o -/- / /| / / | / | /| / | /| / |/ |/ |/ |/-| / /_| / / _ _ | | /|||\ /_ /| / \__/ /-|||_\ /_ / |/ Karma System By aaxe Version 4.0 Copyright Information --------------------------- Copyright 2004, aaxe This may be not be reproduced under any circumstances except for personal, private use. It may not be placed on any web site or otherwise distributed publicly without advance permission. Use of this guide on any other web site or as a part of any public display is strictly prohibited, and a violation of copyright. Just contact me via GameFAQs if you wish to reuse this material. History --------- Version 4.0, 09-15-2004 - Reorganized Yellow Essence Quantities section. Added Added Combo Essence Multiplier Information. Big credits go to tweaks87. Version 3.5, 07-27-2004 - Added Hurricane Pack Disclaimer. Big credits go to mmaag for figuring out the exact Essence multipliers. Version 3.0, 07-05-2004 - Updated content. Reorganized Essence section. Added Ninja Gaiden Download information. Version 2.5, 06-05-2004 - Updated content. Added Master Ninja Tournament Section. Reorganized. Moved Timely Boss Strategies to the Bestiary FAQ. Version 2.0, 04-14-2004 - Updated content. Added Story Cleared. Added Rolling Techniques. Updated Boss Strategies. Version 1.5, 04-08-2004 - Updated content. Reorganized. Added Essence Avoidance. Version 1.0, 04-06-2004 - Corrected inaccuracies. Added Very Hard boss strategies. Added credits. Added index. Added ASCII art. Version 0.6, 03-10-2004 - Corrected inaccuracies. Added Boss Strategies for Normal Difficulty. Version 0.5, 03-07-2004 - Initial release. I will be adding Boss strategies for defeating bosses as I come up with them for the different difficulty settings. Table of Contents ----------------- 1. Karma System a. Setup b. Combo c. Kills d. Time e. Implementation 2. Chapter Cleared a. Clear Time b. Kills c. Essence d. Ninpo 3. Story Cleared 4. Essence a. Types b. Uses c. Yellow Essence Quantities 1. UT Essence Multipliers 2. Combo Essence Multipliers 3. Armlet of Benediction Essence Multiplier 5. Tricks a. Rolling Techniques b. Essence Avoidance c. Ninpo d. Environment Usage e. Unlabored Flawlessness f. Rekill 6. Master Ninja Tournament 7. Hurricane Pack Disclaimer 8. Credits --Karma System-- Ninja Gaiden is the latest game from the Japanese development studio, Team Ninja. In my opinion, it is one of the greatest games of this generation. It is also one of my favorite games of all time. While the unparalleled graphics, sound and play mechanics have a lot to do with this, there is one, specific aspect of this game that pushes it far beyond every single action game ever created for the Hardcore. I've never considered myself a Hardcore gamer, but this game and its Karma system is setup for just that type of person. Setup ----- Team Ninja went way above and beyond by implementing this game's Karma System. As you probably know, when you hit the white button, a Karma window pops up. It displays only your total Karma whenever you are not around an enemy. Whenever you encounter an enemy, two more stats pop up. However, there is an undocumented feature such that if you click the left thumbstick while that window is up, you will also get what I call an Encounter Counter. This time limit will appear whenever you are about to be attacked. In all honesty, I believe that they omitted this from the documentation, as it would've spoiled a lot of the surprises on your first time through the game. I'm thinking that this feature was included, solely for those of us that will play this game, over and over again. Including this functionality will greatly facilitate trying to get those Master Ninja rankings. It's a great addition that was not available in the US demo at least. You have to click the left thumbstick at first for it to turn on the time display. It will remember this for the rest of the time that the Xbox is on, so you don't have to keep clicking the stick for every encounter. Unfortunately, if you come back from a save, or continue, you must hit white and click the thumbstick. They changed this for the Master Ninja Tournament, however, as you only have to hit the White Button and the Timer appears as well. Encounters are rated for Combo, Kills and Time. The Time factor is the most interesting. Every encounter has a time limit in which you should be able to beat a group of enemies. Once you encounter a group of enemies, this counter will appear and count backwards from whatever value is assigned to that encounter (and difficulty). This group of enemies can span multiple regions of an area as well. The significant thing is that if you beat this time limit, you get a 10,000-point bonus. Additionally, for the fights that re-spawn, all bonuses are cut in half until you get no bonus whatsoever. The interesting facet of this system is that while long Ultimate Essence moves are good for Essence generation, they are counter productive to getting a good time bonus. I.e. The Dragon Sword regular Essence Technique decapitates, whereas the Ultimate Technique gives you a long combo depending upon what level your Dragon Sword is. So, if you're looking to generate Essence, you'll want Storm of the Heavenly Dragons. But, if you're shooting for time, you'll only want to do Haze Straight Slash. If you decide to flee an encounter, you don't get any bonus at all, you'll only receive a literal amount of points for the enemies you did kill and the last combo you did. The positive aspect for this is that the encounter resets, so you can take another crack at getting the Time Bonus. The bonuses do not halve until the encounter is completed. Bats and other small reoccurring enemies that you can kill for Essence do not trigger an Encounter. Combo ----- At the successful end of the encounter, your combo count is multiplied by 10. Every time a combo is completed (either by being hit out of it, blocking, etc...), it is multiplied by 10 added to your score on the fly. There doesn't appear to be any additional reward for getting the multiples of 50, 100, 200 combo hits, etc. That is, it's still only multiplied by 10. Lastly, your combo ends if you wait too long to hit somebody, if you get hit, or actually block successfully. You can block and roll and not reset the combo counter. But, if you successfully block a hit or counter attack, your counter will reset. You can pad the counter reset time by throwing shuriken in some instances as well. The window of time appears to be 3 seconds. This particular counter is not displayed anywhere. Kills ----- Your kills are multiplied by 1000 at the end of a finished encounter (except in the cases of bosses where the kills are multiplied by 100000). The kill score is modified such that a percentage of how many seconds were left on the clock are multiplied by a factor, depending on the type of enemy killed and then added to the kill score (not the Time Bonus). Interestingly enough, a kill is registered as soon as the blow lands (not when the body disappears) on the counter. But, for you to get the time bonus, the body must disappear. Even if the body falls off of the cliff, it still has to explode before you can get your time bonus. This is to account for the fact that you can continue juggling an enemy long after they have died (and uttered their death rattle). Time ---- The hidden Time Bonus is only achieved if you complete the encounter in the allotted time. Also, how much you beat the encounter by affects your Kills Bonus. Implementation -------------- For example, on chapter one: The very first Ninja encounter has a time limit of seven seconds on the Normal Difficulty setting. If you kill them and their bodies explode in pools of blood before seven seconds is up, then you get 10,000 extra points. In contrast, 60 seconds is allotted for Murai. It doesn't seem to matter by how much time you beat the clock. If you beat it with even 1 millisecond left, you get the 10,000. The more that you beat the time by, the more your Kill score goes up. Therefore, for the first, Chapter, there are around 12 encounters. So, if you nail every one of those encounters, you should have at least 120,000 points by the time you reach Murai in just Time Bonuses alone. This is essential to getting Master Ninja on each level, as you get a 100,000-point bonus for beating the level time limit. It's possible to get 349,000 points which will equate to a Master Ninja ranking while 250,000 or greater means Head Ninja. Lastly, the kill bonus is elevated to 100,000 for many of the games bosses. The times do vary depending on the difficulty level. As an example, I've made a comparison of the time limits (in seconds) for the first 5 encounters on Ninja Fortress for Normal Difficulty versus Very Hard Difficulty: 7 vs. 10, 15 vs. 26, 7 vs. 12, 10 vs. 15 and 35 vs. 56. This is to account for the increased number of enemies (and challenge) per difficulty. Additionally, no calculation is done for Essence. To illustrate: Say you go into the bug room in The Aqueduct. You kill all 60 bugs in a row (on Normal). If you beat the Time Limit, your score will look like this: Karma - 70,100+ Kills - 60 * 1000 + (variable amount depending upon time left in Encounter) = 60,000+ Combo - 10 * 10 = 100 Time - 10,000 Notice that your Combo rating will NOT be 250, since it takes the combo you had when the enemies were defeated. --Chapter Cleared-- Karma was the sole ranking determination for the Master Ninja Tournament. There are 5 skill ratings that you can receive at the end of each level. They are Ninja Dog, Lesser Ninja, Greater Ninja, Head Ninja and Master Ninja. The spread of Karma is different for each level, obviously, and the score that you receive at the end of the level is tallied by several factors: Clear Time, Kills, Essence, and Ninpo. Each one of these aspects can be further delineated. The maximum amount of points that you can received in these three categories is 100,000 points. So, at the end of level, if you reached or beat each limit for each factor, the Karma screen will look like this: Clear Time: 00:00:00 100000 Kills: 00 100000 Essence: 00 10000 Ninpo: (Ninpo Symbols) 100000 Karma: 310000 Where, the Karma will be the running total of Karma that you have collected up in the game first. Then as the score is calculated, the points you earned on this level will be added to your level. Clear Time ---------- The amount of Karma you receive for Clear Time is based upon how quickly you complete the Chapter. Each level has a hidden Time Limit in which it is possible to kill every single enemy in the Chapter and still reach the end. This is more difficult in some levels than it is in others. However, you cannot go back to previous areas and rekill those creatures and expect to hit your Clear Time Bonus. In most instances, though, the amount of Karma that you pick up for rekilling more than makes up for this. A special case is made for the Fiend Challenges. As, you'll need to kill either 60, 80 or 100 enemies in a row (depending on difficulty), the game accounts this to certain levels. That is, the game does not expect you to do the Undead Fiend Challenge and the Monk Fiend Challenge in the same Chapter. If you try to do both, you will not receive your Clear Time bonus, and consequently, you will not get your Kills bonus on the subsequent chapter. Keep in mind that Clear Time is calculated by total time but not including restarts. If even if you soft reset, the clock on your save game will have increased by the time that you were playing before you soft reset, but this will not affect the Clear Time at the end of the mission. Kills ----- You receive Karma for Kills based upon whether or not you killed the correct number of enemies on the level. Typically, this time will include the ability to do one or more Fiend Challenges as well. In some instances, you must scour an entire area for hidden enemies. For example, you can kill Spider Ninjas in the Archive and the Monk's Room on almost every Chapter after you've visited these two areas. Essence ------- Essence isn't a simple tally of how much Essence you've collected. The Essence that you spent at Muramasa's is subtracted from the Essence that you earned on the current level. So, it's quite possible to get no Essence points either. The largest bonus possible is 10,000 unlike the rest of the End of Chapter bonuses. The reason for this is that it is extremely easy to farm Essence in many points throughout the game. Ninpo ----- The amount of Karma you receive for Ninpo is based upon how many Ninpo you have left at the end of the level. If you have 1 out of 2 Ninpo left at the end of a level, that number is reduced by a large factor. You get no points if you have no Ninpo. If want to achieve the full 100,000 bonus, you have a full stock of Ki at the end of the level. So, use a Greater Devil Spirit if you can. Otherwise, your Ki will be restored for the next level. Once I discovered this system, it cemented my thoughts as this game being the best game of all time. To think about the time it took for them to map out every single encounter on every difficulty to come up with a time that's really reachable. That is amazing. I'll be playing this game for years. It's totally possible to hit every single time bonus so far with a little practice. If you are finding it difficult to reach a bonus, there is usually a trick involved. See the trick section for more details. --Story Cleared-- You also get a total game rating that tracks the total time you spent in the game, total number of enemies killed, ending amount of Essence and ending Ninpo. The time recorded is not the same as the save game time which runs even with continues and restarting. --Essence-- Essence is the life-force released from an Enemy once it is killed. It appears as little floating spheres that Ryu collects by just being around it. Ryu uses it in many different ways. Types ----- There are three types of Essence: Yellow, Red and Blue. Yellow Essence is the currency that Ryu can use to purchase things from Muramasa's shop. Blue Essence will refill Ryu's health slightly, and Red Essence will refill one stock of Ninpo (or two if the Armlet of Fortune is utilized). There are many sizes in which the Yellow Essence can take shape. Uses ---- Every enemy in the game releases Essence when it is killed. Some enemies are more prone to release Blue and Red Essences than other enemies. More difficult enemies release more Yellow Essence as well. While you may always utilize the inherent currency, health or ninpo properties of Essence, Ryu may also choose to collect the Essence using a Charge Move. A Charge Move is one that Ryu utilizes with most of his weapons when he holds down Y. When the charge animation begins, Essence will begin to travel towards Ryu VERY quickly. Unfortunately, Ryu is not invincible during this time, and the Essence collection is not instantaneous. It is very easy for an enemy to strike Ryu during his charge animation and cancel the charge. If the Essence has not touched Ryu yet, the Essence will stop moving toward Ryu and stay suspended. Once Essence contacts Ryu in his charge state, it will explode and advance Ryu to his next charge state. When Essence explodes, it loses its inherent property (currency, health or ninpo), but you will still retain a TINY fraction of currency depending upon the size of the sphere utilized. Ryu has two stages of charge, which exhibit totally different techniques for every weapon. But, once Ryu has collected his maximum amount of Essence, he will be able to release an Ultimate Technique. Once this has happened, no more Essence will be attracted to him during this charge. An Essence charge gives off blue particles while an Ultimate Charge gives off red particles. It takes one Yellow Essence of any size to put Ryu in his initial charge state. If Ryu collects two or more Yellow Essence or a single Blue Essence or a single Red Essence, he will immediately progress to his Ultimate Technique Charge. The Explosion appears different for each charge type. At this point, Ryu cannot block or cancel the Ultimate Technique. Once the charge button is released, Ryu will quickly dash or jump towards his enemy and proceed in his technique. Some Ultimate Techniques must make contact with an enemy for them to activate, while others will commence regardless of enemy contact. During this dash move or jump, Ryu is still capable of taking damage, but he cannot be knocked out of the animation. Additionally, if you kill an enemy with an Ultimate Technique, they will ALWAYS release the highest amount of Yellow Essence that that creature is capable of releasing. Evolved and Dragon Fiends release the largest amount of Essence in the game, and you can readily force 3 of the largest spheres at a time. For this to work, the killing blow must be part of the Ultimate Technique. If you simply hit an enemy with the UT, but do not kill it; standard Essence release rules will still apply. Finally, if you have the Armlet of Benediction equipped, the amount of Essence you collect increases by 20%. Yellow Essence Quantities ------------------------- Yellow Essence comes in a variety of sizes and quantities. The calculation used to determine how much Essence you receive is fairly complicated. The determining factors include what kind of enemy was killed and how was it killed. Visually, there appear to be only four different sizes of Yellow Essence sphere (small, medium, large and extra large), but the size alone will not tell you how much Essence you will gather. They are strictly ranges. small - 20 or 50 medium - 100, 150 or 200 Large - 300 or 350 Extra Large - 400 or 700 Additionally, the Extra Large spheres are only released by certain types of enemies including the Evolved Fiends and Flame and Ice Gallas. Depending upon how you kill them, they will release multiple spheres. Every enemy will give a different amount of Essence for how you dispatch it. If you kill it with any regular combo (regardless of length or ingenuity), you will receive the default amount of Essence. If you use an Essence Technique to kill it, you will get a larger amount, and if you kill it with an Ultimate Technique you will get the maximum amount. You need to land the killing blow with a UT or Essence Technique. If you do not kill the creature with it, it won't count. 1. UT Essence Multipliers - mmaag's did a lot of research into this, and found the following. See his FAQ for more information: http://db.gamefaqs.com/console/xbox/file/ninja_gaiden_x.txt The Essences of enemies killed with ET's are multiplied by 4. The Essences of enemies killed by UT's are multiplied by 7. There doesn't seem to be any adjustment for how many enemies you kill with the same technique, either. If you take out 3 Shadow Ninjas with one Hundred Wing Blade, they will still only grant you the amount of 350 a piece. Also, the amount released does not change with difficulty. You will receive the same amount of Essence on Normal, Hard and Very Hard difficulties. Lastly, if you utilize Yellow Essence for an Essence or Ultimate Technique, the currency you receive from the Essence that explodes is reduced considerably. In most cases you will only receive 20% of the original amount if gathering it for an ET or UT. 2. Combo Essence Multipliers - tweaks87 also did a ton of research into the Combo generation aspect of Essence increase. Here are his findings: As most of you know, an ET grants an additional 200% essence (that is, it triples how much you get), and a UT grants 600%. A 1-19 hit combo does nothing. A 20-29 hit combo grants an extra 200% (triples it). A 30-39 hit combo grants an extra 300% (quadruples it). A 40-49 hit combo grants an extra 400%. A 50-59 hit combo grants 500%. It *seems* that you can hit the dead bodies after they've been decapitated and still get greater bonuses. Eg, you can kill some of the imps in the middle of Cremator but still get bonuses at the end. Now, I only did ONE trial for UT + combo, and I did this just by charging the flails with a UT and getting a 20-hit combo with it, but the result was a 9x multiplier - 800% extra. Now, I'm guessing that's 200% from the combo and 600% from the UT -- in other words, the multipliers don't synergize (eg, 3 times 7 = 21x bonus) but do add together. At this point the imps dropped 2 essence balls totalling 900. If anyone with more skill wants to try a more advanced combo (I wanted to do something like Cremator on a few enemies to get a 30 hit combo and to generate Essence, Red Hot Iron Brand on a more distant fiend, and an OL UT to get about a 40-hit combo) and confirm this, please do. If this is true and there's no cutoff in bonuses for combos, then I'd expect people with 200-hit combos (2000% extra essence?) to get LOTS of essence, such that when fiends die they generate multiple balls easily... 3. Armlet of Benedition Essence Multiplier - The Armlet of Benediction increases the amount gathered by 20%. --Tricks-- Aside from the extremely in-depth combat engine, there are various tricks that you can use to hit a lot of these Karma Bonuses. Several of the Encounter Time Bonuses are very difficult if you don't know how to do them correctly. Rolling Techniques ------------------ The most important technique in the game is Roll Jumping. Ryu can cancel the recovery animation of a roll with a jump and vice versa. What this means is that he can continually move much faster than regular running by continually rolling then jumping and then rolling again. I call this technique Roll Jumping. You can avoid pretty much every projectile in the game by using controlled versions of this technique. It is absolutely essential to even survive many of the boss encounters in the game, Alma in particular. You can also cancel the recovery animation from a Guard Crush with a roll as well, and then proceed to Roll Jump. Guard crushes are what happens when a strong enemy hits Ryu with enough force to remove his block and throw his weapon back. You are vulnerable during this animation, but you can cancel it with a roll. The combination of these two techniques makes Ryu quite a defensive force. Essence Avoidance ----------------- Ryu gathers Essence simply by being around it. You can walk near it, jump away from it and be thrown in its vicinity to pick it up. The Y charging moves of almost every weapon have Essence moves and Ultimate Techniques. If you suck up just one Yellow Essence, you'll get only the Essence Technique (which is different than just charging Y as well). If you suck up more than one Yellow or a single Blue or Red, you'll get the Ultimate Technique, which is usually an autocombo or a devastating single strike. The charging animation can take some time, which is why the developers implemented an "on-landing" condition to the move list. That is, if you hold or tap Y just as you're landing from a jump (that did not include a melee attack), you'll get an instant charge condition. This is an extremely powerful technique. Sometimes, it can be difficult to farm enough Essence to activate this Ultimate Technique. Which is why I've discovered this method to guaranteeing Essence Avoidance. As long as you are holding the block button, you will not gather Essence. You can be thrown into it, you can stand or jump right on top of it, but it won't be gathered. You can even jump in the air over it and as long as you keep the block button held in, it will stay put. Ryu can Roll Jump and perform many attacks in the air with the block button held. This is a very powerful technique for unleashing multiple Ultimate Techniques as you can kill just two enemies of any kind and be assured that you can pull of an Ultimate Technique. You can also neglect to pickup Essence from an encounter if you know that another encounter is going to happen in an adjacent area. You can then utilize that Essence to begin the encounter with a UT. You can pull it through walls, doors and loading screens as well. There are many, MANY scenarios where this is possible throughout the game. This is EXTREMELY useful to get some of those Encounter Counters that seem impossible. Lastly, if Essence is too far away from you, or you are unable to reach it, you can always begin an ET/UT to pull the Essence toward you, and let go of Y as it comes in range. Ninpo ----- Many of the Encounter Time Bonuses can be achieved by clever use of Ninpo. That is, in confined rooms, you can frequently get your assailants to attack you in one section of the room and kill them all with one Ninpo. As the Ninpos have startup and execution damage, you can use this to your advantage. You'll also need it to avoid some of the more difficult attacks in the game such as the Dark Dragon and the Emperor's Bite. Environment Usage ----------------- The one group of MSATs on the airship when you lower the bay door is particularly difficult to achieve seeing as you don't have access to the Unlabored Flawlessness. The trick for that one is that you have to stand by the wench, shoot those crates with the bow and suck up the Essence that is released immediately as the MSATs jump through the window. Also, Flying Swallow and Divine Cicada can be used a lot, as well. Unlabored Flawlessness ---------------------- Once you acquire the Unlabored Flawlessness, most regular encounters in the game become very easy. The reason for this is that both Flaming Whirlwind (6+Y) and Reigning Spiral (Counter Attack) decapitate all normal enemies in one hit. You will obviously pay for this with your combo count, unfortunately. Rekill ------ Many, many encounters are reset after every single Chapter. Therefore, once you get to Tairon in Chapter 4, you can continually go back and kill many of the enemies in the game once the Chapter is complete. This is the key to getting 20+ million points in total for the game. In particular, you should return to Phantom Fish encounters and max them out as there are usually 46 Fish to kill (x's 1000). You will sacrifice your 100,000 End of Level Time Bonus in doing, this, however. --Master Ninja Tournament-- The scoring system for the Master Ninja Tournament is based solely on your ending Karma score. This means, that the way to get the highest ranking in the tournament is to continually rekill as many enemies as possible. The highest score achieved was 26 million. Redoing every encounter in the game until they give you no more points, redoing it every Chapter, and receiving the Time Bonus every time does not mathematically account for this total. There is some other facet of the game that has yet to be uncovered. Regardless, you could have still achieved a high ranking score based solely on rekilling. To get the Time Bonus for every encounter does garner some skill, but it would've been better to take multiple factors into account (such as time and weapons used). Once the Unlabored Flawlessness becomes available after Chapter 7, the game on Normal Setting becomes pretty effortless. --Hurricane Pack Disclaimer-- It has become evident that the engine has fundamentally changed from the scoring, to the fighting, to the character lists, to the moves themselves. As such, I will create a whole new Karma FAQ for the Hurricane specifically, since all of this information will always be valid given that the Ninja Gaiden game disc remains. --Credits-- Tecmo Team Ninja Microsoft GameFAQ's Big credits go to mmaag for figuring out the exact UT Essence Multipliers. Please see his FAQ for other great information: http://db.gamefaqs.com/console/xbox/file/ninja_gaiden_x.txt Big credits to to tweaks87 for figuring out the exact Combo Essence Multipliers.