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    Walkthrough by sophialeigh

    Version: 1.01 | Updated: 06/22/09 | Search Guide | Bookmark Guide

    ===============================================================================
                                        Chaos Wars
    ===============================================================================
    
    Platform: Playstation 2                                  Author: Georgi Samaras
    Developer: O~3 Entertainment (2008)               E-mail: SophiaLee04@yahoo.com
    Genre: Turn-based Strategy RPG                                    Version: 1.01
    Rating: T (Animated Blood, Mild Fantasy Violence)   Last Updated: June 21, 2009
    
    
    ===============================================================================
                                     Table of Contents
    ===============================================================================
    
       Introduction ....................................................... [int]
       Cast
         - Original Characters ............................................ [org]
         - Spectral Force ................................................. [spe]
         - Shinsengumi Gunrou-den ......................................... [sgd]
         - Shadow Hearts .................................................. [sdw]
         - Growlanser ..................................................... [grw]
         - Gungrave ....................................................... [gun]
         - Steady X Study ................................................. [sxs]
         - Dengeki PlayStation ............................................ [dps]
         - Rebirth Moon ................................................... [rem]
         - Mars of Destruction ............................................ [mod]
       Controls ........................................................... [con]
       Game Flow
         - Base ........................................................... [bas]
         - Events ......................................................... [evn]
         - Battle ......................................................... [bat]
       Battle Basics
         - The Status Screen .............................................. [tss]
         - Skills and Realize ............................................. [skl]
         - Battle HUD ..................................................... [hud]
         - Battle Options ................................................. [bto]
         - The Golden Rules ............................................... [tgr]
       Walkthrough
         - Chapter 1 ...................................................... [ch1]
         - Chapter 2 ...................................................... [ch2]
         - Chapter 3 ...................................................... [ch3]
         - Chapter 4 ...................................................... [ch4]
         - Chapter 5 ...................................................... [ch5]
         - Chapter 6 ...................................................... [ch6]
         - Chapter 7
           - Visiting Sluc ................................................ [c7s]
           - Facing Laru .................................................. [c7l]
         - Chapter 8 ...................................................... [ch8]
         - Chapter 9 ...................................................... [ch9]
         - Chapter 10 ..................................................... [c10]
       Credit/Thanks ...................................................... [mct]
       Author's Notes/Version History/Hosts/Legal Info .................... [mal]
    
       I've done my best to implement an in-document search system.  For best
       results, copy and paste the letters and numbers (complete with brackets)
       into the browser's Find feature under Edit.
    
    
    ===============================================================================
                                      Introduction                          [int]
    ===============================================================================
    
      Chaos Wars is a strategy RPG that has been out for a couple of years in
      Japan but has recently made its way overseas thanks to O~3 Entertainment.
      Offered as an exclusive release through GameStop, it was pushed back
      multiple times with a release date surrounded by confusion, so if you were
      able to be patient enough to get a copy, kudos.
    
      The game itself is one huge crossover encompassing titles from companies
      like Aruze, Atlus, Idea Factory, and RED.  The story involves three high
      school students who skip school to search for a cave that is said to lead to
      another world, where there is supposedly a god that will grant wishes.  They
      end up falling into a parallel universe named Endia, the End of All Worlds.
      Deemed "Knights" in this world, Hyoma, Hayate, and Shizuku work to find a
      way home while helping other Knights to do the same.  The story is NOT canon
      where any crossover characters are concerned.
    
      The real lure of this game is the huge roster, but the battle system is
      interesting in and of itself.  Don't be shocked to find that this guide is
      more of a battle primer than an actual walkthrough; the reason will become
      apparent soon.  Before you begin playing, do yourself a favor and turn off
      the English voices and either stick with Japanese or none at all.  The
      reason for that will also become apparent sooner than you think.
    
      As for this walkthrough, it was written 1) to help you understand the basics
      of the game as well as I can understand them since the game's manual and
      tutorial are crap, 2) to help you get as many recruits as possible in one
      playthrough, 3) to lay out how to recruit all 50 knights, and 4) to give
      you background info on characters from games most of us have never heard
      of.  Long story short: I have a love/hate relationship with this game, and
      I may have blown a gasket somewhere during the writing process due to its
      aggravatingly frustrating nature.
    
      Enjoy!  :D
    
    
    ===============================================================================
                                          Cast
    ===============================================================================
    
      This section is not meant to tell you what allies are the best or who is a
      shoe-in to win a fight.  With the right equipment and a high rank, any
      character can hold their own in battle.  Instead, this list is going to
      provide some tidbits on allies, enemies, and NPCs and the series in which
      they appear.  I will also detail their Realize skills, weapon preferences
      (i.e. - what they have equipped during their Realize state), and when and
      how they actually join your party (if they are able).
    
      Character recruitment in this game is grueling enough to categorize this
      title as a puzzle game along with "strategy" and "RPG".  Some of the tougher
      character recruitment requirements were figured out with help from posts on
      the GameFAQs message boards and a Japanese walkthrough for the game.  The
      walkthrough will outline specific steps you need to take to get as many
      characters as possible through a single playthrough.  Here, I'll just tell
      you where they'll show up.
    
    
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                   Original Characters                      [org]
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    
      Because the crossovers can't happen without a catalyst...
    
    
      Rin
      ---
        Rin Sunroad is a Gate Master, one in a long line of her family who is able
        to utilize the Gates scattered around Endia to their fullest, as well as
        being able to transport at will.  Rin is important to the group as she is
        the only one who knows what the hell is going on.  As soon as a new Knight
        joins, Rin is called on to recite the facts.  She is always trying to be
        useful and responsible, but it usually ends in her putting words into
        people's mouths: "You think I'm a good-for-nothing, don't you?"
    
        Joins: automatically during chapter 1, act 1
        Weapon of Choice: wand
        Realize: Thousand Arm; Rin summons a portal to another dimension and
                 conjures up a bunch of random items to throw at an enemy
    
    
      Hyoma
      -----
        Hyoma Kusaka is a sourpuss.  He also thinks he's a badass and resorts to
        calling people names when they don't see eye-to-eye with him.  He is
        incapable of being excited about anything, even something like having a
        prophetic dream about a cave leading to another world behind his high
        school and then actually finding it.  Seeing it as a way to ditch school,
        he rather likes the change of scenery Endia offers and, though he is one
        of the first to ask for a way back, he sees no real need to rush the
        matter.
    
        Joins: automatically during chapter 1, act 1
        Weapon of Choice: sword
        Realize: Guilty Break; Hyoma traps a single enemy in a ring and runs them
                 through with a spear of light
    
    
      Hayatemaru
      ----------
        Hayate Mudoin sees himself as a comedian, even if no one else does.
        Perhaps this is why he follows Hyoma around: to provide the comic relief
        his "friend" lacks.  Even though he has a black belt in karate and has
        trained himself to wield a spear, Hayate constantly relies on Hyoma to
        protect him, especially in the strange land of Endia.  This makes him
        really, really annoying.
    
        Joins: automatically during chapter 1, act 2
        Weapon of Choice: spear
        Realize: Angry God Attack; Hayate runs through a single enemy nine times
                 while "chanting" the Nine Syllable Seals
    
    
      Shizuku
      -------
        Shizuku Mizuki is a gamer.  Having followed Hyoma and Hayate to Endia with
        no apparent reason other than "They were going, why shouldn't I?", she's
        anxious to get back for no apparent reason other than to catch the latest
        video game release.  She's also a spaz; she always carries a harisen
        (paper sword) around with her and won't hesitate to whack people with it.
        She could probably do this with surprising force since she has practiced
        kendo.
    
        Joins: automatically during chapter 2, act 2
        Weapon of Choice: sword
        Realize: Harisen Dance; Shizuku spins her dual harisen to send an enemy
                 flying in the air where she then proceeds to chop them up
    
    
      Wruzel
      ------
        The daughter of the chieftain on Pagoras Island.  Because of the way of
        life there, she was brought up to hunt and fight and believes that
        anything that can be won by force is hers for the taking.  She lives by
        that rule even when it doesn't work in her favor; a fair fighter if ever
        there was one.
    
        Joins: defeat her with Hyoma in chapter 4, act 1
        Weapon of Choice: axe
        Realize: Gaia Rave; Wruzel uses her axe to call upon the power of Mother
                 Earth to rise up and damage enemies
    
    
      Yoichi
      ------
        Yoichi is a gunman for the secret organization known as the Luin.  He is
        sadistic, cruel, and loves a good fight.  He knows more than he lets on
        but won't part with valuable information unless he can strike a deal.
    
        Weapon of Choice: gun
        Realize: Thunderbolt Cannon; Yoichi fires a ball of light at a group of
                 foes and explodes it when they are completely engulfed
    
    
      Lubul
      -----
        A monkey that lives on Elshant Island.  With his low IQ and aggressive
        behavior, he has nothing better to do than be annoying.  He has the
        uncanny ability to sense what sets a person off and then does it
        repeatedly.  For some reason, he falls in love with Shizuku after she
        beats him near to death with her paper swords.
    
        Joins: during the second stage of chapter 4, act 3, have Shizuku Realize
               and deal the finishing blow with her Harisen Dance
        Weapon of Choice: spear
        Realize: Heaven Tour; Lubul summons a tornado to sweep the field and
                 suck up enemies (at least, that's what the game says it does;
                 Lubul's Realize is glitched and therefore unusable)
    
    
      Zard
      ----
        Zard is an eccentric detective from Toriltram Island who has been
        collecting keys in search of a certain one.  He apparently cannot remember
        anything from his childhood and is looking for a way to fix that.  Though
        he seems shady, his advice seems sound and his endeavor is serious enough
        to trust him.  However, that doesn't mean he isn't a jerk that won't make
        you complete random tasks for information.  He is in possession of a
        Master Key that resonates with others nearby.
    
        Joins: automatically after chapter 5, act 2
        Weapon of Choice: sword
        Realize: Open the Door; Zard uses his giant, key-like sword to open a
                 portal to another dimension that sucks in multiple enemies
    
    
      Sluc
      ----
        Rin's childhood friend and representative of Shalulu Island.  She must
        have been typical when they were young: Sluc teases Rin and pushes her
        around just enough to make Rin cry but not enough to actually hurt their
        friendship.  She wields a crossbow infused with the power of a god, but
        Sluc ultimately breaks it every time she uses its special power.
    
        Joins: during chapter 7, make sure she takes little damage during the
               "Saigou Takamori" quest; act is dependent on whom you chose to
               talk to first at the beginning of the chapter
        Weapon of Choice: gun
        Realize: Imeramihi; Sluc charges up her crossbow and fires a high-powered
                 bolt of energy covering a large damage radius
    
    
      MAKO
      ----
        A "Multi Attack Kill Object" discovered on Toriltram Island.  She is a
        battle android, and that is about all anyone can say.  No one knows her
        creator, when she was made, or even her original purpose, not even her.
        She knows no allies and acts according to her program, which is to attack
        anything that is not registered as an ally.  By causing her to shut down
        and reboot, one is able to register themselves as a friend and avoid
        needless destruction.
    
        Joins: if you chose to see Sluc, do a 4+ stage at Toriltram Island and
               defeat her with Grave in the fourth stage; she may only appear if
               RB, Juji, and Bunnji have been recruited
        Weapon of Choice: gun
        Realize: Genocide Ray; MAKO creates a nexus point in the midst of a group
                 of enemies and send explosions hurtling towards them via her
                 massive weapons
    
    
      Laru
      ----
        Laru Branshen is the current captain of the Kishidan, whose base is on
        Radiance Island.  His family has been in charge of the peace-keeping group
        for many generations.  Since the founder of the Branshen family and the
        Kishidan (in other words, Laru's ancestor) was a Knight, Laru can Realize,
        so the power is apparently hereditary.  Laru takes his job very seriously
        and will do anything he can to protect the public and keep them at ease.
    
        Joins: if you chose to see Laru, defeat him in chapter 7, act 2 but do
               not save unless you actually see him in your roster; if he does
               not appear, reload and try again
        Weapon of Choice: sword
        Realize: Flame Dust Sword; Laru uses his family's sword to materialize a
                 sun and burn away an enemy
    
    
      Emily
      -----
        Emily is a naval freak.  She is a Lieutenant Commander in the Japanese
        Imperial Navy and even took the name of a famous naval cruiser, the
        Itsukushima, as her last name.  Taking it one step further, Emily even
        wears a uniform based on the ship's design.  Why?  Her one dream is to be
        a battleship cannon.  Nobody cares, really, as it's no surprise that Emily
        is no fighter and doesn't have a place in battle.  Her weapon is proof of
        this: it was a victim of design failure and can't even fire correctly.
    
        Joins: during chapter 8, act 2, defeat her before Gaizan
        Weapon of Choice: gun
        Realize: Battleship Cannon; Emily uses her peculiar headdress to seek out
                 an enemy and then pummels them with her cannon
    
    
      Ovia
      ----
        Ovia Edis is a witch that has taken up residence for who knows how long
        in the Imperion Library.  Having so many books around her, coupled with
        her magic powers, has given her the knowledge to understand the nature
        of Endia and a possible way to get Hyoma and his party home.  She likes
        to seduce men (with or without her magic) and wears clothing to match
        her hobby.
    
        Joins: automatically after the "Ovia's Record" quest in chapter 9, act 1
        Weapon of Choice: wand
        Realize: God of Destruction; Ovia summons ghosts with a spin of her cane
                 to come haunt her target and then steal away their soul
    
    
      Nagare
      ------
        Nagare Tessin is a ronin (masterless samurai) from the Azuchi-Momoyama
        period of Japanese history, which was a time of political unification
        preceding the Tokugawa shogunate's establishment.  He only cares for
        three things: training, swords, and fighting.  Because of this, he became
        a mercenary as soon as he was transported to Endia.  He may be an
        excellent fighter, but he is a little underdeveloped in the area of
        intelligence.
    
        Joins: during chapter 9, act 1, complete the "Kishidan Counterattack"
               quest at Pagoras Island after defeating Nicole, making sure Nagare
               does not sustain a lot of damage during the second stage
        Weapon of Choice: sword
        Realize: Wait Just a Sec!; true to its name, Nagare's Knockout lets him
                 take multiple last minute swings at an opponent by dancing
                 around to their vulnerable side
    
    
      Shelley
      -------
        The adopted daughter of Lygen, Shelley presents herself to Hyoma's group
        as a Gate Master, much to the surprise of Rin.  She is a Knight since she
        can Realize but also seems to possess powers not unlike a true Gate
        Master, including teleportation and the ability the use the gates.  Her
        origins are unclear; what is known is that she will do anything to help
        her father, is spoiled rotten, and loves dolls.
    
        Joins: the specifics for Shelley are an absolute mystery; some
               possibilities are in the walkthrough under chapter 9, act 2
        Weapon of Choice: doll
        Realize: Night Dance; Shelley gets in the spotlight and puts on a show
                 for enemies in her range that is apparently so awful it causes
                 major damage
    
    
      Lygen
      -----
        Lygen Boltiano, supposedly of Endia, is the leader of the secret
        organization known as the Luin.  His one goal is to collect keys in order
        to change the very fabric of Endia itself, which he explains as "creating
        a Paradise".  A devoted father, Lygen wants to do everything he can for
        his little girl, Shelley, who he calls his Princess.
    
        Weapon of Choice: sword
        Realize: Dark Execute; Lygen traps multiple enemies in a magic seal where
                 he slashes them with his Dark Blaster
    
    
      Endia
      -----
        The originator of the Sunroad family, Endia is a manifestation of the Egg
        of the World's will.  It is Endia's job to use the Gates to absorb
        parallel worlds.  Even though he is connected to the Egg, Endia has a will
        of his own and desperately wishes to put an end to the Egg's destructive
        tendencies.  To this end, he uses the gates to summon strong Knights to
        help him, though none have succeeded.
    
        Joins: defeat Endia during chapter 10, act 2 when the sun is in phase 0
        Weapon of Choice: sword, spear, fist, wand, book
        Realize: Chaos Gate; Endia inverts colors and rains chaotic energy on a
                 group of unfortunate foes
    
    
      Egg of the World
      ----------------
        The will of Endia is basically a storage for parallel worlds' infinite
        possibilities.  To give an example, if you come to a fork in the road and
        choose the left path, then the Egg absorbs the infinite possibilities
        that would have emerged from you taking the right path.  The Egg grew a
        will of its own and wanted to create its own world by absorbing others
        using the Gates and those who control them.
    
        Realize: Band Gig; the Egg of the World recreates the Big Bang to damage
                 enemies in its range
    
    
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                    Spectral Force                          [spe]
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    
      There are numerous games all related to the Neverland setting, so I'll just
      refer to them all as the Spectral Force series, made by Idea Factory.
      Related games concerning Chaos Wars include Spectral Tower (1996), Spectral
      Souls (1997), Spectral Force 2 (1998), Generation of Chaos (2003), Radical
      Elements (2004),  and Blazing Souls (2006).  A couple games are in English:
      a PSP version of Spectral Souls (2006) and Generations of Chaos (2006), and
      Spectral Force 3 (2008).
    
    
      Hiro
      ----
        Hiro, or Hillo as she's called in recent remakes, is the major icon for
        the series.  She's the daughter of Overlord Janus, the Devil ruler of
        Neverland who actually fought for equality and justice.  Though she has
        some devil features, she inherited her power over fire from her mother.
        Hiro continued her father's work by acting as a leader of the Devil's
        Army multiple times throughout Neverland's turbulent history.  She wields
        an impressive scythe, the Gate of Heaven, that she has used to save her
        father, sister, and brother's souls from turning into evil spirits.
    
        Joins: automatically during chapter 1, act 2
        Weapon of Choice: scythe
        Realize: Hell's Cruel Fire; Hiro uses her father's scythe to call upon
                 her mother's power of fire to burn multiple enemies using five
                 hellish flames
    
    
      Wallace
      -------
        Wallace, from the third Generation of Chaos game, isn't one to be cooped
        up in a building or sitting around doing nothing.  He is always eager to
        explore and pick fights with any new monsters that should cross his path.
        He served as a member of the royal guards for the Kingdom of Radia on the
        Old Continent and succeeded in defeating the devil beast Zenon.  He's a
        good person and will gladly lend his fighting skills to a worthy cause.
        You could also call him a bit eccentric; like a dog, he is often caught
        leaving his kills around the base.
    
        Joins: in chapter 2, act 1, have Hiro deal the finishing blow to Gaizan
               to get the Dual Sword Key
        Weapon of Choice: double sword
        Realize: Dark Baron; Wallace makes multiple swipes with his dual swords
                 and then charges after summoning the strength of the Dark Baron
    
    
      Tonaty
      ------
        From Radical Elements, Tonaty is a young boy who is actually king of
        Olutaded, which lies between human and devil territory.  Because of his
        important position coupled with his age, he is sensitive about his height
        and also suffers from an inferiority complex because of his father's
        reputation.  Because of his typical boyhood nature (arrogant as all get-
        out), he is not one to get pushed around except by his childhood friend,
        Tiria, who is the only one who can seem to keep him in line because of
        her equally aggressive nature.
    
        Joins: in chapter 2, act 1 have anyone but Hiro finish off Gaizan to get
               the Blue Wing Key
        Weapon of Choice: sword
        Realize: Astral Claw; Tonaty calls upon his other personality, Soma, to
                 sweep enemies in with his giant wings and attack
    
    
      Mue
      ---
        Mue is descended from the legendary Warrior Chiffon who defeated Janus
        with the Devil's Sword.  However, she does not know this, having been
        adopted by Rodney, a famous trainer.  Mue seems to have inherited some
        fighting prowess along with her ancestor's sword, as she went through
        training at the Varanoire School and ended up fighting for Neverland in
        the Rozes Liberation Army to end the Seven Years War as quickly and
        peacefully as possible.
    
        Joins: use the Devil's Guardian Key obtained after the Shalulu Island
               quest in chapter 2
        Weapon of Choice: sword
        Realize: Devil Meteor; Mue uses the Devil's Sword to gather energy and
                 rain it down upon enemies in the vicinity
    
    
      Orochimaru
      ----------
        A leader of the people on Muromachi island to the far east of Neverland,
        Orochimaru is a fan of wine, violence, and women.  There's a reason he
        leads the "eat, drink, and be merry" lifestyle: he was almost killed when
        he was younger but survived by fusing with the Spectral Emperor Dragon's
        soul, which was a six-headed dragon guardian of the Spectral Tower of
        chaos.  Like all characters in the Spectral series, Orochimaru fought in
        one of the many Neverland wars, but he was later banished by the corrupted
        Shinba Empire for treason.
    
        Joins: defeat Ryoma Sakamoto in chapter 3, act 3 when the sun is in phase
               5 or lower to get the Huge Serpent Key
        Weapon of Choice: sword
        Realize: Howling Emperor Thunder Attack; Orochimaru unleashes the power of
                 the Emperor Dragon sealed within him, raining wide-range
                 destruction (after tearing off his shirt first)
    
    
      Luwenelva
      ---------
        Named Yunellia in a recent remake, Luwenelva is Mue's former teacher and
        a legendary drinker.  She graduated top of her class at Varanoire and has
        made a name for herself as a famous instructor, helping boys and girls
        alike learn the ways of Neverland warriors.  She heads the Rozes
        Liberation Army, serving as a guardian angel for her charges and their
        cause.  She has had a turbulent past, having lost a loved one to the
        battlefield, and tends to mask her pain.  Once she starts drinking, she
        is hard pressed to stop and usually ends up awkwardly embracing any female
        companions close by.
    
        Joins: defeat Ryoma Sakamoto in chapter 3, act 3 when the sun is in phase
               6 or higher to get the Heavy Drunkard Key
        Weapon of Choice: sword
        Realize: Devil Claw Attack; using her large sword, Luwenelva takes
                 multiple swipes at an enemy and finishes by trapping them in a
                 ball of energy
    
    
      Zeros
      -----
        Zeros is the main character from the Blazing Souls off-shoot of the
        Spectral Series, which takes place ten years after the Seven Hundred Years
        War.  He is a mercenary - a Freelancer - who will do anything depending on
        the price and has no regard for human life whatsoever.  He is actually an
        artificial being, so calling him an inhuman monster because of his
        penchant for killing any living thing is well-founded.  He's also rude
        enough to warrant such a name.  He wields a gun, a sword, and the power
        of a destructive force called the Core Elemental.
    
        Joins: select the "Choosing to Stay" event during chapter 5, act 3 and
               pick him instead of Ires
        Weapon of Choice: sword, gun
        Realize: Heaven's Drive; first comes a kick to the moon, then comes a
                 high-powered shot, then comes a burst of energy from the Core
                 Elemental in Zeros' artificial arm
    
    
      Gaizan
      ------
        From Spectral Force, Gaizan is a military nut and has a history with Hiro,
        whom he looks down on for her heritage.  He is in charge of the armed
        forces of the Doum Nation on the Neverland continent; since they are a
        warlike country, whoever rules the military is important enough to rule
        the rest.  Gaizan puts his militaristic duties above all else, even
        family, but he ultimately fails even at his passion.  He developed robot
        soldiers to bolster his forces, and he was eventually banished by his own
        creations when they revolted against him.
    
        Joins: during the "Les Miserables" quest in chapter 9, act 1, land the
               finishing blow with Emily alone in 8 turns or less
        Weapon of Choice: gun
        Realize: Doum No.4 Cannon; Gaizan unleashes the mechanized cannon in
                 his artificial arm to blast away at a single enemy
    
    
      Wave
      ----
        From Spectral Tower, one of the first Spectral games released in 1996 in
        Japan, Wave is famous throughout Neverland for being the first to reach
        the top of the 10,000-floor Spectral Tower.  He is also the first to
        defeat the Spectral Emperor Dragon that lived at its peak.  The price for
        this act was complete destruction of his mind, but not death.  He lives
        on as a wraith-like, soulless being.
    
        Weapon of Choice: sword
        Realize: Devil Final; Wave performs a vicious downward stab, causing the
                 earth underneath a group of enemies to rise up
    
    
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                 Shinsengumi Gunrou-den                     [sgd]
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    
      A historical action game produced by Red Entertainment in 2005 and then
      given a European release under the title Code of the Samurai. The major
      focus is, of course, swordplay.  The game drew its characters and
      atmosphere from the real life Shinsengumi, who were a peace-keeping force
      for the Tokugawa shogunate.
    
      Being lightning-fast samurai, all Shinsengumi allies have the power to
      avoid attacks while Realized.  It requires one S Gauge, and you can tell
      when it is going to happen when the camera focuses on the character after
      an enemy's turn starts.  A d-pad set up will show on the screen and one of
      the arrows will flash.  Hit the corresponding arrow and the circle button
      and the character will dodge any and all damage, as well as disrupt group
      attacks.
    
    
      Okita Soji
      ----------
        The famous captain of the first unit of the Shinsengumi, said to be a
        genius swordsman capable of moves only he himself could perform.  He
        perfected the Sandanzuki (Three Pierce Thrust) and invented the Mumyo-ken
        (No Light Blade), both of which were capable of hitting three vital parts
        of the body in one strike.  He was the second youngest member of the
        Shinsengumi and died at the young age of 27 due to tuberculosis.  Though
        Okita and Hijikata are on brotherly terms in the game, there is no record
        of them being close in real life.
    
        Joins: automatically during chapter 2; act is dependent on which key was
               obtained at end of chapter 1
        Weapon of Choice: sword
        Realize: Dragon Fang Blade; Okita focuses on a single enemy and performs
                 lightning fast jabs
    
    
      Hijikata Toshizo
      ----------------
        Deputy leader of the Shinsengumi who actually helped form the group.
        Calling him a stern leader would be an understatement; he would not
        tolerate any behavior that would tarnish the image of the Shinsengumi,
        and his harsh treatment of deserters and traitors earned him the nickname
        "The Demon of the Shinsengumi".  He is a skilled swordsman himself, having
        perfected the Hirazuki, a move Okita was said to use as the basis for
        his Mumyo-ken.  He died fighting a battle he knew he couldn't win so he
        could give his all for the Tokugawa Shogunate.
    
        Joins: use the Wolf Fang Key gained after chapter 2, act 3
        Weapon of Choice: sword
        Realize: Air Dance Sword; Hijikata draws his famous blade and proceeds to
                 slice his enemy, ending with a vicious blow and a samurai pose
    
    
      Okada Izo
      ---------
        A legendary assassin of the Bakmatsu period of Japanese history with
        several films dedicated to his extraordinary character.  He resided in
        Kyoto and acted for the Tosa Kinnoto group which was led by Takeshi
        Hanpeita.  Through his long years of service, he developed an unmitigated
        love for killing and no longer cared for politics.  He was arrested and
        executed in 1865 for his crimes.
    
        Weapon of Choice: double sword
        Realize: Kikokubanon; Izo goes to work cruelly slicing an enemy into
                 little pieces with his swords
    
    
      Sakamoto Ryoma
      --------------
        Sakomoto Ryoma was the leader of a movement created with the purpose of
        destroying the Tokugawa shogunate (the Meiji Restoration).  He was heavily
        inspired by the western idea of all men being created equally, so his
        vision for Japan's future required the removal of the feudal system.  This
        is also why Chaos Wars put a Smith and Wesson pistol in his arsenal,
        though whether or not he actually carried one, I cannot say.  Ryoma was
        assassinated at the age of 33, and the Shinsengumi forces were long
        thought to be responsible for his death.
    
        Joins: during chapter 6, act 1, land the finishing blow on Ryoma with
               Okita only, as well as finish with an A rank
        Weapon of Choice: sword, gun
        Realize: Critical Attack; Ryoma attacks a single enemy with a flurry
                 of pistol shots and sword swings
    
    
       Saigou Takamori
       ---------------
        Saigou Takamori seems to be the only character that the game has taken
        extreme liberties with in regards to historical accuracy.  In reality,
        he was the "last true samurai" and extremely active against the Tokugawa
        shogunate.  He also argued against the modernization of Japan and its
        creating ties with the West (he would, however, end up fighting in the
        Satsuma Rebellion in a western style uniform with guns and cannons).
        In the game's universe, Saigou is weak from sunlight and was forced to
        use a body double.  He was also intent on becoming ruler of Japan and
        "selling" the country to America; he even used a rifle and a broadsword
        to fight.
    
        Weapon of Choice: sword, gun
        Realize: Flying Spiral; enveloping himself in fire and spinning like a
                 fired bullet, Saigou zips through a group of enemies, causing
                 extreme damage
    
    
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                     Shadow Hearts                          [sdw]
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    
      This fantasy RPG series was developed by Aruze and plays with historical
      periods like World War I and Prohibition.  The first title (Shadow Hearts)
      was released in 2001, followed by a direct sequel (Shadow Hearts: Covenant)
      in 2004 and then a semi-unrelated third installment (Shadow Hearts: From the
      New World) a year later.  Its claim to fame is the Judgment Ring battle
      system, which is actually implemented in Chaos Wars.
    
      When initiating any of the following allies' Realize moves, a disk will
      appear on the screen.  In this disk are orange hit areas and red strike
      areas.  A needle will automatically sweep the ring; your task is to press X
      when it is over the red or orange.  If you hit any, your damage increases;
      if not, your attack will still do damage, just not as much.
    
    
      Uru
      ---
        Uru (Yuri) Hyuga is the half-Russian, half-Japanese main character in the
        first two games.  He fights with his fists but also has a rare fusion
        technique, a hereditary power that allows him to collect the souls of
        monsters he has killed and reform them into a monster into which he can
        transform.  The periapt (Tengaiho) around his neck is a manifestation of
        his soul which is constantly in danger of being devoured by Malice
        (negative energy).  Despite his rough-around-the-edges attitude, Uru is a
        nice guy at heart and will never hesitate to stand up for what is right.
    
        Joins: automatically during chapter 2; act is dependent on which key was
               obtained at end of chapter 1
        Weapon of Choice: fists
        Realize: For the Child; the Dark Seraphim flies into the sky to rain down
                 energy on any enemies unfortunate enough to be near him
    
    
      Karen
      -----
        Karen Koenig appears in Shadow Hearts: Covenant.  A sword-fighting German
        noble and lieutenant in the army, her job was to take the city of Domremy,
        which Uru was guarding.  After an act of betrayal on the part of Paladin
        Nicole (who wanted to exorcise Uru), she ended up traveling with Uru's
        group in order to put an end to Sapientes Gladio, the society Nicole was
        working for under the Mad Monk Rasputin.  She later became a love interest
        for both Uru and Nicole but couldn't hold a candle to Alice in Uru's eyes.
    
        Joins: automatically during chapter 2; act is dependent on which key was
               obtained at end of chapter 1
        Weapon of Choice: sword
        Realize: Sonnestark; using the hero Roland's sword Durandal, Karen
                 summons a Phoenix to burn multiple enemies
    
    
      Joachim
      -------
        Joachim is a flamboyant professional wrestler who also happens to be a
        vampire.  For every Shadow Hearts title, one member of his family, the
        Valentines, appears as a party member.  He was a secret boss in the first
        game and joined the fray in the second game, fighting for truth and
        justice.  He masquerades as a vigilante freedom fighter, Grand Papillon,
        and uses anything he can find as a weapon: a hollow pipe, a desk, a
        frozen tuna, you name it.
    
        Joins: automatically after the "That name is..." quest during chapter 2,
               act 3
        Weapon of Choice: fists
        Realize: Artem Buster; Joachim materializes a wrestling pole out of the
                 ground and uses it to perform a super belly flop onto an enemy
    
    
      Roger
      -----
        A staple in the Shadow Hearts series, Roger is one of a few characters to
        appear in all three games.  He is a magician as old as time, but he still
        finds time to act immature.  He loves playing the dramatic, and he has a
        thing for erotic magazines.  He has a hard time remembering his name, and
        players always get the chance to assign him one.  However, as soon as they
        enter a new name for him, he suddenly remembers his old one.
    
    
      Alice
      -----
        Alice Elliot is a young English girl in possession of great spiritual
        power.  When her father was murdered and she was targeted by several
        sorcerers in the first Shadow Hearts, it was a reluctant Uru that saved
        her life at the behest of a mysterious voice in his head.  The two
        eventually grew on each other, so much so that Alice did not hesitate to
        give up her life in order to save Uru's from the God of Death.  Her
        sacrifice gave Uru a new lease on life, but he never got over his loss.
    
        Joins: automatically during chapter 3, act 5
        Weapon of Choice: book
        Realize: Advent; Alice summons a pyramid to shoot energy at enemies
                 standing in front of her at a distance
    
    
      Gepetto
      -------
        A puppeteer from France and Alice's uncle, Gepetto joined up with Uru when
        he arrived with Alice's body in Zurich.  After that, the two worked with
        the townspeople of Domremy to protect it from German forces.  Gepetto
        never goes anywhere without Cornelia, a puppet modeled after his daughter.
        With her, he is able to pull off amazing magic, as well as entertain the
        children of Paris.
    
        Joins: automatically during chapter 3, act 5
        Weapon of Choice: doll
        Realize: Ecstasy; Cornelia separates into three, surrounds her target,
                 and then summons a large planet-shaped ball of energy to blow it
                 away
    
    
      Anastasia
      ---------
        A [fictitious] princess of the Romanov imperial family, Anastasia worked
        tirelessly to protect Mother Russia from Rasputin and Sapientes Gladio
        with help from Uru in Shadow Hearts: Covenant.  She later decided to
        travel with him and fell hopelessly in love with Kurando during their stay
        in Japan.  Because she saw her trek to save the world as a vacation and
        herself as an imperial envoy, she snapped pictures of everything she saw
        and is able to use her photos to summon monsters.
    
        Joins: automatically during chapter 3, act 5
        Weapon of Choice: fists, easter egg
        Realize: Euthanasia; Anastasia pulls out a photo of the demon Orobas who
                 hits multiple enemies with water blasts hazardous enough to cause
                 status ailments
    
    
      Kurando
      -------
        Uru's cousin from Inugami village.  Kurando shares the same soul fusion
        ability as his relatives, without the hassle of Malice or trying to escape
        exorcism from secret societies.  Kurando is all about honor and tradition,
        and he worked as a yojimbo (bodyguard) until he joined Uru's cause.  The
        young warrior is inexperienced when it comes to soul fusion, but he is an
        excellent swordsman.  His mother was instrumental in bringing Shadow
        Hearts: Covenant to a close, and she was glad to help, if only to get
        her boy out of the house.
    
        Joins: automatically during chapter 3, act 5
        Weapon of Choice: sword
        Realize: Heavenquake; using his great strength, Jutendouji shakes the very
                 earth underneath a single enemy in order to do damage
    
    
      Nicole
      ------
        Nicole (Nicolai) Conrad is the bastard son of a Russian noble.  He joined
        the secret society Sapientes Gladio in order to take his place on the
        throne: after Rasputin would off the tsar, Nicole would off Rasputin.  But
        before any of that, he had to settle a score with Uru.  The two final
        bosses of the first Shadow Hearts were Nicole's targets, and he never
        forgave Uru for snatching away his prey.
    
        Weapon of Choice: sword, book, wand
        Realize: Bright Crest; Astaroth traps multiple enemies in a prism of
                 light and causes rays of energy to rain upon them
    
    
      Great Gama
      ----------
        Joachim's sensei in the art of wrestling, the Great Gama hails from India
        and smells of curry.  His alter ego is the Great Question, and the sole
        purpose of the Man Festival is to find someone with the spirit to take
        over the mantle.  He is responsible for one of the wackiest sidequests in
        the history of RPGs.
    
    
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                      Growlanser                            [grw]
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    
      The Growlanser series has quite a few titles and most of them are actually
      available in English.  The first was released by Atlus in 1999.  A unique
      aspect of the series was the RMC (Real time Mission Clear) system, in which
      the story actually progressed and characters conversed during real-time
      battles.  The series also has a habit of making the protagonists silent,
      letting the player mold their personalities.
    
    
      Carmine
      -------
       The hero of the very first game, Carmine was a foundling that was thought
       by Rolandia court magicians to be either a bringer of light or a curse of
       darkness.  He was adopted by one of the magicians, Sandra.  Carmine served
       as a knight of the kingdom and was given the title Growlanser ("Savior of
       the Light") for his good deeds.  In actuality, his fate was not in the
       light but the darkness portion of the wizard's prophecy: Carmine was an
       artificial being sent to spy on the human world.  However, he turned
       against his creator in favor of those who raised and cared for him.
    
       Joins: anytime during chapter 2, do a 3+ stage quest at Shalulu Island and
              Carmine will join after the third stage
       Weapon of Choice: sword
       Realize: Surround Attack; Carmine projects a field around him and sends
                out waves to damage anyone within it, finishing by dashing around
                the inside and slashing away
    
    
      Tippi
      -----
        A homunculus created by Sandra to watch over Carmine.  She actually has
        genuine feelings for him but won't hesitate to pull out a Tippi-chan Kick
        if he starts acting stupid or perverted.
    
    
      Monica
      ------
        Monica is half-human, half-Featherian (a feathered race that appears in
        the third Growlanser game).  The wings on her back aren't fully formed so
        they are incapable of flight.  This fact leaves her ostracized from the
        rest of her kind.  They live in flocks and have no sense of individuality,
        so Monica is often left wondering what to do with herself since she is
        alone.  She likes to handle things by herself and is wary of others since
        she is used to being mistreated.  Finding others that are as unique as her
        would help her feel at home, though.
    
        Joins: anytime during chapter 4, do a 3+ stage quest at Garaze Island and
               Monica will join after the third stage
        Weapon of Choice: sword, wand, book
        Realize: Piercing Attack; Monica throws every weapon in her reach at
                 enemies unlucky enough to stand in her line of sight
    
    
      Zeonsilt
      --------
        Called Haschen in the English releases of the fifth Growlanser game,
        Zeonsilt is an orphan who grew up in a small town under the control of
        the Peace Maintenance Brigade, who did just what their name implied.  He
        joined after surviving an attack by Screapers (amphibious monsters that
        attack the famished cities), and he became a valuable asset after having
        an operation that enhanced his hearing and allowed him to weaken the
        Screapers.  Zeonsilt doesn't talk much because players were able to make
        his dialogue choices for him, thereby molding his character.
    
        Joins: use the Two Spears Key gained after chapter 4, act 1
        Weapon of Choice: spear
        Realize: Rejection; after going to town on multiple enemies with his
                 famous set of lances, Zeonsilt jumps away and charges into the
                 fray with serious firepower
    
    
      Corin
      -----
        The Tippi to Zeonsilt's Carmine, Corin is a fairy that left her forest
        looking for a savior of light, a Growlanser.  Though Zeonsilt isn't the
        one she's after, she becomes his traveling companion in order to find a
        legendary hero good enough to become her owner.
    
    
      Jurien
      ------
        Jurien (or Julian) is actually a girl named Julia Douglas, a member of
        the distinguished household famous for producing imperial knights.  In
        order to become a knight herself, she was raised as a boy under the guise
        of Julian.  She would later shirk the ruse and form an all-female order
        of knights, titled the Order of the Unicorn, and captain it herself.  She
        was in the first Growlanser game, so she is familiar with Carmine.
    
        Joins: complete the "My Road" quest anytime during chapter 5
        Weapon of Choice: sword
        Realize: Improved Attack; Jurien slashes an enemy and shoots them with
                 energy emanating from her sword
    
    
      Mervina
      -------
        Mervina is the vice-commander of the Peace Maintenance Brigade that
        Zeonsilt was involved in.  She is completely devoted to keeping the
        peace and is well-suited to the job.  Her impressive weapon is a scythe
        that rends the air, the body, and the soul.  She always appears calm,
        cool, and collected but doesn't always succeed at keeping her emotions
        in check.  Every now and then, some sadness seeps through.  And don't
        bother asking about her wings; she'd rather not answer your silly
        questions.
    
        Joins: anytime during chapter 6, do a 3+ stage at Elshant Island and land
               the final blow on Mervina with Zeonsilt alone
        Weapon of Choice: scythe
        Realize: Wind Blessing; Mervina rends the air to create a vortex that
                 damages enemies and heals allies
    
    
      Lyell
      -----
        Ernest Lyell appears in the second Growlanser game as an exile from the
        kingdom of Bernstein.  His loyalty to his friends was what eventually led
        him to such a fate: his friend King Richard recruited Lyell as a knight to
        help give him guidance and hone his talents, but Richard was seen as an
        imposter and a manipulated tool, and all of his followers were gotten rid
        of.  For an Imperial Knight, exile is serious punishment, and Lyell is
        cold, quiet, and aloof because of his status.
    
        Joins: if you've recruited Monica, put her in your main party and
               complete the "Gentle Sinner" quest anytime during chapter 6
        Weapon of Choice: double sword
        Realize: Surround Attack; Lyell traps all surrounding enemies in a
                 barrier of light and rushes in and out, slashing as he goes
    
    
      Silvernale
      ----------
        From Growlanser IV, Silvernale is a soldier in the employ of the Valkania
        Royal Guard.  She's extremely loyal and shows genuine concern for the
        people she protects.  She's an excellent fighter because of her
        leadership qualities, her ability to strategize and utilize fighting
        tactics, and her prowess with a Ring Weapon.
    
        Joins: anytime during chapter 6, complete the "Royal Card" quest at
               Shalulu Island, finishing with a B rank or higher and with
               Silvernale taking very little damage
        Weapon of Choice: dual swords
        Realize: Improved Attack; Silvernale slashes an enemy and shoots them
                 with energy emanating from her sword
    
    
      Chriass
      -------
        Chriass, or Krious, is from the fifth Growlanser game along with Zeonsilt
        and Mervina.  He is actually a fellow member of the Peace Maintenance
        Brigade.  His father, Seldous, is the Chief Commander of the group, and
        Chriass pushes his weight as a great sword fighter and negotiator as
        well.  He shares his father's goal of bringing peace to the entire
        continent, so he works hard for the PMB.
    
        Joins: anytime during chapter 8, complete the "For Peace" quest at
               Toriltram Island, finishing with a B rank or higher and with
               Chriass taking very little damage
        Weapon of Choice: sword
        Realize: Gardia; endowed with magic power, this multi-slash attack has
                 the power to slice body and soul
    
    
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                       Gungrave                             [gun]
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    
      A third person shooter from Red Entertainment, Gungrave (2002) and Gungrave:
      Overdose (2004) are composed of gameplay that is pure fighting, unlike other
      third person action games that came out around the same time, and boasted
      destructible environments as well as floods of enemies.  The games'
      character designs helped gain the series acclaim which eventually translated
      into an anime series.
    
      Some Gungrave allies have the added bonus of cutscenes in their Knockout
      skills.  Cool?  Yes.  Even cooler if they had sound effects?  Yessir.
    
    
      Grave
      -----
        Grave, real name Brandon Heat, is the protagonist of both titles in the
        Gungrave series.  He is essentially an animated corpse, a product of
        Necrolization - reanimating the dead to turn them into mindless soldiers.
        He seeks revenge against his friend Harry who took his life after Heat
        refused to help him overthrow Big Daddy (Mika's father and the leader of
        the Millenion organization they worked for).  He carries a large coffin
        on his back that holds numerous weapons.  Because of his "dead" state, he
        needs blood infusions to be able to fight, which Mika usually provides.
    
        Joins: automatically during chapter 3; act is dependent on which key was
               obtained at end of chapter 2
        Weapon of Choice: dual guns
        Realize: Cerberus O.D.; Grave transforms the coffin on his back to a
                 cannon that super-charges Cerberus
    
    
      Mika
      ----
        Big Daddy's daughter, Mika Asagi came to Grave for protection when her
        father was killed and his company overtaken.  She is the one that cares
        for Grave, whether it be through blood transfusions, arming him, or
        protecting his lifeless body until he can fight.  Somewhat helpless in the
        first game, Mika shows her true abilities in Overdose.  She dedicates
        herself to fighting issues with the Necrolization process, and is herself
        a victim of scientific tampering: she is infused with a Seed, a product of
        a space organism meant to reform humans into soldiers.
    
        Joins: automatically during chapter 3; act is dependent on which key was
               obtained at end of chapter 2
        Weapon of Choice: gun
        Realize: Seed the Puppy; Mika triggers the power of the seed in her body
                 to power up her gun, Puppy Fang, and fire multiple high-powered,
                 poisonous shots at her targets
    
    
      Rocketbilly Redcadillac
      -----------------------
        People call him RB, but his name is too cool for that.  Billy is a ghost
        that haunts a guitar found by his partner Juji, and he uses it to fight,
        sending electric shocks into the air with mad guitar riffs.  He's a bit of
        a lady's man and carries a strong sense of chivalry.  He is convinced that
        his grandmother is the picture of a perfect woman.  Even though he sounds
        cliché when he spouts sweet nothings on the topic of women, he speaks in
        earnest.  It's hard to be a ghost and hold a lady in your arms.
    
        Joins: automatically during chapter 3, act 2 if you acquired the Desert
               Key during chapter 2
        Weapon of Choice: guitar
        Realize: Thunder Love; Billy transforms his guitar and impales an enemy
                 on the end, subjecting them to electric blasts from his mad
                 guitar skills, finishing with his Travolta pose
    
    
      Juji
      ----
        Juji Kabane is foul-mouthed and irritable with good reason.  He is a
        product of the combination of Necrolization and Seed infusion, and he
        holds an everlasting grudge against Garino for performing the experiment
        on him.  Despite being blind, Juji is fierce in combat; he employs the
        Autumn Leaves Style of martial arts and wields gun blades, which are
        simply a combination of deadly pistols and sharp swords.  He is also
        cursed with a flame burning constantly on his back.  He and Rocketbilly
        are partners and have been since Juji found his guitar.
    
        Joins: defeat him with Grave during chapter 4, act 2; he will only appear
               if Rocketbilly Redcadillac was recruited
        Weapon of Choice: gun blades
        Realize: Flaming Torpedo; Juji engulfs himself with the cursed flame on
                 his back and runs through a single opponent multiple times
    
    
      Fangorum
      --------
        A prototype death soldier, Fangorum harbors unmitigated hatred for Grave
        for killing his comrade prototypes.  Because he lost his jaw fighting
        Grave, his speech is awkward at best.  He is the only one capable of
        wielding the Centerhead Cerberus model, which completes the set of three
        but is vastly more powerful than Grave's models.
    
        Weapon of Choice: gun
        Realize: Burst of Center-head; metal pipes shoot out of the ground to
                 trap potential targets, then Fangorum shoots a high-powered
                 bullet down the line
    
    
      Bunnji
      ------
        Juji's brother, Bunnji Kugashira was Brandon Heat's apprentice once upon
        a time in the Millenion organization.  Bunnji idolized Heat and hoped to
        surpass his skills one day.  His passion for this was so great that when
        Heat become a death soldier, Kugashira underwent Seed infusion to become
        an Orgman in order to fight Grave.  He appears in both games as a boss;
        his passion for wanting to beat Grave was enough to bring him back from
        defeat once, but his loss in the second game was enough to put him down
        for good.
    
        Joins: if you chose to see Sluc, defeat him with Grave during chapter 7,
               act 2; Grave may have to be at least level 25
        Weapon of Choice: dual guns
        Realize: Wolf of Seed; the wolf-like apparition on Bunnji's back traps
                 an enemy and leaves them wide open for a blast from its master's
                 magnum handguns
    
    
      Garino
      ------
        The son of Don Corsione, acting as his second-in-command.  He is anything
        but a second banana to his father though.  He is actually a genius and
        helped develop both the Necrolize and Seed projects, so it's no wonder he
        is the target of Mika's group's animosity.  His is a manipulative nature,
        and he will do anything for power.  In order to become a god-like being,
        he made a contract with the otherworldly life-form Methuselah, the force
        behind the Seed.
    
        Weapon of Choice: gun
        Realize: Penalty for Folly; Garino teleports away and manipulates time
                 and space around his targets to bombard them with energy
    
    
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                     Steady X Study                         [sxs]
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    
      Released in 2004 by Idea Factory, Steady X Study is listed as a general
      adventure game, and I can't tell you much more than that.  From the looks
      of the box art and the descriptions of the characters, it looks like a
      standard romp around your typical Japanese school, a "story about the
      school and love lives of students in a high school" indeed.
    
    
      Koyuki
      ------
        Saito Koyuki is a typical freshman at Kamimori High School.  She's a good
        student, nice and quiet, and active in the school's drama club.  She's
        dating Makoto Nakane from her homeroom class and is shy about calling
        herself his girlfriend but eager to get back home so they can go on their
        first date.  Koyuki's alternate self is Little Snow, a girl from Earth
        summoned to Neverland through the same principles used to summon Knights
        to Endia, giving her godly powers.  She eventually fell in love with
        Lord Janus' oldest son, Jyadow, but could not forgive him for his evil
        desires and ended up dying with him.
    
        Joins: use the Ice Crystal Key gained from chapter 3; act is dependent on
               which key was obtained at end of chapter 2
        Weapon of Choice: cane
        Realize: Vie Elage; the only purely healing Knockout skill, this allows
                 Little Snow to materialize a healing rainstorm to wash over
                 multiple allies and restore HP
    
    
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                  Dengeki PlayStation                       [dps]
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    
      Dengeki PlayStation is a Japanese gaming magazine that started out
      featuring info on the newest Playstation games.  Since then, they have
      branched out and included the PS2, PSP, and PS3 in their repertoire; I would
      bet my bottom dollar that it covered every title in Chaos Wars at one point.
      They are published by ASCII Media Works, which produces media tailored to
      the male otaku crowd.
    
    
      Polytan
      -------
        Made solely of polygons, a throwback to the old Playstation games his
        magazine used to cover, Polytan is a bear mascot for Dengeki PlayStation.
        He loves attention and plays hard to get.  True to the nature of his
        publisher's audience, Polytan likes breasts and will go wherever there
        is a woman to be had and boobies to be squeezed.
    
        Joins: during chapter 3, act 5, have Gepetto Realize to witness an event
               with Shelley; anytime after that, use the shop 100 times and
               select a 3+ stage quest at Pagoras Island; during the third stage,
               have Gepetto deal the final blow
        Weapon of Choice: book
        Realize: Electric Operate!!; Polytan materializes thousands of copies of
                 Chaos Wars and throws them at multiple enemies, finishing it
                 off with a super-sized version
    
    
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                      Rebirth Moon                          [rem]
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    
      Rebirth Moon (incorrectly labeled as Reverse Moon in your help files) was
      made by Idea Factory and released in Japan in 2005.  It is their first
      "Type Rei" game, and I wish I could tell you what that means.  It seems to
      be typical RPG fare.  It was ported to the Xbox 360 under the title "Diario:
      Rebirth Moon", but you would only care about this if you have a modified
      system.
    
    
      Ires
      ----
        Ires is a boy (yes, it's true) and is the main character of Rebirth Moon.
        He has lost his memory and his father and is looking for both.  In order
        to do so, he became a mercenary and took on odd jobs.  Befitting his new
        position in life, he doesn't like to rely on others or get too friendly
        with people.  However, he has a soft spot for people in trouble and can't
        just stand around while there's justice to be done.
    
        Joins: select the "Choosing to Stay" event during chapter 5, act 3 and
               pick him instead of Zeros
        Weapon of Choice: sword
        Realize: Kusunagi; Ires uses his impressive two-bladed weapon to conjure
                 fire and trap an enemy within it
    
    
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                   Mars of Destruction                      [mod]
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    
      Mars of Destruction was released by Idea Factory in 2005 and is an
      interesting combination of love simulator and science fiction.  It is part
      of what IF calls the "IFMATE" brand.  The game places you in the shoes of
      Takeru, who must work with various female companions to fight a disease
      that originated on Mars.
    
    
      Takeru
      ------
        Takeru is a nice young man who happens to have the fate of the world
        thrust upon his shoulders.  He was forced into fighting when he lost his
        parents in an accident, though he doesn't think he's strong enough to be
        the hero type.  He abhors violence but knows that what must be done, must
        be done for the good of everyone.  He is a member of AAST (Anti-
        unidentified Ancients Special Team), a group dedicated to dealing with the
        threat of beings called Ruins Denizens, carriers of a deadly virus.  He
        fights by donning special armor and wielding the AAST's biggest weapon,
        though using it is risky.
    
        Joins: automatically during chapter 5, act 3
        Weapon of Choice: sword
        Realize: Mars Gazer; Takeru launches an enemy into the air and proceeds
                 to blow them to smithereens with his cannon-like gun
    
    
    ===============================================================================
                                        Controls                            [con]
    ===============================================================================
    
      Be sure to pay attention to the bottom of the screen to see which buttons
      do what.  Some have multiple functions that don't necessarily do what you
      think they should depending on the menu.
    
    
      left analog stick/directional buttons: move cursors
    
      right analog stick: zoom/rotate camera
    
      circle: cancel, hold to run while in your base
    
      X: confirm, select
    
      square: lets you bypass a character's turn during group attacks; while
              trying on items, lets you buy them
    
      triangle: opens base menu and status screens, skip events, bring up details
                on selected items
    
      L1: go back a page/scroll up in info screens and menus
    
      L2: toggle sphere display in character's status window in battle, skip
          animation effects
    
      R1: go forward a page/scroll down in info screens and menus
    
      R2: brings up organize option in item menus
    
      start: automatically end turn in battle, proceed with group attack
    
    
    ===============================================================================
                                        Game Flow
    ===============================================================================
    
      Chaos Wars follows a strict pattern of events.  Here I'll outline the
      layout of the game and tell you what's available during each phase.
    
    
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                          Base                              [bas]
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    
      The first stop is your base, an old mansion somewhere that your group has
      commandeered for itself (which is code for "you're a squatter and a thief").
      Here you can talk with whomever is sitting around, check your allies'
      equipment and status, arrange your storage and your main party, access the
      Gate, and read up on the game's built-in help files.  Press triangle to
      bring up the following options.
    
      Allies
      ------
        This screen shows you all the main characters in your party as well as
        your sub characters in a separate menu.  Selecting a character's name
        brings up a screen with their vitals.  All of that is gone into further
        detail in the battle section.
    
      Storage
      -------
        This is where you can view all the items in your inventory that aren't
        equipped.  Pretty self-explanatory and useful since it helps to know what
        you have and what you need from the store.
    
      Arrangement
      -----------
        This is where you can decide who is in your fighting party (main
        characters) and who is left in reserve (sub characters).  Certain events
        in the story will demand that certain characters be in certain battles; I
        will alert you in the walkthrough as to which characters will have this
        happen to them, but don't worry if you haven't been using them because it
        is ridiculously easy to quickly level low-ranking fighters.
    
        You can only have 10 people in your main group at any given time.  These
        10 are your fighting force.  Even though you can only have 5 people on the
        field at once, it is possible for all 10 to participate in a single
        battle using Return and Sortie (more on that later).  The 5 people you
        choose to fight with are your forward guard, and the other 5 in standby
        are the rear guard.
    
      System
      ------
        This is where you go to save, change your options, or go to the title
        screen (where you can load data).  You need to know how to get to this
        menu not only to save but to change your options in case you didn't heed
        my warning about the English voice actors.  (I wouldn't kid about
        something like this.)
    
      Also in your base are the help files and the Gate.  The help files are
      located in a bookshelf to the left of the Gate.  There's a lot of info
      there on the game's system as well as info on each title and character
      involved in the crossover, but some of it is in Engrish and doesn't really
      explain things well (which is why I'm sitting here typing all of this).
      However, you should still read it.  The help file's graphics also like to
      glitch out on occasion, making the text completely illegible.  Exit out and
      keep reselecting the bookshelf to "fix" this.
    
      One uber cool feature of the profiles section is art from each character's
      original game.  These pictures are unlockable as they level up.  The first
      picture is gained at level 10, the next at 20, and from then on you get a
      new one for every five levels.  I've started to screencap all the art I can
      from this gallery and have stored it here for your viewing pleasure:
      http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v460/sophialee/Chaos%20Wars/
    
      The Gate has several functions, some of which only become available after
      certain events in the story.
    
      Gate
      ----
        This is what allows you to travel around Endia.  It is the only way to get
        outside of your base, as doors become a laughable concept when you can
        teleport.  More locations become available to you as you get keys.  There
        are several different kinds of quests available for each island:
    
        A red square labeled "Main" indicates quests that must be done to advance
        the story or recruit an ally.
    
        Yellow squares marked "Quest" involve battles you must undertake to help
        the people of Endia, so finishing them will yield a reward.  These are
        useful if you need Dia (this game's currency) or items.
    
        Purple squares marked "Dispatch" simply involve you picking a character or
        two and sending them to do a task by themselves.  That's it; you don't
        have to do anything besides pick who to send.  Those you send will end up
        fighting, and they can rank up.  If they succeed, you get a reward.
    
        Blue squares marked "Search" are a series of fights against monsters.
        There's no reward for finishing and no penalty for quitting early.
    
        Green squares marked "Event" mean you must go there to see an event.
        There's not many of these, but something good always comes from them.
    
        Note that quests are randomized and continually regenerate; there's no
        way to complete them all (besides the main and event quests) and they
        come in all different rankings no matter how far into the game you are.
        However, all quests besides those marked as "Main" will never be higher
        in level than Hyoma.  In other words, keep Hyoma ranked high if you want
        access to higher-ranked quests.
    
      Shop
      ----
        Collecting the Coin Key during chapter 2 opens the shop menu.  Here you
        can buy/sell weapons, protection, skills, and items for battle.  You can
        also try before you buy: select Try-On to fit your character with a new
        get-up to see how it affects their overall stats.  Buy it right then and
        it will automatically be equipped, and all the old stuff will go to
        storage.
    
        The shop is strange in that its inventory is somewhat randomized.  New
        items (like stronger skills) do become available as you progress, but it
        is not always guaranteed that you will see all available items when you
        go to shop.  To reset the inventory, do a quest and revisit the store.
    
      Upgrade
      -------
        After you use the Smelt Key in chapter 3, you can synthesize weapons by
        combining two old ones to make a new one.  The rules for this are sketchy;
        here's an example of a synthesis I tried in order to understand how it
        works:
    
        1st Try:
          Shadow Yari Rank G, Level 1         Fire Guarder Rank F, Level 9
          Offense: 36  SP: 6              +   Offense: 76  Defense: 19
          Attributes: Underworld Emblem       Attributes: Fire Sphere +
                      Evidence of Heart                   Quick Internalization
          -----------------------------------------------------------------
                            Shadow Yari Rank G, Level 9
                            Offense: 56  SP: 6
                            Attributes: Underworld Emblem
                                        Evidence of Heart
    
    
        2nd Try:
          Fire Guarder Rank F, Level 9           Shadow Yari Rank G, Level 1
          Offense: 76  Defense: 19          +    Offense: 36  SP: 6
          Attributes: Fire Sphere +              Attributes: Underworld Emblem
                      Quick Internalization                  Evidence of Heart
          -----------------------------------------------------------------
                            Fire Guarder Rank F, Level 9
                            Offense: 76  Defense: 19
                            Attributes: Fire Sphere +
                                        Quick Internalization
    
        In short, synthesis is all about a weapon's level with some stat changes
        thrown in.  The final product will always be the weapon you selected first
        and its level will always be the sum of the weapon's two levels with the
        max being 9 (but no rank increase).
    
        You can also enhance weapons you already own; spending Dia and a weapon's
        experience points will raise the stats that weapon originally affects or
        change the weapon's attributes.  Raising the weapon's stats is based on
        its rank, but attribute change is completely random.
    
      Key
      ---
        This is where you can use the keys you collect.  There are three kinds:
        those that open access to new islands (Warp Keys), those that
        automatically summon a new ally to Endia (Summon Keys), and those that
        add new features to the Gate (Function Expansion Keys).
    
    
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                         Events                             [evn]
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    
      Events in Chaos Wars are simple.  They require that you sit back and watch
      the story unfold.  If you would rather get to the action, press triangle.
      An icon of Shizuku torturing a Chick Bug will appear in the middle of the
      screen that you can move around with the left analog stick.  It's fairly
      amusing.
    
    
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                         Battle                             [bat]
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    
      The meat and bones of Chaos Wars are the battles.  In fact, they're so
      important that they get their own section.  Starting ... now!
    
    
    ===============================================================================
                                       Battle Basics
    ===============================================================================
    
      Battles in Chaos Wars follow two simple rules.  1) You win when all of the
      enemies on screen are defeated.  2) You lose if all of your party members'
      HP drop to 0.  That's it.  Here's an outline of important info to know when
      fighting.
    
    
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                     The Status Screen                      [tss]
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    
      The status screen is what it says: your characters' status.  Shock.  There
      is a lot of information here, all in different tabs.  You can bring up the
      status screen any time your cursor is positioned over a character on the
      field or in a list, but you can only change equipment and skills at your
      base or in between stages.  The first tab outlines character stats.
    
      Basic Status
      ------------
        HP: Your character's hit points, or health.  If they drop to zero, they
            will be unable to fight.  The green/blue bar signals overall health
            and the red bar below it is light damage that will heal on the
            character's next turn.
    
        SP: Skill points.  If you don't have these, you can't perform any skills.
            They start at zero at the beginning of every battle and replenish each
            turn.
    
        S Gauge: The Special Gauge starts at one and increases when a fighter
                 takes damage or performs an action.  It depletes when they do a
                 group attack, enter their Realize state, or use their special
                 Realize move.
    
        Offense: Physical attack power.
    
        Defense: Ability to withstand physical attacks.
    
        Mentality: Magical attack power and magic defense power.
    
        Quickness: A character's speed.  The higher the number, the more turns
                   they get and the easier it is for them to dodge.
    
        Luck: The most random RPG skill ever; it affects various things, so the
              higher, the better.
    
        Rank: A character's rank based on their base stats.  When their stats
              reach a certain level, rank will increase.
    
        Move: How many steps a character can take during their turn.
    
        Jump: How high a character can jump while moving.  Certain terrain is
              inaccessible if they can't jump high enough.
    
        Spheres: The six elements in Chaos Wars (fire, earth, light, darkness,
                 wind, and water).  Each character is weak or strong to certain
                 spheres (weak being a number in red and strong being in green).
                 Certain spheres are opposed to each other: fire and water, wind
                 and earth, and darkness and light.  It isn't the classic rock,
                 paper, scissors set-up; it's a war of attrition between two
                 opposing spheres.  When attacking an opponent, always chose an
                 attack whose sphere corresponds to their weakest sphere.  For
                 example, if you're facing a Chick Bug whose dark sphere is -25
                 and whose air sphere is -5, choose a dark attack to maximize
                 damage.
    
      Attributes
      ----------
        Attributes are special effects that are mostly unique to certain
        characters.  They affect many things; some examples include sphere
        effects, increased damage when attacking with another character, or
        immunity to certain status effects.  Press triangle when the cursor is on
        an attribute to bring up a window with a detailed description.  Nearly
        everything has an attribute: fighters, monsters, weapons, defense items,
        etc.
    
        You must pay attention to attributes when fighting.  They are randomized
        for the enemies and their weaponry and may help or hinder you.  For
        example, the Heart of Glass attribute means a foe takes all damage as
        critical, so there is no urgent need to group attack someone with this
        disability since there is no temporary damage.  However, the Lone Wolf
        attribute on an enemy means their stats will increase dramatically if
        their comrades are slain, so always take them out first.  Always, always,
        always check attributes before planning an attack; I cannot stress that
        enough.  This goes not only for enemies but for your allies as well: make
        note of their character/Realize attributes and those of the equipment
        they wear.
    
      Weapons Proficiency
      -------------------
        This lists the kind of weapons a character can equip as well as how
        skilled they are with each.  The higher the rank, the more effective
        their attacks are.
    
      The next tab is all about what your character is wearing, battle-wise.
      They are allowed one weapon, one piece of defensive clothing, and then three
      slots for whatever you want to give them: more defense in the shape of boots
      or gemstones, an item that boosts other stats like offense and mentality,
      or something that affects their Realize state.  Whatever you equip will, of
      course, have a direct effect on your base stats, and you can see how much
      each is changed by comparing the two numbers to the left of the status
      window: the left number is the base stat and the one on the right is the
      improved stat.  If it's green, it's gone up.  If it's red, it's gone down.
    
    
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                  Skills and Realize                        [skl]
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    
      The third tab is for skills.  Each character can equip ten and each skill
      can level up, with 9 being the max.  Skills come in seven flavors: fire,
      earth, light, dark, air, ice, or no sphere affiliation.  Each skill can also
      be used only with a certain type of weapon.  Make sure that when you equip
      skills, your characters are even able to use them (i.e. - make sure the
      weapon they've equipped is compatible with the skill).  It is a very good
      idea to equip your fighters with a wide variety of skills, sphere-wise.  It
      is also wise to make sure they have a basic skill like Sword Attack or Slash
      that uses little SP; that way, even if their SP is low, they will still be
      able to attack with the little SP gained at the start of their turn.  Make
      sure to give your fighters both single- and multiple-target spells as well.
      That way, when your enemies are grouped together, you can maximize damage.
    
      There are several types of skills:
    
        Attack: These deal straight damage, and they may have side effects.
    
        Recovery: These restore HP.
    
        Resurge: These revive fallen allies.
    
        Counter: You cannot select these to use; instead, sometimes when a
                 character with this type of skill is attacked, they will counter
                 it automatically.
    
        Assist: These skills go into effect just by equipping them.
    
        Knockout: What the game calls each character's Realize skill; they are
                  exempt from things like skill shift (more on that below).
    
      Skills can also have side effects:
    
        S Up: raises a certain status
    
        S Down: lowers a certain status
    
        PSN: poison, HP drains a little each turn
    
        PLS: paralysis, the afflicted character can't do anything but use items
    
        BLD: blind, accuracy decreases
    
        SLP: sleep, the afflicted character can't act at all
    
        SLOW: decreases quickness, giving the afflicted person less turns
    
        AIL: afflicted fighter cannot recover temporary damage automatically
    
        ILL: same as AIL, only it affects SP instead of HP; this ailment is rare
    
        Seal: prevents a fighter from Realizing (the game always refers to this as
              Barrier, never Seal)
    
        Death: has a slim chance of causing instant death
    
        Deadly: the damage inflicted is critical/can't be healed over time; note
                that when this is used on an enemy with a large amount of temp
                damage, the damage dealt will display as 0, but temp damage will
                still deplete
    
        Absorb: damage inflicted is used to heal
    
      A fighter can only be afflicted with one ailment at a time.  This is
      important to know if you want to inflict an enemy with a certain status
      effect, like say, paralysis to keep them still.  Make sure no one else
      attacks with a skill with a side effect or you may cancel out the one you
      intended.
    
      Skills have a habit of shifting during battle; this can be cool or annoying.
      Skill shift is supposedly governed by a character's spheres, but it seems
      more random than anything.  By this I mean that the time and result of the
      shift is always unknown.  What happens during a skill shift is that the
      skill you chose will turn into a different skill completely.  There is no
      telling if it will upgrade or downgrade, but there are rules.  For example,
      magic skills won't turn into gun attacks and the new skill retains the old
      skill's level.  They can, however, change spheres and range.  Whenever you
      get a skill that you like, put the skill lock on by selecting that skill in
      a character's list and hitting "Skill Lock".  This guarantees your skills
      are safe from randomness.
    
      The fourth and last tab is Realize.  Realize is when a fighter enters their
      powered-up, true form.  Each is unique.  The top part of the Realize screen
      shows what weapon that character wields in this state, how it affects their
      stats, and how many turns they can stay in Realize form.  Next is that
      character's unique skill; press triangle to get specifics on how much SP it
      costs, how many enemies it can hit, and what side effects (if any) it
      causes.  Finally, each character gains two new attributes in Realize form.
      Be sure to pay attention to these as they are usually drastic changes for
      the better and may change how you use a fighter in battle.
    
      A few tips on Realize: you need one full S Gauge to enter Realize form.
      You must also have one full S Gauge in order to use your fighter's special
      Realize move.
    
    
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                       Battle HUD                           [hud]
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    
      Even more important battle info is right on the HUD (heads up display).
      Though it can seem like clutter, it's helpful to keep track of it all.
    
      Sun
      ---
        The sun is literally at the center of Endia and it never sets.  It does,
        however, wax and wane, and this actually affects the battlefield.
        Different phases of the sun affect your opponents' strength and defense.
        It seems that the brighter the sun, the stronger your enemies get.  The
        sun's phases never "reset", so if you're having a hard time with a quest,
        run away or try it again when the sun's phase changes, which happens after
        five characters take their turns.
    
        The window next to the sun icon in the upper right corner of the HUD tells
        you three things: how high up the current ally is, what turn it is, and
        the phase of the sun.  Probably the most important thing here is the sun's
        phase.  You don't need to keep track of turns because you are hardly ever
        under a turn limit (unless you're concerned with battle rank), and the
        height of a character is simply for the curious.  Or the bored.
    
      Action Queue
      ------------
        The action queue is at the top of the screen and is made up of a series of
        rectangles with every battle participant's picture.  Whoever's to the
        farthest left is the one who gets a turn.  Paying attention to which enemy
        gets a turn after you is vital.  That way, you know who to target with a
        last-ditch group attack, or you could use that information to decide who
        needs a recovery skill cast on them in order to weather an attack.  Learn
        to keep one eye on the action queue at all times.
    
      Mini Status
      -----------
        Because pressing triangle all the time when you want to check someone's
        status is tedious, you can position your cursor over an ally or an enemy
        to see their HP, SP, S Gauge, name, and rank.  Use L2 to toggle the
        sphere display (I highly recommend leaving it up).
    
    
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                     Battle Options                         [bto]
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    
      Here's a list of all that is available to you during an ally's turn in
      battle.  You can accomplish a lot in one turn, so make the most of it.  All
      of these options (except Move and Status) may only be used once per turn.
    
      Move
      ----
        Using this, you can position your fighters however you want on the field.
        Each character has a move count (seen in their status window) that
        dictates how many spaces they can move.  Movement is not square based;
        select a character, pick "Move", and a red circle appears around them.
        Move the cursor anywhere in the circle and, if it's green, then they can
        move to that particular spot.  It will turn red if they can't access the
        selected area because of height or obstacles.  You can move as many times
        as you want until your Move Count is 0.  You can also cancel any moves by
        hitting circle.  The smaller your Move Count at the end of your turn, the
        higher the WT (wait time), that is, the longer that character has until
        their next turn.
    
      Skill
      -----
        Skills are how you get somewhere in a fight.  Selecting this and then a
        skill brings up a target selector which is different depending on the
        skill you chose.  When you have a target in your sight, you are free to
        use your skill.  Skills use SP and are limited to a certain weapon.  If
        you can't use a certain skill, you either aren't in range, don't have
        enough SP, don't have the right weapon equipped, or (if using your Realize
        skill) don't have a full S gauge.  Nearly every time after a character
        uses a skill, some of their stats will increase.  This is vital to
        increasing rank, or the character's overall stats.  Unless you are in a
        dire situation where you need to conserve your SP, you should have your
        fighters use skills whenever they can (like in a group attack, even if it
        means overkill) so they get more chances to level up.
    
      Realize
      -------
        Realize is when a character realizes their true potential and materializes
        the special powers they had in their alternate world.  When Realized,
        their stats increase, they gain two new attributes, and they are able to
        perform a special skill that is uber-powerful.  However, it requires
        upwards of 50 SP and one full S Gauge.  Realizing costs one S Gauge as
        well, so use it wisely.
    
      Item
      ----
        Choose this to use an item from storage.  Items can be used on both
        allies and enemies, depending on what you're using.
    
      Status
      ------
        This will let you see the status screen of the character whose turn it
        is.  You could also do this just by hitting triangle when your cursor is
        over their head, so you kinda don't really need it.
    
      Return
      ------
        This will make a character leave the battlefield.  Once they leave, they
        will not be able to return to the field until the current fight is over.
        Use this when you have a character who is doing poorly or about to be
        killed and you can have another, more able fighter take their place using
        Sortie (see below for more info on that).
    
      Standby
      -------
        Select this to end your turn.  You can also do this by hitting the start
        button.
    
      There are also non turn-specific options available.  These can be selected
      any time by moving your cursor to an empty space on the field and hitting
      the X button.
    
      Unit List
      ---------
        This will bring up a screen listing all of your current fighters and
        enemies and their respective health.  You can also access their status
        screens from here.
    
      Sortie
      ------
        This is what the game calls it when your characters are out fighting,
        seeing as how the word is French for (roughly) "going out".  When a
        character leaves the battlefield through the Return option, they can have
        another character take their place with the Sortie option.  However, you
        have to actively select Sortie before anyone will jump in, and you can do
        it whenever you like, as long as there is an empty spot on the team.  You
        cannot have a character Sortie for a fallen ally.  Even though they're
        unconscious, they still fill the five person body count.
    
      System
      ------
        Use this to get to the option screen, the title screen, or the help files
        during battle.  You cannot save during a battle.
    
      After each battle, you'll see an evaluation screen.  Rank is dependent on
      how many turns you take, group attacks, and the maximum amount of damage
      dealt to a single enemy.  You get items and Dia based on your rank; the
      higher, the better.  Some keys to getting a high rank are 1) group attack
      whenever possible and with as many people as possible to deal as much damage
      as possible and 2) move quickly and take out enemies fast to minimize your
      turns.
    
    
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                   The Golden Rules                         [tgr]
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    
      1. Status ailments are your friends.  Either make sure you've got skills
         that can cause them, or buy items at the shop that inflict them.  They
         will save your ass in a tough fight.  For example: got a boss with
         20,000+ HP and are worried he'll recover quicker than you can handle?
         Throw some Illness Powder on him for the AIL status.  Problem solved.
    
      2. The S Gauges are the life.  You use them for the best stuff: Realize,
         Knockouts, Avoid (for certain allies), and group attacks.  Don't squander
         your S Gauges or at least know how to replenish them: take damage, use
         items, know when to forfeit your turn in a group attack, etc.
    
      3. Don't try and keep everyone leveled the same.  Pick 5-7 of your favorite
         characters and keep them battle worthy.  There are some characters that
         will either have to fight by themselves or will be required for certain
         fights and are therefore exempt from this rule; here's a quick reference
         list so you know who to keep leveled:
    
         Those who will fight alone:
           Chapter 1: Rin, Hyoma (act 1)
           Chapter 2: Okita (act 1, if Volcano Key was acquired first)
                      Okita, Shizuku (act 2, if Ice Key was acquired first)
           Chapter 3: Uru, Karen (act 5)
           Chapter 4: Hyoma (act 1)
                      Grave (optional, if RB was recruited)
           Chapter 6: Monica, Lyell (optional, if Monica was recruited)
           Chapter 7: Grave (Sluc's path; act 2-3, optional for MAKO)
           Chapter 10: Kurando, Gepetto, Alice, Karen, Anastasia, Uru (optional,
                       for the Man Festival)
    
         Those who are required for certain fights:
           Chapter 1: Rin, Hyoma, Hiro, Hayatemaru (whole chapter)
           Chapter 2: Uru, Karen, Okita, Shizuku (acts 1-2, dependent on key)
                      Carmine (optional)
                      Uru (optional, for recruiting Joachim)
           Chapter 3: Grave, Mika (act 1)
                      Zard (act 3)
                      Uru, Grave (act 4)
                      Karen, Uru, Anastasia, Gepetto, Kurando (act 5)
           Chapter 4: Wruzel (act 1)
                      Mika, Grave (act 2)
                      Shizuku (act 3)
           Chapter 5: Carmine (optional, for recruiting Jurien)
                      Okita, Hijikata (act 1)
                      Zard, Grave (act 2)
                      Takeru (act 3)
           Chapter 6: Zeonsilt (optional, for recruiting Mervina)
                      Silvernale (optional)
                      Okita, Hyoma (act 2)
                      Shizuku, Hayatemaru, Uru (act 3)
           Chapter 7: Sluc (both paths, act is dependent on whom you chose)
                      MAKO (Sluc's path, act 3, optional)
                      Grave (Laru's path, act 1)
           Chapter 8: Okita, Hijikata (act 1)
           Chapter 9: Laru (optional, for recruiting Nagare)
                      Grave, Uru (act 1)
                      Hyoma, Rin (act 2)
           Chapter 10: Joachim (optional, for the Man Festival)
                       Mue (act 1)
                       Rin, Hyoma (act 2)
                       Uru, Okita, Grave, Carmine, Zeonsilt, Rin, Hyoma (act 3)
    
      4. Always check your enemies' attributes before you pick a fight!  This
         includes Realize, regular, weapon, defense, and protection attributes.
         Your strategy can and should change in the face of certain attributes,
         and the way you use your fighters can change based on their attributes.
    
      5. Try and recruit as many people as possible.  Sure, you don't need 40+
         knights to get through the game, but recruiting them makes for great
         leveling opportunities.
    
      6. Learn to manipulate the action queue and wait time (WT).  This is good to
         practice when aiming for a high rank or if you are in a battle where a
         specific fighter needs to perform an action in a timely manner.  Simply
         using the Standby option constantly boosts the turn count, hurting your
         rank.  Pay attention to how items, skills, and movement affect your WT.
    
    
    ===============================================================================
                                      Walkthrough
    ===============================================================================
    
      Realistically, I could probably stop the guide right here and call it a
      day.  However, the table of contents demands a walkthrough section, and
      the table of contents never lies.
    
      This walkthrough is written in a pseudo stream-of-consciousness style, so I
      outline whatever worked for me at the time I was playing.  Since I was
      figuring this game out as I went along (thanks to the shabby help files), I
      figured it was the best way to go.  However, if you read the above section
      first, you won't need me to tell you how to fight.
    
    
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                       Chapter 1                            [ch1]
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    
    Even though the intro is without subtitles, it at least gives you a taste of
    the expansive roster and of the excitement to come.  Joy.  Turn off the English
    voice actors from the option menu and start your new game.
    
      Act 1
      -----
    You get the option to view a tutorial.  Use it if you like, but all the game
    seems to do is repeat everything written in the booklet.  Plus, I just got done
    typing it all up for you.  (Seriously, it's three-fourths of this document; did
    you read it?)  Your pick of which source you want.  You'll be in control of
    Rin.  She can't attack because she has no wand, so just move her to a corner of
    the small fighting area.  Hyoma will join as an ally at the end of your turn
    and then get attacked soon after.
    
    Rin will reveal that she can use healing spells without a wand.  SP is
    replenished each turn so there is no reason why you shouldn't heal Hyoma or Rin
    every chance you get.  It will also help Rin and your Cure skill level up.
    When attacking with Hyoma, be sure to focus on one enemy at a time since he can
    only cause light damage and it will heal every time the Chick Bugs' turns come
    up.  However, Hyoma's strong enough to take out each Chick Bug with one or two
    swings.  As for Rin, if she takes damage, she'll just heal her next turn, and
    that will be often since she's fairly quick.  Not much of a battle primer, but
    we're just getting into the basics here.
    
      Act 2
      -----
    After a riveting chase scene, Hiro will join as an ally.  She'll want to use a
    group attack on your new foes, even though sneezing on them would probably do
    the job.  Move Hiro and Hyoma into attack position (Rin still can't attack
    since Hiro didn't return her wand).  If she and Hyoma are in range of the same
    enemy and have a full S gauge, then an exclamation point will appear over the
    picture of the subsequent attacker in the action queue, signaling that they can
    attack together.  All this does is pile on damage, possibly killing the target
    in one go and making it harder for them to heal up during their turn if they
    survive.  It's pretty useless right now (except for the Pan Doll enemy, which
    can take a beating) but will come in handy later.  If you want to skip a
    particular character's turn in the group attack queue, hit square when choosing
    their action.
    
    Afterwards, we're treated to our happy bunch of antagonists that go under the
    name of the organization Luin.  Rin then spontaneously combusts ... I mean,
    transports Hyoma and Hiro to who knows where.  You'll be in your base after
    another event.  Here you can do all the stuff I laid out in the "Base" section
    earlier on.  For now, all we can do is transport, so let's go.  Select the Main
    quest "Island of Crystal and Plants".
    
                                           ---
    
    Unfortunately, you will find Hayatemaru, and his big mouth will get us in a
    fight with a vigilante group, making our troupe look more suspicious than they
    already do.  You'll get a primer on battle arrangement.  The glowing point on
    the map is your battle party's entry point.  Put Hyoma on the map and try to
    keep him close to Hayate for this battle.  The two have a Bond of Friendship
    attribute that jacks up the damage they do when in group attacks with each
    other.
    
    Hiro will then show you Realize.  This is each character's special transformed
    state (i.e. - a taste of what they do in their original series).  It
    drastically powers up your fighters and there's no reason why you shouldn't
    Realize when you get the chance.  Actually, scratch that.  Realizing takes up
    one S Gauge and so do group attacks.  At this early stage in the game, you
    might want to decide which you like to do better: Realize and whale on a target
    and let subsequent characters finish it off on their turn or use group attacks
    to kill it in one go.  Later in the game, Realizing is a no brainer since there
    will be plenty of enemies to fill your S Gauge so group attacks will be no
    problem.  However, that is a ways away.  Hiro will be the only one able to
    Realize in this fight.
    
    The Kishidan enemies are nothing special.  Group attacks will make short work
    of them depending on how many people are attacking at once.  Be aware that they
    will group attack you too, but Rin should still have Cure and you can use any
    healing items you might have won from the last fights.  No problems.
    
    Afterwards, we'll have to fight the Kishidan captain, Laru, because who needs
    peace talks when there's fightin' to be done?  There's one important thing you
    should know about this fight before finishing Laru.  Laru is the first of a
    line of upcoming series-specific "bosses".  Defeating him with a character from
    his series and defeating him with someone not from his series will result in
    different results.  In this case, Hyoma is the series-specific character for
    Laru (not Hayate or Rin for some reason).  However, there's not really a big
    difference in the outcomes here, it just means you recruit different characters
    in a different order.  Remember the series-specific rule though, as it will
    come up again.
    
    Now, Hyoma will succumb to peer pressure and Realize.  And then Hayate will do
    it on his next turn.  Hayate has a chance to cause critical damage and cut
    received damage in half during Realize, so this is good.  Have Hiro Realize as
    well since she has an even more useful attribute: a chance to cause instant
    death.  I used Burn on a Kishidan trainee and it killed him in one shot; now
    that's what I'm talking about.  The Kishidan themselves do pretty poor damage,
    but they'll group attack and pile it on.  Laru will Realize as well, meaning
    that when he's in a group attack, a Cure spell is in order.  Get rid of the
    Kishidan first to fix this, keeping Rin on healing duty.  She can Realize as
    well, but it might be wise to save her S Gauge for a group attack when she's
    able.  You might have noticed your fighters are still feeling the pain from the
    last fight; heal up with Rin or items and then group attack Laru.
    
    As for that series-specific rule, if Hyoma either finishes Laru himself or
    starts the group attack that finishes him, you will get the Ice Key.  If not,
    you will get the Volcano Key.  It really doesn't matter which one you get since
    you will be going to both places in due time and character recruitment is not
    affected.  As it so happens, Little Miss Sunroad was the one to start the
    attack to finish Laru in my game, so I got the Volcano Key.  Hayate will also
    steal the Initial Key and run away.  Jerk.
    
    
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                       Chapter 2                            [ch2]
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    
    This is our first branching part of the game.  I see no real point in outlining
    each branch for this chapter because, really, the only major differences are
    the events.  The whole point of this chapter is to find Shizuku, and I can tell
    you now that she'll appear in act 2 no matter what.  (Hope I didn't need a
    spoiler warning for that.)  Side missions will also appear for locations you've
    unlocked.  Right now, that's just Radiance Island.  To get on with the game,
    use the key you gained last chapter.
    
      Act 1
      -----
    Mine happened to be the Volcano Key, so this act concerns Golugore Island.  If
    yours was the Ice Key, feel free to skip to the next section and disregard all
    the references to Shizuku.  Pretend she isn't there.  I do all the time.
    
    The "Shinsengumi" quest introduces Okita Souji of the historical Shinsengumi.
    You'd think it's bad that he's all alone, but that's not the case.  There's
    only two enemies and Okita's Realize allows him to avoid damage and counter by
    inputting button commands.  Enter Realize ASAP!  The mercenaries use guns so
    they don't necessarily need to be close to you to cause damage.  This is why
    Avoid is really, really helpful.  You know when you can use Avoid when there is
    a pause before the mercenaries select an attack and the camera focuses on
    Okita.  Four arrows will appear on the screen.  Use the d-pad and press the one
    that glows along with the circle button and Okita will completely dodge the
    attack.  If you see "Counter" on the screen, hit the square button and Okita
    will retaliate.  Whether or not he'll use Counter is completely random, and
    since Avoid uses one S Gauge, he won't be able to use it all the time.
    
    Don't feel the need to run and try to take cover from the mercenaries.  Just
    stand your ground.  That way, you will be in range if Okita is lucky enough to
    use a counter attack.  They deal pitiful damage, but it will add up over the
    course of this fight.  Luckily, a rift in the fabric of space time (or elfin
    magic; take your pick) will have given Okita Hyoma and Co.'s inventory, so he
    can use any medi-leaves you have accumulated up to this point.  If you stay in
    Realize and use Avoid and Counter and are lucky, you shouldn't need to heal.
    
    The rest of your main group will arrive just as soon as Okita finishes off the
    threat.  He will then join as an ally, which is awesome because he's an awesome
    guy.
    
    The events leading to this next fight should be a warning that a series-
    specific battle is taking place, the warning flag being that Hiro knows Gaizan.
    If you defeat Gaizan with Hiro or if Hiro starts the group attack that "kills"
    him, you'll get the Dual Sword Key.  If not, you get the Blue Wing Key.  The
    former unlocks Wallace and the latter nets you Tonaty.  Which one you want is
    completely up to you.  If you have no idea who either of those people are,
    check out the character section at the start of this guide and pick which one
    suits your tastes.  You can only chose one or the other though.  It's how they
    try to get you to play this game multiple times.
    
    Let Gaizan and Emily work their ways toward you instead of actively pursuing
    them.  This is a good tactic for a majority of these fights.  You want to
    eliminate the small fry before they overwhelm you.  Sure, they do piddly
    damage, but when you've got three mercenaries group attacking you with either
    Emily or Gaizan and their turns are one after another...  Depending on how full
    their S Gauges are (which will be very if you attack a lot without finishing
    them off), you could very well get group attacked five turns in a row.  Of
    course, that's very unlikely at this stage, but just wait.
    
    Gaizan and Emily are fairly quick, so they'll move in early.  If you want, put
    Okita at your end of the bridge and have him Realize.  Hopefully, he'll start
    Avoiding to hold them off.  Everyone here (enemy-wise) is packing, so they
    don't need to be close to attack.  Instead of standing your ground like in the
    last fight, play hide-and-seek.  Remember that you can move before and after
    you take an action.  Since the enemy actively seeks you out, you can stay put
    and let them come to you, attack them on your turn, and then move away from
    them.  Try not to keep everyone huddled together or you'll end up on the wrong
    end of a Wide Shot or Shrapnel Bomb attack.  Remember also not to chip away at
    Emily and Gaizan until all the small fry are gone.  If you split your party to
    try and tackle everyone at once, you'll have filled up their S Gauges enough to
    Realize and group attack you.  Plus, they'll just shrug off light damage.  Not
    good.  You probably want to group attack more than Realize on this one.
    
    Hayate, the scavenger, will pick up the Ice Key (or the Volcano Key if you're
    following the other branch) and whatever other key is left depending on who
    whooped Gaizan.  Be sure to use both in the gate back home.  The first key will
    open up a new island and the second key will automatically summon a knight to
    join you, which is a totally dick move.  Every time you use a Summon Key, be
    prepared to hear a conversation along the lines of:
    
      New Guy: *spouts lines relating to his/her original series*  Huh?  Where am
               I?!
      An Ally: You're in Endia.  Oh, by the way, there's no way to get back.
      New Guy: What?!
      An Ally: Why don't you join us?  We're looking for a way to get back to our
               own worlds; maybe we can find a way back for you too.
      New Guy: *normally, should say something along the lines of "The reason I'm
               stuck here is because of you!  Piss off!" but instead says...*
               Okay!
    
    *sigh*  In any case, we're now ready to visit Shalulu Island (or Golugore if
    you took the... you know what?  Branching is a pain; you get the idea).
    
      Act 2
      -----
    *another sigh*  Time to get Shizuku so Hyoma will quit asking about her even
    though he doesn't care.  If you came here first, back up a section to get the
    jist of Golugore.  No matter where you are, Shizuku will be there, being
    worthless.  I normally wouldn't pass judgment on characters like that, but
    Shizuku doesn't seem to want to make up her mind about her method of attack
    (her offense and mentality base stats are equal).  Unless you give her an over-
    powered weapon for either offense or mentality, she'll deal poor damage with
    either physicals or magic.
    
    Since you now have more than five people in your party, I'll start making note
    of instances where characters are required for battle.  This is one of them.
    Shizuku, Uru, and Karen will already be on the field, meaning you only get to
    add two people.  There are no special quirks to this fight; Nicole is not a
    series-specific boss (in the Chaos Wars sense; he's from Shadow Hearts if'n you
    can't tell), so pick whoever you want.  This stage is not tough at all.  I
    didn't even need to pay attention to the TV while I was typing.  Feel free to
    charge right into the fray or use this time to practice different battle
    strategies.
    
    While I'm being judgmental, let me just say that Uru has the potential to be an
    absolute tank if given the chance (most characters do if leveled enough, to be
    honest... except Shizuku).  Don't let his short Realize time and high-SP
    Knockout skill deceive you; in later parts of the game, SP and S Gauges are
    nothing to worry about, and you can group attack with For the Child two turns
    in a row under the right circumstances.  And it will obliterate everything.
    And it will be awesome.  P.S. - I'm not just saying this because I am a rabid
    Shadow Hearts fan.  ;)  *cough*  Back to the game!  What?  This section is
    already over?
    
    You get the Devil's Guardian Key for your trouble.  This will summon Mue, who
    will not be able to Realize until much later because of a plot device (i.e. -
    something to make this whole "Gate/key" thing just a little more complicated).
    This does not mean she is useless; it actually makes her a reliable group
    attacker since her S Gauge isn't going to be used for anything else.  Use at
    your own discretion.  Since there's so many allies to chose from and more on
    the way, I'm going to try and make the upcoming strategies as generic as
    possible with a few exceptions.  For now, stick with fighters you are familiar
    with or like particularly.  If you can't figure out who that is yet, do some
    side missions.
    
      Act 3
      -----
    Here's a hot tip: there's recruits hidden in the side missions.  The first time
    I played this, I found this out purely by accident.  There are actually dropped
    hints in the dialogue you can read at your base regarding some of these hidden
    allies, but the characters that appear at your base are random, meaning that it
    is never guaranteed that you will encounter the character you need to talk to
    to learn where to go, which means this mechanic went from kind of cool to
    frustrating in just under .5 seconds.  (FYI, when someone mentions an island,
    something will undoubtedly happen there.)
    
    The hidden character in Chapter 2 is Carmine.  The clue for this is with Rin:
    talk to her any time during this chapter and she may mention that 1.1
    transportations have occurred at Shalulu Island.  The 1 is Carmine, and the .1
    is Tippi, so do a quest that is three or more stages long on Shalulu Island.
    Simply get rid of all the enemies on the map (you can control Carmine here even
    though he hasn't technically joined yet) and you will have gotten a new ally.
    NOTE: Carmine is essential in getting certain characters later on down the
    road, so please make sure you recruit him ASAP.  Note also that since character
    recruitment automatically takes you back to your base, you will fail the
    mission no matter what if it was labeled "Quest" and had a reward.
    
                                           ---
    
    The second order of business is to recruit Joachim.  Since he's a vampire, his
    quest will only appear when the sun is dark; this means between something like
    phases 0 and 2.  You may have actually seen it pop up after finishing the first
    two acts; even though it's a Main quest, it doesn't need to be completed to
    progress.  If, like me, you aren't in the right sun phase, do side missions
    until you are.  *three hours of pointless quests later*  Select "That name
    is..." at Radiance Island to start.
    
    Uru is required for this fight, which should not be strenuous, so feel free to
    split your group into two: one should head right for Grand Papillon and the
    other can take care of the couple monsters off to the side.  All the monsters
    here seem really slow, so you should get plenty of turns before they do.  Grand
    Papillon will run off once the map is cleared.  Afterwards, Uru will unmask the
    thief and Joachim will join as well as give up the Coin Key.  This will open up
    the Shop on the Gate.  Check out the "Base" section of the earlier part of the
    guide for more on that.  The items in the shop change from time to time, so
    always make sure to check back.  This is also the time to start selling those
    conversion items you've been winning.  Yes, that's all they are good for.  Yes,
    they sell for piddly Dia.
    
    Because this game doesn't like to hold my hand, I did more side missions for
    about another hour, waiting for a Main quest to appear, before I realized that
    Rin was always standing in front of the stairs like she wanted to talk to me.
    So I indulged, and a new mission opened up at Radiance Island.  So, yeah, talk
    to Rin to progress.  *headdesk*
    
                                           ---
    
    "You've got it all wrong" puts us back in the face of the Kishidan and Laru.
    No special rules here; go all out in any way you please.  You get the Wolf Fang
    Key for winning.
    
    During the event leading up to the next phase of this act, Okita will recognize
    Ryoma Sakamoto, which means we've got a series-specific branching point boss
    fight on our hands.  Luckily, this one is easy.  Since I'm focusing on
    recruitment, it is imperative that Okita be the one to finish Ryoma because if
    you don't visit the islands in a specific order this time, you will miss out on
    some good allies.  So, first thing you should do is put Okita on the field.
    The last thing you should do is make sure he attacks or starts a group attack
    that finishes Ryoma.
    
    Get rid of the dragon guys lounging around.  You can do this without fear of
    serious attack from Ryoma since his quickness is pathetic.  Translation: he's
    slow as hell and will only attack maybe two or three times before you can focus
    on attacking him.  Just make sure Okita is at the start of the attack that does
    him in and you'll get the Desert Key.  If you got the Time Key, reload or
    understand that you will miss out on some allies.
    
    
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                       Chapter 3                            [ch3]
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    
    At the base once again, use your Wolf Fang Key to summon Okita's commander,
    Hijikata.  No, they are not really brothers.  He has the same Avoid skills as
    Okita and he will always deal critical damage when in Realize form, but he also
    suffers from Slow As Hell Syndrome.  Use at your own risk.  At this point,
    there are more branching paths, but I will speak no more of them since I am
    only concerned with getting the most out of a single playthrough.
    
      Act 1
      -----
    Use the Desert Key to open the way to Garaze Island.  Select the "Over Dose"
    Main quest to continue.  Grave and Mika will join as allies before the fight,
    and they are required.  Finally!  Some gun-wielders!  The first round is all
    mafia small fry.  Still, it's probably best to attack them one at a time.
    They're fast, much faster than Grave and Mika, so you probably want someone
    like Okita on the field who has high quickness.  Heh, Mika didn't even get a
    turn in my playthrough and fell right away.  Grave is the better gunman here,
    if I may say so.  He has the tank potential.
    
    Afterwards, a Gungrave boss will rear his head, but he's not our next opponent,
    so no special circumstances.  The Orgman enemies here are slightly slower than
    the mafia ones, but there are quite a few of them spread out.  Use the same
    tactic you did last time since the layout is very much the same.  Your party
    starts kind of spread out since Mika and Grave are already out, so you might
    want to try splitting up your remaining three fighters to cover those two.
    (Especially Mika; damn, she died again in my game.)  Pay special attention to
    enemies with the Heart of Glass attribute.  Those poor bastards take all damage
    as critical, so you can safely tackle them with a solo fighter if their offense
    is decent.  You get the Ice Crystal and Time Keys for winning.
    
      Act 2
      -----
    Use your Ice Crystal Key for one of the most random Knights ever, although she
    is the only one to respond to the situation in a believable manner.  Like Mue,
    Koyuki won't be able to Realize until much later for whatever reason.  At least
    she comes equipped with some decent magic [which you can blatantly steal].
    Before we continue with the main game, let's get one more ally.  You should see
    a main quest back at Radiance Island ("Thriller Night") if you've followed the
    guide thus far.  Therein lies a guitar playing ghost with a name that rolls
    right off the tongue: Rocketbilly Redcadillac.  Say it out loud for good
    measure.  You better believe we want to recruit that.  The enemies here should
    be cake at your level.  No lie.  Afterwards, Rocketbilly will join as an ally.
    NOTE: RB is needed to recruit someone else as awesome as he is down the road,
    so make sure you recruit him before too long if you wait!
    
    Back at your base, you should probably have assembled a group that you are
    comfortable with.  Feel free to do some side quests to level up a bit.  It's a
    good idea to have a tank or too a couple levels above the rest.  Remember that
    it is really easy to level up allies quickly.  Choose a mission and have them
    attack as often as possible.  Because stats go up with most actions, the more
    they work, the more they get for it.  When ready, use your Time Key.
    
      Act 3
      -----
    Toriltram Island gives us the "Self-Professed Detective" Main quest and throws
    an interesting new character in our path.  Er, three new characters.  And
    drama!  Take it outside!  ...  Oddly enough, Okita is not required for this
    fight even though he started it.  There is a key to be won of this battle and
    it is one of those weird battle requirements that only the folks at GameFAQs
    could help with: two keys are available here and which one you get depends on
    the sun's phase when Ryoma is defeated.  The Heavy Drunkard Key, which unlocks
    Luwenelva, will be yours if the sun is bright (phase of 6+).  The Huge Serpent
    Key, which unlocks Orochimaru (no, not that Orochimaru), will be yours if the
    sun is waning (5-).  Don't know who they are?  Neither did I!  Check the
    character section at the beginning of the guide to get the jist and pick your
    poison.  They're both heavy drinkers.  Great at parties.
    
    Ryoma's speed has gotten infinitely better since last time.  He even rivals
    Okita at this point.  You should still get the Gia-Gis out of the way first.
    Don't chip away at Ryoma until you are ready to take him down.  Chipping means
    adding to his S Gauge, and his Knockout skill is enough to kill off someone in
    one go if you don't watch their health.  Don't be worried if Ryoma gets some
    hits in while you're doing other things.  You should have healing items at the
    ready (you have been shopping, right?), and he will fill your gauges for you.
    Bide your time until the sun is where you want it and then finish him.
    
    Zard will show his face and give you a key to buy your trust.  Good enough.  He
    will join your team for the second stage of the fight, but don't get too comfy
    with him, as he won't be with us for long.  (He will come back; just not for a
    while.)  The monsters here could be a problem for lower level fighters, so Zard
    may come in handy.  His Realize makes him look like he just came from Kingdom
    Hearts 3 try-outs, but it's got useful attributes if the sun is right.  He
    seems to take damage like a glass house though, so keep the healing items
    close.  You'll get the Idol Key for finishing.
    
      Act 4
      -----
    Use the Idol Key to open Pagoras Island if you want, but our next Main mission
    is "Star Children" at Golugore Island.  Uru and Grave are immediately thrown
    onto the field and a wild Roger appears.  And you can try to name him!  This
    would be an awesome throwback to the Shadow Hearts series if you actually got
    to select letters, but you can't.  The Orgman enemies are nothing special.  If
    you haven't been using Grave or Uru (shame on you), have them hang back and act
    as group attack lackeys or don't use them at all and have your three other
    fighters do all the work.
    
    Uru convinces Roger to come with us so we can lock him in the basement when
    Nicole appears once again.  We've got another guy on the field too.  He is
    fairly quick and is going to make a beeline for your party.  Like with Ryoma,
    just take the pain he dishes and work on getting rid of the Orgmen.  Nicole is
    no real threat.  If you're confident in your allies' abilities, leave some at
    the end of the bridge to tango with Nicole and have the others focus on
    Nagare's direction.  Okita (that beautiful bastard) and Hijikata are good to
    put out in front because of their Avoid and counter attacks.
    
    If you have a character whose HP is high enough, you can have him/her go over
    the bridge and tackle Nicole and the one Orgman by him/herself.  The idea is to
    let the two swamp your fighter and attack, letting them take lots of damage
    to get the S Gauge up.  Then, when their turn rolls around, heal and unleash a
    Knockout for massive damage.  (I used this strategy with Uru's For the Child
    and it damn near killed Nicole in one shot.)  If you don't underestimate your
    opponent or your ally's defense, this works extremely well in upcoming fights.
    Bait 'em, then take 'em down.  There's nothing to be won from this fight, so no
    special rules.
    
      Act 5
      -----
    Ready for an act chock full of Shadow Hearts?  Sure you are!  But first, you
    should notice Rin standing at the base of the stairs.  This means that she
    won't let the game go on until you hear her out.  Time to pad out gameplay by
    throwing in a grocery shopping mission.  You should now see a Main mission
    called "The Woman of Fate" at Radiance Island.  NOTE: Uru and Karen will have
    to fight the first stage all by themselves, but the monsters are low level
    pansies so you don't need to worry unless you get caught on the wrong end of a
    series of group attacks.  Eh, you might want to make sure at least one of them
    is leveled.
    
    Uru then makes his move in pure Uru fashion.  Alice and her uncle Gepetto join
    as allies.  (Alice is still alive!  Oh no!  TIME PARADOX.)  Then we get a
    glimpse of Anastasia and Kurando, who need our help.  This fight is very
    unforgiving, as it pits you against fast monsters, Shelley (who is a pain in
    the ass), and only leaves you two of your own fighters to throw in the mix.
    Shelley's Realize has a wide damage radius, and she deals increased damage to
    characters when they are Realized.  Stay away from her for now and take out the
    two creatures behind you.  There is one thing you need to do in this fight to
    gain access to an ally later.  It's one I first found purely by accident and
    made me ask myself, "How many other allies have I missed because of random
    recruitment mechanics?"  Grr.  Have Gepetto Realize and Shelley will react on
    her next turn since she appears to be a doll aficionado.  She will hint at
    something interesting at Pagoras Island to be found later.
    
    It can be difficult to get rid of the monsters while avoiding Shelley.  It's
    vitally important not to whittle at Shelley until you're ready to go all out.
    Her Realize is *really* annoying.  Plus, she knows some upper level magic that
    is a real Pain (lol).  Bite the bullet and swallow your healing tablets until
    all the fairies and popples are gone.  Then group attack Shelley into
    submission.  Don't Realize unless you can use a Knockout skill.  We get the
    Smelt Key and two more mouths to feed for winning.
    
    
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                Chapter I Hate Polytan                      [ch4]
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    
    There's lots to do right of the bat, so let's get crackin'.  The first thing
    you need to do is shop.  Shop for your life.  That one possible ally you
    [should have] had Gepetto Realize for in the last battle?  The power of
    GameFAQs has deciphered that, to recruit said ally, you need to use the shop
    (i.e. - actually buy something) 100 times.  Why?  Quiet, you!  (If I had to
    venture a guess, it has to do with the nature of said ally's Realize.  You'll
    see what I mean.)  This is the perfect time to get to know your shop.  Tons of
    great skills lie therein, making your party's collective move sets fully your
    own.  Don't skimp on the items either.  Healing items are vital and the ones
    that cause ailments like paralysis, sleep, and illness can help buy you time in
    a tough fight.
    
    You can go for this new ally anytime after this point, but I do not recommend
    it until your fighters are at least ranked in the upper twenties or thirties.
    When you feel you have met the requirements, head to Pagoras Island with
    Gepetto in tow and do any quest with three stages to meet Polytan on the
    second.  Have fun fighting him; he likes to break the fourth wall, even with
    his Knockout skill.  In order to recruit him though, one doll must beat
    another.  Gepetto must be the one to finish Polytan, but he can only do this on
    the third stage (the second was just a warm-up).  Use your other party members
    to get his health down low enough for this and use Deadly skills to keep it
    down or Illness Powder to keep it off.  Careful, his rank is dangerously high,
    but the real threat here is the monsters that appear with him.  No matter what,
    take them out first.  They are stronger than Polytan, but they have far less
    HP.  You can't afford to take on the bear with them breathing down your neck.
    If done properly, you'll get a scene in which Polytan reveals that he is a
    total perv.  Oh, and if you're thinking "Wow!  A level 34 ally at this stage in
    the game?  I'm set!" think again.  His stats drop as soon as he joins your
    group.  (This applies to most allies gained this way.)
    
      Act 1
      -----
    Use your Smelt Key to add the Upgrade function to the gate.  The specifics are
    outlined in the "Base" section of the guide.  There will be two main quests
    available, but let's get a new ally because you couldn't possibly have enough
    at this point.  I believe the cue for this new recruit is from Carmine: talk to
    him and he'll say something about Tippi sensing something at Garaze Island, so
    go there and pick a mission with three or more stages.  Like Carmine, Monica
    will appear in stage 3.  Simply finish normally and she will join.  NOTE: Also
    like Carmine, she is required for someone else to join down the road, so get
    her soon.
    
                                           ---
    
    Do the "Backyard" Main quest first.  That way, Zard will owe us one.  He'll owe
    us big time after making us ... are you ready? ... clean his backyard for him.
    That's right.  There is a whole quest dedicated to cleaning a backyard.  With
    dragons.  They all suffer from Slow As Hell Syndrome, so even if you use
    someone like Hijikata or Alice, you will run rings around them if they're at a
    decent level.  Some magic users might be good here because all of the dragons
    have the XL Size attribute, which decreases damage taken from physical attacks.
    They'll move to swamp you, but it just puts them in your clutches.
    
    The next stage, however, is worse.  Cockatrices will invade and their quickness
    is nothing to sneeze at.  Put fast allies in or count on people who can take
    damage over a large number of turns.  Their Ghenna Breath has a large hit
    radius and causes the ailment status, and they can also paralyze you.  Stand
    your ground and let them smack you around a bit (as if you had a choice) and
    use items to heal every turn.  Your full S Gauges will speak for themselves.
    You get the Two Spears Key for finishing your chores.  Use it at home to get
    Zeonsilt, a worthy spear specialist.
    
                                           ---
    
    Next...  MAKE SURE HYOMA IS AT LEAST LEVEL 16 OR CLOSE BEFORE STARTING THE NEXT
    QUEST.  I AM USING CAPS LOCK BECAUSE IT IS IMPORTANT.  Hyoma's going to have to
    fight all by himself in the coming quest.  For the strategy below to work, make
    sure he has the God's Breath skill.  When ready, select the "Bride from the
    Jungle" quest at Pagoras Island.  The first stage requires Hyoma along with a
    four-person party.  It isn't without its peril either.  The Cholipper enemies
    can cause instant death with their Bee Sting attack (ARGH BEES).  Not much you
    can do about it if it happens unless you have some Nectar on hand.  You should
    only really worry about it if they kill off two-thirds of your party, but
    that's unlikely.  Plow through like normal.
    
    The next stage is where things can get tricky if not prepared.  Hyoma must
    fight Wruzel all by his lonesome.  To up the odds of winning, I recommend
    making sure he is equipped with the best stuff on hand and has the God Breath
    skill.  Since the two start far apart, just have Hyoma stay in place and use
    God Breath every turn while Wruzel comes up to you.  It's a cool skill because
    it raises both offense and defense, so when Wruzel Realizes and attacks, you
    should be okay.  Use it as many times as you like or until you run out of room
    to hide.  It will also have raised your S Gauge so you can Realize too.  Hyoma
    might even get two turns in a row, with a chance of using Guilty Break for
    both.  Now that I think about it, I wonder why I had so much trouble with this
    the first time I played this game...  Oh, yeah.  Wruzel is a hard hitter; I
    can't think of any easy way to finish this stage that doesn't involve using God
    Breath.  Wruzel will join and give Hyoma the Ancient Key as an engagement gift.
    
    Yoichi arrives in time for the last stage.  Wruzel is required for this.
    Yoichi's end of the field is crowded with enemies, so feel free to retreat and
    take care of the two stragglers on your end while waiting for the rest to
    funnel in.  Remember, Yoichi is packing a gun, so he doesn't need to be close
    to do damage.  Depending on the phase of the sun, these guys can pose a
    challenge.  If your fighters are fast, you should have enough time to take
    damage, heal it, and then dish it.
    
      Act 2
      -----
    Back home, it's character recruitment time!  CAPS LOCK TIME TOO: MAKE SURE
    GRAVE IS AT A RELIABLE LEVEL BEFORE PROCEEDING.  If you have Rocketbilly
    Redcadillac recruited (and why wouldn't you?), you'll see Roger hanging out in
    front of the stairs to the Gate.  He wants to do an experiment and needs some
    muscle.  Head to Garaze Island to partake in the "Avenger" quest.  Mika and
    Grave will have beaten you to the field.  (Oh, great.  Mika's gonna get knocked
    out again.  *facepalm*)  The only new trick the Orgmen have learned is how to
    counter.  They broke up so many of my group attacks that it wasn't funny.  In
    return, I ended up blowing most of them to Kingdom Come with a couple For the
    Childs.  Heh.
    
    The next stage is another one-on-one.  Grave vs. Total Badass Blind Man Whose
    Freaking Back Is On Fire (also known as Juji).  This guy was running circles
    around my Grave (who happened to be three levels lower and without support
    skills).  The same tactic you used with Hyoma last act will work though.  Lead
    Juji on in a game of tag and let him take potshots at you to fill your S Gauge.
    And don't forget to eat your medi-leaves.  He is fairly fast, so he will get
    multiple turns in a row.  Often.  The bad thing about this is that it means he
    will heal temporary damage quicker, making this a long stage if Grave can't
    attack hard and fast.  He only has two turns in Realize form, meaning that he
    will rarely get a Knockout skill out if he's taking two turns in a row.  He can
    and may exhibit the good sense to wait and build up his SP/S Gauges though.
    But that's okay because his Knockout is badass and you know you want to see it.
    After you win, Juji continues to prove how awesome he is and joins as an ally.
    
      Act 3
      -----
    Use the Ancient Key to unlock Elshant Island and the "Mysterious Anthropod"
    quest.  Before selecting it, you must make a choice.  Do you want a monkey on
    your team as an ally really badly?  So badly that you are willing to actually
    drag Shizuku out of the sub character pit and use her?  If so, then prepare
    Shizuku for war.  She doesn't need to be at a really high level, just high
    enough to where she will deal more than 0 damage.  Zard has another seemingly
    pointless, gameplay-padding assignment for us, courtesy of his neighbors.  In
    the opening event, we also learn why it is Shizuku who must do battle with the
    evil primate: he copped a feel.  Little Miss Harisen will be required for this
    quest, but the character recruitment isn't until the next stage, so fight this
    one normally.  Lubul, the randy monkey, is really fast and can Realize so
    practice the ole "stay away until you're ready to take 'em down technique".
    
    The next stage is the real deal.  In order to get the monkey to join, you must
    finish him off with Shizuku's Harisen Dance.  Before you worry about that, get
    rid of all the assassins and Iron Claw Soldiers.  After that, it's just a
    matter of whittling away at Lubul until you are sure you can finish him with
    Shizuku's Realize.  Don't group attack or else you run the risk of overdoing
    it.  If you've got someone with a Deadly skill (i.e. - one that deals critical
    damage) have them attack repeatedly to make sure Lubul doesn't heal himself.
    Sometimes Deadly attacks will deal 0 damage (it mostly only happens when the
    target has a lot of temporary damage, so I'm assuming it's to keep these
    attacks from being totally broken); this is okay though because they will still
    deplete the victim's temporary damage.  You can also use attack items rotting
    in your inventory (the ones that cast a certain spell when used) to deal piddly
    damage to get him prepared.  When you think his health is low enough for
    Shizuku, Realize and let him have it.  You know you've done it right when Lubul
    confesses his love for her after the fight.  You'll also get the Knowledge Key
    after witnessing a weird love triangle-ish scene.
    
    The last stage pits us against Shelley again.  The pixie and popplis monsters
    will not make things easy, though they are pretty slow which makes them easy
    targets.  Try not to let Shelley use her Knockout skill, as it is still really
    annoying.  More events afterwards thrust us headlong into chapter 5.
    
    
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                       Chapter 5                            [ch5]
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    
    The quests are getting up there in rank.  Level a bit if you need to.  Go ahead
    and use your Knowledge Key to open up Imperion Island, but there's stuff going
    down at Garaze now if the last event didn't tip you off.
    
      Act 1
      -----
    If you recruited Carmine, you should see an extra Main quest titled "My Road"
    at Golugore Island.  Carmine is required to be on the field.  Because my
    caffeine levels were astronomically low while playing this section, my judgment
    was severely impaired and I opted to do the higher-ranked quest first ... and
    with a level 8 Carmine.  The first stage is actually not bad.  If you haven't
    been using him, Carmine can just hang out in a corner while your better
    fighters clean up the riff raff.  You might hurt from that empty spot on your
    fighting force though.
    
    The next stage throws Jurien our way, along with the same soldiers from before,
    so the same strategy applies (into the corner with you, Carmine!).  All the
    enemies are tougher than usual, but focus on them one at a time and take your
    healing tablets and you should be fine.  Jurien is kind of slow, and it really
    really helps to have a useable Carmine, but eh.  It's doable without.  And if
    you're having trouble, just come back.  This quest will hang around.
    
                                           ---
    
    I guess it makes more sense from a plot standpoint to do the other quest first,
    but HA! plot?  Who needs it?  So let's go back in time and create the reason
    those soldiers were running from us in the first place.  Select the "Mutiny"
    quest at Garaze Island.  You might want to make sure either Okita, Hijikata, or
    both are battle worthy.  The first stage is simple.  If you were an idiot like
    me and did the other mission first, then this is like a really toned down
    version of that.  Yeah.  Stage two is more of the same, actually.  Take this
    opportunity to get some good leveling in.
    
    The last stage has a Shinsengumi enemy in, but there's nothing special to be
    won here.  Both Okita and Hijikata will be required for this battle, so
    hopefully you've been using one or the other.  If not (or even if you have),
    have them Realize and pray their Avoid attributes will prove useful.  Hijikata
    likely won't get many turns.  How did this guy get to be a Shinsengumi deputy
    when he's so freaking slow?  He still has his uses: even though my Hijikata was
    around rank 10 and only got maybe two turns, he was never attacked except once
    (a group attack started by IZOU), and he blocked it with his Avoid skill.
    Literal c-c-c-combo breaker!  When Realized, IZOU has a chance to instantly KO
    a person, so watch out.  He's actually not that fast, just ugly as sin, so you
    can pick off his subordinates without risk of many attacks from him.  Unless
    he's in group attack mode, then he can be a nuisance.  Group attack him
    yourself into submission.
    
      Act 2
      -----
    It's time to call in Zard's tab.  What have we got?  One quest to clean a
    backyard.  One quest to catch a monkey.  ...Is that it?  It felt like there was
    more.  Well, those two things count for a lot of anguish, so we'll chalk the
    rest up to inflation.  Select "Zard's Memory" to learn that he wants to keep
    asking us favors.  Fine by me.  The meter is running.
    
    Later, in the library: PSAG.  The library is full of librarians!  Oh, and
    monsters, too.  Zard is required for this fight; he hasn't learned any new
    tricks, but his level is kind of decent.  He's still subject to take loads of
    damage in one go, so he needs babysitting.  Just tear your way through the
    library, striking down any bookkeepers foolish enough to get in your way.  My
    mum is a librarian; this stage made me feel guilty.  :C
    
    Garino steals Zard's key, and we have to help him get it back or he'll just
    keep asking us favors.  Unless you want to do more chores, you had best give
    chase.  Garino will run away and leave us with Fangorum, a mangled beast
    without a jaw who is out for Grave's blood.  They're a great pair: Grave can't
    talk and Fangorum won't shut up with all the yelling.  Grave is required for
    this fight, but you can put four more people out for back-up.  The Orgmen here
    are pretty standard.  Their sole purpose is to soften you up for the big guy.
    Fangorum will likely use them to pile on the hurt with group attacks as well.
    And, GRR, if they counter another one of my retaliating group attacks I swear
    I will do something violent!!!  *exhale*  Even though Fangorum is a special
    boss, there's nothing to be gained from this fight, so anyone can take him out.
    I really hope that, by now, you know how to take out an enemy of this caliber.
    Play hide-and-seek with Fangorum until you can Realize and get a powerful
    attack out.  I can guarantee he'll get at least one Knockout skill in, so stay
    healed up.
    
      Act 3
      -----
    Before we meet with Gaizan at Toriltram, select the event "Choosing to Stay".
    Zard is going to give us an ally, but only one: Zeros or Ires.  He needs
    someone to watch his office because he's been SO incredibly busy these days,
    you know?  See the character profiles if you need help choosing who to choose.
    Afterwards, select "Mars' Destruction" to get this show on the road.
    
                                           ---
    
    Believe it or not, this is not the last we'll see of Gaizan and there is
    nothing special to be gained from this match even though it looks special,
    seeing as how it's just him and Emily.  This is easy!  Now I don't have to type
    the same damn thing over and over: I can skip the whole "take out the small
    fry" bit and go straight to the big boys.  They wasted no time in Realizing for
    me.  This can be good but mostly bad.  Good because (depending on their
    distance from you) they will waste their turns in Realize and can't get out a
    Knockout skill.  Bad because (more likely) you will feel inclined to group
    attack one in the hopes of doing him/her in and will instead fill their gauge,
    leaving them with enough to Knockout and group attack.
    
    As for me, I was confident enough in my party's level (my lower ranked guys
    were around 23) to be able to take damage, so I did the "group attack like a
    silly bitch" strategy.  Emily and Gaizan will have upwards of 2000 HP, so this
    may be the only real way to deal damage besides Knockout skills.  The good news
    is that both of their Realize moves target only a single person at a time,
    meaning that in a worst case scenario, only one person at a time will bite the
    bullet from a Knockout.  However, they know some good multi-target gun skills.
    Regardless, focus on one at a time unless you like to make things hard on
    yourself.
    
    A huge transportation occurs when you've won, and we are attacked by the
    Monsters Who Say "Whee".  We've got to help our new best friend, Takeru.  Take
    a look at his status and see what you make of his attributes and his Realize.
    If you're going to be using him, make sure you pay attention when you have him
    Realize.  Save it for when he's in need of healing and not for when he is
    drastically outnumbered or in danger.  There's only three enemies on this
    stage.  Too easy.  ...  Right as I typed that, Garino entered stage left.  Oh,
    wait.  There's only three Orgmen with him and he's not gonna stick around.  Too
    ea-  No, I'm not falling for it again.  Orgmen still counter really well, so
    it's not that easy at all really.
    
    After that... the plot thickens.
    
    
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                       Chapter 6                            [ch6]
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    
    Before we go to see the witch at the library (their natural habitat), let's get
    some more knights, eh?  I don't know why they keep throwing new recruits our
    way when you should already have a working party.  That's the definition of
    fan service, I guess.
    
      Act 1
      -----
    You're going to need certain characters in your Main group, namely Zeonsilt and
    Monica.  Before recruiting Zeonsilt's friend, MAKE SURE YOUR PARTY CAN
    EFFICIENTLY HANDLE A LEVEL 37, 5500 HP SELF-HEALING CHEAT!!!  Sorry for
    yelling, but this recruit gave me a hard time and I should tell you now that it
    might be a good idea to stock up on paralyzing and sleep-inducing items at the
    shop.  Keep reading to see why.  Make your preparations, go to Elshant Island,
    and pick a quest with at least three or more stages.  On the third stage,
    Mervina will threaten us, Zeonsilt and Corin will recognize Mervina, Mervina
    will recognize Zeonsilt, and then we'll have to fight.  In order to recruit
    Mervina, Zeonsilt must be the one to land the final blow.  The enemies with her
    are up there in rank, and Mervina's HP totals are a little intimidating.  Run
    around and do what you can (maybe waiting until the sun dims) and then go in
    for the kill.
    
    You should be finding that using your Knockout skills is easier now.  You're
    going to need that power because Mervina has two Absorb skills: her Knockout
    skill and Red Tornado.  You can Seal her so she can't Realize, but she can
    still use Red Tornado and gain large amounts of HP in a single attack.  The
    trick here is to paralyze her or put her to sleep long enough to get her HP
    down for Zeonsilt.  Throw items at her or use skills with those effects (items
    are probably better).  If your luck is good, it'll take effect and she'll be
    immobilized for a while.  If your luck is really good, Red Tornado will shift
    into a different skill, and you will have one less pain to worry about.  If
    your luck is bad, she will recover quickly and you'll need to try again.  You
    can also try blinding her so her healing attacks miss, but sleep and paralysis
    are better by a large margin.  Good luck.
    
                                           ---
    
    Monica's buddy is somewhat easier but not by much.  Put her in your Main group
    and look for a quest titled "Gentle Sinner" at Radiance Island.  If you don't
    see it, you may need to "refresh" the quests by doing one and then reopening
    the Gate.  Monica, out on one of her many walks, comes across some creeps and
    Lyell transports in to save the day.  It's just him and Monica, so if you
    haven't been using Monica, it's his show.  It's possible to do this with just
    Lyell, but it requires lots of first aid and some luck.  His Knockout is
    similar to Carmine's in that it covers a wide radius, so you should be able to
    hit all three baddies at once.  This will fill their S Gauges though and is NOT
    highly recommended since they will get an ungodly amount of turns afterwards
    and Lyell will likely not survive.  However, if Monica is not able to fight,
    this may be the best way to cause damage.  I'm contradicting myself, sorry.
    
    If Monica is at a low level and dealing 0 damage, don't have her attack at all.
    Have her play Clara Barton (giving first-aid) and/or be a patsy to direct fire
    away from Lyell.  But if Monica can fight, use her and Lyell to take the agents
    out one at a time.  If Lyell is by himself, use his Realize only if you believe
    in luck.  The lucky factors are 1) if the enemies use magic instead of regular
    attacks, 2) they miss or you are Realized and it's neutralized (in the case of
    magic) or 3) Lyell does not counter.  Countering takes up a turn, so if you're
    getting group attacked relentlessly and he counters, your turn (i.e. - your
    chance to heal) is pushed back.  I hadn't been using Monica and was not about
    to spend my time training her, so I opted for the "hope for the best" approach
    and it worked after two tries.  If you'd rather not test your luck, train
    Monica for back-up.  Lyell joins as an ally if you make it out alive, and he
    actually retains his high level.
    
                                           ---
    
    Back to the plot, go to the Imperion Library and select the "Library Witch"
    quest.  NOTE: If you're looking to recruit yet another ally, make sure Okita
    can deal some good damage before beginning.  The first stage throws librarians
    and monsters our way, normal standard fare at this point.  I bet you wanted a
    break after doing those optional quests.  Yeah, me too.  It's nice to be able
    to nearly one hit KO enemies again.  Aaand rinse and repeat for stage two.
    Depending on your level, you should even be able to ditch the "attack one at a
    time" strategy and split your party up to make things go quicker.
    
    Ryoma shows up in the third stage.  He is recruitable this time around, but
    Okita has to be the one to land the finishing blow by himself, any attack will
    do.  Moreover, you may have to finish this stage with an A rank.  To do this,
    you have to plow through.  Don't take so many turns and group attack whenever
    you can with as many people as possible to maximize damage and combos.  Pick
    your highest ranked fighters (just make sure Okita is one of them) and mow 'em
    down.  Definitely split your group up, and have Okita go wherever Ryoma does.
    If done correctly, you'll get a scene where Ryoma says he wants to quit the
    Luin and tells you about their plot.  He'll then join.  For those who are
    worried about getting the A rank, here were my stats at the time of my finish.
    Try to match or better them and you should get it:
    
      Turns: 7
      Maximum Combo: 2
      Maximum Damage: 1247
    
    Go fast and group attack.  That about sums up how to get a good rank.  We meet
    the witch afterwards and she hints at a way back home.  She also gives us the
    Knowledge Tower Key and a convoluted plan to remove the blockage in the
    drainage pipe out of here.
    
      Act 2
      -----
    Rin is standing at the foot of the Gate; she wants to say something.  She is in
    danger of turning emo, so Hyoma actually does a nice thing for once and says
    something remotely kind.  This opens up the "New Appearance" quest at Pagoras
    Island.  There's also an event at Imperion Island: "Knowledge Tower Key".  But
    let's put the plot aside for now and get another ally.  You should see the
    "Royal Card" quest at Shalulu Island.  Did I read that right?  Royal... card?
    This ally is either a poker player or Engrish has struck again.  Another
    Growlanser character, Silvernale, is here and fighting by her lonesome.  Her
    level is low, so you've gotta watch her back.  If she takes too much damage,
    she will not join.  Have her Realize since she has an attribute that can
    neutralize physical damage.
    
    Split your party up and take the agents out quickly since there is also a rank
    requirement of B or higher.  The first time I did this, Silvernale did not join
    even though she didn't get too injured and I got a B rank.  Crap.  Then I tried
    it again, A ranked it, made sure Silvernale was completely healed, and she
    still didn't join.  Double crap.  After around five more tries, I finally had a
    round where I A ranked it with Silvernale taking no damage at all, and she
    joined.  This game has been known to glitch when it comes to character
    recruiting (don't look so surprised) so if you cannot get Silvernale right
    away, just keep trying until she gives up and joins.  The known requirements
    are B rank or higher and keeping her from taking lots of damage.
    
    Go ahead and go to Imperion Island to get that event quest out of the way.  Mue
    will now be able to Realize.
    
                                           ---
    
    Let's do the "New Appearance" quest next since it's ranked lower and must be
    special since we had to activate it.  Hyoma's going to be out on the field with
    Okita at the start.  IZOU is here too, and the most annoying thing about him is
    still his Realize, what with the instant KOs and the neutralized physical
    damage and all.  And he can counter too.  On Hyoma's first turn, he will
    automatically Realize and get a new look.  His event picture looks better than
    his new sprite; he is now in possession of the Hair Extensions of Doom.  No
    special rules; do what you must.
    
      Act 3
      -----
    A new quest at Shalulu will have appeared, but we're not done with the fashion
    show yet.  We've got two more quests to finish up, one for both Hayate and
    Shizuku.  This oughta be good...  My cursor happened to be closest to Elshant
    Island, so I'll pick the "Ancient Tower Key" quest next.  But if you wanna do
    the other one then skip a paragraph and be my guest.
    
    This one is for Shizuku.  Shelley is the big boss here, but (like with IZOU)
    there's no special rules.  Her lackeys are one-hit KO fodder, and Shelley
    herself is pretty sad.  Level 27?  Ha!  Your strongest fighters should be at
    least ten levels above that if you've been doing ally recruitment.  When
    Shizuku gets her turn, she'll Realize that she looks trashy in her new getup.
    (lol puns r fun)
    
                                           ---
    
    Next quest is the "Desert Tower Key" one at Garaze Island.  Yoichi is here to
    take on Hayate.  Finish up, sit back, and enjoy watching Hayate get totally
    burned by Uru in the event afterwards.  Thus ends our out-of-the-way side trip.
    
                                           ---
    
    The last quest of this chapter is "Raving Nicole", found at Shalulu Island.
    Let's get to it.  Uru will be required for this fight, use him as you see fit.
    If you've been using him a lot, the Dark Seraphim could probably give all five
    enemies here a run for their money.  Watch out for Nicole on this one: if he
    Realizes, magic will be completely ineffective against him because of his
    All Knowing attribute.  Even though we have two special bosses on the field,
    neither are recruitable (one will be, but much later), so you know the drill.
    Take no prisoners.  Turns out our trip was wasted, and we're sent home.
    After holding our spoils from the battle, Koyuki will be able to Realize, and
    now I finally understand why Koyuki was Hiro's damage partner for their Bond of
    Friendship attribute.  That really bugged me.
    
    Now comes the time when the game forces us to branch once again.  However, this
    branch is a biggie, forcing me to play this section of the game twice so I can
    write everything down.  There are three allies to be gained in each path here.
    You can only choose one path per game, but the events are basically recycled
    between both paths so base your decision on which allies you want:
    
      Sluc: Sluc, Bunnji, MAKO
      Laru: Laru, Sluc, Nagare
    
    I'm choosing Sluc's path first.  If you chose Laru, skip a whole section and
    meet me back at chapter 8.
    
    
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                               Chapter 7 - Visiting Sluc                    [c7s]
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    
    If you chose Sluc's path, you'll be able to get all your new recruits in this
    chapter alone.  Since we were just there and we know we're wanted criminals,
    let's go back to Shalulu.  It can't possibly be dangerous, right?
    
      Act 1
      -----
    Select the "Saigou Takamori" quest if you think your rank can take it.  It's
    nothing too bad.  Just a fetch quest.  The enemies here all have a support
    skill of some kind, meaning they have raised attack stats, raised defenses, or
    a counter ability.  Still, you should be able to handle them without breaking a
    sweat if your party is in the thirties (which it really should be by now).  The
    special enemy here is a palette-swapped serpent creature whose 4500 HP is not
    daunting in the least.  Mervina should have toughened you up plenty for guys
    like this.  He even had the misfortune to have the Heart of Glass attribute in
    my game.  Poor bastard.
    
    Next stage puts Sluc on the battlefield with you, and she will join afterwards
    if you promise to take good care of her (i.e. - don't let her take too much
    damage).  She is level 23 with a grand total of three par gun skills and she
    starts closest to IZOU.  Take a look at the battlefield and make note of all
    the holes.  Don't send your fighters to a crevice when you think you're aiming
    for an enemy, and feel free to use your long range attackers to keep them at
    bay.  Also, watch out before you put gun users on the field; a lot of the
    enemies here are wearing combat suits, which have a chance to neutralize damage
    from guns.
    
    Sluc is likely going to be wasted space on your fighting force, so keep her
    behind everyone else and use her as group attack fodder.  Pretend Sluc is
    facing north; have your people focus on the north and east.  Definitely stand
    your ground and focus on one enemy at a time as best you can.  When you get
    swamped, start shifting your party away from the action.  It is kind of hard to
    keep Sluc from taking a lot of damage, so make sure someone is always in range
    to heal her.  The best advice here is to group attack and take them out fast.
    However, if you have someone on your team who you know can deal thousands of HP
    worth of damage in a single attack *coughUrucough* then let them get slapped
    around a bit to fill their S Gauge.
    
    When it comes to IZOU, group attack rather than Realize.  The reason for this
    is that, when he's Realized, he can and will neutralize physical damage.
    Instead of powering a super-charged attack that will likely be shrugged off,
    pile on the hurt.  That way, someone is bound to do some damage.  Of course,
    since he's slow, you will run out of S Gauges and just end up taking turns
    whacking him to death.  I would have had him on eleven different occasions, but
    he held on with less than 200 HP because he was Realized.  This fight will take
    a while depending on luck and your strategy.  You can also try sealing him to
    make things easier.  It works really well.
    
    I nearly had a heart attack afterwards when they said Sluc was hurt.  I thought
    I'd have to go through all that again, but don't panic.  This is normal.  If
    Sluc was at or near full health when you finally finished and wasn't attacked a
    lot during the fight, she'll join the group.
    
      Act 2
      -----
    If you want to recruit Bunnji, MAKE SURE GRAVE IS AT LEAST LEVEL 30 OR HIGHER!
    Actually, the requirements demand he be only around level 25, but he has to
    fight Bunnji by himself, and everything just goes smoother if Grave is
    prepared.  The quest "Gallant Man" at Garaze Island is a challenge to him, so
    if Grave is not a seasoned soldier at this point, Bunnji will not care.  You'll
    have to fight him regardless, but it will be all for naught if you're not at
    the right level.  This fight is amazingly similar to the one with Juji except
    Bunnji is not nearly as fast as his brother.  He gets four turns in his Realize
    state too.  Just keep playing tag back and forth and either use Deadly attacks,
    your Knockout, or a combination of both to keep the HP goin' down.  Even if
    your Grave barely meets the requirements, he will be okay following this
    strategy.  It will just take you longer and you will have to heal more.  Bunnji
    will join after the fight.
    
      Act 3
      -----
    Now that you have Bunnji, you are free to get another ally at this point.  In
    order to recruit MAKO, you must have recruited Juji, Rocketbilly, and Bunnji.
    I think that's it.  If I had to venture a guess as to why, it is because each
    recruit had Grave fight solo (RB is an exception since he was needed to get to
    Juji's solo fight) and this is what will happen here.  You also need to do a 4+
    stage at Toriltram to activate her appearance.  Stage 3 will be a normal battle
    with her as a controllable ally.  Finish up normally; everyone here is around
    level 31, so you should have no problems after what you just went through.
    Have MAKO high-tail it for your end of the stage or vice-versa if you would
    like to keep a closer eye on her.
    
    MAKO will fail to identify us as a friendly force even though we just saved
    her.  Grave will have to fight her by himself.  Note that I didn't do a
    caps lock warning this time because she is only level 31.  Since Grave just got
    done doing a solo battle, he should be leveled a bit more, if not already
    leveled high enough for this.  She couldn't even do enough damage in one turn
    to fill Grave's S Gauge for a Cerberus O.D. Knockout.  Bunnji did that no
    problem.  Pathetic.  She will join after having rebooted and registering Hyoma
    as her user/commander.  Trust the users.
    
                                           ---
    
    Back at your home base, let's wrap this chapter up.  Go to Radiance Island for
    "The End of Kishidan".  For the first stage, feel free to spread your party out
    if you feel they can handle it and not get completely swamped.  If you don't
    know how to handle yourself on a stage like this, then I want to know who you
    are and what you've been doing for the past 8+ hours.
    
    Nagare appears for the next stage.  Since you are on Sluc's branch, you can say
    good-bye to him since he's not gonna be joining you ever.  I don't think this
    is the last we see of him though.  If you've been using Takeru, then this stage
    is for you: lots of Ruins Denizens around.  And if Uru is on the field, then
    you will get a throwback to Covenant wherein he displays an old trick up his
    sleeves that proves Nagare is an idiot, as if you couldn't tell already.  Get
    Nagare by himself and go to town.  It took a surprising amount of whittling for
    me to take him down.  The fact that he can counter plays a large part in that.
    
    In the following event...  No, Shizuku does not have a point!  Has she ever
    gone up against a whole army?  I don't think so.  I sure hope we're not
    following her advice...  No, Okita.  Be reasonable!  Stay out of this, Hyoma!
    Argh...
    
    On that note, skip a section and jump to chapter 8 while I reload a save file
    and play this whole section over again.  :D
    
    
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                Chapter 7 - Facing Laru                     [c7l]
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    
    Choosing to see Laru first nets you two allies now and one to be obtained at a
    later date.  The action is pretty much the same for each path; just in a
    reversed order and with a different second act.
    
      Act 1
      -----
    Head to Radiance Island for "Garino's Fierce Attack".  The Kishidan we came to
    speak with are under attack, a perfect chance to tip the ball into our side of
    the court by helping out.  Grave is required for this match seeing as how the
    boss is Bunnji, his former apprentice turned science experiment.  If you wanted
    him on your team, you picked the wrong path (sorry, I tried to see if I could
    get him here and he wouldn't have it).  All the enemies here are wearing combat
    suits that give them a chance to completely neutralize damage from gun attacks.
    A large majority, if not all, have support skills as well.  But guess what?  NO
    COUNTER ATTACKS!  Ha ha!  Finally!  Because their stats are boosted and they
    have a chance to neutralize damage from at least Grave (or from half your party
    if you're like me and put a lot of shooters on the field), definitely take them
    on one at a time.  Splitting up might mean leaving someone out to dry.  The
    first stage ends when you get rid of Bunnji, who quotes lines from Overdose
    before disappearing.
    
    The second battle is a carbon copy of what happens if you go see Sluc, so I'm
    going to be incredibly lazy and just copy/paste what I wrote there, which isn't
    much.  Sorry.  Nagare appears for this stage.  Since you are on Laru's branch,
    you will have a chance to recruit him, but this is not it.  If you've been
    using Takeru, then this stage is for you: lots of Ruins Denizens around.  And
    if Uru is on the field, then you will get a throwback to Covenant wherein he
    displays an old trick up his sleeves that proves Nagare is an idiot, as if you
    couldn't tell already.  The combat suit note from the last battle applies here.
    Get Nagare by himself and go to town.  It took a surprising amount of whittling
    for me to take him down.  The fact that he can counter plays a large part in
    that.
    
      Act 2
      -----
    Laru has apparently gone insane.  Choose the "Mind Controlled" quest to snap
    him out of it.  Snapping him out of it includes, but is not limited to: group
    attacking him until he becomes unconscious, beating his ass to death with
    Knockout skills, taunting him and making crude jokes about his mother, etc.
    Just plow through this like normal.  No matter how much you make Laru cry in
    pain, he will join you no matter what afterwards.  The Orgman are still wearing
    combat suits, but the Ruins Denizens are wearing nothing at all. o.0  You don't
    need my help here.  Kick their ass!
    
    ...
    
    But wait!  DO NOT SAVE AFTER THIS ACT UNTIL YOU CHECK YOUR PARTY AND SEE IF
    LARU IS ACTUALLY THERE!  Because this game spared no expense on quality
    control, yet another glitch presents itself.  Laru may not have actually joined
    your group even if the game says "Laru joined as an ally".  How to fix this?
    Reload and try again.  Nagare cannot be obtained unless Laru is with you, so if
    you miss Laru, you miss Nagare.  And you will be forced to replay 6/10ths of
    the game to remedy this.
    
      Act 3
      -----
    "Saigou Takamori" on Shalulu Island is another carbon copy quest that makes me
    wonder why this game branched at chapter 7 at all.  We're on a fetch quest.
    The enemies here all have a support skill of some kind, meaning they have
    raised attack stats, raised defenses, or a counter ability.  Still, you should
    be able to handle them without breaking a sweat if your party is in the
    thirties (which it really should be by now).  The special enemy here is a
    palette-swapped serpent creature whose 5500 HP means absolutely nothing.
    
    Next stage puts Sluc on the battlefield with you, and she will join afterwards
    if you promise to take good care of her (i.e. - don't let her take too much
    damage).  She is level 25 with a grand total of three par gun skills.  Luckily,
    this field is fairly spread out, so protecting her should be easy.
    
    Sluc is likely going to be wasted space on your fighting force, so keep her
    behind everyone else and use her as group attack fodder.  Group attack and take
    the army out fast; keep your party huddled together and slowly work your way
    along the snow.  If you have someone on your team who you know can deal
    thousands of HP worth of damage in a single attack *coughUrucough* then let
    them get slapped around a bit to fill their S Gauge.  When it comes to IZOU,
    group attack rather than Realize.  The reason for this is that, when he's
    Realized, he can and will neutralize physical damage.  Instead of powering a
    super-charged attack that will likely be shrugged off, pile on the hurt.  That
    way, someone is bound to do some damage.  Of course, since he's slow, you will
    run out of S Gauges and just end up taking turns whacking him to death.  You
    can also try sealing him to make things easier.  It works really well.
    
    This stage was the one that finally made me realize that attributes of monsters
    and weapons wielded by enemies are completely random.  One time, IZOU had a
    Death Saber with the Lone Wolf ability, drastically increasing his offense if
    all his comrades were slain.  Needless to say, I noticed this far too late and
    was slaughtered using the above strategy, so I wrote a new one.  One reload
    later, I was ready to try this new plan and found that IZOU's Death Saber was
    no longer a killing machine, and so this new strategy was wasted.  Putting
    random elements into a fight, though a nice challenge, renders fine-tuned
    strategy completely useless.  I thought I had finally found something better
    than "go in and group attack smal munsters 1st then atack boss o wait u can
    realize too... u pick wich 1 u want 2 do".  I'm leaving this strategy intact
    because I took the time to write it.  Use it if the situation demands:
    
      Another strategy is to attack IZOU and get him out of the way first, or at
      least leave a few other nameless soldiers on the field while you fight him.
      (If you're worried about them attacking you with IZOU, just put them to
      sleep or paralyze them).  Take a look at the weapon he's carrying: it gives
      him a total status increase if all his comrades are dead.  This can push his
      offense into the thousands, which makes fighting him an even more daunting
      task.  To give an example, he countered an attack of mine with a Parry that
      dealt 800 damage.  Counter attacks aren't normally that strong.  Add this to
      the fact that he deals extra damage against humans, coupled with his annoying
      Realize attributes and he's classified as a genuine threat.  I hate this guy
      so much.  You have no idea.  He killed Sluc twice so I can safely confirm
      that if Rin says Sluc needs lots of bed rest after this stage, she won't
      join you as an ally.
    
    End annoying branching sequence.  Begin chapter 8.
    
    
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                       Chapter 8                            [ch8]
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    
    No more branches!  Lots more allies!  And we're starting to tie up some loose
    ends in terms of side stories.
    
      Act 1
      -----
    First off, you should notice a quest at Toriltram Island called "For Peace".
    On the field, Chriass will appear, and recruiting him is a repeat of
    Silvernale's requirements, meaning that he must not take too much damage and
    you must at least get a B rank when finished.  Chriass is slow; damn, his
    quickness is abhorrent.  This means you have to get your best fighters up to
    him in a hurry to take out the monster menace.  The faster you move and the
    more damage you deal, the better your rank and the better the chances that
    Chriass will join without fail.  This one is a little tougher to get a high
    rank on since the Screaper has a lot of HP and will undoubtedly use up a lot of
    turns.  My advice is to use your highest ranking fighters; if they don't fit
    the bill, wait a bit on this one and do it before you finish the chapter.  Try
    taking on the Screaper first as well.  If you're at a level where you can shrug
    off damage from small fry, it will be helpful to leave the other monsters alive
    so they can charge your S Gauges to group attack the Screaper.  Only do this if
    your fighters are fast, or else you could get group attacked yourself.
    
                                           ---
    
    Head over to Golugore Island next for the "King of Endia" quest.  It's time to
    go through with the hair-brained scheme Shizuku was brilliant enough to think
    up: attacking the enemy base head-on.  This stage is actually a repeat of way
    back when we recruited Jurien, except the enemies are leveled a little higher.
    They all have some kind of support skill, but it's nothing you can't handle at
    this point.  They're all a little spread out too; it's probably easiest to let
    them come to you instead of breaking up your group.
    
    The next stage is a repeat of every single battle we've had with IZOU up to
    this point.  Abso-freaking-lutely nothing has changed about him, so if you need
    tips on how to fight him, let me direct you to chapters 5, 6, and both branches
    of chapter 7.  The one new-ish piece of advice I can give is to check the
    attributes on his sword.  For example, in my playthrough, his Haze Katana had
    the Continual Defense attribute, meaning he took less damage from group
    attacks.  Knockouts it is.  Whatever worked for you the last three times you
    fought him, rinse and repeat.  If you want to try something new, go ahead.
    This is the last time we'll get to see his ugly mug, so knock yourself out.  I
    found it easiest to deal with IZOU by letting a few of the other enemies hang
    around to give me enough ammo to get some Knockout skills in.  (Make sure to
    watch your HP if you do this.)  I also paralyzed him for good measure, so he
    couldn't Parry.
    
    The next stage requires Hijikata and Okita on the field, and Saigou is the big
    boss.  He has one attribute that may cause problems, and that is Glare.  It
    decreases damage taken from characters of a lower level; he's lever 45, so this
    may cause problems for some.  I'm sure the damage you will cause is still
    enough to put him down, but every little bit helps.  Speaking of every little
    bit helping, if you haven't been using Hijikata or Okita, you may hurt.  You
    can probably get by with just one (my level 10 Hijikata wasn't as lucky as he
    was the last time he was forced on the field), but not using both means you're
    wasting two spots on the team.  However, at this stage, it can't be helped.
    Have them Realize ASAP and hope the Avoid commands take.
    
    As for Saigou, he's slow.  Really slow.  I was able to get his army down to him
    and a grunt before he got a second turn.  However, he has some really strong
    multi-target attacks and shouldn't be taken lightly.  Attack him however you
    choose, make sure you're healed, brace his attack when his turn finally
    arrives, heal up, and renew your attacks with your newly regained S Gauges.  It
    really helps to leave at least one soldier alive for Saigou to group attack
    with, but this is only if you have a party that can withstand the damage and
    heal it (have you been shopping and stocking up on healing items lately?).  If
    not, attacking Saigou and letting him Realize to use his Knockout will also
    charge your gauges.  His Knockout skill is quite dangerous and will at least
    give you one full gauge if your fighters survive.
    
    After all that, you will get the Ice Tower Key for asking nicely.  If only we
    had known that was all we had to do, we could have avoided this bloodshed.
    
      Act 2
      -----
    There's an event at Shalulu Island, "Ice Tower Key".  Let's get that out of the
    way first.  Roger seems bent on tearing a rift in the fabric of time and space
    by saving a historical figure who is supposed to die of tuberculosis.  However,
    Roger doesn't care as long as there's a naughty magazine in it for him.  This
    event causes Okita's Fight Against Illness attribute to change to Brilliant
    Swordsman.  I don't know that it's really an improvement; the description makes
    it sound like his wait time is increased after using a sword attack.  This
    doesn't change the fact that Okita is a badass (if you've been using him,
    anyway).
    
                                           ---
    
    The next quest is "Deep in the Library" at Imperion Island, and it is deep in
    the library where Gaizan is apparently wrecking havoc again.  NOTE: Emily can
    be recruited here.  All you have to do is defeat her before Gaizan.  If you
    want to recruit Gaizan later, Emily is required, so get her now if you want
    him.  The battle itself is a repeat of when we last saw these two.  After
    Saigou, they should be pretty easy to take care of.  It might be easier just to
    focus on using Knockout skills than group attacks; that way, you can deal lots
    of damage in one go.  Focus on Emily first and then turn your attention to
    Gaizan.  As long as you do this, Gaizan will abandon Emily afterwards, and
    she'll join.
    
    Oh, wait, we're not done yet.  Yoichi is going to make a last stand since he's
    a little insane at the moment.  The librarians have been upgraded and have
    advanced multi-target magic.  They're also somewhat fast, so don't be surprised
    if you get swamped quickly.  Just make your way up the rug, clearing a path,
    until you get Yoichi by himself.  Do not leave any monsters alive for Yoichi to
    group attack with, as they can quickly decimate your party.  Those librarians
    do NOT mess around.  Defeat Yoichi and he will self-destruct, supposedly taking
    the witch with him.  (Why couldn't it have been Hyoma?)  After discovering that
    she only ran away and left us instructions on where to find her, the party
    promptly forgets about her and goes home.  Another satisfying day!
    
    
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                       Chapter 9                            [ch9]
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    
    There's lots to do right off the bat in this chapter.  Three main quests are
    available at the start and if you talk to Roger at the base of the steps, yet
    another will be added.
    
      Act 1
      -----
    I'm going to focus on the Gungrave quest first; it must be special since they
    let Roger out of the basement to tell us about it.  Before starting, buy lots
    and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots of healing items.  It's
    at Garaze Island, "One Who Calls Himself God".  Grave is required for this
    fight, and great googly moogly look at Fangorum's HP.  Maybe we should've done
    something else first.  Clear the area behind you (the Ruins Denizens) and make
    sure to get rid of all the Orgmen before tackling Fangorum.  His attacks are
    more than enough to fuel yours, if you can survive them.  You're going to need
    a lot of firepower to take on Fangorum, but you're also going to need a lot of
    health to stand up to him.  That bastard one-hit KO'ed my Okita with an attack
    that did about 1500 damage.  Just one attack.
    
    Fangorum gets a huge offensive increase when Realized, pushing it into the
    thousands, and he deals extra damage to characters when they are Realized, so
    you may need to ditch the Knockout tactic in favor of group attacks.  Keeping
    him still with paralysis and sleep aids won't work, so you just have to attack
    hard and fast.  Use Deadly attacks to keep the HP down and just whittle,
    whittle, whittle.  Burst of Centerhead will kill you at some point, he will
    counter at least 50% of your attacks, and you will curse his name after this
    fight.  But look on the bright side: what does not kill your party literally
    makes them stronger, him countering uses up his turns (meaning he can't heal or
    use B.O.C.), and cursing strengthens your vocal cords.
    
    My strategy consisted of having an ace in the hole.  My ace is Uru and his
    Knockout, For the Child.  I would do whatever I could to raise his S Gauge:
    leave him in Fangorum's path to get a B.O.C. or counterattack to the face, have
    him use items, leave him out of group attacks, etc.  All the while, I would let
    the others attack the big guy with Deadly skills and anything they had that his
    spheres were weak against.  When Uru had two S Gauges, I'd have him Realize,
    use For the Child, and then run away since he was susceptible to extra damage
    due to being Realized.  Fangorum was counterattacking me so many times that he
    barely got any turns, but he still dealt 1000+ or 2000+ damage by countering
    (depending on which attack he used) and his counters are ranged, so no one was
    really safe.  And the downside to my plan was that it took FOREVER (14 turns).
    However, I wanted to be safe rather than sorry I had to die and start over, so
    I took my sweet time.  I really believe charging into the fray is a terrible
    idea here, that you need to pace your fighters and make sure they heal
    themselves and each other, and that slow and steady wins the race.
    
    Even though it's a bad idea to save between stages, I made an exception for
    this one.
    
    Trippy battle stage is next.  I like.  It's a nice change from the same exact
    scenery we've been seeing over and over.  Garino is level 50 with 12,000+ HP
    and awful, awful attributes: he can deal increased damage whenever his luck is
    good and takes less damage from low-level characters.  The good news is that he
    is not necrolized, so status ailments are go!  Try and seal him or paralyze him
    or whatever, just throw everything you've got.  ...  Aaand CRAP.  As soon as I
    typed that, I noticed he was wearing a Rosary, giving him status ailment
    immunity.  Cheater!  Protection is for allies, not you!  Any and all Gungrave
    characters (except Mika for some reason) will react to Garino here, and I must
    say I love Juji's unmitigated rage.  Fangorum should have taught you that it's
    not wise to leave survivors, so get rid of any and all small fry ASAP.  Garino
    is not as strong as Fangorum, but you can't give him an inch or he'll take a
    mile; all it takes is one group attack to take out half of your party.
    
    Do a hit and run kind of deal for when the battle first starts.  You've got a
    lot of room with which to work, don't waste it by standing still.  Standing
    clumped together sets your party up for punishment.
    
    Once Garino is by himself, feel free to repeat whatever you did with Fangorum,
    but make some adjustments.  Garino has a counter skill, but he doesn't have
    Fangorum's increased counter success attribute, so don't count on him wasting
    his turns.  In this sense, Garino is the opposite of Fangorum: when he is
    Realized, he literally manipulates time to give him more turns and increase
    your wait time.  Yes, that sucks tremendously, but it also means he will use up
    his turns in Realize faster.  As for me, I ditched the "ace in the hole" bit
    and just group attacked like crazy, having people who were badly hurt run away.
    I kept everyone spread out so Penalty for Folly would only hit two people at
    most; knowing that it did about 1200 damage, I knew who would be able to
    survive it and who wouldn't.  When Garino was in the triple-digit HP range, I
    threw caution to the wind and bum rushed him.  Even though it took me 17 turns
    to take him down, he wasn't nearly as stressful as Fangorum.  Probably because
    he buffs you up for Garino.
    
                                           ---
    
    You get the Time Tower Key for winning.  Phew...  Save, save, save!  Go ahead
    and go to Toriltram to authenticate your new key in the "Time Tower Key" event.
    Grave, Juji, and Rocketbilly will all get Realize upgrades.  Grave's... I have
    no idea what "Gaad" is, but consuming it apparently decreases wait time.
    Seeing as how both Juji's and RB's new attributes say almost the same thing as
    Grave's, I'm going to assume it's a typo.  So for all three of the dead guys,
    SP is consumed in order to give them more turns.  Not a bad trade.
    
                                           ---
    
    Let's do a lower-ranked quest next.  We need a break.  How about chasing after
    Gaizan one last time?  That should be easy.  Before you do, if you want to
    recruit him, put Emily in your main party and make sure she's battle worthy
    (assuming you got her last chapter).  "Les Miserables" at Golugore Island is
    our stop.  Gaizan has turned squatter.  Nothing wrong with that, seeing as how
    that's all we've been doing for the entire game, but we need to beat him up
    anyway.  Gaizan's HP is pretty high, but he's pretty slow, so he won't get many
    turns.  Because of this, feel free to start working your magic on him right
    away.  The monsters he's trained are no real threat; you can leave them be,
    especially if you did Garino's quest first.
    
    Emily must be the one to finish off Gaizan, but you must do it quickly (in at
    least 8 turns) or his feeble mind will have become too far gone, and he'll run
    away before he can join.  The only problem with her is that she may not be as
    fast as Gaizan.  If she gets her turns after him, it makes it harder to set her
    up to deliver the final blow.  Boosting her quickness may help, but a more
    reliable strategy is to group attack him and get his health low, then throw
    some Illness Powder on him so he cannot recover the temporary damage.  That
    should leave his health low enough for Emily.
    
                                           ---
    
    I think it's insanely hilarious that the party blatantly said, "Eh, we'll do it
    later" when it came to rescuing Ovia, so I'm going to continue avoiding her in
    the spirit of that.  Let's do "Devil's Power" at Shalulu next.  Uru is required
    for this fight and Nagare is here too.  Nicole has gotten a new sword and seems
    to have lost a Realize attribute somewhere along the way.  I'm sure there is a
    story behind that.  If you did the Gungrave-themed quest first, then this one
    should be cake, or close to it.  Nicole's HP doesn't even go into the five-
    digit range and he isn't even wearing status ailment protection.  At this
    point, he is the definition of a pushover.  Just throw some Illness Powder on
    him and chip away.
    
    Did you enjoy the easy fight?  Good because it just got a little harder.
    Nicole unveils his secret weapon and regains that lost Realize attribute.  He
    is also in possession of a more formidable Knockout skill and a Rosary that
    gives him total status immunity.  His HP still seems to be just shy of five
    digits, even though he's rank 50.  His health may be low, but his offense will
    be 1000+ (possibly depending on the sun but still dangerous nonetheless).
    Ready for the best part?  Nicole gets to stay in his Realize as long as he
    wants.  It comes with being possessed, what can one say?
    
    Rule 1: put people on your team that have light-based sphere attacks, as all
    the Demon Lords are mostly susceptible to them.  Rule 2: get them out of the
    way first while you're at it.  You don't need Astaroth spamming group attacks
    with his powerful moveset.  All the enemies here will be quick to swamp you, so
    favor multi-target attacks and focus on finishing off those that are about to
    get a turn.  Leave Astaroth alone until he's the only enemy left.  The big guy
    is actually still a pushover.  Know why?  The AIL status effect can still be
    used on him even though he's wearing a Rosary!  Oh, how I wish I knew that when
    I fought Garino!  This is either a glitch or an oversight, but it works in our
    favor so I won't tell if you won't.  Nicole's magic is still something to watch
    out for, but once all his lackeys are gone, he won't get as many turns to
    attack because he can't jump in on a group attack.  As long as you heal after
    his attacks and use our best friend AIL, there should be no reason to break a
    sweat here.  Nicole can counter too, by the way.  He wrecked my match-winning
    group attack with a counter, so be careful of that as well.
    
                                           ---
    
    We get the Crystal Tower Key for winning.  This opens the "Crystal Tower Key"
    event at Radiance Island.  (Who knew?)  Uru gets the spotlight and an upgrade
    to his Realize attributes: For Tomorrow heals your allies with half of the
    damage he causes being distributed among them, as well as raises everyone's
    defense.  Seeing as how For the Child can cause upwards of 1500 HP worth of
    damage, you can imagine how helpful this is.
    
                                           ---
    
    Since we got rid of Nicole, Nagare no longer has anyone to pal around with.  If
    you recruited Laru in chapter 7, then you now have a chance to recruit Nagare.
    Select the "Kishidan Counterattack" quest at Pagoras Island if Laru is in your
    party, and he will be out on the field at the start of the battle.  Select four
    people for backup.  Play this first stage like normal and clear the field.
    Nagare will run away, and we'll have to give chase so Hayate will shut up about
    his comedy routine.
    
    Laru is required for this next fight as well, but Nagare is now under our wing.
    He needs us to save him from the natives.  In order to get Nagare to join, you
    have to make sure he takes very little damage.  He is a very capable fighter as
    well as very fast.  Have him high-tail it over to your group so they can keep
    an eye out for him.  The enemies here are at a pretty low level, but they have
    powerful ranged magic at their disposal, so don't completely underestimate
    them.  If all goes well, Nagare will join your group to make up for his past
    grievances, and because the Kishidan jail is full.
    
                                           ---
    
    I guess it's time to stop avoiding Ovia, so let's put this horribly long act to
    rest.  Follow "Ovia's Record" to Elshant Island.  The first stage is absolutely
    nothing at this point in your game.  Or at least it shouldn't be.  Clean up
    shop.  Stage 2 is more of the same.  Ovia joins after that and gives us some
    plot.  That was an entire mission?  Maybe we should have done that one first.
    
      Act 2
      -----
    Talk to Rin to move along.  The quest "Final Battle" is available at Golugore.
    Rin and Hyoma are going to be required for the first stage, so make sure they
    can fight.  Now, Shelley is recruitable in this act, but I have yet to figure
    out exactly what her requirements are.  Some known guesses are:
    
       - defeat Shelley with Rin and Lygen with Hyoma (with or without Knockouts)
       - get an A rank
       - defeat Shelley before Lygen
       - make sure Rin and Hyoma are at least level 40 or higher
       - finish the battle with allies taking little damage and/or not dying
       - defeat Lygen with Hyoma during the second stage
    
    This is a mish mash of nearly every other requirement this game has demanded;
    one of them is bound to work, so mix and match any of those and you may be
    lucky enough to recruit Shelley.  I have tried numerous numerous oh so many
    times with no success (and am still trying).  Good luck.
    
    Anyway, use your three best fighters to back up Hyoma and Rin.  Follow the "get
    rid of the riff raff" routine and pay attention to Lygen and Shelley's status
    screens.  Lygen cannot Realize, and he will most likely be wearing a piece of
    armor that ups his counter ability.  Shelley's attributes are her real threat.
    Her Magic Shift basically means all her attacks are of the Absorb type, and if
    she Realizes, she has the potential to neutralize all damage and ailments.  You
    might consider sealing her.
    
    The AIL strategy is useful here, but throwing powder at them will likely miss
    a good portion of the time, so keep throwing it until it takes.  Leveling is
    always a good strategy if you are struggling though; brute strength is great
    for problem solving.  The one thing you definitely need to watch out for are
    enemy group attacks.  They can be absolutely brutal depending on who's in them.
    Always, always, always focus on one foe at a time and get rid of them fast
    before confronting Lygen.  You don't want him tag-teaming with anyone,
    especially Shelley.
    
    The next stage still requires Hyoma.  Lygen can Realize now, and pay attention
    to his attributes because this is important: DO NOT KILL OFF ALL THE MONSTERS
    ON THE FIELD BEFORE CONFRONTING LYGEN.  Got your attention?  Good because his
    Trust attribute raises all of his stats if his comrades are slain.  Remember my
    rant back in chapter 7 about the Lone Wolf attribute?  It's like that, except
    this one is a guarantee.  Leave at least one monster on the field alive at all
    times.  (I would suggest a Blood Knight since those mages pack a figurative
    punch, but throw sleeping power or a paralyzing item on him to make sure he
    stays out of the fight.)  His HP totals are near 20,000 and he's damn strong,
    chances are he's got a Rosary, etc. etc.  You should be able to handle this by
    now.  AIL will still work because it is totally broken.
    
    Since Lygen was countering my attacks a lot, I didn't group attack as much.  I
    wasted precious S Gauges building up an awesome team attack only to have it
    countered (S Gauges put into a combo that is disrupted are used no matter
    what).  I put my one Blood Knight to sleep and formed a weird little circle
    around Lygen, taking pot shots at him with an occasional time-out to heal or
    cast God Breath.  Lygen is kind of his own worst enemy here: since he counters
    so much (and remember, countering delays your turn) he didn't get as many
    chances to heal of lot of his temp damage.  However, it's not a good idea to
    bank on him countering all the time, so make sure someone has a Deadly attack
    to shave off the HP and keep it off, or throw some Illness Powder on him until
    it takes effect.
    
    If you are lucky, Shelley will join afterwards and you will also get the
    Volcano Tower Key as well as entry to the Tower of Life.
    
    
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                       Chapter 10                           [c10]
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    
    Here we go!  The last chapter!  Are you excited?  You should be!
    
      Act 1
      -----
    What's goin' on at Radiance Island?  The Man Festival.  Heh heh.  (For those
    who have not played Shadow Hearts: Covenant, the Man Festival is the most
    absurd sidequest ever.  Contents include wrestling, acrobatics, Asian food, and
    homoeroticism.  Side effects may include o.0, >.<, and XD.)  Joachim is going
    to be required for these fights.  The monsters are all about level 40 so let
    'em have it.  Afterwards, the Great Gama will show himself and initiate the
    festival, telling us we have to search for it to take part.
    
    The Man Festival takes place in a tower.  We just gained access to a tower,
    right?  The quest for the festival is over: the Tower of Life is the very tower
    we seek.  Do a Search mission there to start the fighting.  But before you
    begin, note that this quest is Shadow Hearts specific.  All of the SH
    characters will be required and should be about rank 25-30 or so for you to be
    comfortable.  You can get by with lower leveled fighters if you visit the shop
    and buy lots of goodies and/or weapons and armor.
    
    First up is Kurando vs. the Curry Prince.  Kurando's Knockout is very powerful,
    so I would suggest giving him an accessory that either adds to his S Gauge or
    lengthens his Realize time since he will do the most damage in that form and
    has a chance of causing critical damage with any attack.  Throwing items at the
    Curry Prince to strike with an ailment didn't always work for me, so I just
    attacked the whole time.  It's nice to have a way to stop him healing temp
    damage, but it's doable without.  Just remember not to move during the fight
    since moving increases your WT.
    
    You'll be back at your base afterwards.  This will happen for all these fights;
    just prep your next fighter and do a Search mission at the Tower of Life to
    continue.
    
    Next, it's Gepetto facing off against the Dry Curry Man.  The old man's
    strength is his impressive mentality stat, so make sure he has a wide range of
    upper level magic at his disposal.  His weakness is definitely his quickness.
    Give him some accessories to boost it, or at least make sure his defenses are
    good enough to weather multiple turns of attacks.  Focus on casting the spells
    that correspond to the Dry Curry Man's weakest sphere.
    
    The next floor pits Alice against the Hashed Beef Man.  Like Gepetto, Alice can
    cast very powerful magic but is very slow.  If she is at a decent level, her
    speed shouldn't be a problem though.  When Realized, she has an increased dodge
    rate and can deal fantastic amounts of damage with Advent, so you know what to
    do.
    
    Karen will battle the Poor Curry Man on the next floor.  It really helps to
    give her some Deadly sword skills.  No matter how much ailment powder I threw
    on this guy, it wouldn't take effect.  Sonnestark is good for nice damage
    though, and you will get plenty of chances to use it, so if you didn't give
    Karen any Deadly skills and can't get the powder to work, all is not lost.  It
    will take a while, but just keep chipping away with Sonnestark and healing
    afterwards and the Poor Curry Man will fall.
    
    This next one is the one I've been dreading because it's Anastasia's turn
    against the Egg Curry.  She has gotten the short end of the stick when it comes
    to fighting.  The reason is that her mentality is naturally higher than her
    offense, but she can only equip offensive weapons.  Sucks, yeah?  My poor level
    30+ Anastasia was hardly making a dent.  If this is happening to you, I would
    repeat the strategy listed for Karen and either use Deadly skills all the way
    or put all your money on Euthanasia to win.  It has a good chance of inflicting
    one of several ailments.  Don't completely lose hope in your Illness Powder
    either; this fight was the one time I could actually get it to work, which is
    just what I needed.  Just be careful when trying to use Euthanasia if you've
    got AIL on; chances are good that it will cancel it out with a new ailment.
    
    Uru vs. Cutlet Curry...  Hajime!  If you have not been using Uru for the entire
    game then, once again, repeat the strategy for Karen and Anastasia since Uru's
    strength lies in his offense.  Use his Knockout.  Trust me on this one.  I
    finished this round in one turn with For the Child.  And with that, you will
    have accomplished every level of the Tower of the Ring in the Tower of Life.
    Phew.
    
    You should now see a Main quest back at Radiance Island called "That Name
    Is...".  Old age strikes, and we get cheated out of the real deal, forced
    instead to fight the Curry Men again (all at higher levels than before).
    Joachim is required, but you can have four more people be his back up.  The
    Curry Men haven't changed a bit, and they should be no problem now that you
    can group attack with your strongest fighters.  Of course, they can do that too
    now.  For winning (and passing a "mental test"), Joachim gets an upgrade in the
    Realize attribute department.  It's not bad by any means if you've been using
    him.
    
                                           ---
    
    On with the plot!  Select the Main mission "Tower of Life" to continue.  The
    first stage just pits you against some new palette-swapped enemies with nothing
    more to boast than a support skill of some type.  Lame.  Clean house.  The
    next stage is more of the same, only with dragon zombies and really big
    cockroaches.
    
    Hiro and Mue will recognize the guard on the next floor, and Mue will be
    required to fight.  The monsters scattered around are no big deal, but check
    out Wave's Overflowing Magic attribute.  This is gonna suck.  Not much, but
    still...  Wave's real threat lies in his attributes; his attacks are subpar by
    comparison.  He can cause critical damage, has immunity to every ailment, a
    chance to neutralize magic damage, and he can heal all of his temp damage at
    once when he's at less than half his health bar.  (Don't forget to check his
    equipment too; he had an instant death-dealing sword in my game; ow).
    Definitely clear out the small fry since he just loves to group attack as well.
    
    Try and throw some Illness Powder on him to get AIL on if you can.  I don't
    know if it's a glitch, dumb luck, or what, but when Wave was AILed and at about
    7000- HP, it wasn't healing, even on his turn.  So definitely go for the AIL.
    Another, less risky approach, is to have all your fighters use Deadly skills to
    just keep the HP off permanently.  If you are going for this, try to Seal Wave
    (or, as the game calls it, cast Barrier).  That way, he won't gain more HP than
    you want to shave.  However, Wave is wearing a Rosary, so this may not work
    unless the Rosary is glitched or Seal is special like AIL.  Don't sweat it if
    Mue is not at a decent level; this is doable without her.  She can be an item-
    using pack mule if you want.
    
    Afterwards, Rin will turn on the Gate at the top, making it possible to go
    back to our base.  Thought you were gonna have to do the whole last chapter
    with no pit stops, eh?  Nah, this game still loves you.
    
      Act 2
      -----
    For our next act, "Boy of the Sun", we will, get this ... go INTO the sun.
    Yes, no one thought this was a bad idea, so let's go!  NOTE: Now is your last
    chance to recruit your last recruit!  Endia is able to join your party, but
    since he is controlled by the Egg of the World (which is basically the thing
    that powers the sun), you need to get him when the sun is weak, like sneaking a
    cookie out of the jar when mum's back is turned.  In short, defeat Endia when
    the sun phase is 0 and he should join.
    
    Hyoma and Rin are both required for this fight.  Endia's HP will make you
    wince, but take heart in knowing that he is probably the only real threat on
    the field.  Those lackeys are pushovers unless they group attack with Endia, so
    avoid the center where he is and just focus on getting the small fry around the
    edge.  I can almost guarantee that Endia will kill some of your party members
    if he's in a group attack or two.
    
    If you are looking to recruit Endia (or even if you aren't), Deadly skills are
    probably the weapons of choice.  The AIL strategy is worth a shot, but it's
    just not reliable enough.  Endia has a lot of health, and it's just best if you
    know you can keep it off for good rather than hope above all else that AIL
    lasts long enough.  The bad thing about this strategy is that Deadly attacks do
    not normally deal a lot of damage, so you will be chipping away at Endia for a
    good number of turns.  When you think his HP is low enough and the sun is in
    phase 0, deal the finishing blow with anyone and he should join you.  However,
    he loses his impressive stats.  Joining our group as an ally seems to have
    debilitating effects.
    
      Act 3
      -----
    NOTE: This is the last act of the game!  No more pit stops after this!  Make
    sure the required fighters (see below) and your trusty team are equipped to
    your liking cuz this is it!
    
    Subpar new ally in hand, it's time to continue with the "Ideal World" Main
    quest at the Tower.  This mission is full of doppelgangers.  Okita, Grave, and
    Uru are required for this stage.  Note that the mimics copy just about
    everything attribute-wise from the originals, except a new Realize one that has
    a chance of adding the Absorb characteristic to their attacks.  Their levels
    aren't that high, but look at all those small-time enemies around: it'll be a
    repeat of the last act if you're not careful.
    
    Even if you get rid of the small fry, you still have three big guys to contend
    with.  Now is the time to break out the Illness Powder (Deadly skills are fine
    too).  Pick one, focus on him, and don't stop attacking until he's gone.  If
    your fighters are at decent levels, this should not be hard.  The mimics are
    slow in comparison.  If one or two of the required fighters were dragged out of
    Sub Character Hell for this fight, you might be able to squeeze by.  If all
    three are poorly leveled, you may have trouble.
    
    Trouble like I am in for this next one.  Carmine and Zeonsilt are required.
    Only two mimics this time, but they are stronger and have more HP.  Please to
    be getting those fugly enemies out of the way before facing the mimics
    because they are faster than the last three and will take full advantage of all
    group attack opportunities you give them.  Be careful of the Zeonsilt mimic;
    that bastard may have Red Tornado.  Remember how much of a pain Mervina was
    because of it?  Double that and you've got your newest foe.  He's susceptible
    to ailments though, so have at it.  Uru paralyzed him and he didn't move for
    the rest of the match while I beat the tar out of him.  Rinse and repeat for
    Carmine, minus the ailments because of his Artificial Life attribute.  So just
    beat the tar out of him.
    
    Please let the event be correct in assuming that this is the last round.  Rin
    and Hyoma are required, and their mimics are the strongest yet and accompanied
    by what seems like a lot more (but much punier) cannon fodder.  Your strategy
    really shouldn't change in light of this.  Just repeat what you did in the last
    stage but throw in some ailments of your choice.
    
    You might want to save before the next stage because this is the last time
    you'll get to before beating the game.
    
    Alright, everyone.  This next stage is it.  It's time to break out all the
    tricks and strategy you have learned up until now and use them on the cannon
    fodder.  Once they're gone, throw everything you have learned out the window,
    throw caution to the wind, and attack the Egg of the World like a crazy
    bastard and don't stop.  The Egg will be Realized for the entire fight, so it's
    immune to everything, can cause everything, will heal itself when it attacks,
    can raise its stats, etc.  Basically, what you need to do is attack hard and
    fast.  If you are lucky, the Egg will counter a lot.  Past bosses will have
    revealed why this is good: it makes them waste a turn.  That's one turn that
    the Egg won't be able to heal itself and/or kill you.
    
    If you would rather not base your strategy on a random element like counter
    attacks, throw some Illness Powder on the Egg.  Yes, it works.  Yes, I think a
    programmer screwed up somewhere.  No, I'm still not complaining.  AIL will
    forever hereafter be known far and wide as the super ailment, and you will be
    openly mocked if you do not take advantage of it now because it is the only
    thing saving you from spending countless amounts of precious time trying to
    kill a boss that regenerates like a salamander on steroids.  Okay, I may be
    exaggerating a bit on the regeneration thing, but my point remains.  ILLNESS
    POWDER: USE IT.
    
    In short: 1 Throw Illness Powder.
              2 Attack with your strongest skills.
              3 Take the pain.
              4 Heal/revive.
              5 if (!AIL) then goto 1;   //if AIL is not in effect, throw powder
                  else goto 2;           //if AIL is in effect, keep attacking
    
    As for step 2, you might want to save up the S Gauges to use your Knockouts
    rather than group attack because of the Egg's counter ability.  Nothing is more
    aggravating than building up a killer group attack only to have it broken and
    all those S gauges wasted.
    
    When you finally pull it off, the story comes to a close with all of your
    recruited allies taking the time to say good-bye.  After credits and more
    plot, you get a chance to save your game.  Reloading a save game will give you
    all of your items (weapons, protection, accessories, skills, etc.) in storage
    and data in the help files back.  However, items that were equipped during the
    final fight are NOT returned!  Fighters do not retain their levels in a New
    Game + because where would the fun be in that?
    
    Aaand that's it.  Hope you enjoyed it.
    
    
    ===============================================================================
                                      Credit/Thanks                         [mct]
    ===============================================================================
    
      A lot of research went into this guide which involved me taking several
      trips around the Internet.  Major thanks go out to the following sites and
      people for making my trek just a little easier:
    
        O~3 Entertainment for making it possible to play this game.  Sure, this
        title is low-budget and it shows.  Badly.  However, it gave me the chance
        to see Yuri and the cast of Shadow Hearts in action again, as well as
        give some new games a chance.  (I love the Gungrave series now...)
    
        http://www.nisamerica.com/games/ss/index.html for info on and correct
        spellings for Hiro, Mue, and Luwenelva.
    
        GameFAQs for having the titles, release dates, and publisher names of all
        the games involved with Chaos Wars.  You saved my Cast section!
    
        Wikipedia.  Where would I be without the Wiki?  Halfway up the creek.
        'Nuff said.
    
        the guys at the GameFAQs message boards that took the time to start
        mapping out character recruitment, to those who posted links to the
        Japanese FAQ, and to the author of said FAQ.  YOU ROCK.
    
        http://www.rpgamer.com/games/spectral/blazingsouls/blazingsouls.html for
        info and art for Blazing Souls.  Every little bit helps [me mourn the
        fact that I'll never get to play as Zeros in his original games].
    
        http://ps2.ign.com/objects/764/764370.html for help with finding out what
        Rebirth Moon was.
    
        http://ps2.ign.com/objects/734/734309.html for info on Mars of
        Destruction.
    
        Thanks to Alton for info on ILL.
    
        my folks for not only helping me get my first laptop so I could type this
        guide more easily but also for putting up with my constant whining about
        this game's release date.  I'm so sorry.
    
        to all the gaming sites that host my guides.  Thanks for letting me do
        what I love to do!
    
    
    ===============================================================================
                   Author's Notes/Version History/Hosts/Legal Info          [mal]
    ===============================================================================
    
      Well, there it is.  I know this guide is far from definitive and sounds
      like a broken record in more places than I can count, but I had some fun
      writing it and that's all that matters.  If you need to contact me for
      whatever reason regarding this game or this document, you can reach me at
      SophiaLee04@yahoo.com.
    
      Version History
      ---------------
        1.01 - 06/21/09: Update regarding an ailment I didn't know was real until
                         someone else brought it up (ILL) and I added a link to a
                         screenshot gallery I started with the art from the help
                         files.  My game disc has nary a scratch but has completely
                         glitched out on me, making it difficult to play since now
                         every action I perform makes the game hang for about 5
                         minutes, so I don't know if I will ever hang in there long
                         enough to find Shelley's exact recruit requirements.
    
        1.00 - 11/03/08: Finally got Laru and Nagare; still working on Shelley, but
                         am not getting my hopes up.
    
        0.99 - 09/27/08: Walkthrough delayed due to life in general; not completely
                         finished due to glitches: missed Laru and Nagare and still
                         trying to recruit Shelley.  Need sleep.
    
        0.00 - 06/06/08: Walkthrough started.
    
               06/04/08: Chaos Wars FINALLY arrived at GameStop.
    
      Hosts
      -----
        Below are the sites that have permission to host this guide.  If you find
        it on a site that's not on this list, then they didn't read the next
        section.
    
          GameFAQs, http://www.gamefaqs.com
          Neoseeker, http://www.neoseeker.com
          Super Cheats, http://www.supercheats.com
          http://thenumber35.webs.com/
    
      Legal Info
      ----------
        This document was created for personal, private use.  A lot of my free
        time was put into researching and writing it; I spent many a lunch hour
        during my summer job in front of a computer for this.  Therefore, please
        respect my efforts and don't plagiarize, alter, republish, or do anything
        that you shouldn't with this guide without notice or at least some credit.
    
      Copyright (©) 2008, 2009, 2011 Georgi Samaras

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