Strategy Guide - Guide for Sentinel Returns

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				Sentinel Returns

This is just a general guide on how to do the levels, there are far
too many levels to do an individual solution to each one.

At first, you start off with only 10 units of energy, represented
as 3 robots and a tree. You will have to be able to calculate the
amount of energy you have at a glance.

Since each tree is worth 1 point of energy on the landscape, each boulder
is worth two, and each of your robots is worth three, that is how your
energy is represented. A gold robot is equal to 5 normal robots, or 15
units of energy. The basic guide is simply to look at the amount of
robots you have, and multiply that by 3.


On the first set of levels, you only have to face the Sentinel. This makes
the first few levels quite easy, if you know what you're doing. The game
does not really get challenging until you are regularly facing The Sentinel
as well as 4-5 sentries per level.

When you first begin, everyone is inert. The Sentinel and its sentries will
not move until you either absorb or expend energy. Even if your view is
obstructed by rock, you always begin each landscape facing upwards towards
the Sentinel. Don't be fooled byt this, the sentries are just as dangerous
as the Sentinel, even if you don't face them at the beginning. Do 2 full
360 degree rotations, one facing upwards, so you can see the general
plan of the landscape, and the location of the sentries, if any. The
second rotation should be facing the ground, so you can see how much space
you have to begin with, and whether there are any trees to absorb. After
you have rotated twice, look around, for a platform exactly one level above
you, that is where you should start. If there is a tree or trees on the
same level as you, you should absorb them before going.

As you will soon discover, you can only absorb an object if your head is
either above it, or on the same level as it. This is an important point,
your feet do not have to be at the same level as the object, they can be
below it. This is the core of the second tactic.

Strategy I)


Start off by placing a boulder on the floor, then a robot on top of it.
Transfer to it immediately, and absorb the old robot. If you can see any
trees, absorb them immediately. If you have more than 16 units of energy
at this point, then proceed to step C

B: If you keep your eye level horizontal, you should be able to see squares
that are one level above your starting point. Place a boulder on the closest,
with a robot on top of it, transfer and absorb the old robot, and the boulder.
Absorb all the trees you can see, and you should have enough energy by now.

C: Find a square that is horizontal to your eyeline. Place a boulder on it,
and wait for 2 seconds. If it becomes a tree then that square is visible, absorb
the tree and try a square at least 3 squares away. Repeat until the boulder is not
absorbed, Place boulders on top of it, until you reach 3-5 units of energy. Place
a robot on top of the boulders and transfer immediately. Absorb the old robot,
and you should now have enough height for your head, or even your whole body
to be above the base of the Sentinel's plateau. Click on him, if you are above
him, then he should explode. Create a robot in his place and transfer. Do a rotation
to see the landscape, if you want, and then press the Hyperspace button.

This tactic, although it is the fastest of the two, and therefore, the less likely
to fail, it is very inefficient, and will progress you through the game at the
slowest speed. You finish the level with a minimal amount of energy, which
only allows you to progress to the next level. The amount of energy you
have determines the amount of levels you advance. You need over half to
advance 2 levels, and about 70% to advance 3. It is difficult to get enough energy
to advance 4 levels, but it can be done.

Strategy II)


Absorb all trees you can see the base of. Place a boulder on the floor,
and a robot on top of it. Transfer and absorb the old robot. You should
now be able to see squares on the next vertical level. Absorb all trees
you can see, and create a boulder with a robot on it, on this level.
Transfer, and absorb the old boulder and robot. You should
be able to see the squares on the second vertical level now. Absorb
all the trees you can see, and then create the boulder with the robot
on it, and absorb your previous host.


On this level, you should have a much wider view of the landscape. You should be
able to absorb a lot of trees, and be able to see all the sentries clearly.
Again, create a boulder with a robot on it, transfer and absorb. You should now
have enough height to be equal to the level of some of the sentries. If you
think you are high enough, then click around the base of them. If they vanish,
then you are high enough. Absorb all the sentries you can. If there are no
sentries left, then proceed to step C, if there are, then continue reading.
Gain another level of height by creating a boulder and a robot on one of
the sentries' old positions, transfer and absorb. You should now have enough
height to obliterate the remaining sentries, and get a whole lot of trees.


The Sentinel himself stands on a tower, the highest point on the landscape.
On most landscapes, there will be a square on the same vertical level
as the BASE ( not the top ), as the Sentinel's plateau. Build a boulder and
robot on it, transfer and absorb, and annihilate the Sentinel. Build
the robot on his tower, transfer and hyperspace. However, on some
landscapes, there are no squares on the same vertical level as the base of the
Sentinel's tower, only those one below. If this is the case, then build three
boulders on top of such a square, and a robot on the top. Transfer and
absorb, and you can blast the Sentinel from your new position. Build a robot
on the plateau, and finish the level.

				If you are seen...

If you are seen by one of those watching the landscape, then you must
move QUICKLY. Find the highest square you can see, and build a boulder
and robot on it, transfer and absorb the old stuff quickly, before the
Sentinel or sentry turns it all into trees. If you are quick, you can
absorb it just after the robot is turned to a boulder, and only
lose 1 unit of energy overall. If you are still visible in the new position,
repeat the tactic. This way, you will still be gaining height, but avoiding
the gaze of the Sentinel. In some special cases, when you know exactly which
one is seeing you, and where they are, you can make a tree in their line
of sight. This is difficult to do, and you should only really try it,
if you know the exact positions of you and it. It is better to build another
boulder/robot and transfer. If you are on the same level or higher than the
sentries, and there are 2 or more, the odds are that it is one of
the sentries that sees you. Quickly rotate around, and absorb all the sentries
you can see. If you are still under attack, then it is the Sentinel, or
one of the higher sentries that has got you. Use the first tactic mentioned.
This method loses you no energy if you are fast enough, the energy that the
watcher drained was made up by the energy you absorbed from the sentries.
If you are higher than the Sentinel when seen, then just obliterate him and
build a robot on his place. Everything else will vanish.

			If you are partially scanned...

This is a special case of being seen, when only you are seen, not the square
you are standing on. It is actually quite difficult to escape from. The tactic
used by the watcher is to transform a tree into a Meany. The Meany rotates at
high speed, and if it sees you, you will hyperspace, wasting 3 units of energy.
If you know exactly which one is watching you, you can block its path with a tree,
before it creates the Meany. If you can't do this, then find the Meany, and see
the landscape around you. Try to make a new robot that is not visible to the meany,
and transfer before it sees you. Sometimes this just isn't possible, and you
will have to let it hyperspace you, and hope for the best. Sometimes, you will be
able to see the base of the Meany. In this case, wait until it sees you, and as it
raises its head, absorb it. If you can do this, the watcher will have to rotate before
it can create another Meany to hinder your progress, and you can continue without
further ado. In very rare circumstances, the tree that the watcher transforms into
a Meany will not be able to see you. In this case, just wait until it vanishes, and
move on.

Unfortunately, most of the time, you will not be able to avoid the Meany,
and if this happens, absorb all the trees you can, so you have enough energy to escape
from your new position, when you hyperspace.

				Maximum Energy

If you want to progress through the game as rapidly as possible, then you
must get every last drop of energy available. The best time to do this,
is when you are in a position high enough to attack the Sentinel, and have
destroyed all the sentries. Look around, and absorb all the trees you can see.
If you do this right, you can have enough to advance 3 levels by the time you
finish, 4 if you are lucky. If you are seen while doing this, destroy the Sentinel.

			     Hyperspace Guidelines

NEVER EVER HYPERSPACE, except in the most extreme emergencies, where there is
no other place to build a robot and a boulder. It is a waste of energy, and you
will usually end up lower than when you started, and with less energy. In some
cases, you will end up in a place which you don't have enough energy to escape from.

			     Elemental Landscapes

The four landscape types are Fire, Water, Earth and Air. There is no difference
in the difficulty of the landscapes, whether a landscape is Earth or Water
makes no difference overall. There is one exception, the Void, but revealing
about it would spoil the fun of getting there.

			     Nasty starting points

Sometimes you will start in a really nasty place. The guidelines to escaping
these places are as follows...

1) Down a hole, with the lowest available platform two levels above.

Simply build three boulders with a robot on top, and absorb the old robot. Build
a new robot without a boulder on the closest platform, and absorb all the boulders
and the robot. Proceed normally with either of the two strategies

2) Visible, need I say more

When you start, you will have a short while before the Sentinel and the Sentries rotate.
Sometimes, the first rotation will make some of them able to see you. If you can see
a space that is at least five squares away, make a boulder and a robot on it, and absorb
the boulder that remains of the old robot. QUICKLY make another boulder/robot and transfer
and absorb. Proceed with either of the two strategies.

In some cases, you will not be able to get away from the gaze, whatever you do. In this
case, when you die, restart the landscape, and let your first energy usage be a hyperspace.
Since you can't get any lower, you'll move to another location on the landscape entirely.
This should be a better starting point.

			     Impossible landscapes?

In some rare cases, you may find yourself simply unable to do a landscape, no matter
what you try. There is probably a solution to it, but you will not have the
time to find it. In cases like this, go back to the menu screen, and go into the
landscape numbered one less. This landscape is probably going to be better, do it,
but make sure that you get more than half the energy on the landscape. This way,
you will be allowed access to the landscape past the one you're stuck on, therefore
bypassing it completely.

			      The original Sentinel

Sentinel Returns is the sequel to the original Sentinel, made about 11 years
ago, for various formats, including the BBC Micro, and the Commodore 64. If, like
me you have a copy of the original Sentinel, remember that this game is much easier
than the original. The only problem with the original was that you simply couldn't
move fast enough to get things done. The original Sentinel required careful planning
and never even being seen by the Sentinel. As a comparision of difficulty, I can obliterate
everything on the landscape, with five sentries and the Sentinel not even seeing me
on Sentinel Returns, but I find it incredibly hard to win on a landscape with only
two sentries on the original Sentinel. If you want to play the original Sentinel
as a comparison, then get yourself a BBC emulator, and a copy of the Sentinel Disk Image
from the BBC Lives web pages, or a Commodore 64 emulator and the disk image.

I hope this guide has been useful in helping you destroy all the Sentinels.

==Roger Barnett== 

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