Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved Strategy Guide and FAQ Version: 1.01 =============================== By: Lloyd Newman Email: llnewman23@hotmail.com Last Update: 4/16/06 Gamertag: Schlibs My Current High Score: 5,366,990 My Current World Rank: 74 The following is an original work. I decline my right to place a copyright on this work. If anyone wants to reproduce or redistribute the following in an attempt to make money, I'd be honored. All references to my friend who wrote the other guide refer to a Mr. Jeffrey Bergman. In actuality we're not friends. I've never even met the guy. But I'm always open to new relationships. I highly recommend that you also give his guide a read (but if you had to pick one...) :) ================================ -------------------------------------------------------- 1: Version History -------------------------------------------------------- 1.01 - 4/17/06 Lack of proofreading no longer apparent. 1.0 - 4/16/06 First Version. Enjoy. -------------------------------------------------------- 2: Basics -------------------------------------------------------- ABOUT ME: Hi my name is Lloyd and this is my first FAQ (as you can probably tell, not much on style, I know). I generally leave this kind of stuff to the pros as I rarely consider myself good/knowledgable enough to contribute anything that isn't already in the public record but after reading through the only FAQ available for this game I think there is a good bit of additional info/strategy I could give. I've been playing Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved since the day I purchased my Xbox 360 in Mid December 2005. After many hours of practice I've been able to reach my current high score of 5,366,990 on 4/14/06 which at the time was good enough for 69th in the world but that has since fallen to 74th. I reached my peak world ranking in late February of 2006 when a score of 4,588,000 was good for 26th. Interestingly, at that time the world's best had scored 12 million, that has since increased to 65. (yikes!) ABOUT THIS FAQ: This FAQ is solely meant for the Evolved portion of Geometry Wars. For info on the retro game, I suggest you look elsewhere. If in this FAQ you discover an inaccuracy or if you simply want to comment, I urge you to contact me at the email address listed at the top of this page. I want this FAQ to be as flawless as possible and seeing as how one person is simply incapable of being perfect in this respect I will greatly appreciate any help you guys can provide. CONTROLS: Left Thumbstick: Movement about the screen. Up=Up, Left=Left etc... Right Thumbstick: Fires ammo in direction pressed. Ammo is only not fired when the thumbstick is in its upright and default position. Left/Right Trigger: Deploys your bomb (more on those later). Either can be used. I prefer the right one. OBJECTIVE: To score as many points as possible by destroying enemies via the use of your "ship's" maneuverability and firepower. Your enemies will seek to destroy you via ship to ship contact. BONUSES: Every 75,000 points= +1 Life, Max 9 not counting your current. Every 100,000 points= +1 Bomb, Max 9 GUNS!: Basic- You're stuck with this weapon until you hit 10,000. Very slow by comparison to the others, only shoots in pairs of two. It's rubbish. Main Gun #1- Once you hit 10,000 and at every 10,000 past that you will be given (or remain with) one of two weapon forms. This is entirely random as far as I can tell. There is likely some complex formula that decides it based on your play but I haven't figured out any correlations. The first gun shoots very quickly in bursts of 3. In addition, this gun splits earlier on in the shot making for quick work of multiple enemies that are within say 25 percent of the screen width of your ship. I believe that beginners will be more comfortable with their destructive capabilities with this weapon, as I distinctly remember at one point loathing the second one. But I've since grown to like them both as I realized both of their potential. Main Gun #2- Shoots slower than gun #1 but still much faster than the basic gun. Actually shoots in bursts of 5 but the split doesn't come until much later in the shot making close range shots effectively two/three bullets. The beauty of this weapon is its strength. As you will discover, you will have a much easier time dispatching of black holes with this gun, especially from farther distances. This may not seem like that great of an advantage on paper but trust me when I say that open black holes can make things hairy quick, and being able to destroy them from farther away pays huge dividends, especially in late game situations when the sheer number of enemies will make attempting to close a black hole at close range a dangerous proposition. MULTIPLIERS: The scoring works on a system of multipliers. Each enemy has its own base score. As you play a life the game will tally the number of ships you have killed since you spawned, increasing your multiplier so long as you stay alive. There is some preset number that corresponds to each multiplier but I wont be bothered to count. According to the other FAQ on this game your first multiplier (2x) comes at 25 enemies killed and your maximum, 10x, comes at 2000. Naturally as your multiplier increases you will score what ever the base score of a destroyed enemy times the multiplier. Reaching 10x can be difficult, especially for beginners, but is very helpful in reaching higher scores. BOMBS: Bombs clear the screen of enemies. You do not receive any points for the enemies destroyed via bomb. The bomb is an extremely useful tool and should only be used when you find yourself in a situation that you simply cannot get out of via firepower alone. The definition of this will change as you get better and you will develop a good sense of your limitations the more you play. It is important to note that the bomb will not necessarily rid of all enemies within the playing field. If you are on the extreme up/down/left/right side of the field and you deploy a bomb, enemies out of view will be spared. Do not assume that use of a bomb will clear the entire field. That thinking has certainly gotten me in trouble :). As I will explain later in the strategies section, I recommend sacrificing bombs to preserve lives and never the other way around. --------------------------------------------------------- 3. Enemies --------------------------------------------------------- For the most part I will be using the terminology of my comrade who wrote the other FAQ just to establish some continuity. Windmills- Basic Value: 25 New to Geometry Wars. The easiest opponent in the game and the first you will encounter. Spawn with a random trajectory and will very slowly make they're way around the screen regardless of your location or movement. Every once in a while you'll be late in the game and die at the hands of one of these and feel stupid. But don't worry, it happens to the best of them. Blue Seeker- Basic Value: 50 The basic opponent of Geometry Wars 1 is back. Blue in color and diamond in shape, after spawning they will immediately move in your direction. You are much faster then these guys and thus they are easy to outrun. Probably the only opponent besides the windmill you should feel ashamed of for hitting. Green Scare- Basic Value: 100 Green square shaped enemies that will aggressively attack you....until you send some bullets in their direction. They will do anything they can to avoid being hit and can sometimes be annoyingly agile. Two good ways to kill them, for individual ones, just hold you fire until they get close and then send a bullet straight in their direction, they generally cant avoid these. Secondly and probably the better way, especially for large groups of these, send a stream of bullets so that the Scares are between the bullets and a wall, then fluidly move your stream of fire towards said wall. This will effectively trap the Scares against the wall and when your bullets get there they will have nowhere to go. They move slightly faster than you and you will lose a long term race with them but they are easy enough to out maneuver in the short term. As with all enemies, I would suggest killing them as far away as possible because close range battles with these guys can result in some unpredictable movements that can result in death. "Purple" Spawners Basic Value: 100 Component Value: 50 My amigo of the other FAQ calls these purple. To me these are closer to red, the windmills are purple. Someone needs to adjust their TV's :). Anyway, like the Scares they are square shaped, slightly faster than you and will aggressively come after you. Unlike the scares they will not cower at the sight of your firepower which makes their original form easier to kill. However, once you hit them they explode into 3 smaller components (although most of the time your multiple bullets will take out at least 1 of these when they first come out). Believe it or not these smaller components will probably cause your death more in late game situations than all but maybe one of the forthcoming enemies. They move in a circular path, slowly coming towards you while orbiting at a fast rate. One huge point of advice I will tell you is that it's a very bad idea to shoot the big spawner near a wall or especially a corner (unless you're far away) as the wall interfering with the components orbit will cause it to make some crazy and unpredictable movements that could come at great surprise. Furthermore, it should always be your intent to knock out all 3 components when you first hit a spawner as any component you leave flying around the arena could come back to haunt you (not that you should go far out of your way to accomplish this) Sidewinders Basic Value: 150 Very tricky for beginners. Sidewinders are snake like enemies that consist of a head and a long tale. The tale is invulnerable and prevents any firepower from going through it making it difficult to get out if these guys surround you (which will happen....often). When the head is shot, the whole snake will disappear. For experienced players, these guys aren't so deadly as much as they will require you to spend your bombs. As I will explain later, these guys are the sole reason you will find it in your interests to distance yourself from the walls whenever possible due to the fact that they are the only enemy that spawns immediately (whereas others take a second or two before after they become visible before becoming deadly, think mario bros.). Often a life can be taken away from you before you know what hit you if you are too close to a wall and they spawn on top of you. Clone Ships Basic Value: 150 The enemy that will cause your death more than any other. These guys will chill for a second or two after spawning to get a lock on you, then come after you with extremely quick speed. In addition, while lunging they have a force field active that will require you be very precise in hitting them straight on. Lucky for you their turning is a little weak and for the most part all you need to do is when they get close quickly turn and avoid and then send a bullet to their back or side. Also, after each lunge they will pause for a second or two to again lock on. They are vulnerable at this point. If you are close enough and there is no other pressing matter at hand, you should make it priority number one to kill it if it spawns near you. Early in the game they will only spawn in corners but if you are good enough (or bad enough, depending on how you look at it, more on this later) they will start spawning all over. These guys can be especially tricky/deadly in later game situations when killing large numbers of enemies in a confined space. The bright spot created by other enemies explosions can potentially hide or at least make it difficult to see one of these spawn, so when he comes after you and moves into visible space you will have little to no time to react. Don't worry though, that doesn't happen too often. Blue Jacks Basic Value: 10 These guys are extremely difficult for beginners to handle and serve little purpose besides helping you quickly increase your multiplier. Very small and relatively slow, they will come in droves of increasing size out of the the four corners simultaneously often filling much of the playing space. To survive, don't worry about taking out entire corners at a time. Use your firepower to cut a path through a swarm and move around the screen circularly. When they stop coming out of the corners, the jacks you didn't kill will congregate in the middle of the screen and you can take them out then. More on this later. The only enemy besides the Clone Ship I loathe seeing because of the way they can restrict movement. Black Holes Basic Value: 150 Not an enemy so much as they do nothing to attack you, but you can and will die at the hands of these things. They spawn as orange circles, unopened and will do nothing until you activate them (ok, they actually move ever so slightly in your direction but they are effectively immobile). Once activated by hitting them with a bullet they will begin exerting a strong gravitational force that will suck you and any nearby enemies into it. Although its nothing you cant handle and a few well aimed shots will takes these out. However, as it swallows enemies its force becomes stronger and harder to destroy (as well as worth more to kill). At their strongest they are actually very hard to escape from but they will never get so strong that you moving at full speed in the opposite direction wont be enough to get away. Once it swallows enough enemies it will explode releasing 15 or so small circular projectiles that are very quick and very agile. You can our maneuver them for a little bit but suffice it to say you should take them out A.S.A.P. Now once a black hole gets strong, shooting it will reduce it's strength eventually destroying it. Hypothetically you could sit there just letting it swallowing an unlimited number of enemies while you shoot it enough to prevent it from exploding, but this is very hard to do. My compadre of the other FAQ says that using black holes in this way is key to high scores. I disagree, as I see it, they just make it difficult on me, as the gravitational force can fling off enemies wildly and unpredictably. I suggest that you take them out as quickly as possible and not worry about the point bonus you get for swallowed enemies. That said, when you move in to take one out, begin when you are close and go strong. If you activate a black hole from long distance its gravity will deflect shots from far away and make it more likely you will die when you get close. Just wait to activate it until you are close and then concentrate on taking it out before anything else. Sometimes multiple active black holes in close proximity can cause some very crazy enemy movements and in these cases, there is no shame in using a bomb. -------------------------------------------------- Achievements -------------------------------------------------- These achievements look incredibly daunting at first but most are actually quite easy for the experienced player. I myself have gotten all achievements save for pacifism in one game on more than one occasion. Pacifism: The first achievement I ever got. This is the only one of these that would never happen normally so you will have to specifically go after this one. Just survive for 60 seconds without using bombs or firing a shot. There is Not a visible time clock but the first time you do it will say achievement unlocked at the bottom of the screen. Be sure to finish out your game after you get it or it wont save! Not difficult. Score Achievements: Self explanatory. Achievements for 100,000; 250,000; 500,000 and 1,000,000. You should be able to reach a million within the first month of playing, most experienced players would consider any final score under 1,000,000 a humiliating failure. Survival Achievements: Like score achievements, except you cant die before hitting your mark. Levels are same as score achievements. Reaching a million in one life is easily the hardest achievement in the game, as I could probably count the number of times I've done it on less than two hands (although I only was trying for it once). You may want to use bombs more liberally when trying for these. Multitastic: The second hardest achievement in the game. Performed by reaching the max multiplier of 10x, which is done by killing 2000 ships without dying. Again, liberal use of your bombs will help with this one. Achieving and keeping a 10x multiplier is very helpful in reaching high scores. Quartermaster, Mad Cat Skills: Quatermaster achievement requires that you get 9 bombs in your reserve (such as reaching 600,000 points without deploying any). This can be difficult but certainly not impossible. Mat Cat Skillz similarly requires to have 9 lives at any one time. Much easier than the quartermaster, in fact, I feel uncomfortable if I have less than 9 lives late in the game (unless I just died). ----------------------------------------------------- Strategies and Tips ----------------------------------------------------- There is nothing I can say here that will make you automatically good enough to score 2,000,000+ points. The only thing you can do to get that good is practice. By practicing you will build up your reflexes, get a feel for spawns and develop your own strategies. This FAQ may contribute to a better understanding of the game but without practice it is worthless. That said...... Lets first take a look at the different spawn patterns and how to deal with them. Common Spawn- Occurs when an individual enemy spawns at a random location on the board. The majority of spawns are this variety. Just stay on your toes. Four Corners Spawn- Occurs when the enemies come out of all four corners simultaneously, these come in two flavors: Rainbow Four Corners Spawn- My favorite spawn. If the whole game was a series of these, I am confident I could go on forever. When they occur, in each corner will spawn one black hole along with a combination of blue seekers, green scares and "purple" spawners. The number of non black hole enemies that come as a result of this spawn will increase as the game progresses. To deal with these, as soon as you recognize the spawn is coming move towards one corner and immediately go for and take out the black hole (in doing so you should of also destroyed most if not all of the enemies that came out of that corner). Then moving in a circle around the screen (I prefer clockwise) move towards and take out the other black holes. Now as you are moving to each corner you will have a number of enemies coming after you. As soon as you take out a black hole and begin moving towards the next one aim first for the blue seekers that will be farthest ahead. Once they are gone move towards the next corner shooting behind you. Once you get close to the next black hole stop and shoot at the coming droves until they get too close. I suggest going for the "purple" spawners first and finally the green scares. Then take out the black hole next to you and repeat the process until all four corners have been covered. Singular Four Corners Spawn - Similar to the rainbow except they consist of only one enemy. Like the rainbow, the number of enemies that come out will increase later into the game. The enemies that will perform this spawn are Blue Seekers, Green Scares, "Purple" Spawners, Sidewinders and Blue Jacks. I covered how to handle the Jacks in their respective section above. Blue Seekers and Green Scares are easy enough and can be handled in a similar way. The only difficulty there comes is the sheer number that can come out later in the game, which will seriously restrict movement and leave you susceptible to Clone Ships and components. The "Purple" Spawner variety of this spawn is in my opinion the toughest in the game as I have not found an method that works later in games that doesn't involve a bomb. The only thing I can suggest is to take out as many as possible and when you know the end is near deploy a bomb. If anyone has a better strategy I'd love to hear it. The Sidewinder Four Corners spawn is tough as well. Like the "Purple" Spawner variety, you will likely have to use a bomb just to remain alive, especially late in games, because of the tail's ability to block shots. Ambush Spawn - Used by Blue Seekers, Green Scares, Purple Spawners, and Sidewinders. Spawn takes a circular shape around you forming a wall that quickly closes in. The first three are easy, just blast a hole through the wall and shoot the rest from the outside. The Sidewinder variety can be tough but is certainly not impossible. With practice you should get to a point where you can get out without using a bomb 4 times out of 5 . Again if you are touching a wall and the game uses a Sidewinder Ambush Spawn they will spawn on top of you instantly and you will die without warning. So try to avoid walls whenever possible. GENERAL TIPS: (more for beginners) 1.Stay Moving- Every enemy in the game with the exception of the sidewinder and the windmill will come after you directly. By not moving you make it easier for them to catch you. Only stop moving if it is required for a tactic (such as defending against a Rainbow Four Corners Spawn). 2.Move in Circles- For the most part I find it easiest to move in circles. I am more comfortable with clockwise. This way you have enemies constantly at your back so you can take out whatever is ahead of you and then when you have some free space in front you can take out as many of the guys behind. 2.Keep Shooting- Except for maybe very early on in the game, it's a good idea to always have your gun firing. There is no ammo and no penalty for firing, and you never know what's lurking off screen (unless you have great ears). Advanced Tips (for those who are beginning to score in the 2 millions): 1. Value lives, not bombs- As I touched on earlier, I firmly believe that to be successful at this game well past 2 million one must place as much emphasis in spending as few lives as possible. This is due to a theory of mine, which technically is unsubstantiated, but I believe it to be true. But before divulging that there is a few things I should explain. First when you hit 2,000,000, a plateau in the game is reached as far as coding is concerned and as a result, you will see a noticeable difference in the frequency and types of spawns coming at you. For example, Blue Jack Four Corner Spawns will come more often and in larger numbers. Now when that spawn occurs one of two things will happen. Either you will just get the four corners spawn along with the regular random spawns OR in addition to those two a (large) number of Clone Ships will also spawn at random points on the board. Obviously, you want the first one. Surviving the Blue Jack spawn is hard enough, and it's much worse having to also avoid upwards of 20 clone ships coming at you from all directions. Now there is something curious I noticed. In games where I would have a super extended life (maybe getting a 10x multiplier and holding on to it for like a minute) I wouldn't experience the second more deadly version of the spawn until much later. This led me to my theory... The less lives you expend, the longer you can go without having the Clone Ships spawn randomly along with Four Corners Spawns. If this is true, and I believe it is, than you should do whatever it takes to stay alive as long as possible in each instance. By my count once you die around 10-15 times you will get the second version of the spawn (assuming your past 2,000,000). Now I realize this seems stupid. Of course you want to live as long as possible. But what I am saying is that if you have 9 lives in reserve and 3 bombs, don't think that you should lay off the bombs in an attempt to even things out. In addition to this theory, I believe that the more you die the sooner you will have the random Clone Ship spawns occur with other Four Corner Spawns. It begins with just the Blue Jacks, then dying more, it will occur with the Sidewinders, Purple Spawners, Green Scares and the Rainbow spawn, in that order I believe. Employing this theory directly gave me the push from my previous high score of 4,600,000 (that very much was a fluke) that I was stuck on for two months to my current high score. The first time I beat my old high score using this strategy I outscored it by over 700,000 points! In addition, I now regularly score at least 4 million points a game. So I highly recommend using this knowledge to your advantage, I think if you have the skill it will make a huge difference. OTHER TIPS: 1. HDTV vs. Standard - Another curious thing I noticed. When I first started playing this game I was living at my parents house, which contains a lovely high definition television. I played a lot, for at least a week before I had to go back to school and I never scored higher than 100,000 points. Now when I returned to my apt and small standard definition TV I scored 130,000 the first time and had no trouble reaching 100,000 ever again. Thinking I may of just gotten better, I didn't think much of it. But when I returned to my parents house for spring break my average score noticeably went down. I'm convinced now that at least for me, but I'm sure this applies for others, that the game is easier to play on standard definition as opposed to HDTV. This obviously comes as good news to us poor folk! But to those luckier folk out there, if you have been playing the game exclusively on HDTV and been struggling, try an older standard set and see if that helps any. ------------------------------------------------------------- WRAP UP ------------------------------------------------------------- This FAQ is a work in progress! Many more strategies will come as I come across them. If you have anything to add, suggest or comment on please drop me a line a llnewman23@hotmail.com OR just contact me on xbox live, gamertag: schlibs. Legal notes: Again, I don't care to put a copyright on this FAQ. If anyone wants to post this on their website/print it out/sell it to people etc. feel free! It would make me feel like I accomplished something :) Although a commission would be nice. Say 10% ?