~ THE BASICS
Shape Shifter is quite similar to games such as Metroid and Symphony of the Night in that it isn't divided up into levels; instead, it presents you with a single enormous world to explore. As Lykos, your mission is to find and free the members of the Ring of Five (the benevolent sorcerers who brought peace to the land of Krellion) and destroy the adversarial Dark Ones. There are lots of tasks and sub-quests that must be completed along the way.
Each time that Lykos frees a member of the Ring of Five, he is granted the power to transform into a particular powerful creature. The forms that Lykos can assume during his adventure are the Black Panther, the Psionic Shark, the Rock Troll, and the Gold Dragon. Each creature has its own unique special abilities and ways of attacking.
At the top of the screen is a window showing the sun and the moon. Every ten minutes, the moon passes in front of the sun, causing an eclipse. Lykos' health is completely restored every time an eclipse occurs, so as long as you have enough patience, you can basically heal yourself whenever you want to.
You have only nine lives with which to complete the entire quest, so use them wisely. (In the Walkthrough section of this guide, I'll give my takes on the number of lives you should have left at different points in the game.) A good rule to live by is that you should never expend more than one or two lives while rescuing any one member of the Ring of Five. Making things tougher is the fact that the ONLY place in the entire game where you can save your progress is Lykos' hometown.
There are four different kinds of items that you can acquire in Shape Shifter: Power-ups, Gems, Potions, and Gold.
Power-ups - Each shape, including Lykos' natural human form, can be powered up twice with these special black orbs that are scattered about the land. Picking up one of these orbs as a human will allow Lykos to make better use of his weapons (for instance, he'll be able to fling his axe at his enemies whereas he was previously only capable of close-range combat). Should he pick up an orb while he is in the shape of another creature, that particular shape will be capable of new, more powerful attacks.
Gems - You begin the game with twenty gems, and there are plenty of others that can be found throughout Krellion. You'll be charged a certain number of gems each time you transform into a beast:
Black Panther - One gem.
Psionic Shark - Two gems.
Rock Troll - Three gems.
Gold Dragon - Four gems.
You're allowed to remain in an alternative shape for only three minutes. When those three minutes are up, you won't be required to transform back into a human, but you will have to give up the requisite number of gems for that particular shape again. Once you free the fifth and final wizard, you'll be able to change shapes as frequently as you want without having to worry about gems.
Potions - Each potion restores a certain amount of energy. Potions can be found at various points throughout the game (they're usually somewhat hidden). Also, certain enemies will leave potions behind after they're defeated.
Gold - Gold is the currency in Krellion, and it's often dropped by enemy creatures after you've killed them. Gold isn't all that important in this game. You may need to save up a bit to buy some weapons (and power them up) at the beginning of your quest, but when you finally arrive at an armor shop, you'll probably have more than enough gold to buy whatever you want. There are other types of shops you can visit, but none of them are all that helpful.
~ WEAPONS AND ARMOR
There are three weapons that you can acquire in Shape Shifter: an axe, a mace, and a bow. All of them can be purchased in the weapons shop in Lykos' hometown.
Axe - Costs 75 gold pieces. The axe is the weakest weapon in the game. Upon being powered up once, the axe can be thrown at Lykos' enemies. Upon being powered up twice, the axe will act like a boomerang and return to Lykos after he tosses it, damaging the enemies that it hits on its way back.
Mace - Costs 100 gold pieces. The mace is a step above the axe. Upon being powered up once, it will quickly reappear in Lykos' hands each time it's thrown at his enemies.
Bow - Costs 150 gold pieces. The bow is the strongest weapon that Lykos can use in his human form. Its arrows will become increasingly deadly each time it's powered up.
There are also three different types of armor that Lykos can purchase. All three can be bought in the armor shop found in the underwater city.
Leather Armor - The weakest armor. Costs only 75 gold pieces.
Chain Mail - A bit stronger than leather armor. Costs 100 gold pieces.
Plate Mail - The strongest armor that Lykos can purchase. Costs 150 gold pieces.
- Starts the game. Pauses the action.
- Brings up the shape changing menu.
- Used to highlight a choice when selecting from multiple options.
- In human form: Moves Lykos left and right. Used to duck. Can be used to throw/shoot weapons at an angle.
- In panther form: Moves Lykos left and right. Used to duck.
- In shark form: Used to swim in any direction. Aims shots.
- In troll form: Moves Lykos left and right. Used to duck.
- In dragon form: Used to fly in any direction. Aims shots.
- In final form: Used to fly in any direction. Aims shots.
- Confirms a choice when selecting from multiple options.
- In human form: Causes Lykos to jump.
- In panther form: Causes Lykos to leap.
- In shark form: Used to fire shots.
- In troll form: Causes Lykos to jump.
- In dragon form: Does nothing.
- In final form: Causes Lykos to curl up into a ball.
- Cancels a choice.
- In human form: Causes Lykos to attack with his weapon (or kick should he not possess a weapon). Used to kick when Lykos is ducking.
- In panther form: Causes Lykos to attack with his claws.
- In shark form: Used to bite.
- In troll form: Used to throw punches.
- In dragon from: Used to breathe fire.
- In final form: Used to shoot. ~ WALKTHROUGH
Note: While most of the locations and enemies are never referred to by name during the game, I've labeled particular segments and bosses for the sake of convenience.
~ LYKOS' HOMETOWN ~
The game commences with Lykos standing in the center of the town in which he lives. Should you attempt to leave the town through the east or west gates, you'll run into armed knights who'll refuse to let you pass. According to the knights, the chancellor of the town has ordered them to prevent people from leaving. Time to pay a visit to the chancellor...
Jump onto the moving platform in the center of the city, and ride it as high as it goes. Jump off the platform and onto the highest ledge on your left, where you'll find a door. Enter the door; you are now in the chancellor's house. You'll find the chancellor in a state of distress. Apparently, the giant spiders who live to the west are kidnapping people. After you offer him your services, the chancellor will give you 75 gold pieces along with a scroll.
Hop onto the moving platform and jump onto the ledge directly below the door to the chancellor's house. Enter the first door on this ledge and you will be inside of the weapons shop. Use the money that the chancellor gave you to purchase an axe.
Hop back onto the moving platform and jump onto the highest platform on your right. You'll see a man walking in place inside of a giant spinning wheel. Hop past the man to the right wall. Jump onto the bricks that are sticking out until you are even with the center of the wheel. Step off the bricks and you'll find that you're able to stand on the spinning center of the wheel. Jump straight up; you should now be standing a few feet above the center of the wheel. Jump onto the roof of the complex, and pick up the gold coins that you find up there. Leave the potion for now.
You're now ready to leave the town and take on the spiders. There are a few other shops that you can check out, but none of them will be of any use to you at the moment. Among said shops are the following:
The Weapon Magic Shop - Located right next door to the weapons shop. For a price, you can have a spell cast on your weapon to make it stronger. You'll need to come back here a bit later.
The Fortune-Teller - Located on the ledge opposite of where the weapon shop is. Costs 30 gold pieces to have your fortune told. The fortune-teller speaks in riddles and serves primarily as a source of amusement. Don't waste your money here unless you have plenty of gold to spare.
Magic Healing - Located on the first floor, beneath the weapons shop. It costs 40 gold pieces to have your health restored. Since you can be fully healed for free by the eclipses, you should spend money here only if you have plenty of gold and you're in a real hurry.
Once you're done exploring the town, head to the west gate. Upon seeing the scroll that the chancellor gave you, the knight will allow you to pass. Exit the town and prepare to do battle with the spiders.
~ THE FOREST ~This section of the game has nothing to do with the Ring of Five. Use it to get used to the controls and to save up some cash. Your first goal should be to save up money for the bow. You should have 40 gold pieces upon leaving the town; you'll need 150 to buy the bow.
The first section of the forest shouldn't pose much of a challenge. There are three types of enemies in this section. There are spiders that drop down in vertical lines and hang by threads, waiting for you, while there are others that are low to the ground and crawl towards you. The guys that hang are easy to dispose of--just give them a good whack with your axe. One of them should drop a gem after it's killed. You should kill the guys that are low to the ground by ducking and kicking. These guys drop lots of money; be sure to grab each gold piece before it vanishes. Be wary of these little guys, though; they'll occasionally fire shots at you. The third type of enemy is a flying creature that is extremely pesky. Try to hit it while it's flying towards you. If you miss it, it'll fly around you in circles until you kill it. Just duck and keep kicking until you get it. Don't worry if you get hit a few times; these pests don't do much damage at all. If you find yourself running low on energy at any point in the forest, head back to town and save, and wait for an eclipse to heal you. You should save your progress at regular intervals anyway.
The second section of the forest is a tad bit tougher than the first. The crawling spiders and the flying guys are back in abundance, and there are also larger arachnids that attack you with spears. To kill these guys, duck and kick them before they can jab you with their weapons. They'll take a few hits, so be patient. They usually drop gold when they're defeated; again, make sure you snatch up the coins before they disappear. You'll notice that there are two gems perched upon huts. You can't get these gems yet, so don't even bother trying.
The third section of the forest offers some amusement: check out the people stuck in the webs in the trees. It also contains two gems that are out in the open that you should pick up. You'll have to deal with the flying and crawling guys again along with two huge, fierce arachnids. To beat the large guys, hit them once with your axe and then quickly take a couple of steps back. This way, you'll avoid the swipes that they take at you after you hit them. The second one drops a healing potion when it's defeated. At the end of the third section, you'll find a power orb. DON'T pick this orb up yet--your axe will be of more use to you in this section as a handheld weapon. You'll also notice that there are small ledges that lead up to another area. This is where the boss resides; don't head up quite yet. Keep killing the spiders until you have enough cash to buy a bow. Remember to head back to town and save on a regular basis. You can't afford to lose any precious lives while you're just saving up money.
Once you've purchased the bow, return to the third section of the forest and pick up that power orb. However, I recommend that you STILL don't take on the boss. Instead, save up for a little while longer until you have enough cash (100 gold pieces) to have your bow strengthened at the weapon magic shop. I know that saving up can become extremely tedious, but getting yourself all powered up now while the going is easy will ultimately prove worthwhile. The game becomes extremely difficult once you're done with the spiders. Once you've finally strengthened your bow, save your game and journey back into the forest. You're now ready to face the boss.
~ BOSS - GIANT SPIDER ~
Make sure you grab the healing potion that the second large spider drops in the third section of the forest before entering the boss's lair. Then you should have more than enough energy to win the battle.
As soon as you enter the lair, two of those pesky flying creatures will attack you. As a matter of fact, such creatures will swarm you for the entire climb up to the boss, making the ascent more difficult than the battle itself. Your best bet is to duck, kick them, and keep moving as quickly as you can. Don't worry if you take a few hits; the damage will be minuscule. You'll also come across some of the low-to-the-ground spiders, but they shouldn't pose much of a problem. You should have to face only two of them unless you fall during your climb, and both can be easily disposed of by standing on the platform beneath them and shooting in a straight line when they're running in the opposite direction. As you make your climb, try to spend as little time in the center area of the screen as possible; the boss will be shooting straight down the middle of the playfield before you can even see it.
Once you spot the Giant Spider, climb towards the right side of the screen. When you reach the highest possible platform on the right side, make sure that you're right up against the edge of the screen; then turn around and fire away while pressing up on the control pad. Here's a useful trick: by holding down the attack button, you can turn around without moving any extra space in either direction. This will come in handy here, as your shots will miss the Spider unless you're at the absolute edge of the screen. Ten hits with a bow that's fully powered up will be enough to annihilate the spider boss.
After you've killed it, make your way back to town and visit the chancellor. He'll reward you with 100 gold pieces (this will really come in handy later, which is why it's better to earn the money for everything you've purchased up to this point by killing spiders). Save your game now. At this point, you should still have all of your lives remaining. This mission was merely a warmup; your search for the Ring of Five is really just about to begin.
~ FOSSIL CAVE ~
Exit the town through the east gate this time. You'll find yourself in a very small stretch of forest. Four beggars will approach you. They'll attack you only if you attack them first, although one shot with an arrow is sufficient to put them down for the count. If you don't kill them, they'll walk by you and hold out their cups. Lykos will automatically give each of them one gold piece as he passes by. It doesn't really matter if you kill them or give them a handout at this point. Just remember that if you enter this stretch of forest later on in a different shape, the beggars will automatically begin attacking you.
At the end of the stretch of forest, you'll meet a mysterious old woman. She'll tell you about the plight of the Ring of Five and reveal that it's your mission to save them. She'll then disappear without revealing her identity, although not before opening the entrance to the "Fossil Cave" for you. You'll come across this woman many more times before completing your quest.
It's important to remember to take your time in the Fossil Cave. You'll undoubtedly be tempted to make a mad dash towards the bottom of the cave (you'll actually be making a gradual descent towards the boss), but don't do it. Many of the enemies are camouflaged well by the background, and some (such as the hanging skulls) don't even pop out until you're almost right next to them. If you charge through the cave at high speed, you'll end up crashing into a ton of enemies, and you'll also run the risk of falling into pits of spikes (contact with spikes means automatic death).
You'll notice that there's an opening in the upper-right corner of the cave that you can't quite get to yet. Don't forget about this opening; you'll need to return to it much later in the game.
As was the case during the forest quest, you'll have to deal with plenty of annoying flying creatures. If you can't nail them with an arrow, duck and kick them. Again, don't worry if you take a few hits; these guys won't cause very much damage as long as you dispose of them as quickly as possible. You'll notice that the flying beasts actually pop out of the mouths of various skull-like creatures. Destroy these creatures as soon as you spot them. This will minimize the number of flying beasts that you'll have to deal with. Keep your distance from the larger skeletal creatures and bombard them with arrows. Try to get rid of any flying insects that are in the area before you attack a larger creature, as the little guys can interfere with your shots and allow the tougher beasts to get closer to you.
You can reach all of the gems in this cave in your human form. One gem near the very bottom of the cavern lies right beside a pit of spikes. You'll be riding on a moving platform when you first spot this gem; DON'T try to reach the gem by jumping off the platform! If you do, Lykos will fall off the ledge with the gem on it and end up in the pit of spikes. To add insult to injury, the gem will disappear if you die while jumping towards it. Instead, wait until the platform is at its lowest point and simply step off it and onto the ledge with the gem. After you grab the gem, make your way to the right. You're about to face the second boss.
~ BOSS - DINO SKELETON ~
Descending through the Fossil Cave is tough, and chances are you'll be in bad shape by the time you make it to the boss's chamber. If you don't have at least five of your hearts full, I recommend waiting for an eclipse before taking on the Dino Skeleton. It's almost a sure thing that you'll take a few hits during the battle.
You'll be walking east when you spot the boss. You'll notice his large head resting at the top of the screen and his heart exposed below it at the end of the cavern. Don't waste any time; run up to the heart, stand right in front of it, and blast away. It will take approximately fourteen shots to put the big dino out of commission. He shouldn't get in very many hits as long as your bow is at full strength.
After you defeat the Dino Skeleton, you'll meet the first member of the Ring of Five, who'll grant you the power to change into a panther. After exchanging a few words with the sorcerer, you'll have to make your way back through the Fossil Cave. Don't change into a panther at this point; the climb will be a lot easier in your human form. If you took a great deal of damage during your battle with the boss, it would be wise to wait for another eclipse before attempting the climb back up. On your way, be sure to pick up any easily reachable gems that you missed during the trip down. Note that the opening that was previously unreachable can now be reached if you assume the form of a panther. Don't head there yet, though.
Exit the Fossil Cave, head back to the town, and save. It's now worth mentioning that if you enter the original town in any shape besides human, the guards will attack you. You should still have at least eight lives remaining, if not all nine. The mission you just completed was tough, but you're about to take on one of the most difficult segments in the entire game.
~ THE EAGLE MOUNTAINS ~
Leave the town through the east gate again. When you arrive at the entrance to the Fossil Cave, transform into the panther. Don't enter the cave; instead, leap onto the platform that's right above it.
In this next section, you'll want to keep to the outer platforms that surround the structure. Remain in panther form and kill the crabs and the bats with your claws. Keep in mind that your panther needs to have all four feet securely planted on a platform or he'll fall off it. And be wary of the poison gas that shoots out of the holes in the structure. Contact with either the enemies or the gas can cause your panther to lose his balance and plummet from a platform. You'll notice a large entryway in the center of the structure. Ignore it; you can't go inside of it anyway. You'll actually exit out of a certain sequence later in the game and appear right in this doorway.
The next strip is one of the most difficult sections in the entire game. There are a few things that you'll need to keep in mind when traversing the "Eagle Mountains":
- Kill any eagles that are in the area before you attempt a leap.
- Use the trick described earlier when you are turning around on narrow ledges (hold down the attack button and press on the control pad).
- When landing on a ledge following a jump, you'll often want to hold down on the direction you're moving in on the control pad for an extra split second to ensure that your panther will end up with all four feet on the platform.
Timing is key here, and you'll need to put in some practice. Here's the route across the mountains that I like to take:
- After killing the eagle that immediately attacks you, leap towards the ledge that is visible on the opposite side of the screen. It might seem like a long jump, but you'll make it if you hold down on the control pad in the manner described above when landing.
- You'll now need to make a leap of faith. Jump towards the right (keep in mind it's a relatively long leap) and you'll land on a grassy ledge.
- Leap onto the ledge right above the grassy platform, and then carefully jump onto the ledge immediately above you and to the right.
- You'll see a ledge with a rock on it to your right. Jump onto it (this isn't a very long leap).
- You'll then have to make a short leap onto the very narrow platform to the right. Don't hold down on the control pad too long during this jump or you'll fall off the ledge.
- There's another narrow ledge to the right. Jump onto it.
- You'll now see the final ledge, but don't be in a rush to get there. Instead, jump onto the last narrow ledge (it has a boulder on it). Then make the final jump. You'll notice that there is a power orb directly beneath the final ledge. If you want to get it now, simply step off the penultimate ledge, and push to the right on your control pad. Hold right on the pad and you'll end up on the platform right beneath the orb; just jump up to earn your upgrade. You can use the platforms to your left to climb back up again (be careful, however, because the boulder on the top ledge will fall, and the platforms will crumble if you waste too much time on them). You don't absolutely need the orb right now, so you might want to put off grabbing it until you feel completely comfortable with the jumping controls. Don't forget about it, however; use it to strengthen your panther.
You've made it past the Eagle Mountains! Just remember, though, you'll have to cross them again to get back to town, and they're even tougher on the way back. =T
~ THE JUNGLE ~
Remain in panther form when you first enter the jungle. Some food for thought during this section:
- Your panther absolutely HATES water! Avoid it at all costs.
- The platforms with faces on them will descend into the water. Don't mess around when you're standing on these things.
In the middle of this particular segment, you'll encounter a triceratops. Change back into human form for this battle; the dino can annihilate your panther in one or two hits. As long as you keep your distance, you'll have no problem with him. Each time you hit him with an arrow, he'll turn around; so as long as you keep shooting at him, he'll essentially remain in one spot. He'll leave a gem behind when he's defeated. Pick it up, and transform back into your panther shape. You can get past the beast with one well-timed leap with your panther, but then you won't get the gem that he leaves behind.
Now is a good time to mention another useful trick. If your panther falls into a pit of water and can't jump out, here's what you can do: jump up as high as you can with the cat, and when he's at his highest point, transform into a human. Hold down the jump button throughout the entire transformation, and keep it held down when you've returned to human form. You'll get an extra little boost that should push you up high enough to get out. You can do this when changing into any of the shapes that can jump (human, panther, troll).
~ THE CAT PEOPLE ~
Remain in panther form when you make it to the next segment. You'll see a large building; immediately run to the center of the structure, where the steps are. Jump up until you reach the top of the steps. Avoid contact with all of the enemies as well as the torches that light up on the sides of the building. You'll notice some gold icons adorning the structure; collecting these will add to your gold total, but unless you see an opportunity to grab one quickly without receiving any damage, you'd do just as well to avoid them altogether.
At the top of the steps, you'll come to a doorway. Enter the building in panther form or the people inside will unceremoniously throw you out (but not before dealing you some damage, of course). After the lady on the throne points you out, turn back into a human (don't leave the building though). Take a few steps forward and said lady will begin speaking to you. She requests that you seek out a special item--the "Eye" of the enormous statue that stands in the background. Lykos agrees to take on the task on the condition that the woman gives him information about the Ring of Five upon its completion.
Change back into your panther form immediately after exiting the building. Head to the east, where you'll find yourself in another stretch of jungle. This segment is a bit tougher than the last one, as certain enemies (such as the plants and vines) blend in with the backdrop. Take your time, and be sure to dispose of any enemies in the nearby vicinity before attempting lengthy jumps. Also, avoid the dew that falls from the treetops. At the end of this stretch of jungle, you'll face a daunting boss creature.
~ BOSS - MUD MONSTER ~
As large and as intimidating as this guy is, he's actually the easiest boss to defeat in the entire game. Change back into your human form as soon you enter the boss screen (you'll know it's time as soon as you hear the boss music). You'll see three platforms floating in mud. Jump onto the middle one and the Mud Monster will appear. Keep in mind that if you fall into the mud, you'll lose a life. As soon as the Mud Monster spots you, he'll sink back down into the mud. Jump to the platform on the right side of the playfield, and move all the way up against the edge of the screen. As long as you're in this position, the Mud Monster will not be able to touch you with his claws (but you do have to be ALL THE WAY at the edge of the screen--face the edge to be safe). Be alert--while he spends most of the battle grasping for you with his claws, the Mud Monster will occasionally pop his head up to look for you. This is your chance to strike: quickly turn around and shoot him with your arrows. If you're quick, you might be able to get two shots in each time. As soon as he sinks back down, turn back to the edge of the screen. Approximately sixteen hits will do him in.
After the beast is dead, the Eye of the Seeker will appear on the ledge where you entered the Mud Monster's lair.
~ BETRAYAL AND VENGEANCE ~
Leave the Mud Monster's screen and change back into a panther. Head back through the jungle and enter the lair of the Cat People once again. Once the cat queen receives what she covets, she'll return the Eye to the Seeker and order that you be destroyed. The Seeker crushes her with its paws, annihilates her followers with fireballs, and then sets its sights on you.
~ BOSS - THE SEEKER ~
Lykos will automatically run to the center of the screen when the Seeker awakens. Don't change back into human form just yet. Leap onto the ledge to the left, and then jump up onto the large platform right above you. Leap onto one of the ledges on the left of the screen, and then jump all the way up to the top ledge. After doing this as quickly as you possibly can (the Seeker will be shooting at you all the while), transform back into human form and begin pelting the Eye with your arrows. You should have a clear shot at it if you are standing on the top ledge. You'll need to duck down each time you hit it, as the Eye will shoot out at you before returning to its place in the Seeker's head. Don't wait for the Eye to take its place again after it shoots out; as soon as it shoots back over Lykos' head, stand up and fire an arrow. Duck again and repeat the process. Eight shots will destroy the Seeker and release the second member of the Ring of Five, who'll grant you the power to turn into the Psionic Shark.
~ THE EAGLE MOUNTAINS REVISITED ~
After all this work, chances are you're going to want to save your game (you should still have at least eight of your lives left at this point). Unfortunately, saving your game means another trip across the Eagle Mountains. Keeping in mind the tips listed above for the first trip through, here's a good route to take for your journey back home:
- Step off the first ledge onto the very narrow platform beneath you and to the left.
- Leap to the next platform to the left and to the next one after that.
- Jump onto the platform with a boulder on it, and then leap to the next one on the left (you're basically retracing your steps so far).
- Slowly step down to the platform right below it, and then step down to the grassy ledge that you used before.
- Now things get really rough. You should see a small platform seemingly floating in the air to your left and a small ledge beyond it. Jump over the platform and onto the ledge. Hold down the control pad while you are doing this; as soon as you land on the ledge, a green monster will poke his head out and attempt to knock you off. Walk off the ledge and onto the platform to the left and below it.
- The platform you're on now will crumble if you waste too much time on it. Jump to the ledge on the left that is ABOVE you.
- You can now make a rather easy leap to the last (or first, depending on how you look at it) ledge of the Eagle Mountains. That was fun, wasn't it?
~ THE UNDERWATER CITY ~
Now that you possess the ability to transform into a shark, head to the second jungle stretch (the part right before the Mud Monster's lair). In the middle of the strip, there's a large pit filled with water (you'll know it's the right one because it contains one gold icon and a hole in the ground large enough for you to swim through). Jump into the water, transform into the shark, and dive through the hole.
You'll now find yourself in a segment that takes place entirely underwater. Swim to the left, avoiding the creatures as well as you can, and you'll spot another hole in the ceiling. Swim up through this hole and you'll find yourself in a small room. The old woman will be sitting on a ledge on the left side of the room. Swim over to the ledge on the right side and transform back into your human shape. Leap up onto the ledge, and then jump onto the platform in the center of the room that is holding a large treasure chest. The old lady will speak to you in riddles once again (believe it or not, her words will all make sense by the end of the game) and then disappear. Kick open the treasure chest to find a gem, and then dive back into the water and transform into a shark.
Swim towards the right, past the hole that you used to gain access to this area in the first place. It's best just to avoid the enemies here and keep moving forward, as their numbers are great, and if you stop to shoot at them, you'll be surrounded in no time. Most of the creatures swim in a straight line and are rather easy to avoid, but be wary of the small ones that crawl along the floor, as they can leap up and catch you by surprise. Keep an eye out for two gems (one on the floor, one on the ceiling). After some swimming, you'll find an orb sitting on a ledge. Grab the orb (while in your shark form), transform into a human, and jump onto the ledge right above it. Walk to the right and you'll find yourself in the underwater city.
Enter the first door that you come across in the city (none of the other doors in the city can be opened at this point in time). You'll find two people inside who are not exactly pleased to see Lykos. Nonetheless, they explain their plight to our hero (their city is slowly filling with water, as there seems to be a problem with the nearby air tubes) and ask Lykos to give them some help. Walk through the city and exit it--you're on your way to the air tubes.
You'll now need to transform back into your shark form for another brief underwater sequence. Swim towards the right, avoiding all enemies once again. You might want to destroy the various items of junk that you come across (boxes, chairs) as they occasionally drop gems or even health potions. Be warned, however, that crashing into these objects will cause some serious damage to your life meter. At the end of the stretch, you'll find another ledge with an orb on it. Transform into the panther and grab the orb (your panther should now be at full strength provided that you also obtained the orb in the Eagle Mountains). Walk to the right and you'll find yourself in the area with the air tubes and, as you probably can tell from the music, another boss.
~ BOSS - GREEN BLOB ~
Remain in your panther shape and jump up the ledges on the right side of the room. Once you're on the fourth ledge, walk to the right (through the wall) and into a secret bonus area. This clever little niche contains gold, gems, and even a health potion (not to mention that the names of the game's designers are sketched on the wall). Jump back up out of the secret area and through the wall.
Now you'll want to revert to your human form. Use the ledges on the left side of the room to jump up towards the top. Stop when you get to the second-highest ledge, however, and survey your surroundings. See that pointy thing sticking out of the fan right above the highest ledge? Contact with that blade will instantly kill you. Move over to the right far enough so that you can jump up and not come in contact with it. Jump up onto the top ledge.
You'll now have to fight the Green Blob, one of the toughest bosses in the game if you don't know how to deal with him. Keep in mind that whenever the Green Blob is visible, wind will be blowing towards you (and will direct you right for that blade on the wall). NEVER jump while the wind is blowing! You will lose all control over Lykos, and it's possible to be blown into the blade or even right out of the room (nullifying any damage that you did to the Blob up to that point).
To make the Blob appear, simply step off the top ledge. Push to the left immediately; the Blob will drop down and the wind will begin blowing. You should end up on one of the platforms along the left side of the room. The Blob follows a pattern in which he appears for a few seconds, then disappears again. When he disappears, the wind will stop blowing until he shows up again. Use this opportunity to jump back up to the second-highest platform. Don't jump to the highest, however, as the wind will blow you right into the spike unless you're extremely careful.
Now it's time to launch an attack of your own. Wait until the Blob disappears and the wind stops blowing. Jump to the highest ledge on the right, and then leap onto the platform that the Blob moves across. You should be standing over a spinning fan if you're in the right place. The Blob will drop down right in front of you. Don't start shooting arrows right away, however; wait until he starts moving towards the right side of the room, and take a few steps forward so that you have some safety room, because the wind will constantly be blowing when he's out. Once you have some space to burn, start shooting. It's a good idea to be pressing right on the control pad while you shoot so that the wind can't blow you off the platform. The Blob will start moving back towards you before you have time to kill him off, but hold your ground. He will never cross over the spinning fan that you should be standing over; he'll simply return to his hole in the ceiling for a few seconds. He'll repeat this pattern over and over again, so you should have him killed with a few rounds of arrows and a bit of patience.
Once he's dead, grab the two gems in the room (one is in the gap in the floor that the Blob was moving across, while the other is on a ledge in the upper-left portion of the room), and then head back towards the underwater city. You should still have at least six or seven of your lives left at this point.
~ APOLOGIES AND GRATITUDE ~
Some of the doors in the underwater city that had previously been locked are now open to you. Ride the second moving platform that you come across up to the top of its rail and you'll find a magic healing shop. Healing costs 100 gold pieces, however, and that money will be better spent in a different shop in this particular town.
Right above the third moving platform is the armor shop. Purchase the plate mail; it's expensive, but money shouldn't be an issue if you saved the cash that the chancellor gave you and picked up the coins that were lying around the secret area of the air tubes room.
Enter the door that was open when you first entered the city. You'll receive an apology and an expression of thanks from the two leaders of the town along with a bit of information. Lykos learns of an oracle that just might be able to help him with his quest.
~ THE ORACLE ~
Leave the underwater city by the exit in the upper-left corner of the town (the same way in which you first entered it). Transform into a shark and swim towards the left, avoiding all of those pesky underwater creatures as you go. Swim all the way to the left and you'll find a mysterious lady floating in the water. Speak to her and she'll give you a key.
Now you must make your way all the way back to your hometown (good luck getting over the Eagle Mountains again). Once you make it back, save your game, provided that you have (at the VERY LEAST) five of your lives remaining. If you don't have at least five lives left, you're probably going to have a tough time completing the quest.
Once you've saved your game and rested up, look down at the grates below the floating platform in the center of the town. You'll see a block with a keyhole. Use the key to enter the town's sewer system.
~ THE SEWERS ~
Once you're down in the sewers, transform into a panther. Watch out for the green grime that drips down from the ceiling, and avoid falling into the pits between platforms. As you move towards the left, you'll encounter some very large cockroaches. One swipe of your claws will be enough to take care of them (you really MUST have your panther at full power by this time). Watch out for the serpents that emerge from the waste. You can see their antennae poking out before they rise if you look closely enough. Once they do come out, kill them as quickly as you possibly can. They shoot fireballs, so watch out if you choose to run away from them.
After completing the strip with the roaches, you'll find yourself standing on a ledge in a room that's filled nearly to its capacity with water. Grab the gem that's sitting on the ledge beneath you, jump into the center of the pool, transform into the shark, and get ready for a boss battle.
~ BOSS - AQUA-LIZARD ~
Use your shots to destroy the chain that pops up when you enter Aqua-lizard's chamber, but don't get too close to the lizard himself, as another chain will shoot up in front of him (and will reappear throughout the battle). Shoot through the second chain to get a clear shot at Aqua-lizard. Be wary, however, of the shots that he himself fires. He's vulnerable only when his mouth is open, and that's precisely where you have to hit him, so accurate shooting will be necessary if you're to be victorious in this battle. He ALWAYS opens his mouth after he fires a shot, and if you watch closely enough, you'll notice that he tends to fire in only three separate locations (one at the very top of the screen, one near the center, and one near the bottom). As long as you avoid the chain that shoots up and keep away from Aqua-lizard's shots, you shouldn't have a tough time with him (and you certainly shouldn't lose any lives). Just remember, however, that the clock is ticking, and gems are depleted from your total for every three minutes that you remain in shark form. Don't bide your time, and remember that you can fire your shots upwards and downwards at angles; you're not limited to straight-ahead shooting, although if you catch on to his pattern, you won't need any fancy shooting to win this battle.
Swim up and towards the left after you have defeated Aqua-lizard. You'll find a gem sitting on a ledge as well as the third member of the Ring of Five. He'll grant you the ability to transform into the Rock Troll, which you'll need to do for the next leg of your quest.
~ BOULDER RUN ~
Here's where the game's level of difficulty really becomes brutal. This next stretch (during which you'll have to use the clumsy Rock Troll) is one of the most difficult segments of the entire adventure.
Leap out of the water in the form of the troll, and head to the left. You'll now find yourself in a large red room. Jump onto the gray platform that floats in the center of the floor, and then leap onto the crate on your left. Note that the platform will slip away immediately after you jump off it, leaving a large, gaping hole at the bottom of the room. If you fall into this hole at any point, you will die.
You'll now begin a long, difficult climb towards the top of the room. Keep in mind the gaping hole at the bottom while you're jumping from one platform to the next. You should constantly flail away when you're standing still or riding on a moving platform (you need only hold down the attack button to make the troll throw punches repeatedly). This will give you some protection from the boulders that are falling towards you.
Here's how I like to get through this rather irritating room:
- From the crate, jump onto the moving platform right above you.
- Ride the platform up to its highest point, and then jump up and grab the gem that's on the ledge above you (if you time your jump just right, you'll land on the ledge).
- From either the ledge or the moving platform, you'll need to leap onto the platform that's in the center of the room. Wait until the platform that you're attempting to jump on is extremely low or you'll miss it due to the troll's awful leaping ability (and you'll probably end up in the hole at the bottom of the room).
- Jump onto the moving platform that is above you and to the left.
- Leap onto the moving platform in the center of the room (it's above your head and to the right).
- Jump straight up and nab the gem on the ledge above you. You'll come down on the same moving platform.
- Move to the right edge of the platform that you're on. Jump straight up onto the moving platform above you and a bit to the right. You should land on its left edge.
- Jump onto the crates on your left (if you didn't nab the gem before, you can grab it now). Leap onto the highest crate on the left, and then jump straight up onto the moving platform above you.
- Jump onto the red platform in the center of the room (it's hanging by chains and isn't moving). Leap to the right onto the crate that's a little bit below you and grab the gem. Then jump back onto the red platform.
- Jump straight up onto the next red platform. From here you'll be able to punch the pipes on either side that connect to the "demon's head" machine directly above you. Act fast, however, because flames will shoot out from the pipes. They take only a few hits to destroy.
- Jump onto the gray platform above you and to the right (where the pipes were). Then jump straight up onto the red platform that's a bit above the gray one. From here you can just pound away at the demon's head. You'll get a gem for your efforts.
Jump up onto the long red platform above you, and exit the room through the hole in its ceiling.
~ MAZE OF DOORS ~
This area is quite simple and will give you a breather before the next sequence, which is extremely difficult.
Change back into your human form. If you enter the first portal, you'll find that it leads back to the large entryway in the structure near the Eagle Mountains. The entryway will then be available for you to pass through.
Keep one thing in mind as you make your way through this brief maze. The enemy creatures that you encounter cannot harm you if you're wearing plate mail. You can walk right by them without taking any damage.
Now, on to the maze:
- Skip the first portal and enter the second one. Grab the gem that's lying on the ground to your right, and go back into the portal that you just came out of. The other one takes you back to the first portal at the beginning of the maze.
- Grab the gem to your left. There are three portals in this area; walk by the one you just came out of as well as the one in the middle. Step into the third one, which is all the way to the right.
- Grab the two gems that are in this area (one to your right and one to your left). Remember, you don't have to worry about the enemy creature that you find here; he can't hurt you. Step into the left portal.
- Grab the gem on the right and then step back into the portal that you just came out of.
- Pretty self-explanatory here. Grab the gem and step back into the portal.
- Turn into the troll and grab the power orb. Step back into the green portal. Now things get difficult.
~ SURFACE OF THE MOON ~
As soon as you appear on the moon, you'll notice large rocks rolling towards you. It's a good idea to get rid of these nuisances now; if you merely jump over them, they'll roll back after you. Duck and hit them; one well-placed punch is all it will take to destroy each boulder. Remember, however, that your punch will need to be right on the money to count. In other words, don't simply duck and flail away, or the boulders will kill you in no time. Time your blows.
Once you're done destroying the boulders, there's a very good chance that your life meter will be only about halfway full. To get through the rest of this particular segment, however, two-and-a-half to three hearts should suffice. You'll notice small meteorites falling from the sky. The best thing you can do to avoid them is keep moving. The troll is so slow that you're bound to get pelted once or twice, but no significant damage will be done. The rocks that float around in circles can be rather difficult to deal with, since spikes constantly shoot out of them in various directions. When you see one of these nuisances, let it come down until it's right in front of you, then follow it to the left. By the time it comes back around, you'll be out of harm's way.
Eventually, you'll spot a pit in the ground. Leap into the pit. Your life meter will probably be almost fully depleted, but the worst is over.
~ INTERIOR OF THE MOON ~
Remain in the form of a troll for this sequence. The floating eyes that you'll see are quite easy to deal with. Punch them once and they'll close up and freeze, giving you ample time to pass them. The organisms hanging from the ceiling are much more annoying, as they release small flying creatures that'll pursue you relentlessly. Handle these guys the same way you handled the similar nuisances way back in the Fossil Cave: crush the hanging organisms as soon as you see them and before they can release a bunch of the flying guys.
Take your time. If you rush, you'll end up being swarmed. You'll notice now that when you fall a significant distance, your troll will shake up the entire screen upon landing and cause all of the enemy creatures to freeze temporarily. Use the time your enemies are frozen to your advantage by moving forward as quickly as you possibly can.
The path through the moon is pretty straightforward until you find a gem lying on the floor. Pick up the gem, and then jump up onto the ledges that are directly above it. Once you get to the top ledge, walk towards the left. You'll find a power orb. Pick it up to fully strengthen your troll. You can now really shake things up and wreak havoc by falling.
Jump back down and move towards the right. Pick up the gem that you find sitting on the floor. You'll run into the old lady again (Lykos won't be a very happy customer at this point ^_^). After speaking of a place called "Nowhere," the old lady will disappear. Jump up through another series of ledges, and then slide down the hill on your right. Time for another big battle.
~ BOSS - GIANT HEAD ~
Leap over the pit of green acid that you see as soon as you fall into the room. You'll be sucked forward by the boss himself. Don't worry about the small enemies that appear. You'll probably be sucked right into another pit of acid; just jump right out of it. Let yourself be sucked forward until you actually see the boss, at which point you should push right on the control pad and get control of your troll. This guy is a breeze to deal with. Push right on the control pad while his mouth is open and he's sucking you forward. When he closes his mouth, smack him a few times. Keep repeating this process and he'll be dead in no time.
The fourth member of the Ring of Five will greet you after your victory and grant you the power to transform into the Gold Dragon. Step through the portal that appears. Transform into the dragon before stepping right back into the portal that you just came out of. You'll be back at that entryway in the structure right before the Eagle Mountains. Go back to town and rest up and save (you should have at least three lives left--preferably five). There's still more to be done, as one member of the Ring of Five still has not been rescued.
~ FOSSIL CAVE REVISITED ~
Once you're done in town, head back to the old Fossil Cave. Remember that opening in the upper-right corner of the cave? Fly through it in your dragon form. You'll find yourself in what appears to be a large pit. Fly downwards, avoiding the creatures that are climbing on the wall (who will fly towards you when you pass them). Pick up the gem you spot along the way. Once you reach the bottom of the pit (don't go into the water), fly towards the left. Continue towards the left, picking up the gems that you see and shooting as many of the pesky flying insects as you possibly can. When you get to the end of the corridor, fly up through the hole in the ceiling.
You'll now find yourself in a room with a number of holes in the walls, floors, and ceilings. A centipede will emerge from these holes and re-enter them as he flies around the room. Position yourself over either the hole in the right floor or the hole in the left floor (these holes are actually closed up at first, but you can see their outlines anyway). From either of these positions, you can safely blast away at the centipede as he flies around the room. When the hole beneath you opens up, the centipede will fly up out of it, so move to the side to avoid him. When the hole closes back up, move back into position. You'll have to destroy each segment of the centipede. Defeat him and you'll be rewarded with what appears to be an amulet.
Leave the centipede's lair and travel back down the corridor and up the pit. Skip the opening that leads back to the Fossil Cave, grab the gem on the right side of the screen, and fly out of the pit. You'll find yourself flying over the structure that stands right before the Eagle Mountains.
You now have a choice to make. You can fly back to town and save (you should still have at least three lives remaining), or you can continue with your journey. If you're short on gems, you can now use your dragon to grab the two that are resting atop houses in the forest. If you wish to continue on, make sure that your life meter is at or nearly at full capacity (you might want to wait for an eclipse before proceeding). Then simply fly up to the top of the screen and ascend into the night.
~ TOWERS IN THE SKY ~
You'll immediately see some wolf-like creatures that'll fire one arrow after another at you. Be especially careful here. If they manage to hit you, your dragon will fall for a bit, and if you fail to regain control of him, he'll continue to descend until he's off the screen entirely. Then you'll need to return to the structure with the portal, fly back up off the screen, and begin the towers segment anew. If your life meter is full, you might want to simply fly full force ahead, taking some damage as you go. Some of the wolves guard gems, but you'll have no use for such items very shortly. One of the wolves guards a power orb, which you should grab at all costs.
Continue to fly towards the left. You'll run into an old, familiar friend. After exchanging a few words with the old lady, use the amulet to open the entryway to the tower. Be warned that once you enter the tower, you will not be able to save for the rest of your adventure.
Once you're inside of the tower, shoot at the rope that the large bell is hanging from until the bell falls down. If you fail to do this, you'll find yourself battling an invincible foe when you reach the bottom of the tower. Once the bell has fallen, make your way down as quickly as you possibly can, avoiding the sirens as you go. Stop to pick up the gems only if you're running extremely low (read: if you have fewer than four). Once you reach the bottom of the tower, you'll notice a hole in the floor. This hole was caused by the bell, which crashed right through the floor. Avoid the skeleton dragon at all costs (he's the aforementioned "invincible foe"), and enter the hole. Ready for another boss battle?
~ BOSS - ABOMINABLE SNOWMAN ~
Pick up the gem that's lying next to the bell, and fly to the left. Shoot down the icicles that you can see on the ceiling BEFORE you fly past them. Icicles will be falling throughout this battle, so do your best to avoid them.
This boss is rather wimpy for a late-game foe. If you grabbed the power orb that was guarded by a wolf in the previous segment, then your dragon is now able to shoot at a downwards angle as well as straight ahead. Keep your distance from the snowman and pelt him with shots. Fly a small bit above him so that you can avoid him (and his mini-tornadoes) while he walks back and forth. Keep pelting him with your shots and avoiding the icicles. You should have no trouble at all with this guy.
The fifth and final member of the Ring is now free. All five sorcerers come together to speak to you and grant you the ability to change your shape without using gems. After they're done speaking to you, they'll disappear. You're about to enter the final stretch of the game. Ideally, you should still have at least three lives left, but you might be able to get by with just two.
~ THE FORTRESS ~
When the members of the Ring of Five are done speaking to you, fly up until you reach the fortress in the sky. You must destroy all of the guns on the outer wall of the fortress before you'll be allowed to enter it (the entrance appears in the upper-left section of the outer wall).
Inside the fortress, you'll want to remain in your dragon form. This will allow you to fly over the enormous monstrosities that patrol the halls of the fearsome place. Be wary of the small flying villains and the maces that hang on the wall. You'll come across a power orb as you're flying to the right; pick it up to strengthen your dragon.
Once you reach the end of the corridor, you'll need to fly up through the rest of the fortress. Avoid the reapers and the red monsters as best you can. The jugs that the red beasts come out of occasionally contain health potions, but chances are you'll be surrounded and swarmed by enemies while you shoot at them, and the damage you'd take would nullify the benefits of any potions you'd uncover. When you reach the top of this section of the fortress, you'll see a lock. Destroy the lock with your shots (it will take three shots, and you'll need to wait for the lock to stop swaying after it's hit before you can shoot it again) and enter the opening. You'll come face to face with yourself, just as the old lady had foretold.
~ BOSS - PSEUDO LYKOS ~
After some very dramatic buildup, it comes as somewhat of a disappointment that this boss is so easy to defeat (if your dragon is fully strengthened, that is). Simply fly around overhead while you fire at him and avoid his shots (which bounce around the room). Keep in mind that only the human part of his body is vulnerable to your shots. Avoid his shots at all costs; otherwise, they will divide up and be much harder to dodge. Beware of the gold shot; if you get hit by it, your shape will automatically change. After you kill Pseudo Lykos, fly through the hole in the upper-left segment of the ceiling.
~ NOWHERE ~
At the top of the fortress, you'll encounter the Dark Ones. They're about to enter Krellion, and only Lykos possesses the ability to stop them. The Dark Ones will disappear, and Lykos will assume the fifth and final form, a superhero-type character who controls in this manner:
CONTROL PAD - Used to fly and direct your shots.
BUTTON I - Used to curl up into a ball.
BUTTON II - Used to shoot.
It's now time to take care of the Dark Ones.
~ FINAL BOSSES - THE DARK ONES ~
You'll have to face each Dark One, one at a time. Possibly the most important thing to remember for these battles is to take your time. These guys won't go down without a fight, and killing them off is going to take a while. Don't rush.
You'll notice that the first Dark One is surrounded by two layers of spinning objects. You'll need to finish off the brown rocks before you can damage the red ones. As you're firing, the Dark One will shoot out small, white, star-shaped shots that will pursue you. You'll have to deal with only one shot at a time at first, and it's pretty easy to avoid single shots simply by flying around in a circle. They fade out after a few seconds, and then the Dark One fires again. Once you get through the brown rocks, you'll need to focus on the red ones, which can be damaged only when their yellow insides are exposed. This is the point at which the Dark One will force you to deal with two of his shots at once. You'll notice that the rocks spin faster as they decrease in number. Once all of the red rocks are destroyed, you can start to do some damage to the Dark One himself. He'll start firing his shots a bit more frequently now, and they'll be quicker in their pursuit of you--not to mention the fact that there will be three of them at once. Still, there is no need to change your approach. Continue to avoid them while flying in circles, and fire away whenever you get the chance. This stage of the battle is relatively easy, despite the three shots, as, unlike the rocks, the Dark One never moves.
You won't get any time to rest after defeating the first Dark One, as the second one shows up immediately afterwards. Although this guy is bigger and more fierce looking than his by-now-deceased brother, he is actually the easiest to defeat of the three Dark Ones. You'll notice that he, too, is surrounded by two layers of spinning rocks. But this guy moves to the left and right and also fires shots at you. You won't be confined to one side of the screen, however. When he begins to get a little too close to you, simply maneuver around him and continue your attack from the other side. Continue this pattern while avoiding his shots and you shouldn't have much of a problem destroying his outer layer. The second layer of rocks can be damaged only when their "eyes" are open, but you can use the exact same pattern to destroy them as you used against the outer layer. But DON'T DESTROY THE LAST STONE OF THE SECOND LAYER! You can begin doing damage to the Dark One when this stone is still spinning, and if you destroy it, the entire layer will be replenished (you will still be able to damage the Dark One by creating and shooting through gaps in the layer, however). The Dark One will fire shots more frequently as the battle goes on, but they are quite small, fly in straight lines, and aren't very difficult to avoid. Remember, if it looks like there's no way possible to avoid an incoming shot, you can always try curling up into a ball by pressing button I. You become a much smaller target by doing this.
The third and final Dark One is the sternest of them all. As his brothers were, he's surrounded by two layers of spinning projectiles. He moves up and down the playfield, shooting out projectiles in groups of three as he flies. Your only hope of avoiding damage when shots are coming at you is crouching into a ball. This is an extremely difficult technique to pull off, and you might lose a few lives just while you get the hang of it. As if dodging his shots weren't difficult enough, you also have to fire away with accurate shots of your own. Remember, though, that avoiding damage is more important than getting off a decent shot. As long as you stay alive long enough, you will win this battle, so don't take any risks just to get off accurate shots. Unlike in the previous battles, the second layer of rocks can be damaged at any time. But, again, DON'T DESTROY THE LAST ROCK OF THE SECOND LAYER! You know what happens if you do... and it's the last thing you need to have happen during such an exhausting battle. Aim for the beast's eye once you've destroyed the two layers of projectiles. You're most likely to hit it when his body is fully extended.
Remember to use the eclipses to your advantage! If you are low on energy and an eclipse is imminent, bide your time. Avoid taking risks until your energy has been replenished. Once you get the hang of the curling-up technique, the final Dark One won't stand a chance against you. Congratulations on your victory, and enjoy the superb ending sequence!