Path of the Master Ninja Walkthru This is a documentation of my run through Master Ninja Mode. I'm not claiming that I know all of the best strategies, but I think at this point I've garnered a decent amount from other player's and my own experiences with the game. Since there were no other Master Ninja runs documented here, I decided to do one myself. My goal is not only to document every fight individually, but to document the run as a whole, meaning I will be recommending when you use certain items, as well as when you upgrade certain weapons. Most of the strategies I use here I discovered on my own, during my personal Mentor or Master Ninja runs. There are a few things that I learned from another user after my runs, and added in later. That isn't to say my strategies all new, or were my ideas first. I have found that many of my own strategies are already known by the Ninja Gaiden community, and many are used in youtube videos by various users (Bigalski, KL1NE, C1REXpl). I hope at least a few of my ideas are entirely new, because I'd like to give something back to the community, but it's entirely possible that all of these tricks are already out there. In any case, having everything (or at least a lot of things) in one place should help people who aren't active in the Ninja Gaiden boards. Since there are other guides that do this, I won't be mentioning item locations unless they are relevant to a strategy (for example, if I know there is a red chest coming up, so you can waste ninpo on a fight). Also, since this is Master Ninja, I'm going to assume that you will be using Ninpo and Items fairly liberally, and upon entering any string of fights you have a full or near-full inventory. This is especially true for the later chapters of the game, where I will be advising heavy ninpo and item usage to get through some tough spots. Any time I do not assume this, I will document otherwise (for example, after the first Test of Valor). So, that said, let's begin. Table of Contents: Section A. - XA General Tactics The Dragon Sword - WDS Lunar Staff - WLU Falcon Talons - WFT Dragon's Claw and Tiger's Fang - WDT Kusari-gama - WKG Eclipse Scythe - WSC Tonfa - WTN Vigoorian Flails - WVF Projectile Weapons - WPW Section B. - XB Enemy Classes Walkthru Chapter 1. -C01 Chapter 2. -C02 Chapter 3. -C03 Test of Valor 1 - TOV1 Chapter 4. -C04 Test of Valor 2 - TOV2 Chapter 5. -C05 Test of Valor 3 - TOV3 Chapter 6. -C06 Test of Valor 4 - TOV4 Chapter 7. -C07 Test of Valor 5 - TOV5 Chapter 8. -C08 Test of Valor 6 - TOV6 Chapter 9. -C09 Test of Valor 7 - TOV7 Chapter 10. -C10 Test of Valor 8 - TOV8 Chapter 11. -C11 Test of Valor 9 - TOV9 Chapter 12. -C12 Chapter 13. -C13 Chapter 14. -C14 XA. Section A: General Tactics A couple of important things to take note of here. Some of them are fairly obvious, some less so. --- Hold defend all the time --- This isnt new advice by any means, but it's still woefully ignored. For some players, this can be a difficult mindset to adapt to, but it makes all of the difference in critical situation. Taking an unexpected blow while defending is--90% of the time--FAR more desirable than taking it when not defending. If it's a regular hit or a defense-breaker, you reduce damage to 0. If it's a hit that breaks defense and does residual damage, you reduce the damage to anywhere from 1/2-1/5 (depends on the move) the damage you would've taken if you weren't defending. If it's a move that ignores defense... well, that's the one time it's not useful. Still, even if damage isn't your primary concern (it will be after enough deaths), holding the defend button while moving around the battlefield will often reduce Ryu's chances of getting knocked off balance when he takes a nasty hit. Since you're not stunned while defending (except by some defense-ignorers), you can do a Reverse Wind (dash) and regain control of the situation quickly. This will often prevent being chained or juggled in nasty scenarios. The important thing to remember is that Ryu can still do most things while holding the defend button. After a Reverse Wind, there are a few seconds where you can control Ryu normally while still holding the defend button. This will allow you a few seconds to walk, jump, or begin a combo. It's really essential to surviving Master Ninja without going insane. -- Master the On-Land charge -- There's not a lot else for me to add here. If you've made it to Master Ninja mode, hopefully you've already learned this technique. If not, you're gonna want to figure it out. It's essential for essence-chaining UTs, which is an absolutely crucial strategy to a Master Ninja run. When done properly, essence chaining can allow you to keep Ryu invincible for more than 50% of the time during a battle. To do an OLC properly, then from a standing and defending position roll once, then jump at the end of the roll. When you land, press Y at the same time. This will cause Ryu to start a charge that is shorter than a normal charge, but it also causes him to instantly pull any nearby essence to his body, resulting in instant charge levels. It's often advisable to do an OLC, then immediately release it to prevent an enemy from hitting you and knocking you out of it. This was more of a concern in NGB/NGS (since even the smallest hit would stop a UT), but it's still a concern. --- Know your Ninpo --- Here's a rough breakdown of the spells: Inferno: Sends a fireball towards an enemy. Does heavy damage. Is a one-hit kill for low-to-average HP targets. On each upgrade level, gains the ability to hit one additional target (but it will not send multiple fireballs at the same target. Usually. Some bosses violate this rule). Wind Blades: Sends a blade of wind to hit the enemy. Does low to medium-high damage, depending on the level. The spell has an extremely high dismemberment success rate. If it makes contact, it is almost guaranteed to set an enemy up for an OT, if they are vulnerable to it. At level 1, it sends a single strip of wind in front of Ryu. At level 2, it sends a large field of wind that covers most of the area in front of Ryu. At level 3, it sends wind in every direction, as a field around Ryu. The level 3 version of this spell is very powerful, and very likely to kill human-sized enemies in one casting. Piercing Void: Creates a large ball of energy that Ryu hurtles straight forward. Think of this spell as an ultimate form of the bow&arrow. You only get one shot, but man, it's a doozy. If enemies or bosses are vulnerable to Piercing Void, it will deal substantial damage on a successful blow, usually resulting in instant-death (except on bosses). If you can line up a group of powerful enemies (such as Van Gelfs) in a narrow walkway, it can kill all of them in one well-aimed shot. As it levels, it gains large amounts of damage. Phoenix: Creates a group of Phoenix's that circle around Ryu. As it levels, an additional phoenix joins the circle. I originally wanted to believe this spell was good, because I was a big fan of the Fire Wheels in Black/Sigma, however the Phoenix doesn't seem to retain that old charm. The circle won't set enemies on fire (from what I've observed), and has a bad habit of stunning an enemy out of one of Ryu's combos. Another problem is that the spell only lasts a few seconds, and then after that if Ryu is hit by a strong hit it will dismiss the Phoenixes. It can be nice occasionally to buy a lull in a battle... but I find 9 times out of 10, Inferno or Wind Blades proves to be a better way to gain leverage in a fight for the 1 ninpo cost. The one place Phoenix shines is against Elizebet. Sorta. But I'm not sure if that makes it a priority for your Jewels of the Demon Seal. Personally, I recommend skipping two of the Jewels of the Demon Seal in the Tests of Valor, so Phoenix is the ninpo that makes the most sense to not level. The most important thing to take away from this is that you need to know when the three main spells (Inferno, Wind Blades, Piercing Void) can actually one-shot an enemy. If you're fighting enemies that can be killed instantly by Wind Blades, then it is your best choice. This is often true of ninjas and mages. If you're fighting a group of enemies that won't be bothered by Wind Blades, Inferno is your best bet (this is true of some mechs, such as the hover-bots, and of Centaurs, both of which can be one-shotted by Infernos). If you're fighting slower moving enemies who won't go down to an Inferno, Piercing Void is your best bet. It's not always a clear choice. For example, the yellow Van Gelfs. They won't die to one casting of Inferno, so it's not an option. However, Wind Blades will delimb them, but Piercing Void will also kill them in one casting. Wind Blades is easier to land, but often won't hit more than one (they tend to circle away from you), and leaves you in the messy situation of having to perform an OT (dangerous on Master Ninja mode, because you have to release block to OT). Piercing Void is a guaranteed kill, but is very, very unlikely to hit more than one, and often is likely to hit none at all. -- Know your weapons -- Similar to the above topic, it's important to maximize the effectiveness of your weapons. There are a lot of moves in this game, and it's important to know which ones to use at which times. Do not focus on learning every move with a particular weapon, no matter how much you like it. In Warrior or Acolyte, the various moves on the weapons are fun to play with and see. On Master Ninja mode, a majority of them have dangerous vulnerability windows, and are not to be used under most circumstances. When it comes to Ninja Gaiden weapons, just remember: less is more. Lunar is the prime example of this philosophy. If you stick to a few basic moves (the Izuna, 360 UT, and aerial or ground XXY combo), Lunar is one of the very best weapons in the entire game, and can be used in almost any situation. However, if you try playing with Lunar's combos, and do not stick to the few powerful ones, you will find Ryu wasting a lot of time and dealing very little damage. The long flashy combos Lunar has are great to see, and wonderful for keeping a single enemy in stunlock. But in the time you would finish one of these combos, a single XXY would have done more damage, and wouldn't leave your back exposed to incoming incendiaries/Van Gelf pounces/whatever. Another important thing to note is that you don't necessarily need to level a weapon to level 3 to make good use of it. Most of the weapon's UTs still are effective even with a level 1 weapon. If you are using a weapon for the UT only, there is sometimes no need to level it up. I played most of Mission 11 on Mentor mode with the level 1 Tonfas using UT chains, and they worked wonderfully. The Tonfa UT is brutal against human-sized foes, and will often kill 3 at a time, allowing safe UT-chaining. The Scythe UT is, as most people know, one of the most useful methods of dismemberment in the entire game. Even on Master Ninja, the only weapon that really needs leveled, ever, is Lunar. Lunar needs to be level 2 to gain the 360 UT (one of the most useful in the game, because the ET does more damage than most UTs), and its Izuna Drop. Level 3 Lunar is even more effective, and the entire game can pretty much be done with it alone. The Dragon Sword is helpful to get through the first 4 missions (Izuna Drop for humanoids, triple Flying-Swallow for Van Gelfs), but can be adequately replaced by Lunar, since the 360 ET will take the head off of a Van Gelf. Beyond that, you can save all of your money for item purchases if you really desire. A level 3 Dragon Sword is still nice to have, since the all-Y combo is very damaging, and one of the safest boss strategies in the game, and getting it to level 3 roughly doubles the damage of the UT. Still, Lunar's XXY, used properly, will often outshine it... and keep in mind that you'll get the level 4 Dragon Sword regardless of what level it is in chapter 11. That said, I do recommend leveling the Scythe up once you get it. It gains a 360 UT of its own that is useful against certain ninja fights (the cathedral in chapter 8), and at level 3 its YYY combo is one of the fastest boss-killers (though often the most dangerous). It's not necessary, but a level 3 Scythe will sometimes make your life easier. Another consideration to make is the Falcon Talons. At level 2, they gain the ability to chain a Flying Swallow into an Izuna Drop. This combo particularly shines in the second Rasetsu fight in Mission 2. However, that fight can be done without this move, and unless you're essence farming in Mission 1, it will only push back your time to reach a level 3 Dragon Sword or Lunar. Here's a breakdown of the weapons, based on what I know of them. I'll try to highlight a few of their most useful moves, but mainly I'm going to focus on UT discussion, since that's the most important trait of a weapon for Master Ninja mode. This is all based on my personal opinion and experience, so take it with a grain of salt. ---WDS - The Dragon Sword--- The most well-balanced weapon in the game, and a very popular favorite. You start with the Dragon Sword, and once it gets upgraded to the True Dragon Sword, it's one of the strongest weapons in the entire game. In other words, it's a great staple. If you want to pick a weapon and rely solely on it, the Dragon Sword is the most natural choice. This was more true in Ninja Gaiden Black/Sigma than it is in NG2, however. The Dragon Sword suffers in this game due to some balance issues with the other weapons (which I'll get into later). The most useful moves are its Izuna Drop, Flying Swallow, YYYY combo, and Dragon's Tear (TDS only). The Dragon Sword's Izuna can be performed many ways, but the best way is XYXXXY. I say this is the best way, because the combo building up to the actual Izuna does significant damage in this method, and will cause the Izuna at the end to actually kill enemies that other weapons (such as Lunar) can't with a single Izuna. The Flying Swallow on the Dragon Sword is unique in this game, because it can be chained. Triple Flying Swallow (I think it's actually called Divine, but I don't care) is extremely useful on a lot of enemies, such as Van Gelfs, and will often give an instant kill with minimal effort and high invincibility frames. The YYYY combo is wonderful against bosses, and will usually keep a boss safely stunned until the end of the combo, allowing it to do full damage. This separates this combo from some of the other boss-killing combos. For example. Lunar's XXY does all of its damage at the very end, and bosses will often slip out of it before you get to deliver the payload. The Dragon Sword's YYYY is great for control. Unfortunately, it doesn't measure up to some other weapons in damage output, so you've got to weigh safety against speed of the kill. In Black/Sigma, Dragon's Tear was one of the best combos in the entire game. In this game, it really suffers, because if you try to perform it after coming out of a dash, Ryu does a different combo instead. Since you don't want to have to release defend and pause a second every time you want to perform Dragon's Tear, this woefully diminishes its value. Still, if you can get a Dragon's Tear to land, it does a large chunk of boss HP. Iron Defense wanted me to mention that the XXY combo is an excellent method for humanoid delimbing in Chapter 1, and the lag at the end of the Y hit can be canceled with a single shuriken. UT: The Dragon Sword has, in effect, four UTs. The first is the basic autocombo UT. This UT has two parts. The first part is the full ET phase, without the ET finisher. The second is a secondary combo, where Ryu tries to carry the enemy up into the air with him slightly. Most of the damage is contained in the second part of this combo, making the UT significantly stronger than the ET. The UT can also switch targets between the first and second phase, under the player's guidance, which can be nice if you know one enemy is dead or nearly dead, and want to move to another for the powerful payload at the end. When you obtain the TDS, this move levels up. The ET remains the same, but the UT gains a whole third phase, for an even longer combo, and more possible targets. Between each phase, however, Ryu has to be able to find a new target (he pulls out and tries to teleport to another enemy if the current one is dead), or he'll stop mid-combo. This can be frustrating, as Ryu often won't find a target when it's very obvious to the player that there's a ninja right next to him. This somewhat diminishes the value of the TDS UT in groups of small-to-average HP enemies, unfortunately. Still, the entire UT, if performed, is extremely dangerous, and very effective against a single large enemy. The Dragon Sword also has a 360 UT gained at level 3. If you played NGB/S, you'll remember this move. It's virtually unchanged from its Black version. Ryu spins around rapidly, delivering high damage to any enemy caught in it. One unique thing about this UT is that it's virtually unchanged by what level you charge it to. The level 0 is the same effect as the level 1, which is the same as the level 2. The only thing that changes as your charge it is that it lasts slightly longer (not too significant) and gains increased damage (significant, but not stunning). What does this mean? Well, in effect, the level 0 (no charge level) UT is actually one of the best Dragon Sword combos. It can kill or delimb a lot of enemies, it's free to get off (and nearly instant if you do it as an On-Land Charge), and very quick. Also, if you try to use it and essence happens to be laying around, you'll gain increased damage, and the added perk of invincibility (the level 0 does not leave Ryu invincible, which is important to keep in mind). When essence chaining, this 360 UT can be a very fast to rip through a lot of small enemies. However, the downside to the speed of this UT is the relatively short invincibility window. When you gain the TDS, this UT also gets an upgrade (which did not happen in the previous game). In fact, it gains the TDS UT from NGB/S, which is an interesting change-up. After performing the full spin of the fully charged 360 UT, Ryu grabs the enemy he's hitting and carries them into the air, performing the old aerial-dashing combo on them. This move is, as it always was, awesome to witness. And the enemy that Ryu takes into the air with him is almost guaranteed to find its way to the ground dead. The problem I have with this move, in spite of my love for it, is that NG2 isn't really set up to take advantage of it. For example, in the first Ninja Gaiden, you encountered a lot of Berserker and Ogres and the Red Dinosaurs after obtaining the TDS. Those enemies were hard to kill, but the TDS UT ruined them, making it amazing. In NG2, your most dangerous enemies after the time you obtain the TDS are the same ninjas you've been fighting the whole game. And unfortunately, the TDS 360 UT still only kills them one, maybe 2 at a time with lucky usage. Since they tend to come in waves of 5+ at a time (another trait that Black/Sigma didn't share, keeping enemies to 3 at a time most of the game), killing one or two isn't nearly as impressive of a feat. This move also suffers because of the addition of delimbing and OTs. Now it's a lot easier to remove an enemy's limb and instantly finish them off, so having a move that "almost always kills two enemies!" isn't nearly as impressive as it was against the Red Spider Ninjas or feline foes in NGB/S. It's still fun to use, but I don't recommend relying on it the way you might have relied on the TDS in Black/Sigma. Overall, this is indicative of my entire sentiment of the Dragon Sword. It's still a great weapon in NG2. However it suffers from the overall setup changes to the game and the fact that there is usually an easier weapon choice for most situations. ---WLU - Lunar Staff--- As opposed to the Dragon Sword, the second weapon you're given in this game is far and away the most unbalanced. A lot of Lunar's combos are awful, take a lot of time, leave Ryu vulnerable to attacks (mainly incoming Incendiary Shurikens), and just don't do enough damage to be worth using. Lunar can't seem to decide if it wants to be a fast, high-combo-count weapon, or a slow deliberate "I hit you hard" weapon. Lunar has an outrageous subset of moves that--if they're stuck to--make it a weapon without peer. In the first game, you might remember Lunar for its amazing counterattack. Well, that's been lost in NG2. Lunar has that counterattack at level 1 (as the Y counter), but doesn't seem to give Ryu invincibility frames for it anymore. At level 2, the counter is "upgraded" to a move where Ryu knocks the enemy into the air and then combos them. It's very powerful, and will generally instant-kill a single humanoid, but doesn't have the ability to hit multiple enemies like the ground counter did, and definitely does not give the full invincibility frames. The loss of the old counter is sorely missed... but more than made up for. Really, Lunar has only one move you need to know. XXY. On ground or in the air, XXY. The ground combo ends in a downsmash that will obliterate most enemies. If it doesn't, it can usually be safely chained for stunlocking. No regular enemy can take more than a few hits of this full combo (well, two exceptions. Red Dragons and the giant worms). The aerial combo, on the other hand, turns into the fastest (tied with Falcon Talons) Izuna Drop in the game. Since you get into the Izuna so quickly, you rapidly take Ryu into invincibility frames, which is great if you already have some Incendiary Shurikens stuck in you, or just need a breather. Also, Lunar's YYYY combo is something to take note of, only because it's actually the "nunchaku" version of this weapon. It's an extremely long, extremely fast combo that surrounds Ryu entirely, making it the perfect move against Ghost Fish and the like. You could switch to a weapon like Kusari-gama or the Vigoorian Flails to try to handle them, but there's no need if Lunar's already on. YYYY will protect you just fine. Lunar is also the best weapon for protection against Ghost Fish when you're underwater (I think this only happens once in the game, but it's worth noting), as the Y move underwater causes Ryu to spin it about and protect himself quite effectively. UT: Lunar has 2 UTs, a regular and a 360. The regular ET is an autocombo. The UT version adds a large fire-wave to the end of the autocombo. At first, you might be inclined to think the fire-wave is nothing but pretty flash (I did), but that's incorrect. It's actually where most of the damage payload is for this UT. This makes it very nice against large groups of low HP enemies (bug-types), since the fire wave will usually devestate the battlefield. The second UT is the 360. This move is, fortunately or unfortunately, game-breaking. The 360 ET is the same as Lunar's old UT from the first game. Ryu spins around a few times, then does a finisher. It has been sped up significantly from its Black/Sigma version, however. The 360 UT in this game adds an auto-combo where Ryu stabs up at an enemy (knocking them into the air if he can), then he jumps up into the air and spins around for more damage, and slams down to the ground. If you hit Y at the top of his jump, and are doing it against a human-size enemy, he'll Izuna Drop them as a finisher, instead. The problem with this move (from a balance perspective) is in the ET. The finisher on the ET is extremely powerful, and will outright kill a large majority of the enemies in the game. Ninjas, Warlocks, all other humanoids, werewolves, all varieties of Van Gelf, Gajas... all of these enemies will be killed by the ET. Most enemies who survive it will be set up for OT, such as mech-spider-ladies. Enemies who aren't killed or delimbed by it in one use will usually be killed in two, or three at the worst (dogs, giant worms). So why is this a problem? Well, if you're wanting easy victories, it's not. From a balance perspective, it's a problem because the ET takes less time to charge than a UT, or can be essence-chained with only one yellow essence. This means as long as the Lunar 360 ET kills an enemy (which is virtually guaranteed), you can chain it into another one with zero downtime. Even if there is no essence laying around, you only need to charge up to the ET phase (which takes half as long as the UT phase) for it to be ready and start an essence chain anew. This means that Lunar has an ET that is able to compete with--if not downright disgrace--most of the UTs in the game. Not only that, but Lunar's 360 ET isn't really situational. It is always a good choice, for any fight. It might not always be the absolute best choice, but if not it's usually a close a second. A good way to see this is in Chapter 5. The twin swords (DCTF) have a UT that is more effective against werewolves than Lunar's 360 is. However, if you actually switch to the DCTF and try to rely on them, it will become apparent just how different it is to be able to kill enemies with an ET, and having to always struggle to reach the UT plateau. In my opinion, Black/Sigma did a better job balancing this, because with every weapon in the game you really wanted to get the UT off, the ET rarely sufficed. As I said, Lunar is game-breaking. The only downside to relying on Lunar's ET throughout the course of the game is that your karma will take the hit. Instead of trying to always use 5000 karma moves, you'll be sufficing for 2000 karma moves. However, this is offset by this game's Instant Kill + Killing Spree 3000 karma apiece rewards. With Lunar 360 ETs, it's entirely possible to keep a chain of 8000 karma per-kill kills going on, especially against enemies like Van Gelfs, who always take the instant-kill hit from Lunar's finisher. At any rate, this isn't a karma-run guide, it's a "beat Master Ninja" guide. So you're going to find that I use Lunar very, very extensively. ---WFT - Falcon Talons--- The Falcon Talons are a powerful, but dangerous weapon. They are probably, in my opinion, the single coolest new weapon in Ninja Gaiden 2. You might not agree, but I really enjoy the flash of this weapon when I'm playing on Warrior or Mentor mode. That said, I don't think they shine too well on Master Ninja. The Falcon Talons have two real staples (better than Lunar's one, I suppose). One is the counterattacks. The Falcon Talons probably have the best counters in the game, particularly the Y counter, which will cause Ryu to teleport and gain pretty significant invincibility frames, as well as often crippling an enemy. If they're not crippled, they will usually fall to Ryu's feet afterward (especially humanoids), and another tap of Y will usually cause Ryu to kick their head right off. This is another great Falcon Talon move to remember. If an enemy's at your feet, the Y move is very reminiscent of the Black/Sigma version of these moves (if you remember, in Black/Sigma, when you knocked an enemy down you could chain pressing Y on them until they were dead, with pretty much any weapon). Once you've got an enemy at your feet with the Talons, you can just keep kicking them until they die. The second staple of the weapons is pretty famous already, but I'd be remiss not to mention it. At level 2, the Falcon Talons gain the ability to chain a Flying Swallow into an Izuna Drop. You just use the Swallow, tap X once in midair, then rapidly tap Y right after the single X. Ryu carries the enemy high up with him, stabs him once, then Izunas back to the ground. This is very fast, and pretty powerful (not as strong as I'd suspect. I find the Dragon Sword Izuna still seems to do slightly more damage, overall). More importantly, though, it's the safest and most consistent way to get into an Izuna Drop. There's rarely anything an enemy can do to stop this from happening to them. The one exception is the multi-rocket soldiers, who can be a pain. Otherwise, though, this move is deadly to humanoids. The Falcon Talons have another move that's worth noting. If you press forward+X, and then start hammering X, Ryu will go into a nifty auto-combo where he continues to slash the enemy from both sides. At first, this move seems like it's a freebie UT. However, on Master Ninja mode it really becomes apparent that the move is not a UT, and does not give invincibility frames, making it a lot more dangerous. It's still often great for one-on-one encounters, but in groups it doesn't seem to work out as well as I'd hope. UT: So why don't I love the Falcon Talons? Well, first of all, they have a very limited UT. It's another autocombo, but because of the weapon's short range it doesn't do the damage to surrounding enemies I would like to see. It's great for killing one, sometimes two enemies in a very flashy way. However, that can be accomplished just as effectively with Lunar's 360 ET (as I discussed above). The UT here suffers in the same way that the Dragon Sword's moves suffer, but even moreso. The UT doesn't get the upgraded version that the TDS does, but the ET does seem to be more effective than the Dragon Sword's ET. The Falcon Talons are costly to upgrade for the early parts of the game, and by the time they're really worth upgrading (because money is no longer an issue), I find that they're mostly surpassed by the Tonfas. Overall, I find the weapon to be very situational. When it shines, it really shines. But the rest of the time, it's a real struggle to fight enemies with it. And I just don't think that justifies the 60,000 essence cost for your first Master Ninja run if you're not essence farming. ---WDT - Dragon's Claw and Tiger's Fang--- The only other weapon in the game to reach a level 4. This weapon is kind of like an upgraded version of the Dragon Sword, except without the stability and safety of that weapon. It definitely does more damage, but I find that the costs of that extra damage is too high. DCTF has a lot of moves where at the end, Ryu likes to pose for a second to be flashy. This is horrible on Master Ninja mode, and really limits what you can do with the weapon safely. Many of the DCTF moves are similar to the Dragon Sword's, but without some of the charm. The Izuna Drop is improved, but the Flying Swallow doesn't chain. A move to take note of is to hold forward while repeatedly tapping Y. This is a long autocombo ending in a whirlwind, very effective against a lot of enemies. However it suffers in terms of defensive ability, like most of the moves with this weapon. The level 4 version of this weapon, Blade of the Archfiend, is this game's replacement to the Dark Dragon Blade. Personally, I find it to be a rather weak substitute. For a normal game you only have the Blade of the Archfiend for the last leg (some Van Gelfs and then Dagra Dai and the final boss), and it's not particularly amazing for that section (easier handled with the Scythe). So, for the purposes of my guide, the Blade of the Archfiend isn't a factor. Although I will say, if you haven't seen Underworld Drop, it's worth doing at least once. UT: As far as autocombos go, the DCTF UT is one of the best. It does a lot of damage, is extremely long, and Ryu has a further reach with his between-phase dash, making it easier for him to continue the combo if an enemy is just slightly out of "reach" to another weapon. Sounds perfect? Eh. It's not. The DCTF, for such a powerful UT, has a remarkably weak ET. It looks like it's the same as the starting phase of the UT, but damage-wise it's not. So if you're ever put into a scenario where you have to release early to avoid taking a hit, you'll find yourself basically wasting time. The ET will delimb humanoid enemies sometimes, but by the time you get DCTF humanoids aren't your main opponent. Still, the UT is stellar against Van Gelfs or werewolves or enemies of similar size, so if you really want to use it, there's no need to hold back. A single UT will often kill 3 large enemies at a time, which is hard to argue with. Still, safety's a concern, and since you want to only use the UT here, essence chaining is a lot more difficult. ---WKG - Kusari-Gama--- One of the game's most unique weapons, if not the most. Kusari-gama is a mix of being the weapon with the longest reach, and sometimes the shortest. The fastest moves, and sometimes the slowest. It balances speed and range well, though, with the slower combos usually giving the best range, so I consider it a more well-balanced weapon than Lunar, while being in a similar tier. Well-balanced doesn't mean better, though. Kusari-gama has a few fun combos, like Ear Slicer (XXXYYY), but doesn't really have anything to make it stand out in the crowd of weapons in the game. The all-Y combo is a great long-range move, very effective against almost any type of enemy, but it has a really slow startup time, which is risky. Kusari-gama also have a move similar to the Falcon Talons, in that if an enemy is downed in front of you, you can chain the Y attack over and over again and it will keep them juggled until they die. UT: Kusari-gama's really downfall is that it has the weakest UT in the game, and no alternate. It's fun to watch, and is fairly long and has some nice invincibility frames, but as far as damage output goes it's abysmal. The ET of most weapons is comparable to Kusari-gama's UT. Now, the UT can't be beaten in terms of area-of-effect. Its reach is absolutely huge for the entire combo. Still, while this was a sufficient trait for Acolyte or Mentor mode, I really don't think it makes the weapon worth consideration for Master Ninja. It's not a bad weapon. There's just usually a better choice. ---WSC - Eclipse Scythe--- In my opinion, the Eclipse Scythe is probably the most overrated weapon in the game. That said, it's still a terrific weapon when the job calls for it. Overall the Scythe is pretty slow, but powerful. It has good counterattacks, which is worth taking note of, because they'll either give you an opening for an OT or instant-death, but not quite as good as the Falcon Talons. A lot of the combos have long delays or startup times, as bad as the all-Y combo on Kusari-gama. The reach of the weapon is always pretty good, though. Even its shortest-range moves have about the reach of the longest-range Dragon Sword moves, and it's longest range hits are about as long as Lunar's good reach. Still, against large groups of fast enemies, it can be difficult to find a safe combo to start things off. When I get the Scythe, the YYY combo replaces the Dragon Sword or Lunar as my boss-killer. It's a slower move, so it's more dangerous, but the vulgar damage output on it is fantastic and worth the risk to me. The Scythe also has its own version of Lunar's aerial XXY. It's a little easier to connect, but an enemy will often slip out of it (usually by accident) before the end, which results in them avoiding most of the damage and the almost guaranteed delimb/decap. It's still a fun move, just not something you want to rely on in large groups. It really works best if only 1 or 2 enemies are left. The Scythe has a few other good combos, but they're mostly all unimportant, because: UT: The Scythe's UT set is fantastic. All in all, it is probably the best UT collection the game, even beyond Lunar's. First is the regular UT. At ET level, it creates a small ground shockwave that travels a short distance. This move will often kill a humanoid by itself. If there are more than one humanoids nearby, it will often kill them all. If one is hit by it and survives it, he'll usually be delimbed. This ET will also delimb most more-dangerous foes, such as Van Gelfs or Zombies. Which this being the case, it makes it nice for easy ET chaining (use the ET for a delimb, OT the enemy, move to the next one), and it's notably faster than using Lunar's ET. The UT, of course, is well-known. A massive shockwave with the longest-reach of any UT in the game travels out from Ryu. The range on this move is comparable to shurikens, and the further it travels the wider it gets, causing a huge AoE. This UT is also even more damaging than the ET, resulting in virtually guaranteed instant-death to humanoids, Van Gelfs, insect-types, and a few others. Most things it won't kill, it'll still delimb. This UT isn't quite as damaging as Lunar's 360 UT, but it's close, and the radically different range makes a big difference in most scenarios. Basically, this UT is comparable to the level 2 version of Wind Blades, maybe even the level 3 version in most scenarios, but it doesn't cost a ninpo to use. The second UT is the 360 UT. This move isn't immediately as amazing as the regular UT, but it has its moments where it really shines. Ryu spins the Scythe about in a circle and tries to grab an enemy if he can (humanoids), then at the end slams the Scythe into the ground to create a small impact. The ET and UT versions are mostly the same, but the UT version creates a sizeable explosion at the end. This move really hurts humanoid enemies, and is nice in situations where you can't get far enough away to use the regular UT, or you don't want to leave your back exposed. There are some ambushes from large groups of IS ninjas where it's really a terrific choice, because of the damage of the explosion at the end. ---WTN - Tonfas--- The Tonfas are comparable to the Falcon Talons. They have better reach, but they lack the Flying Swallow->Izuna combo. On the other hand, their counters are just as effective, and more fun to watch (in my opinion), and carry a high likelihood of splash damage. Really, that's the thing about the Tonfas: splash damage. With almost any move you do with them, there's a very high likelihood that they'll do a lot of damage to all surrounding enemies. This isn't always grand, but it's fantastic against large groups of insistent humanoids. The Flying Swallow for this weapon really hurts, too, usually knocking an enemy off of their feet and giving you time to set up another combo of your choosing. There aren't any particular moves that stand out in my mind with the Tonfas, it's really more about the overall effect of the weapon. They do everything all of the other weapons do, but they do it really well. They're certainly never going to be your first choice against bosses, but for regular fights they're pretty terrific. UT: Like I said, everything the Tonfas do, they do great. The UT is another autocombo, but it's very, very powerful. I'm not sure which is stronger, the Tonfas or the DCTF UT. But I know which ET is stronger. The Tonfa ET will still generally kill an enemy, pretty badly, and often injure nearby ones as well. More importaly, the Tonfa UT has one really nice perk. Between the phases of the UT, as always Ryu dashes to try to find the next enemy. But with this weapon, Ryu stops for a second and spins the Tonfas about like a blender. During this animation, you are still invincible, and if an enemy steps into the range of the spinning Tonfas, Ryu will latch onto them and continue the UT. This might seem small, but it's a fantastic detail, and you'll find it helping you out more often than you'd think. It really reduces the number of "wasted" UT phases given by the weapon. The Tonfas are probably the weapon I would most recommend for Chapter 11. Even with the True Dragon Sword added to your arsenal, I just don't think it measures up to the level 3 Tonfas in terms of handling humanoids. Iron Defense wrote in with the following contribution, which I found quite excellent for those interested in mastering the Tonfas to their fullest potential: *********** Just a little info that I hope will be useful for your tonfa section. I noticed through you said the Tonfas lacked an FS -> ID. You can actually make a "freeform" version of this that is deadly to humanoid enemies. First you do stone breaker (the Tonfas equivalent to the flying swallow), then you do heavenly justice (press A mid combo or hold the left trigger and dash). Then when you appear behind the enemy you press XY. Ryu will do the "garland drop" which will instant kill a human enemy. You also don't mention heavenly justice much in your faq. Which is the selling point of this weapon. -> YY will instantly delimb any enemy who can be OT'd although the second swing is somewhat liable to miss. You can heavenly justice cancel the -> YY into an OT. Heavenly justice has invincibility frames just like an OT and UT. Another good combo is. XX or XXX into an HJ cancel then doing 360Y. The 360Y will instant kill a human enemy and will sometimes instant kill more than one human enemy if they are grouped together. This is due to the high rate of delimbing the move has. A tonfa izuna drop, although slow will instant the fiend ninjas seen in chapters 11 and 13. As well as Test of valor 1. Doesn't matter which one you use, XY or XXY for the launcher. *********** In case you're wondering what exactly he's referring to (if you haven't tried it out yet), Heavenly Justice is a teleport move the Tonfas have. It's performed the same way as a jump or a dash, but it allows you to do it mid-combo, and it can be used to cancel the lag from almost any regular combo move of the Tonfas. Really, Heavenly Justice should be performed (at the very least) every time you do a Tonfa Flying Swallow (aka Stone Breaker). But of course, the ability to move-cancel makes the Tonfas more of a build-your-own-combo-system weapon than any other Ninja Gaiden weapon (except maybe the Vigoorian Flails from the first game, which have such little lag time between combos you could build your own combos anyway). ---WVF - Vigoorian Flails--- I was a big fan of the Flails in Black/Sigma. They're still a tremendously fun weapon in this game, but as far as usefulness in Master Ninja mode goes, I think they suffer a bit. The Flails have a ton of moves, and most of them are good. I really wouldn't know where to begin on analyzing this weapon, so I'm going to skim it. One thing I will mention: no matter how you get into it, Piercing Mountain is amazing. And the fact that you can get into it after a simple Flying Swallow is even more amazing. Ryu will carry an enemy into the air and beat the hell out of them. It's great against humanoids, it's fantastic against Van Gelfs or similarly-sized enemies, it's... it's just one of the coolest and best moves in this entire game. Still, all in all I find the Flails suffer due to comparison against the Tonfas. They're very similar weapons, but the Flails focus on higher-hit, smaller damage combos. On Master Ninja mode, efficiency in your kills is a high priority, so generally in any situation you're going to want to use the Flails, you'll find yourself preferring the Tonfas (the exception, of course, being Piercing Mountain). One note worth mentioning on the Flails: with any Greater Fiend, if you can knock them to one knee and then get close to them with the Flails, and then use only the first hit of the X combo in rapid succession (the timing is to press X a little faster than once-per-second), the Fiend will never be able to get back up, and will be easily killed. Unfortunately you get the Flails so late in the game this really will only be helpful against second Alexei. UT: Another autocombo UT. The Flail's UT is awesome to witness, especially because if you hammer Y during it, Ryu extends it quite significantly. It probably has the longest invincibility frames of any move in the entire game. However, I find the Flails UT seems to be a bit less effective against big enemies than the Tonfa UT, so unfortunately I tend to stick with the Tonfas. Again, I love the Flails, but they suffer due to comparison. Those are all of the melee weapons in this game, and my opinions on them. Your mileage may vary, but overall the moral of this story is that for Master Ninja mode, you only need to consider the following weapons, in the following order: Lunar, Scythe, Tonfas. Any other weapon choices you make is entirely about personal preference, or if you've got a favorite you just don't want to let go, or if you really don't want to play with the same weapons anymore. I choose not to upgrade the Dragon Sword at all, mainly because I don't really need it before Chapter 11, when you're given the True Dragon Sword free of charge. And in all honesty, the Tonfas aren't necessary. I use them for Chapter 11, but really you could replace them with either Lunar or the True Dragon Sword if you really prefer. I just think Chapter 11 is hard enough that it's worth having a weapon dedicated specifically to getting through it the easiest way possible. ---WPW - Projectile Weapons--- I'll give a quick discussion of the projectile weapons, but I'm not going to go into much detail here, as I'll be discussing them in the guide itself. Shurikens are fast, but do minimal damage. The point of the shurikens is stun and distraction, which they work great for. There's also a trick you can do where if you throw shurikens after a jump, it will prevent Ryu from clinging to a wall. This allows you to keep consistent timing for OLC UTs. Shurikens have another use, as well, which carries over from the first game. Some weapons can be canceled by tossing a single shuriken during an attack. In the first game, the rule for this was "any one-handed weapon", but in this game the Dragon Sword is the only true "one-handed" weapon, so it's harder to tell exactly what the rule is. Still, as you're experimenting with a weapon you want to master, it can be useful to occasionally try to toss a single shuriken and see if lag can be canceled. The bow and arrow has the most stunning range of any weapon in the game, almost unlimited (it's not, however. This can be observed at the very beginning of Chapter 8. At the point where the mechs first spawn, if you stand at the opposite end of the battlefield to the multi-rocket launchers, you won't be able to reach them even though they can still reach you). The UT is also very powerful, and can kill most enemies (if they're vulnerable to the bow at all) in two hits. One hit (of the ET or UT) is usually good for a delimb, which is a nice way to take out enemy archers. An important thing to note about the bow and arrow is that, if you're very careful, it can be used to snipe safely around corners in a lot of situations. It's a cheap tactic, but this is a cheap game. Incendiary Shurikens are probably the best projectile weapon. They have reduced range compared to the bow, and their ET/UT isn't really useful (at level 1 Ryu throws 2 Incendiaries, at level 2 he throws three, but they actually consume as many as he throws, and he's not invincible during the throw animations). Still, a single incendiary will delimb almost any delimb-able enemy in the game. A second will kill them. Only a few mechs have exceptions to this rule. If you're in a fight that's really giving you a lot of trouble, and it's enemies that can be Incendiaried, they're a great way to simplify a fight. In particular, I tend to pull them out whenever Yellow Van Gelfs are involved. The Gatling Spear Gun is only useful for on-water fights. But don't underestimate it. A lot of people try to fight Gajas by getting to land first. This isn't necessary, or wise. Just stop in place and control the Gatling Spear Gun manually, and fire away. You can take out almost any group of Gajas before they reach you, even on Master Ninja mode, with extreme ease. The Windmill Shuriken is given too late in the game to be of much value. Still, it has a nicely range UT that does a lot of damage. In particular, it can be used to one-shot spider mechs (most of the time). Still, for most situations I find that any time you'd want to use a Windmill Shuriken UT, you're probably better off busting out the Scythe. Its range is about as large, and even though it does less damage, it has bigger AoE. XB. Section B: Enemy Classes Here I'll try to do a quick discussion of the different types of enemies in the game, and the best ways to handle them. Most of these will be rehashed throughout the body of the guide. 1. Humanoid enemies Most prevalent in chapters 1, 2, and 11, but there are mixes of them throughout all chapters. Humanoid enemies include all varieties of ninjas, soldiers, and warlocks. They all have similar durabilities, but different offensive capabilities. For the early parts of the game, your best weapon against these types will be Lunar's 360 ET and UT, as well as Izuna Drop (with either the Dragon Sword, Lunar, or Falcon Talons). Also, for Master Ninja mode, you're going to want to master the Guillotine Throw move. It will instantly delimb any humanoid, allowing for an instant OT. Of special note are the grenadier and archer enemy classes. The hardest part of these enemies is reaching them. With grenadiers, always remember that they can be stunned with regular shurikens. So use shurikens while dash/jumping to approach them, and you should have an easier time. In some cases (the intro to chapter 8), your best bet is to pick them off with bow UTs. As for archers, they cannot be stunned by shurikens, but can be stunned by bow shots of your own once you have the Fiend's Bane Bow. A great trick for these guys is to jump, fire a bow in midair, then upon landing activate a UT charge, charge it to level one (the ET), and then release it immediately. This will delimb the archer, removing them as an immedate threat. After this, you can finish them off with a bow UT for karma, or approach and do an OT. Later in the game, your best weapon against these types of enemies will be either the Eclispe Scythe or the Tonfas, depending on the situation. The Scythe's UT will pretty much kill all humanoids, but requires a straight line-of-sight, which is hard to maintain in some battles. It's also a short UT, meaning small invincibility frames, which is really dangerous against the Incendiary abuse Master Ninja mode is so fond of. The Tonfas have a wonderful ET and UT, which will sometimes kill 2 or 4 enemies respectively, and since they last a long time, they give high invincibility frames and allow easy chaining (usually by the time the UT is done, the first two enemies it killed have already dropped their essence, allowing you to go into an immediate OLC UT). 2. Ninja Dogs Horrible hateful creatures, first seen at the beginning of Chapter 2. . These guys appear rarely in Master Ninja mode, but each time they do they'll leave an impression. The best way to handle Ninja Dogs is with Lunar's 360 moveset. Even without a charge level, a 360 move from Lunar will usually knock all of the nearby dogs away from Ryu, and does significant damage to them. After you do what I call a level 0 UT (the same button input as a 360 UT, but with no charge levels), you can do a dash/jump, OLC, and usually safely get to a 360 ET charge to release. This does even more damage to the dogs, and will usually kill one, allowing you for another 360 ET to chain off of that essence. A 360 UT will guarantee a kill, sometimes 2, and the long invincibility frames will help keep you safe. There is a weaker variety of dog (rarely seen) that can be one-shotted with Scythe ET/UTs, which makes them a lot easier to deal with. I believe they are only encountered once in Chapter 8, but they may be in an earlier section of the game before you have the Scythe as well. I think these are the dogs that fill the Test of Valor, as well (but you don't have the Scythe then, so it doesn't help as much as it could). 3. Van Gelfs Van Gelfs first appear in chapter 3, and then are probably the most commonly recurring enemy in the game (unless you count all types of humanoids as one enemy). There are three classes of Van Gelf, but you will only encounter 2 in Master Ninja mode. The purple land-bound variety, and the yellow flying variety. The best way to kill a Van Gelf is Lunar's 360 ET. It will always remove their head. The Scythe UT can also work well, as does triple Flying Swallow with a level 3 or 4 Dragon Sword. Landing a 360 UT on a flying Van Gelf can be somewhat difficult, for obvious reasons. In this case, the best way to handle the yellows is with an Incendiary Shuriken to land-bind them, and then use either an OT, or a 360 ET. Alternately, 2 Incendiaries will kill any Van Gelf. An important thing to remember about all varieties of Van Gelf is that they are easily stunned by a Wind Path off of their head. This is a good way to maintain control of situations involving large groups of them. 4. Werewolves Werewolves can basically be thought about as a swap for Van Gelfs. They're a little slower, but their attacks do more damage. Also, the brown wolves lack a projectile attack, though the red ones can throw body parts at you. They can be handled in the same ways as Van Gelfs, but in addition, the DCTF UT is very effective against them if it's leveled. 5. Gajas A mix between lizards and scorpions, these guys first appear in Chapter 5, and are scattered throughout the rest of the game. They're not nearly as common as the Van Gelfs, but they tend to be more of a nuisance when they do appear. The weapon of choice against Gajas is usually Lunar. Because they're tall enemies, Lunar's Izuna Drop is easy to land on them, and Lunar's 360 UT can also be turned into an Izuna on them, while Lunar's 360 ET will usually kill at least one (and delimb others). At the beginning of Chapter 10, Gajas come at you in waves, and are easily dispatched using Scythe UTs. The Tonfas are also really effective against them. When you have to fight Gajas on the water, you should use the Gatling Spear Gun against them. It is far more effective than any other methods of trying to kill them. 6. Zombies Similar to the Van Gelfs, but a bit slower, and with more HP. Zombies are easily delimbed with either Lunar or Scythe UTs or even ETs, and then can be OT'd. Lunar 360 ETs also seem to kill them sometimes on Master Ninja mode (though I do not believe they would on Mentor). The best bet to handle Zombies is a Windmill Shuriken UT, which will usually one-shot them. 7. Mechs There are 4 major types of mechs that you will start encountering in Chapter 7. -A. Land-based turret mechs, often referred to as "Spider Mechs". These guys are slow, and they attack with turrets or sometimes rockets. They can do a lot of damage, but they're easy to kill. A Scythe UT will take them out instantly, and Scythe or Lunar 360 ETs are also effective. Bow UTs, if you can find a place to use them from, will also get rid of these guys quickly. -B. Flying rocket mechs. These guys are as easily dispatched as the land-based variety, but are much faster. They're usually not a problem in the actual game, but pose a real threat in the 4th Test of Valor, before you have the Scythe. The best way to deal with them is Lunar 360 ETs or UTs, but for the Test of Valor I recommend a heavy dose of Inferno abuse. Alternately, when you fight them on the water, they're best handled with bow UTs or the Scythe's Y combo on the water surface. --Addendum: LeetChocolate wrote to mention that the Humanoid Mechs can be killed with a single Tonfa UT, as well. Unlike some enemies, they won't try to slip out between the Tonfa's hits, so they'll take full damage. This is most useful against the second Blind Ogre battle, if you kill the ogre and still have mechs remaining. -C. The large cyborg machine mechs, usually referred to as Humanoid Mechs. These big guys are a real pain. Fortunately, they don't start appearing until you have the Scythe in your possession. The best way to deal with them is to cripple them with a Scythe ET or UT, and then use an OT on them. Piercing Void is also very effective against them. -D. The spider-lady mechs, usually called Marionette Mechs. They can be handled with a Lunar 360 ET/UT or a Scythe ET/UT to cripple them, followed by an immediate OT. The Windmill Shuriken UT is also very effective against them, and will often one-shot them. There's also a standard turret you'll encounter in Chapter 7 alone. It's easily dispatched by a single bow UT, and can usually be taken out by shooting around a good corner. 8. Bugs These include the skull spiders and beetles. They are best handled with Scythe UTs, or Lunar UTs (not the 360). They have so few hit points that the fire wave of Lunar's regular UT will usually take out a large number of them. Although often the Lunar 360 UT is a better choice, just because of the wide invincibility frames at the end of it. 9. Ghost Fish Found in many chests, these guys are easiest dispatched with a fast combo, such as Lunar's YYY combo, or anything with the Flails or Kusari-gama. 10. Bats The small variety are easiest handled with regular shurikens, the large variety (usually found in chests), are best handled with Lunar's XXY or YYY combos on the ground. Either way, opening a chest containing them almost always results in some unwanted damage. 11. Acid Worms Rarely seen, but annoying when encountered. These guys can be best handled with Lunar 360 ETs, Scythe UTs, Incendiariy Shurikens, or bow UTs. 12. Large red fish These guys are only seen twice in the game, but are annoying in those occurrences. In the first case, they can be handled by finding safe spots in the pond and abusing the Gatling Spear Gun until they die. In the second case (Chapter 14), they're best skipped, as the pond seems to have a nearly unlimited supply of respawns. 13. Mini-Dragons Annoying flying guns, basically. Easily handled with bow UTs or Incendiary Shurikens. Since the only reasonable ways to kill these guys involves your projectiles, it's often best to skip fights with them when it's possible. 14. Red Dragons These guys are a real pain, but rarely seen (though they do appear in two Tests of Valor). Lunar 360s, or Scythe UTs both work on them. But for your best performance, you can use the Scythe's aerial XYYY combo against them, and then the YYYY combo when you land. This seems to hold them in pretty safe stunlock. 15. Rasetsu Really the first boss, but he reappears as a regular enemy many times in the game. Rasetsu is best handled with Lunar 360 ETs and UTs. Piercing Void is also effective against him. He only has on projectile attack, and it's easily detected (audio cues), so your best bet is to run from him until you have space to setup a 360 charge. =========================== C01 - CHAPTER 1 =========================== Starting this chapter can be intimidating, but really isn't as bad as it seems. You begin surrounded by Incendiary ninjas, but they have no respawns, and there is a save point immediately after them that you must use (therefore, as long as you win the fight, it doesn't matter how poorly you come out). Here are a couple of the best combos to keep in mind for this situation: 1. Wind Path to an enemy, by hitting X+A and then jumping again when Ryu lands on their shoulders. This will cause you to leap off their head, and it will stun them for a second. While you're in the air throw a few shurikens, to extend their stun period (and do some minor damage). When you land, press Y and hold it for just half a second, then release. Ryu will dash back towards the enemy, and is very likely to take a limb or their head off. This will often also hit a nearby ninja, sometimes resulting a free instant-kill. This combo should set you up for a quick OT. 2. Do an uppercut (XY or ->Y) and follow the enemy into the air. Do a single X attack, then throw shurikens. When Ryu lands, again hit Y and do Haze Straight Slash. Like the combo above, this should give you a quick OT to work with. 3. Counterattacks. You have them. The X counter is probably your best bet for this fight, since Ryu will dash behind a ninja and take his leg off, setting you up for an easy OT. If there's essence laying out, you might want to use the Y counterattack instead, because when Ryu lands from it you can do an on-land charge and collect the essence for a quick ET/UT. The most important thing to remember about this fight is that there is a pot on the right side of Muramasa's doorway that will give you a spill of essence (I actually think there are two here, but it's hard to get just one). The essence here isnt worth much money, but is great for starting a UT chain. Breaking the pots will instantly get you enough essence for a level 2 charge, so break them, then dash, jump, on-land charge, and release. Don't even wait to see if an enemy is nearby. If you do this early in the fight, there WILL be a ninja somewhere close enough to get pegged. You should easily get two kills out of this UT, and if you don't, you should be able to get a quick OT off. Play it safe for a couple of seconds (hold defend and dash around, dont jump) until the essence from the first two dead ninjas is fully formed, and then dash, jump, and OLC again. Two of these should put you in much better shape for this fight. After this fight, you'll be given access to the first save point. Use it. ---SAVE--- Now, when you walk to the other side of Muramasa's, take note of the doorway. This is where you're going to want to hold the next fight. Walk through the door and around the corner, and then immediately turn around and dash and jump to get back through. Do an OLC and start charging a UT. Try to get to level 2, and then release as soon as an enemy comes through the doorway. You should be able to get an essence chain going after that. If it falls apart, use counterattacks/OTs. If you come out of this battle with perfect health, you might want to run back to the save point. Otherwise, run down to the doorway. Now you're going to want to repeat the previous strategy here. Kick the door open, then immediately turn around and run back up the stairs to Muramasa's shop and start an OLC. It might take a few seconds for this wave of enemies to reach you, but don't get impatient. Wait until you see the first one, and release your UT. After you get through this fight, move ahead and there is a chest containing blue essence. You can get it if you really feel the need, but I HIGHLY recommend you do not. In fact, you should rerun the previous two fights until you can get through them at nearly full health (90% or more). Believe me, there are worse fights coming than these DK Ninjas that you can setup for easy UT chains. Run back and save. Now, when you come back down from the save point, you want to run quickly around the corner and into the next hallway. Stick to the left side of the hall, and walk all the way to the end of the platform there, then wall-run to the other side. You want to reach the next group of ninjas before they get their bows ready and pin you down. Once you get there, use the XYX shuriken OLC combo, coupled with X counterattacks. I do not recommend trying Y counterattacks on these twin-sword ninjas, because they attack so frequently they will continue to damage you while the counter is activating. If you mess up, or even if you dont, there's a useful trick you can use here. After you activate the archers, if you run back out of the area, and up to the top of the stairs of the previous area, it will cause their spawns to reset, and get moved back to the next room (for some odd reason). This makes the fight a lot easier to handle. Grab the chests, one of which contains your Inferno spell. You can backtrack and save if you want, but don't do so unless you're in excellent (around 3/4) health standing. For the next fight, you will have to fall onto a walkway below and face off against a group of outcoming dual-katana ninjas. You want to jump over their heads (wind path, then hammer the jump button to chain jump will usually work) and get into the room. Inside, there are several pots you can break. Quickly break one open then roll away, jump, and do an OLC to start a UT. From here, use regular tactics and try to essence chain as much as possible. After the fight, DO NOT grab the chest. It contains a full red-essence refill, and you do not want to use it yet. Head to the next area, and a mixed group of ninjas/warlocks will spawn. Beware the warlocks. In a small environment like this, their spells aren't the dangerous part, as you might think. The dangerous part is that they have a grab that is really nasty, and will nearly kill you from full health right now. You'll want to make the warlocks your priority, but that will be tricky with the ninjas swarming you. Try to focus on damaging the ninjas with X counters and OTs, but stay close to the warlocks and watch for an opening to attack. The best way to kill them is to try to watch for them to start a magic spell, and then Flying Swallow through them (don't let them get too far out of sight, though. some spells charge fast). After you land from your Swallow, do a quick Haze Straight Slash (start an OLC and release immediately). Between the two moves, if they're not dead (they're usually beheaded by the Swallow), they'll certainly be ready for OT. If you get too close to a warlock and you're basically isolated, and he's not about to do a spell, don't give him a chance to grab you. Instead, to the XY shuriken OLC OT combo. They're just as vulnerable to it as the ninjas are. Alternately, you can do this fight by retreating back to the center platform on the stairwell, between the two flights. The ninjas will rush you here, but the warlocks will fall into a teleporting loop, and won't be able to come to you until after you kill the last ninja. There's a LotTG nearby, and a small herb. If you head up the ladder you can still backtrack to the save point, but do not do so unless you're at at least 50% health. For the next fight, you'll want to kick the door open, then immediately start retreating. Once you get to the base of the stairs start a UT charge, and release it when the enemies reach you. Should make this fight substantially easier. For the next fight, walk up to the edge of the pit, and you'll see a group of 3 DK ninjas spawn across it. Immediately start roll/jumping to retreat, and take up base at the bottom of the stairs and start a UT charging. You'll probably only have time for a level 1 on the first enemy, but after he dies you can use his essence for the next two. (if the first enemy does not die after your ET, remember to do the XYX shuriken OLC combo.) Do NOT try to go to them, they will come to you one at a time. Alright, this next fight is nasty, and the reason you've been being careful up until this point. When you swing across the bar, you will encounter a group of 4 I.S. Ninjas, with 4 respawns on backup. Now is the time to go back to the very first chest you left and get the blue essence out of it. If you're at 75% health or higher, then I recommend you run back and save. If you already got the chest, and have 25% health or less left... then you have very chance of winning this fight. It can be done, but not easily. What makes this fight so bad is the lack of Izuna Drop and the significant invincibility frames that comes with it for these I.S. Ninjas. During this fight, you will be pelted with incendiaries. Doing a UT? You'll come out with Incendiaries on you. Doing an OT? Except to see explosions. Counterattacks? You'll have an incendiary on you. Trying to use Reverse Wind to shrug off incendiary explosions? You'll probably wind up with 3 more incendiaries after the current ones explode. Here's my recommendation for how to handle this fight: Swing across the bar over the pit. As soon as your feet touch the other side, immediately jump back onto the bar and swing off. You're going to want to be able to time this so that Ryu jumps off as soon as he grabs the bar. You do not want him to swing around a full circle, that's lost time and dangerous with Incendiaries already coming for you. If you're worried about your ability to do this, then try this instead. Swing across the bar on the far right side, and then to come back across do a wall run against the right wall. Once you make it across, quickly find the stairwell (try to know it's location beforehand, it can be hard to locate with the camera's antics here), and roll/jump down to the base again. Start a UT. If you did everything right, you can have a level 2 UT charge just as the enemies get within range (they often have a hard time landing incendiaries on you while coming around the curve of the stairwell. After you come out of the UT, the dangerous part of this fight really takes off. You can try to do a quick XYX shuriken OLC combo if you're feeling brave, but that'll usually cause your ninjas to break the tight group they're in, and will make the rest of the fight much worse. Instead, I recommend you dash forward and get very close to them all, and immediately (if you don't do this immediately, they WILL grab you) start an Inferno ninpo. After coming out of the inferno, NOW is a good moment to do an XYX-shuriken-OLC, but be prepared for it to go wrong. After that (whether it works or not), you're going to want to use the essence that should be laying around for an OLC UT. But you need to release it the very *instant* you gather it, otherwise you'll be pelted by an incendiary (or an explosion from a preexisting one at this point) and it will cancel it and waste the charge. This part of the fight is hard to get right, no matter what. If you find yourself in serious trouble, get near the edge of the pit and cast Inferno again. As soon as the spell is over, jump over the pit and swing across the pole. The Incendiary ninjas have to come across the pit to reach you one at a time, with the exception of respawns (which spawn on this side). Do NOT just stand around waiting for them, though, or you will get rained with Incendiaries. Dash quickly around the corner and try to get out of the direct line of fire. An important thing to remember in this fight is USE OTS IMMEDIATELY. A downed I.S. ninja WILL kill you in one attack on Master Ninja mode if you dont finish them immediately. This is dangerous... but you dont really have much in the way of options. NO MAGIC/NO ITEM ADVICE: If you really want to do this fight without magic, it's rough, but the same general tactics apply. This time when you retreat, instead of retreating back to the base of the stairs, retreat a little further and drop into the first pit of the room, and start an OLC. You have to get your retreat path perfect to have time to get a level 2 charge, but it really helps start the fight off. The reason you want to retreat to this area is because it will set you up in a perfect location for Guillotine Throws. Use A+X to jump onto an enemy's shoulders, and when you're in perfect position, do A+X again. Throwing an enemy with Guillotine Throw will slam them into a wall, dismember them, stun all of the nearby enemies, and buy you invincibility frames from any shuriken explosions about to hit. After a Guillotine throw you can either chain in more guillotine throws, or go in for the OT (advisable, as mentioned above). Besides Guillotine Throw, I.S. Ninjas are extremely vulnerable to the X counterattack, and I find they're a little easier to counter than D.K. Ninjas. Another note to keep in mind for this fight is that your shurikens *do* work on these guys, and will buy you brief openings against them. So whenever you're jumping, you should also throw some shurikens. It will cause Ryu to veer mid-air (which will usually allow him to avoid an incoming incendiary), and it'll distract at least one, sometimes two ninjas for a second. Which just means that many fewer incendiaries are coming at you. Here's an example of this in action: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qHn8xT3pLFg Once this battle is finally over, you can proceed forward and encounter the second save point! After getting your full-health refill, run back and collect the red essence chest to refill your ninpo. ---SAVE--- SKIPPABLE: The first fight after this save point is horrible, but skippable. I do NOT recommend that you skip this (or any other) fights this early in the game, because you need to gather as much essence as possible if you want to do an upgrade by the first Muramasa. If you don't care about my advice (or plan to essence farm the infinite spawns), and still want to skip it, here's how: Run up the well on the left side, all the way to the top of Ryu's ability to run before he falls. Then, start your Bird Flip. Wait until the jump that should put Ryu out onto the surface, but doesn't. he will pop his head out, then touch the side of the well again. DO NOT JUMP AGAIN. Instead, let Ryu fall back into the well at this point. If you mess up, then jump back into it before you take too much damage. Once you're at the bottom, the warlocks will teleport into the tunnel to fight you. Fight them with either Guillotine Throw or XYX-Shuriken-OLC's. When they're dead, retreat back a while into the previous area, until you cant hear anymore explosions. Now proceed up the well. The spider ninjas will be gone. If you don't want to skip this fight, then still use this strategy. Lure the Warlocks down and kill them, just be careful not to retreat too far on the walkway and despawn the spider ninjas. Make sure you do not pick up the essence from the warlocks. Climb on up the well and immediately do an OLC for a UT. From here, finish the battle up with Guillotine Throw. DO NOT SAVE this fight unless you have at least 3/4th health left. If you drop into the river and head off to your left, there's a randomized chest. It might be worth 1K essence, or it might be demon bats (which will kill you). If you get the chest and it gives you the essence, head back and save (we need every drop we can get right now, unless you plan to farm). There are two fights you can do from here. One is across the bridge, and must be done to proceed. The other allows you to get a LotG. We'll do the LotG fight first: This fight spawns as soon as you walk into the opening at the T shape in the river. It's possible to start this fight off with a full UT'd OLC, but it's not easy to consistently make sure to connect with an enemy without getting pelted by an incendiary. Instead of that approach, I recommend you edge Ryu forward a little further, and just make due with an OLC ET. From here, once again use Guillotine Throws and quick OTs to finish the enemies off. It can be hard to come out of this fight without taking damage, but try to. If you're going to essence farm the upcoming fight, then a level 2 Lunar makes this fight *very* easy, and you can save it until then. Even if you're not going to level lunar, it's UT is more effective here than the Dragon Sword's, so you might still want to put this fight off. If you're having too much trouble, skip the LotG, and this fight. It can be purchased from Muramasa later anyway, and your only goal right now is to win Master Ninja Mode, right? The next fight triggers as soon as you step foot across the bridge. There's a pot on your right side, make sure to break it with a running X, and then start rolling and jumping towards the enemies. When you get close, jump off the side and back down into the river, and do an OLC to grab the essence from the pot. Release as soon as the first enemy drops down. This will prevent you from getting pelted by an Incendiary (this group is about 4-6 DK Ninjas, and 2 Incendiary ninjas). You also want to be in the river for the same reason as always: good use of Guillotine Throw. If you do all three fights in this area, it's hard to come out with more than 25% health remaining. if you've managed to reach this point with 50% health or more, DEFINITELY save. You're doing great, and there's only one fight left before a full-health refill. The next fight is two white ninjas on the ground, and two white ninja explosive-arrow archers. The archers are the only real threat here. To deal with the ninjas on the ground, roll down to the point where the stairs turn the corner, then immediately do a roll/jump/OLC backwards, and charge a UT. Release it when you see the ninjas come. If one of them survives, Guillotine Throw him and OT. Positioning is important for this fight. If you backtrack to the open walkway (where the previous fight spawned), you will respawn the 4 white ninjas. That means 2 new ground ninjas will come for you, and now there will be FOUR archer ninjas up on the walkway. If this happens, you can despawn the whole set by retreating all the way back to the bridge in the previous area, but you will have to fight the two ground ninjas again. NOTE: This is the best essence farming location in the entire game. As I mentioned, you can backtrack a few steps to cause the two ground ninjas to respawn over and over again, and you can keep UT'ing them for free essence. As long as you dont kill the archers above you (this is a little hard), you can even progress on through the level, clean up the later fights, get Lunar, and bring it back here. A level 2 Lunar nets you the 360 UT, and makes it a lot easier to do the essence farming here (since the UT will consistently kill both of the ground ninjas, for maximum essence gain). Once you've killed the two ground ninjas, there are a couple of options to get past the archers. The easy way, and the brave way. The easy way is to use an Inferno Ninpo here. If you're lucky, the once fireball will hit both archers and kill them instantly. If you're not, it will at least take out once, making it a lot easier to do the brave way. The brave way is to zig-zag dash along until you get to the tree on the right side, and then wall-run up it, run across the walkway, and flying swallow into the archers. From there, use a couple of YY combos, and they should be ready for OTs. When you win this fight I recommend you run back and save, because the next section is a little rough. There's a full health chest down the ladder on Ryu's right side to keep in mind, and you'll want to get it depending on what order you want to do the upcoming fights in. There are two waves of archers on the top platforms, and a very large wave of Incendiary Ninjas guarding a LotG down below. As always, the LotG is skippable if you just want to win MN mode. As for the archer groups, they can be despawned and skipped. To do this, run forward until you see the group spawn, and then retreat all the way back to the red bridge in the previous area (where the river is). When you return, the archers will be gone. Proceed to do this with the second group, and the way to the save point is cleared. If you want to fight the archers, and not skip them, then your only real option is to try to charge as fast as you can, and swing over the pole and do a quick flying swallow into the group. This can sometimes behead two at once. When you're trying to reach the pole, DO NOT JUMP. Only dash, and do so repeatedly. If you jump, the archers will hit you and juggle you. If you're dashing and holding defend, then most of their arrows will hit you while you're defending, and you will take substantially less damage, as long as they dont chain you (i.e. two archers fire at almost the same time, the first shot breaks your defense, the second hits you, then the third archer juggles you. Ive had it happen.) Even with that, dashing repeatedly is the safest way, dont jump until you're going for the pole (and when you do this, pray). At any rate, finish them off with Guillotines and XYX-Shuriken combos. If you want to kill both groups (for full karma, or just bravery, or whatever), you have to do them both in one run. If you try to kill one group then run back and save, the second group will not spawn. Feel free to use a Ninpo for each group of archers in this area, because there is a red-essence chest coming up soon that will net you back to full. It won't buy you easy victories, but an inferno on each set will certainly help make getting over the poles a lot easier. Alternatively, you can make it your goal to get through the archers on the bridge, and the first set of archers here without using any ninpo (a relatively easy goal), and then use all of your ninpo to wipe out the last set. --SAVE-- If you can get through the archers without grabbing the blue chest below (either by skipping them, or by casting infernos, or by having a lucky run with your flying swallows and pole-swinging), then you're in good shape for the fight down below. Drop from the nearby save point, and use Guillotine Throws and the usual combos, followed by OTs. As long as you win, it doesnt matter how much damage you take, because the blue essence chest will restore you to full. If you cannot get through the archers without getting the blue essence chest, then save the Incendiary Ninjas until you can come back with Lunar. The fire-attack from its UT is a lot more effective here. There's a random chest up the ladder. In my experience, it contains an unusually high likelihood of being demon bats. Still, I recommend you try to open it until you get 1K essence, if you didn't farm. If you farmed, I recommend you skip it. Odds aren't in your favor. This next fight is a mix of Incendiary Ninjas, warlocks, and DK ninjas. Immediately after it, you will receive Lunar, a chest containing a full ninpo restore, and a new save point. This is something to take note of. You can either look at this fight as a "gimme", (save point right before it, save point right after it), or you can try to plan more accordingly. I recommend you try to enter this fight with full health (from the previous save point), and then do this fight AND the next fight before using this new save point. If you want to save between the fights, you can retreat to the previous save point and save there (once you've retrieved Lunar, the door is unlocked). For this first fight, use the strategies you've learned so far. Keep in mind that when a warlock is casting, they're highly vulnerable to a flying swallow. To start the fight, cling close to the side of the building and walk up to the door. When the first warlock spawns, wait for him to become surrounded by his magic symbols, then Flying Swallow him. Should remove his head. If it doesnt, then lock down the defend button and get ready for some X counters, because an Incendiary ninja will be comboing you shortly. Use lots of OLC's in this area to essence chain when you see there are 2 laying on the field. I also find that now is a good time to start transitioning into using the Y counter some of the time. For some reason the enemies usually only attack you one or two at a time in this area, so the Y counter is usually safe, and very damaging. If you get swarmed, remember to switch back to X. This fight will eventually reduce down to a slow trickle of DK ninjas coming one at a time. Don't let yourself get caught off-guard. After you've killed the last enemy, lock down the defend button and wait carefully. Another is probably coming. Finish them off with ETs/UTs to start if you want, but I recommend the XYX combo you've learned. Keep in mind, the DK's grab move (where they jump up and try to land on you with their feet) can be safely countered with the X button if you counter early. It's a good way to turn a situation on them, but very risky. ---SAVE--- The next fight takes place on the bridge. I recommend you give Lunar a try for this fight, for a couple of reasons. 1. The UT gives much larger invincibility frames than the Dragon Sword's (this is even more useful against Incendiary Ninjas). 2. The fire wave from the UT has a huge radius, and will buy you a breather, and usually stop any spells coming from nearby warlocks, allowing you to finish them off while they're stunned. 3. The Y counter is *deadly*, and will often delimb or outright kill several enemies, AND has huge invincibility frames. This fight will be DK ninjas and warlocks. When you step onto the bridge and trigger the fight, immediately head back up the stairs and retreat into the previous area, around the walls. You'll want to use these walls for Guillotine Throws again, until you get enough essence up to start doing UTs. Lunar's UT is no longer as powerful as it once was, and will not kill these enemies with the fire-wave. Also, if you're familiar with Lunar, don't expect to get much from your old XXY combo. At level 1, it is very weak. Y counters are your best bet for hard damage. To beat this fight and take very little damage, the only moves you need is Guillotine Throw, Obliteration Techniques, Lunar's Y counter, and Lunar's UT. If you still have the red essence chest laying around, you might as well get it now. This is the last hard fight for a while. If you managed to save the save point, then go back and heal up to full health. Grab the red essence chest if you need it. The upcoming fights are all very easy (especially with Lunar's Y counter at your disposal now), until you reach a "cannot go back" point (meaning you won't be able to get this chest anymore). After you cross the bridge, you'll find a room with a Grains of Spiritual health in it, and some free essence. Make sure to collect it, there's about 500 or so in the three pots. When you step outside, there's a small group of DK ninjas, who really arent very bad on their own. Use Lunar Y counters, Guillotine Throws, or Lunar's YY combo/OT to make pretty easy work of them. I recommend redoing this fight until you have a no-damage run, and then running back and saving. The next fight is skippable. If you want to have the fight, grab the chest with the Herb first, and two DK ninjas will ambush you. If you want to skip the fight, then knock the paper doors down before grabbing the chest, and THEN grab the chest. Again, get a no-hit run, and save. When you step outside, there will be 2 Incendiary Ninjas. This fight's a little harder to do a no-hit run on, but not too bad. The environment helps set you up for easy Guillotine Throws. It's more dangerous to try to do a Lunar Y counter on these guys, because they'll often do a grab while you're waiting for an incoming attack (and their grab does not seem counterable, to me). Instead do a quick Guillotine/OT on the one on the right, and then finish the other with chains of Lunar's XXY combo. There's not much they can do to get out of it. You've finally reached the first shop of the game. ---SHOP--- If you've played well, haven't skipped any fights, and made sure to get your 1K essence out of every random chest, you'll have just enough essence to upgrade 1 weapon, either Lunar or the Dragon Sword at 20K (on my run, I had about 22K at this point, and I tend to burn most essence on UT chaining). This is a tough decision. The level 2 Dragon Sword will net you a safe Izuna Drop, which gives you an instant-kill battle opener with huge invincibility frames, something badly needed at this point. However, the level 2 Lunar nets you the 360 UT, one of the most powerful attacks in the entire game (and one that you WILL become dependent on eventually), and comes with a very fast Izuna drop (XXY in the air). However, overall, the Dragon Sword is the safer weapon, and has more solid handling... it's also the weapon you most want to be level 3, because of Triple Flying Swallow against Van Gelfs. However, since my playstyle is to UT spam anyway... I have to side with the Lunar here. The viciousness of the 360 UT will make all of the upcoming fights (including Rasetsu) a lot easier. I will proceed with this guide assuming you upgraded Lunar to level 2. If you farmed essence (or are still farming), then kudos. Ignore this debate and upgrade everything to max. It will make your life a lot easier. Regardless of what weapon you upgrade, put Lunar on and jump down the well. Bats will ambush you when you land. Use Lunar's YY combo to clear them out. Hopefully you'll gain a little HP for doing this. This next area I find to be EXTREMELY easy compared to the Mentor version. There will be two DK ninjas in here. Walk forward until they spawn (there will be a walkway above you at this point, DO NOT jump onto it), and simply wait while holding defend. The first one will come to you on foot. Finish him off with Lunar XXY spamming. Once he's dead, the second will follow his lead and come for you. You can do the same to him, or charge a UT and wait for him. Room cleared! SKIPPABLE: This next fight is either one of the easiest in the Chapter, or one of the hardest, depending on how you look at it. To skip it, all you have to do is run to the end of the bridge. You'll automatically trigger the next cutscene, and the game will restore you to full health (so even if you take a few hits while retreating, it's no big deal). If you have the level 2 Lunar, as I advised, then this fight is actually a lot of fun. From the body on the ground, do two dash-jump combos, then on your second landing start a 360 UT charging. You should be able to get to level 2 if you release quickly enough, but it doesnt really matter. The level 1 is just as deadly. However, the level 2 can be transitioned into an Izuna Drop (hammer Y while the UT is going). From here at least one enemy should be dead, and you can use his essence to do another 360 UT... which will usually result in much death. If you get in trouble, or are waiting for an essence to fully form, jump into the air and do an Izuna Drop on someone. Make sure to keep an eye open for enemies who can be OT'd. If you get pinned down, the Y counter will usually deal a LOT of death in the mess of this many enemies. Between 360 UTs and your new Izuna Drop, you should find this fight easy and fun. If you have the level 2 Dragon Sword, it's a much harder ordeal. Stick to Izuna Drop as much as possible, use X counters, and essence chain. Guillotine Throw won't work against the walls here, which is VERY unfortunate. If neither of your weapons are level 2 (didn't have enough essence), skip this fight for your own sake. If you don't want to, and both weapons are level 1... your best bet is still the Lunar. This fight *can* be done with nothing but Lunar's Y counterattack and OTs. I've done it once, but it's very difficult, and can take dozens of tries, due to the high number of respawning warlocks in the area (also the threat of begin grabbed while you're trying to setup for a counterattack). After the bridge, you'll have to do another fight. They start you at full health, and there's a save point right afterwards, so dont worry too much about damage. However, if you actually fought the bridge fight, you're going to want to win this next fight pretty badly. I do *not* recommend you break down and waste your ninpo here. You won't get a refill before the boss. Instead, focus on using Guillotine Throws to get some essence, then use 360 UTs with Lunar. If your Lunar isn't leveled, then focus on Guillotine Throws and OTs. After this fight, use the save point, and take a breather. When you're ready to move on, open the door. ---SAVE--- There are two ways to handle this fight. One is to take a quick roll out into the hallway, then roll back through the door and start a 360 UT. Then, release it as soon as the enemies begin crowding the doorway. From here, use OTs (a lot of them will be injured but not dead), and essence chain. Alternately, you can run into the hallway and wall run/Wind Path over the enemy's heads, and there are two potted plants with essence in them that will allow you to start using your UTs. I find the first method works best to start the fight, but only gets you one free UT instead of 2. Fighting in the hallway has the advantage of setting you up for easy Guillotine Throws, though. So there are a lot of choices to make here, go with what works best. At any rate, don't save if you have a bad run of this fight. There's several more to chain through here. Once you're finally through this fight, head down the stairs and grab your first Devil Way Mushroom. head back up 2 floors, and you'll activate the next group of enemies. Keep running up the stairs. The top of the stairs is a great place to do this fight, because Lunar's 360 UT will hurt everything. Once you've finished all of the ninjas, warlocks will start spawning and try to ambush you. Be ready for them with some Guillotine Throws. If you've got more than 50% health, save. After you use the key card and Bird Flip up the shaft, you will spawn the next fight. To start this fight, roll jump once out from the shaft and start a UT charging, but release the level 1. If you try to save up for a level 2, you WILL get pelted by an incendiary. From this point on, handle this fight with Guillotine Throws and Lunar UTs. Unfortunately, you'll find that since you upgraded Lunar to level 2, the Y counterattack is no longer as good as it was at level 1. It's a real shame. =/ There's also an explosive archer on the left side of the battlefield for this fight, so you might want to try to lure the enemies over near Muramasa's shop to throw off the archer's aim. This fight can be rough, but there's a save point immediately after it, so just try to get through as best you can. ---SHOP--- ---SAVE--- Now, there's only one fight between you and the boss, but it's another bad one. It's a mix of Incendiary Ninjas and Warlocks. The hardest part about this fight is starting it off. As soon as you walk to the top of the steps, you're going to want to do an immediately Guillotine Throw. You won't be able to see where you're going, but you should catch a Spider Ninja and cripple him. This fight is very much a Guillotine Throw/OT fight. you're gonna need all of the invincibility frames. If you think you see a safe opening to use an OLC and grab some essence, do it QUICKLY. Release the charge as soon as you grab it, don't wait for a second charge or another essence to become whole. If you find yourself in a real mess, you can try to do a Wind Run, and then Lunar's XXY into an Izuna. It doesn't have the same accuracy that the Dragon Sword's Izuna does, and it can be dangerous if it misses. But when it works, it's deadly. Do not save your progress from this fight unless you're at >75% health. In fact, I don't recommend saving your progress from this fight at all, because you can walk into the Rasetsu fight from here, and he works as a Continue point (so you can keep retrying in your current condition). ---BOSS--- For the boss fights, you're mostly on your own. There's not a lot in the way of foolproof strategies. But I'll give some pointers. Level 2 Lunar has several extremely damaging moves against Rasetsu. The aerial XXY, as well as being a setup for an Izuna, will do a lot of damage to Rasetsu himself. The main move you're going to want to use here is Lunar's 360 UT. Two of them will pretty much kill Rasetsu, but it's not so easy to get 2 level 2's off. Even a level 0 will do a *significant* chunk of Rasetsu's health, as well as crippling a Spider ninja if it catches one. Make sure to use OTs whenever you can, to leave the essence laying around. If you're not planning on doing the Tests of Valor, then use your LotTG to help you win this fight. If you are planning on doing the ToV, then you're going to want to do a no-item run of Rasetsu. You're going to need every healing item you have (and all of your essence) to get through the 1st ToV in good shape. Congrats, Chapter 1 is over. I'd be more enthusiastic about it, but Chapter 2 is worse. =========================== C02 - CHAPTER 2 =========================== If you're familiar with the crow from easier modes, you'll notice it's gone now. No free essence to start this first fight. Not too big of a deal, with level 2 Lunar. NOTE: These first three fights can be skipped by running straight to the door where the Life of the Gods is waiting and dashing quickly across the bridge to trigger the closing of the door. A few ninjas will follow you in, but the ones who are locked out will be despawned by the time the battle is over. Of course, you're likely to take some cheap shots and get pegged by incendiaries trying this, so whether or not it's any better than just fighting is arguable. Alternately, it may be possible to spawn the dog battle, and then run through that same door and despawn them (I havent tested this second approach). The first fight will start once you take a step over the dead body. So to start things out properly, walk right up behind the dead body, take one jump out (towards the graves in the back), and start a UT charging. Don't try to reach level 2, it won't work. Hold a level 1 for about 1/2-1 second, and then release it. It should come backward and hit the solo enemy approaching you from behind, and hopefully delimb or kill him. If he's delimbed, OT. If no, do an XXY combo immediately (Lunar's 360 UT has fairly safe invincibility frames afterward, letting you start a combo off safely). There's something about this fight that always throws my mojo off. I don't know what it is exactly, but if you find yourself having trouble like I do, try to keep a few things in mind. 1. Lunar still has Guillotine Throw; it's not as effective up in the graveyard, but it will give good invincibility frames still. So if you find yourself stuck with a ton of incendiaries, try to get into a Guillotine to shrug them off. 2. Lunar has a couple of Izuna Drops available to you now. The Y counter, for example, can be turned into an Izuna (counter with Y, Y, Y, X, Y, I believe). Also, XXY in midair will get you into an Izuna. This is a bit easier to setup if you start with a Wind Run (the same way you setup a Guillotine). 3. If you can't seem to pull off the Y counter Izuna, use Lunar's X counter instead. It will virtually always delimb, and has longer invincibility frames (since level 2 Lunar ruins the Y counter's frames). There really shouldn't be much to this fight, but like I said, I find it hard to get out without taking damage. The second fight is much easier to do perfectly. It will trigger as soon as Ryu steps on the top step of the stairwell. Walk over to it, then do a roll/jump back into the graveyard (just one), and start an OLC. You can charge up to a UT pretty much every time here, which will guarantee you one kill, and usually a kill+delimb or two kills. When you come out of it, start abusing XXY on the ground until the remaining ninja is dead. Now we get to the hard fight. There's a trick here that you're going to want to use. I do not recommend that you fight this battle fair. It can be done... but it's no fun. There are waves of Incendiary Ninjas with warlocks intermixed here. They will trigger once you hit the middle of the last flight of stairs that leads to the open area below. Now, the way this section is laid out is graveyard->flight of stairs->landing->flight of stairs->landing->flight of stairs->ground area. You're going to want to fight this battle on the first landing, the one closest to the graveyard. The reason for this is that it will cause the Warlocks to get caught in a teleporting loop, and they will be unable to reach you until you kill all of the ninjas. Once you step onto the middle of the stairs and trigger the spawns, immediately start roll/jumping backward until you land on the back part of the landing. Do not try to fight too close to the steps, or you will get pegged by an IS. As soon as you land from your last jump, start charging a Lunar 360 UT, and turn the camera around so that you can see the oncoming ninjas. You should easily be able to reach a UT. If not, you didn't get set quickly enough. At any rate, release as soon as you see the first ninja within range. Try to transition into an Izuna if you can. You should kill at least one ninja, and will be able to use his essence, sometimes immediately (Ryu will switch targets in the midst of the UT, allowing the first enemy to die while he continues). If that's the case, immediately roll/jump/OLC/release. If you get into a situation where you're out of essence, you have 2 options. 1. Guillotine Throw against the rock wall 2. Roll up to the platform and around the corner, charging a quick ET on the stairway to the graveyard. DO NOT ENTER THE GRAVEYARD, or the Warlocks will break their AI loop and come for you. While fighting, listen for the warlock's teleporting. When you hear it stop, that means he's coming for you, and is probably already on top of you. The safest way to finish them off is with XXY spamming, or having essence around for another OLC ET/UT. Be cautious with this battle, too. There are about 3 waves of IS ninjas you need to take care of with UTs before the battle is over. To be safe, every time you kill a warlock, roll back to the corner of the platform and start a 360 UT charging. You should be able to have a level 2 ready for each wave of IS ninjas. You're at the shop now. If you have enough essence, you might want to upgrade Lunar to level 3. It's a little tough to be ready for this upgrade here, so I'll assume for the time being you still have level 2 Lunar. If you manage to get a level 3 Lunar, keep in mind that the level 3 fire-wave is very effective against these humanoid enemies. ---SHOP--- This next battle is what knocks a lot of people out in this chapter. It's really not as bad as it seems at first, you just need to handle it properly. There are 2 ways. One is "unfair", because it will despawn a little less than half of the enemies. We'll start with the fair method. Walk around the backside of the shed. As soon as you step into the open area, an explosive arrow will come your way. So step out, then immediately roll/jump back and start a 360 ET charging. You cant get to a level 2 safely here usually, but getting the level 1 off is a good start. Now, you'll have a pack of dogs on you at this point. Roll away once more (should be at about the corner of the shed), and do an OLC level 0. Ryu will spin Lunar around in a full-circle, knocking any dogs back. This is the key trick to this fight. After doing an OLC level 0, you almost always buy yourself a big enough opening to roll/jump and OLC a 360 ET. Always keep moving AWAY from the dogs, and keep this pattern up. It helps if you throw shurikens on your jumps, because they will often hit a dog in mid-air and mess them up. But this will also slow down your retreat, so you might not always want to do it after the level 0s. Sooner or later, (hopefully sooner) the white ninja will wander into your ET and get himself killed. Take note of this, and immediately use that essence for an OLC again. If you can find an opening, try to use 1 essence to charge up to a level 2 UT (takes just as long as going from 0->1). If not, dont sweat it. All of these dogs can be killed with chaining level 1 ETs. As you retreat across the path, make sure to angle Ryu so that you wind up fighting on the bottom rung of stairs. From here, you can keep the dogs bottlenecked so that your ETs hit as many as possible, and you also have the advantage of being able to do Lunar's equivalent to Divine Cicada Slash (run up the wall, bird flip, hit Y), which will knock the dogs around pretty good. Don't rely on this move too much, though. It doesn't do nearly enough damage for your kills, you're still going to want to use ETs for that. There are respawns here, including about 3 more DK ninjas, so don't think the battle is over too soon. They'll be coming for you. The easier method to this fight is to immediately run around the building and up the stairs, and start the fight in the graveyard. Use the same tactics from the above approach, but instead keep backing Ryu deeper into the graveyard and into the tunnel area. This way, you'll only have to kill about half of the dog pack, and just one DK ninja. Also, the tunnel with the red structures is the tightest bottleneck in the area, and really makes it easy to control the dogs. When the battle's over, head to the river. Make sure to grab the herb off of the dead body near the river. Now to cross the river. This is, in my opinion, the stupidest fight in the entire game. You have no reasonable way of handling these enemies, and they will juggle you, and defeating them in no way proves that you are a better ninja or player or anything of the sort. It's just a stupid battle. It takes a character with no range and a very limited moveset and pits him against unreachable enemies with perfect range and extremely high damage. It's like playing an NES game. Personally, I highly, highly recommend you skip this fight by unloading all of your ninpo to kill the 3 archers placed here. If you finally get through the dog battle, and then get juggled and killed by these archers, it is the paramount of frustration. Whether you want to use ninpo or not, run along the right side of the river, clinging to the walls tightly. There is a brief gap where you will come into the archer's range. Try to spot it and dash over it quickly. You can normally clear it before you get hit, but only if you know where it is beforehand. Once you get near the dock itself, tuck Ryu into the wall and take a pause. Now, if you want to do this without ninpo, equip the Dragon Sword. You have to dash around the corner, do a Wind Run (this will allow Ryu to actually jump off of the water), and then a flying swallow. With speed and luck, you'll reach the first archer. You want to get close to all of the archers quickly to make them drop their bows, so after hitting the first one try to roll over to the others. You can switch back to Lunar now if you want. Just try to kill them quickly, and don't ignore one long enough for him to draw his bow again. If you're having no luck with this approach and get tired of dying repeatedly, then at the spot where you would normally Wind Run, just start casting Ninpo like mad. You have 3 infernos, and there are 3 enemies. You should be able to take them all out before they kill you, as long as you got through the previous section with 1/4-1/2 health. After you're finally through this cheapness, there's a save point. Use it. Take note if you don't have any ninpo left. You're going to want to try to refill it before the end of this mission. There's a couple of opportunities that you can do that (2 ghost fish chests). Keep an extra eye out for any red essence drops, and don't waste them with essence chains. ---SAVE--- Here's a video of this section of the game: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UEDjklawDmk At this point, if you want, you can head back for a Life of the Gods. As always, this is entirely skippable, and Muramasa will sell it to you later. If you're iffy on whether or not you want this LotG, then save this fight for AFTER you get the Rod of Trials, and see what condition your health is in at that point. Over near the Muramasa's shop, there's a door that will take you out onto a bridge, and a long battle waits there. It's a mix of ninjas and warlocks. I find the key to this fight is lots of Izuna Drops, followed by 360 UTs (when there's 2 essence laying about) transitioning into an Izuna Drop. With the layout of the bridge, it's usually pretty easy to get Lunar's Izuna to catch here. It might take a few runs, but do not save the progress from this fight unless you have at least 50% health remaining (unless you plan to use items). After this, run back to the save point. The next fight will be triggered when you step around the corner of the building here. There are 3 DK ninjas and 2 Explosive Arrow archers. There's an easy way to open this fight, but for once I don't recommend using it. If you trigger the fight, then dash back around the corner and run to the opposite corner of the building (in the little cul-de-sac), you can start a UT charging and release it on the DK ninjas, usually killing two at once. This leaves you forced to try to charge the 2 archers (these particular ones will not run to you). When you try to charge them, keep in mind that Ryu will not run on the left wall, only on the right (I do not know why this is). If you don't want to deal with the archers, you can kill the 3 DK ninjas, then use the save point. That will despawn the archers. If you want to do this fight fair, on the other hand, you need to go straight for the archers. Which means after you charge around the corner, dash/jump as fast as you can to the regular ninjas, then Wind Path off of their heads (jump onto their shoulders, and jump again). This should get you to the archers quickly and relatively safely, thanks to the invincibility frames of Wind Path. Once you get to the archers try to delimb one quickly, then switch targets and focus on killing the other one. Guillotine Throw is a good approach, with the walls of the two buildings pinning you in. Once the archers are dead, you can safely proceed to finish off the other ninjas. I do not recommend you save after this fight unless you get a perfect run and come out with 100% of your current health remaining (whatever that may be). This next fight's a little nasty, inside of the building you just walked around. It's skippable, but only if you have no intention of getting the Falcon Talons. Muramasa will still sell these to you if you miss them, but it's fairly costly. If you haven't been essence farming, I don't recommend you take the hit. There's a chest in this buildin that you can grab without triggering the fight. It will either be 1000 essence, or demon bats. the bats can be killed with Lunar's XXY easily, and might net you some blue essence, if you want it. Personally, I always take the 1000 essence here. To win this fight, you're going to want a heavy diet of Guillotine Throws. It's also possible to use Lunar's Izuna Drop in here, but I find that mixing Izunas and Guillotines is a dangerous combination, and the ceiling here will often interfere with an Izuna. Gullotines followed by OTs also have your widest invincibility windows, which you will need in here, because all these ninjas want to do is spam Incendiaries on you. When you have a couple of essence laying out, use Lunar's regular UT. That's right, not the 360. I find that in this area, the 360 UT will rarely be very effective (since the ninjas all linger back to toss IS), but while Ryu is doing the combo of Lunar's normal UT, the enemies will often crowd in to get hit by the fire wave at the end (which is where most of the UT's damage is anyway). If you have a level 3 Lunar, the fire wave will do tremendous damage to these guys, usually killing all the nearby ones and making your life a lot easier (once you kill that many, you can chain another one off). If Lunar's level 2, things will be slightly harder, but as long as it kills 2 with each usage you can still continue chaining it. Just try to remember to do some Guillotines between UT, because otherwise you can get hurt fast. Now for the Rod of Trials battle. There's an easy way to do this fight that despawns the archers. I recommend you use it, otherwise you are very likely to need to use 1-2 Grains of Spiritual health to get through this battle. Most likely your health isnt in excellent shape right now from the previous gauntlet you've been through. You can afford 1 Herb of Spiritual health right now, because there is one coming up in the archer towers. I recommend you use it before beginning this section (healing is the most effective when it's wiping a full set of red from your HP bar). If you want to fight fair, then from the save point, charge straight to the tree. A ninja will drop there, and you can Guillotine him into the tree, and then OT him. From here, usual tactics apply. Stay near the walls, use Guillotine Throws, try to use Lunar 360 UTs as much as you can (for invincibility frames). Also, take note that you're going to want to fight in the tree area, because other parts of the battlefield will be covered by the archers. Alternately, you can charge straight to the archers themselves and open with Lunar's Izuna, followed by another Izuna, followed by regular Lunar UTs (the fire-sweep does a great job with a crowd of enemies on the staircase). Beware this approach, though, because if you proceed too far up the stairwell, it will despawn the battle and you cannot get the Rod of Trials. If you want to do a no-item run (other than the small herb), then I recommend you use the cheap approach, which is to lure the enemies into the Falcon Talon's building and fight them there. If you retreat about halfway into the building, the doors will close, locking you in with whatever enemies are there, and protecting you from the archers. You can also heal between rounds by retreating to the very back of the building. Here is a video of this approach: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZVNvGUj4Ndk Take note of my heavy use of invincibility frames, as the building creates a very nasty atmosphere for incoming Incendiaries. Once you get through this fight, go ahead and save. The next section should be relatively easy for you at this point. You now have to charge through a narrow tunnel. The enemies come in the following waves: 2 IS ninjas backed by 2 archer towers, 2 IS ninjas backed by 2 archer towers, 2 IS ninjas with 2 IS ninja respawns. If you don't want to deal with the archers, then run forward until you trigger the fight, then dash/roll back to the area where you got the Rod of Trials (near the tree), and start a UT charging. This will set you up to easily kill IS ninjas, and will despawn their archer pairs. If your health is in good shape, I recommend you not despawn the archers. This is a good chance to practice them and learn to understand how they work for some of the upcoming fights. I'll walk you slowly through this approach: First, take note of the place where the first group spawns. It's about 2 steps up the last section of the stairway. As soon as you trigger this fight (you'll know by explosive arrows coming your way), roll jump TWO clicks back and start a 360 UT charging. This will put you near the middle of the stairs. This isnt far enough back to despawn the archers, but IS far enough back to let you get a UT finished before the IS ninjas reach you. Once they're dead, head up to the archer towers. To do this, you're going to want to use a chain of dashes. Make sure to serpentine (dash back and forth between the left and right side). The most important part of learning this technique is also the hardest. You want to try to make Ryu's dashes be in-sync with when the archers fire their arrows. The front half of the dashing animation is when Ryu has the most invincibility frames. If you dash at the same time an archer fires an arrow, you'll be able to get through it safely. If you're so much as a quarter of a second late, you'll take damage, sometimes being knocked back. You also never want to stop moving for too long, because if you do the archers will get direct shots, which will cause nasty knockback, and then they'll juggle you until you're dead. When you get to the base of the towers, they won't be able to shoot you anymore. To get up to them, run along the tower opposite to the archer you want to reach, do a Bird Kick Flip, and then use Lunar's square attack. If you're lucky, this will instant-kill that archer. If you're unlucky, you should fall back to the ground unharmed. Now try it again, but this time, wait about a second between the Flip, and the Square attack. This should cause Ryu to move in close enough that when he lands, he actually lands on the tower with the archer. If the attack doesn't kill him this time (usually will), just do a quick XXY and OT as fast as possible. Now you need to jump across to the other tower. You can fall and start over if you like, but I find it's best just to jump across and do an aerial XXY combo to get an Izuna off. Make sure to open the chest here for the herb you used in the previous fight. Now proceed down and into the clearing. The archers here should already be spawned, and as soon as you step onto the path leading up to them, you'll spawn the IS ninjas. Jump back and tuck yourself into the little alcove directly on the right side of the path. There's a hill here that will protect you from the archers, so you can start a 360 UT charging. You should be able to safely reach level 2 before the IS ninjas reach you. Release it, and you should kill at least one, if not both. If one survives, make sure to move back behind the hill so you can kill the other one without being shredded by the archers. Now, use the same technique as last time to reach the towers. Serpentine up to them, then use a Bird Flip Kick and Lunar's X attack to kill/reach them. There are no goodies on these towers. Whether you despawn the archers or not, you now have to deal with the 2 pairs of IS ninjas. The positioning of this fight is annoying, because the camera rarely behaves well here. The "easy" way here is to run about halfway up the last staircase to spawn them, and then retreat back across the archer towers and start a 360 UT charging. This will allow you to make easy work of the first set. The second set will be coming, but because you're moved so far back, it should take them long enough to reach you for you to get another 360 UT ready even if you don't essence chain. If you get in trouble in this section, you can always retreat up the archer towers. In my experience, the IS ninjas will only follow you up one at a time here, for some reason. I don't know if I was just getting lucky with them or if this is consistent, but they're easy to deal with one-on-one with Lunar's XXY. When you're through this fight, you can save. Finally, full health again! Don't fail to notice the Muramasa's off to your left side, if you need any supplies. ---SAVE--- ---SHOP--- Now, head through the tunnel. As you should remember from easier modes, Ninjas will appear behind you when you're about halfway down the tunnel. Guillotine Throws or Lunar Izuna's make short work of them. If you come out with full health, head back and save. If you take damage, don't bother. Bird Flip up the well to the outside, then spawn the next fight. You can either dash behind the protective wall and try to start a 360 UT charging, or you can jump back down the well. Here you're safe from the archers, and the IS ninjas will come down to join you. With Gullotine Throws at such close quarters, they should make for easy pickings. You can probably run back to the save point now and despawn the archers here, but I have to admit I haven't tested it. To kill the archers, use the same approaching tactics you learned from the towers. Since they're on land, I recommend you kill them with Wind Run/Lunar Izunas. The next fight can be handled much in the same way, if you want. I actually find it's usually pretty easy to walk forward til you see the spawns start, then charge up a quick Lunar 360 ET. Don't try to go for the UT, or you'll get pegged. You can either fight the enemies here, or lure them back and finish the ninjas first, then head to the archers. There's a full set of respawns for the archers, so be prepared. The next fight will be a few IS Ninjas, right before a chest. Open with an aerial XXY, then use that first essence to do quick ET chaining, and you should find this to be an easy fight. Afterwards, you're treated to a chest containing some small blue essence. If this restores you back to full health, then I recommend you head back to the last save point. If not... then continue. You might want to redo this section if the next part goes badly. Keep in mind that heading back to the save point will despawn the archers through the windows here. Which is fine, since you can't kill them for essence anyway. NOTE: All of the upcoming (and a few of the previous) battles can be skipped if you just run straight through and head all the way to the roof and drop into the hole. With the IS ninjas, this is such a dangerous tactic that i don't recommend it. In the little cul-de-sac here, there's a chest containing either 1K essence, or Ghost Fish. If you're low on Ninpo, I recommend trying to get a couple of red essences out of the ghost fish. Otherwise, just take the money. If you get what you want out of it, go back and save (this chest is very random, and hard to consistently get to cooperate). There are two lone IS ninjas on this stairwell. Open up with an aerial XXY and you should make easy work on them. It's always easy to use Lunar's Izuna on enemies who are above you, and much harder on enemies below you. If you get out of this fight with full HP, you can go back and save if you want, depending on how worried you are about the next fight. There are a couple of good ways to handle this fight. One is to fight it on the stairs. If you want to do this, you're going to need to master a new technique. When you dash/jump to get Ryu into position to do an OLC, right after the jump, hit the projectile button. Throwing shurikens will prevent Ryu from clinging to the walls, which will allow you to maintain consistent time for OLCs. The stairwell is a nice place to do this fight, because the bottleneck makes Lunar's ETs very devastating. However, Lunar's UTs don't fair as well, and will often cause you to lose control of the situation (enemies spill around and get on both sides of you, very nasty). You also want to be careful to stay towards the middle of the stairs. This will keep the warlocks from being able to find you. If you wander too high or too low, they'll start teleporting in on you. If you're finding the stair technique to involve too many variables, then don't worry, you're not alone. Instead, jump down to the ground below, where the blue-essence chest was, and fight there. This is a perfect area for Guillotine Throws, and allows for safe essence chaining. You can do easy OLCs either using the shuriken technique described above, or by rolling into the chest, or the opposite corner of the battlefield here. The enemies will usually give you enough breathing room at either of those two spots to grab essence and release a 360 UT. Personally, I like to mix approaches here. I start fighting on the stairwell until things start to go bad, then I drop down to the ground below and immediately start charging a OLC 360 UT, releasing it once the enemies get to me. Try to take note of the warlocks, and aim UTs in their general direction. Here's a video of this fight: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5fkaXsuLBw4 Now, you can go back and save once you're through this, or press on. However, I recommend you take a second to make a decision. This is the last point before Rasetsu that you can use a shop. If you want to use the Falcon Talon's Flying Swallow->Izuna Drop combo, you need to upgrade them to level 2 now. If you want to upgrade Lunar to level 3 (which you should now have enough money for), you should do that now. Personally, I choose Lunar. I find that while the other weapons are handy, Lunar allows me to minimize my spending for the next part of the game. I will, from this point, assume that you have a level 3 Lunar for the purposes of the guide. The final fight is 4 warlocks on the roof. This fight is easily handled by using an Izuna Drop (aerial XXY) on one, and then essence chaining 360 ETs on the rest. Take note, this fight will respawn every time you come to the roof from the ground below, so you can essence farm here if you want. If you don't have full ninpo yet, or heaven forbid if you still have 0 ninpo, then I recommend you at least farm the roof until you get up to 2 or even max ninpo. Now you drop into the roof, and are assaulted by 4 explosive archers. This seems like an impossible situation, but it's really not so bad. These archers will try to rush you one at a time, so all you have to do is wait for the first guy to get to you, then Guillotine Throw/OT him. You can then dash forward and repeat on the next guy (who will be heading your way). After killing the second one, you can use the essence from the first kill to start a 360 ET (helps you clear the distance across the room, and will probably kill one more guy). Once that's done, back to Guillotines. Don't bother saving yet. Instead, grab the Fiend's Bane Bow from its usual place, and shoot the glowing gem across the door to make the stairs appear. This will save you the headache of doing this every time you die on Rasetsu. Now save. ---SAVE--- This is a remix of Rasetsu with some extra sidekicks involved. The IS ninjas will keep respawning for a significant amount of time if you try to focus on them, but if you go straight for Rasetsu, they stop respawning. If you upgraded your Falcon Talons, you can using the Flying Swallow/Izuna combo to clean up the IS ninjas, and try to land Izunas on Rasetsu's head. If you have level 3 Lunar, instead do this. When the battle begins, have Y already locked down (from during the cutscene). Ryu will start charging his UT immediately. If you wait just the right amount of time, you can usually get this UT off before the IS ninjas nail you, but sometimes Rasetsu will open with something nasty and knock you out of it. If this opening works, the fire-wave will do a good deal of damage. If not, go immediately into an aerial XXY until you get an Izuna off. From here, you're going to want to use the essence laying around to do 360 ET/UTs on Rasetsu. With level 3 Lunar, he'll go down fast. From here, cleanup is the normal ordeal with these incendiary ninjas. If you have trouble on this fight, you can afford 1 Grains of Spiritual Health, because there's a pickup coming up. Here's a video of this fight, and the following ones: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vo1EXEI_2Js After Rasetsu there's a fork. Go right first. There's a random chest here, usually Ghost Fish. Use Lunar's YYY combo to finish them safely. Now head over to the left. There's a body under the staircase that has your Grains. But first, two IS ninjas will come down the stairs for you. They're above you, which makes Lunar's Izuna easy to pull off. Wind Run, and XXY the first guy. Finish the other one with ground XXY combos. Don't forget your Grains after the fight. Upstairs there's a fight with IS ninjas and 2 explosive archers. The best way to start this fight is to be aware of it. Just before the little stairs leading up to the paper doors, start a Lunar 360 UT charging. When it's at max level, release it and aim Ryu for the doors. When the ninjas come through, Ryu will latch onto one and you can get into an easy, invincible Izuna. If the other guy has been delimbed, OT him, then go for the archers. Get close to them quickly so they'll put up their bows. You can either rush over with 360 ETs, or you can use OLCs with the Fiend's Bane Bow to get instant delimbs on them. This latter tactic can take some luck, though, since bow UTs dont give you invincibility frames. If you don't want to deal with these archers, they can be despawned. After triggering this fight, just run back downstairs and let the IS ninjas follow you. Finish them there, and the archers will be despawned. There's one more guy who drops down in front of the save point. he's alone, and not a problem as long as you're aware of him. Just use aerial or ground XXY to take him out, then save. ---SAVE--- Now head upstairs, to the twin jewels room. There's a couple of ways to do this fight. Personally, I like to start off by unloading a Fiend's Bane Bow UT on the guy on the left side. Then, I jump down to the floor below. The other two archers seem to have accuracy troubles with you here. You can aim up with the Bow, and with a couple of good UT shots kill them both instantly. You might take a couple of hits, but I still find this is the easy way to open this up. Now, run around and back up and pick you side. I usually pick the left, because it has fewer open doors. Since the archers are gone, you can either start a 360 ET from out here, or not. If you choose not to, dash inside and open up with Guillotine or Izuna, then use the essence for a 360. Normal IS ninjas tactics apply from here. The alternate approach here is to dash directly to the left side. I choose left, again, because there are fewer doors, allowing you more control. Ignore the explosive archer ninja, and instead run past him and go into the room through the only opening. Take up position near the back wall, and start using Guillotine Throws. As long as you stay away from the paper walls, they will protect you from the explosive arrows of the archers. When you're done with the IS ninjas inside, you can use a 360 UT to cut through the paper walls and kill the lone archer. Regardless of which path you choose to open things up, grab the jewel and head into the back room. Mind the trap door, and get the Devil Way Mushroom (your second so far in the game) off of the body. When you come to the next set of paper doors after the body, start a 360 UT again. It will cut through the paper, and put you into an immediate Izuna on one of these IS ninjas. Guillotine Throws and Izunas from here. You should find level 3 Lunar is doing a lot more delimbing, even with near-misses, so make sure to OT as much as you can. When the IS ninjas are gone (or mostly gone), grab their essence for a 360 UT aimed at the archers. As long as it takes out one, the other is easy prey to XXYs. Grab the other jewel, and wall-run back to the platform. Into the dragon's mouth, and you'll find a chest containing a Devil Way Mushroom, and a save point. At this point in the game, you should finally have a maxed item inventory. ---SAVE--- When you step onto the roof, you'll encounter a group of 4 warlocks with 4 respawns. You can immediately start a 360 charging, but don't go for the UT, make due with the ET. From here, you're gonna want to alternate Izunas and 360 ETs from essence chaining. This fight can take a few runs to get right, but it's the hardest part of this section, so don't sweat it if you take some damage. For the next part, run into the hole door. The explosive archers will already be spawned, but not the other enemies. Dash around on the left side until you see a wave of DK ninjas coming down the stairs, then leave and retreat back onto the roof. If you drop down onto the lowest level of the roof, there's an apex. Get on the far side from the DK ninjas. They can't reach you from the other side of the apex, which makes them easy picking for bow UTs. If you're not worried about this trick (it is just two DK ninjas after all), then just take them out with Lunar combos. (note that if you go back and save now you'll despawn the archers, but you've got another save point coming up so you shouldn't need to). Now head back inside. This time, run around the right side of the room instead of the left. Two IS ninjas will jump out of the trap door here. There are two posts on each side of the door, and you're going to want to break one to start an essence chain. I find that usually this will happen if you just Izuna one of the IS ninjas immediately. Upon landing, the post will get destroyed, then you can use that essence to 360 UT your way over to the archers. Sometimes they'll be grouped together, allowing for an easy kill of both here. Other times, you'll only get one, and have to get to the other one. Once the archers are gone, finish the remaining IS ninjas (assuming he survived your 360 UT). Based on your current HP/bravery, you can make a choice here. Either you can drop down and use the save point now, or you can head upstairs and trigger the next fight. It's only a group of 3 IS ninjas. Personally, I choose to save, then redo the IS ninja fight until I take 0 damage. Usual IS ninja tactics apply. They're set up for easy Guillotines here. ---SAVE--- ---SHOP--- There's a LotTG on the level where the archers were, and a LotG up above where the IS ninjas were. Pick them up, and head in to face Genshin. ---BOSS--- There's a lot of approaches to Genshin, no matter which weapon you want to use. Personally, I use Lunar, just because at level 3 the damage is *radically* different from a level 1 Dragon Sword or Falcon Talons. If you essence farmed and have all weapons max level, you'll want to use the Dragon Sword. it's the safest weapon. Ill detail all 3 weapon approaches shortly. Hopefully you've reached this battle with full ninpo. The ghost fish chests should have allowed you to refill. If not, starting this fight can be a lot harder, but basically boils down to normal IS ninja strategies (Guillotine Throws, Izuna Drops). I will assume that you have a full ninpo gage, or at least 2/3. To start this fight, have Lunar equipped, regardless of what level it is. From the beginning of the battle, do a roll/jump away from Genshin and start a 360 ET charging. For some reason, he will always allow this. When the two closest IS ninjas spawn next to you, release it. You can get a UT off here sometimes, but it's not worth it. The ET will usually kill both, the UT will usually only kill one. After the ET is done, immediately fire off your ninpo. If one of the ninjas was delimbed, you might be tempted to go for an OT, but I don't recommend it. Genshin likes to make a nuisance of himself at this point in the battle. Use your ninpo, and kill one of the other sidekicks. After the ninpo is over, do one short dash, and then immediately do another ninpo. This is the safest way to ninpo chain. Using the ET to kill one enemy, and then successfully landing all 3 ninpos, you will kill all of Genshin's adds (he only has 4), and should come out with full health. if one is left, you can either try to OT him (if he's ready for it), or use an OLC with the essence of the other dead enemies. Hopefully at this point you've reached Genshin with full health. That's not always the reality, but it's pretty easy to do about 2 out of 3 times. Now, equip your weapon of choice. Whatever's highest level, or choose them in this order if they're equal levels: Dragon Sword, Falcon Talons, Lunar. Dragon Sword: The XYY combo is *wonderful* against Genshin. It is by far the safest way to handle him, as long as your DS is high enough level to make it count. After he does a dash or a grunting swing of his sword (usually at the end of a combo), just do XYY no matter what distance from him you are. Either all three hits, or just two or the last hit will land. In any case, it's almost always safe. He'll occassionally do something nasty, like going into his "blender" move while you're in the air, but I find overall this approach has the highest, safest success rate for him. Falcon Talons: If you want to use the Falcon Talons, then use the Forward+X auto-combo. It works pretty well if you can catch Genshin after one of his dashes, but Ryu's not invincible during it, so if for some reason Genshin breaks stun he can hurt you pretty badly. Still, most of the time this move will work well, and with a level 3 Falcon Talons, it might actually be the fastest way to kill him (but not as safe as the Dragon Sword, in my experience). Lunar: Lunar's tactic is, of course, XXY. The last hit is where all of your damage comes from, which makes this fight a little tougher than with the other weapons. Genshin has a habit of getting out of the XXY combo pretty consistently. Still, if you've been following this guide and have a level 3 Lunar and level 1 FT and DS, this is going to be your fastest way to kill him (the damage is NOT comparable). Be patient, study his moves, and above all, AVOID THE BLENDER. If he catches you in this move, it will take you to one-hit-from-death with a full lifebar. Also keep in mind that you should never jump on Genshin, or he will Flying Swallow you. Just stick to chain dashes and you should be fine. This fight can be a little frustrating to get through with no items, but it's certainly within reasonable means. If you really find yourself struggling, go ahead and burn a Grains of Spiritual health. You have level 3 Lunar already (which is the only weapon upgrade you're really going to need for a long, long time), and you should have 10-20K essence saved back up. That means you can afford one Grains purchase if you have to. If you do choose this path, don't bother purchasing the Grains until right before the Test of Valor in Chapter 3. It's the first time you'll really need a full item stock. Congratulation, Chapter 2 is done. Believe it or not, this is a significant achievement. Things will be getting a lot easier for a while now, especially with you carrying the level 3 Lunar. =========================== C03 - CHAPTER 3 =========================== From this point on in the guide, I'll be referring to skip tricks less. Keep in mind that there are a LOT in this game. Any segments where you can run through spawns of enemies and reach a door on the other side will often despawn the previous enemy sets. Also, most segments where you can start a fight, kill an enemy, and then retreat back to a save point (or start a Test of Valor) will cause a full set despawn. Since we're basically powerful enough to start fighting fair now, I'm going to only refer to skip or despawn tricks on sections that are particularly nasty. I'll also be giving less detailed tutorials for sections I find to be easy, or that can really be handled with almost any approach. Now, before we begin, a little tutorial on chests. At this point, there are 3 types of chest you'll encounter. 1. Random chests 2. Refill chests. 3. Item chests Random chests you should be accustomed to by now. They contain either bats/demon bats/ghost fish, or 1000 yellow essence. Refill chests are chests that always contain a set amount of red or blue essence. For example, enough to refill 6 ninpo slots. Item chests are the interesting ones. This game does not have a "you cannot open this chest and take this item" mechanism like the first game. Instead, Item chests work like this: A. If you can hold anymore of that item, give you the item. B. If you are maxed on that item, but could use that item right now, then give you the equivalent amount of red or blue essence that using that item would heal. C. If you are maxed on that item, and maxed on the related stat (hp or ninpo), then give you a yellow essence orb for the equivalent shop cost (100%) for that item. Later on you'll encounter pure trap chests, but we won't worry about that for now. As you can see, this brings a certain element of strategy to when you open chests. You can either look at these chests as free chances to heal, or you can look at them as excuses to use items on previous fights, or you can use them as an extra way to make money. I'll try to point these chests out when I know them, but Master Ninja mode is pretty hard (duh), so I haven't done a full sweep of every item chest in the game to make sure which ones are pure blue essence chests, and which ones are just herb chests that I'm burning without knowing it. Since you should have a maxed item inventory right now if you've been following my guide from the beginning, now is a good time to take note of the nature of these chests. That said, let's begin. Starting right off, there's a chest to your right that contains a small herb. Use it how you see fit. Starting Chapter 3 is a little rough, but nothing compared to chapter 2. The first fight is a large number of Van Gelfs. They can be rough, but the level 3 Lunar makes a mockery of them. Roll/jump forward until the spawns trigger, then start an OLC 360 ET charging. As soon as you hit the level 1, let go. This should kill one Van Gelf. The next step is to hop to the nearest Van Gelf (I usually Wind Run), and then do an aerial XXY. This will almost always cause a delimb, so follow up with an OT. If for some reason it doesn't delimb, use another, or ground XXYs. As soon as this Van Gelf dies, you want to roll away and do an OLC 360 ET. Now, at this point, by the time your ET finishes there will be another essence waiting for you. Basically, you've set up two distinct essence chains. As long as, every time your ET finishes, you do a quick dash/jump/OLC/release, then you'll keep insta-killing the nearest Van Gelf. This pattern might fall apart once in a while, but if so you can always set it back up. When this tedious battle is finally over, there's a few other things to note about your environment here. There are 3 alcoves that contain bat spawns. These bats can be killed for blue and sometimes red essence. Also, there is a chest on the first right that contains a full ninpo refill. Don't get it now, but keep it in mind. You can farm the bats for blue if you're worried about your HP already. Otherwise, let's move on to the left. The fight here is IS ninjas backed by explosive archers. As you walk through the first hallway, keep in mind that the spawns will start as soon as you step into the "exposed" area. So step in, then immediatley roll/jump a click back and start a 360 ET charging. you should have time to get the ET off. Hopefully this will kill at least one IS ninja. Whether it does or not, your safest next bet is to go immediately into a Guillotine Throw, then OT. Now, you're gonna want to get out of the open area (if you're still exposed), and do an OLC 360 (at this point, the essence should have materialized. Just keep fighting in this area in the same manner until all of the IS ninjas are dead. If you back out too far, the archers will despawn. Once the IS ninjas are done, you can take a second to let your HP recover however much it can. Then, equip the bow and proceed around to the archers. These archers can't be slowed by shurikens, as you probably already know, but a single midair arrow shot will stun them and allow you a safe approach. So jump, fire an arrow, then dash over to the first archer. He can be dispatched easily with any number of Lunar combos. Once he's done, head around out of the cul-de-sac and get to the other archer the same way. Now the ground floor should be cleared. Don't forget to pick up the Wind Blade scroll on the corpse at the entrance. There's a chest on the right here that is a static blue-essence chest. Take it if you need it (you probably do by this point). Now, head up the stairs cautiously. Use chain dashes. When you're about halfway up the last flight, explosive arrows will start coming your way. Immediatley jump over the banister and drop back to the ground below. Get around behind the large square wall, where the first archer was standing earlier. The archers won't be able to hit you here, and you can start a 360 UT charging safely. Adjust the camera so you can watch the corner here, and wait patiently. 2 IS ninjas will be coming, with 2 respawns behind them. Finish them all off with easy 360 UTs. Now, there are a couple of ways to handle this next section. The first way is run over into the bottom of the stairwell and start trying to out-arch the archers. This is dangerous, but less dangerous than approaching them often is. The other approach is to head back up to the top of the stairwell and start casting all of your Infernos. But be warned: one or two of the archers cannot be reached from the top of the stairwell, as they're out of Inferno's range. This means you have to cast an Inferno, kill the first archer, then dash a couple of clicks forward to cast your next Inferno. During this dashing step, I have several times been caught and juggled to death by the two remaining archers. This is why I recommend the sniping-from-below approach. If you really get sick of this fight, just despawn it. If you've left the blue chest or bats standing outside, I recommend you farm them out now for as much HP as possible for this last fight. Now, there's another fight remaining. It's about 4-5 IS ninjas with two warlocks. If you didn't use your ninpo to kill the archers, I recommend you use it here and try to target the warlocks. After the second casting (even if you have a third), you should roll out and try to use an OLC 360 to clear some IS ninjas out. If you get into trouble, cast your last ninpo. If you run out of other options, don't forget about Guillotine Throws. This is a good setup for them. You can also jump over the banister again and duck around the corner and wait for the ninjas to crawl down the stairs with a 360 UT ready. Whatever works for you. Once you're finally past this fight, you're at the save point. If you didn't already use it, head back and grab the full-ninpo chest. Save your game. ---SAVE--- There, that wasn't so bad, was it? Hey, at least there weren't dogs. Now, head up to the roof for a long mini-dragon battle. You're going to want to take up stance against the building immediately to your left. From here, only 2-3 dragons will usually be able to target you at a time. This position messes with their AI for some reason, too. If you get in the farthest corner, for some reason the dragons think the best way to hit you is to move all the way to the left side of the screen. Which is, of course, the opposite of what's useful for them. From here you can slowly edge Ryu out until you can pick off just one dragon at a time with bow UTs. Don't edge too far. This trick can take some attempts at getting right. It's possible to do this properly and come out of this fight with 100% health remaining. But it's not necessary, or worth the effort. Try to come out around 50%. Keep in mind that if you have a bow shot charging and you don't have an available target, you can cancel the shot by hitting select. After the mini-dragons are gone, go back and save as long as your health isn't too deep below 50%. Now, there's a set of archers that are going to spawn across the way as soon as you go to climb on the rope. Wait until you see them spawn, then retreat back to the same corner where you fought the mini-dragons. You want to position Ryu so he can just barely see the right-most corner of the platform the enemy archers are standing on. Use UT shots to kill the first one or two standing there, then wait. Stay in this position, with a UT arrow ready. Slowly but surely, the other archers will make their way over to this corner to try to reach you. They'll be easy pickings for you. You should come out of this fight with 0 damage. Save it if you do. Now, there are two fights on the sublevels from here if you're interested. On sublevel 1, there are 4 warlocks guarding a Devil Way Mushroom chest. This fight can be annoying because 2 warlocks spawn near you, but the other two spawn over by the chest, which is dangerous. The best way to do this is to take care of the first two warlocks with XXY combos (on the ground) and OTs. If you don't turn the camera around to see the other two, they seem to be unlikely to attack, and will instead try to teleport over to you when the first two are dead. If you're brave, you can try an OLC with essence from the first warlock you kill. But if you're going to do this, I recommend you use the shuriken trick (throw shurikens while jumping to prevent Ryu from sticking to the wall) up against the wall here so that you don't accidentally fall off. Sublevel 2 has a small army of IS ninjas guarding a Grains of Spiritual Health chest. If you're going to do this fight, heavy use of Izuna Drops and 360 ETs is in order. Do not try to go for Guillotine Throws here. i know that sounds like strange advice, but the AI on these particular IS ninjas is like the AI of the ones guarding the Falcon Talons. Meaning if you are anywhere near a wall, they will spam incendiaries like crazy and just try to kill you off of proximity damage. Try to hold the fight near the middle of the open area and you should be relatively safe(r). Both of these fights are wholly unnecessary, and really intended to be more traps for if you fall off the rope. Whether you did them or not, head across the rope now. Take the rope as far as you can before falling down. You want to land on the highest platform, not the lowest. As soon as you land, do an XXY, and you should kill a DK ninja trying to drop on you. Another one will follow shortly, and you can kill him similarly. Be a little wary, though. These ninjas tend to go immediately into an attack combo as soon as they land from their spawn drop. So you might want to either roll away from them, or hold the defend button, or just try to preempt them with a ground XXY. After you kill the two on the top platform, there are about 4 down below you need to take care of. If you left some essence laying up top, then quickly drop down right next to them and use a 360 OLC. These are explosive archer types, so if you're worried about your ability to snag this OLC, then head over to the left side of this platform (if you're facing out across the rope), and drop down here. there's a little corner you can tuck Ryu into. From here, the archers will approach you one at a time on foot, and make easy targets. All clear, now. ---SAVE--- There's a random chest up here. If you're hurting for money you can try to get 1K essence out of it. But really by now, you should be pretty healthy on essence if you haven't been using items more than I recommend (which is fine, just something to keep in mind). When you drop down here there will be a set of IS ninjas. These fights are starting to become a little customary at this point, but for those who aren't reading this entire guide, I'll try to keep repeating the strategies. Use Lunar's aerial XXY for Izunas, then use essence chained OLC'd 360 ETs. If you find yourself near a wall here, feel free to throw in some Guillotine Throws and OTs. If you head straight forward here, there's a fight of 4 Van Gelfs. You can avoid this spawn altogether if you head around the building on your left side instead. But really, with level 3 Lunar, what's 4 little Van Gelfs? If you do the fight, then as soon as you see them spawning roll/jump back one click and start a 360 ET charging. Release it for an easy opening kill. Essence chain from here. Even if most of a 360 ET misses, that final hit will always take the head off of a Van Gelf (well, I've seen it fail a few times, but it's very situational). When these guys are done, there's a chest off to the left side containing a small herb. Now, equip the Dragon Sword. I know, strange advice, right? Trust me, this works well. Move forward until you trigger the yellow Van Gelf cutscene. During the cutscene, lock down the Y button, and wait. When the cutscene ends, the instant that you see Ryu tuck his sword down, release Y. This will make him do a Haze Straight Slash, which should blast through the yellow Van Gelf here and allow you to safely avoid his opening pounce, as well as stunning him briefly. If your Dragon Sword is leveled, this will also kill him instantly, taking his head right off (not sure why this works so well). Immediately switch back to Lunar now and do an XXY combo. This should delimb him, allowing you to do an OT. Now, a large number of Van Gelfs will spawn. You should know the drill now. 360 ETs/UTs make short work of them. Try to keep a nice flowing chain going, because there are a lot. Once this is finally over, you've got a large gaping hole standing in front of you. Step to the edge, carefully, and go into first person mode. You should be able to look into the area below, and you'll see there's a walkway on the left side. This is where you want to land. This walkway is tight and allows for easy bottlenecking of the Van Gelf fight that will spawn down there. Now, get on the opposite rim from the walkway (as much as you can), and jump towards it. With luck, you'll land there safely. Walk around until you find the place where the Van Gelfs start spawning. You should be able to single them out and use ground XXYs. Once you get some essence, use the shuriken trick and OLC 360s. This is another long fight, but should end in time. As long as you stay up top, some of the Van Gelfs should get stuck unable to jump up and reach you. If this happens, try to use bow UTs to go for headshots. You also have a full ninpo chest awaiting you, so feel free to spam Infernos here. In fact, you can find the body that has the Jewel of the Demon Seal on it, and use it to level up your Inferno, enabling you to kill Van Gelfs 2 at a time. Don't worry about Wind Blades. Trust me, for Master Ninja we're going to want to rely on Infernos for 3-enemy kills, especially in the Tests of Valor. ---SAVE--- I don't find any need for the full ninpo chest placed here, so keep it in mind and feel free to use it whenever you want. Proceed up the ladder and make your way to the door. Keep in mind that switching to the Dragon Sword for Flying Swallow can be handy for navigating these sewer paths. There's a chest containing a small herb, and then when you land on the ground, a fight of 3 solo Van Gelfs. You should have time to ET the first one, and then UT each of the next two. You should take 0 damage here, then run back and save. As you proceed forward, you'll reach a platforming section. This section contains a very nasty trap. If you fall down, you have to go through a section of demon bats. They will do a significant amount of damage to you before you manage to kill them all. The only goodies down here is a random chest and a useless scroll. So unless you want to collect the extra 1000 essence very badly, I recommend you do not mess up the platforming here. Also keep in mind, these bats are an infinite spawn. No matter how many times you clear them out, they'll always be there to hurt you. When you run across the first platforming section (the one where you have to swing on the pipe), you'll trigger a single yellow Van Gelf spawn. He's annoyingly out of reach, so you'll need to wait for him to come to you, or leave. In either case, keep the camera on him and stay alert. If he pounces or starts firing fireballs, make sure to dodge. If he comes to you, dodge around behind him and use XXY combos, like with normal Van Gelfs. If he flies away and turns his back to you, start a bow UT and let him have it. This should delimb him and stop his ability to fly. Try to follow up with a quick bow headshot UT before he starts using fireballs. If you get through this without taking damage, you might wanna head back and save. Sometimes this guy can be a surprising amount of trouble due to where he spawns. After this, and on through the platforming section, you'll reach an area with 3 more yellow Van Gelfs. You can try to start a 360 UT charging up above and wait for them to come for you, but this is dangerous because often they'll slip up above the edge and into an immediately pounce quicker than you can react. Instead, I recommend you hop down below and face them. Use an OLC level 0 360. This will usually delimb one of them, setting you up for a quick OT. After this, use this guy's essence to chain onto the others. If you're trying to waste time waiting for essence to solidify, make sure to use Wind Run/Wind Paths off of their heads to stun them. If you can safely isolate one, then use XXY or level 0 360s on him. Alternately, you can unleash all of your ninpo here, if you left the ninpo chest behind. This is probably the best battle for the ninpo. Whether you want to go back and save now is up to you. You have to navigate the platforming section again to do so. It's not very hard, but one mistakes puts you fighting the demon bats, which will cause you to lose a lot of HP, and possibly die. If you need the red essence chest you'll need to go back eventually, but that can wait until the next save point, if you'd rather (it's only one fight away now). The next fight is a very, very large group of regular Van Gelfs. Once triggered, the battle can be easily opened with a 360 ET. From here, you're going to want to keep using ET chaining. You can retreat back up to the previous platform and lure them there, if you'd prefer. It prevents them from being able to surround you. In any case, with a good double-essence chain, this fight is as easy as all Van Gelf fights. If you start to lose control, and you still have ninpo left and haven't used the chest, then feel free to use it here for 2 easy kills per casting with your level 2 Inferno. NOTE: If you haven't leveled Lunar, and are instead working with a level 3 Dragon Sword, triple Flying Swallow is your best bet for Van Gelfs, coupled with the YYY combo. Either of these moves will often cause a delimb, giving you an OT-heavy diet. Still, I find this approach isn't nearly as safe as the 360 ET/UTs. After this, there's a fork. To your right is a save point, to your left is a path that leads to explosive archers. You might as well grab the save point first, unless your health is in really good shape. The archers only have to be killed if you intend to go for the Life of the Gods chest underwater on the other side. If you do, then try to position yourself so that you can only see a very narrow opening between the two walls here. Start a UT bow shot charging, and wait for the archers to wander into your line of sight. Sometimes you'll take a couple of hits, depending on bad luck. Once the archers are dead, run across, dive underwater, and retrieve the chest. ---SAVE--- Now, back at the save point. When you jump to the upper area, you'll trigger a spawn of two Van Gelfs. There are no respawns here, so they're pretty easily handled. You can just drop back down to the lower level next to the save point and start a 360 ET charging. They'll come to you separately this way. There's another platforming section. There's a random chest here, usually containing Ghost Fish. Afterward, when you run around the corner, you'll trigger a spawn of 3 IS ninjas backed with one explosive archer. The easy way to handle this fight is to run right back around the corner or drop to the water below, and retake your position on that last platform. From here, you can snipe the enemies from around the edge of the wall with bow UTs. Otherwise, Lunar's Izuna works really well in this section. Do your best to make your way to the explosive archer while dispatching the IS ninjas. ---SHOP--- If you're happy with your performance so far, head back and save. Now, head up and check the shop, buy anything if you want/need. If you're missing a Grains, don't bother purchasing it, there's one coming up around the corner. Kick the door open, then roll/jump back and start a 360 ET charging. An IS ninja will come for you, take him out with the ET, and then immedately roll/jump back again and start another one charging. You should have a UT ready by the time the next ninja comes. There are 4 or 5 of these guys you'll have to dispatch this way. Also, don't stand in front of the doorway itself, or an archer might catch you. When you've killed all of the IS ninjas, edge slowly into the doorway and check out the archer across the way. Sometimes his AI messes up, and instead of having his bow out he's trying to run uselessly into the edge of the walkway. If he's stuck in this running loop, draw your bow and do a quick UT to kill him. Don't put the bow down yet, but instead turn swiftly to the right and look for the next archer ninja who will also be running. You only have a few seconds to kill him, or he'll drop over the edge. This continues for a while. Try to keep up with bow shots on the ninjas while you can, but eventually one will probably slip through and get onto the ground below. To handle this, put on the Dragon Sword and head out into the room, and then Flying Swallow across to the other side. As long as you don't mess this up, you can get to the body that contains unlimited Incendiary Shurikens before you have to fall down below and trigger the next fight. Be warned, if the archer is still down there, he'll draw his bow at this point and start arching, so dodge around carefully and try to pelt him with incendiaries. Don't drop down and go for him, or you'll start another fight. Depending on how many archers you've killed at this point, another might spawn after you kill this one. If so, finish him with incendiaries as well. Keep this up until they finally stop spawning. Now, you can either flying swallow back across and go back and save, or drop down to the area below and trigger the Van Gelf fight. Keep in mind that you can still backtrack to the circular room to get arrows off of the dead body where the 3 yellow Van Gelfs were. This fight can be easily handled with a combination of incendiaires, OTs, and OLC ETs. Don't bother conserving incendiaries. You've got an unlimited stash right up above still. Now, here's a useful note about Ryu and incendiaries. If you run up the side of a wall and then Bird Flip Kick off of it, and then hit the projectile button, Ryu will toss 2 incendiaries. This is like getting a free incendiary ET off. Keep this in mind, because it's a good way to handle archers or Van Gelfs like this. After the Van Gelfs are gone, there are two ways you can go. The path to the right (from where you entered this room) has a body containing a Grains of Spiritual Health, and a random chest. But it's guarded by IS ninjas and If you choose to do it, it's easiest to pelt them with incendiaries or arrows through the grating of the bars here. This room is also a great place for the Bird Flip/Incendiary trick, if you enter the room and stay on the ground floor, leaving the enemies up above. Keep in mind that since the Grains here is on a body, it cannot be exchanged for money or essence. If you don't need it, then I don't recommend you pick it up just yet. It's better to clear the final fight in this area first, so that you can be fully healed for what lies after them. Across to the other side, there's a large slope. Here you'll face 3 IS ninjas with respawns (I think there's maybe 9 total), and 3 explosive archers. There's a couple of approaches here. One is to stay on the top levels by using Flying Swallow, and then sneak around and take out the explosive archers with incendiaries first. Or, you can walk on the ground floor and lure the IS ninjas back into the previous area, and try to deal with them there. This latter approach can be tricky, because the IS ninjas often get stuck below the rim of the slope and won't come to you. For fighting the IS ninjas, using your own incendiaries is nice, and a good way to open, but don't fail to realize that Lunar ETs are still more effective, and safer because of the huge invincibility frames. When this if done, head back and get the Grains. If you're at full, use one to heal up. Then head back and save. When you drop through the fan into the next area, you'll plunge straight underwater. There's no good reason to surface here, demon bats await you. If you want to fight them, it's best to use Lunar's X combo on the surface of the water. Still, I don't recommend it. It's just foolhardy. Instead, stay underwater and find the underwater tunnel, and swim into the next area. Here, you'll face a group of IS ninjas, and demon bats. The demon bats are annoying and painful. You can try to use Lunar's XXY combos, but they aren't as effective as I'd like. The best thing to do here is to wait out in the water, and when the bats come to you use Lunar's on-surface X combo. Ryu will jump up and take the bats out with a few swaps. This will save you quite a few HP. After you climb onto land, there'll be a couple of IS ninjas. They can be easily dispatched with Guillotine Throws or XXY's, ground or aerial. Once this is finally over, save. ---SAVE--- There's an arrow refill here. Jump up the car to the top area. There will be a couple of explosive archers here. Your best bet is to run around the corner to charge them immediately and use a Lunar Izuna. From this point, there will be an archer left sitting in the crevace across from you. You can take him out easily with Incendiary Shurikens if you want, but you've lost your infinite refill now. Instead, I recommend you drop down and Bird Flip back up the cart, then take him out from below with some cheap bow snipes. If you run around the corner and fall down again, you should trigger a Van Gelf spawn, who can be similarly sniped. You can refill your arrows and save at this point. There's a chest full of ninpo here. You can use it for any of the upcoming battles, but I recommend saving it for the very last one. Now, when you head into the tunnel you'll encounter another annoyingly large Van Gelf spawn group. They can be despawned if you proceed too far in, so if you want to fight them, try to linger back. You can drop out of the tunnel and snipe them if you want, or rely on Lunar 360 ETs. I prefer the ET route, but you'll likely take more damage this way. After this battle, save as long as you've got at least 3/4 health. Anything lower will make the upcoming section very stressful. The next battle happens when you drop off of this platform. It's a mixed group of Van Gelfs and giant beetles. To handle them separately, jump back up onto the platform after falling down. The Van Gelfs will come separately, allowing you to handle them like any other Van Gelf fight. If you start an OLC when you get up top (after retreating a roll/jump or two), you should be able to have a 360 ET waiting for them. From here, proceed as you always would. Once the Van Gelfs are gone, you can either try to snipe the beetles from above with bow UTs, or you can drop down and use Lunar. In either case, snipe at least a couple of beetles, so that you'll have enough essence waiting for you to start an easy OLC 360 UT. This whole section should be doable without taking more than 1 or 2 hits (and no Van Gelf pounces). When the beetles are done, head back and save. This is where things get bad. There's only a couple of enemy spawns between you and the next save point, but the explosive archers here make it bad. If you left the chest containing full ninpo back near the beginning of this area, then I recommend you substitute my advice here with "use ninpo kill archers". Particular level 2 Infernos will make this go a lot smoother. Just make sure to reserve your ninpo for the archers, don't waste it on the easy-to-kill IS ninjas. Believe me, there's more than enough archers here to go around. In fact, I recommend you conserve all of your ninpo until the first 2 archers, and subsequent 4 IS ninjas are dead, then unload on the remaining archer spawns. Now, for the no-magic run: When you head underneath the overhanging bridge here, archers will spawn up above you. You'll be tempted to stay behind and try to snipe them with the bow, but do not do this. You have two viable courses of action. One is to run up the back wall, bird flip, and throw incendiaries from where you are, if you're willing to pay the cost to replace them. The other option is to run along the walls and quickly reach the archers, opening up with a Lunar aerial XXY->Izuna. Be careful not to edge too far forward, or you'll trigger the next spawn group. When you finish the two archers, easy forward until you see IS ninjas spawn. Now, run quickly back and dive into the nook on Ryu's right side, opposite from the shop. From here you can start a Lunar 360 OLC, and have it ready for when the IS ninjas reach you, and the explosive archers backing them won't be able to reach you. After the ET finishes, regardless of what you kill, jump off of this area and fall down below. Here, the IS ninjas will fall to you (usually one at a time), and the archers won't get to you. Kill the IS ninjas as you have to. There are 4 total IS ninja spawns here. So do not proceed until you're certain you've gotten them all. Now proceed back up the steps and do the wall run again. Tuck back into the right cranny and take a second. Now, you're going to have to run down these archer's throats again. Actually, i recommend you burn Incendiary Shurikens and take them all out from here. Dash out, jump up, throw an Incendiary, dash back and hide. However, if you want to conserve your money (like I do), you're going to have to zig-zag your way out and get to the first explosive archer. Try to get him in a Lunar Izuna, it's the only real safe thing to do right now. After killing him, a respawn will take his place. You also have to deal with an archer over near the Test of Valor location. The best way to do this is to kill the archers near you as quickly as possible, but DO NOT pick up their essence. Instead, when the area around you is clear, do a roll/jump/OLC bow shot. This will kill or maim the archer over near the Test of Valor. If you mess up, or run out of essence and there are still archers spawned over there, then use the knowledge that bow shots will stun them. Roll, jump, fire one bow shot in midair, land, then charge a bow ET and release it. This should stun and then maim the archer, forcing him to come to you. Worst case scenario, bust out the Incendiary Shurikens and call it a day. When this is all clear, save. If you need arrows, run back to the body in the previous area (at the base of the train car) to restock. If you need Incendiaries, purchase them from Muramasa. ---SHOP--- ---SAVE--- ---TOV1 - TEST OF VALOR 1--- Welcome to hell, version 1.0. This Test is one of the worst. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so hopefully a few videos will prevent me from having to write a million: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dhDcUu49V5c http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=draE0Ldxf20 This Test can be done pretty easily with your level 3 Lunar, once you get the hang of it. The best weapon here is really the Dragon Sword, because it's the safest and has the most effective Izuna. Some people like the Falcon Talons, but I find they're a very sloppy weapon, and you wind up playing very much as a one-hit wonder with them (Flying Swallow->Izuna is basically your only safe combo in groups). Regardless of what weapon you pick, the safe strategy here is pretty well known. You want to main every enemy except for the warlocks. This means all 3 spawned DK ninjas and IS ninjas need to have a missing limb. This will cause them all to (eventually) crowd around in the center of the battlefield and chuck shurikens at you (but at a much slower rate than if they had limbs). From here, you focus on killing all of the Warlocks. There are 20 Warlocks, 40 IS ninjas, and 40 DK ninjas in this Test. You want to kill them in that order. There are 3 good ways to start this Test of Valor out. If you have level 2 Wind Blades, you can try to group the enemies together to delimb them all at once. I find this to be ineffective, because IS ninjas won't stop running around you when you cast Wind Blades. The second method is to run around the battlefield and occasionally chuck an Incendiary Shuriken behind you. This method works well, but is expensive, because you'll want to renew your Incendiaries to continue chapter 3. The best method, in my opinion, is what I show in my video. Run straight to the first warlock and use Lunar's Izuna on him. The Izuna won't kill most of the enemies here, but it will always kill a warlock. Now start running and wait for that essence to form. Use a 360 ET, and it will delimb most any enemies neary you (with some luck). From here, start running again, until you find another warlock. Use another Izuna, and repeat. Alternately, you can (at this point) switch to throwing Incendiaries, or try to kill an enemy somewhere for another essence to use a 360 ET with. This is the hardest part of this whole Test, so don't feel bad if it takes you several times to get it setup. Once setup is done, things get easier. After setup, now you want to stay on the outside of the battlefield, running around to catch Warlocks. Make sure to run a little past them, so if they initiate a grab you don't get caught in it. Then, come back toward them and do a Lunar Izuna. Keep in mind that since the Warlocks are higher up, the Izuna has a higher success rate against them. After killing one, it's usually best not to get brave and go after the other one, but rather run and wait for a fresh opportunity. This is the safe approach here. After all of the warlocks are dead, you want to pick off a single IS ninja. I find an Incendiary works best for this, if you can be sure it's not going to hit a DK ninja. If you're unsure, you can try to hide behind the hilly area of this battlefield and snipe out with a bow ET. I do not recommend using a bow UT, because it will pierce and kill multiple enemies. Once the IS ninja is coming for you, you can use Wind Run to jump off of his head and stun him. Then, Lunar's XXY combo will usually delimb them. Then OT for an easy kill. Once one is dead, you can use OLC 360 ETs each time another is behind you (wait until he's following you, don't try to set it up beforehand) to get an easy delimb, followed by an OT. Keep in mind that in order to not pick up essence, you must never release the defend button. This will slightly slow your ability to chain roll/jumps, but it's worth it. Also, Lunar's ET will knock the enemy away, so to approach them you're going to want to jump towards them and throw shurikens. This will keep them from being able to use any sort of an attack on you until you get your OT off. Kill all of the IS ninjas in this manner, then use the bow or IS shurikens to pick off the last two. Now, you can't be Incendiaried anymore. Pick off one DK ninja (if you haven't already), and start the chain with them. This part is even easier than the IS ninja part. They can still use suicide tactics, however (blowing an arm off at the cost of >50% of your HP), so don't get cocky. Play it safe and cool, and eventually this will end. I recommend that you use whatever items here are necessary, but certainly use your 2 Life of the Thousand Gods first. This will raise your max HP, which is sorely needed right now. There's also no better opportunity to save them for, and by the next really bad section you'll have plenty more saved up. Also, you can use all of your items here if you have to, and still have a full restock ready by Test of Valor 4. Your reward is a well-earned (but not worth it) Life of the Thousand Gods. If you choose to skip this, Muramasa will NOT sell it to you later. The Test of Valor rewards are never offered by him. ---END TEST OF VALOR--- On with the mission. If you don't have any Grains of Spiritual Health, then buy one for the upcoming boss. The next fight is a mix of archers and IS ninjas. A lot of people don't seem to realize that you are not trapped in this area. You can do a wall-run to get back up to the save point here. If you do this, you can despawn the two archers in the subway car. You can then try to pick enemies off from up top with bow UTs if you want, or head down and use Lunar 360 ET/UTs to kill the IS ninjas. Once the IS ninjas are dead, finish the archers (they should only spawn one at a time once the subway car archers are dead) off by approaching them by jumping, firing an arrow, jumping, firing an arrow, etc until you reach them. Or you can fire one arrow in the air, then have time to charge a bow ET on the ground. Your choice. If you want to do this fight without despawning the first two archers, then you should dash across the battlefield and start the battle in the upper left corner, out of reach from the opening on the subway cart. Alternately, you can try to run straight to the archers and do a Lunar Izuna as soon as you reach them. I find this last approach is dangerous, because of where the IS ninjas spawn making it tricky to consistently get the wall-run off. But it can be done. After this, head back and save. You want to finish this fight with 80% or more of your HP left. Really, 100% is desirable. The final fight before the boss is a wave of 15 or so purple Van Gelfs, and 5 or so yellow Van Gelfs. This isn't so bad if you can take the yellows out quickly, but they are evasive and like to hide behind their brethren. Your best bet here is a full stock of incendiary shurikens, coupled with Lunar 360 ETs when you have essence available. Run from one end of the battlefield to the other chucking Incendiaries at the enemies behind you, and watch your karma meter to know when you kill something for essence. If a Van Gelf is running behind you and wants to punch you, stop retreating, take the first punch (it can't break your defense), then start retreating again. Wind Run is great for when you have to reverse directions here. If you're retreating back across and see an enemy missing an arm, OT him. The yellow Van Gelfs are vulnerable to Lunar's XXY if they're flying, but this is dangerous if there's still a lot of purples nearby. If you want to do this fight without incendiaries, it can be done with a series of very carefully chosen OLCs, but overall I find it's too risky and not worth it unless you want to use an herb before the boss. Above all, do not give into the temptation to use ninpo on this fight. You're going to want that for the boss. Keep in mind that if you have the level 3 Dragon Sword here, then the triple Flying Swallow will almost always kill one of the yellow Van Gelfs, and the 360 UT is very handy for delimbing or killing something when you can essence chain. ---BOSS--- This guy isn't as hard as you might fear. That might surprise you to hear, but this fight's all a matter of timing. All you have to do is know his path. Plop down right in the middle of somewhere he's going to be in a few seconds and start charging a Lunar 360 UT. When he's directly in front of you, release it. If he sends his little demon fish at you, or fires an attack, or anything, just release early. If you finish a UT and he's still doing some crazy attack, then activate ninpo. If he uses "the face" attack, it can be run around and easily avoided (it can only travel a certain distance before it explodes. You just have to outrun it). If the face corners you, then just use an Inferno ninpo. When you kill the little fish (which will happen inevitably), they will drop essence. You can use this essence to run right up to the boss and do an OLC 360 UT, preventing all of the hassle of having to guess his path. Here's a bit more detail. First of all, keep in mind that the best way to handle the little fish is with Lunar's YYY combo, if they come at you while you're not invincible. Second, start the fight out be rolling immediately between the two closest pillars, and start a 360 UT charge. Now adjust the camera so you can see the boss. Usually, he'll come right to you passively. When he's close enough, release the UT (you want to wait until he's really close, but not close enough to do his lightning). Now, when this is over, dash away from him into the corner to prevent a lightning blast. He'll be turning around about now. Follow him. Roll/jump behind him all the way down the battlefield. When you get close to the end (don't get too impatient and drop down early, wait until a second before he starts turning around), drop and start another 360 UT charging. You want to release this as soon as it's ready, or he's going to use his lasers on you. Now, keep in mind that he stays on the same side of the battlefield. So for this second UT, he's going to be on the left side. For the third round, he'll be on the right side, and so on and so forth. Try not to lose track of which cycle he's on. Hopefully you'll get lucky and some of his little fish will get caught up in your UT. If so, stick around and wait for them to drop their blue essence, for free health refills. Try to leave one to start your next UT chain on the boss, though. Continue in this manner until you finally win. Keep in mind to drop Infernos in emergencies (like fish coming at you, but no time to do YYY, or a laser attack coupled with the face), and try to stay in front of his face. The fish here can drop blue essence even when killed by a UT, so don't worry about that. An alternate approach is to follow him around from behind and lob the occasional bow UT at him. This is a surprisingly safe--but excruciatingly slow--strategy. When you're behind him his laser-bubbles won't hit you, and neither will his lightning-from-the-side attacks (another thing to note is that when he turns upside down, these lightning blasts go up instead of down, and can't hit you anymore). The tricky part of this strategy is managing to actually stay behind him at all times, particularly the points where he's making his turn. Yet a third approach, which involves some luck, is to move to the middle of the wall on your right side when you start the battle. From here, you can sit and snipe the boss with bow UTs, and if you're lucky, he'll never hit you with his lightning bubbles. However, you still need to keep an eye out for the swarms of fish, and counter them either with ninpo or Lunar YYY combos. While he's difficult to defeat using no items (mainly because the Van Gelf fight before this really weakens your standing), I find that as long as you come in with 50% or more health, he's easy to defeat with one Grains of Spiritual Health. Chapter 3 complete! =========================== C04 - CHAPTER 4 =========================== Things get a lot easier from this point on, at least for the next few chapters. So take a deep breath, relax, and enjoy yourself a little (as much as you can). From the beginning of this chapter, don't move yet. Hopefully you started out with full arrows. It'll help. From where you start, take your bow out and start sniping the demon bats in the ceiling. Make sure to target the ones that are already flying first, before going after the sleeping ones. If you run out of arrows, talk to the Muramasa next to you and restock. When all the bats are dead, proceed down the hallway. If you happen to lure some to you, use Lunar's XXY on the ground to kill them as quickly as you can. When you get to the end of the hall, some IS ninjas will pop out of the hole to fight you. You should be able to plop down and charge up a level 2 Lunar 360 UT to start things off, after the first ninja is dead, use his essence to chain Lunar 360s, or use Guillotine Throws or aerial XXY->izunas to finish these guys off. Shouldn't give you too much trouble. When you drop down, you're in for a nasty surprise. There's a large group of mixed IS ninjas and white archers. You can try to handle the archers with Izunas or magic if you want, but it's pretty dangerous with the IS ninajs mixed in. Instead, I recommend you charge through the enemies, jump on their heads to stun them, and dash around the corner on the other side. If you tuck yourself into the corner here, the IS ninjas will all follow you, but the archers will stay behind. From here you can finish the fight with whatever tactics work best for you. The safest thing you can do is spam a lot of Guillotine Throws. There's a ninpo chest coming up, so if you're really struggling, consider backing yourself into the corner and spamming Wind Blades. Even at level 1, it should get a lot of IS ninjas in these cramped spaces. Or you can use your level 2 Inferno for quick kills, and try to use the essence for UTs (either 360 or regular should work pretty well in this scenario). When the IS ninjas are finally all dead, you can either head back and try to finish the archers, or simply move forward and ignore them. There's a full ninpo chest in a cul-de-sac on your left side. Take note of it, get it if you need it. If you don't yet, you might want to use it for the upcoming Van Gelf fight. At the end of this corridor, there's a large group of Van Gelfs, a mix of purples and yellows. When you trigger their spawn, retreat back into the tunnel and lure the purples to you. This will usually keep the yellow from following. Still, watch out for his fireballs that he will occasionally throw. Kill the purple Van Gelfs with Lunar 360 ETs. Eventually they'll stop reaching you, even though they haven't stopped spawning (they tend to get caught on poles out in the open area). When this situation comes up, pull out the Fiend's Bane Bow and start firing UT shots. Make sure to go for the yellow VG first. One bow shot will delimb him, which will cause a charge. When he's coming for you, wait for him, then dash to avoid his punch and use an OT on him. Then go back to arching the stuck purples. Keep an eye out, there's more than one yellow who spawns here. Pick off as many purples as you can with bow shots, then move into the room to finish the fight with Lunar 360s. If you have trouble finishing the Yellow Van Gelfs off, go ahead and use Incendiaries. There's a refill body coming up in this chapter. Once all of the Van Gelfs are dead, you finally reach the first save point of this chapter. ---SAVE--- The next fight is an old mix of IS ninjas and warlocks. This fight can be hard, or easy, depending a bit on luck. Fortunately you're right at the save point, so you can take a few shots to get it right. You can try to lure the enemies down to the stairwell and fight them there with Lunar 360s, but I find this gets messy more often than not. I think it's easier just to charge up into the room and use the regular mix of aerial XXYs and essence chaining 360 ETs. When this fight's over, loot the chests in this room. One will give you some blue health (or a small herb, whichever you need). When you head into the area with the arrow body, there's a chest to the far left side. If you head to get it, you'll cause a spawn of several explosive archers. Keep in mind that firing your own bow in the air will stun them and make approaching easier. Otherwise, use Lunar XXYs to kill them quickly. You'll trigger the next fight when you blow up the barricade and head up the stairs. A couple of IS ninjas will spawn. Again, these ninjas are easily dispatched with Izunas. After you finish this, I recommend you head back to the previous save point, assuming you're in good health. When you surface, you'll encounter another battle of dogs. The same tactics from last time apply. Jump, land with a 360+Y, release immediately to knock any nearby dogs away. When you have enough time (have stunned all of the nearby dogs), charge your 360 all the way to level 1, and release. Soon you'll have your first kill, and can start essence chaining. Don't get greedy. If you have a level 1, don't try to get to a level 2, just let it go. If you don't have any essence, make sure you do a level 0 before trying to get a level 1 off. I find these dogs fairly tame compared to their predecessors, but I may have gotten lucky with them. After the dog fight, you might want to backtrack and save again. The next fight is a large group of warlocks. Overall they're not too much trouble, but it's easy to accidentally get hit by a spell and take serious damage. Use Izunas and 360 essence chains, as with all humanoid enemies. Now you can dash to the next save point, or you can search around the back alleys and encounter more IS ninjas. Take them out however you want, they should be in short supply. It's probably best to head to the save point before doing these minor fights, then try to handle them with no-damage runs. ---SAVE--- When you're done playing down below, head up the ladder and grab your second Jewel of the Demon Seal. Go ahead and upgrade Inferno to level 3. ---ADDENDUM--- DevilMayAsian brought something to my attention here. If you climb to the top of this ladder, and then immediately turn around a full 360 degrees, there's a highway behind you that looks like background. Put on the Dragon Sword, jump out towards the highway, and Flying Swallow. There's a chest on the right side of this highway containing your first Talisman of Rebirth. This makes it so you can either skip the upcoming Test of Valor, or you can milk it for a free 50,000 essence. Definitely worth the layover. ---END--- In the next area, you encounter a body with infinite Incendiary Shurikens on it. Take note of this, because it will help in all of the upcoming fights. Use your incendiaries to kill the charging Van Gelfs. Two incendiaries will kill one, or an incendiary + an OT. After the Van Gelfs stop coming, use Incendiaries to finish the mini-dragons as well. If you come out of this with good health, go back and save. In the next area, you can drop down and fight more Van Gelfs to access a Muramasa. Once again, feel free to go wild with Incendiaries. Keep in mind that you can run up a wall, Bird Flip Kick off, then hit the shuriken button to make Ryu toss them two at a time. If you don't need the shop, and aren't worried about missing the chest with a Life of the Gods in it, then proceed up the next ladder instead. ---SHOP--- Up top, you'll encounter a long fight of purple and yellow Van Gelfs. Incendiaries help, but it can be hard to make a set of thirty go far enough. I recommend alternating between dropping incendiaries and using 360 ET/UTs. Otherwise, you can kill a few, and then retreat back to the previous save point, save, quit, and reload the game to despawn the rest of them. After this fight you'll find a body that refills your arrows. When you head up the next ladder, you'll find another save point. ---SAVE--- There's a chest on one end of the walkway here containing a Grains of Spiritual health. You can run over and grab it, and then run to the other side and trigger the boss fight without having to deal with any of the mini-dragons. If you want to kill them, you can do so with a mix of the free arrows/incendiaries you have at your disposal right now. Regardless, make sure that you have a full stock of 30 incendiaries when you trigger the boss fight. ---BOSS--- The blind ogre is extremely easy when you know how to handle him, it's what comes after him that can be tough. Here's a few things to take note of. Most of his attacks cannot hurt you while you're defending. This seems hard to believe, but it completely true. The main exception to this rule is his breath attack, which he will sometimes start the battle with. It can kill you in one hit. To avoid it, you must dash at the right time to take it during an invincibility frame. If he does any other attack, then dash to him (do not dash/jump, use only dashes), and wait for him to attack. After his attack hits your defense, jump towards him and do an aerial XXY with Lunar. When you land, dash between his legs. You want to be standing between his legs, slightly behind him, and hold the defend button. If you get the position right, he'll always do the move where he pounds the ground in front of him to create a giant shockwave. Let the shockwave hit you, it won't hurt you while you're defending. After it hits, Wind Run towards him, and do an aerial XXY on his butt. Land, take the previous position (this will usually require one dash back), and wait again. This loop can easily and safely be repeated until he falls, resulting in an easy no-hit victory. When he goes down, move around and OT him. ---END BOSS--- After this fight, there's a large group of yellow Van Gelfs. I tried to retreat this fight, but they'll pursue you indoors, so I don't recommend that approach. Instead, use your incendiaries. You can either peg a Van Gelf and then OT him, or if you'd prefer, simply run around the battlefield chucking them when it seems safe. This is a great place to use the Bird Kick Flip/toss two Incendiaries trick. Two incendiaries will kill these Van Gelfs just like any other. Every few kills, you might want to stop and use a Lunar 360 UT if there's a yellow close by on the ground, but it shouldn't be necessary. Thirty incendiaries should get you through this fight easily. If you get into a nasty situation, feel free to cast a couple of infernos. There are 2 free Devil Way Mushrooms coming up in this mission (both are on bodies, so they can't be exchanged for essence), so you can use those for Ninpo heals if you want. Don't expect much, though. An inferno fireball won't kill a Yellow Van Gelf, so only cast it if you're needing some serious invincibility frames. When you enter the hallway, you'll see a body with arrows on it. You can refill if you need, but you should be full still. As you walk in, an ambush of IS ninjas will appear. Be careful how you fight them. You want to stay either in the hallway or in the outdoors area. Don't continue into the interior room, or you'll activate the next spawn set. You should only need to kill 3-4 IS ninjas before this fight is over. Now, turn the camera around until you see the save point. Walk straight to it, and save. This should prevent the next fight from spawning, and will make certain that you don't have to go back and redo the blind ogre again. Don't worry about "wasting" the save point's free heal, because there's a permanent free heal in this room. ---SAVE--- Now walk to the center of the room and trigger the next fight, Warlocks will spawn, but they should be easy picking. Don't worry about taking damage, and throw any Incendiaries if you want. The entire rest of this chapter is one of the easiest sections in the entire game. Pick up the Dragon's Claw and Tiger's Fang, and shatter the case next to them for an Incendiary refill. If you walk around this case, there's a wooden curtain you can cut down to reveal a large XBox logo. This will refill you to full health every time you talk to it. So take note of what you have available to you now. You can refill your health, incendiary shurikens, or arrows at any point inside of this room (keep in mind the arrow body out in the hallway), as well as save. I highly recommend you do the Test of Valor here, because it's not very hard, and will make life a lot easier for Alexei. NOTE: It's no longer necessary to do this Test of Valor, if you got the first Talisman of Rebirth I mentioned, you don't need this one for Alexei. However, it's still worth it, because this is an easy itemless ToV, and nets you a 50K essence profit. ---TOV2 - TEST OF VALOR 2--- This is an easy test, a mix of zombies and skull spiders. Don't worry about the zombies at first, just focus on using Lunar UTs to kill the skull spiders. You can either use 360 or regular UTs. The regular UTs are more effective against the skull spiders, but the 360 UTs will kill a zombie if one happens to wander near, so the choice is yours. I'm not certain, but it seems like there's about 80 skull spiders and 20 zombies here, which is a really easy mix. Once all of the skull spiders are dead, move to the zombies. To kill one easily, dash around them. When they go to use their cannon, just jump behind them. It takes them some time to turn around, and you'll have enough time to charge a 360 ET. This should consistently delimb them (usually decapitate), allowing for a followup OT. Your reward for this test is a Talisman of Rebirth. ---END TEST OF VALOR--- Save after finishing this, then head into the hallway for a few explosive arrow archers. Kill them however you want. This is a good area for Guillotine Throws, or you can abuse incendiaries. Afterward, head back and heal at the XBox logo, refill your incendiaries, save. In the next large room, you'll fight a group of incendiary shuriken ninjas, warlocks, and explosive archers. Stick to Lunar for 360s, and throw your own incendiaries as you feel the need. Keep an eye out for any opportunities to use Lunar's aerial XXY or a 360 on a warlock or archer, as they're your biggest threat. When you kill all of the ground-level enemies, make a final sweep of the platforms for any lingering archers and take them out with incendiaries. There's a Devil Way Mushroom on a body in this room, which means you can either get it now, or use a ninpo for an upcoming fight if you want. Head back, heal, refill incendiaries, save. Loot the room, then walk over to the window to trigger the charging Van Gelf. He can easily be killed with Lunar XXYs on the ground. Jump out the window and trigger a large group of purple Van Gelfs. Again, easy pickings with Incendiary/OT abuse, and 360 ET/UTs when essence is available. Keep in mind that in order to essence chain properly, you have to keep the defend button locked down at all times. To do this while tossing Incendiaries, you do a roll, jump, and hit the shuriken button in mid-air. All of this can be done without ever releasing defend. Alternately, you can run over to a wall, dash toward it, jump onto it so that Ryu starts running straight up it, Bird Flip Kick off, and hit the shuriken button. Again, this is done without every releasing defend. When the Van Gelfs are finished, head back to the safe room. To get back in, all you have to do is let Ryu run up the wall where the opening was, and don't jump. He will automatically grab onto the ledge and let you climb over it. Go back to the room, refill your stock, heal, save. There's another couple of fights of Van Gelfs and then mini-dragons here. The strategy is essentially the same, so I'm gonna skip the details. One thing to take note of, though, is that when you have a mixed Van Gelf/mini-dragon fight, it often helps to retreat back to the previous section and deal with the Van Gelfs first. That way the mini-dragons won't be as insistent (though sometimes one or two will follow you). Still, just keep abusing Incendiary Shurikens on the Van Gelfs, then Incendiaries/arrows on the mini-dragons, and between each fight head back to the safe room. This just couldn't be much easier. If the mini-dragons are giving you much trouble, they can usually be despawned by retreating back to the save point after killing one of them, saving, and reloading the game. When you enter the building at the top of the stairs, you'll fight a battle of IS ninjas and explosive archers. Try to get to the archers first and take them out with Lunar's aerial XXY, or incendiaries. Otherwise it's Lunar 360 UTs and Izunas as always. After this fight, you can head to the nearby save point for a quick heal and save. ---SAVE--- When you flip up the elevator, you'll find some more IS ninjas. This whole building is setup nicely for Guillotine Throws, so don't forget about it. You can also continue to abuse Incendiaries, but you might want to hold back somewhat if you don't want to make frequent long trips back to the safe room. Continue along the path. None of the fights here are anything particularly revealing. There's a body containing a Devil Way Mushroom you'll encounter and be unable to loot, so cast some spells if you like, or use it for a free heal (if you've already cast a ninpo somewhere). There's also a Muramasa's. ---SHOP--- As you proceed, be careful. There's a point where you finish coming out of a stairwell, and then take a sharp turn around a corner. If you proceed too far down this hallway, you'll activate the boss fight. Do not do this yet. First, now that all of the enemies are cleared, head back to the safe room. Yes, it's still reachable. Refill your arrows, incendiaries, and health. Now equip your Talisman of Rebirth, head back to the final save point, save, and proceed back up. ---BOSS--- As long as you did the Test of Valor here, you have a Talisman of Rebirth. The thing is, there's a free Talisman of Rebirth in the upcoming chapter on a body, and it can't be exchanged for essence, so there's no good reason to not burn a Talisman here on Alexei. Alexei usually starts the chapter by charging at you, but it almost always fails to connect. This sets you up for an easy XXY with Lunar, which hurts him pretty strongly. After this, retreat away from him and keep an eye out. Whenever Alexei does one of his charges (learn to watch for his cues), you can dash through it to prevent a grab, then XXY him. This is basically all this fight boils down to. Sounds easy, right? Well... sorta. Alexei really isn't that bad, but he's fairly cheap. If he catches you with a single grab, he'll take more than half of your health. Meaning you only get 2 mistakes before you burn your Talisman. You don't really want that to happen too quickly. It's important to keep a good distance from Alexei, about half of the battlefield's length, so you can see a grab coming in time to dodge. When he activates his tornado move, you can quickly activate an Inferno to prevent it. Don't feel bad about wasting the ninpo, a Talisman heals you to full ninpo anyway. Infernos do fairly decent damage to Alexei, so if you're lucky a couple of them will actually land. Sometimes he'll be cheap and chain his tornado move, though, to prevent it. If this happens, be careful to dash out of his way after your inferno ends. There's not much more to it than this. Keep redoing the fight until you get lucky with Alexei's AI pattern, or you manage to evade and counter all of his attempted grabs correctly. He dies pretty quickly if you do it right (but not as quickly as you). The free healing of the Talisman helps a lot, too. If you want you can use other items on him, but I don't think it's necessary or advisable. Better to repeat him until you get the cheap victory. Compared to the boss fight coming up in chapter 6, Alexei's a big softy. There's an alternate approach that I'll mention here. I've seen it used, but haven't tried it out myself yet. If you have at least a level 2 Dragon Sword, you can use its double Flying Swallow to try to knock Alexei down. If you knock him down, you can get close to him (quickly), and use X, X, and then shuriken cancel your lag, and quicky do XX again. If done right, it should keep Alexei from getting back up. But since I haven't tried it myself, I'm not certain it can be consistently repeated with the XX combo alone, it may require some harder hits, like an occasional XXY, or XYY. Still, if you're interested in this approach, give it a shot. Chapter 4 complete! =========================== C05 - CHAPTER 5 =========================== Welcome to Volf country. This is actually a pretty short chapter, though it doesn't always feel like it. It starts out with a standard battle of Incendiary ninjas, explosive archers, and warlocks. The setting here is a little nasty. Try to avoid fighting too close to the edge of the water, as falling in can be difficult to recover from before taking a lot of damage. If you fight near the building, a little towards the Muramasa shop, I find the archers tend to stay in melee mode for some reason, which eliminates their danger. Staying close to the building also allows easy Guillotine Throws/OTs. Once you've got essence, use Lunar 360 ETs. Be careful about use a 360 UT, though, as the izuna at the end will sometimes put you in the water. ---SHOP--- Purchase any items you're missing, then head on the path. You'll encounter your first set of werewolves. I recommend you treat them no differently than Van Gelfs. In other words, lots of Lunar 360s. A 360 ET will kill a werewolf in one shot almost every time. And if it doesn't, it'll set them up for an easy OT. Usually you'll kill one, and delimb a nearby one or two. There is an alternate approach to handling werewolves that works very well. If you upgrade the Dragon's Claw and Tiger's Fang to level 3, then the UT is devestating to the wolves, and will kill 2 on average, very often 3 or even 4. However, there are two costs to this. One is the obvious one, the cost of the 60,000 essence required up upgrade DCTF for (virtually) this one use. The other cost, which is perhaps less obvious, is the fact that DCTF has a very weak ET. It's actually shocking how different the strength of the ET and UT is. The UT will kill a werewolf in the first second or so of the combo, the ET won't even do serious injury to one (from full health). This means that if you want to use the DCTF method, you have to always wait to reach a level 2 charge. This can be dangerous, especially if there are other enemies around (like Gajas) or werewolves who are throwing body parts at you. In short, I recommend that you continue to stick to Lunar. Unfortunately, the fact that the 360 ET is still just as deadly as the UT (or any other UT, for that matter) continues to make it the weapon of choice. I only recommend upgrading and using DCTF if you're really, really bored with using Lunar all the time at this point, and feel like you have plenty of money to burn (which if you've been using items as infrequently as I recommend, you should). I'll assume, for the purposes of the financially conservative (like myself), that you choose to stick with the Lunar. Kill the werewolves with Lunar ET/UTs. Werewolves will often stand around and howl as their first move, giving you plenty of time to get a UT ready for them. Also keep in mind that you can still Wind Path off of a werewolf's head. It doesn't stun them for long (they'll usually hop around quickly to face you), but it's really helpful when you're trying to essence-chain. I'll often wait for an essence to drop, go to the nearest and most aggressive wolf, jump off of his head, land with a 360 OLC, then release immediately. Easy kill, and guarantees that the wolf won't move out of your range when the UT activates. After you kill these wolves, there's a fork. If you go down towards the river, there's a chest containing full ninpo. Don't get it now, but keep it in mind if you want to use it for an upcoming fight (the fight in the cafe is probably the best candidate). If you want, you can run over to the boat where there used to be a crystal skull and trigger a gaja fight. There's not really a good reason to do this unless you're karma-farming, but be aware of it (in case you don't want to accidentally trigger it). Back to the fork. Head over the bridge and into the marketplace. More werewolves will come for you. Be waiting for them with a 360 UT ready, and let it go. If you're lucky, the UT will break a nearby box. If not, you can pick and break one yourself. There are plenty of boxes here, and they all contain yellow essence, so this fight can easily be done with lots of UTs, not to mention chaining off of the wolves themselves. This shouldn't give you much trouble. When the fight's over, reach the first save point of the chapter. ---SAVE--- If you let the full-ninpo chest behind you, keep it in mind. It's not available for too many more fights, so there's no good reason to not make use of it. Open the door and head into the cafe. Several wolves are waiting for you in here. They can be easily handled with Lunar 360s, especially with the cramped spaces here. But if you want, go ahead and burn an Inferno or two on them. If you come out of this fight with full health (not too hard), might as well head back out and save. Head over the next bridge for more werewolves. Again, Lunar 360s make this short work. Well, not exactly short. There's a lot of respawns here, so this battle can take some time. Still, you should be able to safely ET chain without struggling much. After dispatching this group, head over to your right and Bird Flip up the passage for the Talisman of Rebirth you used on Alexei. A couple of IS ninjas will try to make nuisances of themselves. I find it's not smart to fight them where they spawn, but better to jump down to the ground below and take them out that way. If you happen to have a level 3 Dragon Sword, its Izuna is easier in this situation than Lunar's. Otherwise just kill them as you normally would. Now that you have your Talisman, you can head back and save if you want. There's another group of werewolves across the way. Take them all out, then go and get the Spirit of the Devils on the dead body ahead. I don't recommend you use this immediately. If you plan on doing the Tests of Valor, you're going to need this in the next chapter. Even if you're not, it's a full ninpo refill, and is better saved and spent wisely. When you head into the next area you'll be faced with a group of red Gajas. They're far away and take a long time to reach you, so wait for them patiently with a 360 UT ready for an instant-kill. They can't be killed by a single Lunar Izuna (frustrating, huh?), but they're still very vulnerable to it, so it's easy to repeat on them if you don't have any essence laying about. Still, 360 ETs are the safest bet. There's only a few, so this fight shouldn't be too bad. This fight, as well as several of the previous (actually every fight in this chapter) can be skipped by diving immediately into the water here. If you haven't refilled your ninpo yet at the first chest, now's a good time to head back and do it, as well as save your progress. Dive underwater and grab your Gatling Gun. Believe me, you don't want to leave this behind. Swim through the area until you encounter the first row of mines. They respawn a lot, a lot, in Master Ninja mode, but don't lose patience. Just sit back and keep spear gunning until they stop spawning. It's a nice way to make some free essence, I guess? If you're lucky, they'll drop some blues and give you some healing. When you approach the narrow section ahead, red Gajas will be coming for you. Plop down with your gatling gun and start firing. Take manual control, and aim at the gaja's tails. If you let the Gatling Gun auto-target, it takes a couple of seconds to lock onto each Gaja, which can sometimes be enough time for one to get too close. As long as you control the gun manually and switch targets swiftly, you should kill all of the gajas without difficulty. Proceed forward carefully. There's a lot of gajas here, six or more, so keep your trigger finger ready and watch the horizon. If you see red, start shooting. After this, you can proceed unmolested to the next save point. ---SAVE--- When you head upstairs and open the door, you'll encounter a large group of purple and yellow Van Gelfs. This fight can be despawned by activating, then proceeding downstairs and jumping outside into the water, or trying to use the save point. It can also be skipped by just grabbing the key and opening the gate and moving on. If that doesn't work for some reason, or you just don't want to skip it, then I recommend a liberal application of incendiary shurikens. If you have a level 3 Dragon Sword, it's really effective here, as the Flying Swallow can actually hit the Yellow Van Gelfs pretty consistently, and it messes them up. Otherwise, Lunar 360 ETs will help. Still, best approach here is incendiaries. ---SHOP--- Restock here. Just don't buy arrows, there's a body coming up that contains them. Head into the room to grab the Bridge Gate Key, then use it to open the gate. The next bridge is a long fight of werewolves. They will keep respawning for a long time, so stay alert. Lunar 360 UTs are your best bet, but also it's important to keep an eye out for OT-able werewolves, just to make things to more smoothly. Keep in mind that it's helpful to use Wind Path to hop off of their heads if you're trying to waste time waiting for essence to appear. You can head back and save after this fight. I wouldn't recommend doing so if you've taken 50% or more in damage. Getting to the next save point isn't too hard, but there's a gaja section that sometimes goes wrong. Head into the castle corridor for a body that will refill your arrows, and another werewolf fight. There's fewer this time, so Lunar ETs should make things go quick. Make sure you have to the Gatling Gun equipped for what's coming up. Also, make sure that you have a full arrow stock. You're gonna need them for the boss of this chapter. Go across the rope and open the chest there, then hop into the water. Water-run forward until you see the gajas coming, then immediately drop down and start firing the Gatling Gun. Again, it's important to control it manually and keep a gaja always on-target. It's hard to clean up this entire group without letting someone slip through, but you should be able to kill all of them except for one, two worst case scenario. When that happens, don't panic. Just keep firing and turn Ryu around slowly in the water, they usually circle you for a second before they attack, and with luck they'll get back into your path of fire and die before they get to hit you. With this done, proceed over to the windmill area. There are mines here, with a lot of respawns. It can take a long time to farm them all out, but I recommend you do so, just in case you make a mistake on the upcoming platforming section. It will seem like the mines are never going to stop respawning, but they will, and when they do you'll collect a lot of essence. Head into the windmill and don't forget to pick up the Life of the Thousand Gods. Head outside and face another group of werewolves, followed by the next save point. Something to take note of, the reddish-bodied werewolves are the type that can throw body parts and limbs at you, so it's a good practice to make them your first priority for kills. ---SAVE--- In the next area you'll fight a large group of red Gajas. You can start off with an easy 360 ET, maybe UT with some luck. This fight is long and ugly. The safest move is to rely a lot on Lunar's aerial XXY->Izuna. The splash damage will help knock the other Gajas around. Once they're softened up by this, they're more likely to die when they're Izuna'd themselves. Whenever you see free essence lying about, do a 360 UT. I prefer the UT to the ET here, due to the Izuna ender working really well against Gajas. ---SHOP--- There's a shop in these tunnels, right on the left side after you get through another wave of enemies. This is the last shop in the mission, so make sure to stock up with anything you think you're going to want before the chapter's over. If for any reason you don't have a full arrow stock, refill now. After this battle, you are locked out from the previous save point, which is a little unfortunate. Jump up into the next area, and you'll trigger a fight of Gajas and Van Gelfs mixed together. There are a lot of these fights throughout these tunnels. For the first one, it's best to retreat out into the previous open area and use a couple of 360 ETs. For the upcoming fights, though, this will become impractical. Instead, focus on grabbing the Gajas in an Izuna Drop until you kill one. Stay evasive long enough for his essence to form (helps to jump off of the Van Gelf's head), and then grab the essence for a 360 ET on the Van Gelf. It's best to go for the Van Gelf specifically, because if you ignore them they'll start using fireballs, which hurts a lot. Also, using a 360 ET on the Van Gelf will likely kill or delimb a nearby Gaja as well. You'll encounter this same fight over and over again throughout these tunnels. If you get yourself into trouble, or are finding this section too difficult, then go straight to the breakable floor and drop through it, instead of going for the key here. All you'll miss out on is the Phoenix ninpo, which can be purchased later, and which you won't be having any immediate need for anyway. When you drop down, go straight to the save point and save. ---SAVE--- ---TOV3 - TEST OF VALOR 3--- This Test of Valor is a mix of werewolves and dogs, with the numbers being about 60/40 in favor of the dogs. You might be inclined to think the werewolves are the real opponents here, but that'd be a mistake. The dogs actually have more hit points, and are more dangerous. They also need to be killed first. If you kill all of the wolves, then the dogs will begin to use their grab attack. If you remember this move, it's terribly damaging, almost impossible to avoid, and really, really annoying. As long as there are werewolves alive, the dogs won't use this move (or at least, use it so rarely that I haven't seen it yet). As soon as you kill the last wolf, the dogs go crazy with this move and start using it constantly, which makes this Test unreasonably harder. Unfortunately, leaving the wolves alive means they will spend the entire battle chucking body parts at you. These can be defended against, but they will still do slight damage to you. If you get hit by one when you're not defending, it will take almost your entire lifebar. This makes this ToV a great example of the "Always hold defend" policy. Also, the wolves will sometimes follow you and try to land a pounce on you. This will pretty much kill you. In other words, because of the wolves, you don't have a lot of time to linger during this test. You want to use the same tactics you always use on dogs: Lots of Lunar 360 UTs, levels 0, 1, or 2. But if you don't have essence laying around for a chain, then it's not safe to try to charge up over time. If you try to charge, you'll often get pelted by an attack that will do 90% of your lifebar in damage. Instead, just stick to using whatever level is available to you. If that means you wind up using a lot of level 0s, then don't worry about it too much. Eventually a dog will die. The one exception to this is the very beginning. You want to start the fight by dashing off to the far left side, and then charging up a level 2 UT and releasing it on the first dog to come to you. This will give you an essence to start things off with, and hopefully you'll be able to keep a killing chain going from here. Just make sure that whenever you start to use another 360, you're surrounded by the dogs circling you. You should be in this shape most of the battle, so it won't take much work. Whenever you're not attacking, just keep running around the outermost edge of the battlefield. For the most part this will keep you safe, and give you time to wait for the dogs to gather around you. Make sure to use alternating roll/jumps without ever releasing defend, because you don't want to accidentally collect any essence. It will take a long time to clear all of the dogs out of this fiend challenge. When you do finally, finish the wolves off by using 360 ET chains on them. If they survive, just use an OT. The fight should be a lot easier once the dogs are gone, but you'll still need to be careful because when these guys hit, they do hit hard. The reward for this test is a Jewel of the Demon Seal. I don't recommend trying too hard for it. Give the Test a shot or two if you want, but don't stress over it. It's best to just skip it. We really only need 6 Jewels of the Demon Seal for Master Ninja mode (there's no need to level up Phoenix), and we need to make sure we have two by the time we pick up Piercing Void, so we need to either pick up this Jewel of the Demon Seal, or the one in the Test of Valor in Chapter 7. That test is much, much easier, so I recommend you hold out for it. If you really want all of the Jewels of the Demon Seal, you'll need to do this Test. ---END TEST OF VALOR--- Back to the save point. This next fight can be triggered by jumping out to the next raised plateau. Then, as soon as you're sure you triggered it, you can jump back to the save statue and save, then reload your file. This will cause the fight to be despawned, and skipped. Otherwise, it's a mix of Gajas and Yellow Van Gelfs, and is very difficult. Focus on taking the Gajas out with Izunas as much as possible, but keep an eye out for the Van Gelfs. I recommend you use Incendiaries to bring them down. If they land on the water after being delimbed, they'll die instantly. Otherwise you can OT them. An alternate approach is to stay in the water (best to retreat back toward the Test of Valor, but where you have a clear view of the water alley ahead), and drop down and fire rounds from the Spear Gatling Gun to kill all of the Gajas. Once this is done you can finish the Van Gelfs with easy incendiaries. But, there is a chance the Van Gelfs will try to fireball you while you're dispatching the Gajas, so you'll want to be quick about it. I really recommend you do the save-skip trick here, but it can be done without taking too much damage. You'll be able to heal with the Ghost Fish in the next area. Go to the other side and swim under. You'll be in a large area with Ghost Fish. There are two sets of Ghost Fish here. A background set, and a real set. The background set can never attack you, they only serve to distract you from the real ones. The best way to handle this area is with Lunar's underwater Y attack. Swim under (or if you hit Y with Lunar on the surface, it'll make Ryu dive) and swim around pressing Y. Ghost Fish will come to you, and the combo will kill them handily. This should allow you to navigate about the area safely, while collecting nice essence rewards. With any amount of luck, you should come out of this area with good health. Loot the chests in this area for good essence rewards. One of them is a Talisman, which, since you already have one, will give you a large amount of yellow essence. When you're looting the chests on the surface, just use Lunar's YYYY combo if any Ghost Fish lock onto you. When you're ready for the boss, head over to the platform in the middle and open the chest. ---BOSS--- This boss is best handled using the Bow and Arrow. You want to use auto-targeted UT shots to his head. Be careful about the timing of when you shoot, because it will take the majority of a full 30-arrow stock to kill him. As long as you stand the entire fight where you start, he only has two attacks that can hit you. One is his scream attack. He rears his head back, screams for a second, then a large rush of water comes from you. To avoid this attack, position yourself on the far left side of the platform, and then right before the end of his scream, dodge and jump to the right side. If you're on the middle of the platform when he uses this move, you won't be able to dodge far enough to get away. His other attack is where he shoots a lot of spikes of energy that come homing for you. To avoid this attack, you want to roll and jump once to the left, onto the extra rock that is by itself. Wait here for about 1/2-1 second, and then roll/jump back to the main platform. It's tricky to figure out, but once you get the timing down, it's not very hard to pull off. Once you know the timing of both of these dodges, it's just a matter of redoing him until you hit him with enough bow UTs to kill him before he kills you. If you run out of arrows, and he's nearly dead, then you're going to want to fall back on Infernos. Try to time the infernos during a time when they'll catch his nose instead of his body, as they do a lot more damage on his face. With any luck, you won't have to dive into the water to finish things off. If you do, run straight to his chest and use Lunar's Y attack, and hope he doesn't grab you in his mouth before he dies. This fight's kind of annoying, but overall very easy. More patience than practice. End of Chapter 5. =========================== C06 - CHAPTER 6 =========================== ---SHOP--- There's another Talisman chest (in a broken area of the roof) up near the shop for good money. Don't forget it. Across the platforms you'll encounter some Ghost Fish, they're easily handled with Lunar's YYYY combo. When you get to the ledge on the far side, you can head to the left for a chest (I believe it's a small herb, but I only got money from it). When you head to the right, and then run across the wall, you'll trigger a spawn of Gajas (I think you have to take a few steps further in first). After you trigger the spawn, immediately run back across the wall. Try to be careful not to fall off, but if you do it's not the end of the world. Either way, pick the Gajas off with bow UTs for easy kills. Head along the way, taking out more Ghost Fish. You'll reach the first save point. ---SAVE--- When you head into the tunnel here, you'll trigger a large amount of Gajas. You can fight them fair, or take the easy way out. Trigger their spawn, retreat all the way back to he save point, head back outside, jump out across a couple of platforms, and then start sniping with bow UTs. Occasionally they'll send a projectile blast your way. The further out you retreat, the less likely they are to do this. Still, the projectiles don't do much damage, and are easy to dodge, so all-in-all you should come out of this fight in better shape than if you fought them fair. When you head back indoors you'll trigger a second spawn, so repeat the same trick. This is another good reason to do the fight this way. If you try to fight indoors, you'll likely trigger both spawn groups at once, causing a very large mess. Save when these two battles are over. I also recommend you head back to the Muramasa's now and refill your arrows. I know it's a long trek, but you're going to need arrows after the upcoming boss, and there's no chance to restock before then. Do not forget to pick up the Jewel of the Demon Seal on the body here in the room where the Gajas were. Head down the hall and through the door. Activate the skull spiders in here. The best way to deal with them is Lunar's regular UT. The fire-wave at the end does a lot of damage, and will almost always kill at least a couple, setting you up for another UT. Just keep chaining this UT until the battle is over. ---BOSS--- This guy is really bad, much worse than the previous bosses, or even the next one. Here's the overall strategy for him. First of all, keep an eye out to see what he opens with. If he does the move where he kicks dirt at you, make sure to dash to the side of it right before contact. If he instead grabs at the ground and start grinding it above his head, dash/jump over to his right leg and start a 360 UT charging. Release it for somewhat decent damage. Now, get away from him, because he's probably going to make a nuisance of himself. After the beginning of this fight, the best way to handle it is Lunar's regular UT. "Not the 360?" you ask? Well, no. Here's the thing. Lunar's 360 UT will do more damage to the Skeleton himself, but it doesn't always kill as many of the skull spiders as you need, which leaves you without essence to keep things going. The fire-wave, on the other hand, does a great job clearing skull spiders, and does noticeable damage to the boss. So here's what you want to do, generally. Stay away from the boss, and use Lunar UTs on the nearest skull spider. During the first half of the UT, Ryu walks across the battlefield a significant amount. Try to aim him so that he moves toward the boss. You don't want to be under the boss, necessarily, just close enough to his feet that the fire wave will knick him and do damage. After the UT ends, take stock on how many essences were dropped by the spiders. As long as there's at least two, roll/jump to a save spot (do not land next to a skull spider, or they will bite you. It doesn't hurt much, but it'll add up over time) and immediately do another UT. If you ever get to a position where you feel like you need to do a UT right now, but there's only one free essence laying out, then do the 360 instead. It's more powerful than Lunar's regular ET, and is more likely to take enough spiders out to get your chain rolling again. The point here is to focus on the spiders, and try to ignore the boss and just stay out of his reach, and stay in UT invincibility frames most of the fight. Eventually you'll see the boss rear back and fall over. When this happens, try to get over to him. If you get there quickly (you're already there when his butt hits the ground) and without being swarmed by spiders, do a full Lunar 360 UT. If not, just jump up and do a couple of aerial XXYs. Either way, when he starts to stand run like mad, and go back to focusing on the skull spiders. He should fall twice in this manner as his lifebar depletes. The main reason to stay away from him is because he has a move where he spins around like a fool. If you're caught up in this, it will one-shot kill you. As long as you're on the outskirts of it, you should be able to defend and have Ryu shrug it off. In fact, most of the boss's attacks can be defended against, much like the blind ogre. So when you're moving around the battlefield, only use dashes, not dash/jumps. You only want to do a dash/jump when you're ready to grab some essence and do a UT. ---END BOSS--- The section after this boss is part of what makes him so awful. You have to through a lot more enemies before reaching the next save point, and if you die on any of them you have to redo the skeleton fight. Bird Flip up the chasm, then head across the way. Hopefully you refilled your arrows when I told you to. If so, trigger the Gajas spawn here, then retreat back across the gap and take them out with bow UTs. The chest here has a very high likelihood of containing demon bats. DO NOT OPEN IT. It is not worth the risk. They are very likely to do significant damage and kill you before you can get out. If you really want this chest, you can come back to it after the next save point. It's still reachable then, without the added risk of having to redo the boss. There's another Gaja fight, which can also be done with retreating and cheap sniping. Worst case scenario, you can always jump off the ledge and simply make your way back up to where you can see the gajas, and snipe them from there. Or you can even snipe them from the bottom of the crater. After that, make sure you have Lunar on and head into the tunnels for a bad scene... there are a couple of free Herbs coming up in this chapter, so if you need healing for this section feel free to use them. Skull spiders will come from you at several points throughout these tunnels. In order to handle them, edge forward slowly with Ryu until you hear them coming. As soon as you hear them, start hammering Y. Do not stop hammering Y for any reason (unless you get in serious trouble and need to cast a ninpo). The all-Y combo of Lunar is one of the few things that will keep Ryu safe here, and if a spider falls in front of him he'll smash them to finish them off. Just keep hammering Y and hope for the best. This is the closest thing to a "safe" approach I've been able to find for this section. Just be careful as you're walking through, because some of the caves have two or three spawn points for the skull spiders. After the first corridor you'll encounter another spawn group of Gajas. Be careful here. You can lure them back outside if you want, but I find it's best just to deal with them here with Izunas and 360 ETs, to prevent another encounter with the skull spiders. Again, do not open the chest here yet, as it's very likely to contain demon bats and kill you. When you proceed to the end of the section here, you'll reach an area you have to jump across. After that another corridor with more skull spider spawns. Then there will be an area you need to wall-run across to get to the other side. But there will be spiders coming here. Take out the one on the ceiling with Lunar's XXY combo. Then use the bow to take out the two on the other side. If you're out of arrows, then you can put on the Dragon Sword and try a Flying Swallow to get across, then immediately switch back to Lunar and start hammering Y. This is a riskier method than you're going to want right now, but it has a decent success rate. Continue through the tunnel with more skull spiders, and continue to rely on Lunar's YYYY to get you through safely. There's an alternate approach to handle this whole section, but it has its own risks. After you head to the middle room (with the Gajas and the chest) and kill them, then head back out and into the large room outside (there will be spiders again, so be careful with the camera, and keep Lunar prepared). Now, jump down below and climb all the way back up, to start the whole sequence over. Enter the first tunnel. Do not fight the skull spiders, but instead do a wall run on the left side to get past them. Dash rapidly through the area, continuing to wall-run past the skull spider groups. Once you go far enough in this manner, they will stop spawning. However, the dangerous part here is trying to get past the groups without getting snagged and taking a lot of damage. Also, there's a chance that you'll eventually move far enough away from the first group to despawn a couple, causing spiders to randomly spawn where you're currently standing. This means you need to dash through the area as fast as possible without stopping, so you don't get caught and killed by unexpected spawns. I don't prefer this method, personally, but it can work if done properly. Finally you'll get to the save point. WHEW. Use it now! ---SAVE--- If you already have gotten the Crystal Skull in the guillotine here, it is now an Herb. You can get it if you need it. If you don't keep in mind for the upcoming fight sequences, although they're not too dangerous really. Head up the stairs and find the shop and some chests, then activate the cutscene. Don't buy arrows, there'll be a free refill coming up. ---SHOP--- There are two werewolves at the bottom of the stairs. Wait for them at the top with a 360 UT. This will easily kill one, handle the other one with a 360 ET or UT, your choice. They're pretty slow, and easy to deal with one-on-one. You should be able to do this fight without taking damage. Save. Head into the castle for more wolves. There should be two more on upper level in here. Take them out with more 360s. Save if you don't take damage. Open the door on the lower level for a group of mixed werewolves. You can open the door the drop back into the room you're in and start a 360 UT charging. This should allow one easy kill. From here, just use essence chains. This fight shouldn't give you much trouble, even though it's longer than the previous two. Again, save if you don't take any damage. The upcoming fights are a little more annoying. Now you have to go up a stairway. There are two Gaja fights here. Use Lunar strategies to win the fights the normal way. If you do one without taking a hit, then go back and save before doing the next. Usual drill. There's a body on the stairs that will refill your arrows. After the stairs, you'll encounter a larger open area. Here there will be several waves of Gajas, backed by a mess of mini-dragons. If you head up to the above level, then on the left side there's a full ninpo refill, and on the right side there's a group of 3 or so werewolves and the next save point. If you clear out the wolves and Gajas around the save point, then you can save and quit, and despawn all of the other enemies (the remaining Gajas and mini-dragons). Otherwise, your option is to fight all of the Gajas on the ground below with Lunar 360 ETs and Izunas, and then handle the mini-dragons with bow UTs after all of the Gajas are gone. Be careful, though, there's more than one wave of Gajas here, and they'll take breaks between spawns to throw you off. You can use magic to help you on your way if you want to burn the full-ninpo chest now. --SAVE-- --TEST OF VALOR 4-- Welcome to Hell, version 2.0. This Test is marionette mechs, and rocket mechs. The reward (not worth it) is a Life of the Thousand Gods. I recommend you skip it. If not, proceed on: This is probably the worst Test of Valor in the game. However, if you've prepared for it properly (by following my guide up until now), you should be able to handle it. First of all, be prepared to use all of your items on this Test of Valor, including your Life of the Thousand Gods stock. Second, start with the marionettes. A Lunar 360 ET will cripple them, setting you for an immediate OT. The OT can actually be done right after the ET, during the long invincibility frames at the end of it. Keep in mind that the marionettes explode (though you're usually safe from this after OT), and try to dash out after one dies. The strategy is simple, but doing it takes a lot of skill and dedication. You've got to keep moving, and constantly chain a 360 ET with the essence from your previous kill, and follow it with an immediate OT. It's not always as smooth as this, either. Every so often one marionette will attack you right after your ET finishes, which will prevent you from OT'ing the one you just crippled. You've got to make sure to get back to that marionette and get the OT off, because you need the essence to keep your chain going. But this will be made more difficult by the rocket mechs. Just keep it going, and use whatever healing you need to to stay alive. This is the hard part of the challenge. After all of the marionettes are finally dead, then you have some rocket mechs to deal with. For this section you want a level 3 Inferno, 3 Devil Way Mushrooms, a Talisman of Rebirth, and your Spirit of the Devils. A single inferno will kill a rocket mech, so that's your main plan here. After the marionettes are gone, you can kill rocket mechs 3 at a time with Infernos. You'll start with 3 ninpo. That's 9 kills with your first batch. Now, you want to make certain that each casting kills 3 rocket mechs, so do a head-count before each casting and make sure all of the respawns are up. Also, in order to make this go better, you might want to use the essence from each set of 3 kills to do one Lunar 360 UT on a single Rocket mech. This way, for each casting of Inferno, you'll get 4 kills. It just depends on how careful you want to be here. After you use all of your ninpo, then use 3 Devil Way Mushrooms and repeat. This will get you 9 more kills, for a total of 18 (assuming you're not using Lunar UTs between cycles). After these three castings, use your Spirit of the Devils. Now you'll have 4 full ninpo. This gets you another 12 kills, for a total of 30 (if you've been doing Lunar UTs between the cycles, you should have 40, meaning the Test of Valor should be over). At this point, you can let your Talisman of Rebirth kick in. This will get you 4 more ninpo, meaning 12 more kills, meaning 42 total. There should only be 40 rocket mechs you need to kill, assuming there were no kills during the marionette phase, which should give you a pretty safe leeway. Like I said, if you can get through the Marionette phase, and you're properly prepared for this, then it's not so bad. Even if you already used your Spirit of the Devils before getting here, this can still be done reasonably. You start with 4 ninpo, and then 3 Devil Way Mushrooms, and then 4 more ninpo from your Talisman. This will get you 33 kills from ninpo castings alone. If you can do Lunar 360 UTs between each cycle for an extra kill, then you've got the potential for 44. Again, just make sure that when you cast your Inferno, there's always 3 rocket mechs spawned. If you win, collect your Life of the Thousand Gods and congratulate yourself. --END TEST OF VALOR-- Head up and you'll find another arrow body, and then another battle of mini-dragons. This is skippable again, and all you have to do is run past them and the wolves and then into the next area. Otherwise, handle the mini-dragons first with Bow UTs, then the wolves with Lunar 360s. Go across the bars and fall through the glass pane here. There's a long fight of Gajas inside. It's annoying, but can be done the usual way with Lunar Izunas and 360 ETs. After this fight, grab the key and head outside. Drop down into a room with two werewolves. You can do an immediate 360 ET upon landing, then chain over to the other one. Head out of here and to the next Save point. --SAVE-- The next big room is a large fight of werewolves. Lunar UTs as normal, yadda yadda... Things are starting to become a little routine, so I'm going to start grazing over some of these fights. There's a few hallways with wolves. Between each match if you don't take a hit, head back and save. At the end of the hallway there'll be a long fight of Gajas mixed with wolves. Focus on Izuna'ing the Gajas for essence, then 360 ET'ing. Shouldn't be much harder than normal. Make your way through the groups of ninjas and gajas to get through the rest of the area. For more detailed tips, you can look through the Mentor guide. Not much really changes in this chapter. For the sections where you have to flip up the elevator shafts, you can trigger the spawns, then retreat back down and run to the save point, save, and quit. This will erase the spawned groups of enemies, allowing you to skip a few annoying Gaja fights. The bookshelf in the library that used to contain a Crystal Skull now contains an Herb of Spiritual Health. Pick it up if you need it, otherwise find a battle to use it on and feel free. It can't be exchanged for health anyway. There's a couple more save points, and then a shop right before Volf's throne room. --SAVE-- --SHOP-- This is the final shop in this chapter, so you might want to do a full restock before proceeding. It's not necessary, however. As long as you've still got one Grains of Spiritual Health, the rest of the chapter can be done with that alone. Outside of Volf's chamber you'll have to fight a group of wolves for the key. As always, the easiest way to handle them is still Lunar 360 ET chaining. If you've got the level 3 DCTF, this is a fun area for them, too. If you finish this fight in good standing, you should head back to the save point. Keep in mind there are two wolves in the area below the save point, also. Don't let them catch you off guard. Inside of Volf's chamber after the cutscene you'll fight another long fight of wolves. Once again, I recommend the safety and easy chaining of Lunar 360 ETs. After all of the wolves are dead drop down below and you'll have to fight a group of Gajas. If you didn't get the full ninpo chest on the outside balcony yet, then this fight is a good opportunity to use some infernos to clear your way. Otherwise, use Lunar Izunas and 360s. Finally, you'll get the next save point here. --SAVE-- Next you have to make your way through a large group of Gajas (again), and backtrack back to the bridge. Here you'll have to fight a group of mini-dragons on the bridge. I suggest you use Incendiary Shurikens here, in spite of the extra expense. You won't really need them for the early parts of the next chapter, and there will be an Incendiary refill body about halfway through. You'll run out of Incendiaries before you run out of dragons, most likely. At that point, finish the remaining ones with arrows. Jump, fire the bow twice in midair, then dash around a few clicks and jump and fire twice again. These aerial shots are safer than trying to get ET/UTs off on this cramped bridge. --BOSS-- Volf is pretty easy for a Greater Fiend. At the beginning of the battle, he'll usually be charging toward you. When he does, just dash around him at the moment when he should hit you and do a Lunar XXY. Now, do two dash/jumps away from his back, and wait. Nine times out of ten, Volf will charge again. Dash around that charge, and once again do Lunar's XXY. You can do this until he dies. The fight after Volf is a bit more dangerous. The level 1 Scythe isn't strong enough to kill these guys on Master Ninja, so you can switch back to Lunar if you feel more comfortable with it. Otherwise, dash around the battlefield (usually about half of a lap) and then drop down and do a Scythe UT, then start dashing around again until you feel safe. Keep this up until the cutscene. You might mess up once or twice and have to redo Volf, but hopefully that won't cause much stress. =========================== C07 - CHAPTER 7 =========================== This chapter is really easy, even on Master Ninja, so I'm not going to walk you through the usual play-by-play. I will give a few tips for some sticky points, though. For the beginning of the chapter, you'll still have the level 1 Scythe equipped (assuming you ended the last battle with it). That's fine, don't bother switching it off. Equip your bow. If you had trouble with this fights in other modes, there's a really easy trick to it. Head to the front of the battlefield, right underneath the turrets. There's a position you can take up here. You want to put Ryu right up against the sloped railing on the side, where it's at about knee-to-waist height on him. You'll feel like the turret above you can hit you, but he won't be able to. From here, you can pick off the turret above you, and you can also pick off the two turrets on the side. It won't look like you can hit them, because the arrow has to pass through the sloped wall and the surface of the wing, but neither of these actually deflect arrows, so all you have to is have good enough site to be able to figure out where the turrets are and you can pick them off. After you finish cleaning off one side, just move to the opposite side of the battlefield and repeat the same thing. After this, the turret mechs will appear. They can easily be dispatched with Scythe UTs. Even at level 1, a Scythe UT will kill them. If you run into trouble, just retreat back to the large walls at the beginning of the area and charge Scythe UTs behind it. When turrets are gone, you'll reach the first shop. --SHOP-- Upgrade your Scythe to level 3. It's worth it. Don't bother refilling your incendiaries or arrows, as there's infinite refills along the way in this chapter. Head into the next area for a group of Tac soldiers. You can trigger their spawn then dash back around the corner and start a UT. From there, just essence chain Scythe UTs for fast kills. There are enemies on both sides, each can be handled the same way. The tac soldiers can't do much against Scythe ETs and UTs, and they don't generally do enough damage to kill you before the fight's over. After this, get to the first save point. --SAVE-- The rest of the chapter goes about the same way. Just keep doing Scythe UTs and you'll fill the chapter with flying bloody corpses. Whenever you're on an elevator, start a Scythe UT and let it go near the bottom. Whenever you're fighting the giant humanoid mechs, one Scythe UT will cripple them, and then you can OT them easily. Whenever you come to the areas where there are turrets on the ceilings, you can just tuck yourself into the left side of the door, and edge Ryu forward until he can just barely hit the edge of the turrets, and they can't shoot him. Use this technique to pick them off easily with bow UTs. I'll jump to the save point right before the next Test of Valor: --SAVE-- If you head down the hole, there's a room containing a refill of arrows, incendiaries, and a body containing the Tonfas. After collecting these head back up. You're going to want to have the Scythe on for the Test of Valor. --TEST OF VALOR 5-- This Test is easy, and has a Jewel of the Demon Seal as a reward, meaning it's very much worth doing. Not only is it worth it, but if you skipped the 3rd Test of Valor (the werewolves and dogs), you're going to need to do this Test so you can have a level 3 Piercing Void alongside your level 3 Inferno (trust me, you want level 3 Piercing Void). This test contains mechs and large beetles. Both can be killed easily with the Scythe UTs. Start the battle out by getting off to the side and charing a full UT, then unleashing it on the beetles that will be coming your way. You want to focus on killing all of the beetles off first, mainly because they're actually more dangerous than the mechs (if you try to go for the mechs, a beetle will often jump on you from off-camera, doing surprising damage). Just keep moving and do Scythe UTs. Try to make sure to always have a good line so your UT hits plenty of beetles. Keep moving until the beetles are dead. It will take a little while, but should be easy. When all of the beetles are finished, take care of the remaining mechs with either more Scythe UTs or Lunar 360s. There's a good chance that by the time you finish the beetles, the mechs will all already be gone. Either way, in time you'll win your Jewel of the Demon Seal. --END TEST OF VALOR-- Continue through the chapter using Scythe UTs. --SHOP-- --SAVE-- --BOSS-- Genshin comes with sidekicks ninjas this time, and is a bit of a bother. To win easily, you're going to want to use Infernos to kill the sidekicks. If you've used your Spirit of the Devil by now, you'll have 4 ninpo. That should be enough to kill most of the sidekicks here, but not all. If you've only got 3 ninpo, things could be a little tighter. In order to try to even the odds, try to keep Genshin out of your infernos when they're targeting, and after you throw an Inferno and those enemies turn to essence, try to get away from Genshin and use that essence to do a Scythe UT on any nearby Spider Ninjas. As long as you kill one extra with each UT, you'll help your odds of getting them all killed before you run out of Ninpo. When all of the adds are gone, Genshin is basically the same as before. Dodge his attacks, and try to find openings to use Lunar's XXY on him. If your Dragon Sword is level 3, then I still prefer the XYY combo with it for Genshin. It seems to work cleaner. If you need to use your Grains on Genshin, I suggest you feel free. The next boss fight can be done without items, and Genshin is pretty annoying as far as fights go. --BOSS-- After Genshin, you'll fight the Armadillo. Take a roll/jump towards him at the beginning of the fight, then start tossing Incendiary Shurikens at his head. That's pretty much all this battle takes. But, for extra damage, when he does the move where he rears back and slams the ground, take note. At that time you can start an Incendiary UT, and once it hits level 2 let it go. After that dash/jump out a little (he'll have gained too much ground on you) and keep tossing Incendiaries until you get set up for OT. As usual, DON'T FORGET TO BLOCK when he dies. BLOCK! =========================== C08 - CHAPTER 8 =========================== In case you thought the game was getting soft on you already, Chapter 8 is here to remind you what Master Ninja mode is. You'll start out with access to a Muramasa and an infinite arrow refill. This is a sign. When you move forward, a group of multi-rocket launchers will start spawning. As soon as they do, jump back behind the first defense wall. Start a bow UT and quickly release it at the barrels near the two soldiers. They'll die from the explosions. Now you should be set up to keep a chain going if you're careful. As the new enemies spawn, try to quickly pick them off with bow UTs once they get set, but before they start firing. If you see an opportunity to hit two at a time go for it, but be careful not to miss. This is a tricky section, but can be done without taking a hit. The next fight is a little harder to get a pattern on. You're going to want to wait behind the first set of sand bags on the left side, the one farthest away from the rocketeers. Spawn them and then take up your position. Try to snipe one off with a regular bow ET (as soon as you do this, a respawn will appear), then hit the second with a full UT. Try to keep UT chaining going on the spawning soldiers from this point on. Like I said, it's harder to keep a safe pattern going here, but it can be done without taking too much damage. After this, you'll go to a fight of mechs backed by rocketeers. This fight is what makes this first section so nasty. You can use a Scythe UT at the beginning of the fight to cripple two or even all 3 of the initial mechs, then use OTs to finish them. Respawns will appear, so you're going to need to essence chain some more Scythe OTs. At some point you might want to move forward and finish the rocketeers off. After the mechs are gone, keep finishing the rocket soldiers with bow UTs. Alternately, there's a place on the far right side of the screen that you can stand. There's a single sandbag separated from the rest. If you stand between it and the row of sandbags, the mechs seem mostly unable to hit you. You can spam Scythe UTs from here and try to kill them all that way. However, every so often a mech will wander out of your UT range, and you'll have to come out to lure him nearby, then regain the safety position. This whole section is really, really bad. But don't despair! If you're willing to resort to some cheap tactics, this section can be easy to get through. At the beginning of the chapter, equip your level 3 Piercing Void. Instead of fighting the first two fights, just run through. When the mechs spawn, keep running. Run past the rocketeers, and all the way to the door on the far side of the area. The mechs will follow you, and there will be two more rocketeers here. The door will be locked as long as there are enemies. When you get here, wait until a mech gets really close and start a piercing void. Don't bother trying to auto-target, Ryu should target the closest enemy, in this case the mech. If you're lucky, one casting will take two or more of them out. At any rate, keep getting close to the mechs and casting Piercing Voids until their dead. By killing them here by the door instead of where they spawn, you'll prevent their respawns from appearing. After the mechs are gone finish the nearby rocketeers with Lunar or Scythe attacks, then run back into the doorway. Edge Ryu forward to the corner of the wall, just barely peaking out, and start picking off the rocket soldiers on the far side of the battlefield. You should be able to find a position where you can hit them but they can't hit you. When they're all dead, you'll unlock the door and reach the first save point. Easy as cake, right? --SAVE-- Equip the Scythe and head into the next area for a dog fight. Remember that easy way to kill dogs you've been waiting for? Well the Scythe is it. Its ET and UT both kill a dog in one hit, which makes chaining here extremely easy. If you're determined you can redo this fight until you take no damage, but I recommend just aiming for 80-90% health. Save afterward. Head into the next room for another fight. When the door closes behind you, immediately head to the Muramasa's shop in the little room on the left side. Once you get in here start using Scythe UTs. The rocket soldiers can't hit you here, and the regular soldiers have to funnel through the doorway, letting you pick them off with Scythe UTs easily. It takes a while to kill all of the regular soldiers, so be patient. When you've killed all of the regular soldiers, head upstairs behind the Muramasa and to the windows. Go to the window on the left side of the room, and get on the right side of the window. You should be able to find a position where you can pick off one of the two rocket soldiers on the left catwalk. After you do this, then move to the far left side of the same window. Rocket soldiers will be spawning on the right catwalk now, and they should be easier to draw a line on. You can pick them off here easily, as they'll just keep respawning one at a time. When you kill the last one, head the to right side of the window on the right side of the room and pick off the last rocket soldier guy with another bow UT. This should all be easily done without taking any damage, but if you get hit once or twice don't worry too much. After you get a clean run, restock at the shop and head back to the previous save point. --SHOP-- This is the last shop you'll encounter for a while, particularly the last shop before the next boss, so buy anything you want. If you want to restock your Grains, now's a good time. It's also a good time to upgrade the Tonfas if you plan on using them for humanoid fights. The level 3 Tonfa UT is absolutely cruel against human enemies. In the next area you'll need to walk through the landmine field. You can either walk on the steps in the snow for safety, or try to just chain dashes across. Usually this will keep you safe. Either way, get to the other side and grab the chest to refill your arrows. On the other side of this area there's a building full of rocket soldiers, as well as one on the ground. The best way to handle this is to move across the battlefield quickly and fire some midair arrows at the soldier on the ground. He'll fall back into the snow usually, and get himself killed by land mines there. If you tuck yourself right next to the two oil drums here, as tight into the corner as you can, then the soldiers in the building won't be able to hit you, and the two turret cannons on the far right won't be able to hit you either. You can use bow shots to pick off the turrets. It takes two bow UTs to destroy each one. There's a Devil Way Mushroom on the body behind the last wall here, and then another one up on the platform where the rightmost turret was positioned. If you're low on ninpo (you probably should be from the beginning of this chapter) you can use these for free refills. Get to the next save point, and go ahead and use it. --SAVE-- The battle inside of the Cathedral is particularly nasty. There are a couple of ways to handle it. Whatever weapon you choose, start the battle off by doing a roll/jump and start a full UT charge and then release it when the closest ninja is close enough. If you're really lucky, you can do it with regular Scythe UTs. Just run back and forth from one end of the battlefield and do a UT with the essence that's out. This can go really, really fast, and be fun to watch. But it takes some luck, because the Scythe's UT doesn't have much in the way of invincibility frames, meaning if you get plugged with an Incendiary Shuriken, you're very likely to have it go off when you're vulnerable to it. Another approach is the Tonfa. The Tonfa UT will usually kill 3 enemies. Better yet, by the time the UT is over and the 3rd enemy dies, the first two will already have left their essence out, allowing for instant UT chaining. The problem with the Tonfa UT is that when you come out of it, you're vulnerable immediately, and the IS ninjas are pretty good at taking advantage of this. So even with a good run of the Tonfas, you can wind up taking significant damage before it's over. Lunar can also be used. Its 360 UT has the best invincibility frames, but only kill one, maybe two enemies at best. And in this battle, that can take a long time. However, Lunar also has the Izuna to fall back on. My personal recommendation is the Scythe's 360 UT. It is the perfect mix of invincibility frames and kill potential. If you stay near the middle of the room, the Scythe's 360 UT will kill 2-3 enemies per use, but almost always no less than one. Best of all, the 360 ET is still powerful enough to kill 1-2 enemies. And thanks to the length of the UT animation, it's pretty safe to keep chaining. If for some reason you can't pull any of these strategies off (for example, you're bad at essence chaining), then position yourself between the wall and one of the big pillars in the area and abuse Guillotine Throws. When the battle's over, head upstairs. Grab the Life of the Gods on the one body, then get the key and drop down. Keep moving until you reach the cave. Use your shurikens to farm the bats. If you're lucky, they'll drop some red essence and get you to full. If you're less lucky, they'll drop some blue to heal you slightly from the previous battle. if you're less lucky... you'll get a bunch of yellows. Keep moving. In this next area, you want to head around the corner and do a roll/jump straight to the subway door. The reason to do this is to trigger the battle on your own terms, so you don't accidentally activate it and get ambushed. When you land from your jump, start another Scythe 360. Don't go for the UT, it's too dangerous, just release your ET as soon as it's ready. A ninja will spawn very close to you here. The 360 should kill him, and allow you to chain more Scythe 360s. Hopefully soon one of the ETs will kill two enemies, allowing for UTs, which will kill even more. If you get in real trouble on this fight, then I recommend using a couple of Grains to get through it. You don't want to have to repeat the cathedral if you can keep from it. Do not use your ninpo, though, you're going to want it for the boss fight next. Grab the Dignitary's card, and don't forget the Grains in the subway car, then head to the save point. --SAVE-- --BOSS-- Now you get a rematch with the blind ogre. This fight's a little tougher, but not too bad. Like last time, get underneath his legs and slightly behind him. Wait until he pounds the ground, then jump and do an aerial XXY. Keep doing this until the mechs spawn. And then, still keep trying to do it until a mech comes close. Once a mech gets close to you, you need to handle it, because they can break Ryu's defense and get you killed. To deal with the mechs, use a Piercing Void when the first one comes close. Ryu should auto-target it with some luck. If the first mech you kill drops a blue essence, then you're in great shape. Use that blue essence to do a Lunar 360 UT on the other mech, and it'll kill him. After this, go back to the same position on the ogre and continue your normal pattern until he dies. Voila! If you don't get a blue or red essence from the first mech you kill, then just use another Piercing Void on the other mech. Either way, once you kill the first two mechs, you should be able to knock the ogre down to OT before any more spawn. After the ogre is down, kill the rocket guys by using shurikens to approach them safely, then kill them however you like. --END BOSS-- After this fight is over, definitely go back and save immediately. You don't want to die on the upcoming fight and have to redo the ogre. Equip the Scythe and head down into the sewer. When you walk around the corner here, a group if IS ninjas will spawn. Immediately jump back around the corner out of their line of sight and start a Scythe UT charging. Adjust the camera so that you can see them coming with as good of an angle as possible. As soon as they're within range, release your Scythe UT to kill three at once. Three respawns will appear at the far end, so just do the same thing. This should go on until you've killed a total of 10 IS ninjas. Grab the Life of the Gods off of the body here, and take note of the Incendiary refill body. In the next area you'll fight a lot of Gajas. These can be handled easily just by staying up on the top platforms and throwing Incendiaries down on them. When they're dead, or you're out of incendiaries, head back to the body for a refill and return. If you don't have the patience for this (a lot of incendiaries will miss) then you can just jump down and use Lunar on them instead. Head on through the area and kill the Ghost Fish with Lunar's Y combos as needed. When you head upstairs, go straight for the save point. There's a chest nearby containing a small herb (or the equivalent money if you're at full health). If you're going to do the Test of Valor, you should do it first, because after you head to the Muramasa's you'll have to fight through a large group of IS ninjas. If you really need to go to Muramasas, then do the ninjas first. There will be a few on the way to the shop, which can be handled fairly cleanly with Guillotine Throw, and Lunar or Scythe 360 ET/UT chaining. After you get to the shop, you'll have to head back to the save point, where you'll be ambushed by a larger group of IS ninjas. Because of how this area is laid out, I recommend Scythe 360s here. After these two fights, you might want to use the Muramasa's to heal back to full health if you've got some money to burn. --TEST OF VALOR 6-- This Test isn't as bad as 1 or 4, but it's definitely not worth doing. It's for a Jewel of the Demon Seal, though, which is a significant reward, and can help you finish off your spell collection (if you didn't skip the Test of Valor 3 also). Regardless, you can have Wind Blades, Inferno, and Piercing Void at level 3 by Chapter 11, so I think this is a worthwhile ToV to skip. The enemies here are purple Van Gelfs and red dragons. The dragons are what make this test bad. The Van Gelf phase can be handled in the usual way, with chained Lunar 360 ETs. I find the Van Gelfs here to be a little more cowardly than usual, so the best way to make sure your ETs connect is to do a roll/jump off of one's head, first. When you land behind them, do a 360 OLC and immediately release. This virtually guarantee a dead Van Gelf. You've got to be quick here, and stay aggressive for this first half, and keep killing Van Gelfs until they stop spawning. It will take a long time. After all of the Van Gelfs are gone, things get messy. One reliable way that I've been able to find to kill the red dragons is Scythe UTs. Even at that, it takes at least 2 Scythe UTs to kill one dragon, and that's if both hits land solidly. The problem is finding an opening. Fortunately most of the dragon's attacks can be blocked, so if you just keep dashing continuously around the battlefield's outer ring, hopefully you'll eventually find an opening. The ideal situation is for one dragon to be up in the air flying around doing nothing (far away across the battlefield), and the other dragon to be using his fire-breath attack. At this point, you should have enough time to do a full OLC Scythe UT in the direction of the dragon using his fire breath. After this, start running again. Don't get greedy for UTs. If you get in a nasty mess, release just a regular ET, it still does heavy damage to the dragons. An alternate approach (but worth less karma), is to use regular Scythe combos. If you can get one dragon isolated (this is the important part. Try to look for one of them to be flying up in the air), then when you're running, wait until you see the dragon try an attack. After this, do a Wind Run towards him, then use the Scythe's XYYY aerial combo. When you land, go immediately into the ground YYYY. After that's over, there's a good chance the dragon will have broken stunlock, so try to go immediately back into a Wind Run/XYYY. If you can't regain stunlock with this move, you'll at least be high enough in the air that it usually won't hurt you. After this move, if the dragon's still alive (and stunned), then do a final YYYY to finish him off. Keep an eye on his companion, though. Usually you have enough time to kill one dragon before the other one joins you, but mistakes are very costly. This will take a long, long time to win, but if you're patient you can eventually prevail. You don't get a lot of leeway for mistakes, as the dragons do a lot of damage with their hits. Afterwards, collect your Jewel of the Demon Seal. --END TEST OF VALOR-- Restock at the Muramasa's. You're going to want a full item load for Zedonius. You only need to have 2 Grains of Spiritual health in stock, as there's a chest containing one up the clock tower. Don't worry about the expense of doing a Test of Valor, you almost always make more money in them than the items cost to replace (unless you burn a Talisman of Rebirth). Just worry about your patient and sanity when trying to decide whether or not to do one. Save again, then head up to the clock tower. I find the best (and most fun) way to do the clock tower is with the level 3 Tonfas. Their Flying Swallow will usually delimb or kill a humanoid, and then you can essence chain the ET, which will usually kill 2 humanoids, and then you can essence chain the UT, which will usually kill 3+ humanoids. It's pretty terrific, overall, but the Tonfas take some time to get used to as a weapon. Don't forget about counterattacks, also. They're key to using the Tonfa as a weapon properly, since they lack some defensive measure and are low on the invincibility frames. If you're not interested in leveling up or mastering the Tonfas right now, just use the Scythe or Lunar however you want. It's also advisable to do the clock tower ninja fights one at a time, each time retreating back to the bottom and saving if you come out with good health. There's another save point at the top of the clock tower, so don't worry too much about your health. As long as you reach the top, you'll get a refill. Another note: as you're climbing the clock tower, you'll see a chest on one of the gears. If you're full of Grains, do not get it until after you reach the top save point. If you're at full health and full grains, it'll give you the money. Otherwise, it'll just heal you, which is wasted since there are no enemy spawns between the chest and the save point. --SAVE-- To prepare for Zedonius, equip Inferno, and the Scythe, and maybe Incendiary Shurikens (no projectile weapons are really very useful). --BOSS-- Zedonius is everything that Volf wasn't. He's probably the hardest boss you've faced yet. It's going to take a balance of good strategy, patience, and luck to win. Or a huge dose of just luck. Zedonius's difficulty is really dependent on what he does. At the beginning of the fight, he'll start in the air. If he does his move where he flies immediately to step on you, then you want to dash out of the way. It's hard to find the proper timing for this move, but you'll get plenty of chances as you keep dying. When you get the timing right, then after it lands you want to immediately do a full Scythe Y combo. This hurts Zedonius more than almost any other move you have, but there aren't a lot of chances to use it (really, it's only after this landing). So, after you get the last hit of the Y combo off, dash away from Zedonius and switch to Lunar (it's always best to switch weapons in midair, because otherwise Ryu pauses briefly when he's on the ground). There is a better way to dodge Zedonius's ground-pound attack, but it takes some awareness, and some control over the camera, which means you're probably going to have to release the defend button and just walk normally. Keep an eye on Zed, and try to stay on the opposite side of the battlefield from him. When you see him rise into the air and come towards you, then you're going to want to wait until just before he lands, and then do a dash/jump combination towards him. If done properly, this will completely protect you from the shockwave of his slam, and you'll be tucked in right next to him and can go straight into the Scythe combo. If you can't seem to get this worked out, then keep in mind that you can try the same thing away from Zedonius. A dash/jump after he lands has a very high chance of protecting you from damage. The only downside to this is that it can carry you out pretty far, and sometimes it's hard to get back next to Zedonius in time to do your Scythe combo in his vulnerability period. Hopefully in the previous mode you've learned most of the timings to dodge Zed's attacks. If he does the move where he throws fireballs, your best bet is dash, jump, brief pause (about half a second), dash, jump. If he does the fire-pillar, you want to dash right when it activates. Okay, so. If Zedonius is in the air, you want to have the Scythe equipped and ready to do the Y combo after his landing. If you can get close enough to him, then after his flame-pillar attack, you can do a Wind Run, and then the Scythe's XYYY move, and get a decent amount of damage against him. You can also try this move after some of his other attacks, but I really recommend looking for the flame-pillar specifically. He has a really wide opening after it. If he's on the ground, you want to have Lunar equipped. Dash around somewhat near him (not within melee range), and watch for his attacks. If he uses the fireballs, just dodge as normal. If he uses the fire-pillar, however, this is your best opening. Wait until the pillar activates, dash/jump close to Zedonius, pause a brief second (this prevent Ryu from doing his on-land attack), and then do Lunar's XXY. The end of the combo gives you an invincibility frame right when Zedonius attacks you, so you can dash back out and start circling him again. This is your best way to get some damage in on him other than his landings. When Zedonius summons his Gajas, take them out with Infernos. It'll take two Infernos per Gaja batch, but if you take the time to kill them with a weapon, Zedonius will usually start another summon as soon as you finally kill a batch. This is an endless cycle that does not favor your odds, as it's much harder to dodge Zedonius's attacks while Gajas are out. Burn your two Infernos, and use Devil Way Mushrooms for more ninpo if you need them. If you haven't used your Spirit of the Devils still, this is a good fight for it (after you run out of ninpo). The hardest part of this fight, arguably, is the stubborn camera. I recommend you tap R1 every so often to try to keep the camera re-focusing on Zedonius, but it'll still be difficult to keep it under control, and since most of Zedonius's cues are visual, NOT audio cues, it makes things a lot harder. =========================== C09 - CHAPTER 9 =========================== The beginning of this chapter can seem really hard to start, but it's actually pretty easy once you know the right approach. For the first fight here, I prefer the Tonfas, but the Scythe or Lunar works just as well. There will be six or so tac soldiers, pretty easy to dispatch. After them, when you head into the open area there will be 2 multi-rocket soldiers across the lake. In order to start the fight off properly, from the narrow passageway immediately dash/jump into the opening and start an OLC bow UT charging. While it's charging, quickly target the rocket soldier on the left (he's the first one to fire his rockets). They stand still for a few seconds after the first time you come into their view, so you should have time to pick the first one off if you release the UT as soon as it's ready. After you kill him, dodge back into the narrow passage. You want to dash out, taunt the other soldier into firing, and then after his rockets hit dash back out and start another bow shot charging. You can just use an ET on him to cripple him, and then a UT to kill him, or you can go straight for the UT if you're confident with your timing. If you really have a hard time with these rocket guys, they can be despawned just by retreating all the way back to the very beginning of the chapter after activating them. Drop into the water cautiously, then immediately turn around and swim Ryu back up against the edge. You want to be as far from the mines as possible. Equip the spear gun and start firing. Don't target it manually, just leave it on auto-target. There are a lot of respawns here. In order to know when you're done, keep an eye on the light at Muramasa's. It will flicker on every so often, but then it will fade back off when respawns appear. You should continue firing until you see Muramasa's light stay on for a solid 10 seconds. It'll take about 6 cycles of respawns for this to happen. Restock if you feel the need. --SHOP-- Once you swim out a ways, then another wave of these mines will spawn. Proceed slowly, pick a safe point (not too close to any mines), and start firing again. Once again, you can watch Muramasa's light to try and gage when the enemies are all dead. After this, dive underwater and proceed forward carefully into the large area of the lake. There's another large group of mines that spawns here, and this one is infinitely respawning. In order to get through this area safely, you're going to want to swim around the rightmost rim of the lake. It's best to stay underwater, since it's easier to see the mines down there. When you get to the mouth at the end, there will be 2 or 3 mines blocking your way. Kill them with a few spear gun shots, then quickly swim through. Stay underwater. As you're moving into the next area, you'll notice a series of explosions. There are 3 rocket guys up above firing down on you. Thankfully they're single rockets, not multi. Notice that on the right side there's the lower edge of a stairway. You want to wait until you see a couple of explosions, then swim up and quickly get onto the stairs. If you have the tonfas on, then dash a couple of times, then jump towards the nearest soldier and do a Flying Swallow. The tonfas will make this section pretty easy. Otherwise, you should be able to get in with Lunar Izunas. In any case, this is the last fight before you get your first save point. --SAVE-- Notice something I just said. The mines in the previous area are infinitely respawning. This means that if you want, you have a late-game opportunity here to essence-farm. Also, it can be done with a turbo controller, if you happen to have one. All you have to do is move Ryu near the mine area (approach from this save point), and then start firing the spear gun. If you find the right position (this can be a little tricky, but not impossible), then every so many kills all of the essence (or at least most of it) will rush back to Ryu. This isn't a very fast way to essence-farm, but since it can be automated, it's the easiest. Also, as a point of trivia: have you noticed those people on Xbox Live who have 99,999,999 karma? Well this is the place where they got that (at least some of them, Im not sure if all of them used the same trick or not). Before the first patch, the enemies in this area used to give karma, meaning you could karma-farm infinitely here. The patch took care of that, though. In the next area you'll have to fight a large group of multi-rocket soldiers across the lake. First of all, take out the lights up top. Then, walk around and use the bow to take out all of the torches. Don't touch the top of the stairs, or you'll trigger the next fight. When you're sure you've taken out all of the torches, step on the top of the stairs. Then dash back and hide in the corner of the walls here. If you didn't miss any of the torches, and took out the searchlights, then the rocket soldiers should have a much lower firing rate, making it much easier to pick them off between rounds. If you get it to work, just pick them off slowly with bow UTs until they stop spawning. Sometimes it's hard to get this trick to work. Either you can't seem to locate the last torch, or it just doesn't seem to work. I've gotten it a few times, but sometimes I've been unable to. If you also can't seem to get it to work, then there's another way to do this area, but you'll take more damage. Run out across the lake, and just run back and forth across the area tossing incendiary shurikens at the enemies. If you don't have a full stock of incendiaries, you can go back to the shop at the beginning of the chapter. After all of the multi-rocket soldiers are dead, floating rocket mechs will come out. You should have 4 ninpo by now, assuming you've used your Spirit of the Devils somewhere along the way. Just use your Inferno ninpo to kill these rocket mechs 3 at a time. If you run out of ninpo, and just have 1 or 2 mechs left, you can kill them out on the water with the Scythe's water attack fairly easily. After the fight, loot the platforms. One of the chests will contain a Devil Way Mushroom, a body has another Mushroom, there's a Life of the Gods, several small Herbs, and a full ninpo refill chest. After you have all of these, open the gate and head into the area there for the wheel. When you come back out with the wheel, more rocket mechs will spawn. Kill them with more infernos. You'll be able to refill your ninpo later. If you'd rather not for some reason, the Scythe's water attacks are the way to go. Swim through the underwater tunnel and into the next area. Before heading across, there's a chest containing a small herb. Go over the vines. There will be tac soldiers here. Easily handled with Lunar, Scythe, or Tonfas. When you head to the opening with the rope running over it, there will be two single-rocket mechs on the other side. Take them out with some bow UTs and head across. If you jump across the vines on your right side, you can get to a Muramasa's. --SHOP-- Proceed into the jungle path here. You'll encounter some more tac soldiers, and then reach a save point. If you head into the cul-de-sac on the left side, there's a random chest. --SAVE-- Head on through for a fight with a large group of beetles. Scythe UTs are the quickest way to get through this fight. Head into the tunnel and into the underground area. The beetles here are best skipped, so run along the walls and get through the caverns. Eventually you'll find open doors. It's worth checking into these rooms, as some contain blue and red essence refills. Keep heading through the area until you activate the sub-boss. --BOSS-- This guy's easy to handle. Just stay inside of the first room you come to after you activate him. Equip the Scythe, and charge a Scythe UT. When you hear the rumbling effect from the worm's approach start, begin counting. As soon as you hit "3", release, the Scythe's UT. You're timing should be such that you hit the worm with the Scythe's UT. All you have to do is stay inside of this room and repeat this until the worm dies. Easy, flawless victory. --END BOSS-- Head outside for the next save point. --SAVE-- The pond here is full of worms. It's a battle that's not worth doing. It's very costly to win, and there's no reward, so skip it. If you want to fight it, for some reason, your best bet is to get on the edge of the pond on the far right side and charge Lunar 360 ET and UTs, then release them and come back towards the worms. This should allow you to eventually get some kills and start some essence chaining, but it's not completely safe, so you're likely to get pegged by acid balls or by the worm's grab attack. If you kill all of the worms except for a few that won't spawn near you on the edge there, then just finish them off with bow UTs. Proceed along the path and pick up the Vigoorian Flails on the corpse here. Keep going and you'll find a large pond, full of the large red fish. In order to do this fight, drop into the water very, very slowly, and then retreat back up against the edge of the shore here. From here, you can fire the spear gun constantly, and the fish won't be able to reach you. Just keep firing until they're all dead. If you dive under water and look under the surface here, you'll find a chest containing a Grains of Spiritual Health. On the platform on the left side of the pond, there's a Mushroom and a Jewel of the Demon Seal. Make sure not to forget it. Head across the way for an area containing a shop and save point. --SAVE-- --SHOP-- --TEST OF VALOR 7-- This Test of Valor is fairly nasty, as you'll discover quickly upon entering it. Worst of all, the reward is a measly Talisman of Rebirth. With that being the case, I *highly* recommend you skip this test. Even if you win it, it's not worth anything except for karma, and will cost you a lot of items to pull through. The enemies are yellow Van Gelfs and Marionette mechs. The thing that makes this Test so bad is that there are 3 Van Gelfs and 5 Marionettes on screen at a time, and they're all very aggressive. Since they both do tremendous damage with their attacks, you can find yourself going from winning to dead in just a single mistake. If you insist on doing this Test, then you have to kill the Van Gelfs first. On Master Ninja mode, there are only 25 Van Gelfs. That might seem reasonable, but it can still be really, really hard with these circumstances. Start the Test out with Incendiary Shurikens, Lunar, and Piercing Void equipped. As the Test is loading, hammer the projectile weapon. Ryu will start by throwing an Incendiary, delimbing the closest Van Gelf if it connects. Use an OT on him quickly. You want to continue killing Van Gelfs. Running around the room evasively and throwing incendiaries when you find an opportunity is as good of a method as any. If you have a Van Gelf pounce and miss, and you know there's essence laying out, then a Luna 360 ET will kill them instantly. When you come out of this start retreating quickly again, though, as a large group of enemies will be approaching. If you have a hard time finding openings sufficient to land OTs, then two Incendiaries will still kill a Van Gelf. Depending on your luck landing Incendiaries, by the time you run out of your 30, you should have killed around 15 or more Van Gelfs. It can be helpful to keep a kill count as you're going. If you get down to only 5 or so Incendiaries, and you haven't killed at least 15 enemies, then it's time to start being more careful, and only hitting each VG with one incendiary and then an OT. After you run out of incendiaries, then it's time to start using Piercing Voids. The Van Gelfs here are easy to target with Piercing Void when they're in the air. They will generally float in place and wait for the Void to hit them. With your 4 initial ninpo, and then 3 Devil Way Mushrooms, you can pick off 7 additional Van Gelfs pretty easily. Hopefully if you were careful enough with your incendiaries, this will be enough to get you through until the end of the Van Gelfs. From here, the Test is reduced to the same thing as the Test of Valor 4. To handle the Marionettes, use Lunar 360 ETs to cripple them, and then immediately after the ET use an OT. Just hammer triangle as the ET is ending and you should get the OT off virtually every time. Even if you don't, the invincibility frames should protect you. A couple of things to take note of here. When moving around the battlefield to get away from the enemies, do not jump. Only use chain dashes. The Marionettes have a move where they slide across the screen very fast. If you're in midair, it will hit you and do a lot of damage. If you're defending when it connects, it won't hurt you. The only time you should jump is when you want to do the OLC for your next 360 ET. Also, there's no need to start an ET right next to a marionette. In fact, it's more dangerous, and doesn't gain you anything. It's better to start the ET a significant distance away, and let Ryu move toward them as the ET is going. You only need the last hit of the ET to land in order to get you a crippling effect, and then the OT. After killing a marionette, it's always best to dash away and gain some distance to set yourself up for the next one you want to approach. Keep in mind to hold defense during all of this, so that you don't accidentally pick up any extra essence. Finally, don't try to get 360 UTs off. They won't gain you anything. A 360 ET will do the same effect to the marionettes that the UT will (meaning if the marionette is already injured, an ET or a UT will kill them. If not, they will both only cripple them). You have to kill 75 marionettes in this manner, so it can take a long time. If you're very careful and don't accidentally forget the "do not jump" rule, it can be done without taking any damage. However, this is very unlikely, and just taking a single hit will cause substantial damage to your health bar. To minimize the chances of this, try to single marionettes out before using your 360s on them. You probably already used most of your healing items just trying to get through the Van Gelf phase of this Test, so you don't have a lot of extra room for leeway on the marionette phase unless you're packing a substantial Life of the Thousand Gods backstock and are willing to blow it. Since this is all just for a measly Talisman, I don't recommend it. --END TEST OF VALOR-- After you talk to the large door in the rightmost area, you'll trigger a spawn of zombies. They can be easily delimbed with either Lunar 360 ETs, or Scythe UTs, and then OT'd. This is the best way to kill zombies. Their only real threat is their cannonballs, so try to keep an eye out for one firing his cannon. After the zombies are all dead, there will be more fish in the pond that you have to kill. In order to kill them this time, you want to jump onto the water, and then run as hard as you can into the little inlet on the left side. In here the fish won't be able to get to you (just like the previous spot), and you can just fire away with your spear gun until they're all dead. When this is over, save again. This is the last save and shop before the boss, so do whatever you need to do. Through the door here is a chest containing another Talisman, just in case the Test of Valor here didn't already seem ridiculous enough. At any rate, hopefully it'll net you an extra 50K essence, although you shouldn't really be hurting for essence at this point in the game. Proceed forward until you encounter another large group of zombies near the river. Once again, the Scythe is the easiest way to handle these guys, as it will delimb several of the zombies at once, for an easy couple of OTs, and then you can use the essence from those two for another Scythe UT. When all of the zombies are done, proceed on to the boss. You can also skip these zombies by just running straight on through to the boss. --BOSS-- The boss here is two dragon-type enemies. I believe they're called Quatzecoatls. Regardless of their name, they're easy picking for a boss fight at this stage in the game. Make sure you have Piercing Void equipped at the beginning of the fight, and full ninpo. You should have 4 now, and 2 Voids will kill a dragon. At the very beginning of the fight, wait until you see the one on the right start to fly. Then immediately activate your Piercing Void. You want to adjust its aim slightly down, and slightly to the left. If you get it right, it will hit the dragon as it flies through its path. After this, that same dragon will stop directly above you to do a fireball attack. Wait until you see it rear its head back, then activate ninpo again and target him. If you got both hits off, he'll be dead. The reason you want to delay activation of the spell is so you'll still be in invincibility frames when his fireball hits you. If you can't get the first one killed this easily, or you do and need to finish the second one, the strategy is basically the same as this. You want to cast Piercing Voids whenever one of the dragons stops moving, so you can be sure to hit him. If you're perfect about it, your 4 ninpo will be enough to win the day. If you're not, I recommend you just burn some Devil Way Mushrooms, rather than dying until you get a perfect run. If you really want to do this fight no ninpo, no-items, it's a real pain. The number of mini-dragon sidekicks that spawn here are surprisingly annoying and difficult to deal with, and the battle can take a long, long time to find the best openings to shoot a UT bow shot at one of the bosses, especially with two of them still alive. There's really no good reason to do this. If you're doing a karma run, you're better of using 3 Piercing Voids (two to kill one dragon, one to reduce the other to half health), then use 3 Devil Way Mushrooms, (full ninpo to get your ninpo bonus for the chapter), and then pick the last one off with bow UTs. But, for a true karma-runner, this won't net you as much karma as doing an honest-to-goodness UT-only run of this fight. =========================== C10 - CHAPTER 10 =========================== This can be an intimidating chapter to start out, but isn't too bad compared to some, like Chapter 8. Also, you're finally at the point in the game where money should no longer be an issue. If you've been fairly conservative up until this point, and especially if you haven't upgraded more than three weapons (really you could easily have gotten by on Scythe and Lunar only), you should be sitting at 300,000 essence easily. That said, this is also the point where the game gets annoying and cheap enough that I recommend you abuse items liberally, whenever you see fit, and just refill at the next Muramasa. The weapon of choice is, perhaps surprisingly, the Scythe. The Gajas come in such large numbers here that you're better of with the AoE of the Scythe's waves than with the safety of Lunar. You want to alternate between UTs and ETs (whatever you have essence available for), and OTs on the Gajas. If you keep doing this throughout the area, you should be able to do the Gaja fights without taking more than a couple of hits. Try to learn their spawn points (if you don't already from previous modes) and have a full Scythe UT ready for the very first spawn set. It's best to fight these battles where you first are when the enemies spawn, that way they don't pincer you in. When you get to the group of yellow Van Gelfs, I recommend you use Incendiaries and Scythe UTs. Fight them from behind the rock formation, so they have to come to you and you can greet them with UTs, followed by OTs. There's a lot of them, though, so be careful not to lose control. Incendiaries are the safest best, really, but cost more than the UTs. When you get to the second gap, drop down and collect a Life of the Gods, and a random chest. Now for the bad fight. There is a large battle of Gajas and yellow Van Gelfs here. Scythe UTs and ETs are still your best bet, but more important is watching for OT opportunities. Also, as you see the Van Gelf's spawn, you want to run over near them, do an immediate OLC ET, and then OT. It will allow you to kill them before they get a single move off. If you start to lose control, I recommend you cast some Infernos. They will kill Gajas, and if you hit a Van Gelf with one it will at least knock them to the ground, allowing you to use a Scythe ET or UT on them. Also, Incendiary abuse goes over really well here. If you want to do this fight with no items and no ninpo, I find the Scythe makes it the easiest (you really want to focus on ETs and OTs, don't worry about UTs so much). Once you finally get through this fight, you'll reach the first save point. --SAVE-- Here's a notorious fight in the game. The Rasetsu Bridge. On this bridge, you will fight an army of Rasetsus, the game's first boss, 3 at a time. There are a total of 10 kills you'll need to net here to end the fight. There aren't really Rasetsu, either. They're actually undead Rasetsus, meaning they have more hit points. It'll take a full 2 360 UTs to bring one down. Which, btw, is what you're going to want to be using. Lunar's 360 ETs and UTs are the best way to handle Rasetsu, even three of them at once. Use a 360 UT or ET, then start to retreat a good distance, then stop and start charging again. It might take you a while to find the rhythm. You want to listen for their approach, and judge if you have time to get to a UT, or just an ET. Also, you need to listen for, and be careful about dodging, the wind-blades attack these guys have. It's their only projectile. On Master Ninja, they'll throw four blades at you each time they use it. Bigalski has a great video of this fight on Youtube. Or, you can skip it entirely. In order to skip it, run out onto the bridge until you see the Rasetsus coming for you. As soon as you do, wait a few seconds, then run back and save, quit, and reload your file. As easy as that, you're past the Rasetsu bridge. Across the way you'll find a body with a Grains of Spiritual Health and a Devil Way Mushroom, and then another save point. If you choose to do the fight, you can use a Grains to get through, and cast a Piercing Void for help if you need it (and are at full ninpo and Mushrooms). --SAVE-- If you skipped the Rasetsu fight, you probably shouldn't grab this save point yet. I hate this next section, even worse than the Rasetsu bridge. I spent 2 hours redoing it trying to find the best strategy for it. I think I have, but it's messy. You'll start the fight off encountering a group of worms and beetles. There are 4 beetles and 2 worms at a time. To start the fight off, as soon as you hear spawns happening, start a Scythe UT charging. A well-release Scythe UT can kill all of the beetles, but should at least kill 2 or 3. If you don't get them all, try to chain into another UT, or throw an Incendiary at the remaining ones. If you come out of this part with essence laying around, switch to Lunar. You want to run forward carefully to the nearest worm, do a Lunar 360 UT (or ET if it's all you can do), and then retreat back to the beginning area. From here, you can pick the worms off with Bow UTs until one dies. Now, switch to the Incendiaries. Each time you kill a worm, more beetles will spawn. You want to kill the beetles with incendiaries, and then try to leave 2 essence out from them so you can run to a worm and do another Lunar 360 UT. If you run low on Incendiaries, keep in mind there's a body on the right side of the acid pool that has infinite refills. Eventually you'll run out of arrows. At this point, you can start picking the worms off with just Incendiaries between Lunar UTs. Eventually, a wave of beetles will come that won't seem to stop. This is a good sign, it means you're down to the last two worms. Pick a couple of beetles off with Incendiaries, and then go to a worm and use a 360 UT, and then go back to chucking Incendiaries for more essence. This phase of the fight should go quickly, and then the way is cleared. Run back and save when the fight's over. If you die, the enemies will all respawn (annoyingly), but the game will NOT lock you back into the room. You can proceed freely to the next area. In the next area, there's a pit down below containing a small herb. But it's guarded by a horde of beetles. Drop a couple of incendiaries down to get some essence, then drop into the pit and use OLC Scythe UTs if you want the chest. Overall, it's probably not worth the risk. But, you did just save, right? Now into the next area. There are even more worms here than the previous room, but no beetles. The layout is setup well for Scythe UTs, but while you're charging you might take a cheap shot from an acid ball. Be careful. Even with that risk, Scythe UTs are the quickest way to clear this section, as 3 of them will start killing the worms, and they will die several at a time (allowing for essence chains). Once you get to the point where there are only 2 worms spawning continuously, abandon the Scythe. Put on Lunar and Incendiaries. Kill them the same way as the previous room. Bring one down with an incendiary, then carefully move to the next one and use a Lunar 360. If you're brave, use the essence for the ET and then press on to the UT. When you're doing this, you'll need to put Ryu on the solid earth on the far right side of the room, so worms won't pop out from underneath you. Or, skip this fight. The first worm fight cannot be skipped (by any method I could find), but the second can. Walk into the room to trigger their initial spawn. Now, backtrack to the save point, save, quit the game, reload, done! Unfortunately, this fight's a lot easier than the first, so skipping it isn't quite as satisfying as it could be. Once you're through this awful section, another save point awaits. --SAVE-- Head down the stairs here, avoiding the mini-dragon's fireballs. Hop off on the right side and search the chest if you want, but it's probably just Ghost Fish. Head into the next area and get ready for a long Gaja fight. I recommend you move through the passageway on the right side, and fight the Gajas here, where they spawn. They're vulnerable to chained Lunar 360 ETs this way, since they stand still for a second after spawning. Either way, they only come 1-2 at a time here, so Lunar 360 ETs should make this fight easy. Make sure to hit the platform and drop the cage. Kill the Gajas here, and claim your final Jewel of the Demon Seal. The next area has a large fight of zombies. They can be fairly easily handled with either Scythe ETs coupled with OTs, or Lunar 360 ETs. The Scythe method is worth more karma, but the Lunar method is safer because of the high invincibility frames on that ET. This fight can also be skipped just by proceeding through the area. In the next area you'll have a few mini-dragons on your right side. You can use bow UTs to take them out if you want, or Incendiaries. The bow is cheaper, but Incendiaries are easier. Either route. You can ignore them and move on if you want, but they won't despawn, and will try to make a nuisance of themselves, so it's (a little) easier to kill them now. You shouldn't be too concerned about the projectile cost at this point in the game. ---SHOP--- There's a bridge after the shop. When you try to proceed across, a large group of Van Gelfs will spawn and come your way. Put the Scythe on and stay at the far end of the bridge with a UT waiting. Watch the approaching Van Gelfs carefully. When you see one pounce your direction (one almost always pounces), release the UT. You might or might not catch the pouncing enemy, but it should hit the others for decapitation (instant death) or delimbing. For the Van Gelf that's close to you, pin him down with Scythe YYYY combos until he's dead. Another wave of Van Gelfs will follow this one. You can wait with another Scythe UT, or switch over to Lunar and handle them with 360s as always. When you move across the bridge, there will be a group of zombies. During your approach watch them carefully, and if one fires cannonballs be careful to dodge them. You can either try to wait outside on the bridge for a Scythe UT to charge, and then send it into the room, or you can head on in, jump off of a zombie's head, and do a Lunar 360 ET from behind him. I find Lunar to be preferable to the Scythe in this area due to the cramped spaces, but either weapon is pretty clean. ---SAVE--- ---TOV8 - TEST OF VALOR 8--- This is a relatively easy Test if done properly, but the reward is a measly Grains of Spiritual Health, and a Talisman of Rebirth. So it's up to you. I recommend you do it, just because that 50,000 essence can be spent in chapter 11 on Devil Way Mushrooms (easily) and could make your life a lot less difficult. There are Ghost Fish and worms here. There's only 10-20 worms (I haven't done an exact count, but it doesn't take long), so the rest of the enemies are entirely just the initial rush of Ghost Fish. There's a few ways to handle them, but Lunar isn't one of them. Fortunately, Ghost Fish die in one hit, so even a level 1 weapon will suffice here. In the first game, you could cycle a combo with the Vigoorian Flails. That can still be done here, but I can't find any *easy* combos to cycle, and the one from the first game doesn't seem to work as well as it did then (I find that upon landing, there's maybe a 20% chance you'll get tagged by a Ghost Fish). That said, I found the best method to handle this was the Kusari-gama. If you just repeat the XY combo over and over again, it is a nearly break-free cycle that works beautifully. Now, you'll probably want to practice this pattern outside, before you enter the ToV, because the timing isn't too simple, but it's not too hard either. Just do XY, wait about a full second, then do XY again. The good thing here is that failure isn't usually catastrophic. You'll cause Ryu to go into a different Kusari-gama combo, which still generally works pretty well against the Ghost Fish. Hopefully with some luck, you'll get through this in a couple of runs without having to use items. Gather the essence from the fish (no need letting all of that go to waste), and then proceed to your first worm. There's a few ways to handle them, most of which you can probably guess if you've been reading this guide. Lunar's 360 ETs work well, and have a low charge time. Scythe ET/UTs work fine also, and the UT takes longer to charge, but can be done from further away. Alternately, you can kill the worms with simple Scythe YYYY combos. They will usually stunlock a worm, but you've got to be careful, because they don't always stunlock. If you do the first couple of hits of the combo, and the worm isn't rocking from the impact, you should abort and roll/jump out immediately, or you're going to get grabbed. This method is faster than the other two, but riskier and worth less karma. At any rate, this Test shouldn't give too much trouble. Collect your rewards and move on. ---END TEST OF VALOR--- Head into the next area and drop down. All of these fights can be skipped by proceeding directly onto the boss, so I won't bother covering them. It's a group of zombies, Gajas, and mini-dragons, all of which you can handle with either a Lunar or Scythe (or bow or IS) method as you feel. However, if you choose to skip through this area, be aware that there's a chest containing a Life of the Thousand Gods. Don't neglect to stop and pick it up. ---BOSS--- This is a single version of the two dragons you had to fight at the end of the previous chapter. You can still kill him with two Piercing Voids, if you like. I personally do prefer this method, just because I don't like having to repeat the previous area, and there seems to be a glitch where this guy will kill you instantly (I call it a glitch because I've seen it happen on all modes, including Acolyte, but maybe it's just an instant-death move he knows). If you don't want to waste the ninpo (the epic battle on the stairway is coming up, after all), then you've got an unlimited supply of arrows nearby. Just avoid his moves and use Bow UTs as often as possible. ---END BOSS--- Open the door, and let's proceed on up... This battle is basically a Test of Valor of its own accord, but with no rewards. There are lots of ways to handle this fight, but my purpose is just to get you through Master Ninja mode, right? Well, in that case... This fight is very skippable. If you just run up the stairwell as fast as you can, and do occasional Wind Paths off of the enemies heads whenever they're close by, and zig-zag a bit, you can reach the top and dive into doorway and it will seal off behind you, ending your fight immediately. If this is too cheap for you, or if you want some karma, then you're going to want to use either the Scythe, the Tonfas, or the Lunar. If you can get an early Scythe UT off, it will kill the entire first wave of enemies. From there, you can chain Scythe UTs over and over again with the leftover essence, and it can keep the battle under serious control. An alternate approach is to run all the way to the top of the stairwell, but not to go into the door. Then, cast a level 3 Wind Blades (you should have enough Jewels of the Demon Seal to have Wind Blades, Inferno, and Piercing Void all level 3). This will get you a lot of essence, and you can immediately start using Scythe UTs again from here. The advantage to heading to the top of the stairs is that this prevents you from having to fight the battle in "waves", which will cause you to lose your essence chains. However, I cannot verify whether or not retreating to the top like this causes you to lose some respawns from down below. The Tonfas or Lunar also work well here, and can be safer than the Scythe, but they aren't nearly as fast or as gratifying. Plus, the Scythe virtually guarantees Instant Kill and Killing Spree bonuses on nearly every enemy, which will add up to a lot of karma (if you care). ---SHOP--- ---SAVE--- This is a nice little resting point before the boss. Don't open the door until you're ready for an ambush. Also, here's something to take note of. If you haven't upgraded the Tonfa to level 3 yet, then I highly recommend you do it now. The Tonfa excels in Chapter 11, and this shop is your last opportunity to upgrade it before Chapter 11 begins. When you open the door here, there will be a large group of Van Gelfs, some yellow and some purple. There's a shop close at hand, so feel free to burn Incendiaries. The best technique is to retreat back into the main room, run up the wall, Bird Kick Flip, and then toss two Incendiaries down on the nearby enemies. Alternately, Piercing Void is lovely for this area, especially for the initial rush. There's a full ninpo chest on the other side, so if you have any ninpo remaining from the epic battle, use it here freely. If you don't want to use ninpo or items, then your best bet is Lunar 360 ETs in the main chamber. Make sure you're not in line with the hallway, so you won't get sniped by a fireball from the yellow Van Gelf, who will slowly fly his way up the hall. Personally, I recommend a mix of Piercing Voids and Incendiaries here, just to get through things quickly. When you head into the next room, the chest on the left should be a ninpo refill, the chest on the right, I believe is a Grains. Collect them, then save again. If you don't have full Incendiaries, restock at the Muramasa's. They're handy in Mission 11. Equip the Scythe, Piercing Void, and proceed on to the boss. ---BOSS--- Elizebet gave me a lot of trouble on Mentor, but on Master Ninja I figured out a pretty easy way to handle her. Stay close to her, and whenever you see her dash, dash with her (so she misses you) in the direction that she's moving (so that you stop relatively close to her), then Wind Run and do the Scythe's XYYY combo. Her AI has a really hard time dealing with this move, and it will often cause her to do nothing but get stunlocked while you're spinning. If she does her claw-swipe combo, then get away from her and wait until her last swipe, then Wind Run and XYYY. Don't worry if you're not exactly close enough, Ryu will usually move towards her during the "X" part of the move and make it work out. You can do the same thing if she does her tail-stab attack. Wait until the last stab, and then quickly Wind Run and XYYY her again. This move takes perfect advantage of all of her openings. If she gets away from you and starts to cast a spell, cast one of your own. Use a Piercing Void, but do NOT target with it. Piercing Void is slowed down dramatically when Ryu tries to target with it (to give you time to find a target). If you just activate and don't target, Ryu will release it far faster, and Elizebet is much less likely to dodge the Void. Even if she does dodge, however, casting Void will usually stop her Blood Drain attack. The best thing you can do in this fight is to lure Elizebet down into one of the lower corners of the room. Down here, she'll usually get herself caught up in an AI loop, and you'll just be able to Scythe her over and over again with the aerial combo. If you see her start to chain her dashes, though, be careful. You have to wait until she does the very last one, because if you keep jumping trying to do your attack, she'll keep hitting you, and will kill you swiftly. =========================== C11 - CHAPTER 11 =========================== There's a good chance that you just came into this guide looking for advice on this chapter alone. It's arguably the hardest chapter in the game, against Chapters 1 and 2. This chapter is extremely, excruciatingly long. I originally intended to write a full play-by-play walkthrough of the entire thing, similar to my chapter 1 and 2 guides, but I found that there's just too many ways to handle it. There's no single rule. You've got a massive arsenal of weapons now, and magic, and hopefully a reasonable stash of essence (you can be sitting at around 400k, depending on how many weapons you've upgraded). I could write a book on the various ways to handle this chapter. Hopefully if you've read the rest of the guide up to this point, you've got an idea of how this works. Pick your spots, use Scythe UTs when terrain allows, Lunar 360 ET/UT chaining, despawn enemies, etc. The most important new note for this chapter is to use the Tonfas. Particularly up in the mountain passes, they do an amazing job at killing or delimbing piles of humanoids at once, and chaining their ET and UT is relatively easy and safe. If you get in a mess with them, keep in mind they have a wicked version of Flying Swallow that is likely to delimb an enemy. So, right now you're thinking, "You're going to skip this chapter? Seriously? What kind of crappy guide is this!" Well, no. Im not skipping this chapter. Instead of doing a full detailed walkthrough, Im going to tell you the easiest way to get through it. It's cowardly, bad for your karma, and relatively expensive on essence. However, it WILL allow you to get through this chapter, and to the other side, and eventually beat Master Ninja mode. You'll be starting the chapter out with 4 ninpo, most likely. If for some reason you've still saved your Spirit of the Devils until now, then kudos, that will make things a little easier on you. Equip the Scythe, Incendiary Shurikens, and Wind Blades. Make sure your Wind Blades is level 3, if you haven't used your Jewels yet, do it now. Start the chapter out by runing like a madman. Go to the stairs, jump off on the left side, turn around, and start running. Go over the bridge, jumping off of the enemy's heads (Wind Path will stun them). After you Wind Path an archer, you should throw an IS at him, but keep moving. You want to run all the way through the level until you reach the door before the first Muramasa statue. When you do, head back a little bit into the wide-open area just before the stairs, and immediately activate a Wind Blades. You won't kill as many enemies as you want, but it'll kill a lot, while the others are gathering. As soon as this Wind Blades is over, do a quick dash, then activate another. At this point the essence from the first activation should be ready for you. If there's some blue you need then you can pick it up. If there's a red laying out, then ABSOLUTELY pick it up. Otherwise, roll back towards the corner on the right side (the cul-de-sac opposite to Muramasa's), and do an OLC with the Scythe, and release immediately. This should net you a few more kills. Right about now the next wave of essence should be ready, so do a roll/jump OLC UT again. At this point you should have killed most of the enemies. If you haven't, use another Wind Blades. After this, switch to the Tonfas to do cleanup on any remaining stragglers. Congratulations. You just finished the first 5 or so fights of the chapter. You're not quite in the clear yet. The archers that were at the very beginning of the level will still be alive right now, and slowly making their way across the battlefield to reach you. You can either go back and try to pick them off with Incendiaries, or you can proceed forward and wait until after the next fight to finish them off. You can use the Muramasa's now if you're quick about it. There's another fight on its way, so don't dawdle. If you want, you can use Devil Way Mushrooms to restore all of your ninpo, and then purchase them back from Muramasa. ---SHOP--- The next fight that's coming is a group of several Dual Katana ninjas, and there are two archers up in archer towers beyond. The best place to do this fight is right next to Muramasa's. The archers have a hard time hitting you here (but it's not impossible). That is, however, only if you didn't clean up the archers in the previous section of the game. If you went back and killed them already, then your best place to do this current fight is through the door next to Muramasa's, in the open area. From here, you can use Lunar 360 UTs (really, whatever UT you want, but I like to use one that has a safe ET to fall back on, so it's either Lunar or the Tonfa), and watch the door. Every time a DK ninja comes through, kill them. A lot of these guys will keep coming, with pretty long pauses between them, so make sure you wait about 15-20 seconds or so before you assume you've finally killed the last one. Now, you're close to the save point, but in a really precarious situation. The archers here could pick you off with some bad luck, and if you're already at low health, then you're in real danger. It's probably smart to use an Herb if you need it. You can pick off the archers here with Incendiaries if you want to get close enough, or you can hide in the tunnel behind the save point and try to snipe them from there. Remember the old easy-kill archer trick. Jump, fire one arrow in the air, land and start an OLC shot charging, and then release the ET when it charges. This will delimb an archer, removing them as a threat. Otherwise, just pick them off with careful UTs while trying to hide up against the cave walls. When you beat this fight, if you cannot use the Save Statue, that means there are enemies in the previous room who finally caught up to you, and are close enough to the Save to keep it from being available. Head back through the door by Muramasa's and take them out with Incendiaries. ---SAVE--- From here, do a full restock of your stats. Refill your ninpo, then buy back the Mushrooms necessary. Head to the next save point. That's right, the next save point. Dash from where you are through the archer towers, through the Rod of Trials area, into the section where the next save point is. Wait a second for some enemies to gather around you, then activate a Wind Blades. After the Wind Blades ends, you're going to want to jump up onto the corner of the walkway surrounding the building and activate another Wind Blades. This will help take care of the enemies who were trying to come to you from the hallway. After this, you can either switch to the Scythe and try to use some well-aimed UTs, switch to the Tonfas (for the safest method of handling the remaining enemies), or (if you're willing to spend more money in the name of winning) cast more Wind Blades until all of the enemies are dead. When you're done, save. ---SAVE--- So far, easy going, right? Now for the next fight. Open the door, and there will be a large group of IS ninja waiting for you. As soon as you open the door run back into the save area and retreat across. Take out the ninjas that follow you in with either Lunar (Izunas and then 360 ETs), or Tonfas (flying swallow or counters, then ET/UTs). When this is done, there will be more enemies waiting on the bridge, but they will be locked behind the door. Equip the Scythe and move over near the door (but not too close, or explosions can catch you) and use Scythe UTs to kill them. Keep UTing until they're all dead, then save and open the door again. Head across the bridge and into the next area. You'll trigger a fight of ninja dogs backed by a couple of archers. You can either go straight for both archers and fight in this area, or you can retreat up into the graveyard and fight the dogs off there like you did in chapter 2, or you can retreat back across the bridge and fight in the area with the save point. It's probably best to retreat back to the save point area, so you can save to despawn the archers. You'll also have to deal with less ninja dog respawns here, but that means less karma. At any rate, regardless of where you fight the dogs themselves, use the same Lunar trick as you have in the past. Dash, jump, do a 360 OLC, and release immediately whether or not you have any essence, and keep doing this until dogs start dying. When you get essence, things will start going even faster. After this fight head up to the graveyard, making sure to pick up the Jizo head in the area, and grab Kureha's key from her grave (it's amazing how consistently Ryu has opportunities to grave-rob her). Head back to the save point and save, then go to Kureha's room and collect your final Spirit of the Devils and the Windmill Shuriken. My personal recommendation is that you save this Spirit of the Devils for Dagra Dai himself. This is a good time to head back to the previous Muramasa's and refill all of your item inventory, as well as use any Mushrooms you need to get to full ninpo, or Grains to get to full health (Grains are more cost-effective than herbs). Now, for the big fight of this chapter. The proper way to do the Rasetsu battle here is to use Wind Blades and Lunar 360 UTs. Start the battle with a Lunar 360 ET OLC (you should barely have time). Then, when it ends the enemies should have gathered around you, so activate a Wind Blades. This will kill a lot of the regular human enemies. Move around until you see essence, then do an OLC 360 UT with the essence into a Rasetsu (the hard part is getting close enough to a Rasetsu to make sure you hit him, not a regular enemy). Hopefully the 360 will also take out a nearby enemy or two, allowing some essence chaining for a couple of cycles. When you run out of essence, use another Wind Blades and start the cycle over. When you run out of regular enemies, switch Wind Blades over to Piercing Void. If you run out of ninpo, you can use Mushrooms, or your Spirit of the Devils (if you don't intend to save it for Dagra Dai). When the battle is over, you can refill your hp and ninpo by firing arrows at the archer practice targets nearby. They'll give a large amount of blue and red essence, so there's no need to feel like you need to hold back on this fight (not that you would anyway). Now, in spite of my feelings of fairness/karma/etc, there's a very good reason to not do this fight fair. When you finish the battle, you will still be locked into the room, meaning you cannot backtrack to the previous save point. This means you have to do the next two fights (they're in the way of the next save point) before you can save. Both of those fights are large and dangerous. And if you die on them and have to redo this Rasetsu fight, you will find yourself very upset. There is a shop immediately following the Rasetsu fight, so you could brute-force your way through the next two fights by abusing Wind Blades and just buying Mushrooms from Muramasa, but that's even more expensive, and still somewhat risky (you should know well by now how fast you can die in this game). That being said, there is a skip trick (sorta) for this Rasetsu fight. If you're standing on the bridge still, take note of the area on the right side of the doorway. There's a glitch to cross through here and come back out onto the bridge. Go on into the area until the enemies spawn. Dash once to your right, and try to lure the Rasetsus out a little bit. Now, head into the left corner of the doorway (where I had you look before), and try to walk through. The hopes here is that an IS ninja will come over and knock you through. They can do so with grabs, or their little dash-hit move, or with an IS's explosion. There's a very real chance you'll die before you get knocked through, but hopefully that won't happen. Once you get back onto the bridge, you can kill the enemies with Scythe UTs (if you feel the need), or simply head back to the Save Statue and save, quit, reload, done. This approach may be cheap, but the advantage here is that now you've saved after the Rasetsu fight, and can do the next section without worrying about having to redo the Rasetsus. Whether or not you do this fight comes down to a matter of pride. After the fight, remember to refill all of your stats at the archery targets. If you shoot them with your bow, they'll give you essence of all colors. Head into the building for a Muramasa's and a random chest. Restock if you need it, this is the last Muramasa's you will have access to for a long time, and you're probably going to want a full item inventory for the upcoming section. Head upstairs and out the window. The fight out here should be done with Wind Blades. There's a nearby chest containing 3 ninpo in it that you can collect after the fight, so don't worry about a few Wind Blades. It will really help thin out the crowd here. Don't cast it all at once, though. Wind Blades works best when there's a crowd gathered around you, so you want to use a Wind Blades, and then maybe a Tonfa ET in the lull, and then a Tonfa UT with the essence chaining, and then another Wind Blades. Always keep an eye out for red essence drops, because that means you should make sure to collect it and get a free additional casting. If you don't want to do this fight (or any of the upcoming ones) with Wind Blades or items, then the Tonfas are your best bet. The Tonfa UT is absolutely brutal, and I cannot stress enough how excellent it is against humanoid enemies. In order to start a fight out with the tonfas, you can either use its version of Flying Swallow, which is likely to delimb (follow with an OT) or even kill an enemy instantly. Or you can try to get setup for a counterattack, which is equally effective. After this fight, get your ninpo chest if you're 3 ninpo low. If you're only 1 or 2 low, then save the chest until after the next fight. Use the Jizo Head to unlock a chest containing a Grains of Spiritual health. If you have full Grains, then don't get the chest until after you use the next save point (it'll be blue essence now, but 7000 yellow if you wait until you have full health) unless you really need immediate healing before the upcoming fight. Head through the door into the outside area. Try to get through this next fight without magic if you can (unless you saved the previous chest and have some castings left). It helps to retreat back through the doorway, so that the respawns will take a little longer to get to you. Tonfa ET/UTs should make easy work of these guys. Burn a Grains if you have to, rather than burning magic. There's a Grains chest laying next to you still, and you're going to want to use your magic to push through to the next Muramasa's. When the fight's finally over, collect any chests you left laying in the previous area, and save. ---SAVE--- Let's keep moving. The next fight can be skipped by going straight to the pond and diving under. If you want to fight it, start off with an Incendiary, OT the enemy it delimbs, then chain Tonfa UTs. Swim under the pond and come out in the next area. There will be a large group of DK ninjas here, with warlock aides. Equip your Incendiary Shurikens and the Scythe, and run, run, run. Keep heading through the area here as fast as you can. When you see an archer, drop an incendiary on him and keep going. Every time you're near an enemy or passing one, make sure to use Wind Path to jump off of their head. The invincibility frames will aid your retreat. Eventually really reach a large opening that looks like an enclosed trap. It's actually not, but it can be a little tricky to spot the tunnel that leads out the other side. Try to find it quickly. If you can't, fight the battle here. But you should be able to get through the tunnel and emerge on the other side in a rocky region where the save point is within site. Run forward to the area right underneath the save point's overhang, and then activate a Wind Blades. Lots of enemies will get caught in the spell and die. Now, do a wall run up the cliff face, and at the top throw an Incendiary Shuriken toward the archers in the cave opening. Throw one or two more if you landed on the ledge, and then drop back down (at this point the area should be crawling with enemies) and activate another Wind Blades. When this Wind Blades is over, hold triangle to do a Scythe UT, and release it when you see more enemies coming up the mouth of the mountain pass. At this point you can switch to the Tonfas, as their UT buys you more time to take stock of the situation than the Scythe's does. If you get in trouble use another Wind Blades, but try not to use any more than 3 here (unless you intend to do the Test of Valor, in which case burn all of your ninpo). Once you've used three, you should have cleared things up enough that you can finish the remaining and respawning enemies with chained Tonfa UTs. Keep going until you finally finish the last enemy off. If there are still archers up above you, take them out with Incendiaries. ---SAVE--- ---TOV9 - TEST OF VALOR 9--- This is the final Test of Valor. The reward is a Life of the Thousand Gods, but the Test probably isn't worth it still. You have to fight red dragons and acid worms. Your best bet it to tackle the dragons first, and use the Scythe on them. You want to retreat in a circle around the battlefield until you isolate one dragon (the other one starts flying), and then use the Scythe. You can either try to use ET/UTs for karma, or you can use the Scythe's aerial XYYY combo, followed by a ground YYYY combo. The latter approach is safer, but not worth as much karma. You'll have to go through a lot of dragons before this phase of the battle ends. When you kill all of the dragons (this is so much easier for me to say it than it was to do it), then switch to the worms. You can either take them out the same ways as the dragons, or you can switch to Lunar and use 360 ET/UTs (they're a little safer than Scythe methods in my experience). Once again, you'll have to go through a lot of worms before it ends. This Test of Valor isn't particularly hard, but it's mind-numbingly long to complete. You're looking at killing 100 of the highest-HP regular enemies in the game. I haven't taken the time to do an exact head-count on this ToV, but it doesn't really matter in my opinion. Whether it's 60/40 or 40/60, it still takes an excruciatingly long time. And it's difficult to get through the dragons without taking a cheap shot somewhere, and each time you take a cheap shot, it basically takes a full healing item to recover. You might wind up blowing your entire LotTG backstock just trying to retrieve the LotTG given by this Test of Valor, and while you'll wind up with a bigger lifebar as a result, I find that overall you're better off holding a full LotTG backstock as healing items for the final boss run. If you're doing a karma run, or you want to collect 100% of the items, then you have no choice but to do this Test of Valor, meaning you probably won't have any items left for the upcoming parts of the chapter. Try to at least save your Talisman of Rebirth, if nothing else. The Test of Valor will at least refill your ninpo from the previous battle, and 4 ninpo, plus 3 Devil Way Mushrooms, plus 4 ninpo and healing from the Talisman will be enough to get you through anything. There's no need to try to use ninpo in the Test of Valor. None of the spells are particularly effective against these enemies, and you don't have enough to go around for much damage anyway. You're much better off saving your ninpo for humanoids in the chapter. If you choose to finish this test, claim your final Life of the Thousand Gods. ---END TEST OF VALOR--- When you head up the stairs in the next area IS ninjas will greet you. Finish them with Lunar Izunas or the Tonfas. Try to get a perfect run of this fight, then go back and save. Head into the building and drop down. From this point, you can't backtrack to the save point. There will be enemies here. Choose either the Lunar or the Tonfas and take them out. Lunar's Izuna is really effective in this building, because of the low ceilings. It makes it easier for Ryu to catch the enemies. Head the rest of the way through the building as best as you can. There's only one really bad fight, in the room that used to be an ambush room in the first game. You can use a Wind Blades here if you want, but I don't recommend it. You're better off redoing the whole building until you can finally get through without using magic (Lunar's 360 ET is helpful in these cramped rooms), and getting to the save point on the other side. When you step outside there will be a last battle of DK ninjas. Don't be caught off guard by them, but they shouldn't give you much trouble to finish. Lunar or Tonfa UTs will make it relatively quick, or worst case scenario chuck a couple of Incendiaries to soften them up. After the fight of DK ninjas, you want to head immediately across the rope to the next save point. There are some items down below that you can go for if you want, but if you're going to do that you should save first, in case you screw up one of the fights (the enemies down there are IS ninjas). Jump on the rope and make your way across to the save point, and then save. ---SAVE--- Head back across the rope and down the well if you want, or just jump off the cliff to head below. I believe they're guarding a Life of the Gods down there. Otherwise, proceed on. Now, from here you'll need to head down a grassy hill, until you reach a rock wall at the end. There will be a lot of enemies you'll have to pass through. Equip the Wind Blades, Scythe, and Incendiaries. As you're running through, when you see an archer tag them with an IS. Keep going until you reach the dead end. There will be a group of ninjas waiting for you here. Activate Wind Blades as soon as you land next to them. If you were lucky, you'll be relatively in the clear after this Wind Blades, and be able to charge a Scythe UT and release it back into the enemies who are coming for you. If not, you're probably going to want to cast more Wind Blades. Use any Devil Way Mushrooms you have, and cast another Blades. Then try to switch to Scythe UTs. Once you get converted to Scythe UTs you should be able to get 2-3 off, but eventually enemies will start spawning right on top of you, so you might want to fall back on Wind Blades. Instead, I recommend trying to switch to Tonfa ET/UTs. You want to try to conserve your last couple of Wind Blades for real emergencies (especially if you did the last ToV and don't have any Grains left). This fight takes a while, and it's either a matter of time, or a matter of kills, but eventually Muramasa will appear and save you. After the cutscene, save. He'll give you the Omusubi here. I recommend you save it for the final boss run. ---SAVE--- You're almost through this nasty, shopless section. Only one more fight-section to go. The strategy is the same as the other. Run through all of the fights, tossing incendiaries at archers, until you reach the end. In this case, the end is our next Muramasa's. Drop down next to the shop. If you have a spell left, you can use it, but you probably don't. That being the case, you're going to want to try to kill an enemy quickly with Incendiaries (or an Incendiary and an OT), and then go into Tonfa ET/UTs. The enemies will keep dropping down onto you for a little bit, but as long as you keep using the Tonfas they should find themselves getting butchered. After you kill all of the enemies who come to you, there's likely to be one or two archers you left up above. Try to jump up and peg them with Incendiaries. If you're out of Incendiaries, then switch to the bow. Jump up, fire an arrow in midair, land, charge an ET shot on-landing, release it at them. Hopefully you'll get through this without having to die and redo it, but at least the last save point was only one fight back. Make sure to check out the chest (or body, maybe) on the right side of the battlefield here before talking to the Muramasa's. ---SHOP--- Finally, you can restock. Purchase everything that you're missing. You should be able to take a look at your essence now, and most likely you're in really good standing, so you shouldn't stress too much about the expense. If you are comfortable with your money, then you can purchse Devil Way Mushrooms and spend them until you have full ninpo again. However, it's entirely reasonable to do the rest of the chapter from this point without further ninpo, so if you don't want to waste the essence, that's also a good decision. In any case, you should at least restock your 3 Devil Way Mushroom inventory. After restocking, head back to the previous save point and save. From this point, you can technically run straight to the boss. That is your best approach for handling this section of the game, but it's not as simple as it should be. First of all, you don't need ninpo for the boss here (Genshin), so don't worry about conserving it if you're full. If, however, you didn't refill your ninpo at the last save point, then you're going to want to get to Genshin with as little effort as possible. You should go into this area with Lunar equipped. To fight the dogs, the best place to handle them is in the alley at the far side of the first battlefield. This means you need to drop down, dash all the way across the first graveyard, head into the slim opening on the far side, use an Izuna Drop on the archer waiting for you there, and then start doing Lunar 360 attacks. The level 0 is still pretty effective against the dogs here, and then levels 1 and 2 will start getting you kills. Alternately, you can continue to lead the dogs into the next area if you'd prefer, where you can use IS to pick off ninjas and then use their essence to do Lunar 360 UTs, and hopefully keep an essence chain going by killing dogs and ninjas at the same time. I'll assume you kill the dogs here, in the alley, and then free yourself up. When you do so, go back for the first archer (if you want), and search the first battlefield for any items. In the next graveyard, there's a large number of IS ninjas you have to deal with. If you're not of the "let's skip this fight" mentality, then your best bet for this fight is Wind Blades. Run to the middle of the battlefield (this way you activate all of the spawn groups at the same time), wait for the first set of enemies to reach you and gather around, then use a Wind Blades. After this, gather the essence up (no need to waste it), and then start a Lunar 360 UT charging. You want to watch the right side of the battlefield for approaching enemies. When they're starting to come within range to throw IS at you, release the 360 UT. Ryu should catch one of them with the UT and turn it into an Izuna (hit Y at the top of the UT). You can also use the Scythe UTs here, but I like the safety of Lunar's invincibility frames, particularly because enemies can approach from behind, also. After the UT ends, then cast another Wind Blades. Eventually you can switch to Tonfa UT chaining, or stick with Lunar 360s. You won't have enough ninpo to get through this fight unless you use your Spirit of the Devils, which is why I suggest skipping it and moving on to the boss. But if you want to fight with glory, this is the quickest way. The alternate approach is to wait back at the opening to this area and try to lure the various spawn groups to you back there. ---BOSS--- Genshin is basically the same as he has always been. Since he doesn't have sidekicks, I'd say he's easier now than the last time you fought him. There's only one major change that you need to take note of. For this fight, when Genshin does his charge move (the one that you always dash through to avoid), he does the dash twice instead of once. Make sure you remember this, because you don't want to get caught in the second dash. He turns it into a nasty new Izuna drop. I find the best way to kill Genshin here is Scythe YYYY combos after his dashes. He doesn't seem to put up much of a fight against them. If you've got any amount of items, you can feel free to burn them on Genshin, because there is a shop at the very beginning of the next chapter. If you made it through, good job. Chapter 11 is the last major stumbling block in the game. From this point on, the difficulty is all downhill. =========================== C12 - CHAPTER 12 =========================== ---SHOP--- This chapter starts out near a Muramasa's. Restock if you need anything, particularly Incendiary Shurikens. Make sure you have a full load. There's a Devil Way Mushroom on a body in this first area, so you might not want to purchase all of those yet, if you're not full. If you are full, then you might want to use a Piercing Void on the upcoming Van Gelf fight. The first fight is a large number of yellow Van Gelfs. You can skip them and head straight to the boss if you'd like (as always, the boss acts as a checkpoint, so if you die you won't have to redo this section). This is probably the most advisable way to start this fight, since it allows you to save the first save point until after the boss and get to full health. But it's also the cheap (and karma-less) way. To fight the Van Gelf's fair, your best bet is to stay about halfway up the incline leading to them, and pick them off with bow UTs. Each bow UT will either kill or delimb one, and then they'll try to make a charge for you. You can finish the charging Van Gelf with another bow UT, or you can wait for him to get close, them jump off of his head with a Wind Path, and then OT him from behind. Rinse and repeat. There's a lot of these guys, so this will take a while. Afterward, you can head up to the first save point. ---SAVE--- ---BOSS--- I find this fight to be even easier than the single armadillo. Start the fight out with Incendiaries equipped, and hammer the projectile button. The first armadillo should die without a hitch. If he gets too close for some reason, then just give one dash out away, and keep chucking incendiaries. When he dies, you'll need to defend in order to shrug off his explosion. This can be harder than it sounds, just because of the other armadillo's timing can sometimes get you killed for no good reason. If you don't want to risk it, then you can cast a ninpo (probably Piercing Void, as long as you adjust the target to the other armadillo so that the spell lasts longer) and avoid the explosion that way. After the first armadillo is dead, move in front of the other one's face, and then start dash/jumping away from him. Every time you're in mid-jump, toss another IS. Once you're about two dash/jumps away, then stop running and just keep chucking IS's. That should be all it takes. If you're going for karma, make sure that you don't accidentally kill these guys with Incendiaries, because the OT bonus is 200,000 karma apiece. ---END BOSS--- After the boss fight, make sure to save. Don't bother purchasing more Incendiaries, as there's a body to refill them in the next area. When you go into the next area you'll find a random chest, and then a large fight of Van Gelfs. This fight can be skipped, but if you do so you'll want to make sure to make a stop at the incendiary body nearby. If you don't skip it, then there's an Incendiary body nearby! So use incendiary abuse to kill the Van Gelfs quickly (or at least set them up for easy OTs), and then use some Lunar 360s when you want. Shouldn't give you much trouble. After you win, take note that there's a chest across a bridge on the lava on the left side. You should head back and save before proceeding down the slope, as the next section is rough. When you drop down and move forward, you'll see a group of ninja dogs spawning. Keep an eye out for this. As soon as you see the dogs spawn, switch to the Scythe, stop moving, and start charging a UT. When the first dog is almost within attacking range (keep in mind their attacking range is quite large), then release the Scythe UT. With some luck, this will kill a couple of dogs. After this, switch back to the Lunar. The Scythe ET/UT hurts the dogs more, but can't one-shot these dogs as easily as the ones in Chapter 8, meaning Lunar is the safer method. Keep running and jumping and using OLC 360s. When you think this fight's over, be cautious. Sometimes a dog will get caught on a rock somewhere, and you don't want him getting free after you trigger the next fight and joining with those enemies. After the dogs, you'll have to fight a group of yellow Van Gelfs before you can access the Save statue. As always, the safest approach here is Incendiary Shurikens. Keep in mind that Lunar's 360 ET/UT will instant-kill a Van Gelf if you can land it, still, but overall I find Incendiaries are just a more reliable approach. ---SAVE--- There's a group of yellow Van Gelfs mixed with red dragons next. Lunar 360 ETs should allow you to finish the Van Gelfs quickly enough, and then you can either continue to use 360 UTs on the dragons, or switch and use Scythe UTs, or use Scythe aerial XYYY combos. Unless you're karma-farming, I recommend you skip the whole ordeal and run straight to the next boss fight. ---BOSS--- Zedonius 2.0. He's the same nuisance he was last time, but this time with limited land to fight him on. The same tactics as before apply. When he's on the ground you want to use Lunar's XXY combo after his fire pillar. If he's in the air, you want to use Scythe XYYY combos on him at every possible opening. When he does his ground-slam move, you want to dash to not take damage, and the use a full Scythe YYYY ground combo for heavy damage. Using these combined strategies, and trying to stay close to Zedonius at all times, then with a bit of luck you should be able to beat him without him summoning Gajas. There's a shop right after this, so don't fret about any amount of item usage, just do whatever you have to to win. ---END BOSS--- After Zedonius, you have to head across the lava to get into a cave, but there's a large group of mines guarding the path. These guys are really, really annoying to farm out, and sometimes you'll think you've killed the last one, and then go to run across and die anyway. So here's a better approach: fire a set of UT arrows into the group until you've farmed out a full path in the middle (you can tell by the number of bubbles in the lava). Once it looks like a path is clear, equip Wind Blades and run across the area. When you're standing right about where the closest mine would be, activate your ninpo. Wind Blades will sweep across the area, and will kill any mines that are currently spawned. Hammer X as the ninpo is ending, and you'll run straight through into the cave. Much easier than the manual clean-up way! ---SAVE--- ---SHOP--- The area outside has marionette mechs, and a lot of them. If you want to kill them, then use either Scythe UTs and then OTs, or use the Windmill Shuriken. A Windmill Shuriken UT will either kill or cripple a marionette on most hits. Particularly, if a marionette uses their ground-stab attack, a windmill UT at that time will always kill them. Otherwise, just skip this area. There's no need to do these fights. ---BOSS--- Volf is a bit of a nuisance on Master Ninja mode. He comes with more centaurs, and they have way more respawns than on easier modes. Previously, I would've suggested you just use Infernos to get rid of the Centaurs, and then concentrate on Volf. That's still possible... but it takes too many Infernos to be a really viable strategy (it takes something like 15 castings of Inferno). Instead, when the battle begins head immediately to the right side, to avoid most of the centaurs, and then move to Volf himself. From here, use a Scythe YYYY combo if you can. If you can't, the activate Piercing Void. Don't try to target it, just let the spell auto-target itself. It'll hit Volf a little more than half of the time. When the spell is over, hammer Y with the Scythe equipped. There's a good chance Volf will take a Piercing Void, and then a full Scythe YYYY combo right in the face. It doesn't take much of this to kill him. Wait until you see him start an attack, any attack, and then activate Piercing Void again. If you run through your initial stock, then use a few Devil Way Mushrooms (you would've used them trying to kill the Centaurs with Infernos anyway), and keep it up. This is a really, really easy way to get through this fight. Well, that was a lot easier than Chapter 11, huh? =========================== C13 - CHAPTER 13 =========================== ---SHOP--- This chapter also starts out with a shop, which is pretty generous, all in all considered. You can restock from your Volf experience. Head into the big door. The first room is a group of marionette mechs. Either Scythe UTs or Windmill Shuriken UTs work great here. I'd probably start out using the Scythe, just because they start as a large group, and then move to the Windmill to deal with the respawns, who come one at a time for quite a while. After the first room, you have a second room of marionette mechs. For this time, the Scythe is a clear choice, because it's just a large group without the long string of respawns. After the two marionette mech rooms, you have a room full of zombies. I highly recommend the Windmill Shuriken here. Most of the time, a direct Windmill UT will one-shot a zombie, which is very satisfying. Lunar 360 ETs are also pretty effective, and likely to one-shot (I haven't yet figured out if this is guaranteed or not on Master Ninja, but I've had good luck with it). Overall, you should find this room really easy to clean out with the Windmill Shuriken. Now that these easy fights are out of the way, you get a harder one. The final room is a large group of yellow Van Gelfs. As always with these guys, I recommend incendiary abuse. Alternately, you can quickly retreat back to the door on the far side of the previous room, and wait here while charging bow UTs. It'll take some time (sometimes the Van Gelfs have a hard time figuring out where you're at), but it's a really safe approach to this. After this, you have to fight a group of centaurs. The best way to handle these guys is with Inferno. One casting will take out 3 centaurs, and then you can use the essence from them to use either a Scythe or a Lunar 360 UT, for hopefully at least one more kill. Your best path is just to spam Inferno to get through this section. Fighting these centaurs fair just isn't worth the hassle. If you do, however, then you're best off using Lunar 360 ETs from a wall somewhere. Head on through and into the big room on the right side. There will be a bunch of Ghost Fish in here, which can be easily cleaned up with Lunar's Y combo. ---SAVE--- Grab the chests and keep moving. With some luck, the Ghost Fish here will give you some ninpo back, but you don't particularly need it. Outside you'll encounter a large group of undead ninjas. Handle these guys however has been working for you, whether it's Scythe, Lunar, Tonfa, or True Dragon Sword. Try to conserve items here, since you've got a save point, and can redo the fight until you get a good run. There's no shop from this point until the boss. Into the tunnels. The best way to do these sacs is to use Lunar's 360 UT (I'm sure you're shocked to hear me recommend Lunar by this point). The first hit of Lunar's 360 will bust a sac open, and then about the time Ryu activates the Izuna part of the move, an enemy will be ready and he'll grab them. This means you open ever sac up with an almost guaranteed kill of one enemy. If you opened a sac that only contained two enemies, then after the UT ends you can just start abusing Lunar's XXY. For the Rasetsus, just do the same trick as always. Run from them, charge a Lunar 360 ET/UT, let it go. After clearing out the first floor of the sacs, you can head back to the save point. I recommend it, in case you make a stupid mistake in the later parts, you don't want to have to redo everything. Eventually you'll get to the save point. ---SAVE--- Outside, there's a chest that will refill your ninpo, and a few bodies. Collect the items off of them if you want. Pick off the mini-dragons with bow UTs if you want the karma. At any rate, head for Alexei. ---BOSS--- Alexei is much, much easier this time around. Just get close to him and use the Scythe's XYYY combo on him. Like Elizebet, he doesn't really have a lot of good ways to deal with it. If he uses his tornado you can activate a Piercing Void just before he would hit you with it, and there's a good chance he'll take the hit just as his tornado ends (don't target, let it auto-target so it finishes faster). If you see a good opening on the ground, the Scythe's full YYYY combo does a lot of damage. All in all, this shouldn't give you significant problems, and should be easily done with just one or two Grains. There is an alternate approach to Alexei you can try at this point, now that you have the Vigoorian Flails. If you can stun any of the Greater Fiends and knock them to the ground, then you can step up to them (quickly, they don't stay down long), put on the Vigoorian Flails, and tap the X button about once every half-second to second. Ryu will do the first hit of the combo over and over, and the Fiend will be unable to break out of it (as long as you hold consistent timing). The tricky part is knocking them down. On Alexei, I find the best method for this is the True Dragon Sword's double flying-swallow (the triple flying swallow has a large lag after the last landing, and you will not be able to get to his side in time if you do knock him down). This method also works on Zedonius or Elizebet, but Zedonius is too much trouble to knock down (he almost always blocks a Flying Swallow), and Elizebet is easier to handle with the Scythe, in my opinion. =========================== C14 - CHAPTER 14 =========================== The first fight in this chapter is a group of marionette mechs. They form a pretty nice line, and there's a Devil Way Mushroom laying on the floor next to you, so if you're full of Mushrooms you can cast a Piercing Void, and likely take many marionettes out in one shot. There's a good chance they'll give you a red essence, too, meaning you won't need the Mushroom. However, if you don't want to risk it, you can save this Mushroom and pick it up after the upcoming Centaur fight. If that's the case, you can use Scythe or Windmill Shuriken UTs on the marionettes. I personally recommend the Windmill. ---SHOP--- Next you'll come to a Muramasa statue. If you're not full on everything, I recommend you stock up. I also recommend you check your money situation out. This is the only shop before the next boss, and you have a debate you might want to make. Fiend Genshin is coming up, and the best way to defeat him requires a level 3 Kusari-gama. However, that's a 60,000 essence cost for a single boss fight. If you're swimming in money right now, then maybe it's worth it to you. Otherwise, he can be done with the Scythe. Make your choice, and upgrade Kusari-gama if you'd like. Personally, I do not do this. Head outside for another Centaur battle. Like previous centaur battles, I recommend you use Infernos to make short work of them. Otherwise, your best approach it to use Lunar 360 UTs when the centaurs are away from you, and wait for them to run into it. It'll take a while to kill them this way (they often move out of the UT), but it's safer than other approaches. ---SAVE--- You can still backtrack to the beginning of the mission from here. If you left the mushroom, pick it up now. Restock at the shop if you need. Just run across the fish pond. Unless you want to karma farm, it's way, way, way too much work to try to fish this thing out. The best path seems to be to stick mostly to the middle, but when you approach the largest group of fish at the center of the pond, veer slightly to the right side, and then slowly readjust back to the middle. I rarely get caught when I take this path (but it's not guaranteed). ---BOSS--- Fiend Genshin. He's not wildly different from other Genshins, but he is a lot more aggressive, and he likes to teleport out of your hits. There are 4 main ways to handle him, in my opinion. 1. Kusari-gama. If you Wind Path, and then do Kusari-gama's YY combo, Genshin has a terrible time at handling it. It really messes with his AI. In my experience, most of the time, you can pretty much just do this over and over until he dies. He'll slip out some of the time, but usually he just tries to go into a combo on you while you're already safely in the air, and he fails. 2. Scythe. In my experience, the YYYY combo (while the most damaging attack) is not worth using against Genshin. He likes to slip out of it far too often. Instead, use the XYY combo (on the ground, not in the air). The first X hit usually prevent Genshin from teleporting, and then he'll take either both of the Y hits, or at least one of them. In either case, this is my preferred method for fighting him (since I don't normally upgrade Kusari-gama). 3. Lunar. XXY works on Genshin like on any boss. He's likely to get hit by the Y for decent damage, and the move is fast and relatively safe. All in all, I don't find Lunar control him as well as other weapons, though. 4. True Dragon Sword. The TDS's XYY combo is actually terrific against Genshin, and he very rarely tries to avoid it, and even if he does, he often takes at least one hit from it anyway. It's a very clean way to control him. However, it doesn't do as much damage as the Scythe, and so it can make the battle last longer, which leads to more mistakes. The key to beating this battle it not to blow your entire healing arsenal before Elizebet. Try to get through using only one Grains of Spiritual Health, or two if you must. If you have a substantial backstock of LotTG (3 or more), then feel free to use those on Genshin. They'll get you more HP for Elizebet and Dagra Dai, and really 2 LotTG is more than enough for the final boss run (you don't actually need any, but it makes things easier). ---END BOSS--- ---BOSS--- Elizebet can be handled the exact same as the last time you fought her. Just Wind Run into her, and use the Scythe's aerial XYY combo. If you start to lose control of the situation, or if she tries to do her blood-drain attack, just cast a Piercing Void, but do not target with it. With four (or five) castings of Piercing Void at your disposal, and at least 1 Grains and 3 Herbs remaining, you really shouldn't have much trouble with her. But if you are really struggling, and have some money to burn, then try to increase the number of times you're using Piercing Void, and let your Talisman of Rebirth kick in, so you get a free full-healing, and a renewed stock of Piercing Voids to use against her. If you can hit her with even 4 Piercing Voids, and then a good number of aerial Scythe combos, she'll go down pretty fast. If you can't seem to get the Scythe method to work for some reason, then Lunar's XXY is still effective against her, as she's a flying boss. Alternately, it's worth knowing about the dead-body trick here. If you get on the opposite side of Genshin's dead body, and use Scythe UTs, you can kill Elizebet without her being able to hit you. It's a cheap trick, but as I've mentioned before, this is a cheap game, so I wouldn't feel too guilty about it. ---END BOSS--- ---SHOP--- ---SAVE--- Final shop of the game, and final save point. Restock all items, use Mushrooms to refill your ninpo (no need holding back now, right?) as long as you can afford it, then save your game. The tunnels ahead are full of Van Gelfs. SKIP THEM. I'm not just saying this out of laziness, this time. If you skip the Van Gelfs here, it will make Dagra Dai a lot easier. ---BOSS--- Dagra Dai. If you skipped the Van Gelfs in the previous area, then he will be unable to summon sidekicks for himself. But, this trick only works once. So if you die, you'll need to say "no" when the game asks you to continue, and retrace your way back to here (not too hard). Dagra Dai is really a lot, lot easier without the Van Gelf adds, and for Master Ninja I really recommend you take the cheap route. Now, that's not to say this method doesn't have a drawback. When there are no Van Gelfs helping him, Dagra Dai likes to spend more time in the air. He's not as likely to come down for you. Since that's the case, you're going to want to abuse some Piercing Void to help take him out. Here's the basic pattern of this fight. When the fight starts, run up to Dagra Dai and use the Scythe's XYYY combo in the air. If you get your position right, you'll catch on his feet and do some damage. When you land, he'll either be doing pillars of light, or lightning bolts. In either case, do a roll/jump away from him, and then activate Piercing Void. Target Dagra Dai manually to prolong the spell's invincibility frames, then let it go. When it ends, do another roll/jump away. If he's using lightning bolts, wait until he stops. If he's firing his giant beam, then run right up to him. In either case, you want to jump up underneath him and use the Scythe's XYYY combo again. He will either do another pillar/lightning cycle (in which case you do another Piercing Void), or he will pull out his swords and come down to you. When he's on the ground, you've got a couple of options. You can try to get close and do the Scythe's YYYY combo on him. But if he does the move where he spins about and throws his tentacles, he will one-shot you. If he does his regular sword combo, you want to alternately block and dash through the hits, making sure to dash through the last one. After you dash through this last hit, he will be vulnerable to a Scythe YYYY combo for great damage. Then you're probably going to want to move away from him, in case he does something bad. If he does his lightning bolts on the ground, then get close to him quickly (circle around him to keep from getting hurt too much by the lightning), and then Wind Run towards him and do an aerial XYYY. As long as you Wind Run, then the Scythe's combo extends the invincibility frames of the Wind Run, and you'll be able to damage him without taking any damage yourself. However, when you land, you will start getting hit by lightning bolts. You can either activate a Piercing Void, or try to dodge around until he finishes. In either case, do not stay too close to him. He sometimes likes to come out of his ground-lightning and immediately do the spinning tentacle move. If Dagra Dai ever goes up in the air where he kind of slides around casually, keep an eye out for it. This is a great time to use Scythe combos on him, either ground or aerial. The ground combo does more damage, but he seems more likely to teleport out of it (which isn't always bad, he often follows a teleport with his regular sword combo, which gives you another opening for a Scythe ground combo). At any case, sooner or later Dagra Dai will go back into the air. When he does, be prepared to use more Piercing Voids to counter his attacks, with aerial combos between the cycles. When you run out of your first 4 ninpo, use your Spirit of the Devils for a 5 ninpo refill. When you run out of those, go ahead and burn mushrooms (you don't need ninpo for the next two fights). If you'd like, instead of using regular healing items on Dagra Dai (you will take damage from his lightning sometimes, and so you will need to heal eventually), you can use your Talisman on him and save all of your other healing for the upcoming fights (you'll especially want to do this if you didn't save your Spirit of the Devils for him) By using the Spirit of the Devils, Talisman, and Mushrooms, you can get a total of 17 Piercing Voids off on Dagra Dai. This will do well over half of his health by itself, and get you a long way toward an easy victory with just a few Scythe combos. Dagra Dai is the real final boss in my opinion, so don't feel bad if you wind up using more healing items than you intend to. Both of the next two bosses can be done without healing relatively reasonably. As long as you leave Dagra Dai with at least 2 healing items of any large sort (a LotG upgrade, LotTG, Talisman of Rebirth, Grains, all three Herbs), then you can still get the final victory. Assuming you have no other healing items, then this is how I recommend you ration a full item stock on the upcoming fights: Dagra Dai - Talisman of Rebirth, 3 Devil Way Mushrooms, 2 Grains of Spiritual Health Archfiend v1 - 3 Herbs of Spiritual Health Archfiend v2 - 1 Grains of Spiritual Health, 1 Omusubi ---END BOSS--- ---BOSS--- The Archfiend version 1 is actually a very easy fight. What a lot of people don't seem to realize is that he's actually a race. Between each stage of the fight, as long as you beat him to the top, you will be able to squeeze in a bow UT before he can summon his minions, which makes this fight go very, very easy. The key is knowing the paths. The first time you end a cycle, you will have to go left, right, long left after each climb. The second time, you go left, really short left, long left. As long as you don't wind up getting lost or confused between the stages, you should easily be able to beat him to the next fight area, and have a UT arrow waiting for him. In case you don't already know, here's the basic pattern to beat him. Start off by firing a bow UT at his head. This will make him vomit blood. Dash/jump, dash/jump to the left or the right. When you land, start an OLC bow UT charging again, and release it as soon as it's ready. Don't accidentally target with it. Let Ryu auto-target, he's more accurate than you are. He also knows instinctively whether to go for the head or for the stomach. Between each shot, dash/jump twice, OLC, and release your UT as soon as it's ready. If you're quick enough, you'll keep the Archfiend from ever getting an attack off successfully. There are bodies with arrows in them on the ground for each cycle. You should fill up whenever you're close to them, but you don't ever want to waste more than a second doing so. After you see the Archfiend release with one arm and slip, it means he's going to start climbing. Immediately move over to the blockage on the right side of the screen, tuck yourself into the corner against the wall, and hold down the defend button. The Archfiend's tail will knock the blockade away, and you can quickly start your climb. When you reach the top, learn to watch for when the Archfiend becomes vulnerable. You want to fire a UT shot as soon as you can, but not so soon that he won't be hurt by it yet. His climb isn't over until he settles down slightly and his arms are both bent at even angles at the same height. After he settles into this position, wait about 2-3 seconds, then release your UT (which you should have already been charging). He should get hurt, and you've successfully started the next cycle. Each time you make the Archfiend climb, the battle counts as being "over", meaning Ryu will recover any non-red damage of his lifebar. This is the time when you should use your small Herbs (if you need healing), because Herbs are the most effective when they're recovering nothing but red damage. That's why I recommend you plan to use your 3 small herbs on this boss, and no more. ---END BOSS--- ---BOSS--- The perfected Archfiend. There's a really easy trick to beating this guy, and it's surprisingly effective. Equip the Lunar. Now, from where you start the battle, take note of the Archfiend's hand that is on your left (this is actually the Archfiend's right hand, from his point of view). You want to move to the outside edge of this hand. From this point of the battlefield, the Archfiend will only do two attacks. One, he will punch the ground repeatedly, damaging you with shockwaves 2-4 times. This can be avoided by dashing each time his punch lands. Two, he will fire a large beam of light that he sweeps across the battlefield. When it reaches you, you can dash to avoid it (the window here is surprisingly forgiving). Between each one of his attacks, use Lunar's XXY combo once on the Archfiend's hand. The Scythe's YYYY combo is too slow, and you won't be ready in time to dash for the next attack cycle if he chooses to punch. Rinse and repeat. With luck, the entire battle can be done from this position. But luck doesn't always favor you, so sometimes the Archfiend will get up and fly away. To avoid his attacks, move to the back part of the battlefield (this way when he flies over, he won't hurt you). Roll/jump back and forth here in a large pattern (this will allow you to avoid the lava rain). If he uses his lightning attack, start walking, and wait until the attack hits and jump, the move will not hurt you if you're in the air (usually you can just start jumping constantly and you'll almost always avoid this attack). If the Archfiend lands on the edge of the cliff, retake your position on the outside of his hand and resume operations. If he lands on the back part of the cliff to walk around, switch to the Scythe and use a YYYY combo on his leg from the side and slightly behind him. Sometimes he'll tail-swipe you this way, but I find the amount of damage a full Scythe YYYY combo does to his foot is worth it. If he falls on one knee, then spam Y with the Scythe on the ground. Keep this basic pattern going, and you should find a relatively easy victory in this final boss. ---END BOSS--- ---END CHAPTER--- ---END GAME--- Congratulations. You should now have your Path of the Master Ninja achievement. If you're up for a karma run, then it's time to start over, not skip any fights or allow any enemies to be despawned, end every chapter with full ninpo, do all Tests of Valor, and get all chapters within the time limit. Gogogo! ---CONTACT INFO--- If you have any suggestions, or if I missed a detail somewhere, feel free to contact me at abaddononion at hotmail dot com. ---DISCLAIMER--- This FAQ is only for use on GameFAQS. You may not copy, reproduce, or link to this FAQ without permission. If you want to use this FAQ on your website or publication, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I have no problems with anyone who asks. APRIL 2009.