4. Arcade Mode
Arcade Mode features 2 versions of 5 locations, totaling 10 stages: Cemetery, Ghost Town, Oil Field, Caves, Trailer Park. For each of these, there's a normal version first, and then a Nightmare version. This Arcade Mode will test your patience and skills much more than anything you've experienced so far in Alan Wake, turning a game oriented to the plot into a real shooter game, where there will be "hordes" of enemies to slay in order to survive, similar to a GTA style. This will be especially hard on Nightmare levels, as we are going to see.
The various stages will be unlocked as you collect "Stars" on the stages that you've already unlocked. You need at least a total of 24 stars in order to unlock the final Nightmare level. For this reason, you have to collect 24 Stars among the other 9 stages. You will probably want to score 3 stars on all the five "normal" stages, as it's a relatively easy task, and then polish your skills and score to achieve 9 more stars on the other four Nightmare levels. This means, of course, that you have to score at least a 3-stars score on a Nightmare level, and 2-stars on the other three.
The score in terms of stars is based on the score in terms of points, which you can see during your 10-minute-survivals. For the Normal stages, a score of 40,000+ points will net you three stars where on Nightmare stages, that won't be enough, and you will need to score at least 50,000 points to achieve the three-stars rank. For a two-stars rank on Nightmare you will need 25,000+ points. All the others are of no importance, since you have to aim for these goals. One of the achievements requires you to score 70,000 points on a Nightmare Stage. Since the last of the stages isn't particularly good for this, you will aim for two-stars on three Nightmare stages and three-stars on the Nightmare stage where you will also score 70,000 points. If you want, the last stage can actually be ignored, since by then you will not need anything else.
I strongly suggest to keep replaying the same stage until you get the target score, before moving to the next stages. The reason is obviously that you will familiarize yourself with the environment, and this will make it easier and easier to score higher on your next replays (provided you need to replay the areas, of course).
General info on the stages
Keep in mind that the stages don't have a completely fixed spawning pattern, and some differences in the enemies which spawn (particularly about their spawning position) will occur. What will remain fixed, however, are the weapons and ammos found, so learning their position is crucial to your survival, especially in the Nightmare stages.
There will be Safe Havens and ammo boxes too in the areas. The ammo boxes are the first thing you want to locate, while the Safe Haven will gain a great importance only on Nightmare stages, being almost useless on Normal levels. Remember that the Safe Havens will alternate their activity. If you use one, it will go off afterward and another Safe Haven will be turned on in that moment though (sometimes it's the Safe Haven you just used, so it seems like it's always active, but it's just a coincidence), and on Nightmare it can be important to keep an eye for the lights and watch where they appear.
Now about the score. As you'll be told the first time you try this mode, the score is based on your kills and a score multiplier. The score multiplier goes from 1x to 9x, and can be raised in two ways: either by performing a cinematic dodge, or by killing the enemies. The cinematic dodges will represent a massive gain of score multiplier in every stage, being the key to make things as easy as possible. The score multiplier can unfortunately go down very easily, in two ways again: with time, if you don't feed it with the blood of your enemies (or more dodges), it will be lowered (the higher the multiplier, the faster it will drop; a 9x multiplier drops almost instantly without enemies around to kill); then, of course, if you get hit by ANYTHING, it will instantly be reset to 1x. "Anything" means anything. Not only the classic attacks of the enemies, but even their pushes (they push you away if you are too close to them, especially while using boosted flashlight on their shield, so always keep your distance from them), and of course also the grenades of the Grenade-throwing Takens. As mentioned earlier, even if you don't receive damage from the grenades, you can still lose your multiplier if you're too close. I'm not sure what is exactly that affects this, but in any case you want to run as soon as you see a grenade dropping. Keeping the volume of the game turned on will help you hear at least the noise of them.
The top danger of Arcade Mode is represented by the sneaky Fast Takens. Sometimes there will be tons of them, and they like to go behind you and assault your back when you least expect it. It's fundamental to turn around very often, unless you're absolutely sure that nobody can reach you from behind (for instance, if there's a Safe Haven behind you), and kill the Fast Takens as soon as possible. The Grenade-throwing Takens are the only thing which gets even more priority than the Fast Takens, but only if you have a clear shot of them. If you, say, are surrounded by various Takens (and Fast Takens among them), and you see the Grenade-throwing Taken afar, don't even think about shooting him. You can actually hope that he throws a grenade at your feet, so you can run away, and cross your fingers for it to explode on the enemies which were following right behind you. This isn't a hope your should rely on very much, but sometimes it can help to buy time against the "normal" enemies, and wait for the Grenade-throwing Taken to eliminate them in the attempt of getting you. In any case, although what I just wrote means that you should give more priority to Fast Takens over the Grenade-throwing Takens in case the latter is too far, try to never lose sight of him, regardless of the circumstances.
A third, more rare enemy to keep at the top of your priority list is the Bird-Taken. Since he's even faster and more aggressive than the Fast Takens, your bullets should aim at him before anything else. But anyway, these are general rules which you either already know, or you will soon learn.
Also, if you haven't learned this by now, it's time to start paying attention to Alan's head, particularly when you're aiming/shooting at enemies in front of you and when you're using the ammo box (I've mentioned this before in the beginning of the walkthrough). If you see his head turning on either sides, stop doing whatever you're doing, and check your sides and back to see why Alan turned his head. Most of the times, you will manage to spot an enemy just barely in time. Other times, you won't manage to be quick enough. For this reason, especially if you have an high score multiplier to protect, it can be useful to press LB to make a dodge as soon as you see Alan turning his head. If the enemy was really close to you, this will save your integrity, and if he was far from you, false alarm but no problems anyway.
Finally, you also want to know that you can absolutely get 3 stars without staying alive for the whole 10 minutes. However, when the time is up, the sunshine will immediately kill all the Takens left at once, giving you usually a great score boost which will be higher if you had a high score multiplier when the time was up. For this reason, it's never too late to rebuild your score multiplier. If you're being chased by a horde of enemies and there is like a minute left, do your best to dodge all of their attacks and with some luck you will manage to have them killed with a nice multiplier running. This is particularly welcome in situations like the two harder achievements, since they can be unlocked if you reach the required score (100,000 for one, 70,000 for the other one) with the extra score given by the sunshine. In other words, if you end a Nightmare stage with 50,000 points, and the sunshine earns you 20,000+ more points, you will unlock "Survivor". Same goes for the other one ("Poetry in Motion"). In any case, surviving 10 minutes by its own won't earn you a single point. If no enemies are alive when the sun rises, your score will remain the same.
There's really only one way to keep your score high. Keep your score multiplier high and kill fast. This sounds pretty obvious, but you will naturally tend to forget about it when playing the Nightmare stages, so it's better to point it out again. The best way to earn a high score is to raise your multiplier up at least to 8x (9x isn't really necessary, since as I said it drops down too fast) with the first Takens available, and then do your best to keep that multiplier up.
The average enemy gives by default 250 points. If, say, on Nightmare you manage to get an early multiplier of 8x, and keep it to kill the first easy enemies, it will be enough to kill "only" 25 enemies to get a high score of 50,000 points. It doesn't sound too bad when you say it like this, does it? It's easier said than done, but it's perfectly doable if you're willing to plan your gameplay. All these things will keep sounding obvious, but they are the key to make your life easier if you're not a "pro". By "plan" I mean that you shouldn't go randomly in a Nightmare stage and act like "let's see what I can do here". You should rather start, know what you're going to achieve, when you're going to do that, and do your best to stay faithful to your plan. I'll do what I can to give you some tips to clear the stages with as little pain as possible, but please make up your mind. Either you do "this", or you do "that". Never improvise, always be determined in what you're doing.
My advice for Nightmare stages will be often to set up a strategy with "one pit stop" at the ammo box, to give all you've got as soon as possible, without counting on the endurance. On Nightmare levels, surviving until the end can be really tough sometimes, but building an early multiplier, and scoring high early on, isn't as hard as surviving till the end with Splitters, Birds, Fast and Chainsaw Takens behind you. I know that other people prefer the opposite approach (play conservative, try to explore the area, etcetera), but I couldn't get consistent results if I had to think "oh now let's save ammo for the Chainsaw Takens". We'll see more about this in the Nightmare levels.
Differences between Normal and Nightmare
Basically everything will change from one mode to another, except the layout of the area. Its content, however (weapons, suitcases, ammo, and even the position of Safe Havens and ammo boxes), will be almost completely different. You will also usually spawn in different positions. Luckly enough, the Nightmare stages still provide on average, a good choice of weapons for your needs.
Enemies will also differ. Instead of the regular waves which you have on Normal mode, one after another, on Nightmare the enemies will keep spawning, apparently relentelessly. The truth is different, and only a limited amount of Takens (if about 10 Takens at once can be defined "limited") can spawn at the same time. Moreover, the spawns are also constant, as far as for locations and timing is concerned. Making a few "test laps" on the stages will become very important to learn which enemies spawn (the most important ones to remember are the early ones, then there's just total carnage), or at least have an idea on what to expect. Don't worry anyway. A couple of tries are usually enough to get familiar with a stage and its enemies, since they are not so different from one stage to another, after all.
Then of course there's the already-quoted difference in the amount of score required for three stars: 40,000 for Normal mode, 50,000 for Nightmare. And then there is the Nightmare-mode-specific achievement "Survivor".
Main weapons locations.
The very first level will put you in a very dark arena, with many obstacles here and there (on the ground there will be objects, and in the field area there are many walls). The pistol here will be just a reserve, since you want to fight all the time with the Combat Shotgun. Like in any other stage, building up a high meter multiplier early will allow you to gather a massive amount of points before the hardest waves. If you want an upgrade for the pistol, grab the SMG Northwest.
From where you start, you can immediately get a Pump-action Shotgun. It's not a bad weapon, but the combat shotgun is better. Therefore, head East and enter the walled area. Look for a shiny suitcase, and get your Combat Shotgun (like in story mode, 40 manuscript pages are required to access it). Other than this, you should be able to spot the ammo box located on a side of the building up the hill. The area is rather big, but I don't suggest you to roam around the place too much. Try to stay in the field, or near the ammo box (depending on if you feel comfortable with a wider space rather than a tighter spot. I'd advise the open field where you started), and keep the multiplier up. You should cinematic-dodge the first two enemies until you get at least a multiplier of 7x/8x (9x isn't recommended, since it would go down too quickly before the next wave spawns), killing one and dodging the attacks only of the other one can help (the frequency of the attacks is basically the same, and you're safer). Then mantain it with a careful gameplay and attention to every direction.
Now let's see the most interesting things about the waves:
- First wave is only two regular enemies
- Second wave is three regular enemies
- Third wave is four regular Takens
- Fourth wave: a Grenade-throwing Taken fights here. Watch out for him in the field, while you deal with the other minor Takens. The Grenade-throwing Taken should spawn somewhere Southwest, if you stay around the center of the area on the South end (that is to say, about where you started)
- Fifth wave is rather quiet (you should restock the ammo now), with just a bunch of regular Takens. Stay South, and the enemies should only come from in front of you
- Sixth wave: there's a Splitting Taken and a Grenade-throwing Taken here. If you stay where you started, the Splitting Taken should spawn Southwest, and the Grenade-throwing Taken on the East side (about where you go to get the Combat Shotgun). There are many fast Takens too, so watch out in all directions
- Seventh wave: there will be a Grenade-throwing Taken in the field, and a Chainsaw Taken will spawn from North. Leave the big guy for last
- Eighth wave: restock at the ammo box. There will be a Grenade-throwing Taken on the East side of the field (again, about where you got the Combat Shotgun), as well as other enemies, and also a Splitting Taken.
You should have got your high score (40,000+) by now (in fact, way before now if you managed to avoid being hit). Relax and enjoy the rest of the mess.
Main weapons locations.
This is a comfortable level, very illuminated, and getting high scores here will be a simple task especially if you already succeeded on the previous stage. The two weapons you will use are the Hunting Rifle and the Sawed-off Shotgun (the former for the first waves, then you will especially use the latter).
As usual, you'll have to build up your multiplier up to 8x/9x with the first monsters, after getting the desired weapons. From the beginning, go immediately left and follow the path upwards (you should be heading Northwest, more or less) to find a shack where there's the suitcase of the Hunting Rifle. Then return to the main street, where you will also want to stand in order to have an easy time fighting and spotting the enemies, and check the back of the building just East of the Safe Haven. Inside its wooden-fenced portion, you will find the other suitcase with Sawed-off Shotgun. This little jewel can make the difference on Nightmare, so you can imagine how immensly powerful it will be on Normal mode. The only things you should leave to the slower Hunting Rifle are the shots from long distances, since the "jewel" isn't any good from moderate/long distances.
Notes about the waves:
- First wave is a couple of regular Takens
- Second wave consists of three regular Takens
- Third wave has six regular Takens
- Fourth wave: on the North side, a bit before the ammo box, a Grenade-throwing Taken will spawn and five minor Takens will accompany him
- Fifth wave is pretty calm, just regular Takens (pay attention to the fast ones though)
- Sixth wave: start this one far West (where you began) with your back at the wooden gate, and expect a fast Taken just in front of you. Another will spawn on the right. On the left, more regular Takens and a Splitting Taken will come down the hill. By the time the minor enemies are done for, another Splitting Taken will come from ahead (East). With a couple of shots of the Hunting Rifle, he'll be gone too
- Seventh wave: stay far West again. Many enemies will assault you, but with your back covered, you should be able to have a clear view of them. There will be a Bird Taken (use the Sawed-off Shotgun for him). The last enemy should be a Woodcutter Taken from far East. If you have time, thanks to his slow pace, restock at the ammo box, and then finish him off
- Eighth: a Grenade-throwing Taken accompanies a bunch of regular foes. If the enemies spawned where you were near the ammo box, he should spawn on the North side again
- Ninth wave: stick your back on the Western end again, and a regular Taken should spawn in front of you. After defeating him, do your best (use a Flare if you need) to defeat the other enemies who will try to surround you. A Bird Taken and a couple of Splitting Takens are also part of this wave
You should have obtained your score way before the ninth wave (the only one where things might turn bad for your multiplier), if not even before the eighth.
This location is also a good one for attempting an achievement which requires you to survive for the whole 10 minutes without shooting a single time (never use RT), and without using Flashbangs either. In other words, only Flares and Flashlight are allowed. This can be accomplished on any stage (the Normal ones are recommended of course), but Ghost Town offers a glitchy location where you can rubber-band your time here and get the achievement with this little cheat. It's not the hardest achievement of all, so you may just do it the normal way. But in case you want an easier way, go immediately left from where you start, and then turn immediately right. You should see some wooden stairs which will be helpful on Nightmare mode, for another reason. In this case, you want to jump/run (LB+A) on the upper handrails of the stairs. Once you're there, immediately jump on the roof Northeast. Although you can't really reach the roof, you can stand on its edge. The edge has more space (i.e. is more stable) if you stay on it Eastern side (so, after jumping on it, jump to the right/East another bit). Two things can mess up here: Alan sliding down accidentally, and Alan turning around (and then sliding down) because an enemy is approaching. Both of them can be solved if you rubber-band your LS, so that it's always pointed towards the upper part of the roof (so you should point at North): in case something is causing Alan to fall down, your LS will keep him in position. Here's a quick video of it. Once the trial will be over, you will unlock:
Yeah, "skill". By the way, you will also unlock the achievement for surviving until the end of the trial (if you didn't get this earlier):
Video for "Poetry in Motion".
Welcome to the Paradise of high score. The Oil Field, on Normal mode, represents the most convenient place to attempt the achievement which requires you to hit 100,000 points while you're in a 6+ minutes streak. The reason is that the enemies are relativey calm, and although there are many Grenade-throwing foes, one after another, they are all easily found thanks to the illuminated and open environment which will leave them little space to take cover. We'll see how we can do it.
The ideal weapons are also available in the area--Combat Shotgun + Magnum is a combination which can't be surpassed, on Normal mode. In this case, you will want to build up your score not really to 8x at first, but rather to 6x (it will go up naturally very soon anyway, so it's a waste of time - and time means kills - if you keep dodging the same enemies too early).
From where you begin, go forward and check around the main turret to find a Flare (on the opposite side of where the ammo box is). Grab it, then keep going forward (about West). You should be able to find a central path which leads up the small hill. On the right side of this path, as you go, there will be a Flare (on the left there's a Flashbang, but anyway). Then continue farther South, and check on the side of a giant silos/container to find the suitcase with Magnum inside.
Get your weapon, and start dealing with the two Takens that followed you. Kill one, de-shield the other one, and start building your multiplier score (don't over-do it, 4x is enough for now) with some cinematic dodges. Then keep going all the way East, to return to the turret with the ammo box, and then go even past the turret. You will find a small building, and another suitcase at its bottom. Open it to get your Combat Shotgun. On your way back to the main turret, which will be your reference point (although you'll have to walk around often to escape/chase after enemies, especially when dealing with fast Takens and Grenade-throwing Takens), raise the multiplier up to 7x, and then finish the second Taken off.
At this point, you have to do your best to be quick in killing the enemies, choose the "correct" weapons to kill them, and use Flares wisely whenever you feel the need to (usually, when too many fast Takens are surrounding you, and you need some space to "think"). Try to leave the resupplying at the ammo box only for the span of time between the waves (i.e. don't get caught by the next wave without ammunition, because it's a waste to use a Flare to restock in the middle of the action). The spawning positions of the Grenade-throwing enemies are unfortunately quite random, but there are three main spots where you can find them:
- Directly South of the main turret
- Northeast of the main turret
- Southwest of the main turret
Here is an overview of the waves you'll have to deal with:
- First wave has two regular Takens
- Second wave has four regular (fast) Takens
- Third wave has five regular enemies
- Fourth wave has a Grenade-throwing Taken and other regular Takens--watch out for the fast ones
- Fifth wave has a Grenade-throwing Taken, several regular Takens, and a Woodcutter Taken (this one is usually at the end). Watch out for the massive amounts of fast Takens here--it's not a shame to use a Flare to breathe if you need
- Sixth wave has a Grenade-throwing Taken and two Splitting Takens, in addition to other various regular Takens
- Seventh wave has a Grenade-throwing Taken, a Chainsaw Taken, and various minor Takens. Locate the grenadier first, dealing with the fast Takens on the way (another Flare can be sacrificed if necessary), and when everyone else is done for, release a round of Magnum/Combat Shotgun
- Eighth wave has a Grenade-throwing Taken and a Bird Taken. Try to move to an area with few enemies (for instance, to the South of the turret) and wait for the Bird Taken here. Once he's gone, you should be able to deal with the rest of them
- Ninth wave has another Chainsaw Taken, Woodcutter and Splitting Taken. Hopefully you got your 100,000 points by now, otherwise, hold on and try to resist until the end of the stage, shooting any enemy which is bothering your particularly
Ideally, you should try to aim for a no-damage run here. It shouldn't take long to get used to this place, and you should be able to get confident with the local enemies after a couple of tries max. Once you know how to deal with the first seven waves and succeed in your no-damage run until then, you should be very close to the Poetry in Motion achievement (provided it didn't already pop up). If not, keep trying. This place is probably the best one for you to, although any arena is potentially great to complete this feat. When you succeed, you will unlock (it pops up as soon as you score 100,000 points, if you also didn't take damage for at least 6 minutes when you hit that score):
Main weapons locations.
The caves are a big area where it's easier to get lost than finding the way. For this reason, it's a good idea to limit your movements to the least necessary, and stick near the ammo box as soon as the main weapons are retrieved. Combat Shotgun and SMG will be your friends here (for long-distance shots, use the SMG).
From where you start, go right and follow the compass so you go Southwest. Enter the first cave you can access (on your right), and follow it inside to reach a suitcase with the Combat Shotgun inside. If an enemy is after you, take him out. Then exit this cave from the opposite side of where you entered, and start running to the other end of the area (stay a bit on your right too). At one point you will find the ammo box (or at least its icon on the map), and from the ammo box, head North down a small hill (the ammo box is up a hill, attached to a mountain--drop below), and you will find (just below the edge of the "hill/cliff" where you jumped off) the suitcase with the SMG. Get it, and then proceed South to find a path which can take you back to the ammo box.
Around the ammo box there's more than enough space to rank up your multiplier to 8x. Do so, and you shouldn't have problems dealing with the first waves of enemies to achieve your 40,000 points on this stage.
Here are the waves you should expect:
- First wave is the usual two regular Takens
- Second wave has three regular Takens
- Third wave has four regular Takens
- Fourth wave: Grenade-throwing Taken and four regular Takens. If you're standing by the ammo box up the hill, the grenadier should spawn about where you picked up the SMG (down the hill)
- Fifth wave is quiet as usual. There are a Woodcutter Taken and 4-5 regular Takens
- Sixth wave has five fast Takens and then two Splitting Takens. These ones should spawn for last, and should come Northwest and Southwest from the ammo box (or, more accurately, from the Safe Haven near the ammo box)
- Seventh wave: a couple of Woodcutters will accompany several minor Takens (many are fast Takens)
- Eighth wave: Bird Taken, Grenade-throwing Taken, and many more. The grenadier should spawn again from down the hill, or even closer (about Northeast of the ammo box)
- Ninth wave is nothing special: a Splitting Taken, a Woodcutter, and many minor enemies
The stage should be easily over by the end of the ninth wave. It's not too hard, as long as you manage to look around constantly for all the fast Takens, and remember to deal with the grenadiers as soon as possible.
Main weapons locations.
Trailer Park is somehow similar to the Oil Field. An open and bright arena, where enemies are easy to spot. It's not as good as the Oil Field to attempt the Poetry in Motion achievement, but it can be a backup plan if you don't succeed there (you should though). The two main weapons will be Sawed-off Shotgun and Assault Rifle.
From where you begin, turn around and run towards the Southwest end of the arena. Look for some ruined cars in the middle of a green area, and check one of them to find the suitcase with the Assault Rifle. Then run to North/Northeast for a while. Behind the building North of the ammo box you will find the suitcase for Sawed-off Shotgun. Once this has been set up, you will do what you did the other times. Build up the multiplier early on (7x/8x), then mantain it to gather all the points you need during the first waves. A good spot to fight is the open space East of the ammo box.
Here are the waves:
- First wave has two regular Takens
- Second wave has three regular Takens
- Third wave has four regular Takens
- Fourth wave: Grenade-throwing Taken and four minor Takens here. The grenadier may spawn on the west of the building on the East side of which the ammo box is. Watch out for grenades thrown from behind it, and try to locate him by going around the building
- Fifth wave is very quiet, with just four regular Takens and a Woodcutter
- Sixth wave: about five regular (fast) Takens and then two Splitting Takens
- Seventh wave: six regular Takens, two Woodcutters
- Eighth wave: almost 10 regular Takens, a Bird Taken, a Splitting Taken, and a Grenade-throwing Taken (again, he may spawn on the opposide side of the building where the ammo box is)
- Ninth wave: 7-8 regular Takens, two Woodcutters, a Splitting Taken
- Tenth wave: a Woodcutter, two Splitting, a Grenader, and many minor Takens
You should be able to hit 40,000+ points extremely easy on this stage, because it's probably the best of the arenas. As I already said, it's not even a bad location to attempt the Poetry in Motion achievement, although Oil Field is probably better because it features harder enemies (which give you more points).
For these levels I'll add some videos to show you one of the possible routes, and a text description of the same process will follow. There won't be a list of the spawning enemies though, simply because it depends on two unpredictable factors--time and kills.
Cemetery on Nightmare difficulty is arguably an easy stage. The main problem is the environment itself, which offers way too many small obstacles which can block your path.
The weapons I suggest to pick up are the Sawed-off Shotgun (from where you start, go North a bit, then check the left stone wall), and then the Assault Rifle (on the East side of the building on the West side of which is the ammo box). Everything else is way out of context in this place like never before. You need the quick power of the former weapon, and the fast rounds of the latter. The strategy should be to get as many points as possible earlier, because running in the cemetery in the final minutes can be daunting.
First of all, get rid of the two fast Takens directly in front of you. When they're defeated, hurry up and grab a Flashbang and a Flare on the West side, just past where they spawned. Afterward, keep going farther West from the Flare/Flashbang, and open the suitcase with the Sawed-off Shotgun inside.
At this point, several regular, but not fast, Takens will approach. Take their shield down, and dodge their attacks to build your meter up to 5x. Feel free to shoot them all but one, if you see that they are too many (2 of them can already be "too many") to keep up with the most unfortunate "cool-down period" of the cinematic dodge. I wouldn't recommend doing over 5x, because you'd be wasting a lot of time, and new spawns will upset your multiplier-farming. Once the meter is at 5x, shoot them all and hurry up the hill, towards the building on the side of which is the ammo box.
Once you're in front of the building, go on its East side. A regular Taken should be spawning just as you come so defeat him. After this, grab the suitcase, and pay attention, because some other Takens might be reaching you now (they shouldn't, but be on guard for new spawns). When you get the Rifle, grab the Flare on the left of the suitcase and, why not, grab the Flare Gun on its right too. Then hurry and reach the ammo box, shooting the 2-3 closest enemies which are following you (it'd be a pity to take them out after reloading your bullets). If there's no one close enough, just restock at the ammo box. Now the serious part begins.
From the ammo box, run immediately to the West side of the cemetery, down the hill. You should be roaming in the area where you have "farmed" the multiplier earlier. At this point, more enemies will be spawning. Watch out for fast Takens--there is usually one waiting for you near the South end, and more will join later. In any case, now my indications are about to stop. It's up to you to continue your battle with this ammo, shooting down the enemies as quickly as possible, and trying to watch your back as much as you can. Keeping the multiplier up is crucial in this first part of the battle. If you get hit for whatsoever reason, do your best to rebuild it with occasional dodges every time you have some free space to maneuver (i.e. every time you're not being pursued by too many enemies). If you can keep it up, the hordes coming at you will net you a load of easy points, and you should be able to hit a high score before the situation turns critical. When you will need to restock at the ammo box, do so, even at the cost of all your Flares (though one should be enough), because, remember, you're planning a single "pit stop" to give all you've got, until you've got it. That's my advice, at least.
If everything goes fine, you should be able to score your target points way before the end. Don't worry if the first attempts at this stage will look brutal to you. They are pretty brutal, but once again, the key is getting points as early as possible, so it's not a big deal if you happen to die before the end. Finally, don't get stressed out if you just seem to be unable to score high at the cemetery. It's a terrible arena, and you should consider leaving it for last among the Nightmare ones, if you just don't manage to get the feeling of the environment.
Ghost Town is probably the easiest of the areas where you can score the three stars, thanks to a tricky spot and possibly also some luck on your side. For the same reason, it's also a good location where you can attempt the score of 70,000 points, although in this case, luck will definitely play an important role.
The main weapons will be the Sawed-off Shotgun and Assault Rifle once again. They are both located on some "dirty" paths on the South side. From the beginning, the former will be found just South of the first building you come across; then, from the "gallows" (which are in the middle of the main street), proceed behind (South of) the building farther West to find the second weapon in another suitcase. The general strategy will be that of building up a high multiplier (8x), then resupply at the ammo box, and then reach the top of the stairs located on the North side of the building on the East side of which is the ammo box. Reaching the end of the stage isn't easy (it is never easy), but doable. You should probably aim for that, accompanied by a final score multiplier of 3x or higher, if you're willing to take the 70,000 points with you.
From where you start, kill the two fast Takens which spawn far ahead of you. Grab a Flare near the first house on the left, and then go around this same house to find, on its rear, the first suitcase with the Sawed-Off Shotgun. If an enemy is chasing after you, take him out without worrying about the multiplier, for now. Past the suitcase there is a Flare Gun ammo so grab it.
Then, proceed West (on the dirty path South of the buildings) until you can turn right (North) again. If you can, grab the ammo for the Sawed-off Shotgun as you may need extra bullets before reaching the ammo box, and then return on the main street. Many enemies will spawn here, one by one (or two at max, usually). It's a good idea to fight them one by one, and dodge one of their attacks before finishing them off. This will regularly build your multiplier up at least to 4x by the time you've finished your route.
You should be near the gallows now. At this point, proceed just barely past the gallows, and head South again behind the other houses. Here you will find the second suitcase with the Assault Rifle in it.
After getting the gun, keep going West. At the end of the road is a Flashbang, and just opposite (East of it) the Flashbang is another Flare. Nearby there's also a suitcase with a Magnum, but it's not a good weapon on Nightmare. From here, return on the main road and start building your multiplier up to 6x/7x.
When the multiplier is ready, head down the street (go East) until you reach the gallows again. Just before it, turn left to reach the ammo box. Defeat any enemy close to you, then restock and grab the nearby Flare Gun. Once it's done, reach the North side of this building to find the "famous" wooden stairs. Head up there, and be the king of that area by shooting any enemy trying to climb up.
The area is now pretty much set up for your grinding of enemies. Reaching 50,000 points will be relatively easy for everyone, but there are two main problems to deal with. One is the ammo of course, which will quickly run out from the top of the stairs, and you'll have to go down the stairs to restock. This won't be a problem the first time, thanks to the two Flare Gun shots you have available to clear the way. However, the second time it won't be as easy, but the Flashbangs have their epic moment here, being perfect for the situation. Unfortunately, there will probably be a "third" time because you will be out of ammo near the end, and have nothing else but the random ammo here and there in the area (the ammo box probably won't fill up again in time). The other main problem is of course the Grenade-throwing Taken. When I was talking about luck, earlier, I was referring just to him. As a matter of fact, he can spawn in any direction, as usual, but he might spawn in the field just in front of you. In this case, you hit the jackpot. Shoot at him with all the priority of the world (if there are too many enemies on the stairs, drop a Flare to keep them away) -- and with the Assault Rifle from afar -- to stay safe and keep your multiplier intact. If you manage to strike down the first grenadier and mantain your multiplier high, by the time the second one will spawn you will probably have scored a ton of points already. If you don't have such luck, don't give up. Clear your way, go downstairs, and hunt the Grenade-throwing Taken. Once he's down, do your best to rebuild part of your multiplier (4x/5x is more than enough, with all the enemies which will be there by then) and get back into position. Hopefully everything will be fine; otherwise, well, you tried and you will try again for better luck.
When you finally succed, you will unlock:
This area is another great place where you can attempt the 70,000 score, although there are no tricky spots from where to fight. The abundance of Flares and easy run still makes it the perfect place to aim for the maximum possible score as quickly as possible.
You will be using Assault Rifle and Sawed-off Shotgun again, although the Combat Shotgun is also available (but you would run out of ammo too quickly, so stick with the Assault Rifle). The strategy will be aggressive as never before, doing everything you can to mantain your multiplier, even at the cost of multiple flares, if that's what it takes to keep away the numerous fast Takens which will spawn.
From where you start, sprint immediately to the Southeast part. Try to locate a giant container, Southeast, and reach its rear to find the suitcase with the Sawed-off Shotgun. Before picking it up though, defeat the two fast Takens (dressed like firemen here), which should be immediately on your left (West) side as you approach the bag. Watch out for possible extra enemies in all directions, but if you're quick enough (don't start the match with RB held, hold it only when you can actually see Alan, because otherwise the input may not connect and you wouldn't be sprinting) you will succeed.
Now that you have your first weapon, do as you did (or should have done) in the previous stage. Build up your multiplier gradually, by dodging an enemy's move before finishing him off. By the time you will complete "lap one" (reach the ammo box and set up for the party), the multiplier should hit 6x/7x naturally. Anyway, from the suitcase with the best pistol available, go North and try to locate the flare in the South side of the shack, on the West side of which there is the ammo box. From this same shack, now proceed South, and grab the Flashbang on the way if you want (there are two, on the opposite sides of the main turret at the center of the area), but you might as well ignore it. In any case, proceed South and then West, following the path which will gradually turn right (West). Check the rear of a car to find the suitcase with Assault Rifle.
From here now keep going West up the hill, and turn right (North) when possible. You should see on your left (West side), many big containers. Near one of them, the first you come across, there are two Flares (other than a Flare Gun ammo, but ignore this one) to grab. You should have 5/5 Flares available now. Grind out your multiplier to 6x/7x, if for whatsoever reason you didn't get it naturally, and then run towards the ammo box. Once you reach it, be absolutely sure that there are no enemies near you, and when you're safe, restock your bullets and move to the South of the "ammo box shack", between the main turret and the shack itself, to prepare for fighting.
Now, as I said in the "introduction" to this area, you have to fight as aggressively as possible, without feeling ashamed to use a Flare in a "normal" circumstance like even just 3-4 enemies around you. Since you don't have your back covered here, you must do what you can to deal with enemies from all the directions. It won't be too hard, if you simply follow the usual general rules: fast Takens first of all (remember that they are dressed both in their "regular" costume and in a "fireman" version; not all firemen-Takens here are fast Takens, but watch out for those who are), and locate the Grenade-throwing Takens when you see them. Once you've spotted where they are, unleash your Assault Rifle and take them out (a good moment to shoot them down is when the last grenade that they threw bursts. The enemies behind you should usually get at least slowed down by the explosion, leaving you time to defeat the grenadier). As you can see, even in the video, I gave all I got as soon as I barely felt the need of using it, and managed to set a decent score even with almost just half of the time of the trial. Then I had problems with the cinematic dodges cooldown and the slow usage of Flares, and got killed as soon as the situation became too messy. Since it's likely to happen, once again, set up a high score as quickly as possible, and do everything you can to mantain the 9x multiplier (start with 7x, then you will reach 9x naturally by killing Takens one after another) for as long as possible, and achieve your high score.
The caves can be a brutal place if you don't have a plan, but they are not too terrible if you have some luck and manage to run in the darkness. A couple of "test laps" will be necessary to get acquaintanced with the environment, but then you should be able to set up a strategy somehow similar to that of Ghost Town, although in this case the ammo box will be at a longer distance than it was in that other arena.
You'll be using the usual weapons: Assault Rifle and Sawed-off Shotgun. Surviving until the end is important to get extra points on your score, but you can try to force it towards high numbers if you manage to get and keep a multiplier of 7x when you start, and then constantly 9x later (it's hard though).
From the beginning, turn immediately around and grab a Flare on the tractor behind you. Then eliminate the two fast Takens ahead, and start running right (North) until you see the entrance to one of the two main caves--it's the Eastern cave here. The Western cave, just for record's sake, has a Combat Shotgun, which is not recommended. On the contrary, in the Eastern cave there's the suitcase with Assault Rifle. By now you should be pursued by common enemies. Use the usual strategy to build up your multiplier gradually, but don't try too hard. As a matter of fact, you'll have to run quite a lot before reaching your definite "position", so it may be better to ignore the enemies at first, and "use" them to build your multiplier only when you're close to the point where you're going to set up.
From the Eastern cave, exit and run all the way to the opposite side of the arena (run Southwest, more or less). Try to stay on the right side as you proceed, and you should come across the ammo box. Ignore it for now, and keep going towards the light of the Safe Haven which spawns West by default. Now, just in front of the Safe Haven you will find some stairs. At the top of them you will find the suitcase with Sawed-off Shotgun and a Flare. Grab the goodies, and run back to the ammo box (from the bottom of the stairs, take a right turn and keep going).
Once you reach the ammo box, it's time to build up your multiplier. There's enough room to perform dodges, and enough enemies to gather a good multiplier. You should stop when you hit 7x (in the video, I stopped at barely 5x, and that cost me some thousands of points on the long run). Then return to the stairs in front of the Safe Haven, and set your position there. You're the king of the hill once again, and all the Takens must come from a single direction if they want to reach you. The only problem you may come across are the usual Grenade-throwing Takens, which this time will only assault you from behind you (in front of you there's a mountain, so you can't hope for them to spawn where you can see them). This is probably why the Caves are a worse scenario than Ghost Town, because if you want to use the "stairs trick" (other than the fact that the ammo box is definitely farther than in Ghost Town), you either get lucky with the first grenade which doesn't hit you, then drop a Flare and try to locate the grenadier somewhere in the field behind and below you, or you get unlucky and he ruins your multiplier. Moreover, it will cost many Flares to return to the ammo box and then back to the stairs again, so you really have just a chance to restock (other than the very first time you use the ammo box), and you have to be careful and dodge the enemies' attacks on the way too. On the other hand, if you happen to get hurt too badly in this process, you can always use the Safe Haven just by the stairs, which is an extra bonus in favor of the Caves stage. In any case, by now you should only need to gather 25,000 points on this area, to get your last two stars and run away safely with your last achievement:
Trailer Park doesn't represent anything worth mentioning, on Nightmare. Being the final stage, which you shouldn't even need to play for achievement-related reasons, I'll be quick here. There's a Combat Shotgun located Southwest (where the Assault Rifle was on Normal mode), on a rusty machinery. Then there's a Sawed-off Shotgun North, at the center (where it was on Normal mode too). With these two weapons you should be able to crowd-control the Takens in the area. Since the rest of the gameplay is just like any other stage (particularly similar to the Oil Field, but more comfortable because of more light and less obstacles), you should know how to proceed to score high (if for some personal reason you want to achieve such result). With a high multiplier at first, and then slaughtering all the way.
By the time you complete Arcade Mode, you most likely finished everything available in the game, including the slaughtering of 2,000 Takens:
Congratulations on your 200 G, and thanks for reading!
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