In this video I take a trip from the start to finish without losing a life playing the game on my original Nintendo entertainment system. Ironically I never seem to find any of those Astyanax 1 up dolls along the way when I do a no death run. It doesn’t really matter though, since you will have around a million points by the end of the game getting your extra life count up to eight in reserve. In this run I include all of the story segments starting at the beginning of the game and going through to the end.
For those viewers who would like to skip to various sections of the video, I have included some time stamps below for each of the rounds:
In the video you will notice that magic helps in places where enemy placement is designed to push your character into the nearby pit. For this reason, I choose to change my magic from the default fireball to Bind after the first round boss, Caesar. I have completed no death runs without using spells but this saves time since you can walkthrough enemies while the spell is active instead of wasting time positioning yourself for the perfect jump. I return my spell selection to the fireball when I reach the last tower level.
Even though the video covers most of the tactics used to get through the levels, deal with mini bosses and major bosses; I wanted to mention some tactics and secrets I discovered that seem to work well for me.
One interesting secret is the spawning item totem poles which appear if you back track in certain areas. These won’t normally appear the first time you walk by but will be there if you retrace your steps after scrolling the screen so far. Sometimes you can see these briefly appear as the screen scrolls past their spawn point. There are probably more areas in the game where this occurs but I will mention the instance that I have found.
The first place where this happens is near the end of Round 6-1 where you see the sky in the background after exiting the maze. As you walk down the steps and go toward the area where you see the pink economy sized version of thorn dog you can turn around and find two additional item totem poles spawn.
The other place would be at the top of the tower in round 6-2 in the stretch right before you engage Blackhorn. The trick is to go to the right until you see the second item totem and then turn back around. The totem that spawns will contain a bash upgrade. The other normal items will be a full life potion and a power upgrade.
Automatic item usage is another phenomenon that I like to utilize. After you defeat the mini boss your character will automatically walk off the screen to the right. Sometimes there will be an item totem at the end of the level designed to help you with the mini boss and most of the time it will be a life potion which you may not need right away. What I like to do is spawn the item and then take the fight to the left of the item. This way once you defeat the boss, the character will be forced to walk by the life item and pick it up on his way off the screen replenishing any lost hit which might have occurred during the battle. This is especially useful during your skirmish against the first form of Blackthorn before facing the dragon form.
I wanted to make mention of the final bout with Blackthorn in his dragon form. Normally he likes to abuse the bind spell when you hack him down to his red dragon form. Any easy way to tackle him is to continuously chop away at the heart on his chest with bash and conserve your magic. Once he turns yellow continue to abide your time and chip away at his exposed chest gem. You will be able to gage when he is getting close to turning red. The gem on his chest is only exposed for a certain amount of time before it goes away and I like to make his transition to red while there is still time to spare on the gems active time. When you feel the time is right and you strike the blow which puts the dragon into the red form, immediately cast two fireball blasts as soon as you land in succession. The dragon will dies without having a chance to freeze you. At this point you will probably have you sword if you are having a good run and will only get two fireball blasts from your magic meter but that is just enough to take out the red form without any frustration.