3. Story walkthrough
About this guide: The achievements are in the order in which I believe it is most efficient to obtain them, and you shouldn't have to backtrack much if you follow this guide. The areas are not in numerical order. Instead, they are listed in a manner that makes it easiest to get through super hard difficulty for the "Elite Commando" achievement. You will have to complete the game on an easier difficulty before super hard is unlocked. In addition, the many item pick-ups that are in the game are listed with each area so be sure to collect them! The boss tips under each area are also assuming that you are on super hard difficulty.
While playing through the game, you will also want to stop at each neutral area and access the red challenge room door. You'll need to access the control panel to unlock the necessary challenge rooms for the "A Real Challenge" achievement. In each neutral area except 19, there is an item to find as well. They're always in a white, unmarked door. I've listed everything pertaining to achievements for each area, but I'm not listing items you obtain from clearing the area (except for neutral areas, and area 08, which you don't have to clear to beat the game), since they are obviously unmissable. If you're still missing something at the end of this walkthrough, the "Intel collector" achievement guide should have the locations of everything. Note that comms rooms need to be hacked on the hard difficulty (or super hard difficulty, though it's more difficult) for the "H4><0rz" achievement, and a couple weapon upgrades will require you to backtrack for them once you have the weapon to be upgraded.
Without further ado, let's get started.
There are two achievements you can get right after you start the game.
You can go about unlocking "Faster than a Speeding Bullet" numerous ways, but the quickest way is to start the game on hard difficulty before you play on normal, and head over to the first soldier in area 01. Crouch, and deflect the shots he fires at you. You'll need 100 to unlock the first achievement and it doesn't take a lot of time at all. Otherwise, you can just let it come naturally as you play through the game, as you'll have to learn to deflect bullets to survive super hard anyway. The "meet with the enemy" stages don't count towards this achievement.
When you meet with an enemy truck on the map screen, you'll want to kill everything in the stage before destroying the AA truck. You can either deliberately run into a truck at the start, or just get this as the game progresses. I don't think it's possible to run through the whole game without crossing paths with one eventually.
Revolver Upgrade: In the room just to the right of the retractable blocks on the upper level.
Purple Matrix: Once you have all 12 yashichis, come back here, and the door at ground level near the right side of the stage will be open. Simply walk in and grab it.
Comms rooms: 2
The first comms room is located above you and to the right of your starting position. You literally cannot miss it.
The second room is in the elevator shaft as you proceed through the stage. It'll be the first hallway down to the right.
Yashichi: Before entering the door to the elevator shaft, go down a few levels to the only platform with a small door on it. From this platform, grapple the platform above you as far to the right as you can, and swing off. A new area will reveal itself with several light posts sticking out of the water. Grapple these, and make your way to the yashichi.
Boss tips: The area 01 boss isn't all that hard, but be prepared for up to a ten-minute battle as you'll only have the revolver at this point. He fires too fast for you to get over to the barrels and pick them up normally, so you have to get him to charge you. Get to where you're on the ground floor, under the volley of bullets, but still close enough to grapple the beam in the middle. When he starts to back up and lift off, he's going to charge you. That's your opening to grapple the beam, swing to whichever set of barrels you need, and pick one up. He'll start firing at you almost immediately, but you will deflect the bullets with the barrel. You'll need to wait a short time to toss the barrel if the weak spot is open on top. Just figure out the rhythm, and throw the barrel at the very end of the volley. If you're on the lower level, grab the barrel, and just keep moving forward. When you're under him, toss it up into the opening, and lay into its weak spot as fast as you can when he hits the ground.
Item found: Flares
Item found: Green comms chip
This area is home to one stage-specific achievement, and another that is most easily obtained in this area.
Don't fire a single shot throughout the whole level, including the boss fight. You can use grenades, so if you get in a bind, don't hesitate to use them. The flying droids are annoying, but they can be easily knocked down by hitting them with your arm. As for the boss, use grenades to break the treads, then get it to charge you. When he rams into the platforms, unscrew one of the bolts. After all three have been removed, let it hit the platforms again, and the driver will be ejected on impact for a quick victory. If you managed to beat the area without firing any shots, you'll unlock an achievement.
Now that you're familiar with the way the level is setup, replay it to unlock the "Cat Burglar" achievement. You'll have to reach the boss in 1 minute and 30 seconds. This might take a few tries, but shouldn't take you more than 15 minutes or so. Don't worry about fighting enemies, just move up as fast as you can, being sure to hit the second comms room along the way. It is not necessary to stop at the first one in the level. By the way, you don't need to read the messages. You can access the terminal, press B to exit, and it will count as being accessed. If you made it to the boss in time, the achievement will unlock as soon as you enter the boss door.
Comms rooms: 2
The first one is halfway up the stage, right smack in the middle.
The second is near the top. Both are right in your path, and are unmissable.
Yashichi: Fairly soon after you start your ascent, you'll come to a ledge that has two sets of floodlights. Head to the right, and there should be a blue barrel. Remove it, fall off the ledge, and grab it as far to the right as you can. Swing off to the right and you should land on a concrete block. Drop over it to the right, then climb up and grab the yashichi. If you keep coming up short on the swing, there's a way to give yourself more slack. Swing off to the right, and immediately shoot your arm straight out to the left to grab the ledge again. You should latch on, and you'll end up swinging in a wider arc.
Boss tips: First, you'll need to take out the treads. Throw a grenade at it, and back up a little bit so the flashing area on the treads gets hit. Do it one more time, and he'll lose the treads. When he fires grenades, there will usually only be one possible spot where you're safe. Just stand right in the center of that spot, and you'll be fine. After each volley of grenades, immediately run to the left. He should then do one of two things. He'll either fire more grenades or charge you. Rarely he'll fire a large metal ball at you, but this only seems to happen if you're a fair distance away. If he fires grenades, try to move back to the right if you can. If he charges you, keep running left, and get past the platforms as soon as possible. He'll run into them, and you'll be able to unscrew one of the bolts on the front of the machine. Do this two more times, and after they're all off, he'll kill himself when he tries ramming you again.
Item found: Iron boots
Item found: Blue comms chip
Plasma rifle upgrade (Plasma rifle required): Keep in mind, you'll have to come back to this once you've collected the plasma rifle. When you get to the part where barrels start rolling at you, head to the right, drop down, and grapple the area just to the left of the light at the end of the platform. Drop down, and you'll find a door. Inside, activate the switches with the plasma rifle, and go in the newly opened door to find your upgrade.
Yashichi: After the first building, you'll come to a lone droid operator on a set of blue ledges. After him, there will be a set of floodlights to your right. Grab the first one to the right of center, but don't swing off it. Instead, pull yourself up, and grab the next light in the series. Do it again, and grab the next light. You should be able to grab the platform to the left from the third light. The yashichi is at the end of it. If you manage to fall off the lights, it is possible to get back up again. There will be two platforms directly below the third light - grab the highest one as far to the left as you can, but instead of swinging off to the left, press down at the peak of your swing for some extra height. You should then be able to grab on to the second floodlight and try again.
Comms rooms: 1
This will be halfway through the level, just after where you find would find the yashichi. You can't miss it.
Boss tips: In general, use the same strategy as the area 01 boss. This boss, however, fires rockets that will not be deflected by the barrels. If the opening is on the top side, you will have only one shot at getting a barrel in it. Get him to charge you like normal, get up top, and grab a barrel. Then, walk to the right a little and let it fly. Keep moving to the right after you throw the barrel regardless of whether or not you hit him. If you missed, there will be rockets coming shortly. If you hit him, you just won the fight. Get as close as you can without taking splash damage from your rockets, and fire the bazooka as fast as you can at its weak spot. You should be able to kill him with one volley. If you don't, you'll need to grab a barrel from the lower level. Same idea here. Make him charge, grab a barrel, and just walk underneath him.
Item found: Yellow comms chip
Comms rooms: 1
Once you get inside from the mountainside, drop straight down the shaft in front of you. When you land, the comms room will be slightly below you and to the left.
Yashichi: After the comms room, there will be a spike pit. Swing over it, and keep swinging on the ceiling until you come to the wall on the right side of the room. Follow the path above you and you'll run into the yashichi at the top.
Boss tips: This boss is kind of difficult here, because you will not have the plasma rifle for this fight. It's still not that bad though. When the fight starts, get up on the ledge above you, and hang out there for a split second while he fires up his death beam. Once you see it start glowing, get up on the second ledge, swing under the pod from the red light, and grab the pod from underneath. Bring yourself to a stop, and drop down a little bit so you can maneuver if you need to. Once you start pulling it down, mines will fly at you from both sides. Fire your revolver at them, but don't fire all three rounds at once. You don't want to be stuck with a mine charging at you and no bullets to fire. If you think you're going to be hit, pull yourself up, or drop and shoot the arm up to grab the pod again. Hopefully the mine flies over or under you. Once you get the pod down, get up to the left side of the pod as quickly as possible, and bombard it with rockets. If you get close enough to fire and not take splash damage, you can actually kill him before he has a chance to ascend again.
Comms rooms: 1
This will be right after the first knife soldier you encounter.
Yashichi: Once you come to the second set of stone pillars in the level (they're right above the comms room), turn around and go left. There will be a knife soldier, so be sure to dispatch him. Now, throw a grenade or two at the wall to the left. It should break open, revealing a path. Follow it to the left avoiding the spike pit, then up, then to the right. Continue down this tunnel, swing over the pit, then swing over the spikes. Your yashichi will be just past them.
Boss tips: The platoon bosses are jerks. They are probably the hardest regular bosses in the game in super hard mode, and you will die many times.
The hardest part is simply making it to the boss room. You are forced into a narrow hallway with nothing to grapple, and with enemies popping out of doors along the way. There are also knife soldiers, bomb experts who are immune to rockets (but not grenades), drone operators, and mini-tank droids. The way I've always done this is to equip the rocket launcher and slowly walk to the right throwing grenades ALL the time. Once enemies start coming through the doors, take them out as soon as they appear. All the while, keep throwing grenades off to the right side of the screen. Occasionally a knife soldier will make it through your grenade spam. If he does, concentrate on him, as he has the capacity to kill you instantly. If you get in a bind, don't forget that since you should have the power claw at this point, you can use soldiers as human shields. In this hallway, it can save your life. Sooner or later, you'll make it to the actual boss room.
The best way (in my opinion) to beat these guys is when you enter the boss room, immediately grab the ledge above you and pull yourself up. It'll give you a head start on the flood of soldiers that will come out. When you're able to move after the commander's done talking, swing towards him, and throw a couple of grenades. If you can, grapple and hang still just to the left of the crate next to him, and drop grenades over it. Then immediately start swinging left to avoid the bullets that are probably heading your way. You'll likely only have one shot at this, but it only takes a single grenade to end these fights, so learn how to use them and you'll spare yourself a lot of pain. Also, sometimes a lone soldier will remain on screen and the fight will not end. When this happens, simply kill him or get him off the screen to win.
Yet another stage specific achievement here. All you need to do is clear the area without touching any slime blobs. When you enter the door, immediately go right and grab the ledge. Do your best to stay on the underside of the platforms, and the blobs will pass harmlessly above and below you. In general, just pay attention to the holes in the wall and you should be fine.
Comms rooms: 1
If you go up and to the right of your starting position, you'll come to a tank droid. Continue past it to the left and you'll run right into it.
Grenade upgrade: Directly above the boss door is where the power up is located. To get there, go under the green doorway with the tank at the top of the stage, and while near the left side of that platform, drop a grenade below you. You'll hear a sound to confirm you've opened the path to the door.
Yashichi: When you enter the sewer area, keep running to the right. You'll come to a pit. Fall down the pit, and be prepared to grab the ceiling on the way down. Swing to the right, and take the elevator up to the first opening that is slightly above you. The yashichi will be to the right.
Boss tips: The fabricator boss can be a pain, but there is a pretty nifty trick to help you. When he prepares to fire the arms at you, you'll see a flash to note where it will come from. When you see this flash, pause the game using the select button. You'll be able to take your time and see exactly what arm it is, as the two lower positions can be difficult to differentiate in the time the game gives you. When he does the spinning attack, I find it helpful to pay attention to the spot at the top where the fuses are. Match its moves, and you should be fine.
***After clearing this area, head back to area 06 for the plasma rifle upgrade.***
No items here, but there is a POW that will reveal the secret tunnels to you if you hit him with your arm a few times.
SECRET TUNNEL BETWEEN 14 AND 17
Item found: Secret dossier
*Note*: It is not necessary to clear area 08 to beat the game. It is definitely skippable on your super hard playthrough, but it is necessary to play on your normal and/or hard playthroughs for the items and comms rooms it contains.
Comms rooms: 2
The first room takes a bit of work to get to. When you enter the building, go straight up the left side of the room and enter the door. Dispatch the soldier in here, then enter the door to the left. In the elevator shaft, go up to the top and in the door. The comms room will be right in front of you, and the yashichi will be directly above you.
To get to the second room, drop off the right edge next to the first comms room. Be prepared to grab the ceiling on the right once you fall past the soldiers. In the next area, go to the right from the door and past the fly droid operator. The room will be just to the right of him.
Shin Guards: Clear the level. It is necessary for "The Emperor's New Clothes" achievement.
Shotgun Upgrade: When you enter the door at the start of the level, go up 3 floors, and take the path to the right. It'll seem like a dead end, but you'll notice a ledge above you that you can grab. Swing off the lower platform and grab it. You'll probably be at a dead stop, so use the shotgun to get yourself moving again. You'll then swing off and grab another ledge above you. Use the shotgun to get moving, swing over to the door, and find your upgrade inside.
Yashichi: Above the first comms room. Grab the ceiling, and hit down to jump up into the gap in the ceiling. Shoot your arm straight up, and you should latch on to the platform with the yashichi on it.
Boss tips: It's the platoon boss again. Use the same overall strategy as the first time (Area 04). Be ready to crouch and deflect bullets as there are a lot of mini-tank droids in the hallway this time.
Comms Rooms: 1
After falling down the shaft near the start, head right, then up at the spike pit, right again, then up when you get over the hole near the cable and shield soldiers. It'll be at the top of the retracting blocks.
Yashichi: This is probably the most complex yashichi to obtain. Near the start, you'll fall down a shaft. Halfway down and to the left is a hallway that you'll have to get into. When you get in the hallway, head left, and fall down another shaft. At the bottom, head right and unscrew the bolted wall. Head up to where the comms room is located. You'll notice a trigger block to the left of it. On each floor from the ground floor to the ceiling (I believe there's 5 of them), there will be a trigger block to the left. Activate all of them, then go back to where you unscrewed the bolted wall. The door will now be open, and the yashichi will be inside.
Boss tips: It's version 2 of the siege machine. Use the same general strategy you used on the one in area 05. The only difference is you'll need to make a couple swings to get to safety when he charges you. Grab the platform closest to the ground while you're running, swing left and grab the higher ledge in the middle, then swing off to land on the second level. Go to the left side of the platform, and the boss will get stopped before he hits you. Repeat the process three more times to win.
Comms rooms: 1
From the start, continue up and to the right. When you hit the right side of the map, climb up. The room will be slightly to your left when you reach the top.
Machine gun upgrade (Machine gun required): Keep in mind that you'll have to come back to collect this later. Instead of going into the door at the start of the area, just fall into the pit at the right. You may die a few times here, but the idea is to grab the ceiling after falling for a short time, and continuing right. Head up, and you'll come to a door with a trigger block. Empty your machine gun into it to open the door and find the upgrade.
Before the boss door, there is a platform hanging off the side of the building. Drop under and grab it, then swing and release towards the wall. You'll fall a bit, and then have to grab the ceiling when you see the opening. If you miss, you'll have to go all the way through the stage to try again. If you grab the ceiling though, you're home free. Just walk to the end and pick it up. Regardless of whether you're successful or not, be ready to grab a light post to the right when you fall out of the opening. There are a ton of mines here.
Boss tips: The boss of this area is Groeder. This video shows a very easy way to deal with him. Basically, just use the upgraded shotgun, and wait for him to drop to the lower levels while dodging his attacks. The hallway can be annoying to get through sometimes, but keep at it and you'll eventually get it. As soon as you hear the noise of the claw coming through the ceiling, run left for a split second, then head right again.
Joe's machine gun: Clear area 07, then talk to the guard outside the item room in this area.
***After getting the machine gun, backtrack to area 07 for the machine gun upgrade.***
SECRET TUNNEL BETWEEN 15 AND 18
Item found: Helmet
Comms rooms: 1
From the start, go all the way to the right and head up. There will be several knife soldiers you will have to kill, and the comms room will be up and to the right of them.
Bulletproof vest: Clear the area.
Yashichi: From the comms room, go left and you'll come to a block in your way. Swing over it, then swing and shoot your arm up through the gap in the ceiling. You should latch on to a circular object. From here, climb up and grab the circular object to the left, then get up to the ceiling. Follow it all the way to the left, where you'll see a couple soldiers. Deal with them, then grab the yashichi.
Boss tips: Fabricator v2. Use the same general strategy as the first encounter in area 02. This time however, he'll attack with the arms 4 times in a row. It's helpful to use the pause trick here, and write the sequence on a notepad to make the fight easier.
If you've been following the guide, you'll earn "The Emperor's New Clothes" achievement at the end of this level.
Comms Rooms: 1
This will be directly in your path as you proceed through the stage. You can't miss it.
Vector Cannon Upgrade: After you clear the sprinkler droids at the start, you'll come to a shaft with spikes at the bottom. Go up the shaft and to the left, over the spike pit. Instead of continuing left, go up and to the right. Past the sprinkler cannon you will see a door and two trigger blocks. Hit them both with the vector cannon, and walk in to claim your prize.
Yashichi: From the comms room, head left across the spike pit, and fall down the shaft. To your right, there will be a soldier and a blue barrel. Get the barrel out of your way, and head over to the ceiling that is lined with spikes. Face left, crouch, and fire the machine gun or shotgun to propel yourself through the opening. The yashichi will be at the end.
Boss tips: Power Pod v2. This is pretty much the same fight as the first time, but this time, you need to get on top of the pod to get it down to the ground. Again, when you grab the bottom of the pod, give yourself a little room so you can either move up, or drop down a little. This time though, use the plasma rifle to take out the flying mines. When you get near ground level, swing off to one of the sides and start climbing as fast as possible. Swing off one of the red lights and get on top of the pod. Ride it to the ground, then get to the left side and pummel it with rockets.
Comms rooms: 1
This will be in the second elevator shaft on the right-hand side.
Yashichi: Once you start heading down the first elevator shaft, you'll notice two doors. Enter the door on your left, and you'll enter a seemingly empty room. Head left and start climbing. Dispatch the sprinkler cannons, and swing on the ceiling to the right. When the ceiling starts getting higher, you'll need to shoot your arm straight up to grab it, and then use the shotgun to start swinging again. Repeat the process a couple times, and you'll find your final yashichi in the upper right corner of the room.
At this point, you should have all 12 Yashichis. If you're still missing one, here is a video with all of them to help you narrow it down.
***After clearing this area, head back to area 00 to get the purple matrix, assuming you have all the yashichis.***
BC prototype weapon: While not actually a weapon, this is a database entry you'll need for the "Intel Collector" achievement. Once you get past the gas, mechanical, and electrical areas, you'll go through the door in the main hallway. If you're on hard or super hard, you'll be in an outside area you'll have to complete first. After that, you'll be inside again, in a twisty corridor. Follow the lower level all the way to the right and take the elevator up. There will be electric barriers everywhere. You'll need to use several switches to turn them off. After that's done, you'll head across an area with a few moving platforms, and the floor will be electrified. When you come out at the top area, there will be a switch near the ceiling. Kill the mini-tank droid and the sprinkler cannons, then activate it. From here, you need to backtrack through the area you just came from, and go down to the door. Don't enter it though. Instead, go left through the hallway, and the prototype weapon will be at the end.
You should have all of the upgrades by the end of this stage. If you're missing any, look at areas 2,6,7,8, and 10 for upgrade locations. Area 00 contains the revolver upgrade which is the first upgrade you should get, and the bazooka upgrade is required to clear the game. You'll find it near the end of the Albatross level in plain sight.
You should get another achievement after defeating the leader's helicopter. I've attached an extra page with all the entries if you need to figure out what you're missing.
Boss tips: I'm not going to lie; I died about 60 times fighting the leader's helicopter. However, this fight is deceptively simple. You can use the fabricator's pause trick to figure out where the rockets will come from, but I find it easier not to do so. After deflecting the last rocket in the volley, immediately fire a rocket while running toward the helicopter, steer the rocket behind the helicopter and over it into the cockpit. When he does his flame jet attack, he will always telegraph which way he'll thrust by the way the engines are pointing, which is almost always towards the center of the platform. Do not hesitate when you know the direction. Just start running. Thankfully, this attack is much easier to dodge than the rockets, so you may get lucky and he'll do this a few times. You will probably have to work on this fight for a while. If you miss with your rocket, you will take an unavoidable hit. You are likely out of armor at this point, so two misses and you're dead. Keep at it though, and you will get the rocket part down. You'll just need to worry about dodging his attacks.
The final battle with Groeder is very easy compared to your first encounter. You will probably not succeed the first time you fight him because of the time you lose getting from the helipad to the fight. When you die though, you respawn inside the fight room with full time, making it much easier on you. Simply dodge his attacks, and use guided rockets to take him down quickly.
Now that you've cleared the game on normal, it's time to go for the "H4><0rz" achievement. Alternatively, you can go for "A Real Challenge" if you don't feel like playing through the game again just yet. I've listed the number of comms rooms and their locations below each area. The secrets videos for each area also show how to get to them. There are none in the Albatross, so you should unlock it after hacking the last comms room in area 12 using this guide. If it doesn't unlock immediately after the last room, you may need to clear the stage.
"A Real Challenge" is one of those achievements for which there is no easy way to get it. Be sure to play the advanced tutorial at the challenge room terminal in area 00, and if you can, practice them a bit. If you need help with a specific room, there are videos on Youtube for all of them. Challenge 56 will likely give you the hardest time, but thankfully there is a decent tutorial for it. Good luck!
Now it's time to start the extra hard playthrough. See the general tips area for a few pointers. As previously stated, the areas in this walkthrough are listed in a manner that makes super hard difficulty easiest, and the boss tips assume that you're also playing on super hard. This is a test of skill and patience, and you will die many, many times. The first half of the game is the hardest, as you'll be under-equipped. Once you start getting decent weaponry though, the game becomes a bit easier.
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