Prelude to the
Dark Abyss
House of
Sacred Remains
Mysteries Lab
Dark Palace
of Waterfalls
Garden Forgotten
By Time
Pagoda of the Misty Moon

The Western Branch
Back in the Castle Entrance, head back into the platform area.  This time, head into the 2nd one from the right to be taken to the entrance of the Dark Palace of Waterfalls.  There is a group of Skeletons scattered throughout the entrance on your way through the door to the south, and into a long hallway.

This hallway is the first of many which branches out into a 'Y" shape halfway down its length.  You are only able to move a few feet down before you are stopped by strange aquatic creatures that drop down from the ceiling to attack.  These are Fish Men, a monster that can breathe ice from a distance, and its physical attacks are nothing to scoff at.  Like many of the more advanced foes, this half-man can use violet special attacks that recharge Leon's MP.  They can curl up into a ball and slam into Leon with full force.  These creatures are tolerant to both Fire and Ice attacks, so wield your Whip of Lightning (or plain Whip of Alchemy if you don't have the other) for this section.  Take the right fork leading off toward the southwest, where you fight two more Fish Men before reaching the doorway.

This End Up
These Y-shaped corridors are very easy to get turned around in, especially during the chaos of combat.  Check your Map Screen often to make certain you are still in the right direction when you take one of these branches.

Through the door you have a hectic fight on your hands -- Fish Men and Skeleton Swordsmen swarm throughout the room.  More appear as you kill off the first wave.  While the Skeleton Swordsmen are not very dangerous alone, their numbers (and their comrades) make this a bit of a challenge.  Try to keep Leon from being surrounded when possible, use the Whip of Lightning (if you have it), to lash out, and finish with an area-effect sub-weapon when needed.  With this combat out of the way, continue though the opposite door.

Here you face another Y-shaped hallway with more Fish Men.  As long as they appear one on one you should be fine, but stay on your toes if you get swarmed by more foes.  Fight you way down the right-hand path and head due west through the next doorway.

Now the Fish Men are joined by the cousins th Mermen, creatures that appear more and more as you head further into the damp corridors.  The Mermen are red, while their cousins are blue, and these scarlet enemies breathe fire instead of ice.  They too are week against electricity, which means that your Whip of Lightning continues to put you in a good stead.  Fight of the enemies within the room, and then turn to take the doorway to the south.  This hallway contains Mermen and Skeleton Archers.  Try to avoid the arrows as you take care of the Mermen, or barrel you way past to confront the skeletal marksmen first.  Then, continue on your way south and through the next door.

This room contains the same type of Flea Men that you fought way back in the House of Sacred Remains.  Or rather, it contains only one Flea Man -- until you destroy him, at which point an entire swarm descends upon your head.  Be prepared, and have an area-effecting attack such as Astral Knife ready to go.  When the last of the misshapen men falls the doors open once more, allowing you to ignore the eastern door for now and continue south instead.

In this next branching path, Mermen are joined now by Lizard Men -- non poisonous versions of the Poison Lizards found in the Garden Forgotten By Time (if you've explored that area already).  These foes are weak against Lightning also, so your electric whip remains a good choice of weapon.  Be ready at any time for more Mermen to drop from the ceiling and make your way down the right-hand path into the first Save Room of the area.
Slowly Eastward
With your game saved and any HP that you lost to these foes restored, return to the last "Y" junction, and this time take the path to th southeast.  This was originally the left-hand path that you came down from the north.  Be ready to fight as soon as you enter the door -- you are immediately faced with a group of Skeleton Soldiers and a Heavy Armor.

The large foe makes things uncomfortable in such small quarters.  Try to get out into the center of the room in order to have space to act, and guard against the Heavy Armor's swinging mace attacks.  When the last of these enemies falls to the ground don't relax -- a group of Vassago swing at Leon with their axe-like arms.  Be prepared for their special attacks, and whittle them down one by one.  Along the southwest wall of this room you find the Map 3, take it and head on through the opposite doorway as you as you are able.

A slightly curved hallway filled with Mermen leads to another room at the end of the hallway.  There is a circular area here with a group of statues, surrounding a pillar, in the center of the room.  Just beside the pillar  lies the Marker Stone 8.  Pick it up, then bypass the stairs leading down to the second floor for now.  Instead, head through the door to the southeast, opposite where you entered.  This door leads out onto a balcony overlooking a chasm, but don't be disappointed.  Instead, head back through the previous room and back to the save room and recover.  Then make your way back north to the room with the Flea Men and take the eastern door out of the room.

In this short corridor you don't run into enemies, so take advantage of the short respite as you run to the east through the next door.  This room holds a group of Fish Men and Frost Swords, the Ice element cousins of the other Swords that you've fought previously.  Try to keep an eye out for their swift attacks, and lash out at the foes around you when not defending.  Next, go through the south door when you are able.  In this second curved hallway you should pick up the Axe sub-weapon along the eastern wall, before heading into the next small room.
Here once again there are no enemies -- instead, the room holds a machine that has an unknown purpose.  Alongside the machine is a conspicuous lever just waiting to be flipped.  Attack the switch with your whip until it clicks into place, at which point you receive a notice that a it has triggered the bridge in the room with the waterfall.
The Path Not Taken
Now head back through the various paths leading north until you reach the very first Y-shaped hall.  Or, just use a Magical Ticked to return to Rinaldo's Cabin and come back through the entry once more.  When you reach the first branching passage, head east along the path, and go through the doorway at the end of the hall.  The Frost Demon within the room is your first threat.  It uses swooping attacks, and it has the ability to summon a circle of ice that can paralyze you.  As with the other Demons, the A Extension attacks work well here.  Once this foe is down, you can knock out the Frost Swords before heading through the opposite door.

Once through the room you enter yet another Y-shaped hall that branched to the right and left.  For now, take the branch to the right into the next room, fight the Fish Men and Mermen that appear, and continue on through the room to the south.  When you reach the next hallway, stop for a moment -- this room is filled with giant blades sweeping back and forth, and if they strike Leon, they inflict a good amount of damage.  Approach slowly, until you can see the blades and gauge their swings, then run past one blade along its edge after it passes.

If you stand within this room (or any other room holding the guillotine blades) you can use your directional pad to enter in a secret code and activate the Guillotine Race.  Just make certain that you don't use a special item in the process, as this controls your Real Time Window at the same time that it enters the code!

When standing in the room, preferably back away from the blades, press the following directional buttons -- Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, then press X and finally CIRCLE.  If you enter the code correctly, you can stand in the path of the blade to cause small white text to appear at the bottom of the screen.  Leap out of the way of the blade to see just how close you can cut it before the blade cuts you.

After you pass the first blade, stop between the first and second, and make a double-jump up to the right-hand side of the tunnel.  Here you can grab onto a hidden ledge, which holds a Heart Max UP.  With that in hand, don't jump down just yet.  You can jump (once) out toward the other side of the hallway, latch onto a pipe, latch onto a second pipe, and finally flip across to a second small alcove set above the tunnel.  Here you find the Raccoon Charm, a helpful accessory that increases your Luck by 10!.  Now jump back down, and continue making your way carefully past the guillotine blades.

Be on your guard in the next hallway -- you are greeted not only by Mermen, but by a Heavy Armor as well.  Luckily, there is also a Save Room waiting for you to restore your HP and save your progress halfway down the branch of the hallway to the southwest.  After saving your progress here, head down the eastern branch of the same hallway and into the next room.

Here you face a challenging combination -- tough foes, and a puzzle to boot.  You step through the doorway into a room filled with Vassago and Rune Spirits, and cast your eye upon a large series of jumps (from bar to bar) back and forth across the room.

First jump down to the bottom level of the room, where you can lure the enemies down, and fight them with some room to spare.  Don't forget to pick up the Heart Repair from the center of the room in the process.  When you have the enemies off your back, return to the area in front of the doorway, leap from the ledge, latch onto the bar that you find in front of you, and continue to flip over the series of bars until you reach the other side.  Her you find a bag of 400 Gold.  Now, move to the edge of this ledge, leap and latch onto another bar just beyond, and continue along the series until you reach a ledge just above your entry point.  Move along this ledge to find a second bag of 400 Gold before leaping off the ledge to repeat the process.  When you land on this final ledge, on the eastern side of the room, head through the door that waits here.
Dead End?
You now find yourself within a small room holding a Heart Max UP.  Take it to increase your Heart Meter, and move back along the hallway to the Save Room.  After restoring your health, move all the way back to the north (through the blade room) to the previous Y-shaped hall.

Next take the branch to the left, heading straight east, and run to the very end of the hall where you reach an apparent dead-end.  Stand right up against the bricked-over doorway, and you hear a strange sound behind you.  Be careful -- a Heavy Armor has just arrived on the scene.  Don't kill it just yet.  Instead, lure it toward the outline of the doorway that you can see at the end of the hall.  As the Armor prepares to swing his heavy mace, stand in front of this doorway until the moment that he swings the weapon, then dodge quickly out of the way.  As the ball whistles past Leon it crashes through the doorway at the end of the hall, granting you entry.  Take care of the Heavy Armor, then head inside.

Once past this seemingly solid barrier, you run up against a group of Red Skeletons accompanied by an Axe Armor.  As before, try to ignore the skeletal foes that cannot be killed, and concentrate on the heavily armored figure.  Remember that both the Axe and the Whip of Lightning are strong against the Armor, so you should be able to take him own quickly and continue.

Here you find what looks to be a natural cavern, with plenty of jumps, drops, and hidden spaces.  First, jump down into the area below, then run back toward the entrance to find a hidden bag of 1000 Gold -- not a bad sum!  Now run back over to where you dropped down, and perform a double-jump to reach the ledge and pull yourself up.

Next perform the same double-jump to reach the ledge ahead, just to the south of where you entered the room.  Turn around to face the edge, double-jump up and outward, and lash out with your whip to latch onto a railing just above Leon.  To perform this you have to launch from the right spot and have good timing, so try it until you get it right.

Now double-jump back over the railing and onto the stone outcrop above your previous position.  Another double-jump (and whiplash) from the opposite side of the outcrop flips you over a second railing, and lands you right next to a door that you can step through to claim a HP Max UP.  You can also see the mouth of a skull leading out of this room, but don't step over to investigate just yet.  Instead, step back outside and across to the opposite side of the current stone ledge.

For now, make a tricky blind double-jump over the very center of the railing facing away from the door, and you should land on a small stone pillar in the center of the floor.  If you miss this jump, try again -- getting to the same location over and over again can be awkward, but he prize at the end is worth it.

Once you successfully land on the pillar, double-jump once more from the opposite side, latch onto another railing, and flip over onto a gray stone ledge where you claim a Super Potion.  With this powerful restorative in hand, run to the clear area at the edge, double-jump and latch onto yet another banister across the chasm.  Run to the small gap beside this railing, and double-jump once more from this spot to latch onto still another railing.

Run to the gap beside the railing, double-jump one last time to the final rail, and flip over to land before a familiar skull door.  Before entering, wield your Whip of Flames, wear the Arctic Ring, get a Sacrificial Doll ready if you have one, and make certain your items are in order.  When you are certain that you are ready, step through.

If you've fought the two Elemental Bosses previously, this fight should seem quite familiar.  A magical sigil appears in the center of the room, and the Elemental appears in a flash of ice, and after which she quickly moves in to attack.  Be ready to defend yourself as much as possible, attacking whenever there is a pause in the action.

Much like her relatives, the Frost Elemental likes to swoop in to attack physically with multiple strikes, although this one prefers to use two strikes in a row rather than three.  Use Quick Steps to avoid these blows to prevent having your guard broken.

Of course, this enemy has her share of magical attacks as well.  First, she likes to summon up shards of ice, which rise up fro m the floor around her, then swarm in formation to streak toward Leon and damage him.  Guard against these, then move in to attack.

Aside from the shards of ice, she can also use a narrow beam of cold to damage you.  This beam grows in length and sweeps around the room, following Leon as he moves.  Try to run around the room to stay just ahead of this beam.  You can guard against the tail end of it if you must, but trying to guard against the beam for too long allows it to "punch through".

One element of this fight that is a bit different from the previous two is that this Elemental can summon up a cloud of frost to paralyze your character.  Wiggle your left analog stick quickly as soon as you see this happen, and she should only get in one or two strikes before you regain control.  Because of this attack, you should still take care not to let your HP sink too low without healing.  If you watch carefully, you can see this paralyzing attack coming by a quick arc of frost radiating out along the ground from the Elemental.  This may give you a chance to guard against it.

Remember that this foe is only weak against Fire, your Whip of Flames and the Svarog Statue are the best weapons against her.  Sub-weapons are still good to send in for some extra damage when you are too far away to attack, but attacking with your short combos in the brief pause between attacks is the best way to damage her.  Just try to watch out for signs that the Elemental is about to attack, and break off to defend yourself immediately.  Be patient, balance guard and offense carefully, and you can soon emerge as the victor.

After the fight ends, step forward to claim your rightful prize -- the Whip of Ice.  Remember that this item can help your reach the final area within the Anti-Soul Mysteries Lab, but first concentrate on reaching the room where you picked up the HP Max UP once more.  You can accomplish this by leaping down to the floor and and climbing your way back up.  Once you are there, approach the skull and step inside.  You then slide though the Skull Chute, entering a brief mini-game before being deposited safely in the second basement level.

Stepping into the mouth of the Skull (in either level of the Waterfall area) sends you into a chute where you participate in a brief mini-game scenario.  This mini-game consists of Leon standing upon a blue platform which slides down a long twisting chute.  Along the way are silver coins that you collect if you touch them.  Also in the chute, however, are spiked "mines" that damage Leon if they connect.  These traps can be guarded against with a perfect guard, or avoided by moving on the platform or jumping over them.
Down the Chute
As you exit the chute and look around, you see that you are within another of the machine chambers, with a second lever waiting to be triggered.  Trigger it now, but be forewarned -- once you do, the only way between the two levels of the area are through the two Skull Chutes -- the hard-to-access one that you just took, and the other hidden away within this level.  You must trigger the lever to finish the area, and whipping the lever into place causes a hidden mechanism to change the flow of water.  This uncovers a doorway to an important area that you've yet to locate up on BF1, and covers up the doorway on BF1 allowing access to the stairs leading down.

Exit the room through the doorway to face two Mermen and a large Cyclops, trying your best to keep your distance from the trio in the cramped quarters of this new room.  Be careful, all three can perform special attacks.  If you are lucky, the Cyclops will attack using his eye beam while are are at close quarters, as this attack then tends to sweep well over Leon's head.  As soon as these foes drop, continue through the room, and the doorway opposite.

Feeling Lucky?
The fastest way to explore this lower level of the Waterfall area, while avoiding needless backtracking follows below, but you may not want to risk losing your previous Whip of Ice and other special items after working so heard to get them.  In this case, you can head up the branch of the path straight ahead to the northwest, and into the room at the end of the hall.  Take the southwest exit from the room into the hall, move down the west branch, and go into the Save Room found here.  At that point, you need to fight your way back through numerous enemas to return and explore this area, but keeping your progress safe may be worth it.

Stepping out into the hallway brings you into a conflict with another group of Flea Men, accompanied by a second Cyclops.  This one is easier to fight out in the open spaces of the waterway, but be careful nonetheless.  When you reach the fork in this apparently Y-shaped hall, you see a door embedded directly in the fork of the branches.  This is the Black Turtle Door, and as long as you have the requisite key you can unlock it and enter now.  Otherwise, return when you pick up the key from the Ghostly Theatre.

When you have the key in hand, answer "yes" at the prompt and step into the hallway that you find beyond.  Run through this empty area and through the doorway at the opposite end to claim Draupnir for your own.  This special accessory improves your attacking power, never an unwelcome addition to your arsenal.  After taking this item, head back out of the room and through the hallway to return to where you began.

From this intersection, head along the southern passage, and enter the door that you find at the end.  This time you face yet another Cyclops in a small room, accompanied by two Lizard Men.  Concentrate on taking down the smaller foes first, then take out the Cyclops using the same tactics as before.  Continue through the room and exit via the southern door.  Pass along the curved hallway, leaving the Crystal that you find there behind, and make certain before entering the next doorway that you are wielding the Whip of Lightning.

Now enter the doorway at the end of the hall to confront and entire swarm of Lizard Men in the large room that you find.  Use your Whip of Lightning to attack, and use your favorite Axe attacks liberally because you have a whole host of Lizard Men to work your way through.  When you are done (or when you desperately need healing), step to the end of the hall to collect another HP Max UP.  Destroy the candles flanking this gift as well -- they give you a nice 250 Gold each!

Now return to the point where you found the Black Turtle Door, and this time head up the "stem" of the branching hallway toward the northwest.  Pass by the door that lead to the northeast for now, instead continuing straight through the door at the end of the hallway.

Now you must fight off a pair of Frost Demons and a Heavy Armor, taking care once again to use your Axe whenever you need it.  Be careful to avoid the paralysis attacks of the Demons, especially when the Heavy Armor is nearby to take advantage of this state.  Try to keep the fight with the Demons away from the others, leaping up into the air to wipe the Frost Demons  out as quickly as possible, before finally turning your attention on the Heavy Armor.  Even when he falls you cannot relax, as another pair of Heavy Armor arrives on the scene.  Once all of these are dealt with, you can finally move on through the door to the southwest.

Now you are finally nearing the Save Room for this level, but be careful -- a group of Lizard Men swarm you at this point, doing their best to keep you from making it to safety.  Fend off their attacks as best as you can while attacking them in turn, and when they finally fall, head down the left path before you.  Move south through the door and into safety, pick up the Potion sitting in the hallway on the way.  Restore you HP, save your game, and exit once more.  You could also use this opportunity to take care of some unfinished business in the Anti-Soul Mysteries Lab, and return via Memorial Ticked when you are done.

Once your game is saved and your HP has been recovered, you can set out to explore again.  Rather than head west along the nearest unexplored path, leave it for now.  Instead, return to the room holding the Frost Demons and Heavy Armor.  Fight your way back through, this time taking the northeastern door door out of the room and into a new hallway.  Be very careful as you step through the door to freeze in place -- this hall holds more of the guillotine blades, much closer than before.  Make your way back through, but this time the tighter camera angle makes the navigation a bit trickier.  When you do navigate your way safely though, continue through the doorway at the hall's other end.

Have an area-effect sub-weapon attack ready as soon as you enter this room.  Here, more Flea Men jump into the attack, this time joined by Mermen.  Keeping them all at bay long enough to take some of the foes out of the picture is the best way to stay relatively healthy.  Now, head though the northwestern door from the room where you find more Flea Men accompanied by Lizard Men.  Use the same tactics, moving quickly out into the open where you are free to attack.  When you make your way to the opposite end of this hall, the door leading beyond is encased in ice.  At this point you need the Whip of Flames, or you cannot proceed.

So long as you have the Whip of Flames all you need do is wield it, then strike the door repeated times with the whip's fiery attack.  This causes the ice to melt, allowing you to enter.  Beyond the door is one simple room holding a relic, the Little Hammer.  While this item is activated, every strike of your whip produces coin.  This can be quite a helpful item if you're trying to save up for something as pricey as a Diamond, or a Solar Plate!  Now leave the room to continue your explorations, and put this item to good use.

Leave the Ice Door, return down the twisting hallway, and back into the room to take the northeastern doorway.  In this next Y-shaped hall you face Lizard Men and Skeleton Archers -- foes that can hit hard, but not as difficult as many you've faced in this area.  Move up the stairs at this point to enter BF1, but you cannot move past the room containing the statues in the center because this doorway is now covered with flowing water.  So instead of climbing up the stairs, take the left-hand side of the BF2 fork and follow it south, into the next large hall.

Her you should stand still for a moment once more and catch your bearings as large blades scythe through the air in front of you.  Gauge their sweeping motions, then run through each area to the opposite side and though the door, where you next find a group of Mermen accompanying an Armor Knight.  With your Whip of Lightning and Axe sub-weapon you should have the edge, but be careful nonetheless.  If you've used your Little Hammer, or another relic, you can recharge some of your MP against the foes' special attacks, but when you are done and the foes have been dispatched head though the opposite door, to the southwest.  Her you emerge back into the pronged hallway the holds the Cyclops, the Flea Men, and the Black Turtle Door.  Take the hallway back to eh northwest, and from there return to the Save Room to save your progress before the next nasty battle.
Mirror Image
Now head north from the Save Room, and this time take the passage that leads west.  Prepare yourself before stepping through the doorway -- although you are not yet up to the last Boos for the area, you have another optional Boss fight coming up, and you should be prepared.  Use the Sacrificial Doll, the Saisei Incense, or anything else that may give you an edge in a tough conflict.  Set up your sub-weapon and orb menus to allow you to use an attack such as the Spirit Ripper, which continues to pummel the enemy relentlessly over a short time.  Step through the door and into the ring.

As you enter the room, a cloud of darkness creeps across the floor, and a very strange sight appears before you eyes.  A perfect copy of Leon appears in the room and moves to attack.  There are those who say that you are your own worst enemy -- in this case, it may be true!

As soon as the cutscene ends and combat begins watch out for the Doppelganger's relentless attacks.  He tends to attack in sets of three, the first of which may be blocked normally, the second breaks the guard, and the third punches through to damage Leon.  Because of this, try to avoid attacks using Quick Step when possible.  Keep on the move because this quick foe doesn't always pause between sets of attacks, instead he continues the onslaught.

Also be careful of this flawed copy's special attacks.  He can summon forth his own versions of sub-weapon attacks, including a cross that appears on the floor shooting forward in a burst of fire toward you.  If you're standing out of the path of destruction when the Doppelganger is summoning these attacks, you can take the time to use a sub-weapon of your own, or approach carefully outside the damage zone and attack.

To gain victory against this foe, let loose a sub-weapon attack that damages the Doppelganger constantly, such as the Spirit Ripper.  When this happens, the enemy goes into a defensive stance that defends against the sub-weapon -- but it does not defend against Leon's whip attacks.  As he guards against one weapon, tear into him with the other.  He can't move to counterattack if he is currently defending.  This way you can wear him down quickly and constantly, without as much risk to yourself.

If you don't currently have such a sub-weapon attack available, you're in for a much tougher fight.  You best hope is to defend against the enemy's attacks as best you can using Quick Steps and other techniques, then counterattack when he pauses to use a "sub-weapon" of his own.

As soon as the Doppelganger's HP bar reaches zero he retreats, flipping over the railing into the water below.  He leaves no items behind, and no hint remains of his fate.

With Leon's twin gone, there are rooms to be explored.  Step through the doorway to the south, leaving  this now-empty room behind.  As you pass through the next hallway, stop to pick up the Cross that lies within the yellow candle along the west wall.  Then, continue into the next room where another another gaping skull stands against the west wall.  Pass by this for the moment, and continue through the door to the south.

As soon as you step though the next doorway, bars slam shut over the entrance and exit.  Unlike most scenarios, however, no enemies come pouring out to attack.  You must instead win your way though by your wits.  Light the first candle at the top of the stairs, then immediately continue down to light the next two candles in a row without a moment's hesitation.  As soon as you light the final candle, head through the door in the south of the room -- failing to move as quickly as possible allows the doors to slam shut once more.

When you reach the final small room on this floor you can take the Blue Dragon Key and use it to unlock the doorway in the Garden Forgotten By Time.  When you are ready, return to the room with the second Skull Chute, and take it back up to BF1.

This mini-game is identical in nature to the first one; coins lined up along the edges with spiked mines at intervals.

Don't relax as your ride ends -- this time you are deposited in th southwestern Y-branch of the first level, amidst the Mermen and Lizard Men.  As soon as you fight them off you can step into the Save Room to the southwest to log your game and restore your health that you've lost.

As you may be able to tell from your Map Screen, you have only one small section left to explore within the Dark Palace of Waterfalls area.  Head all the way back to th first Y-branch of the level, and take the eastern branch down to BF1's other Save Room.  Restore once more, and save your game before tackling the last Boss Battle for the area.
Water Under the Bridge
With this last save entrusted to your Memory Card, pass by the enemies outside the Save Room without stopping to fight if you can.  Instead, move quickly to the southwest past the Save Room, and into the next room with the statues around the pillar.  Now continue past, into a room where you find a bridge waiting for you.  Take the time to prepare yourself, before you head through the opposite doorway.  Wield your Whip of Ice and your Cross sub-weapon.  Equip the usual accessories -- the Sacrificial Doll, Draupnir, perhaps the Heart Brooch, or Bloody Cape -- and step in to face this last foe.

Entering the skull doorway triggers a cut-scene.  When Leon enters he darkened room he finds a figure within, apparently a prisoner.  Leon soon finds however that this figure is not an imprisoned human, but another vampire, condemned to this locked room by Walter.  This vampire has some interesting knowledge about Walter and the elder vampire's most treasured item, but he refuses to tell anything more until Leon defeats him in battle.  What that, the fight is on.

As the actual fight starts, it seems once more as if you are supposed to fight an invincible foe. Joachim is surrounded by a protective ring of swords which act as both his offensive and impenetrable defense.  But, as with all such fights, there is a trick to exploit here.

At three corners of the room (all but the northwest corner where the "camera" is), a glowing blue orb sits at the top of the room, just high enough for Leon to jump and reach.  Concentrate first on destroying all three of these globes, and as the last disintegrates Joachim's swords become brittle enough to break with only a single strike to two.  Now concentrate on hitting Joachim with all that you have -- the Ice Whip does a great amount of damage to this vampiric foe.  If you can, pull off some of the more complex combo attacks that you should have picked up by now, so much the better.

Joachim continues to attack during this time, and after only a few strikes he gathers the strength to summon forth his swords once more.  At this point the blue globes appear again in their former corners, and you begin the same cycle.  Break them whenever they appear, then attack the vampire.

Between attacks, you should mainly just concentrate on where you step to avoid attacks.  Protective jets of fire shoot up in front of the blue orbs, forcing you to navigate around them.  Joachim also summons up giant swords of light to rise up from the ground, but these are preceded by glowing lines on the ground that you can quickly move away from.  The foes can also summon up a large burst of energy to rise up from the ground under your feet, but this too is preceded by an obvious area on the ground that you can avoid.  Remember that he is weak against the Cross, so use an appropriate sub-weapon attack to try to damage him.

Joachim also has a few other tricks up his sleeve, such as running into Leon with his deadly circling swords, streaking forward in a deadly violet special attack withe the swords blazing around him, or summoning up a magical seal in front of him in order to send his swords flying in a group toward Leon.  But you can guard against these attacks, and they require keeping an eye on what Joachim is doing as you streak toward the blue orbs, or move in to attack the vampire himself.

After a few cycles of destroying the blue lights, and then attacking Joachim personally, the elegant vampire cannot go on.  This leaves Leon to find out a few more of the answers that he craves.

Fortunately Joachim is honest enough, even as a vampire, to give Leon a few brief answers before he disintegrates and drifts away into the air.  As soon as he drifts into the breeze anothor form begins to appear, taking his place.  The Green Orb materializes, waiting for Leon to claim it before returning to the cabin through the portal of light.

When you arrive on Rinaldo's doorstep, don't forget to step into the cabin to hear a little more explanation on the subjects that Joachim revealed.  When the tale is done return the the platform room in the Castle Entrance.
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