of him 
	in a slightly diagonal way.

	4.  Heavy Two-Handed Weapons - Ryu brandishes all of the Heavy Two-
	Handed Weapons in the same manner whilst blocking.  He holds it with 
	both hands upside down, perpendicular to the ground.  Visually, they 
	provide much more coverage than the One-Handed Weapons.

	5.  Harpoon Gun - Ryu cannot block when this weapon is armed.  It 
	holsters on his leg, ready for use.

- Vertical Jump - Ryu jumps straight off of the ground without flipping or 
doing anything else particularly Ninja-like.

- Horizontal Jump - Ryu will somersault in the air twice before landing on the 
ground already ready to strike.

- Wall Cling - Depending upon how Ryu commits the Wall Cling, he'll get 
different animations.  If he hits the wall straight on, he'll mount it with his 
foot and knee directly into it.  If you perform the Flying Bird Flip, you'll 
jump off regularly with Ryu stretched straight out and his arms crossed over 
his chest ready to issue a command.

However, if you jump at the wall at an angle to do a Wall Cling, Ryu will 
rest on his side and brace himself with his hip and arm.  Then, if you issue 
a Flying Bird Flip, Ryu will somersault in mid-air doing a circular flip.  
This jump has the same properties as Flying Bird Flip, so it should be treated 
as such.

- Flying Bird Flip - Ryu jumps off of a wall perpendicularly and crosses his 
hands over his chest while he flips backwards.  With this move, Ryu achieves 
great height, and as such Ryu uses this move to initiate the most damaging 
moves in his arsenal.  It is a different state from IA.

Depending upon if you did a Flying Bird Flip from a Wall Run or Wall Cling, you 
have control over which direction you Flying Bird Flip.  This is very useful 
for crowd control.

-----------------------------
~~ BLACK SPECIFIC FEATURES ~~
-----------------------------
This section will describe the changes in the game that occurred with the 
release of Ninja Gaiden Black.  Keep in mind that you can still play the 
original game whenever you want.

ESSENCE FARMING
---------------
The Essence Farming has been adjusted greatly in Black.  Enemies no longer 
release their maximum Essence by being hit with a UT solely now.  The Combo 
Count affects the Essence released greatly now.  However, Phantom Fish will 
release a lot of Essence by being hit with a UT regardless of Combo Count.

The modifiers determining the length of the combo seem to have been adjusted as 
well.  Now, the Essence generated will increase in increments of 20, 50 and 100 
at least.

REPEAT ENCOUNTERS
-----------------
Two things have changed as far as Repeat Encounters are concerned.  Before, if
you were doing poorly in an Encounter, you could always leave before the timer
was up and come back.  Everything would reset.  This is no longer the case.  As
soon as the Encounter Counter starts, you must finish the Encounter the first
time in order to gain Karma.  

Secondly, repeat Encounters no longer give any points at all.  An Encounter 
Counter will no longer be displayed upon redoing an Encounter.  This is true 
even throughout different Chapters with several exceptions.

ENEMY CHANGES
-------------
So far, it looks as though every single enemy in the game received some sort of
upgrade.  Some of them are simply balance issues, while the majority make the
enemies' strategies totally new.  In every case, if an enemy was unable to
penetrate Ryu's Guard, they have been given either a throw or multiple Guard
Breaking techniques.  This makes the Counter Attack Technique much more 
balanced as it is no longer possible to simply sit there and Counter Attack 
Fiend after Fiend.  

Additionally, every Boss has been readjusted.  In many cases, cheap strategies 
that worked before no longer work at all.  Some Bosses have been completely 
reworked as far as their AI is concerned.  The two most blatant examples are 
Alma Awakened and the Tank Battalion.

There are several FAQ's already dedicated to the other changes.  There are 
better documents out there to answer this question.  Here are two:

----------------------
~~ FREE FORM COMBOS ~~
----------------------
Not all combos are listed in the in-game menu.  There are many variations on
the canned combos and many instances where a move is capable of being cancelled
by another specific move.  You can also forgo finishing almost every combo in
the game if you see danger imminent, or you believe that it would be beneficial
to avoid the final strike to avoid the lengthy recovery.  We will try to
outline as many instances as possible.  Keep in mind that if any part of the
combo is unavailable due to insufficient weapon level, then the combo won't
work.

Persons credited with the discovery are included within quotes before the 
command list.  If not enclosed in quotes, the term designates a move 
description or requirement.

DRAGON SWORD FREE FORM COMBOS
-----------------------------
1. Violent Windmill - (6)+X, X, X, [,[6+]X,] r6
You start with a Windmill Slash and follow with three more X's. The 2nd X will
be a regular slash followed by Violent Gale as the engine will register you as
WR if you've held right on the analog stick the whole time.  The Windmill Slash
is the move where Ryu does a front somersault with the Dragon Sword unsheathed.
The following three hits will come out very fast and progress in opposite
directions of a NEAR enemy.

Additionally, you can aim the last X, if you want to SPIN a different enemy,
rather than CRUMPLE the initially targetted one.

2. Windmill Thunderclap Kick ("goatism") - (6)+X, X, Y r6
Again, the Windmill Slash will register as WR, so you can pull out a
Thunderclap Kick as well.

3. Blade of the Hazy Slash ("Psychotic Kiske") - X, Y, X, X, X, ...OL Y
If you delay the final X or Y of Blade of Nirrti or Izuna Drop and fall back to
the ground, you will attain an iC.  This will usually decapitate the enemy
lying on the ground.

4. Blade of Tranquility ("holyvision") - X, Y, X, X, X, ...OL X, etc.

5. Blade of Dragon Gleam ("holyvision") - X, Y, X, X, X, ...[1/2 Essence] OL 
Dragon Gleam
Actual Commands: X, Y, X, X, X, ...OL 360+Y

6. Blade of the Bleeding Helmet (Lvl2) - X, Y, X, X, X ...Y

7. Violent Azure/Scarlet Dragon ("goatism") - WR, X, [6+]Y/(Y)
The Azure or Scarlet Dragon launchers can follow Violent Wind nicely.  The 
optional direction is there if you need to target a specific enemy.

8. Violent Wind of the Twin Dragons ("goatism") - WR, X, X, 6+(Y), Y, Y
Aside from the punny name, this is a very useful series as well.  There's a
short delay between these but nothing serious.

9. Late Winter Rain ("Psychotic Kiske" DEAD) - Early Winter Rain, ...Burial Kick
Actual Commands: X, X, 6+X, Y ...X

If the enemy is near death (DEAD), and you do an Early Winter Rain that kills
them, the enemy will stumble backwards and catch themselves with their hand.
The cool part is right before they get back up, you kick them square in the
face.

10. Tranquil Dragon - Tranquil Clearing, Y, ...Tranquil Clearing, Y, ...repeat
Actual Commands: OL X, Y, ...OL X, Y, ...repeat

The Y following Tranquil Clearing will automatically becomes Azure Dragon which
will relaunch you.  The Tranquil Dragon series is infinitely repeatable.

11. Tranquil Tear - OL X, X, X, Y
Tranquil Clearing will also Combo into any other X Combo.

12. Tranquil Dragon Tear ("Dark Falz213") - X, Y, X, X, X, ...Tranquil Tear
Actual Commands: X, Y, X, X, X, ...OL X, X, X, Y

13. Crimson Dragon Blade - Crimson Slash, ...Blade of the Twin Dragons
Actual Commands: X, X, X, L, 6+(Y), Y, Y

The last hit of the Crimson Slash will stun the opponent giving you time pull
off Blade of the Twin Dragons.

14. Storm of the Heavenly Dragon Gleam (2 Essences) - Storm of the Heavenly
Dragon, [1/2 Essence] OL Dragon Gleam
Actual Commands: (2 Essences) Charge Y, [1/2 Essence] OL 360+Y

You can buffer the 360 motion of the joystick into any recovery frames, and it
will come out.

15. Fiend's Bane Annihilation ("Psychotic Kiske", Counter) - WB, X, ...X, Y, 
...6+X, X, Y

16. Many Fangs ("Psychotic Kiske") - Early Winter Rain, Windmill Slash, Fang of 
the Wolf
Actual Commands: X, X, 6+X, Y, 6+X, X, Y, Y

17. Scarlet Swallow Slash ("primetime2121") - Scarlet Dragon, B, 9, Flying
Swallow, B, ...OL Y
Actual Commands:  6+(Y), B, 6+A, NEAR, 6+Y, B, ...OL Y

You can use this combo with any shuriken for slightly different affects.

18. Counter Attack Dragon Sword ("primetime2121", Counter) - WB, X, ...X, Y, B, 
...OL Y
You can use this combo with any shuriken for slightly different affects.

19. Helmet Destruction (LEVELG) - 9~Air Destruction Slash, Helmet Splitter (JF)
Actual Commands: 6+A~X, ...Y

You have to pause before entering the Helmet Splitter.  After that, you can jam
on Y, and it will come out.

20. Undead Reign (Ghul, facing) - Azure Dragon, Azure Dragon, X, X, X, X
Actual Commands: 6+Y, 6+Y, X, X, X, X

Ghuls can be juggled using this combo.  You must do two consecutive
Azure Dragons from the front to get them to stagger and the become launched.
They will then land on the ground and have to recover.

21. Gleaming Crane (Counter) - Gleaming Cross, OL Flying Crane
Actual Commands: WB, Y, OL 360+Y

22. Fiend's Bane Initiation (Counter) - WB, X, ...(etc...)
The first hit of the Counter Attack of Fiend's Bane Kick is a standard
launcher.  If you pause before hitting X/Y and neglect to finish the move, you
can easily continue this series.  There are too many variations to list as
separate combos.  Very useful.

23. Reverse Windmill - Reverse Wind~Windmill Slash (JF)
Actual Commands: 1~6+X

This move will catch an attacking enemy mid-animation, because you Roll out of
the way and instantly Roll back in.  It is listed as a JF, because you cannot 
issue the Windmill Slash too early, and if you do it too late, you lose the 
bonus of the sneak attack.

24. Deceitful Dragon - Reverse Wind~Azure/Scarlet Dragon (JF)
Actual Commands: 1~6+Y/(Y)

This move will catch an attacking enemy mid-animation, because you Roll out of
the way and instantly Launch.

25. Crimson Blades ("Shadowblade786") - [OL] X, Blade of the Twin Dragons
Actual Commands: [OL] X, (Y), Y, Y

Blade of the Twin Dragons comes out of X just like Izuna Drop or Blade of 
Nirrti.

26. Holy Helmet (Izuna) - X, Y, X, X, X, L, Y
Once you attain Izuna Drop, you can still do a Helmet Splitter at the end 
instead of the actual Drop throw as long as you Combo Break with L.

27. Blade of the Absent Dragon - Blade of the Twin Dragons~/,Ninpo (JF)
Actual Commands: 6+(Y), Y, Y~/,Y+B

There is a curious allowance for Ninpo Canceling with the 3rd Y of Blade of 
the Twin Dragons.  You can Ninpo Cancel it at ANY time, even during the 
attack frames when Ryu is in mid-air.  Personally, I wait for the exact time 
when Ryu lands to do it, since you will still be credited for the hit.  You 
can do it while Ryu is still IA from the last Y, though, and he will quickly 
fall to the ground and initiate the Ninpo from there.  Both have their uses.

28. Secret Handshake - X, X, 6+X, L, etc.
Most of the weapons have a Combo that branches extensively.  For the Dragon 
Sword, the beginning of either Fiend's Bane Kick or Early Winter Rain.  You 
can Combo Break right here and start any other series as the hit stun from 
that strike is significant.  There are too many variations to list as 
separate combos.  Very useful.

29. Violent Tendencies - X, X, 6+X, L, Violent Windmill 
Actual Commands: X, X, 6+X, L, (6)+X, X, X, [,X,] r6

The 6+X of Fiend's Bane Kick is a good combo branch as it induces a pretty 
good hit stun.  You can Combo Break right there and do whatever you want.  A 
good option is Violent Windmill, since it is so quick.

30. Tantrum - X, X, 6+X, L, Windmill Thunderclap Kick
Actual Commands:  X, X, 6+X, L, (6)+X, X, Y r6

The 6+X of Early Winter Rain is a good combo branch as it induces a pretty 
good hit stun.  You can Combo Break right there and do whatever you want.  
Another option is Windmill Thunderclap Kick.

31. Icy Gleam ("Shadowblade786", IceStorm) - Flying Crane/Gleaming Blade/
Annihilating Gleam/True Dragon Gleam, Ninpo
Actual Commands - [Charge, 1/2 Essence] 360+Y, Y+B

After doing any one of the Dragon Gleams all enemies around you should be in 
Launched state, perfect for sucking them in with Art of Ice Storm.

32. Flaming Swallow ("Shadowblade786", FireWheel) - Ninpo, Wind Run/9, 
Flying Swallow
Actual Commands: Y+B, X+A/6+A, 6+Y

While engulfed in Art of Firewheel, do a Flying Swallow by either Wind Run 
or simply a forward jump.  You should first off cut through them, and then 
the enemy should burn up and get tossed in front of you.

Note: There are many variations to Flaming Swallow.  You can let the 
FireWheel hit first, then Wind Run and Flying Swallow while the enemy is 
still in the air due to the FireWheel.  One of the best bonuses of 
utilizing FireWheel prior to a Flying Swallow is the protection it grants 
you during recovery.

33. Dragon's Purge (Firewheel) - Blade of the Dragon's Tail~Ninpo
Actual Commands: X, X, Y, Y, Y~Y+B

Canceling into Firewheel allows you to avoid the extended recovery of the 
last Y, and at the same time, it allows you to setup a Flaming Swallow 
(see above).

34. Icy Tear (IceStorm) - Tranquil Tear~Ninpo
Actual Commands: OL X, X, X, Y~Y+B

The final X is a GROUND hit and usually the last Y will simply decapitate. 
If it does not, or you're fighting a large enemy, you can cancel the 
recovery of the Y into an Ice Storm of big damage and Combo count.

35. Reversing Violence - Violent Wind~Reverse Wind (JF)
Actual Commands: WR X~6+L

I haven't determined the exact frame window as it is VERY small, but you 
can cancel the recovery of Violent Wind into a Reverse Wind.  You'll know 
you did it correctly if you hear two "whoosh" sounds just like if Ryu had 
done an Air Destruction Slash.  The benefit to this is that if the enemy 
blocks Violent Wind, they will most certainly block the upcoming Violent 
Gale as well, since neither of the techniques is Guard Breaking.  You'll 
be left at a frame disadvantage.  This will prevent the followup throw 
from landing.

36. Cloven Helmet - X, Y, X, Y (1st Y SELFLAUNCH)
This is a launch combo that almost everyone has discovered.

37. Step Cancel - WR X~5~6, etc. (JF)
To correctly perform the Step Cancel, you must immediately release the 
stick and move it back to 6 as the original X comes out.  Unfortunately, 
the move must be done so quickly that there is no way to do it on 
reaction (i.e. waiting to see if the enemy blocks the X).

38. Unending Violence - STEPC, ...X~5~6, ...X~5~6, repeat (JF)
Actual Commands: WR X~5~6, ...X~5~6, repeat

The X following the Step Cancel can be done 10 frames into the running 
animation, Ryu will not animate a running stride usually associated with 
WR.  The initial X comes out about twice as fast as if you let the 
animation finish naturally.

39. Circle of Violence - STEPC~Flying Crane (JF)
Actual Commands: WR X~5~360+Y

Unlike the rest of the STEPC series.  This one does not require a 6 
following the 5 as the 360 takes care of it.  It comes out VERY fast.

40. Cascading Windmill - STEPC~Windmill Slash, etc.
Actual Commands: WR X~5~6~5~6+X, etc.

You must do a double tap of the stick for this to come out correctly.  
You have every Windmill Slash option available to you at this point.

41. Crimson Beginning - STEPC~5, X, X, etc.
Actual Commands: WR X~5~6~5, X, X, etc.

You must return the stick to Neutral for this to come out correctly.  
You have every X, X option available to you at this point.

42. Perching Swallow ("Shadowblade786") - X, Y, ...OL Haze Straight Slash/
Extinction Straight Slash/Hundred Wing Blade/Storm of the Heavenly Dragon
Actual Commands: X, Y, ...OL [Charge, 1/2 Essences]Y

Begin Blade of Nirrti or Izuna Drop by pushing X, Y.  When you land, 
you can either press or hold y to get iC.  Let go for crazy damage.  You  
can also simply use an Azure Dragon.

43. Scarlet Sealer - Scarlet Dragon, Reverse Wind, Fiend Sealer/
Scarlet Dragon, etc.
Actual Commands: 6+(Y), 6+L, DOWN Y/6+Y, etc.

44. Scarlet Triumph (Shuriken) - Scarlet Dragon, B~B~B~B, Reverse Wind, 
Scarlet Dragon, etc.
Actual Commands: 6+(Y), B~B~B~B, 6+L, 6+Y, etc.

45. Flying Wall Flower (Shuriken/Windmill/Incendiary) - WallRun, X/Y~B (JF)
The Flying Swallow initiated from a WallRun has slightly different properties.  
Regardless of if you actually hit an enemy or not, you can Shuriken Cancel the 
air recovery if you do it soon enough.

46. Vader Blade ("darthvader06") - OL X, X, Y, Y, Y

47. Tranquil Drop - OL X, Y, X, X, X, Y

48. Portrait Hanger (NEARWALL, Guillotine) - 7/9, Guillotine, Scarlet/Azure 
Dragon, etc.
Actual Commands:  4+A/6+A, NEAR, 6+Y, 6+Y/(Y), etc.

If you Guillotine Throw an enemy into a wall, it will be WallStunned.  
Therefore, you have a great variety of options afterwards.

49. Kaleidoscope (Shuriken, Lvl4) - Secret Handshake, X, (Y), B, X, X, Y, Y, B, 
6+(Y), Y, B, Dragon Tear
Actual Commands: X, X, 6+X, L, X, (Y), B, X, X, Y, Y, B, 6+(Y), Y, B, X, X, X, 
Y

This is a linking between at least one section of every ground based Combo that 
Ryu has with the True Dragon Sword.

50. Kaleidoscope Sky (Shuriken, Lvl4) - Scarlet Dragon, Iron Rain, Roll, Azure 
Dragon, B, Tranquil Drop
Actual Commands: 6+(Y), B~B~B~B, 6+L, 6+Y, B, OL X, Y, X, X, X, Y

51. Revolution - X, [X, ]L, [1/2 Essence] Dragon Gleam
Actual Commands:  X, [X, ]L, [1/2 Essence] 360+Y

You can combo break out of the Crimson Slash into any of the Dragon Gleams.  If 
you do not Combo Break, you will get the generic Y attacks regardless of the 
360 motion.

52. Fearsome Phoenix - Divine Cicada Slash, Flying Crane/Gleaming Blade/Roaring 
Gleam/Annihilating Gleam/True Dragon Gleam
Actual Commands: Flying Bird Flip, X/Y, [Charge 1/2 Essences] 360+Y

This series is awesome. It works especially good on Imps who have a tendency to 
avoid Divine Cicada Slash.  When they do their little backflips and whatnot, 
they'll be in for a rude awakening.

53. Painful Peristyle - NEARWALL, Windrun/9, hWP, WallRun, A, Wall Run, Flying 
Swallow
Actual Commands: X+A/6+A, A, 6, 6+A, 6+Y

This thing is a little hard to setup, but it is still vicious.  I discovered 
this guy in the Peristyle Passage, hence the name.  You need perpendicular 
walls for it to work.  Basically, you need to horizontal Wind Path off of an 
enemy stunning them, then you'll immediately WallRun along a wall, turn the 
corner so that you're pointing at the enemy again (continuing your hWallRun), 
and then issue Flying Swallow.  This is about the only way I've found to 
guarantee a Flying Swallow hit in any scenario, and it looks TOTALLY badass.

This will also work in the Shadow Realm, since the invisible walls are 
circular.

54. Dragon Extinction - Extinction Straight Slash, 6, Azure/Scarlet Dragon, 
etc.
Actual Commands: [1 Essence] (Y), 6, 6+Y/[Y], etc.

For this series to work, an Extinction Straight Slash is necessary.  Otherwise, 
you won't pass through the victim's body with a Phantom...  You'll simply 
bounce off of their guard (if they block).  After you pass through their body, 
they are stunned long enough for you to direct your Azure or Scarlet Dragon 
back at them.  After that, you have every Scarlet/Azure Dragon option 
available to you.  I have tried this extensively with Bast Fiends (the most 
evasive enemies), and they will be caught every time if you actually hit them 
with the Extinction Straight Slash.

55. Gleaming Crane - Flying Crane, Gleaming Blade/Annihilating Gleam/True 
Dragon Gleam
Actual Commands: 360+Y, Charge [1/2 Essences] 360+Y

You can buffer the charge of the second 360 move in the landing of the first.  
The nice thing about this is that you get the multiple rotations from anything 
higher than a Flying Crane (i.e. any amount of charge whatsoever).

56. Rolling Dervish - Windmill Slash, BREAK, Flying Crane/Gleaming Blade/
Annihilating Gleam/True Dragon Gleam
Actual Commands: 6+X, L, [1/2 Essence] 360+Y/[Y]

You have to combo break for the 360+Y to come out as any of the Gleams.  
Otherwise, you'll get an Azure/Scarlet Dragon instead.  This series is pretty 
brash, as you can roll into a group and immediately DECAP them all.

57. Scarlet Underground (Shuriken) - Scarlet Dragon~B, Windmill Slash
Actual Commands: 6+(Y)~B, 6+X

NUNCHAKU FREE FORM COMBOS
-------------------------
1.  Wide Heavens Kick - Wide Heavens, Y
Actual Commands: X, Y, Y

Wide Heavens actually puts Ryu in an IA state.  Therefore, you can issue a 
Dragon Emperor Kick out of it.

2.  Heavenly shuriken ("Psychotic Kiske", Counter) - Ring of Heaven Kick, B
Actual Commands: WB, X/Y, B

You can use any Shuriken with this which is why this series appears in this 
section.

3.  Falling Heavens - Wide Heavens, 6+X (GROUND)
Actual Commands: X, Y, 6+X (GROUND)

The 6+X will count as iWR if done at the time On-Landing.  This is not a JF,
because you can spam the 6+X as soon as the X,Y completes, and you will still
do it.  If you wait too long, though, you will get a Sweeping Kick instead.

4.  Thunderclap Heavens - Wide Heavens, ...OL 6+Y (JF)
Actual Commands: X, Y, ...OL 6+Y (JF)

The 6+Y will count as iWR if done at the exact right time upon landing.  It
occurs a couple frames into Ryu's landing/kneeling animation.  It's listed as a
JF, because you have to be precise in the timing.  If you hit it really early,
you will get an Dragon Emperor Kick.  If you hit it a little later, you will
get an OL Y. If you hit it too late, you will get Ripping Thunder instead.

5.  Demon Capture - Earth Slide, Demon Chaser
Actual Commands: WR X, NEAR X

6.  Flailing Demon ("Shadowblade786", Counter) - Ring of Heaven Kick, 8, 
[Sweeping Strike,] Dragon Emperor Kick, Demon Chaser
Actual Commands: WB X/Y, 8, [X,] Y, DOWN Y

7. Lonely Dragon - X, [X, X,] Block, etc.
Actual Commands: X, [X, X,] L, etc.

Most of the weapons have a Combo that branches extensively.  For the Nunchaku, 
it is Dragon and Phoenix.  Any of the first three hits can be Combo Broken 
into anything else.

8.  Dragon and Phoenix Kick - X, X, X, Sweeping Kick
Actual Commands: X, X, X, 6+X

9.  Heavenly Crane (Counter) - Ring of Heaven Kick, Wide Heavens, B, OL 
Auspicious Crane/Phoenix/Gathering Clouds
Actual Commands: WB, X/Y, ...X, Y, B, ...OL [Charge, 1/2 Essences] Y

You can use this combo with any shuriken for slightly different affects.

10. Flaming Heavens - Wide Heavens, ...Flame Wheel
Actual Commands: X, Y, ...L, Y, Y

You have to OL Cancel with L to get Flame Wheel to come out.

11. Sweeping Heavens Kick (Counter) - Ring of Heaven Kick, Sweeping Kick
Actual Commands: WB, X/Y, 6+X

This will very closely mimic the Fiend's Bane Counter Attack of the DS/Kitetsu.
You can do a Sweeping Kick after the launch, and it will perfectly knock the
enemy away.  Very l33t looking.

12. Eye of the Storm ("Shadowblade786", Counter, IceStorm) - Ring of Heaven 
Kick~Ninpo
Actual Commands: WB X/Y~Y+B

13. Fireslide ("Shadowblade786", Firewheel) - Ninpo, Earth Slide
Actual Commands: Y+B, WR X

As you all know, all Two-Handed Melee Weapons have the Earth Slide (WR X).  So, 
while Firewheel is active, do Earth Slide into your opponent.  It should send 
the enemy flying lol.

14. Kicking Bird - Sweeping Kick, WINDRUN/9, Sweeping Kick, WINDRUN/9, repeat
Actual Commands: 6+X, X+A/6+A, 6+X, X+A/6+A, repeat

You will switch sides with the enemy after every Wind Run, so you will actually 
have to move the joystick in opposite directions each time.

15. Rain Dance - Flood Waters, Thunderclap Kick
Actual Commands: WR B, Y

The WR B flows exactly into Thunderclap Kick.

16. Penance - X, ...X, ...X, repeat
If pause just long enough to forgo Dragon and Phoenix, then Ryu will repeatedly 
flick the Nunchaku over his shoulder and in front of him.  It may seem silly to 
list this as a combo, but it actually will prove very useful in continually 
stunning enemies as the STUN from the first X is a little different from 
the subsequent X's, and the recovery is much shorter.  So, if you forgo the 
entire series, you'll usually have an enemy stuck in a nice little series.

17. Firey Phoenix - X, X, X, Flame Wheel
Actual Commands: X, X, X, Y, Y

In the third strike of Dragon and Phoenix, Ryu returns to his beginning stance 
which is the best place to throw in Flame Wheel.

18. Heaven and Hell - 9, Sweeping Strike, B, Dragon Emperor Kick
Actual Commands: 6+A, A, B, Y

This will work with any Shuriken, and it maximizes the amount of damage you can 
inflict in the air for the Nunchaku.

19. Head to Toe - 8/9, Sweeping Strike~(6), ...Earth Slide
Actual Commands: A/6+A, A~(6), ...6+X

You can buffer the WR while in the air, so that the instant you hit the 
ground and hit 6+X, you'll get an Earth Slide.

VIGOORIAN FLAIL FREE FORM COMBOS
--------------------------------
1. Cremator Unleashed ("ivansverdlov", Lvl2) - X, X, X, 6+X, [X, X, X, X,] Y
When you do the Cremator regularly, you finish the combo with a forward slash.
If you press Y after doing the Cremator you will jump up and do an extra
aerial, ground attack.  While this is technically just Dragon Slaughter, you
can put the Y in at any time.

2. Arashi Shinjitsu ("level 99 babe", Lvl2) - 9, Red Hot Iron Brand, Dragon 
Emperor Kick, ...Wide Heavens, ...Dragon Slaughter
Actual commands: 6+A, NEAR, 6+Y, Y, ...X, Y, ...X, X, X, 6+X, X, X, X, X, Y

Perform a Red Hot Iron Brand, followed by a Dragon Emperor Kick. A slight pause
allows the animation to finish, followed by a Wide Heavens which launches.  The
next attacks begin right before they hit the ground, executing the Cremator
ended with a powerful whipping strike.  This combo is great for the Fiendish
MSAT Soldiers later in the game. It kills them during its completion and leaves
no room for retaliation.  The name means Reality Storm.

3. Red-Hot Runaway Lightning ("Psychotic Kiske", Lvl2) - 9, Red-Hot Iron Brand, 
Runaway Lightning
Actual Commands: 6+A, NEAR, 6+Y, NEAR X, ...Y

4. Wide Heavens Kick - Wide Heavens, Dragon Emperor Kick
Actual Commands: X, Y, Y

5. Red-Hot Dragon Kick (Lvl2) - 9, Red-Hot Iron Brand, Dragon Emperor Kick
Actual Commands: 6+A, 6+Y, Y

6. Heavenly Shuriken ("Psychotic Kiske", Counter) - Ring of Heaven Kick, B
Actual Commands: WB, X/Y, B

You can use any Shuriken with this which is why this series appears in this 
section.

7. Lonely Dragon - X, [X, X,] Block, etc.
Actual Commands: X, [X, X,] L, etc.

Most of the weapons have a Combo that branches extensively.  For the Flail, 
it is Dragon and Phoenix.  Any of the first three hits can be Combo Broken 
into anything else.

8. Ripping Dragon ("Psychotic Kiske", Lvl2) - X, X, X, L, Ripping Thunder
Actual Commands: X, X, X, L, 6+Y, Y, Y

Don't finish the full Dragon and Phoenix combo, and instead combo break with L
and interrupt with Ripping Thunder.  You should hear 6 swishing sounds before
you hit L.

9. Runaway Phoenix ("Psychotic Kiske") - X, X, X, L, Runaway Lightning (JF)
Actual Commands: X, X, X, L, X, ...Y (JF)

You can initiate Runaway Lightning from a combo broken Dragon and Phoenix after
the third hit.

10. Ripping Dragon Kick ("Psychotic Kiske", Lvl2) - X, X, X, 6+Y, Sweeping Kick
Actual Commands: X, X, X, 6+Y, 6+X

11. Counter Attack Vigoorian Flail ("primetime2121", Counter) - Ring of Heaven 
Kick, Wide Heavens, B, OL Auspicious Crane/Phoenix/Gathering Clouds
Actual Commands: WB, X/Y, ...X, Y, B, ...OL [Charge, 1/2 Essences] Y

You can use this combo with any shuriken for slightly different affects.

12. Dragon and Phoenix Kick - X, X, X, L, Sweeping Kick
Actual Commands: X, X, X, L, 6+X

You must Combo Break here, otherwise, you will get Cremator instead.

13. Falling Heavens - Wide Heavens, 6+X
Actual Commands: X, Y, 6+X

The 6+X will count as iWR if done at the time On-Landing.  This is not a JF,
because you can spam the 6+X as soon as the X,Y completes, and you will still
do it.  If you wait too long, though, you will get a Sweeping Kick instead.

14. Thunderclap Heavens (Lvl2) - Wide Heavens, ...6+Y (JF)
Actual Commands: X, Y, ...6+Y (JF)

The 6+Y will count as iWR if done at the exact right time upon landing.  It
occurs a couple frames into Ryu's landing/kneeling animation.  It's listed as a
JF, because you have to be precise in the timing.  If you hit it really early,
you will get an Dragon Emperor Kick.  If you hit it a little later, you will
get an OL Y. If you hit it too late, you will get Ripping Thunder instead.

15. Ripping Heavens (Lvl2) - Wide Heavens, ...Ripping Thunder
Actual Commands: X, Y, ...6+Y, Y, Y

If you miss the JF for Thunderclap Heavens, you can instead throw out a Ripping
Thunder.

16. Sweeping Heavens Kick (Counter) - Ring of Heaven Kick, Sweeping Kick
Actual Commands: WB, X/Y, 6+X

This will very closely mimic the Fiend's Bane Counter Attack of the DS/Kitetsu.
You can do a Sweeping Kick after the launch, and it will perfectly knock the
enemy away.  Very l33t looking.

17. Frozen Hell (Lvl2, IceStorm) - Cremator~Ninpo
Actual Commands: X, X, X, 6+X[, X, X, X, X]~Y+B

Cremator's ending X is never a good option unless you intend to tack an Art of 
Ice Storm on right at the end to really boost your combo count.

18. Demon Capture - Earth Slide, Demon Chaser
Actual Commands: WR X, NEAR X

19. Eye of the Storm ("Shadowblade786", Counter, IceStorm) - Ring of Heaven 
Kick~Ninpo
Actual Commands: WB X/Y~Y+B

20. Fiery-Hot Iron Brand ("Shadowblade786", Lvl2, FireWheel) - Ninpo, Wind 
Run/9, Red-Hot Iron Brand
Actual Commands: Y+B, X+A/6+A, 6+Y

While engulfed in Art of Firewheel, then unleash Red-Hot Iron Brand.  This 
move of course will not get every hit in because the FireWheel will hit him 
away.

Note: There are many variations to Fiery-Hot Iron Brand.  You can let the 
FireWheel hit first, then Wind Run and Red-Hot Iron Brand while the enemy is 
still in the air due to the FireWheel.  This will give more damage, and you 
can get all the hits of Red-Hot Iron Brand.

21. Gathering Iron Brands ("Shadowblade786", Lvl2) - Wind Run/9, Red-Hot Iron 
Brand, ...OL Auspicious Crane/Phoenix/Gathering Clouds
Actual Commands: X+A/6+A, 6+Y, ...OL [Charge, 1/2 Essence] Y

After doing Red-Hot Iron Brand, you will automatically land behind regular 
enemies.  When you land, you'll achieve iCOL.

22. Flailing Demon ("Shadowblade786", Counter) - Ring of Heaven Kick, 8, 
Sweeping Strike, Dragon Emperor Kick, Demon Chaser
Actual Commands: WB X/Y, A, X, Y, DOWN Y

23. Flaming Heavens - Wide Heavens, ...OLC, Flame Wheel
Actual Commands: X, Y, ...[5~]L, Y, Y

You have to On-Landing Cancel with L to get Flame Wheel to come out.

24. Fireslide ("Shadowblade786", Firewheel) - Ninpo, Earth Slide
Actual Commands: Y+B, WR X

As you all know, all Two-Handed Melee Weapons have the Earth Slide (WR X).  So, 
while Firewheel is active, do Earth Slide into your opponent.  It should send 
the enemy flying lol.

25. Red-Hot Wall Flower (Shuriken/Windmill/Incendiary, Lvl2) - WallRun, X/Y~B 
(JF)
The Red-Hot Iron Brand initiated from a WallRun has slightly different 
properties.  Regardless of if you actually hit an enemy or not, you can 
Shuriken Cancel the air recovery if you do it soon enough.

26. Kicking Bird - Sweeping Kick, WINDRUN/9, Sweeping Kick, WINDRUN/9, repeat
Actual Commands: 6+X, X+A/6+A, 6+X, X+A/6+A, repeat

You will switch sides with the enemy after every Wind Run, so you will actually 
have to move the joystick in opposite directions each time.

27. Thunderstorm Dance (Lvl2) - Flood Waters, Ripping Thunder
Actual Commands: (6) B, Y, Y, Y r6

The WR B flows exactly into Ripping Thunder unlike the Nunchaku which flows 
into Thunderclap Kick instead.

28. Thunder and Ice (Lvl2, Icestorm) - 6+Y, Y~Ninpo
Actual Commands: 6+Y, Y~Y+B

29. Heaven and Hell - 9, Sweeping Strike, B, Dragon Emperor Kick
Actual Commands: 6+A, A, B, Y

This will work with any Shuriken, and it maximizes the amount of damage you can 
inflict in the air for the Flail.

30. Bleeding Demon Capture - (6), B, Earth Slide, Demon Chaser
Actual Commands: (6), B, X, r6, NEAR X

31. Penance - X, ...X, ...X, repeat
If you pause just long enough to forgo Dragon and Phoenix, then Ryu will 
repeatedly flick the Flail over his shoulder and in front of him.  It may seem 
silly to list this as a combo, but it actually will prove very useful in 
continually stunning enemies as the STUN from the first X is a little different 
from the subsequent X's, and the recovery is much shorter.  So, if you forgo 
the entire series, you'll usually have an enemy stuck in a nice little series.

32. Firey Phoenix - X, X, X, Flame Wheel
Actual Commands: X, X, X, Y, Y

In the third strike of Dragon and Phoenix, Ryu returns to his beginning stance 
which is the best place to throw in Flame Wheel.

33.  Painful Peristyle - NEARWALL, Windrun/9, hWP, WallRun, A, Wall Run, Red-
Hot Iron Brand
Actual Commands: X+A/6+A, A, 6, 6+A, 6+Y, etc.

This thing is a little hard to setup, but it is still vicious.  I discovered 
this guy in the Peristyle Passage, hence the name.  You need perpendicular 
walls for it to work.  Basically, you need to horizontal Wind Path off of an 
enemy stunning them, then you'll immediately WallRun along a wall, turn the 
corner so that you're pointing at the enemy again, and then issue Flying 
Swallow.  This is about the only way I've found to guarantee a Flying 
Swallow hit, and it looks badass.

Unlike the DS and Kitetsu versions of this move, you have several options 
after Red-Hot Firebrand hits.

34. Head to Toe - 8/9, Sweeping Strike~(6), ...Earth Slide
Actual Commands: A/6+A, A~(6), ...6+X

You can buffer the WR while in the air, so that the instant you hit the 
ground and hit 6+X, you'll get an Earth Slide.

WAR HAMMER FREE FORM COMBOS
---------------------------
1.  Horse Head Rage - Horse Head Crush, Surging Wave/Flaming Torrent/Thunder 
Tremor/Rage Tremor/Tremor of the Heavens
Actual Commands: X, X, [Charge, 1/2 Essences] Y

Horse Head Crush ends with Ryu being in the starting animation of Surging 
Wave, so all of these options flow naturally.

2.  Flaming Horse Head (Lvl2) - Horse Head Crush, Flaming Torrent
Actual Commands: X, X, Y, Y

Horse Head Crush ends with Ryu being in the starting animation of Flaming
Torrent, so it flows naturally.

3.  Six Paths Spin - NEAR, 360+Y (THROW, MULTI)
This move will impale nearby enemies and twirl them until they die.
Additionally, any enemy struck with the impaled enemy will register damage as
well.

4.  Flaming Avalanche (Firewheel) - Avalanche Drop, ...Ninpo
Actual Commands: [4/6+]A, ...Y+B

The Grounding Move, Avalanche Drop's recovery can be cancelled with a Ninpo.

5.  Running Riot - (6), X, ...Y r6
The (6) must induce WR for the Sliding Kick, then you can hit a Y while still 
holding 6 to get Flaming Whirlwind.

6.  Steel Whirlwind - Steel Severer, Reverse Wind, Flaming Whirlwind
Actual Commands: 6+X, (6)+L, Y r6

The Steel Severer knocks away regular enemies.  You have to Reverse Wind to 
move over to them, and then Flaming Whirlwind with hit them even when they're 
in GROUND state.  You have to hold the 6 from the Reverse Wind for this to 
come out quickly, though.

7.  Candle Snuffer (Firewheel, "Shadowblade786") - Ninpo, NEAR~Steel Severer
Actual Commands: Y+B, NEAR~6+X

Now for this move, timing is everything.  Right when you hit your opponent 
with Firewheel, do a Steel Severer.  You should hit the enemy before it flies 
to far away.

8.  Fireslide ("Shadowblade786", Firewheel) - Ninpo, Earth Slide
Actual Commands: Y+B, WR X

As you all know, all Two-Handed Melee Weapons have the Earth Slide (WR X).  So, 
while Firewheel is active, do Earth Slide into your opponent.  It should send 
the enemy flying lol.

9.  Two-Headed Horse - Horse Head Crush, Horse Head Crush, repeat
Actual Commands: X, X, X, X, repeat

Horse Head Crush follows itself very nicely.

10. Flaming Paths - Six Paths Spin, Flaming Whirlwind
Actual Commands - 360+Y, 6+Y

The Six Paths Spin ends with an enemy in GROUND state.  Therefore, you can 
close the deal with a Flaming Whirlwind.

11. Gleam of Heaven and Steel - Gleam of Heaven and Earth~Steel Severer.
Actual Commands: X, Y~6+X

Since, the Gleam of Heaven and Earth GROUNDs on a successful hit, you can 
quickly follow up with Steel Severer to clear them (and usually kill them, 
too).

12. Gleam of Heaven and Flame - Gleam of Heaven and Earth~Flaming Whirlwind.
Actual Commands: X, Y~6+Y

Since, the Gleam of Heaven and Earth GROUNDs on a successful hit, you can 
quickly follow up with Flaming Whirlwind to clear them off to the side (and 
usually kill/DECAP them, too).

13. Ring of Fire (Firewheel, Lvl2) - Ninpo, Six Paths Spin
Actual Commands: Y+B, 360+Y

The benefit of this series is that you can light up Firewheel and then bring 
the enemy into your throw for some hellacious damage.  This is particularly 
useful for those EXTREMELY hardy REG enemies like Vigoorian Ninja.  For this 
to work, however, the enemy has to be outside the range of Firewheel 
initially.

DABILAHRO FREE FORM COMBOS
--------------------------
1. Inferno Starter ("goatism") - Flaming Inferno, (any X combo)
Actual Commands: 6+X, (any X combo)

You can begin all of the Dabilahro's X combos with Flaming Inferno instead.
You'll get a lot more distance, but the startup is slower.

2. Surging Whirlwind - X, X, Y

3. Flaming Fool (Firewheel) - Fool Crusher, ...Ninpo
Actual Commands: [4/6+]A, ...Y+B

The Grounding Move, Fool Crusher's recovery can be cancelled with a Ninpo.

4. Running Riot - (6), X, ...Y r6
The (6) must induce WR for the Sliding Kick, then you can hit a Y while still 
holding 6 to get Flaming Whirlwind.

5. Frozen Empire Blade ("Shadowblade786", IceStorm) - Destroyer of 
Armies/Whirling Empire Blade~Ninpo
Actual Commands: X[, X, X, X, X]~Y+B

6. Fireslide ("Shadowblade786", Firewheel) - Ninpo, Earth Slide
Actual Commands: Y+B, WR X

As you all know, all Two-Handed Melee Weapons have the Earth Slide (WR X).  So, 
while Firewheel is active, do Earth Slide into your opponent.  It should send 
the enemy flying lol.

7. Gleam of Heaven and Flame - Gleam of Heaven and Earth~Flaming Whirlwind.
Actual Commands: X, Y~6+Y

Since, the Gleam of Heaven and Earth GROUNDs on a successful hit, you can 
quickly follow up with Flaming Whirlwind to clear them off to the side (and 
usually kill/DECAP them, too).

KITETSU FREE FORM COMBOS
------------------------
1. Crazed Bones Eraser ("goatism") - 6+X, [X, X, X, X,] Y
You can add Soul Eraser after the Crazed Bones Slash even if it's part of a
combo.

2. Leaping Beheaded Demon - (6)+A, ...X, X, r6
Kitetsu doesn't have an instant WR condition starter other than landing from a
jump.  It's useful then to not attack in the air and land to do an instant
Beheaded Demon.

3. Blade of the 100 Curses - X, Y, [X, X, X,] ...OL 360+Y

4. Soul Rain: Soul Bind [X, X, X, X,] L, Dark Rain
Actual Commands: 6+X, [X, X, X, X,] L, X, X, X

You can follow a Soul Bind with a Combo Break and anything that will hit a
Downed opponent, since regular enemies Crumple Stun after a Soul Bind.

5. Bassara's Hundred Slashes (2 Essences) - Bassara, ...Hundred Curses Slash
Actual Commands: (2 Essences) Charge Y, ...360+Y

You can input the Hundred Curses Slash right at the ending animation of
Bassara, and it will come out.

6. Raining Heads:  WR X, L, Dark Rain
Actual Commands: WR X, L, X, X, X

7. Undead Reign (Ghul, facing) - Azure Dragon, Azure Dragon, X, X, X, X
Actual Commands: 6+Y, 6+Y, X, X, X, X

Ghuls can be juggled using this combo.  You must do two consecutive Azure 
Dragons from the front to get them to stagger and the become launched. They 
will then land on the ground and have to recover.

8. Blade of Extinction - X, Y, [X, X, X,] ...OL Y

9. Gleaming Crane (Counter) - Gleaming Cross, OL Flying Crane
Actual Commands: WB, Y, OL 360+Y

10. Fiend's Bane Initiation (Counter) - WB, X, ...(etc...)
The first hit of the Counter Attack of Fiend's Bane Kick is a standard
launcher.  If you pause before hitting X/Y and neglect to finish the move, you
can easily continue this series.  Very useful.

11. Icy Soul Bind (IceStorm) - 6+X[, X, X, X, X]~Ninpo
Actual Commands: 6+X[, X, X, X, X]~Ninpo

The last absorption of Soul Bind will GROUND regular opponents.  As such, you 
can continue the hurt by canceling into an Ice Storm.

12. Demonic Initiation:  WR X, Scarlet Dragon/Azure Dragon, etc...
Actual Commands: WR X, Y/(Y)

There are too many variations after the Scarlet/Azure Dragon to list as 
separate combos.

13. Soul Dragon - Soul Bind [X, X, X, X,] L, Azure/Scarlet Dragon
Actual Commands: 6+X, [X, X, X, X,] L, 6+Y/(6)+Y, etc.

You can follow a Soul Bind with a Combo Break and anything that will hit a
Downed opponent, since regular enemies fall backwards after a Soul Bind.

14. Chosen Soul Eraser ("Shadowblade786") - 6+X, [X, X, X, X,] NEAR 6+Y
If surrounded by enemies while still sucking your enemy's life tap 6+Y.  
Instead of stabbing the enemy who is receiving the Soul Bind, Ryu can Soul 
Eraser an enemy near by.

Basically, this means that you can target the Soul Eraser.  This is a very good 
tip, and makes Kitetsu much more versatile than before this trick was found.

15. Reverse Soul Bind - Reverse Wind~Soul Bind, etc... (JF)
Actual Commands: 1~6+X[, X, X, X, X], etc...

This move will catch an attacking enemy mid-animation, because you Roll out of
the way and instantly Roll back in.

16. Deceitful Dragon - Reverse Wind~Azure/Scarlet Dragon(JF)
Actual Commands: 1~6+Y/(Y)

This move will catch an attacking enemy mid-animation, because you Roll out of
the way and instantly Launch.

17. Frost Bitten Fox ("Shadowblade786", IceStorm) - Hundred Curses Slash, Ninpo
Actual Commands: 360+Y, Y+B

After doing the Hundred Curses Slash all enemies around you should be in Spin 
Stun state, perfect for sucking them in with Art of Ice Storm.

18. Flaming Swallow ("Shadowblade786", FireWheel) - Ninpo, Wind Run/9, 6+Y
Actual Commands: Y+B, X+A/6+A, 6+Y

While engulfed in Art of Firewheel, do a Flying Swallow by either Wind Run 
or simply a forward jump.  You should first off cut through them, and then 
the enemy should burn up and get tossed in front of you.

Note: There are many variations to Flaming Swallow.  You can let the 
FireWheel hit first, then Wind Run and Flying Swallow while the enemy is 
still in the air due to the FireWheel.

19. Step Cancel - WR X~5~6, etc. (JF)
To correctly perform the Step Cancel, you must immediately release the 
stick and move it back to 6 as the original X comes out.  Unfortunately, 
the move must be done so quickly that there is no way to do it on 
reaction (i.e. waiting to see if the enemy blocks the X).  You will know 
that you did it correctly when Kitetsu doesn't return to one sword 
cleanly.

20. Two-Headed Demon - STEPC, ...X~5~6, ...X~5~6, repeat (JF)
Actual Commands: WR X~5~6, ...X~5~6, repeat

The X following the Step Cancel can be done 10 frames into the running 
animation, Ryu will not animate a running stride usually associated with 
WR.  The initial X comes out about twice as fast as if you let the 
animation finish naturally.

21. Bassara's Head - STEPC~Bassara (JF)
Actual Commands: WR X~5~360+Y

Unlike the rest of the Step series.  This one does not require a 6 
following the 5 as the 360 takes care of it.  It comes out VERY fast.

22. Cascading Soul Bind - STEPC~Soul Bind, etc.
Actual Commands: WR X~5~6~5~6+X, etc.

You must do a double tap of the stick for this to come out correctly.  
You have every Soul Bind option available to you at this point.

23. Demon Stab - STEPC~Stab of Extinction, etc.
Actual Commands: WR X~5~6, Y

While the animation of   comes out very quickly, it is 
still bound by it's slow startup.

24. Demon Rain - STEPC~5, X, X, etc.
Actual Commands: WR X~5~6~5, X, X, etc.

You must return the stick to Neutral for this to come out correctly.  
You have every X, X option available to you at this point.

25. Scarlet Sealer - Scarlet Dragon, Reverse Wind, Fiend Sealer/
Scarlet Dragon, etc.
Actual Commands: 6+Y, 6+L, DOWN Y

26. Scarlet Triumph (Shuriken) - Scarlet Dragon, B~B~B~B, Reverse Wind, 
Scarlet Dragon, etc.
Actual Commands: 6+Y, B~B~B~B, 6+L, 6+Y, etc/repeat.

27. Flying Wall Flower (Shuriken/Windmill/Incendiary) - WallRun, X/Y~B (JF)
The Flying Swallow initiated from a WallRun has slightly different properties.  
Regardless of if you actually hit an enemy or not, you can Shuriken Cancel the 
air recovery if you do it soon enough.

28. Soul Sealer - [DEAD] Soul Bind, Soul Eraser, Reverse Wind, Demon Sealer
Actual Commands: [X, X, ]6+X, [X, X, X, X,] Y, 6+L, DOWN Y

29. Life Stealer ("timebomb13rob", IceStorm, Tranquility) - Dead Soul Bind~Ninpo
Actual Commands: X, X, 6+X, X[, X, X, X, X, X]~Y+B

Thanks to timebomb13rob, it has been discovered that you actually regain life 
with Kitetsu and the Armlet of Tranquility during a Ninpo.  If you're low on 
life, this is an excellent way to get Ryu back into shape.

30. Gallows (Guillotine) - NEARWALL, WINDRUN/9, Guillotine Throw, Stab of 
Extinction
Actual Commands: NEARWALL, X+A/6+A, NEAR 6+Y, Y~6

After hitting the Y for Stab of Extinction, make sure that you hold a direction 
to direct which enemy you want to hit.

31. Fearsome Phoenix - Divine Cicada Slash, Hundred Curses Slash
Actual Commands: Flying Bird Flip, X/Y, [Charge 1/2 Essences] 360+Y

This series is awesome. It works especially good on Imps who have a tendency to 
avoid Divine Cicada Slash.  When they do their little backflips and whatnot, 
they'll be in for a rude awakening.

32. Painful Peristyle - NEARWALL, Windrun/9, hWP, WallRun, A, Wall Run, Flying 
Swallow
Actual Commands: X+A/6+A, A, 6, 6+A, 6+Y

This thing is a little hard to setup, but it is still vicious.  I discovered 
this guy in the Peristyle Passage, hence the name.  You need perpendicular 
walls for it to work.  Basically, you need to horizontal Wind Path off of an 
enemy stunning them, then you'll immediately WallRun along a wall, turn the 
corner so that you're pointing at the enemy again, and then issue Flying 
Swallow.  This is about the only way I've found to guarantee a Flying 
Swallow hit, and it looks badass.

33. Dragon Extinction - Extinction Straight Slash, 6, Azure/Scarlet Dragon, 
etc.
Actual Commands: [1 Essence] (Y), 6, 6+Y/[Y], etc.

For this series to work, an Extinction Straight Slash is necessary.  Otherwise, 
you won't pass through the victim's body with a Phantom...  You'll simply 
bounce off of their guard (if they block).  After you pass through their body, 
they are stunned long enough for you to direct your Azure or Scarlet Dragon 
back at them.  After that, you have every Scarlet/Azure Dragon option 
available to you.  I have tried this extensively with Bast Fiends (the most 
evasive enemies), and they will be caught every time if you actually hit them 
with the Extinction Straight Slash.

34. Master of Puppets (LVLGRND) - Stab of Extinction, NEAR Fiend Sealer
Actual Commands: Y, NEAR Y

Stab of Extinction will initially knock the enemy away, but on its return, 
the enemy will be brought back to Ryu.  Usually, it does it returns them 
closely enough for you to immediately get a Fiend Sealer off.

35. Fight Fire with Fire (Firewheel, LVLGRND) - Ninpo, Stab of Extinction
Actual Commands: Y+B, Y

Light up a Firewheel, and then do a Stab of Extinction on a REG enemy.  It will 
initially be knocked away, but if the move is done over level ground (LVLGRND), 
the Kitetsu will catch the enemy on its return to Ryu.  This will draw the 
enemy back to Ryu which will immediately burn them up with the Firewheel.

36. Blackened (Inferno, LVLGRND) - Stab of Extinction, Ninpo, 6
Actual Commands: Y, Y+B

Issue a Stab of Extinction on a REG enemy.  It will initially be knocked away, 
but if the move is done over level ground (LVLGRND), the Kitetsu will catch 
the enemy on its return to Ryu.  This will draw the enemy back to Ryu which 
place it in GROUND state at his feet.  Burn off an Inferno just for flair, as 
the initial startup will CLEAR the enemy away (and burn them up in the process) 
and the fireball will then blow them away before they can get up.

This works best with the lower level Infernos due to the extremely short time 
between initiation and execution.

37. Trapped Under Ice (IceStorm, LVLGRND) - Stab of Extinction, Ninpo
Actual Commands: Y, Y+B

Issue a Stab of Extinction on a REG enemy.  It will initially be knocked away, 
but if the move is done over level ground (LVLGRND), the Kitetsu will catch 
the enemy on its return to Ryu.  This will draw the enemy back to Ryu which 
place it in GROUND state at his feet.  Now, Ryu can stir up an IceStorm for 
a nice, high Combo Count.

Unlike Blackened listed above, this Combo works better with a fully upgraded 
IceStorm given the much larger diameter of effect and much longer duration.

38. Ride the Lightning (Inazuma, LVLGRND) - Stab of Extinction, Ninpo
Actual Commands: Y, Y+B

Issue a Stab of Extinction on a REG enemy.  It will initially be knocked away, 
but if the move is done over level ground (LVLGRND), the Kitetsu will catch 
the enemy on its return to Ryu.  This will draw the enemy back to Ryu which 
place it in GROUND state at his feet.  Then, immediately charge up a 
Lightning bolt.

Like Blackened, this series works best with a low level Inazuma for timing 
purposes.

39. Hard Place - NEARWALL Beheaded Demon, 7~6, Beheaded Demon, repeat
Actual Commands: NEARWALL WR X, X, 4+A~6, WR X, X, repeat

Since the 2nd X of Beheaded Demon is a CLEAR move, this series is extremely 
useful for those EXTREMELY tenacious enemies like SAT Fiends.  They will be 
CLEARed, receive WALLSTUN, and you can hit them again if you're quick enough.

UNLABORED FLAWLESSNESS FREE FORM COMBOS
---------------------------------------
1. Flaming Inferno Starter ("goatism") - Flaming Inferno, (any X combo)
Actual Commands: 6+X, (any X combo)

You can begin all of the UF's X combos with Flaming Inferno instead.  You'll
get a lot more distance, but the startup is slower.

2. Unending Splitting Earth (2 Essence) - Earth Splitter, (L)+RJ, OL Y rL
Actual Commands: Charge Y, 6+(L)~A, OL Y rL

You can easily setup this perpetual UT, by making sure that you get at least
two enemies caught in the blast.  Then, while the bodies disappear, avoid any
living enemies until you can Essence Charge.

3. Flaming Avalanche (Firewheel) - Avalanche Drop, ...Y+B
Actual Commands: [4/6+]A, ...Y+B

The Grounding Move, Avalanche Drop's recovery can be cancelled with a Ninpo.

4. Running Riot - (6), X, ...Y r6
The (6) must induce WR for the Sliding Kick, then you can hit a Y while still 
holding 6 to get Flaming Whirlwind.

5. Fireslide ("Shadowblade786", Firewheel) - Ninpo, Earth Slide
Actual Commands: Y+B, WR X

As you all know, all Two-Handed Melee Weapons have the Earth Slide (WR X).  So, 
while Firewheel is active, do Earth Slide into your opponent.  It should send 
the enemy flying lol.

6. Fanning the Flames ("Sabier", Firewheel, LOWH, Sun, LARGE/BOSS) - Ninpo, 
[2 Essence] Earth Splitter
Actual Commands: Y+B, [Y]

A lot of us know that that the UF at 5% health and the Armlet of the Sun 
equipped generates the most powerful moves against any foe/boss, including 
the UT.  However, if you have the UF at 5% health, equip the Armlet of the Sun 
and Fire Wheel Ninpo, this combination generates the most powerful attack 
damage in Ninja Gaiden.

As you know, this Ninpo is different from the others since you can still fight 
with its effect even after the animation, hence giving added damage along with 
your basic attack.

Most Regular enemies fall back from the Firewheel blast radius, but Bosses and 
Large enemies don't.

The boss fights wherein this effect is most visible are:
1. Yotunfrau
2. Inazuma and Inferno Worms
3. Smaugon the Flame Dragon
4. Hydracubus

The reason I mentioned these bosses is because they are relatively slower than 
others, especially the Yotunfrau.  

And another thing, using this combination against the Hydracubus, is 
especially useful.  After cutting both the tentacles with just a few swipes, I 
did the UT and its life went down by nearly 60%.

7. Hell's Passage (Izuna, Firewheel) - Ninpo, Full Moon Drop
Actual Commands: Y+B, X, Y, X, X, X, Y

Unlike the Dragon Sword and Kitetsu, you can actually pull off an Izuna Drop 
while engulfed in Firewheel.  The length of the UF, gives you just enough 
clearance to SELFLAUNCH and not CLEAR while Firewheel is going.  Plus, the 
splash damage you get from the end of Izuna Drop is accentuated by the Fire 
damage of Firewheel, too.

DARK DRAGON BLADE FREE FORM COMBOS
----------------------------------
1. Gleam of Demons Bite - Hundred Demons Bite, Dark Dragon Descending Fiends
Actual Commands: 6+X, Y

2. Hundred Hell Slashes - Hundred Demons Bite, X, Y
Actual Commands: 6+X, X, Y

3. Elementary Fool - Fool Crusher, ...Ninpo
Actual Commands: [4/6+]A, ...Y+B

The Grounding Move, Fool Crusher's recovery can be cancelled with a Ninpo.

4. Running Riot - (6), X, ...Y r6
The (6) must induce WR for the Sliding Kick, then you can hit a Y while still 
holding 6 to get Flaming Whirlwind.

5. Fireslide ("Shadowblade786", Firewheel) - Ninpo, Earth Slide
Actual Commands: Y+B, WR X

As you all know, all Two-Handed Melee Weapons have the Earth Slide (WR X).  So, 
while Firewheel is active, do Earth Slide into your opponent.  It should send 
the enemy flying lol.

LUNAR FREE FORM COMBOS
----------------------
1. Lion's Claw (Lvl2) - Lion's Rage, L, Dragon's Claw
Actual Commands: 6+X, [X, X,] L, X, X, X, Y

2. Raven's Rage - X, X, L, Black Widow
Actual Commands: X, X, L, 6+X[, X, X, X, Y]

3. Leaping Lions (Lvl2) - 6+X, L, Full Moon Strike
Actual Commands: 6+X, L, 6+Y, Y

You must Combo Break Lion's Rage with a Block in this instance, or you will get
a Black Widow regardless of the direction pressed with Y.  This is to account
for the ability to change direction mid-combo.  Also, it is only beneficial to 
do one series of Lion's Rage, because subsequent X's will only make you whiff 
the Full Moon Strike.  One X is good enough for a Launch.

4. Full Moon Drop (Lvl3, Izuna) - Full Moon Strike, Izuna Drop
Actual Commands: 6+Y, Y, X, Y

The move list designates Izuna Drop as IA only for the Lunar, but this combo 
will Izuna Drop every time.  The timing is a bit tricky, though.

5. Runaway Raven (Lvl2, Firewheel/IceStorm) - Raven's Strike~Ninpo
Actual Commands: X, X, X, Y+B

The animation of Raven's Strike can only be followed by the Y that will make it
Dragon's Claw, or a Ninpo Cancel.

6. Raven Glow (Firewheel/IceStorm) - Raven Light~Ninpo
Actual Commands: X, X, Y~Y+B

Likewise, the GROUND of Raven Light is a Combo Ender.  As such, you can only iB 
or Ninpo Cancel from it.

7. Retreating Tide (Lvl2, Shuriken/Windmill) - Full Moon Strike~[6+]B, OL Soul 
of the Crescent/Shrouded Crescent/Raven's Veil(JF)
Actual Commands: 6+Y, Y~6+B, ...[1/2 Essence] OL Y

This devastating combo comes from the ability to Shuriken cancel Full Moon
Strike. This technique is VERY powerful as you can cancel it immediately upon
leaving the ground. Ryu will only jump about 2 feet off of the ground when done
correctly. The significance of this is that it grants you an iC mid combo,
since the stun of the Windmill will either induce Block Stun or Damage Stun.  
For the best effect, you should aim your Shuriken in the direction of the enemy 
most likely to interrupt your OL.

It doesn't work as well with Shuriken, because you have to throw 4 before
coming back down.

8. Face Lurker ("zidaneff9", Lvl2) (Windmill) - X, X, L, Lion's Rage, L, Full 
Moon Strike, Tempest, B, ...OL Soul of the Crescent/Shrouded Crescent/Raven's 
Veil
Actual Commands: X, X, L, 6+X, X, L, 6+Y, Y, X, B, ...[1/2 Essence] OL Y

The X, X targets a person, and stuns them enough for you to use 6+X, X.  If
anybody tries to interrupt you, the 6+X, X stops them and hits them too (if
they are close enough, they can be launched and dually owned!) and then 6+Y, Y,
X - Windmill - instant Charge.

9. Lion's Wind (IceStorm) - Lion's Rage~Ninpo
Actual Commands: 6+X[, X, X,]~Y+B 

10. Twin Serpents' Moon (Lvl2) - Full Moon Strike, ...OLC~Twin Serpents' Strike 
(JF)
Actual Commands: 6+Y, Y, ...[5~]L~6+Y
You can OLC from Full Moon Strike into Twin Serpents' Strike

11. Lion's Bite (Shuriken) - Lion's Rage, Iron Rain, Lunar Explosion
Actual Commands: 6+X, B~B~B~B, 6+Y, Y, Y

Lion's Rage launches which gives you time to quickly Iron Rain which suspends 
the enemy enough to get a Lunar Explosion.

12. Suspension ("primetime2123", Lvl3) - NEAR, Crescent Strike, ...Lion's Rage, 
Full Moon Strike, Tempest, B, OL Soul of the Crescent/Shrouded Crescent/Raven's 
Veil
Actual Commands:  6+Y, ..., 6+X, X, 6+Y, Y, X, B, [1/2 Essence] OL Y 

If you do this move correctly the enemy wont even touch the ground after the 
first launch.  It is a true juggle combo.  You need to be NEAR the enemy at the 
start, or the Crescent Strike will knock them too far away for the Lion's Rage 
to juggle them.

13. Basaquer ("primetime2123", Lvl2) - NEARWALL Crescent Strike, ...Lion's 
Rage, BREAK, repeat/oscillate
Actual Commands: NEARWALL 6+Y , ...6+X, X, L, repeat/oscillate

You can juggle the crap out of the enemy in the corner by alternating Crescent 
Strikes with Lion's Rage.  It's important that you only do 2 of the Lion's Rage 
strikes, though and then Combo Break.

14. Hell's Passage (Izuna, Lvl3, Firewheel) - Ninpo, Full Moon Drop
Actual Commands: Y+B, 6+Y, Y, X, Y

Unlike the Dragon Sword and Kitetsu, you can actually pull off an Izuna Drop 
while engulfed in Firewheel.  The length of the rod, gives you just enough 
clearance to SELFLAUNCH and not CLEAR while Firewheel is going.  Plus, the 
splash damage you get from the end of Izuna Drop is accentuated by the Fire 
damage of Firewheel, too.

15. Hard Place - NEARWALL Purgatory's Rivet, 7~6, Purgatory's Rivet, repeat
Actual Commands: NEARWALL WR X, 4+A~6, WR X, repeat

Since the X of Purgatory's Rivet is a CLEAR move, this series is extremely 
useful for those EXTREMELY tenacious enemies like SAT Fiends.  They will be 
CLEARed, receive WALLSTUN, and you can hit them again if you're quick enough.

This move works a little better than Kitetsu's version of Hard Place, because 
the Lunar's coverage is a little better.

STANDARD SHURIKEN FREE FORM COMBOS
----------------------------------
While most people think that the standard shuriken is useless for damage, you
can interrupt almost every action with shuriken; even air combos. You can use
it to extend your combos, stun enemies, distance bodies if they're launched and
interrupt enemy actions.  While the Windmill Shuriken deals significantly more
damage than the standard shuriken, there are instances where standard shuriken
are more desirable.  Additionally, Ryu will throw 3 WR, 4 IA, 6 Bird Flip and
you can input 1 to 4 quick B's to get 4 different animations while on the
ground.

1. Shuriken Interrupt - (combo section), B

2. Shuriken of Nirrti (DS/Kitetsu) - X, Y, X, X, X, B, X

3. Splitting Shuriken (DS/Kitetsu, "Psychotic Kiske") - X, Y, X, X, X, B, Y
The shuriken will distance the body enough so that Ryu won't register an Izuna
Drop.  He'll instead do a Helmet Splitter on the enemy.

4. Twin Dragon Shuriken (DS, Lvl3) - WR, B, Blade of the Twin Dragons
Actual Commands: WR, B, (Y), Y ,Y

5. Scarlet Nightmare (Kitetsu) -  Scarlet Dragon, B~Stab of Extinction~(6) (JF)
Actual Commands: 6+(Y), B~Y~(6) (JF)

This is a complicated one.  You must have regular Shuriken armed as any other
projectile is too slow to cancel the Scarlet Dragon animation.  You must then
quickly throw a Shuriken and immediately hit Y to begin the Stab of Extinction.
Although, this is not enough as you must point in the direction of the enemy
you struck as to aim the blade in that direction. But, you cannot hit the 6
until after the animation has started or you will get another Azure/Scarlet
Dragon.

6. Greetings, Pain ("kkkkkk_1", DS/Kitetsu) - (6), B, Azure Dragon/Scarlet 
Dragon, [r6, ]etc.
Actual Commands: (6), B, Y/(Y), [r6, ]etc.

The first Y (Azure Dragon) is hit at the end of the roll for the running 
shuriken toss. The 6 from the WR will count as the 6+ for Azure or Scarlet 
Dragon.  This has the benefit of forcing the enemy to block before you reach 
them. This is especially useful against the Samurai and Mages in level 2 not 
for damage but to close the distance and attack without delay.

This is a great Combo starter.  There are many options after the Azure/Scarlet  
Dragon.

7. Preying Owl ("kkkkkk_1", DS/Kitetsu) - RJ/9, OL B, etc.
Actual Commands: 6+L~A/6+A, OL B, etc.

You can cancel the Jump Landing recovery with a WR Shuriken.  It flows as 
nicely as a Roll Jump.  You can combine this with Greetings, Pain above.

8. Death From Above (Shuriken) - vWallRun, Flying Bird Flip, Platinum Rain, 
Helmet Splitter/Dragon Emperor Kick/Avalanche Drop/Fool Crusher/Phantom Moon
Actual Commands: vWallRun, A, B, Y

The excessive amount of Shuriken that are thrown during a Flying Bird Flip 
stun the enemy long enough to get a Helmet Splitter out.

wINDMILL SHURIKEN FREE FORM COMBOS
----------------------------------
1. Aerial Decapitation (Launch, DS/Kitetsu) - [X/Y,] B (IA)
If the enemy is low on health and you launch them and either stay grounded or
proceed aerial, you can throw the Windmill Shuriken up at them, and it will
instantly decapitate them. You can cancel the standard air combos with a B at 
the end.

2. Izuna Decapitation ("endevin", DS/Kitetsu) - X, Y, X, X, X, B

3. Windmill Chaser (Flail): IA ...B, ...Auspicious Crane/Phoenix/Gathering 
Clouds
Actual Commands: IA ...B, ...[1/2 Essence] OL Y

Since the Auspicious Crane/Phoenix/Gathering Clouds is the quickest dashing 
ET/UT, you can catch up with the Shuriken on its return.  You can do this with 
the DS and Kitetsu, too, but it's not as cool looking.

4. False Witness - [IA] B~X/Y
You can cancel the animation of a Windmill Shuriken toss if you quickly press 
attack afterwards.  This will sometimes make an enemy flip out of the way of 
the non-existent shuriken only to be hit by the melee attack.

5. Crescent Moon Decapitation (Lunar) - Full Moon Strike, Tempest, B
Actual Commands: 6+Y, Y, X, B

Just like with the DS/Kitetsu, you can neglect to finish Izuna Drop and instead 
opt for the Windmill IA Decapitation.

INCENDIARY SHURIKEN FREE FORM COMBOS
------------------------------------
Ryu will throw 1 while on the ground but will throw 2 at once IA.

1. Izuna Incineration ("endevin", DS/Kitetsu) - X, Y, X, X, X, B
The benefit of this series is obvious.  You get the damage bonus equivalent to 
Izuna Drop, but you have better options than with the Drop splash damage.

2. Fiend's Immolation (DS/Kitetsu, Counter) - WB, X, 6+B, etc...
The Incendiary Shuriken will come out very quickly after the first hit of the
Fiend's Bane Kick.  Then you are free to do whatever you please.  Be sure to
point in the direction of the enemy you wish to hit, though.

3. False Witness - [IA] B~X/Y
You can cancel the animation of a Windmill Shuriken toss if you quickly press 
attack afterwards.  This will sometimes make an enemy flip out of the way of 
the non-existent shuriken only to be hit by the melee attack.

4. New Moon (Lunar) - Full Moon Strike, Tempest, 6+B
Actual Commands: 6+Y, Y, X, B

Just like with the DS/Kitetsu, you can neglect to finish Izuna Drop and 
instead opt for the double Incendiary Shuriken throw.  Be sure to target the 
enemy you want to hit with the Shuriken.

5. Lion's Fire (Lunar) - Lion's Rage/Crescent Strike, WINDRUN, 6+B
Actual Commands: 6+X/6+Y, X+A, B

Since both Lion's Rage and Crescent Strike Launch, you will need to place Ryu 
IA to get the double Incendiary Shuriken throw.

6. Fire Starter - B, 9, Guillotine Throw
Actual Commands:  B, 6+A, NEAR X+A

7. Hot Seat - B, B, repeat
A regular enemy will not be able to respond to being stuck with one Incendiary 
Shuriken.  You can throw another one before it can recover.  This is useful if 
you want its body to act as a grenade when it lands (and blows up again).

WIND PATH FREE FORM COMBOS
--------------------------
Wind Path warrants its own section as you can do it with any weapon aside from
the bows.  Most enemies have a Wind Path stun animation that renders them
susceptible to follow-ups.

1.  Winding Path - vWP/hWP[, vWP/hWP, vWP/hWP, repeat]
Actual Commands: X+A/6+A/A NEAR A[, X+A/6+A/A NEAR A, X+A/6+A/A NEAR A, repeat]

You can continuously Wind Path off of enemies in close proximity.  You can do 
this with both a vertical and horizontal Wind Path

2.  Torrential Path - hWP, [6+]B
Actual Commands: X+A/6+A NEAR A, [6+]B

You can follow a successful horizontal Wind Path with any projectile aside from 
the bow.  It is a guaranteed hit or hits.  Of course, you can target any enemy.

3.  Mountain Climber - vWP, [6+]B, etc.
Actual Commands: A NEAR A, [6+]B, etc.

You can follow a successful vertical Wind Path with any projectile aside from 
the bow as well.  It is a guaranteed hit or hits.  Of course, you can target 
any enemy, but if you target the enemy that you Wind Pathed off of you are 
given an extremely amount of height.  You can follow up with any melee attack.

4.  High Road - hWP~6+Y (JF)
Actual Commands: X+A/6+A NEAR A~6+Y

After a horizontal Wind Path with any weapon, you can initiate your GROUND 
move, and it will hit the stunned enemy.  It is a guaranteed hit, but you must 
actively target it.  Otherwise, you will simply do a GROUND move in the 
direction of the Wind Path.

5.  Low Road - vWP/hWP, OL [Charge] Y
Actual Commands: X+A/6+A/A NEAR A, OL [Charge] Y

You can follow up a Wind Path with an iC ET/UT.

6.  Louis XVI (Guillotine) - hWP, [hWP, hWP,] Guillotine Throw
Actual Commands: X+A/6+A NEAR A[, X+A/6+A NEAR A, X+A/6+A NEAR A], NEAR 6+Y

If two or more Regular enemies are lined up, you can horizontal Wind Path off 
of one and Guillotine Throw the next.

7.  Henry VIII (Izuna) - hWP, [hWP, hWP,] Flying Swallow
Actual Commands: X+A/6+A NEAR A[, X+A/6+A NEAR A, X+A/6+A NEAR A], 6+Y

If two or more Regular enemies are lined up, you can horizontal Wind Path off 
of one and Flying Swallow the next, provided that it is far enough away.

8.  Anne Boleyn (Windmill, DEAD) - WP, [WP, WP,] 6+B
Actual Commands: X+A/6+A NEAR A[, X+A/6+A NEAR A, X+A/6+A NEAR A], 6+B

If the enemy is low on health, a successful Wind Path will stun them long
enough to decapitate them FROM BEHIND with the Windmill Shuriken.  Gruesome.

9.  Rocky Road (Firewheel/IceStorm) - WP~6+Y, Ninpo (JF)
Actual Commands: X+A/6+A/A NEAR A~6+Y, Y+B

As with any Grounding Move, you can Ninpo Cancel the animation.

10. Running Wind - WINDRUN, ...WINDRUN, repeat (JF)
Actual Commands: X+A, ...X+A, repeat

One unique property that differentiates Wind Run from a regular jump (aside 
from auto-homing) is its ability cancel its own landing.  If you precisely 
Wind Run after a complete Wind Run, you will Wind Run again without any 
landing animation whatsoever.  The timing is precise, though, as it will 
register as an attack in the air if done too early, and you will lose the 
benefit of the early jump if you do it too late.

11. Second Wind - hWP[, hWP, hWP]~(6), iWR, etc.
Actual Commands: X+A/6+A NEAR A[, X+A/6+A NEAR A, X+A/6+A NEAR A]~(6), ...etc.

This is a newly discovered way to reach iWR with any weapon.  This is EXTREMELY 
useful as on the harder difficulties, it is EXTREMELY difficult to generate WR 
outside of the initial strike of the encounter as you are running to meet the 
enemy.  This gives you the ability to gain iWR at any time.  There are too many 
variations to list as separate combos.  Needless to say, you have every WR 
option available to you at this point.  In this version, you can re-engage the 
enemy with 6.

12. Third Wind - hWP[, hWP, hWP]~(4), iWR, etc.
Actual Commands: X+A/6+A NEAR A[, X+A/6+A NEAR A, X+A/6+A NEAR A]~(4), ...etc.

This is a newly discovered way to reach iWR with any weapon.  This is EXTREMELY 
useful as on the harder difficulties, it is EXTREMELY difficult to generate WR 
outside of the initial strike of the encounter as you are running to meet the 
enemy.  This gives you the ability to gain iWR at any time.  There are too many 
variations to list as separate combos.  Needless to say, you have every WR 
option available to you at this point.  In this version, you can flee the 
encounter with 4 for spacing.

12. Winding Riot (Heavy Two-Handed Melee Weapons) - Second Wind, Running Riot
Actual Commands: X+A/6+A NEAR A[, X+A/6+A NEAR A, X+A/6+A NEAR A]~(6), X, ...Y 
r6

This is but one option available to you after a successful Second Wind.  The 
Earth Slide will knockdown and you can immediately follow up with the Y attack 
with all of the Heavy Two-Handed Melee Weapons.

13. Red-Hot Rivet (Lunar) - Second Wind, Purgatory's Rivet
Actual Commands: X+A/6+A NEAR A[, X+A/6+A NEAR A, X+A/6+A NEAR A]~(6), X r6

This is an extremely useful series as you get an extremely quick Crush move 
with almost no way for the enemy to retaliate.

14. Twin Serpent Surprise (Lunar) - Second Wind, Purgatory's Rivet
Actual Commands: X+A/6+A NEAR A[, X+A/6+A NEAR A, X+A/6+A NEAR A]~(6), Y r6

It is unfortunately that the Twin Serpent Strike is so powerful, but so hard to 
setup.  Using this series, you can get a Twin Serpent Strike much more 
assuredly than if you were going to simply setup a WR.

15. Flash Flood (Shuriken) - Third Wind, Flood Waters, etc.
Actual Commands: X+A/6+A NEAR A[, X+A/6+A NEAR A, X+A/6+A NEAR A]~(4), B, etc.

If you find yourself in a very bad placement such as a corner with three 
enemies on top of you (which happens frequently), you can use this series to 
distance yourself very reliably.  You have every option after the WR B as 
well, but it's more useful for distancing as Ryu continues to move in the 
direction he was going as he throws the Shuriken behind him.

16. Stinging Circle (WarHammer, Shuriken) - Second Wind, ...Flood 
Waters~r6, Six Paths Spin
Actual Commands: X+A/6+A NEAR A[, X+A/6+A NEAR A, X+A/6+A NEAR A]~(6), 
...B~r6, 360+Y

This devastating Combo is unique to the War Hammer such that the 360+Y move is 
a Throw.  It's somewhat like bowling when you run back into the group, STUN 
one enemy with the Flood Waters (WR B) and then unleash the Six Paths Spin.  
This will CLEAR Away any enemies left standing.

17. Circle Pusher (Kitetsu/Dabi/DDB/UF/Lunar, Shuriken) - Second Wind,  
...Flood Waters~r6, Bassara/Hundred Man Slash/Raven Streams
Actual Commands: X+A/6+A NEAR A[, X+A/6+A NEAR A, X+A/6+A NEAR A]~(6), 
...B~r6, 360+Y

The 360+Y will flow nicely with the other weapons that have a 360 move as 
well.  It's just not as safe.  This will CLEAR Away any enemies left standing.

18. Exploding Circle (DS, Shuriken) - Second Wind, ...Flood Waters~r6, 
Flying Crane/Gleaming Blade/Roaring Gleam/Annihilating Gleam/True Dragon Gleam
Actual Commands: X+A/6+A NEAR A[, X+A/6+A NEAR A, X+A/6+A NEAR A]~(6), 
...B~r6, [Charge 1/2 Essences] 360+Y

The 360+Y will flow nicely with the Dragon Sword, and you can Charge it if the 
Shuriken stun.  It's just not as safe.  This will Launch any enemies left 
standing.

19. Divine Wind Path (DS/Kitetsu/Warhammer/Dabi/UF/DDB/Lunar) - hWP[, hWP, 
hWP], vWallRun/hWallRun~Flying Bird Flip, Divine Cicada Slash/Raging Thunder/
Raging Thunderous Blade/Gibbous
Actual Commands: X+A/6+A NEAR A[, X+A/6+A NEAR A, X+A/6+A NEAR A]
vWallRun/hWallrun~A, Y

If Ryu has enemies clustered near a wall and can hWP into the group, then one 
of the most damaging options he has is to use a Flying Bird Flip off of the 
wall while the enemies are stunned and use the Y attack on the group.

20. Hellish Wind Path (Nunchaku/Flail) - hWP[, hWP, hWP], 
vWallRun/hWallRun~Flying Bird Flip, Hell Drop/Mountain Crane
Actual Commands: X+A/6+A NEAR A[, X+A/6+A NEAR A, X+A/6+A NEAR A], 
vWallRun/hWallrun~A, Y[, Y]

This is the same concept as Divine Wind Path, but with the Nunchaku and Flail, 
you have an option as to which Y attack to use.

21. Fulcrum ("Shadowblade786", Guillotine) - vWP[, vWP, vWP], ...Guillotine 
Throw (JF)
Actual Commands: A NEAR A[, A NEAR A, A NEAR A], NEAR Y

Right after doing a successful vertical Wind Path, let Ryu fall.  But, right 
before he touches the ground, press Y Ryu will do Guillotine Throw w/o needing 
any forward momentum.

22. Winding Wall Run ("Shadowblade786") - vWP/hWP[, vWP/hWP, vWP/hWP], NEARWALL,
vWallRun/hWallRun, ...vWP/hWP[, vWP/hWP, vWP/hWP], repeat
Actual Commands: X+A/6+A/A NEAR A[, X+A/6+A/A NEAR A, X+A/6+A/A NEAR A], 
NEARWALL, (6), X+A/6+A/A NEAR A[, X+A/6+A/A NEAR A, X+A/6+A/A NEAR A], repeat

If you do nothing from a WallRun, and Ryu simply falls off of the wall or if 
you Flying Bird Flip off of it), you are granted IA status.  As such, you can 
continue Wind Pathing.

23. Crowning Achievement - vWP, B, Y
The nice thing about this series is that the B will place you out of range of 
almost every enemies' verticals attacks (even those that are designed to pluck 
Ryu out of the air).

----------------------------
~~ LEGACY ADVANCED COMBAT ~~
----------------------------
The entire Ninja Gaiden Trilogy is included with the Xbox game.  Given this 
fact and the ridiculous amount of Missions in Mission Mode, there is more 
replay value in this disc than any other game I've ever owned.  Somebody coming 
into any of the three Ninja Gaiden games is in for a surprise as far as 
difficulty is concerned.  Any arguments about today's games is quickly stifled 
by statements like "Ghosts 'n Goblins" or "Ninja Gaiden."  So, for those of you 
that had the [mis]fortune of missing these games the first time around, I have 
compiled this section for you.  Veterans might find a few gems in this section 
as well, though.

We will cover the combat tactics that Ryu can use in his later adventures.  
That is, the original trilogy of games takes place after the events of the Xbox 
Ninja Gaiden game.  However, in this timeline Ryu approaches combat in a very 
different way.  I've named the section Legacy Advanced Combat due to the fact 
that in most cases we've all played these games previous to this latest game.  
We'll include Ninja Ryukenden (the arcade/Atari Lynx game) in this discussion 
as well.  This section will touch briefly upon Ryu's hand-to-hand abilities, 
but there are plenty of guides available for his exploits during the DoA 
Tournaments.

This section will cover the stories told in Ninja Ryukenden, Ninja Gaiden, 
Ninja Gaiden and the Dark Sword of Chaos and Ninja Gaiden and the Ancient Ship 
of Doom.

Ninja Ryukenden
---------------
Ninja Ryukenden sees Ryu traveling to the US to combat a gang of foes for 
some unknown reason.  For this adventure, Ryu forgoes all weaponry aside from 
the occasional use of the Dragon Sword.  He uses a very limited set of hand-to-
hand combat maneuvers such as a three-hit combo using both punches and kicks, 
the Guillotine Throw, Wall Running and hanging kicks.  Once in a while, Ryu 
unsheathes his sword, and decimates his foes with it.

Most likely, he does this as most of his enemies are very human and nature and 
don't necessitate the excessive use of the Dragon Sword.

So, to successfully conquer this game, you need to destroy as much as the 
environment as possible as that is the only way to receive powerups.  The 
ability to use the sword is absolutely necessary to survival, so always be on 
the lookout for it.

Ryu has a standard three strike combo, and he has a single slash with the 
Dragon Sword as well as a double Slash.  He can also do a Dragon Sword 
attack from a wall run in this game, so you should use this if cornered.

Possibly, the most powerful technique in the game is actually the hanging 
kick.  Most foes will fall victim to this maneuver quite handily.  The 
exception to this rule is the tree swinging foes, as they will stay outside 
the range of your kick and swing their tree trunks instead.

Ninja Gaiden Trilogy
--------------------
The original trilogy came originally on the NES.  It was reworked for the SNES 
system as a single Trilogy game.

In the original Trilogy that follows Ryukenden, Ryu resorts to his younger ways 
and chooses a much less gentler way of dispatching his enemies.  He wields the 
Dragon Sword again, almost exclusively.  Whenever Ryu strikes a foe, not only 
does he kill them, but his strike also completely destroys their body.  
Given that some of the enemies Ryu encounters are actually regular humans and 
animals, this is a very powerful skill.  While the Malice Four, Kelbeross, the 
Masked Devil, Dando, Baron Spider, Funky Dynamite, Naga Sotuva, Ashtar, the 
Jaquio, the Demon, Mantis Warrior, Night Diver, Great Kogenai, Sandeater, 
Doppleganger, and Clancy all can take much more punishment than regular 
foes, their fates result in the same, cataclysmic annihilation.  Therefore, Ryu 
is MUCH more powerful later in life than he is in the events that take place in 
the span of the Xbox game.  

Ryu abandons almost all of his sword technique not to mention every other 
weapon aside from the Windmill Shuriken.  In retrospect, it really must have 
been a legendary weapon.  Regardless, he now holsters the Dragon Sword 
differently.  He arms it on his waist much like a Samurai would carry such a 
weapon.  He sheathes it after every strike much like in the Xbox Ninja Gaiden.  
However, Ryu utilizes it in a much more deadly way in his most efficient 
technique, the Windmill Slash.

1. Ninja Gaiden - In the first game, once you find the Windmill Slash, you need 
to hold onto it as long as you can.  That means, you must keep from dying or 
picking up a different Ninja Art.  Unfortunately, the only way to do these 
things is to be extremely good and memorize the locations of the Windmill Slash.

For the first Trilogy game, there is only one area where the Windmill Slash is 
unavailable, Stage 3.  Other than this level, you should keep the Windmill 
Slash in every scenario.  There are a couple of instances where 2 Windmill 
Slashes are available, and you can switch to Art of Firewheel or Fire Shield.  
Typically, you'll use Firewheel (not like in the Xbox Ninja Gaiden) to access 
hard to reach powerups or enemies, and Fire Shield will keep you from utilizing 
your Spiritual Strength in unneeded Windmill Slashes.  Of course, everyone's 
play style differs, so one may prefer one of the other Ninja Arts.  The 
importance of this attack is uncovered once you attempt to use it on a boss.  
You can kill every boss in the except Basaquer with 1-2 uses of this technique.
The only reason Basaquer is excluded from this list is because there is no 
Windmill Slash found in all of Stage 3.  I doubt that he has any special 
immunity to it.

That means, that every boss is a pushover if you've successfully saved the 
Windmill Slash for the confrontation.  This will allow you to skate through the 
game fairly easily.  Of course, this will only work if you are shooting for a 
good time.  You will miss killing MANY enemies along the way if you solely 
utilize Windmill Slash.  If you are going for an Angel of Death approach where 
you kill every single enemy, you will need to abandon the Windmill Slash 
strategy for the most part.  This also holds true if you want to accrue as many 
points as possible.

Lastly, there are times when Ryu has the ability to halt the flow of time 
itself.  There is no reason to not partake of this ability in every scenario.

2. Ninja Gaiden and the Dark Sword of Chaos - In the sequel, we are introduced 
to yet another foil of the Dragon Sword, The Dark Sword of Chaos.  There is an 
interesting symmetry to this in the real world as well.  Games are continuously 
compared to Ninja Gaiden, but then the Dragon Sword ultimately prevails.  At 
any rate, the wonderful Windmill Slash is no longer available in Ninja Gaiden. 

In exchange Ryu learns several more arts that are as useful if not moreso than 
the original Windmill Slash.  In this game, he acquires the ability to summon 
Fire Shield at will, and he can also conjure Phantom Doubles of himself and 
command them somewhat (even duplicating his use of Ninpo).  In Dark Sword of 
Chaos, one's primary concern should be the retrieval of Fire Shield and 
Phantom Doubles as much as possible.  In regards to movement, the Phantoms 
will mimic Ryu's movement in a queue fashion.  That is, wherever Ryu moves, 
the Phantoms will follow that movement sequentially.  This is useful because 
it allows Ryu to place Phantoms wherever he deems necessary, say right in the 
face of a certain boss.  However, Ryu controls their attacks at any time in 
real time, both melee and Ninpo.

Couple this ability to keep Fire Shield with you at all times and the ability 
to stop time, Ryu is quite the bringer of death.

3.  Ninja Gaiden and the Ancient Ship of Doom - Ryu abandons his ability to 
summon Phantoms in this story, but he gains the ability to increase the 
usefulness of the Dragon Sword tenfold.  He can acquire a powerful artifact 
that increases the width and breadth of his stroke.  He also retains the 
ability to summon Fire Shield at any time, once he acquires the Ninpo.  Moreso 
than with the other two games, though will you be juggling Ninpo.  

This time, Ryu's visual acuity and extra-sensory perception has developed 
enough so that he may see inside the powerup orbs before he releases their 
power.  This allows you to make the choice of what Ninpo to carry with you 
much easier.

Trilogy Summary
---------------
The comparative difficulties of the three games is hotly debated.  In my 
opinion, Ninja Gaiden and the Dark Sword of Chaos is the hardest of the three.  
Ninja Gaiden 1, while difficult, is capable of being beaten by memorization 
aside from the Jaquio.  You can repeat your technique per level ad infinitum, 
and it will always work.  Additionally, you can keep Windmill Slash with you 
on all levels save one and guarantee a one hit kill on every enemy in the 
game, bosses included.

Ninja Gaiden and the Ancient Ship of Doom gave Ryu the ability to cling to the 
underside of surfaces and the Dragon Sword improvement greatly assuages the 
frustration you can feel with this game.  However, the reason I find Ninja 
Gaiden and the Dark Sword of Chaos to be so difficult is the fact that 
randomness is implemented in this game moreso than the other two.  The wind 
stages, much more effective ice, lightning and improved Jaquio force you to 
abandon memorization almost entirely.

Whichever you personally feel is the most difficult, it cannot be argued that 
the Xbox Ninja Gaiden Black game complete with the original Ninja Gaiden 
Ryukenden game is one of the best gaming experiences of all time.

----------------
~~ CONCLUSION ~~
----------------
Thank you for reading the Ninja Gaiden Advanced Combat FAQ.  I hope that you 
learned something.  Feel free to post on the GameFAQs Ninja Gaiden board if you 
feel that there is a topic that is not covered in this document, you question 
a rating in the Move Matrix, or you would like to submit something to the Free 
Form Combo Section.

-------------
~~ CREDITS ~~
-------------
All of the official move lists were compiled from the game itself.  The Rolling
Techniques and Essence Avoidance sections are of my own invention and come from
my previous FAQs.  All of the Free Form Combos information was compiled in a
thread entitled Free Form Combos.  If you wish to contribute, please create a 
new thread.  There are plenty of instances to be uncovered.

Contributors include: goatism, Psychotic Kiske, Refreshment, ivansverdlov,
level 99 babe, Dark Falz213, endevin, asdf0fdsa, holyvision, Ninja99,
primetime2121, primetime2123, wintersquall, Adair (for fact checking), 
JynxShot, sn33k33,zidaneff9, Sour_Tofu (for accurate Fiend names), 
Shadowblade786, Vidd, UltimateMasterChief, kkkkkk_1, VampireHorde, Fedzmonkey, 
timebomb13rob, darthvader06, Lupin Roamer, oasisbeyond, cjh87, fizzguy47, 
Lupin Roamer, Weibull, Sabier and Shinobier, Megla Zero, Spark0, d3licious 
and provett

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Team Ninja
Microsoft
GameFAQ's

This document can be found at: 
http://db.gamefaqs.com/console/xbox/file/ninja_gaiden_black_advcombat.txt