Hydorah Walkthrough — a strategy guide (spoiler)
Hydorah is a shoot-them-up recently released by an amateur. The only difference between this game and a professional game is that the author isn't getting paid for it. The game is absolutely brilliant, with graphics that will remind you of shoot-them-ups of yore, great music that actually follows the action, and difficulty to frustrate a Zen monk.
As I advanced through the game, every time I finished a level or found some brilliant strategy to get rid of a boss, I felt like shouting and sharing it with the world, but couldn't really find a forum or anything about it. I decided to put my notes together into this little strategy guide. Feel free to add your own discoveries in the comment section, I'll integrate them into the article.
This only compiles strategies, such as which levels are best played first, how to beat bosses, etc. You won't find any actual cheats on this page. However, some players consider that finding strategies is an important part of the game, so be aware that some will consider this information a spoiler. You don't have to read it!
Also, I will name bosses for easy reference. I try to find names that are descriptive enough that someone who has played the game knows which boss I'm talking about. However the names aren't official at all and maybe the author has names of its own.
The levels are listed in the order I would advise. If you find them too hard, you can still finish the game skipping Path of Scylla, Moa-Urdz, Rubinia and Black Gate — this will make the last level a little harder, but still achievable. Technically you could also skip Dunarys, but getting the Scorts is so useful that it is worth spending the effort to finish that one. Finishing the game without Scorts and a challenge and a half (I haven't even come close) (see below).
Finally, people have posted full videos of the levels on Youtube, it's also worth having a look at them if you're stuck. Some strategies presented here are not used in the videos though.
Something not mentioned in the game manual: in the weapon selection screen, if you chose the wrong weapon, you can come back to the previous choice by pressing alt or X.
Once you have collected all the secrets, there is a bug: the game won't work well if you don't visit the Secrets menu before starting a game. To go back to playing normal games, go remove some secrets in the key_config.ini file (stored wherever you installed the game).
Missiles are not really useful at this stage of the game, it is probably more efficient to collect Turbos first.
The asteroid field
Destroy as many asteroids as possible before entering the field, for example shoot at the top, then move back to the bottom entrance. The idea is to clear as much space as possible before entering the field.
There is a strategy to kill it quite fast, but it's somewhat risky: after the boss opens its tentacles, move right in front of its face. Its tentacles will close behind you, and you can shoot it continuously. As soon as it opens its tentacles again, go back to avoid the laser bubbles.
Collect the Astronaut at the beginning — Secret!
Shoot the bottom bit first, then the top bit, then you can just remain at the top of the screen and bomb the middle.
This robot that takes half the screen is just scary. It should be, it's very hard when you get there for the first time.
Wall-E attacks as follows: Multiple green laser shots, followed by an aimed bullet shot from the turret down below the robot, then jump to drop rocks, then it enters a loop of: Multiple laser shots, aimed turret shot, multiple laser shots, aimed shot, jump and rock dropping (detail sequence reported by Marc). His target area is the head.
There are two main methods to kill Wall-E's head: You can simply remain to the left of the screen and avoid all the shots. Once you become familiar with the patterns, it's actually fairly easy. Another method is to go on top of his head, where you can shoot and bomb it at the same time, while being too high for the green lasers to reach you. However this means you need to be prompt when he jumps to drop stalagmites, as you'll be in a very bad position to avoid that.
Once Wall-E starts bleeding to death, you need to shoot his neck. Basically try to remain at his neck level and above, as your shots will destroy the blood. Also, contrary to some other levels, blood drops that leave the screen do not come back — there is no need to keep them in mind, just focus on avoiding what's coming at you from the screen.
After killing Wall-E is a good place to save (or maybe after Deep Space).
Nothing to say here. Upgrade your Wide shot.
The Sand Worm has comes into the screen, turns around a few times. It shoots from its head and tail at regular intervals. Then it goes back into the sand, and fireworks come up.
Something important to realise about the Sand Worm is that it doesn't give a damn whether you're here or not: it doesn't try to kill you, it doesn't aim at you, it just does its own thing.
You need to shoot its head. I like to try and get as close as possible and also drop bombs on its head, then hide inside the loops it creates, as its shots won't get you there. Another method is to simply remain on the left and avoid the shots. Altogether an easy boss.
The Red-eye People room
Once inside the temple, just after the lifts take you up a bit, you reach a room filled with red-eyed, white creatures that move left and right. Do not try to shoot them, as they are immortal and move faster when you touch them. Instead just navigate your way through them without touching any of them.Just after this room, there is a passage down that takes you to a little room with an extra life. Alternatively, you can go straight and collect the Tulip Secret, which is protected by a force-field. You'll need to have a shield and lose it to collect the flower. (People on the Internet say that you can also blast the flower with a special weapon: it doesn't work with the Turriwall, so I guess it may work with the Missile but I haven't tried it.)
Nothing to say here. Just stay out of the way of the falling rocks!
Collect your new weapon: Scorts! Scorts are little ships that fly above and below you. They are invulnerable, absorb many kind of shots, and deal damages to most enemies that they touch. When you get your secondary weapon to 5, they start shooting with a cut-down version of your primary weapon. When you get them to 10, you get 4 of them. Scorts are a pivotal part of beating several bosses, and we do Dunarys as soon as possible just to collect them.
A hidden feature (or a bug?) of the game allows you to exert some control over the position of the Scorts. If you press 'S' then Left arrow, your Scorts will go in front of you. If you press 'A' then Right arrow, they will go behind you. While it's fun to play with this feature, it's impractical for most levels. This is however very useful to beat some bosses.
Use your freshly acquired Scorts, try to get them to 10. I prefer the Spread shot, but it doesn't matter much.
Place yourself just above the Flower. If your Scorts are at least 5, they will shoot the Flower, otherwise if you are close enough the Scort gives damage directly. You just need to keep watch for the roots and pollen pellets, it's usually pretty simple.
New Weapon: Twin bombs. Never used them.
VerminestUse Scorts. I prefer the Spread shot, but it doesn't matter much.
Careful, it comes in from the left. Stay in the bottom left quarter of the screen. If you have Scorts at 10, just stay very still and shoot continually. The Queen has two attack patterns: she lays bugs, and she sends darts. Thing is, your scorts will shoot the bugs before they get to you, and no matter how complicated the dart pattern is, it's designed to miss the point you are at when it's shot. So as long as you don't move, the darts will miss you.
New weapon: Laser. It's a very good one, as it goes through enemies and can kill entire groups in one shot. It'll be our weapon of choice until we get to the Vulcan.
This is a good place to save, as the next level is a big one.
This is one of the most epic levels in the game. Wield Lasers, Scorts and Turriwall. You'll need the Turriwall in the third sequence to cross the rains of bullets
I don't really have a strategy for any bosses here, except for the giant laser: killing the little blue butterflies is more important than killing the big guns, as their bullets end up being more dangerous.
After the giant laser, once you enter the War core, I find it best to go down first to destroy the large turret, then right back up again. Potentially I can get the extra life, but more importantly that allows to destroy all the turrets, which avoids unfortunate projectiles to come and get you while you're in corridors where you can't avoid them.
Once you have destroyed the War core, wait a dozen seconds or so: a trapdoor will open in the floor, opening a corridor to the Shiny Egg Secret.
You get two save options, it's a good idea to use one after this long, hard level.
Nothing to say here. Collect the Tail weapon, which will be useful for the Red Eden boss.
Untulia is a planet of ice. The biggest difficulty of the level is a section where ice reconstitutes. Stop shooting to see where the safe areas within the ice are, shoot to destroy the ice and move to the next safe area. I find Scorts are useful to protect yourself against enemies that attack you in the midst of the ice. Turriwalls can also help go through. Either way, you need to be swift and precise.
Just after the second zone of ice, you'll notice the fourth Secret: a Real Pink Elephant, trapped in ice. You can blow the ice by shooting at it (or turriwall it), freeing the Elephant for easy collection.
This boss basically just jumps around and throws rocks around. There is nothing to it, it's easy to avoid the shots. You need to shoot its head while it's firing, I think it's invulnerable while it's drilling, but I'm not sure.
Killing Driller gives you the new power Stealth, which makes you invincible for a few seconds.
Use Laser and Tail. The Tail comes in handy to destroy the boss.
First, take out the first two turrets with your lasers. Then move over the main turret, and bomb the other set of turrets with the Tail (that's why we use Tail rather than Scorts in this level — it's very hard to destroy those turrets with Scorts). Destroy the main turret by shooting its base when it's raising (careful, it shoots at you). Then the Panzer opens. Remain to its left and shoot the core when you get a line of fire. As soon as it starts shooting, go up then right, turning clockwise around the boss. When it stops shooting and closes, go back to starting position on the left, waiting for it to open and start again until it dies.
Panzer gives you the Vulcan, an awesome weapon which looks like the original laser, but shoots faster, deals more damage, and combines wide angle shots when you upgrade it to 5 and 10. We clear Red Eden first so we have the Vulcan to follow the Path of Scylla (we'll need it — plus, that gives us the opportunity to upgrade it before entering the last levels.)
Path of Scylla deserves a save before trying it.
Path of Scylla
This level is fucking awful. Just deal with it. I loved it. I still have nightmares about moray eels. Use the Vulcan, Scorts, and Stealth.
You'll probably get frustrated with this level, so don't hesitate to start practicing Rubinia and No Mercy at the same time.
Ideally your Scorts will be already at 10 from the previous levels, so upgrade the Vulcan as soon as possible.
In the first sequence, you'll notice that anemones don't like to be shot at. I guess one possible strategy is to go through without firing a shot and just avoiding the blue stars, but I'm not convinced. I just destroy the anemones from afar, sometimes I'll stop shooting for a second to let the air (well, the water actually) clear up a little.
In the second sequence, the roof and ceiling start moving. While impressive, it's not actually that bad. You have to notice however, that at some points part of the path are completely crushed, so you have to time your movements.
Then you get to some kind of big boss fish. And an eel eats it. And you go down the eel pit. Now, the eel pit is a world of its own. The eels are indestructible, so don't waste your time shooting them. Eels always peek before actually attacking. Then either they shoot some green shots, or they jump out to catch you. The strategy is to remain fairly close to the middle, so you avoid getting killed when they peek. Then as soon as one peeks, run just above or underneath from where it came out, or possibly to the other side of the pit, so it can't reach you. Note that you can shoot and destroy the green shots.
Even so, this passage is very, very hard, and you'll probably have to memorise the whole lot. Stealth may help, too.
Once you reach the bottom of the pit (which really is not that dip, the sequence probably goes for only thirty or so seconds, even if it will take you hours to master) the scrolling stops and you can escape to the boss.
The Orb (2)
Just stay in the mouth of the cave on the left, and destroy the orb. Then shoot the bubbles and avoid the blue spots. There is nothing to it. You win the Wave weapon, which makes Rubinia easier.
This is a pretty easy level. The boss poses no real threat, especially if you use your Scorts as shields.
You collect the Mines, which is useful for Rubinia and Meropticon.
It's probably a good idea to save here, before doing Rubinia and the Black Gate in a row.
There is no real point doing this level until now: It gives you the power-up "Light", which lets you in the Black Gate. It's better to postpone doing the level after you collect the Wave, which is the most adapted weapon to Rubinia's rocks and boss.
Use the Wave and the Mine. The Wave will allow you to kill the boss in seconds instead of minutes. Stealth can be a good idea, to cross all obstacles in case of emergency. When you get to the treasure, upgrade the Mine rather than the Wave, as you'll use the Mine later on.
Collect the Light to open the Black Gate.
Weapons don't matter, so select something you won't use anymore, such as the Spreadshot and the Bomb, so if you die losing strength doesn't matter. You need to select the Light as your power-up.
There is a Secret hidden in the bottom half part of the wall in the first niche after the second horizontal passage. Just pop your nose in and backtrack if you don't want to crash, though (from System11).
You can't kill the giant sword, you just play bull-fighter avoiding it for a dozen turns and then it stops and you collect the Ancient Sword special weapon. It clearly helps to have all three Turbos. I start just above the sword, slightly to its left, near the entrance, then turn counter-clockwise.
Definitely save before entering the next level.
No MercyThis is really the level that prompted me to write this document. In this level, you fight with the Elite. Right. That means five bosses, waiting for you in the background and coming for you one after the other. And then when you defeated them all, you move on to the boss of the level. That's right, that's basically six bosses in a row.
This makes for what I found to be the second hardest level of the game, as you need to find the right strategy for each boss and practice, which proves repetitive and tedious. Until you win, and then you're so happy you want to tell the world.
So, arm yourself with the Vulcan (preferably at 10) and Scorts (level is not so important) and without further ado, we meet:
The Laser has two attack patterns. First it fires bullets on the side which gravitate towards the left of the screen. Then every now and then it fires a big shot in front, which comes after a little pink ray.
The Laser falls for the oldest boss strategy: just plant yourself right in front of it and shoot the heck out of it. The bullets will come far behind you, and you just need to avoid the laser shots which are announced.
Blob is a two-body boss: an armoured spacecraft that slowly bounces around the screen, and a purple ball also bouncing around, that shoots vertically. The spacecraft is indestructible so don't waste time shooting it, go for the purple ball. Once the ball explodes, the spacecraft opens and you can start shooting away at Blob. There isn't much of a strategy for Blob, it's a slow boss so you can just take your time.
Pincher is kind of hard. It shoots small aimed bullets, and every now and then two giant guns shoot at basically the entire screen. You need to shoot its mouth.
Stay on the left and hide behind the Scorts. Avoid the aimed shoots. Whenever Pincher starts shooting with its big guns, make sure you're in a place where the small bullets won't get you (i.e. none are coming right at you horizontally) and remain still, letting the Scorts absorb the blue shots.
It's quite nerve-wrenching, and even this method requires a bit of practice.
This one is a bit of a washing machine. It starts by turning clockwise around the screen, but far enough from the border that you can stay right on the border, leaving rocks in its trail that are aimed at you. It speeds up, then slows down, and moves on to its second attack pattern: it shoots bullets in a pretty counter-clockwise spiral. Then it does all of that the other way round.
I remain on the left of the screen, and move from one corner to the other avoiding rocks on the way. Because the rocks are aimed at where you were when they were shot, moving around means you avoid a lot of the rocks.
When the boss slows down to fire the spiral, move to the top middle of the screen, thus avoiding the bullets, and follow behind the spiral. At that point the boss should die.
The Fist enters the screen from the left. It has two attack patterns: when the fist is closed, it moves up and down and punches through the screen. When the fist is open, it fires bullets from its fingers.
I just stay to the left, with the Scorts vertical, and shoot and avoid the punches and bullets.
The Losange enters from the right of the screen. When dealt enough damage (which should happen before it reaches the middle of the screen) it separates in four smaller losanges. All losanges regularly fire lasers aligned with their edges.
Remain on the left, as close to the left-most losange, to deal maximum damages. As soon as a losange is dead, move on to the next left-most losange. If the left-most losange reaches the left side of the screen, you are in trouble as you need to stay on top or below the losange until it moves back towards the right. Try to visualise where the lasers would come from and avoid remaining aligned with any of the losanges.
The real boss of the boss level. It has three attack patterns: first it throws knives at you, then it opens its jaw and spits red discs, then it also fires lasers diagonally. Although very impressive, Jaws turns out to be quite easy once you have the right strategy.
Stay to the left and hide behind your Scorts. For the knives, stay in the middle, don't move and fire. The knives coming with an angle all get absorbed by the Scorts, while the knives coming directly in front of you get destroyed by your fire.
After the boss opens its jaw, you need to shoot its mouth. Keep hiding behind your Scorts, they will easily absorb the red discs. Then you need to avoid the lasers as they come with too much of an angle to be completely absorbed by the Scorts. And while doing all that, keep trying to aim for the mouth. It takes usually about three cycles to kill Jaws.
After all this, you get another save option. Use it before entering Meropticon.
Use the Light power-up to collect the Spanish Lyrics Secret in the first section (from System11). After you got the secret, it's probably better to re-enter the level with a real power-up, such as the Ancient Sword or Stealth.
The Vulcan is probably best as your primary weapon. The secondary weapon balances between Scorts, which are always good, and Mines. Because most of the level occurs in corridors, the Mines bounce happily along and go randomly blasting enemies far in front or even behind you.
Salamander comes in from the left. It is built with a head, two kind of cylinders on each side of its head, and a tail. The hit point is the back of the cylinders, so you need to sneak behind the head and remain quite close to the body to shoot it.
Salamander has several patterns: it moves left and right, wriggles its tail, fire stars at the front, and shits laser balls. On top of that you get the occasional spider that fires at you from the floor or ceiling, and steps coming out of the floor and ceiling so careful if you're crawling near the borders of the screen.
I can't say that I have found a good strategy. What I do is sneak below, shoot the bottom cylinder, and as soon as it's dead I fire an Ancient Sword and take advantage of the invincibility to cross the tail to the top and shoot the top cylinder. If it's starting to take too long, or I get threatened by a step in the ceiling, I fire a second Ancient Sword, which usually does the trick.
The same strategy should work in principle with Stealth, although that doesn't deal damages so it will take longer.
At some point in the last sequence, you'll cross a field of half-invisible flying skulls. At first I would cross it using an Ancient Sword, until I realised that shooting the heads makes them appear. So just shoot all the time, and navigate through the skulls.
Hydorah is curiously trivial. Just shoot at him until he dies. You'll need to avoid flying hands, which is not too hard, then avoid a few blue rays, but nothing special.