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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. Tactics --------- 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) ----------- A: 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) ------------ A: 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. B: 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. C: 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==