Ecstatica II is a massive and difficult combat-oriented game. The first order of business should be getting yourself a sword as soon as possible. From the stocks, you can find a weapon by heading right towards the courtyard. Punch down the second door to your right, which will lead to the Blacksmith's stable. Dash past the beefy stone goblin, take the sword, and start hacking and slashing any pursuing enemies. Exit the stable, and proceed across the courtyard to the large tower with a small door at its base. Knock it open with your sword, and walk through into the first floor of the guard tower.
Drink the yellow flasks scattered about, but leave the red ones -- they'll poison you. Head up the staircase, making sure to avoid the poison gas streams spurting out of the wall. On the second floor, bust open the chest on the far right of the room and take the magic rod. Proceed to the third floor, and grab the golden chalice and the coins on the floor. Keep moving up. On the fourth floor, don't try to get the treasures yet, but head up the staircase in the middle of the room to reach the tower.
Exercise extreme caution in this room, since the statue holding the key is tripwired. Approach the statue from the right, and kick the key out of its mouth. Once the spear discharges, grab the key, and go through the locked door.
You've made it to the guard tower. If you head up the stone staircase, you can find a room which contains a life potion. Walk around the balcony until you find stairs leading upwards. Follow this pathway until the metal gate slams shut behind you. Walk past the tower guarded by the two stone gargoyles, and kill the ball-tossing stone critters who may cross your path. Hang a left down the staircase, and grab the floating armor. Turn around and kill the gargoyle who will attack you from behind. The gargoyles back at the tower won't give you any trouble, so just walk past them and let your magical armor do its work.
Proceed carefully up the staircase. The second door on the way up isn't locked, so break it open, kill the monster inside, and grab that key. Head back down and unlock the cell door. Talk to the priestess inside. After you listen to her clues, keep trudging up that spiral staircase until you hit the top, where you'll find a magic rod. Grab it. Head back down.
Once you've reached the ground, the gate at the base of the tower will open. Kill the tiny critter inside the cage and take the diamond. Hit both switches at the base of the stairs. Go back to where the floating armor was, and you'll discover that the gate that blocked your progress has opened. Move down into the sub-courtyard, and hit the switch concealed underneath the balcony from whence you came. Go through the newly opened gate, and take the staff located past the rows of bombs. This will allow you to briefly fire projectile attacks. Exit the tower, and go to your right into the attic. Hit the blue switch, then locate and activate the blue lever. A gate will be raised. Go through, whack open the chest, and get the blue key. Use the blue key to open the door with the blue lock. Once inside, hit the green head. Go back to the lever room and flip the green lever. This opens a gate to another room which contains a chest with a purple key. Once you acquire the purple key, unlock the door with the purple lock. Hit the red head inside, then return to the lever room, and hit the red lever. Go back through the blue door and hit the golden head. A nearby gate will open, so feel free to go and load up on treasure, along with a new sword. Finally, whack the nearby head, and leave the attic the way you came in.
A nearby shed on the balcony will open up when approached, so head on in. Hit the statue inside, and head back across the balcony. Stand on the flashing platform, and you'll be teleported back to the tavern. Exit to the courtyard.
Remember those big double doors in the courtyard? It's time to pay them a visit again. This time, you should be able to knock them open. Once inside, dispatch all the bad guys. Once you've killed the Shadow Siblings that lurk on the stairs, you'll get the first part of the Elder Sign. Head upstairs and find the throne room. Kill the Shadow Sibling. Exit the throne room, and you'll see a glowing crystal ball. Listen to what the Enchantress has to say. Exit to the courtyard.
Your next destination is the stable that is attached to the castle. In one of the back rooms, there's a ladder leading down to the wine cellar. Once downstairs, hit the statue and head through the door. Hang a right, and go down the stairs into the wine cellar. The monsters down here are just like the one guarding the well in the courtyard ? they can't be killed. Find the monster that drinks from a purple flask and falls asleep. Snitch the purple flask from him, and return to the courtyard. Walk up to the well monster, who will drink the potion and evaporate. Enter the well. Avoid the red door for now, and go down the stairs into the basement. Kill the approaching skeleton guard, and hit all three levers from left to right.
Walk outside to the courtyard, and walk up the stairway beside the hay-ceilinged stable. Hit the golden switch, walk through the door it opens, and break open the chest. Take the boots, exit the room, and sprint across the courtyard to the archway blocked off by slime. Walk through the slime, and hit the black switch located inside. This opens the portcullis in the courtyard. Go through the newly opened portcullis, hit the lever inside, and the drawbridge will finally open.
You may be out of the castle, but you're not out of the woods yet. Go back to the blacksmith's shop. Using the stairway adjacent to the shop, climb to the roof. Hop in the chimney, teleport to the new location, and go through the open doorway. The stairs going up will lead to the king's tomb, while the stairs leading down go to the catacombs. Head down into the catacombs, do some exploring, and collect two glowing skulls. After collecting each one, return to the King's Tomb and place the skull on the empty wooden stands. The final skull lies on the other side of a watery cave. To cross the small lake, take a leap of faith and step on to the glowing bubbles, which will hold you up. You'll find the final skull through the next door.
Once you've placed all three skulls, the wooden door will open. In the King's Throne Room, get the red amulet, and the small cross. Go back down the stairs to where you teleported in, and open the door with the red gem on it. Climb back up to the courtyard and make a bee-line for the exit. Once you've crossed the drawbridge, head to the left of the screen, and climb the staircase, which leads to the graveyard. Use the small cross to open the cemetery gates, and hang a right into the chapel. Take the silver sword. Cross the graveyard to the tomb. Enter the tomb, and go forward, right, forward, forward, and up. Retrieve the armor (this will keep you from getting killed by the plants in the wilderness). Go back to the chapel, and trigger the unlit candle to open the staircase going down. Go down the staircase, and then climb the ladder. Once topside, listen to the crystal ball.
Right off the bat, you'll discover a plant guarding one of the pieces of the Elder Sign. Kill that sucker and take the piece. Keep exploring, and you'll find a clearing. Be careful; as you step on the grass, you'll be attacked by warrior Amazons. Once you've defeated them all, go into the cave, and defeat the sorceress. One of the adjoining caves contains a teleporter; don't go in here yet. Return to the clearing, and kill the plant guarding the piece of the Elder Sign.
At this point, you should be about halfway through the game. Take a break.
Go back to town, and head up to the tower located above the hospital. You can either walk around the bombs or attempt to jump over them. Bash down the blue door. Kill the two demons inside and enter the door on the right. Head upstairs, while clearing your path of any zombies hanging on the wall. Keep heading up until you reach the top floor. Whack open the door, and step into the teleporter. Kill the two demons that will pop out, and then kill the wizard. Take his armor. Teleport back, and obtain the amulet from the claw. Go downstairs. Enter the door directly across from the stairway, then open the blue door. Go inside and grab the fifth part of the Elder sign. Go back downstairs and exit through the large black door. Go around the tower to the balcony with the crystal ball and flashing teleport. Talk to the crystal ball. Enter the teleport.
The armor you obtained from the wizard will allow you to safely enter the possessed town in the wilderness. Head south to the village, and kill the black monks who appear. Enter the building with the small balcony that faces the well, and climb the ladder inside. Exit to the balcony, and take a leap into the well. Grab the amulet inside, and climb back out.
The villagers have reappeared. Kill any monsters that might remain. Go to the hunting lodge on the outskirts of town (the villagers sitting on barrels will point you in the right direction), and hit the bear statue. Enter the hut to the left of the lodge, and get the lantern in the fireplace. Go back to the village, visit the church, and talk to the crystal ball.
Head north into the woods. You'll discover some ruins, and a rocky outcropping that leads to a better sword. Walk into the swirling teleport. Go up through the dungeons, out to the rocky wall. Jump up to the open door, and step into the teleport. Keep moving forward, but watch out for the zombies - they can throw fireballs faster than you can dodge them. Get the piece of the Elder Sign in the center of the large room. Go back to the crystal ball you saw on the way in, and talk to it. Go back to the Elder Sign room, and walk into the teleporter on the checkered floor.
You've entered the Dark Tower, and this would be an extremely good time to save your game. The next seven levels will be timed (you can see how much time you have left by pressing Enter and checking the timepiece), and it's a good idea to run through these as quickly as possible, saving after every good move.
Hit open all the chests until you find the key, then walk into the teleporter at the upper right hand of the screen. Avoiding the rotating wooden spikes takes a hint of practice.
Same procedure as above.
Walk down and hit open the barrel on the bottom left of the screen. When you head back to the top of the screen, you'll teleport to the bottom. Head to the right, and hit open the chest on the upper right hand of the screen. Walk into the teleporter surrounded by four statues. Continue into the second teleporter. Hit open the chest next to you. Keep walking through the teleporters, and finally head to the center-screen teleporter.
Be sure to avoid getting squished by the crushing walls! Work your way to the bottom of the screen and hit the bottom-right chest, then break open the center-left chest. Head to the upper-right hand corner of the screen and bash open that chest. Go back to the left (don't get skewered by the hidden spikes), and hit open the chest on the far upper left. Hop in the flashing center teleport.
Go directly to the bottom of the screen and hit open the chest. Get the key, and go to the north of the room, hit open the chest, and get the key. Walk to the right into the teleporter.
Run into the first teleporter in the middle of the screen. You'll pop up on another screen, so hang a right into the second teleporter. You'll be transported in front of the crushing gates. Don't jump through them, but instead, take a right into another teleporter. Walk to the left of the screen - another teleport. Once again, walk to the closest teleporter. Finally, walk to the right through the blue thingies.
Enough of this teleportation hooey! Head to the north. Run through the crushing wall to the right, and open the chests to receive the necklace. Head back to where you started, and go through the door on the left. Run past the swinging blades. Keep going forward. Kill the skeleton and turn the corner. Kill the mage, bust open the chest and take the boots. Head back to the swinging blade room, and take a left. Open the first chest you see - you'll get a scroll. Keep going, kill the two zombies on the walls, and step through the slime with your boots. Head to the left of the screen. Run through the two crushing walls. Go to the north of the screen, run past the swinging blade, and kill the mage at the end of the hall. This may look like a dead-end, but simply hang a right into the concealed doorway. Run all the way to the end of the hall, and break open the chest to find the key. The electricity field will be gone, so just walk through and teleport to the realm of the Archmage.
Lair of the Archmage
If you're running low on health, hit F11 to exchange some of your gold for health. Step into the center of the screen, and the Archmage will pop out. Kill him, using either your sword or long-range magical attacks - he should go down after four or five direct hits. After he bites the bullet, watch as the seven pieces of the Elder Sign reform.
You've won! Combat Notes
Though the combat system may appear frustrating at first (especially with those pesky enemies that leave little room open for your own attacks), Ecstatica II allows you to link up moves to create destructive combos. The most effective move combination is a slash followed by a thrust, by holding down Control and pressing left, then up.
Throughout the game, you'll encounter a variety of weapons. Magical staffs have much longer range, but may not do as much damage as a regular sword. Once you've progressed to the point where you can open the blue doors, head to the top level of the guard tower, and you'll be able to crack open a treasure trove that includes a massively powerful golden sword.
Every now and then, a killed creature will release a scroll that allows you to fire a projectile attack. Pick these up and save ?em for the big bosses.