Seventh Cross Evolution: Basic FAQ and walkthrough (US version) version 1.0 (initial release) (1/5/01) By Jeff Coleburn ( ---------------------------------------------------------------- (The usual required legalese applies: this document is Copyright 2001 Jeff Coleburn. You can copy it, print it out, put it on your site, stick it up your wazoo or do whatever else seems natural, as long as you don't publish it in a for-profit medium without contacting me first and providing attribution. Of course, what kind of magazine would be releasing a walkthrough guide for THIS game at this point, much less want it so badly that they'd rip this one off without asking?) ----------------------------------------------------------------------- ///////////////////// //TABLE OF CONTENTS// ///////////////////// 0.0 Version History 1.0 Introduction 1.1 Description of the game 1.1.1 The good 1.1.2 The bad 1.1.3 The ugly 1.1.4 Personal notes 1.2 Controls & movement 1.3 Menus 1.4 Stone Monuments (saving and other functions) 2.0 Getting Started 2.1 Beginning stage - survival in the pond 2.2 Protist problems 2.3 The Origin creature 3.0 Evolution: Building the Better Beast 3.1 Basic combat; obtaining EVPs 3.1 Building statistics through body part generation 3.2 The Evolution command 3.3 Body parts and nutrients 3.4 Equipping created body parts 3.5 Recovering lost body parts after dying 3.6 Statistic gains from body part creation 3.7 Determining optimum grid patterns for generating body parts 3.7.1 Legs 3.7.2 Arms 3.7.3 Bodies 3.7.4 Heads 3.8 ExPower Abilities 3.8.1 Offensive Abilities 3.8.2 Defensive Abilities 3.8.3 Registering an ExPower ability 4.0 First Stage - The Pond 4.1 Becoming the baddest crab-killin' SOB in the whole damned pond 4.2 Preparations for the cave 4.3 First Stage Area Boss - The Worm 5.0 Second Stage - The Sea 5.1 Sloping cavern 5.2 Larger sea cavern 5.3 Second Stage Area Boss - The Big Ray 6.0 Third Stage - The Jungle 6.1 Entrance area 6.2 Second jungle area 6.3 Third Stage Area Boss - Twin Frogs 7.0 Fourth Stage - The Badlands 7.1 Badlands Area 1 7.2 Badlands Area 2 7.3 Badlands Area 3 7.4 Fourth Stage Area Boss - Fire-Breathing Dinosaur 8.0 Fifth Stage - The Pastoral Valley 8.1 Valley Area 1 8.2 Valley Area 2 8.3 Valley Area 3 8.4 Fifth Stage Area Boss - Giant Mecha-Bird 9.0 Sixth Stage - Barren Future 9.1 Future Grassy Area 9.2 Future Desert Area 9.3 Sixth Stage Area Boss - Twin Golems 9.4 Sixth Stage Boss #2 - Neo Bionoid 10.0 Side Quest(?) - Giant Butterfly 11.0 The Hidden Cave 11.1 Plot exposition 11.2 Inside the laboratory 12.0 Appendices and tables 12.1 Nutrient values of non-creature edibles 12.2 Catalog of creatures 12.3 (partial) Catalog of body parts 12.4 Frequently Asked Questions 13.0 Spoilers 13.1 Storyline spoilers 13.2 Small hints on evolution/body part generation 13.3 Unanswered questions (or: help me out here) 13.4 Closing thoughts ////////// 0.0 Version History Version 1.0 (1/4/01): This is the first release of this document, based on my experiences in finishing this game for the first time. Some details (such as complete lists of nutrient values for corpses, complete body part lists, etc.) remain and will be added as I have time. This document is intended as a general walkthrough, and submissions are welcome if I've missed anything particularly interesting (which is quite possible) or if anything's inaccurate. 1.0 Introduction Where to begin? Seventh Cross Evolution is one of those games that defies easy description (and most attempts at FAQs). 1.1 Description of the game The plot of the game is simple at its core. A new life is born in a pond in some faraway place, in the form of a protist. A protist is a very primitive organism without limbs or defenses of any kind, making its life expectancy rather low without some guidance from you. Your creature's task is simply to survive, growing and evolving with your aid from a helpless blob to a fearsome predator that can conquer all that would devour it. You guide the creature's evolution through direct manipulation of its DNA, in a rather complex system that simultaneously builds the creature's stats and forms new body parts for it to use. Slowly but surely, you turn the predators around you into your prey, modifying your body as needed to bypass all obstacles and prove yourself fittest to survive. 1.1.1 The good Some positive things about this game: * It's certainly a unique title in the Dreamcast library, in that there's not anything else quite like it out there. * Once you get the hang of the evolution system, tinkering with DNA grids and figuring out how to obtain needed body parts can be an entertaining little puzzle. * With the variety of parts available (30 different heads, arms, legs and bodies that can be mixed & matched as needed, ranging from primitive organisms to man to futuristic/fantasy designs), you can tailor your creature to whatever its specific needs (or your whims) dictate. * The graphics are pretty, if not groundbreaking. * A well-hidden plotline. You begin with the mere task of survival, and have no other purpose or goal than that for a long, long time. After a while, you get occasional FMV clips of mysterious events, but other than that, you're on your own until near the very end of the game. Life comes with no instruction manuals. For all intents and purposes, neither does this game. Working out how the world works can give you a nice sense of discovery... 1.1.2 The bad Some negatives: * The manual is intentionally vague, to the point of being annoying. There are a TON of things you will discover by trial-and-error, and only those who pay attention to detail (or read this FAQ, perhaps) will succeed in a reasonable amount of time. * The combat system is aggravating at best. You flail away at opponents or zap them with distance attacks, they do it to you, somebody falls over. It grows extremely one-dimensional over time. * Likewise, there are no clues at all as to what new enemies are like, what they can do, how hard they hit, what effects their attacks will have, or even what their names are. Not that you can go out in the woods and find animals wearing nametags and HP meters in real life, mind you, but this IS a game. * There's not a lot of variety to gameplay. You kill, you eat, you repeat. The enemies aren't particularly distinctive -- more like generic piles of HPs and attacks in differing shapes, and the bosses are (for the most part) just bigger piles. You travel to a few different areas, but the terrain is generic at best almost everywhere. 1.1.3 The ugly Some things that'll make you cringe: * This game SCREAMS out "first-generation console game." There is slowdown when multiple enemies approach in the water -- and sometimes when ONE enemy approaches, if you're in polygon-heavy terrain. This can be a useful early-warning system for you, in a way -- if the screen starts shuddering, start looking for what's gaining on you -- but it's still annoying. * The savefile is a whopping 170 blocks. That's almost a whole card for one game! From NFL2K, I expect this. From a simple explore-and-beat-on- things game, I don't... especially when the areas reset when reentered. It's not as if the game's keeping track of an entire world (ala Diablo) in its savefile... * Again, there is no score, no ranking, no communication with anyone else, and no easily-decipherable way of knowing how well you're doing, other than the sense of accomplishment when Boss X falls over dead and a new area is unlocked. This is both good and bad, depending on your outlook. * The manual states that "there is no point at which the game is over." Without giving away too much this early, they are LYING TO YOU. LYING LYING LYING. While you can die a thousand deaths and not run out of lives, and thus cannot _lose_ the game... there _is_ a final "winning" ending. If you last that long looking for it, that is. 1.1.4 Personal notes Still here? Good. If all of that didn't scare you off, you may be the rare type of gamer who appreciates games with odd perspectives and storylines, who doesn't mind long stretches of gameplay and trial-and-error without obvious gains or rewards, and who enjoys having to figure out what's going on without having a walkthrough in your lap. Then again, you're reading this, so perhaps walkthroughs have their benefits after all. Did you have the patience for Elite, back when your C64 or Apple II was hot stuff? Ever hack Monster Rancher games in a major way, doping out what the optimum raising methods were? Can you play games that are extremely repetitive, that others may call dull? You'll be at home here. Those looking for fast-paced action should go get Crazy Taxi instead -- and that's not putting down Crazy Taxi one bit, either. This is simply a different breed of cat altogether. Seventh Cross Evolution is a Dreamcast game whose concept intrigued me from the first time I heard about it, but whose price tag and middling reviews scared me off for a long while. At long last, it turned up at $9.99 in a Boscov's clearance rack (who'd have ever thought that Boscov's would ever have a gaming bargain?) and I took the plunge. While the other $9.99 special I took a chance on (Soul Fighter) was a steaming heap of dung, Seventh Cross Evolution has a certain charm to it, and will reward those who have the patience to sit through its tedious aspects. This is a classic love it/hate it experience; there is no middle ground here. To give this some further perspective, I _hated_ the original Resident Evil. I saw some good points about it, but thought "Hey, that's a nice graphic engine for its time. I wish they'd put an actual GAME in with it." In a way, this is a similar case -- it's obviously a good starting point for a game, an excellent concept, but it's also visibly flawed and incomplete in many ways. And yet I found myself drawn to this game despite its flaws, because the concept _is_ that interesting in and of itself. A lot of people also felt that way; a lot more saw the flaws and immediately traded it in for store credit. Your mileage may vary. I went looking for a FAQ to compensate for the intentionally vague manual, found NOTHING online, and started writing so that the next poor sod who picks this title up doesn't spend three hours getting kacked by crabs and throw the game through their third-floor window in utter disgust. (Personally, though, I did start some serious crab-killin' at about the twenty-minute mark. I'm a fast learner sometimes.) 1.2 Controls & movement Movement is very simple: forward and back on the D-Pad to walk, left and right to rotate in place, diagonals to walk while turning. One drawback of this is that you can't walk sideways (strafe-walk, for Quake players), so if you're in a tight place you may end up doing funky three-point turns to get out, which is no fun when there's a crab about to rip your legs off. Your creature does move and turn smoothly, at least. There are six types of terrain: Plain, Sea, Swamp, Float, Ford, Slope. Generally speaking, your ability to travel on each depends on your leg type. The basic (Origin) leg type can handle Fords (shallow water) and that's about all. Crab legs can walk (albeit somewhat slowly and noisily) over land and along sea floors. Fish fins work great in water but can't go over land. The higher level ones can do just about anything, but come at a high cost in nutrients. Movement speed is dependent on your leg and body types. A good rule of thumb throughout the game is to keep moving and KEEP TURNING at all times -- you can sometimes hear monsters coming from behind you, but the racket you make when moving (water splashing, legs clicking, etc.) often drowns that out. If you're standing still and hear noises, something's coming after you, so turn and find it quickly before you start taking hits. The A button is for hand-to-hand attacks when enemies are close enough. (When an enemy is within a reasonable distance, "lock on" brackets will surround it. The arrow indicates how close the enemy is; green is within ExPower attack range, yellow is within range of certain projectile weapons, red is within hand-to-hand range.) If you see a red arrow, press A to whomp your enemy. The B button calls up the menu, whenever possible. The X button activates a (natural) projectile weapon, if you have one equipped. (Only certain Arm types have these; there are no objects or weapons that can be picked up and used in Seventh Cross Evolution.) The Y button activates your currently registered ExPower ability, if you have one registered. The Start button pauses your game. (L and R) The analog joypad is not used. 1.3 Menus The Start menu is very simple: New Game, Continue Game (which calls up the memory-card manager screen, from which you can load and save multiple games), and Options, which lets you select Mono or Stereo sound and select desired camera angles. Within the game, you can call up a menu at almost any time via the B button. The menu contains the following options: 1.3.1 ExPower This option allows you to view the special abilities your creature is capable of using (see section 4.3, ExPower attacks), and register one as your default special ability. 1.3.2 Mutations This option allows you to equip body parts you have generated (see section 3.0, Evolution), provided that you have sufficient nutrients to complete the process. 1.3.3 Status This screen gives you a one-page overview of your creature's stats, available ExPowers and similar updates. 1.3.4 Options Menu You may select Mono or Stereo sound here, and select which type of camera you want to use for moving, melee combat and missile combat. For movement, the cameras represent different angles from which to view your character. (All are behind-the-head cameras and are reasonably similar.) The melee cameras default to "Random," which means that the camera will whip around in several different ways whenever you hit or are hit by enemies. (One in particular gives a 360-degree panoramic view of your surroundings, which is quite useful in that it lets you see what else may be approaching you.) 1.4 Stone Monoliths (saving and other functions) At various points in the game (like at the very beginning, for example), you will encounter large stone monoliths. The first one is reddish-orange; later ones vary in color. These have several functions: SAVE lets you save your game in progress. Note that you have a whopping 170+ save block requirement -- this game really needs its own memory card. You probably don't need an LCD-screen VMU, however; a generic will do, since about the only thing the VMU screen does during gameplay is keep a running tally of your EVPs. EVOLUTION lets you tinker with your own DNA, if you have earned enough EVPs through killing other creatures. This will be dealt with in-depth in a later section. TELEPORT becomes available at later monoliths once you've defeated a "boss" creature. Again, this will be dealt with when it's available. ////////// 2.0 Getting Started The first thing you will be presented with is a set of floating slabs, each representing one statistic (attack power, e-attack power, defense, intelligence, healing and dexterity). You will be asked to assign a color to each slab. These colors will be associated with the stats you assign them to throughout the game. ATTACK power represents your fighting ability. There are two blocks for this on the Status screen, one of which will usually be empty. The top one is for hand-to-hand combat (available when an enemy has a red arrow in its lock-on grid), while the bottom one is for projectile weapons built into your Arms (available when you see a yellow arrow). Different Arm types may change your attack forms, but in general you get one or the other, not both. E-ATTACK power represents your skill with ExPower abilities. These offensive abilities are roughly akin to elemental magic, and do more damage as this stat increases. DEFENSE measures your resistance to injury. This is an important stat to increase, as you're very vulnerable to attacks (read as: crab claws) at the beginning of the game. Higher DEF also leads to higher HPs. INTELLIGENCE measures your learning ability. Higher intelligence leads to a wider variety of ExPower abilities (you don't need to learn them by any method, they just pop right into your head, and disappear if your intelligence drops later on). HEALING represents your recovery rate from injury, along with how quickly you will recover spent EPs (used by ExPower abilities). DEXTERITY represents... well, I'll just say that I haven't found Dex to affect gameplay much (if at all). If there's something I'm missing here, please let me know. (It is uncertain for now whether certain colors affect your starting stats, or whether some colors are more prone to stat increases later on than others. For now, I'm assuming that it's just a color preference, but more research is called for.) A flurry of DNA construction occurs, and before you know it, you appear... 2.1 Beginning stage - survival in the pond As previously stated, you begin life as a protist, floating around in a tranquil little pond. It's tranquil until the crabs get hungry, that is. Your task is to bypass the usual centuries-long process of evolution and bulk up in a hurry, growing from a little floating blob into something that can take out anything in the pond on its own terms. The pond is full of rocks, coral and other stationary objects that must be maneuvered around, as well as various shallow and deep pockets. There is a beach area surrounding it and a couple of little islands, which you can't climb onto (yet). Be aware of the rocks and watch out for places that LOOK like they're passable, but aren't. It's quite easy to get stuck in a tight place and get eaten before you realize you can't get through. 2.2 Protist problems This stage is very simple -- keep eating and you'll grow, get eaten and you start over. The tricky bit, for some, is to figure out what's edible. For all intents and purposes, treat anything that's moving as a danger. This means you're stuck with the local plant life. You will find what look like small strands of seaweed floating around, as well as small green microorganisms that look sort of like floating eyes. Swim into these repeatedly, and keep moving -- a stationary protist will be some crab's lunch in short order. I recommend taking laps of the section of the pond you can access, not stopping for anything (lest something catch you from behind), and steering into anything that even looks like food. As you eat, you will grow in size; first to a slug-like organism, then to one a little bigger than that. (It may take more than one snack to grow.) The third time you grow will provide you with your first working sets of limbs; this new body is known as the Origin creature. (This may seem like an overly brief summary of the protist stage, but it CAN be blasted through in two minutes or less. If you are eaten, you revert to the smallest protist size and start again, but it's really not at all difficult to finish this once you know what to look for.) 2.3 The Origin creature From here, the real fun begins. Your creature now has a functional head, arms and legs, and can swat small creatures in its path. Note that "small creatures" does not equal "crabs" yet, as they can kill you with one well-aimed claw swipe. And they will, if they get near you. Repeatedly. On the plus side, dying at this point does NOT penalize you in any appreciable way, as you have no mutations yet to lose and rebuild. Go to the menu and select MUTATIONS to view your Origin in all its glory. Notice that the Head, Body, Arm and Leg parts are all "1 - Origin." This is the most primitive state you will exist at from this point forward, and is the state you will reassume when you're killed. Obviously, it would be a good thing to move up the evolutionary chain and get some more capable body parts. You need EVPs (Evolution Value Points, I guess) to do this. See where it says "EVP 0/2" at the top right of the screen? This means you don't have any yet, and you need two or more to start tinkering with your DNA. (You can collect far more than the minimum requirement, two in this case. As you evolve repeatedly, the requirement will increase.) Once you've exited the menus, your task is to go forth and find things that are moving but look harmless. Small and brown are your watchwords here -- some look sort of like pitcher-plants or sea cucumbers, some more like crawling four-armed slugs, but both of these are helpless before the wrath of your mighty arm-stubs. Smack them and watch them suffer. With each creature you slay, you earn EVPs. For small fry like you're hunting now, you'll get one apiece. Crabs are worth two. If you are killed, you keep your EVPs and return to the starting monolith, so don't fear the crabs TOO much (it's inconvenient and annoying, but not truly detrimental yet). Build up some EVPs, head for the monolith, and select EVOLUTION -- and, with any luck, become a little more prepared against the crabs. (You only need two EVPs at the beginning of the game to build a new part, so you can either make a beeline for the monolith after every two kills or build up some points and do several at once. Given the stat boosts from part generation, I recommend going for new parts ASAP.) ////////// 3.0 Evolution - Building the Better Beast The Charles Atlas^H^H^H^H^HDarwin Way in Twelve Short Days! This is the most intricate part of the game, and certainly the most frustrating. The manual is very little help (and intentionally so) -- you're on your own when it comes to solving the evolutionary puzzle. On the other hand, that's what we're here for. 3.1 Basic combat; obtaining EVPs The combat system is painfully simple in Seventh Cross Evolution -- when you get close, you whack them with the A button, and they whack back until one of you dies. (It is possible to retreat if you're not actively attacking, or if a creature surprises you from behind, but they'll certainly get a shot or two in first.) Some opponents can zap you from afar, but you won't encounter them for a while yet. You also can get distance weapons of your own in the form of ExPowers, but they'll be covered later on. DO NOT BUTTON-MASH unless you're dead sure of what you're doing, or you'll be dead, period. The game seems to buffer your button presses during combat, so if you've pressed A a dozen times trying to get the jump on an enemy and suddenly realize "Hey, that last hit hurt, I'd better use a Heal ability," you're out of luck, because it won't let you do anything until your next eleven attacks all register. By that time, either you or it (likely you, if you needed to Heal that badly) will be toast. (If you hit the B button for the Menu JUST AS you're hit by an attack, it seems to break the logjam.) Monsters that attack you do damage, naturally. Certain monster types can also poison you, which (unlike typical RPG poisons) neither kills you outright nor makes your health drain away. Instead, it acts as a temporary freeze on healing; your natural healing ability stops working, and ExPower Heal abilities won't function either. The simplest cure for Poison is time; eventually, it'll wear off, but it can be dangerous if you're being attacked steadily and need a Healing ability badly. Toxin works similarly, but affects both your HPs and EPs. An ExPower ability called Purification knocks out poisons and toxins, but it's an out-of-combat ability at best -- if you're trading hits with an enemy that poisons, you won't have time to act after Purification before you're repoisoned by another hit. At any rate, when you defeat an enemy, you obtain EVPs. A running tally of these points appears on your VMU, if you're not using a cheapo memory card without an LCD screen. (It's also visible when you select Evolution from a monolith.) 3.2 The EVOLUTION command When you select EVOLUTION from a monolith, you are presented with a 10x10 grid to draw in and six colors to choose from. Not surprisingly, these are the same six colors you assigned before your protist was born, and correspond to the same stats. Your task is to draw whatever designs seem appropriate, then to click "Send" to send your creation to your DNA structure. If you have enough EVPs for the operation, the end result will be a new body part of some sort (head, body, arms or legs), which can be equipped later on to make your creature more formidable in some way. The number of EVPs required is listed at the upper right of this screen, in an X/Y format. X is the number of EVPs you have; Y is the number required for a DNA submission. As you create more and more body parts, the number of EVPs required will slowly and steadily increase, but so will the quality of the parts that you generate. The game uses its own algorithms to determine what type of body part is created, and what level that body part will be at. (For example, "Leg 3" is a typical creation, the legs of a Blade Crab. The Origin state contains Head 1, Leg 1, Arm 1 and Body 1, so anything else can likely be viewed as an upgrade.) The parts get more complex (and require more nutrients to equip) as the numbers go up, and the statistic gains from generating body parts also increase with higher-level parts. Imagine that the game has a "perfect" design in mind for Level 30 parts, and that the closer you get to that design, the better your parts will be. By modifying your design slightly, you can often shift the level upwards or downwards as needed. On the other hand, sometimes you can go from a Leg 27 to a Head 2 with one extra dot... Your success also depends heavily on your maturity level, so to speak -- don't expect anything in double-digits right off the bat, and the same design that gives you a Level 10 part in your first handful of attempts may give you a Level 25+ part once you've generated a few dozen parts. Practice makes perfect, and even your "failures" (generating parts you already had) raise your statistics in the process. EVPs are easy to come by, so keep trying. 3.3 Body parts and nutrients When you slay enemies, their corpses are left behind. Move over these to eat them, along with anything else that isn't nailed down on the map. (There are occasional items that may prove poisonous, but the poison is of a similar nature to combat poisons, i.e. it won't kill you.) With every part you eat, you gain nutrients of various types. Common nutrients: WA = Water PROT = Protein CA = Calcium FI = Fiber These nutrients are found in nearly every corpse in varying amounts. Some enemies are richer in one area than others, and many have only one nutrient that they supplement. Keep a balanced diet to keep everything high; you'll need them later. Rare nutrients: HC = Hard Cell NB = Neuro-Bio These nutrients are extremely hard to come by for quite some time. Naturally, they're needed when equipping most of the more powerful body parts. By the time you'll need these, they'll start turning up, but don't expect to find them until you've offed a handful of bosses. When you equip new body parts, you use up nutrients. Each body part will have a list of what nutrients it requires on the MUTATIONS screen, and more powerful body parts require more nutrients to be used. Keep in mind that when your body is healing (recovering lost HPs or EPs), you are using up nutrients in the process. Healing HPs uses Protein (and Water), and recovering EPs uses Fiber (and Calcium). Therefore, if you're fighting a lot and eating tons of corpses but your nutrients keep going down, the game's not broken, it's supposed to happen that way... you only gain nutrients when you're not exerting yourself to the max in the process. 3.4 Equipping created body parts Once you've created some body parts that look useful, you'll need to equip them onto your spindly little body. Go to the menu and select MUTATIONS to do so. Select a body section to change (Head, Arm, Body, Leg) to view a list of available parts. Highlighting a body part will list its nutrient requirements; your available nutrients are in the boxes at the top of this screen. More advanced parts require more nutrients (and more advanced nutrients in many cases) than others. Highlighting a body part will also show its effects on your statistics in the upper left. Take a careful look at its effects, as some body parts have both beneficial and detrimental effects. Parts may raise one stat and lower others, may change your attack values dramatically, or even change your form of attack. (For example, in the upper left of this screen, you'll notice two entries for attack power; one with your hand-to-hand strength, one blank beneath it. The reason for this is because the second entry is for your X-button attack power, i.e. for built-in projectile weapons that don't use EPs. Some arms have projectile attacks, some don't -- but most have only one or the other. Don't get caught pounding the wrong button while a crab's clawing your legs off, because you didn't realize your newly- equipped Sea Worm arms have projectiles instead of bludgeoning power.) You will notice right away that any high-level body parts you have created will be difficult or impossible to use yet. This is intentional. Ever played an RPG where you could use Excalibur, Slayer of All Evil from the beginning instead of being stuck with a dagger, cloth armor and a sack of rice as starting equipment? Not too likely. All will become available with patience, diligence and mind-numbing repetition of effort. If you have sufficient nutrients to swap body parts, you will see your new part replace the old on your pictured creature. Congratulations, you've upgraded your body and become a more dangerous opponent. Good luck trying to stay that way... 3.5 Recovering lost body parts after dying Sooner or later, you're going to get whacked. Probably quite often. When you do, you wake up next to the initial monolith, back in the Origin stage of development. Once you stop screaming, you can relax a bit, as all the body parts you were wearing are not lost permanently. The problem is that the nutrients you used to create them _are_ lost. These are easily recouped by chomping down on the local denizens. Something to keep in mind, however, is that healing HPs uses up Protein and Water and recovering EPs uses up Fiber and Calcium. Therefore, going into dangerous areas makes nutrient-building nearly impossible; either you'll be blasting enemies with ExPowers from a safe distance (using EPs, thus using up Fiber) or you'll be taking damage in hand-to-hand combat (using HPs, thus using up Protein). Stick to areas where you can beat on creatures hand-to-hand and inflict one-hit kills regularly, thus building up all your nutrient pools. HardCell and NeuroBio are hard enough to come by that you can worry about them later. If you have sufficient nutrients, you can go straight to the MUTATIONS screen and put your lost body parts back on. If you don't, start whacking creatures until your nutrient count is high enough. 3.6 Statistic gains from body part creation The color of your design is largely irrelevant when it comes to what TYPE of body part is generated; you can draw the same design in as many colors as you like and it will generally create the same part. Where the colors are important is that evolving body parts increases your stats, _even if you're creating a body part you already have_. Each statistic is related to the color you assigned to it in the beginning of the game. Whenever you submit DNA containing a stat's color, that stat will gain points based on the level of the body part created and what percentage of your design is of that color. (If you draw designs in multiple colors, the stat gains will be divided between the stat-colors you use. If you stick to mainly monochrome designs, the gains will be focused on that one stat. The choice is yours.) If you are drawing in one color, the stat gain will generally be one-half (rounded down) of the level of the generated part. Gains for multicolor designs may vary. These stat bonuses take place even if you cannot currently use the body part you've generated -- a newborn Origin can't possibly have enough of the advanced nutrients to use a Metal Head, for example, but the creature gets the big stat boost from evolving it anyway. There are two things that help keep you from abusing this too dramatically, however: * If you keep sending identical grids to your DNA, the effect will lessen and the body part generated won't be as nice. (You DO keep the previously generated part, mind you -- you'll just be generating Arm 7s instead of Arm 15s in subsequent attempts, for example, and the stat gains will drop accordingly.) If you modify the color of a design but leave it otherwise unchanged and resubmit it, the degradation appears to slow down (if not stop entirely). Thus, if you get a real prize-winner of a body part, you can submit it in every color if you choose to get large all-around stat gains. Then modify it slightly and do it again... and again... and so on, building stats steadily even if you probably can't use the generated parts yet. Resubmitting an identical design (in color and shape) is the real quality-killer. * After a certain number of evolutionary attempts, the number of EVPs required goes up. The first jump is from two to five, then to ten, and so on. You know how RPGs let you beat on easy creatures in the beginning to gain levels, but then raise the experience required so that you have to find and defeat bigger foes to advance? This is the Seventh Cross version of that. One does not become a badass via crab-bashing alone. 3.7 Determining optimum grid patterns for generating body parts Selecting colors for desired stat-gains is relatively straightforward. Figuring out what kinds of body parts you will obtain, on the other hand, is the most complicated and obscure part of Seventh Cross Evolution. If you're looking for a complete explanation, good luck, because there are a lot of rules still waiting to be discovered and/or thoroughly explained. The same designs can return different results at different times. In general, your first few attempts won't generate much of anything. The manual hints that the part-creating process is an artificial life algorithm that "learns" -- in other words, it'll be dumb as a doorstop at first. Draw anything that comes to mind and build whatever stats seem appropriate at first (again, I recommend defense and attack power); if you get something useful, so much the better, but no part-generation is a total failure (since you'll be building stats). Try all sorts of designs -- you might be surprised at what you find. Geometric shapes, mirror-images, symmetrical designs, little random u-shapes here and there, random dots, large blobs, your initials, photo-negative designs (full grids with dots missing to form patterns), you name it... and there is a surprising simplicity to the top-level part designs, if you can find it. (Some hints follow in the Spoiler section at the end of this document.) Your initial aim is to build some arms and legs that your undernourished Origin creature can use -- better legs to give you some much-needed mobility, and better arms to let you beat on the crabs that will be slicing your Origin up repeatedly. Once you can kill the crabs, beetles and other predators in the pond instead of being killed by them, your REAL growth period begins. As frustrating as the initial randomness of parts can be, new parts are cheap at first, so keep trying. Throw a handful of random dots around the grid, see what they generate, then try something different. Trying to get too complicated at first leads to frustration (and to not being able to get out of the damn pond for a while, because you can't find any decent legs. Keep in mind, though, that you can finish the Pond AND the next area without once setting foot on dry land, so fins (or other legs with Sea movement) will do nicely). If a design creates something that's ALMOST useful (say, a leg that's too powerful for you to use right now, or one that's underpowered for your liking), try modifying it just a little bit and resending it. Add some dots, remove some dots, connect the dots, whatever it takes. If you seem to be creating nothing but low-level parts, remember that (a) that's supposed to happen, since you're just starting out at this, and that (b) you NEED low-level parts in the early stages, because you don't get many nutrients from scarfing down sea cucumbers. The idea behind all of this is that there are "ideal" designs for each body part type. Through trial, error and repetition, you will be working towards these designs by figuring out which of your creations are closer to them (and thus get better ratings). Sounds complicated? It is. And still a bit random. Again, don't expect good results for quite some time, but even mediocre results will get you started. 3.7.1 Legs Various types of legs will provide you with different movement types, and also propel you at varying speeds. A fish-tail, for example, will be swifter in the water but won't get you onto dry land. Crab legs can reach lots of places but are slow and unwieldy. Different types will be useful at different points in the game. For reference, I obtained Leg 3 (Blade Crab, a beginner's set of legs providing several movement choices) by scattering some small u-shapes around the grid. Your mileage may vary. 3.7.2 Arms The primary purpose of arms (at least at first) is to bludgeon enemies. Thus, you'll want arms that have some striking power. Arm 3 (High Fish) is a decent starting point for fledgling Origins. Arm 4 (Sea Worm) gives you a projectile weapon instead of hand-to-hand fighting, which can be very useful. 3.7.3 Bodies Bodies tend to affect defense and healing, most increasing both. Exceptionally dense bodies may limit movement speed due to the extra weight. 3.7.4 Heads Get a better head on your shoulders and a whole new world opens up -- ExPower attacks. These are the "magic" of Seventh Cross Evolution, and will quickly become very powerful weapons. Better heads generally grant higher levels of intelligence, which open up ExPower attack forms and increase your EPs (which are necessary to use them). The higher your INT, the more attack forms you will have available to you. Of course, some heads serve different purposes... some may increase your combat ability but be much less intelligent than others. As always, you will tailor your part choices to your current needs. Heads can also boost your E-Attack strength (damage done by magic) and/or your Dexterity. 3.8 ExPower Abilities As you may have noticed by now, attacking hand-to-hand works nicely on smaller creatures, but there are lots of things in the world bigger than you. This is where attacking from a distance can come in handy... not to mention healing. The ExPower abilities (accessed via the ExPower command on the B-button menu) allow you do to a whole lot more than just bludgeon your enemies. Which abilities are available to you depends entirely on your Intelligence level. The higher it is, the more abilities (and more powerful versions of abilities) become active. If your Intelligence drops (say, if you swap out an intelligent head for a dumber-but-tougher one), the ability gains will vanish as well. To use an available ExPower ability, select it from the menu and hit the A button. 3.8.1 Offensive Abilities The attack forms available to you depend on your Intelligence level. Most of these are based on the elements, as is the general rule with RPGs: ATTACK COST IN EPs INT REQUIRED ------------------------------------------- Fire 1st 5 Fire 2nd 60 Fire 3rd 100 Fire Max 150 (increasingly harsh firebolts) Water 1st 8 Water 2nd 30 Water 3rd 75 Water Max 110 (cold and ice -- with an area effect!) Poison 10 Toxin 20 (poison attacks) (Note: Both Poison and Toxin affect YOU. Whether they do anything to the enemy or not is open to debate, but I haven't killed anything with them yet. What's the point? Beats me.) Lightning 1st 12 Lightning 2nd 50 Lightning 3rd 100 Lightning Max 120 (electrical zaps) Wind 1st 3 Wind 2nd 45 Wind 3rd 85 Wind Max 180 (whoosh!) Death Curse 50 (about what it sounds like) Death Curses 150 (ditto) Keep in mind some environmental restrictions on attacks -- for example, Fire attacks aren't possible under water. Lightning 1st is recommended at first, as it conducts nicely in water and is pretty economical for the punch it packs. ExPowers are usable from a distance, i.e. as soon as a lock-on indicator appears with a green arrow. (A red arrow is required for hand-to-hand attacks, and a yellow arrow indicates any arm-based projectiles are in range.) 3.8.2 Defensive Abilities There are a few non-offensive powers that help, as well: POWER COST IN EPs INT REQUIRED ------------------------------------------------ Low Heal 2 (cures some minor damage) Heal 10 (cures a lot more damage) High Heal 40 (cures a load of damage) Full Heal 150 (cures all damage) (NOTE: no Heals can be used when poisoned) Purification 15 (cures poison/toxin) Teleport 5 (warps you to the 1st monument) Force Shield 100 (rapidly depleting shield, stops some incoming damage) Suicidal Explosion 300 (If you're dumb enough to try this, I'm not going to stop you. I suppose as a last-gasp attack vs. a Boss it might have a use, but who'd have 300 EPs left by that point?) 3.8.3 Registering an ExPower ability When you select ExPower from the menu, you can view pages of available powers. Select your favorite with the Y button to highlight it. This power will be activated whenever you hit the Y button in combat (or any time, in the case of defensive powers). You can use a power without registering it, of course, by selecting it with the A button instead of with the Y button. Only one power can be registered to the Y button (hence not needing the menu to be activated) at a time. ////////// 4.0 First Stage - The Pond By now, you're probably getting a little bit bored with the Pond. There are new areas to explore, once you've built yourself up to a point where you can deal with what's between you and them... Enemies: Sea Cucumber (harmless), Slug (harmless), Squid (harmless), Beetle (moderate danger), Crab (as I'm sure you've found, a royal pain at first) 4.1 Becoming the baddest crab-killin' SOB in the whole damn pond The first half-hour of Seventh Cross Evolution can be a very painful experience, particularly if you don't "get" the Evolution process. The preceding sections have (presumably) helped in that regard. Once you've made several laps of the pond, built up your EVPs by whacking helpless sea cucumbers and evolved some new parts, you may be ready for some revenge. It really doesn't matter _what_ parts you generate, as making them in the right colors will let you beat the crabs in any of a number of ways. For example, building up Intelligence and E-Attack will let you blast crabs off the map with Fire 1st (as long as you're not completely underwater). Building up Attack will let even your feeble arm-stubs kill crabs eventually. Building up Defense will give you the needed HPs to survive crab hits while you're doing all that. Let the parts you generate dictate which stats you build in this early stage. If you get a Head you can use that increases Intelligence and/or E-Attack, focus on those two stats and use your ExPowers against the crabs. If you get Arms with good power, concentrate on building up Attack. If you get Legs with Sea mobility, by all means use them -- they'll help you run away from the crabs and get some breathing room, then turn around and let 'em have it. A decent Body will give you the HPs you need to trade hits and survive, letting you take your time building the other stats. A set of Arms with a projectile attack (say, Lvl 4 Sea Worm) will let you crank up your Defense and attack without using EPs. It's better at first to excel in one or two areas than to be well-rounded; you can easily fill in the gaps later on in your development. This is a matter of attrition, not of battle skill. By building stats, you will reach a level where you can kill crabs in one shot and survive a hit from them if they should strike first. There's no big red light that flashes when you're ready; you just have to know when it's time. And when it is, go out and beat the living hell out of every crab you can find. They're yummy, they crunch nicely, they give you protein for body parts, and it's cathartic fun. Enjoy the crustacean carnage until you've satisfied your lust for revenge. You'll need to stay in the Pond for a while anyway, building up body parts (and stats) by generating parts with your hard-earned EVPs. 4.2 Preparations for the cave You may have noticed a large opening at the far end of the Pond area, and perhaps have ventured into it at least once. If you did, you got your head handed to you in a small paper bag unless you ran quickly, because that's where the area boss hangs out. Suffice it to say that you'll want to be well prepared before you tangle with him (AND have a pretty good defense), and that a Head upgrade will come in handy, because ExPower attacks are your keys to success for the near future. 4.3 First Stage Area Boss - The Worm When you think you're ready, register your favorite distance-zap (Lightning 1st works pretty well if you've boosted your E-Attack stat a little) and head for the cave at the far end of the Pond. You'll know you're there when you get a "Now Loading" screen and the music gets more intense. Before you lies a very ugly creature, which looks like a giant worm of some sort. It'll come straight at you like a freight train, and hits very hard. This is why you just read about ExPower attacks -- you want to hit this thing from a DISTANCE. Do so. Fry it with Lightning 1st as fast as it'll let you. (Having built up Intelligence and E-Attack is a prerequisite to this, of course, but this is the easiest way to win this fight.) Of course, it has a distance attack that can sting a bit... but it's not nearly as fearsome as its bite. If you're well-prepared, you can trade shots (preferably getting in the first one) until it falls. I dropped it with three Lightning 1st blasts, taking some damage from its zaps along the way. Keep in mind that if it gets close enough to take a bite, you're likely dead. You may get some mileage out of trying to dodge/back away while you're pounding the Y button -- just don't back out of the cave in the process, or you'll have to reenter and try again. Kill it, and the center monolith (the one with a fossilized fish on it) turns blue. This monolith has the same Evolution and Save options as the first, but adds a new option: TELEPORT. Save if you like, then select this to be transported to a new (and very wet) area to explore. Each monolith here leads to a new area, but you must activate each one by whacking the boss in the previous area (hence the storyline just got a whole lot more linear). The areas are very similar in design to the one you just completed, i.e. area-with-monolith, additional areas, boss area, five or so creature types wandering around, so if subsequent descriptions sound rather brief it's due to repetition. NOTE: Behind the five monoliths in this room is a hole in the wall. Do NOT go in there. Inside is something you don't want any of. Not yet, anyway. Trust me on this one. Side quest. ////////// 5.0 Second Stage - The Sea Teleporting leaves you in a wide-open area containing a monolith (which you can use to teleport back to the worm's room, if you like) and some waist-deep water. A little exploration will demonstrate that the water gets a lot deeper than that. 5.1 Sloping cavern Once you explore past the waist-deep water you start in, you'll find a deep sea cavern with lots of the usual rocks, coral and obstacles. One wall has a deep dark inviting hole in it, which isn't recommended quite yet for exploration. In this area, you'll find: * small fish (easily killed, but hard to catch up to) * sea horses (not too difficult, they don't seem to attack) * small brown manta rays (which bite hard and generally poison) Use Lightning 1st liberally, chow down, run away if you get poisoned (since it's easy to get blindsided in this wide-open area; keep turning at all times) and keep building those body parts. 5.2 Larger sea cavern Going through the hole will lead you to a much larger cavern, with lots of nooks and crannies to examine. Unfortunately, there are also a lot of enemies here, including two new ones that are dangerous: * swordfish (electrically charged, though Lightning does hurt them) * sharks (or big tuna, it's hard to say) (heavy bite, distance attack) Needless to say, continuing to build up your stats is highly recommended. If a stat is quite deficient, use the repeated-generation trick mentioned in the Evolution section (create a high-level body part in one color, change colors, repeat, cycling back and forth between two colors you want to build up) for as long as your EVPs will hold out. Be careful in this area -- it's VERY easy to get attacked from behind, as everything's wide open, and opponents will attack in numbers quite often. There is a pitch-black area at the very bottom of this cavern. Is there a way to light it up? I haven't found any way yet, but... hmmm. (NOTE: If you search around the top of the pitch-black cavern, you may find a steep upward path leading to the usual black gateway to another area. If you get there and hear some intense-sounding music, GET OUT. Another side-quest boss. This is not the usual level boss, and it will tear you to shreds if you get too close.) Somewhere in this cavern is a cliff wall with a gap, similar to the hole that led you into this area (a fairly straight path leading to it, not sloped sharply). Entering that hole leads you to the next boss... and his friends. 5.3 Second Stage Area Boss - The Big Ray When you enter the new area and the boss music starts playing, you may be surprised when you're attacked by some red seahorses. Don't blow your whole wad of EPs on them, as they're just sidekicks. None are that dangerous, but these are there to distract you from the BIG fish that's following them, which is sort of a cross between a manta ray and a swordfish that's been fed a lot of growth hormones. The sidekicks also seem hardier than the average of their ilk, and have some relatively minor pecking attacks (minor except when you let four or five of them get close at once), which can be a pain when it comes to aiming your attacks at the right critter. (Which would be the BIG critter, who's more dangerous than the rest of the combined.) Take out those you can from a distance to begin with, but once you see the big ray approaching pump your best magic (Lightning 2nd works okay, use better if you have it) into him hard. Don't be afraid to use High Heal if you have it, as you'll probably need it to survive the encounter unless you've levelled-up your stats quite a bit. As usual, his hand-to-hand attacks are much stronger than his zaps. (When I beat him, I had Head 12 (Lizard), Arm 7 (Insect), Body 4 (Tube Snake) and Legs 30 (Man). INT was at 182, E-Attack at 167. 371 HP, 403 EP.) A cubbyhole in the bottom of the boss's area leads to yet another monolith, this one in green. When you teleport using it, a short FMV follows. Strangely, it's of a winged angel-being wasting turtles with rays of some sort. This is not typical angel behavior, IMHO, so I'm sure we'll be seeing more of her later. ////////// 6.0 Third Stage - The Jungle 6.1 Entrance area This stage features some drier terrain, though some streams do pass through it. It also features a mushroom near the monolith that gives one of the rarer nutrients, NeuroBio (+1 per mushroom). There is a second mushroom in the next area as well, and you can keep walking back and forth to stock up on NeuroBio if you really want to. New creatures include: * an eel (which stays in the water) * a fin-backed lizard with a distance spit * a frog-like lizard with a poisonous bite This first area isn't that large. Follow a hole in the left cavern wall to reach... 6.2 Second jungle area More creatures join the fun: * a large brown reptile (rather durable, and spits at you) * an ANNOYINGLY fast frog with a fan-neck (spits fire & tongue-lashes) * and more fin-backed lizards. Each area has a doorway to the boss's lair -- one is passable easily, one is through swamp. Whichever way you get there, you'll end up facing... 6.3 Jungle Bosses - Twin Frogs ...two really big frogs. Deal with them as you would any other bosses, i.e. hit hard with magic and don't be afraid to heal yourself when needed. Concentrate on one frog until it's dead, then go after the other. This unlocks yet another monolith (located behind the big mountain at the far end of this area). Once you teleport using this monolith, you get yet another FMV. This time the angel's whacking what look like ostriches. She blows away a handful of them, then vanishes. Again, no rhyme or reason is provided for this yet. ////////// 7.0 Fourth Stage - Badlands Area This area is rather mountainous, with some plants and trees sticking up here and there. Not particularly inviting terrain. The gameplay is about the same as always... wander, wander, whack whack shoot zap, collect corpses, find the exit to the next area. This time there are three areas before you reach the boss, instead of two. 7.1 Mountain Area 1 The hills make it difficult to see where enemies are coming from sometimes. No matter, you should be armed to the teeth by now. * Vultures (more like mini-pterodactyls, really) * Lizards If you have Float movement, you can make your way over to an island with a semi-hidden exit. This will take you directly to Mountain Area 3. 7.2 Mountain Area 2 More of the same, but with some new critters: * Cobras (toxin bite, freezes both HPs and EPs for a while) * Giant Tortoises (I haven't gotten close to one of these yet, but they're rather durable.) These are the turtles you saw the angel-being frying in a previous FMV. 7.3 Mountain Area 3 And still more. The boss is in one of the entrances in the tall spire in the middle; the other entrance takes you back to Mountain Area 2. Now add: * Energy Lizards (these throw an arc of energy your way) 7.4 Area Boss - Fire-Breathing Dino As you walk through this door, you'll hear a rumbling sound that's not very promising. A rather large dinosaur comes charging over, packing fire breath that does a lot of damage. (To say nothing of his bite, naturally.) Take him out as you would any other boss, again... I had Force Shield by this time, so I tried it out and it deflected enough damage to seem helpful. A couple of Lightning Maxes and a hand-to-hand parting shot knocked him over. Next FMV - You guessed it, the angel's gettin' busy again. This time the prey appear to be armor-covered tigers. ////////// 8.0 Fifth Stage - The Valley This looks like a quiet mountain valley -- lots of trees and grass, streams, the kind of place you'd want to go for a picnic. Except for the way the local birds keep dive-bombing you, that is. 8.1 First Area Lots of tall cliffs with narrow paths between them, with grassy areas between them. The exit is tucked into one of those narrow openings. Enemies: * a rather generic bird * a more mechanical-looking bird * a long-necked bird All of these (basically, every enemy in the game at this point) have some sort of distance weapon. I have yet to find any particular vulnerabilities, i.e. whether they're throwing energy or fire or poison or something else seems all the same to you. The birds' corpses finally start providing Hard Cell and Neuro-Bio nutrients on a regular basis, so you can try out some of your more exotic body parts at last. 8.2 Second Area Similar terrain. More enemies: * a very small, seemingly harmless bird * a walking ostrich that shoots electricity (but didn't fare too well against the angel earlier in the game) * more of the mechanical birds The entrance is tucked away in another narrow path, a little more rounded than the one you just came out of. 8.3 Third Area An undefended cave within a mountain with lava running through it. You must have Float movement to pass (which means you need legs like Shell Kite or Evil Wise). 8.4 Fifth Stage Area Boss - Big Mecha-Bird You face off against an entire bird sanctuary here in a glade -- a handful of sidekick birds defending a BIG mecha-bird. The henchmen (henchbirds) fall pretty quickly, but the big bird doesn't. Force Shield will come in quite handy. (Its hand-to-hand attacks don't seem that terrible, so don't be afraid to get close if you're strong that way, saving your EPs for High/Full Heal and Force Shield.) No FMV this time, but the last monolith opens up. ////////// 9.0 Sixth Stage - Barren Future The landscape here is oddly barren, with a few trees and other landmarks here or there. 9.1 Future Grassy Area Just to annoy you, the landscape appears wide-open and available for travel, but invisible force fields wall off this area. Oddly, the enemies seem to have no trouble passing through these barriers. At any rate, the exit is in one of the rocks near the green pools of water, facing away from the monoliths. Enemies include: * An ape that hurls rocks * An aardvark * A kangaroo * A mean-looking black yak 9.2 Future Desert Area Lots of sand dunes, giving the natural creatures some cover. Travel across the desert to find the gateway to the bosses. * An armored tiger (yep, yet another Angel victim come to meet you) * A VERY hardy mantis that I only encountered once. I blasted it a dozen times with my arm weapons, but nothing seemed to drop it. One final Wind Max took it out, and it seemed to give a lot of nutrients. 9.3 Area Bosses - Twin Golems Two big and burly rock golems come at you. Yes, I said two. It is imperative that you take one of them out BEFORE they both start pounding on you, as your Force Shield can't take the strain for long. Once one is dead, the other seems to lose some strength and winning becomes largely academic. Once you have downed the Golems, leave this area and heal (you'll need to build your EPs back up, though you can take your time about it). When you return to the area where you fought the Golems, you receive a strange FMV, and a showdown with... 9.4 Area Boss #2 - Neo Bionoid (Angel) She's been whacking mutated animals left and right, and now she's come for you. Just what you needed... and her rays are just as painful as they looked. Force Shield will keep you around long enough to heal and retaliate. I recommend using your best projectile weapon (Arm-based) so that you can save your EPs for healing and shields, as usual. Keep blasting and she will fall eventually. Once you've defeated the Angel, prepare for a STRANGER FMV. This gives you at least a vague idea of what your prime enemy will be -- or does it? (The storyline gets complicated here; see the Spoilers section for details.) ////////// 10.0 Side Quests 10.1 Giant Butterfly With seemingly nothing left besides the newly-opened cave, I returned to the room with the multiple monoliths (where you first fought the Worm) to explore the area behind it once more. What I found there was a giant butterfly-like insect with some MAJOR destructive powers. It doesn't move until you get close to it, but once you get within range, it starts whipping out multiple energy rays that can blow you away quickly. All I can say is this: beef up your stats severely, keep Force Shield up as much as possible, hit B the instant you are hit (so that you can throw out either another Force Shield or a Heal), stay outside of hand-to-hand range if possible, and blast with a good projectile weapon (I used Evil Wise). Even then, it's a tough fight -- and possibly not a necessary one, though it seemed rich in nutrients once it died. 10.2 Giant Crustacean On my second time through the game, I found yet another "secret" boss. This one was a giant crustacean of some sort, and it killed my new creature with one blow. This one was found by investigating the pitch-black crater in the Sea level; by circling around its edge, I found an upward path leading to yet another water area, this one with the intense boss-music. The crustacean levitated out of a volcano-like structure, then bushwacked me from behind. This monster tends to zap you with powerful Water attacks, and is just as durable (maybe more so) than the butterfly. Even so, follow the same approach (it's a big pile of points, so accumulate a bigger pile and zap it to death with Evil Wise arms) and it should fall. Make sure your Defense and Attack scores are nearly maxxed out. ////////// 11.0 The Hidden Cave With the butterfly out of the way, return to the scene of your duel with the Angel. A cave should have been blasted open by the Angel's fall to earth. Inside is... wait for it... a secret laboratory. 11.1 Plot exposition Access the computer in this room to learn the REAL plot of the game, along with what you are, how you got here and how the planet got this way. There's a lot of redundancy (particularly in the first report), but it does clear up a lot of issues. (Press the A button to speed up the scrolling lines.) So now you know what you are, how you got here and who sent the Neo Bionoid that attacked you. Now what? Well, a mysterious new monolith with a skull on it has appeared next to the cave. Dare you investigate? Of course you will -- you've got nothing better to do. 11.2 Inside the laboratory This leads to some REALLY CREEPY FMVs. By the way, for a game that's been strictly mindless fighting up to this point, there's sure a lot of talking going on right now, isn't there? Once all the chatter ends, blow away the tiger in the room you're in, then wander down the hallway in search of the children the scientist was taking about. A herd of yaks breaks in once you find them, but they should be easy pickings for you by now. You then carry on a conversation with... er... well, you tell me. "The consciousness of the planet" is my best guess. One last herd of animals breaks in (again, no sweat.) Defeat them, and sit back for a bunch of FMVs. And now... the "Game Over" that you were specifically told in the manual would NOT ever arrive, does. Where did THAT come from? ////////// 12.0 Appendices and tables (partial -- submissions welcome) These tables are sketchy at best, for now. I'm filling in the gaps as I play through the game again, but some numbers are easier to figure out than others. 12.1 Nutrient values of non-creature edibles The average food doesn't do a whole hell of a lot, frankly. I've eaten just about everything I've picked up and rarely found anything worth more than an average corpse. About the only notable thing I've come across was the mushroom that grows in each of the Jungle areas; it gives +1 NB and occasionally poisons you in the process, but you can build up a reasonable NB stockpile fairly early in by mindlessly traveling back and forth between their growth sites. Another item in the Jungle seemed to give me some HC nutrients once, but I haven't been able to reproduce that yet (so I'm not sure which one it is). By the time other foods pop up that provide HC and/or NB, the corpses start providing them regularly, so... Suffice it to say that if you see it, eat it. A more thorough overview and/or table of nutrients may appear in a later version of this walkthrough. It's quite possible that the crystals et al. have some mysterious effect and I'm just missing it, of course... 12.2 Appendix of Creatures Take some of these numbers with a grain of salt; there may be a (small) range as to how many nutrients you get from each corpse. Since you're pretty much getting all four basic nutrients from almost any corpse, there's not too much point in being picky; kill and eat everything if you need to stock up on them. By the time you get to the sea, if you can kill creatures without being damaged or churning out EPs constantly you can (slowly) build up some huge reserves. I've also been rather vague as to the attack forms of these monsters, mainly because they all seem to function about the same. No matter what the visual effect is, there are hand-to-hand attacks, distance attacks and the occasional poison or toxin mixed in. There's not much point in saying "look out, this guy shoots electricity" if electricity does the same damage to you as other distance attacks. If an attack does quite a bit more damage than the average of its peers' attacks, I've tried to represent that in the brief description, however. Poison and Toxin mean that you have a chance of getting poisoned/toxined each time you're hit. The EVPs are correct, however. POND CREATURES WA PRO CAL FIB HC NB EVPs Attacks ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Sea Cucumber +10 0 0 +3 0 0 1 none Slug +2 +1 +3 +3 0 0 1 none Beetle +3 +6 +2 +5 0 0 1 pinch Squid +7 +3 +4 +4 0 0 1 twirling stab Crab +3 +3 +10 +6 0 0 2 claws (painful) Worm (boss) +10 +10 +10 +10 0 0 10 zap, (hard!) bite SEA CREATURES WA PRO CAL FIB HC NB EVPs Attacks ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Fish +0 +5 +7 0 0 0 1 none Seahorse +2 0 0 +7 0 0 1 none Brown Ray +3 +3 +3 +3 0 0 2 poison bite Swordfish 0 +3 +2 +2 0 0 2 electric zap, stab Shark 0 +7 +1 +5 0 0 3 (hard!) bite, spit Big Ray (boss) zap, (hard!) stab JUNGLE CREATURES WA PRO CAL FIB HC NB EVPs Attacks ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Eel 1 electric bite Frog Lizard 2 bite Finback Lizard 3 spit, bite Fan-necked Frog 4 tongue lash, spit Reptile 5 bite, spit Killer Frogs (bosses) ? BADLANDS CREATURES WA PRO CAL FIB HC NB EVPs Attacks --------------------------------------------------------------------------- Vulture 3 ? Lizard 4 bite Energy Lizard 5 energy blast Giant Tortoise 6 none (?) Cobra Snake 7 toxin bite Dinosaur (boss) fire breath, bite VALLEY CREATURES WA PRO CAL FIB HC NB EVPs Attacks --------------------------------------------------------------------------- Bird 5 Energy blast Mecha-Bird 7 Energy blast Crane 8 Energy blast Ostrich 10 Electric blast Little Bird 2 none? Huge Mecha-Bird (boss) talons, blast BARREN CREATURES WA PRO CAL FIB HC NB EVPs Attacks --------------------------------------------------------------------------- Aardvark 0 +1 +1 +8 +2 0 6 bite Ape +25 +3 +3 +25 +2 0 10 rock throw, Killer Yak 11 zap, head butt Kangaroo 8 leaping kick Armored Tiger 13 energy, claws Mantis Twin Golems (bosses) Neo Bionoid (big boss) (corpse explodes) damaging rays SIDE QUEST CREATURE WA PRO CAL FIB HC NB EVPs Attacks --------------------------------------------------------------------------- Giant Butterfly MAJOR zap, toxin bite Giant Crustacean 0 0 0 0 100+ 0 0(!) BIG water blast 12.3 (Partial) Catalog of Body Parts 12.3.1 Heads Nutrients Required Bonus Points LEV CREATURE WA PRO CAL FIB HC NB E-AT INT DEX EP ------------------------------------------------------------------------ 1 Origin 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 Low Fish 3 5 2 1 0 0 0 +5 +5 0 3 Desert Bone 2 6 4 2 0 0 +5 +10 +5 0 4 Sea Worm 14 15 6 5 0 0 +20 +25 +3 +5 5 Tube Snake 18 27 11 9 0 0 +10 +45 +10 +15 6 Mollusk Crawler 24 30 8 11 0 0 +25 +30 +25 +25 7 Insect 15 12 21 23 0 0 0 0 +64 0 9 Blade Crab 38 42 52 43 0 0 +35 +75 0 +30 10 High Fish 51 58 46 40 0 0 +60 +65 +45 +50 12 Lizard 48 66 65 54 0 0 +60 +85 +65 +55 15 Laser Horse 82 100 83 92 1 2 +70 +115 +28 +110 16 Cannon Shark 106 55 111 87 3 0 +95 0 0 +145 17 Lynx 105 118 97 91 0 0 +75 +110 +145 +85 23 Monkey 150 150 150 150 0 0 +95 +190 +200 +65 26 Shell Kite 173 176 150 144 54 41 +190 +160 +170 +190 27 Evil Wise 169 184 178 173 50 50 +235 +200 +85 +190 28 Crystal 200 0 0 0 0 200 +250 +225 +180 +250 29 Metal 0 0 200 0 200 20 +210 +240 +240 +200 30 Man 200 200 200 200 0 0 0 +250 +250 0 12.3.2 Arms (+ to AT = primary attack, + to secondary AT = X-button projectile attack) Nutrients Required LEV CREATURE WA PRO CAL FIB HC NB Effects ------------------------------------------------------------------------ 1 Origin 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 High Fish 5 3 3 6 0 0 +14 AT 4 Sea Worm 10 8 6 9 0 0 (+2 secondary AT, no main) 7 Insect 25 32 18 29 0 0 +27 AT 11 Stab Scorpion 34 60 41 68 0 0 +62 AT 15 Hammer Lobster 85 92 88 100 3 0 +117 AT 17 Shell Kite 113 100 122 98 2 2 +132 AT 20 Cannon Shark 130 112 127 130 11 7 (+67 secondary AT, no main) 21 Hammer Hare 121 133 108 136 0 15 +147 AT 22 Bacillus Golem 114 138 127 142 17 23 (+87 secondary AT, no main) 24 Bio Racer 98 129 142 151 50 42 +217 AT 25 Demon 165 155 165 190 80 80 +187 AT, +202 secondary AT 27 Evil Wise 174 168 176 183 50 50 (+147 secondary AT, no main) 28 Metal 0 0 200 0 200 20 +247 AT 30 Man 200 200 200 200 0 0 +97 AT, +57 secondary AT 12.3.3 Bodies (* = slows movement) Nutrients Required LEV CREATURE WA PRO CAL FIB HC NB Effects ------------------------------------------------------------------------ 1 Origin 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 Low Fish 4 2 2 0 0 0 +10 DEF, +10 HEAL, +20 HP 4 Tube Snake 10 5 4 3 0 0 +15 DEF, +20 HEAL, +25 HP 7 Frog 33 28 14 16 0 0 +20 DEF, +80 HEAL, +65 HP 10 Stab Scorpion 44 49 24 25 0 0 +70 DEF, +35 HEAL, +70 HP 13* Bacillus Golem 76 64 68 62 0 0 +90 DEF, +90 HEAL, +105 HP 19 Electric Mollusk 130 121 104 112 0 8 +80 DEF,+220 HEAL, +185 HP 23 Monkey 140 140 140 140 0 0 +95 DEF,+160 HEAL, +230 HP 25 Evil Wise 182 163 146 148 50 50 +160 DEF,+190 HEAL,+215 HP 26 Demon 190 175 175 155 90 90 +210 DEF,+200 HEAL,+230 HP 27 Bio Racer 172 142 181 164 46 52 +200 DEF,+145 HEAL,+245 HP 28 Crystal 200 0 0 0 0 200 +225 DEF, +200 HP 29 Metal 0 0 200 0 200 20 +250 DEF, +240 HP 12.3.4 Legs Fd = Ford Pln = Plain Nutrients Required Swm = Swamp Slp = Slope LEV CREATURE WA PRO CAL FIB HC NB Movement ------------------------------------------------------------------------ 1 Origin 0 0 0 0 0 0 MOV 2; Fd 2 Low Fish 3 2 4 0 0 0 MOV 1; Fd Sea 3 Blade Crab 4 3 5 1 0 0 MOV 1; Fd Pln Sea 4 High Fish 10 4 3 2 0 0 MOV 2; Fd Sea 5 Bacillus Golem 9 10 13 5 0 0 MOV 1; Fd Pln Swm 7 Sea Worm 20 23 27 16 0 0 MOV 2; Fd Sea 8 Stab Scorpion 15 31 32 21 0 0 MOV 1; Fd Pln Swm 10 Mollusk Crawler 32 49 52 36 0 0 MOV 1; Fd Pln Sea Swm 11 Electric Mollusk 51 55 48 40 0 0 MOV 2; Fd Pln Sea 14 Hammer Lobster 86 84 95 78 1 0 MOV 1; Fd Pln Slp Swm 16 Cannon Shark 104 87 116 84 2 0 MOV 1; Fd Pln Slp Swm 18 Lizard Rex 108 112 123 98 0 0 MOV 2; Fd Pln Slp Swm 19 Monkey 120 120 120 120 0 0 MOV 2; Fd Pln Slp Swm 20 Lynx 118 125 129 114 0 0 MOV 2; Fd Pln Slp 22 Giga Ork 132 144 145 123 15 7 MOV 2; Fd Pln Slp Swm 23 Shell Kite 160 152 118 106 21 24 MOV 2; All 24 Laser Horse 141 148 152 133 26 18 MOV 3; Fd Pln 25 Demon 165 165 190 155 70 70 MOV 2; All but Float 26 Bio Racer 173 177 184 172 42 56 MOV 4; Fd Pln 27 Crystal 200 0 0 0 0 200 MOV 2; All but Float 28 Metal 0 0 200 0 200 20 MOV 3; All but Float 29 Evil Wise 193 196 230 191 60 60 MOV 3; All 30 Man 200 200 200 200 0 0 MOV 2; All but Float 12.4 Frequently Asked Questions A few answers, to head off what will likely be the most common questions: Q1: I'm a newborn protist. How do I get out of the Pond? A1: You don't, as a protist. You're stuck in shallow water until you grow bigger. Hint: KEEP EATING until you've grown three times. Q2: I keep getting killed by the crabs... HELP ME! A2: If ever there was a common cry for help in this game, it's this. First off, if you're a protist, just KEEP EATING. Ignore the crabs, take laps of your area as quickly as you can, dodge ANYTHING that's moving and eat anything that's not and isn't part of the terrain. Big globs of floating algae, seaweed, anything you can get to. There will be food you can't reach yet (just out of the water, or in deeper water), but as long as you KEEP MOVING the crabs won't catch up to you unless you blunder into one or run into a dead end with one nearby. Trust me, you can grow to be an Origin creature in about two minutes once you know what's edible and will help you grow. Now, when you're an Origin, you're still quite vulnerable. So here's how it works -- KEEP TAKING LAPS. Find the Sea Cucumbers and Slugs (little brown globs that don't move much) along the floor of the pond. Run up, whack them, eat the corpse, and KEEP MOVING. Do it twice. You can even get killed in the meantime without penalty, as you don't lose EVPs when you die. Whenever you've got two or more EVPs, GO TO THE MONOLITH. Select the Evolution command, and pick the color you selected for Defense. Put some random dots, a design, or whatever your heart desires on the grid in the Defense color, then click Send. (Do it all in that one color, though; that'll make all the stat bonuses go to the one stat.) It doesn't matter much what you get, as this early in the process it's probably _something_ you can equip. Either way, you gained Defense points by doing it. Go back out there, kill two more creatures, return and do it again, modifying your design in some way to see what comes up this time, and so on until you have _something_ you can use. If you keep getting the same part over and over again, modify your design dramatically just to get something different. (It doesn't really matter much what parts you get, as long as they're of a low enough level for you to equip; almost anything will help.) By building up Defense, you should be able to survive one crab hit before long. Now, you need an attack form, and that's going to depend on what kind of parts you can equip. If you're lucky enough to get Arms that can fire projectiles, there's your attack form; build up your Attack rating by generating more parts and using that color instead. (Pick a design that's returned the highest level part so far, no matter what the part is. Put it in your Attack color and click Send. Now add or subtract one or two dots and do it again; you'll likely get an identical part and get that high stat boost again. Repeat as needed.) If you get Arms that add to your hand-to-hand rating, focus on Attack there as well. You may need more Defense if you go that route, since you're more likely to take damage fighting up close. If you get a Head that increases your Intelligence, E-Attack and EPs, build up those stats instead of Attack and start blasting crabs with Fire 1st. It may take two hits to kill one, but EPs recharge quickly at this point. Just keep your distance from creatures and pepper them with firebolts until you have a ton of EVPs available. If you get a Body that builds your Defense and/or Heal, that's that much less time you have to spend right now building those up. Modify your designs and go for something else. Legs don't help that much, though you'll at least want legs that either (a) get you up onto land or (b) let you explore the deeper water. This extra mobility makes staying at a distance from beetles and crabs so much easier... You'll now have one good attack form and a much-improved HP and Defense rating. This should make you more than capable of taking crabs out one at a time. Once you can do that, you're the deadliest creature in the pond, and should have no trouble racking up enough EVPs to build your stats even higher, making the crabs effortless kills for you. Five or ten minutes. That's all. It's REALLY not that hard once you start generating parts at every opportunity, and make sure that you always draw in one single color to maximise the statistic gains there. By the way, if you need to stop and heal, remember that the crabs make noise. If you're hurt and standing still and you hear noise, there's a crab coming for you, so RUN! (Beetles are pretty quiet, though.) Q3: What design do I use to get Part X? A3: Oh, I could be here all day trying to answer this, but it won't do much good. What parts you obtain for specific designs are subject to all sorts of variables, and your creature's maturity level (i.e. how much it costs to evolve, how strong it is already, etc.) seems to play a significant role. The same design may create different parts at different points in your creature's development. If you keep generating the same part (or type of part), vary your designs. If you're trying dots in one place, try big blobs somewhere else. Try circles or squares or lines in a way you haven't before. Draw your favorite national flag. You can't go wrong experimenting, and as little effort as it takes to generate EVPs, there's no reason NOT to play around. If you have a specific part and want the same type at a lower or higher level, don't alter your design too much; you're on the right track. Add dots or lines, connect the dots, remove a couple of dots, and see what happens. The odds are good you'll get something similar. Q4: Why are my nutrients dropping to zero, even though I'm eating corpses for everything I kill? A4: Remember that the healing process uses up nutrients, even if you're just standing around doing nothing while it happens. This ALSO applies to regenerating EPs, so if you're running around zapping everything with Lightning, your EPs will be in a constant state of recharge and your nutrients will suffer. Beating on creatures hand-to-hand doesn't cost anything, as long as you're not taking damage in the process. Q5: What does (Food X, or Crystal Y) do? A5: Beats me. They don't seem to affect much of anything -- they may give some nutrients, but that's about it. Other than nutrients, I don't think there's anything you can eat that'll serve as a "powerup" of any sort. Some foods may poison you, though they seem to do it randomly. Q6: How can I beat (Boss X)? A6: The bosses are the only monsters in the game you really need to worry about, if you're building your stats (offense AND defense) properly. And even then, they're not that dangerous. If a boss has sidekicks, kill them first if the boss is still out of range. If the boss closes in, kill the boss first (it's the most deadly by far), but make sure you're aiming at the right creature before you start burning major EPs on ExPowers. If a boss comes in pairs (the Frogs or Golems), KILL ONE QUICKLY by throwing everything you have at it. One at a time, you can beat anything. Two at a time, you'll be attacked constantly with little chance to heal. High-level bosses will require Force Shield for easier living. Keep building your Intelligence until it becomes available, and your E-Attack for more EPs with which to cast it. Rely more on standard attacks than ExPowers for offense, so that you can heal and shield yourself with your EPs instead. Q7: What's in that pitch-black area in the Sea? A7: Nothing, as far as I can tell. There's a side-quest boss NEAR there, through an exit that's up a steep path near the top of the black crater... Q8: What are the best parts? A8: I haven't found all of them yet, so I can't guess at the ones I haven't generated. The Man parts (Level 30) aren't THAT hard to generate (in my experience, anyway) and have the advantage that they don't require any HardCell or NeuroBio nutrients to create -- thus, you'll be able to use them much earlier than most other "advanced" parts. If you have the HC and NB to burn, the Metal or Crystal Heads, the Evil Wise Arms (powerful distance weapon w/no EPs used), the Demon Body (high requirements but major bonuses) and the Evil Wise Legs (high speed and all-terrain movement) are my current favorites. Q9: Does the ending vary any if you're 100% human (i.e. you have all four Man parts equipped)? A9: Beats me. I haven't generated the Level 30 Body yet. Q10: How many hit points does Monster X have? A10: Buy me a Game Shark and I'll try and find out. If you have questions that this walkthrough doesn't answer, email me ( and I'll try and figure them out. ////////// 13.0 Spoilers 13.1 Storyline spoilers So you're wondering what this game is all about... Through the majority of the game, there is precisely zero contact with human beings. It's all you, mutating animal on the move, whacking other animals and building your strength. At intervals, however, you view FMV clips of a winged angel frying animals with energy rays, then disappearing. You don't get much of a clue as to what she's up to or who put her there until you've beaten the last of the six area bosses, at which point a spaceship flies in, challenges you and drops the angel in your path. If you get past her (Force Shield is your friend), you get access to a room that fills in almost all the storyline gaps. It seems that the world as we know it ended in 2006, when an earthquake opened up Antarctic ice caps and released a red cloud containing a killer virus. The governments of the world figured that this was some country's hidden biological weapon stockpile and opened fire with nuclear weapons, but found out they were wrong only after both the nukes and the virus had decimated the Earth's population. The survivors formed a central government for the world, then voted as to what would be the proper next step to take. Two projects were considered, with about a 70/30 split in support. The larger group supported the Earth Rescue Project, which reasoned that it would take 500+ years for Earth to return to its natural state (flushing out all the radiation, pollution, viruses, etc.), so they packed the remains of humanity onto a spaceship and took off for outer space. A robotic vessel remained, which controlled a guardian angel (so to speak) called a Neo Bionoid which would go forth and exterminate all signs of man's tampering with nature (genetically altered animals, mutations, that sort of thing). The smaller group's alternative was known as the Seventh Cross project. This group reasoned that waiting hundreds of years for Earth to return to a suitable environment wasn't a viable option, when they could genetically engineer humans to survive in the environment as-is. In secret, some scientists stayed behind and set this plan into motion by releasing proto-human organisms with specially modified DNA into the world -- such as a certain protist you've come to know and love. The organisms were designed to be able to evolve and mutate extremely rapidly so as to be able to adapt to any environment and conquer any opposition. Six "test areas" were prepared in which the organisms could grow, evolve and prosper; the monoliths in each of these not only enabled the evolutionary process, but also captured snapshots/samples of the organisms' DNA for computer analysis. This data from the human-but-also-much-more organisms would then be applied to "pure" humans, so as to grant them the ability to adapt to any environment and return to Earthly life. This is what you are told after accessing the "skull" monolith, waking up from your teleportation dangling in the secret laboratory and meeting scientists who greet you with "Hi, we're your creators." By defeating the Neo Bionoid, you've essentially guaranteed the success of the Seventh Cross Project, as that was the enforcer of the Earth Rescue Project's efforts to eliminate all non-native life. You'd (sort of) been doing its job all along, whacking mutated animals left and right, but since you're now pretty much the most perfect example of a dangerous mutation on the loose, it came after you (and failed, if you've reached this point in the story). Of course, it's not all pleasantries with your creators, as you overhear them discussing what to do with "that guinea pig" (you) now that the research has been completed. Phrases like "terminate it" and "too dangerous to live" come up as they discuss your fate. Since you're hanging there in suspended animation, however, there's not too much you can do to save yourself. About that time, however, another earthquake rocks the planet, and MORE of the mysterious red gas (the virus that started it all) is ejected into the atmosphere. FMV closeups show various remaining mutant animals inhaling the gas and preparing to go postal... In a charmingly silly bit of plot exposition, one of the scientists wonders aloud why the virus has reemerged now. "It's almost as if the planet itself has a consciousness..." Yeah, that's the logical leap _I'd_ have made... except that it turns out to be CORRECT later on. The reprogrammed animals come bursting into the lab (conveniently, the earthquake just happened to break the defense mechanisms the lab had against them) and tear the scientists to shreds. Right before an armored tiger gets the last one, he sets you free and begs you to rescue the children elsewhere in the complex. Oh, so now you're humanity's defender, right after the first humans you've ever met were talking about killing you off? Dutifully, you travel down the hallway and find the room the kids are hiding in. Some yaks break in, you wipe them out, and the screen turns black; you are now apparently having a CONVERSATION (albeit a one-sided one, as you don't speak) with the consciousness of the Earth. It discusses why it doesn't consider you the correct future path for the world's inhabitants, it asks you why you're defending the humans, and then shuts up as another pack of animals comes in. Once they're gone (which should be a snap if you took out the Bionoid), the voice says "I feel that they will be drawn to you," roughly paraphrased, and you COLLAPSE. You see the children surround your misshapen figure, and... the credits roll. Once the credits finish, you then see your body hanging up on the wall in a church, as the children you saved pray to you. Your name is written on the bottom of the shrine... how they knew what it was, since YOU DON'T TALK, is open to debate. The words "The End" then appear. "The End?" What happened to that bit about "there is no point at which the game is over" in the manual? Apparently, they were yanking our chains with that comment (pity, as it's one of the few sentences in the manual that makes much sense). 13.2 Small hints regarding evolution/body part generation I got the best parts (Level 30 - Man) for the most part by putting only ONE DOT on the grid, right at the center of the 10x10 grid. This was after I'd been playing for a while, so don't expect Lvl 30 parts right off the bat, but the results were pretty dramatic in later stages. Of the four squares in the center of the grid, only the lower-left one didn't seem to help much; putting dots in one or two of the others seemed to kick out 30s on a regular basis. In general, you don't have to be that creative once you're a little way into the game. Create a display with a dot or two in the middle and a couple of random dots strewn around, send it, then add one dot somewhere and resubmit. And repeat. Your stats should go skyrocketing in short order. Alternatively, try the same display in all six colors (one at a time, six submissions) to boost all your stats, then modify it slightly and keep changing colors until you're out of EVPs. Once you've been playing for a while, the numbers seem to start climbing no matter what you draw... 13.3 Unanswered questions (or: help me out here) First off, there are still some gaps in the tables. (A lot of gaps.) I will be working to try and get all 30 of each body part type, and put in more on food effects, nutrients from corpses, etc. I have reason to believe that there may be more than one ending to the US version of this game, from some discussions I found on DejaNews. If anyone can confirm this, let me know. I find it hard to believe that there were side-quest bosses in the first two levels, but none thereafter. Anyone else found more? 13.4 Closing thoughts This game is not NEARLY as hard as many have made it out to be. The sticking point is figuring out the early going, working out what's edible, what to avoid and how to mutate your body into something useful. Once you get a rudimentary set of body parts together that can kill off the crabs (and survive occasional hits from them), all you have to do is boost your Intelligence up to where your ExPower abilities start multiplying and you're set for the rest of the game. The enemies in each area are very generic, and spending a little time levelling-up your stats (e.g. killing a bunch of them to build EVPs, then using those to create body parts with high levels that'll send your stats skyrocketing) will make virtually any opponent in the game (bosses or not) easy to beat. It only takes two EVPs at first (that's two Sea Cucumbers or Slugs, which have no defenses) to increase your stats, and since you know how to increase the specific stats you need, even your "failures" (making parts you already have or can't use) make you more dangerous and less vulnerable to the crabs. Build up Defense and Attack and you may not even NEED new body parts to start crab-hunting, and whatever useful parts you generate simply add icing to the cake. Getting a set of legs in the beginning that'll get you out of the pond may be frustrating (you're dabbling at random, so getting 4,586 Legs and Heads and Bodies before you get useful Arms is quite possible), but evolution is so cheap in the early going that you can have a grand old time whacking crabs until you get what you need. (You don't need legs capable of land to reach the Worm boss or the next level -- just something capable of Sea movement. The early game is a SNAP once you know how to get new body parts and learn the terrain; dying doesn't penalize you until you've started using mutations, you'll gain enough nutrients from corpses to easily restore early mutations if the crabs do get you, and every part you generate increases whatever stats you desire the most. It's not a case of extreme difficulty, just of obscurity; a little understanding reduces the game to an exercise in slashing through opponents. When you've got a reasonable part-kit constructed, the main danger is in getting bored through the repetition factor. You will spend lots of time whacking the same animals over and over while exploring, building up nutrients, healing and/or just building EVPs so you can evolve yourself some more. Generating a level 25+ body part over and over in various colors makes building stats a piece of cake (more busywork than anything else), and the bosses are simply big monsters that hit harder; no brainpower is required, other than some intelligent use of your ExPower abilities for later ones. The Giant Butterfly is quite dangerous, but as far as I know it's an optional enemy. Is it worth playing all the way through this game? I think so, even though the ending seems extremely tacked-on. The fun is in playing around with your monster's components and trying to get all the parts, and that's quite a task in itself. Anyway, that's my story and I'm stickin' to it. If you find anything interesting that I haven't covered so far (or have better explanations for body part generation algorithms), mail me. ----------------------------------------------------------------------- Jeff Coleburn your message here, low rates -----------------------------------------------------------------------</p>