Sol Divide

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Strategy Guide

                            Sol Divide FAQ v1.0
                     For Sony Playstation and Sega Saturn
                        By Dion Fung 
                         Last Updated: 9 August, 1998
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
A html version of this FAQ can be found at http://www.oe.net.au/~legend

Contents:
 1. Legal Notice
 2. Introduction
 3. Basic Game Play
 4. Advanced Strategies
 5. Arcade Mode
 6. Original Mode
 7. Item List
 8. Spell List
 9. Bosses
10. Secrets


===============
1. Legal Notice
===============

This FAQ may not be redistributed in any form without my permission and
may only be redistributed in its original and unaltered form. 
Permission
will not be granted for profitable or promotional purposes without my
written approval including but not restricted to magazines, guide books
and game retailers.

Sol Divide and all characters in this game are registered trademarks and
copyrights of Psikyo.


===============
2. Introduction
===============

Sol Divide is a 2D shooting game.  It is an arcade port for the Sony
Playstation and Sega Saturn.  Since I don't own a Sega Saturn, this FAQ
will be concentrating on the PS version.  I believe both versions are
identical, but I could be wrong.  This game is developed by Psikyo, the
company that brought us the famous Raiden Fighter, among other big hits,
and published by Atlus.  Psikyo has introduced some new elements into
this
game, which proved once again the 2D shooter genre still has a lot of
potential and is not quite dead yet.


==================
3. Basic Game Play
==================

There are two modes for this game: Arcade and Original.  The arcade mode
is identical to the arcade version of this game.  One or two players may
participate in this mode.  The original mode is an "RPG"-ish mode in
which
you can gain experience and improve your weapon and defense levels by
destroying enemies and collecting items they left behind.  The original
mode is for one player only.

There are three ways to attack the enemies.  You can fire a long range
shot, perform a close range attack or cast a spell.  You can learn
spells
by picking up the spell items left by the enemies.  The basic control
for
both modes are more or less the same. The following is a list of the
basic
functions of each button (you can change them at the menu):

X button:        Long range shot
Square button:   Close range attack
Triangle button: Cast chosen spell
O button:        Choose next spell
L1, R1 button:   Choose spell
R2 button:       Auto-fire
Start button:    Pause (arcade mode)
                 Menu (original mode, more on that later)

In the arcade mode, there are three bars on top of the screen.  The
first
one is your hp.  When the bar becomes empty, you are dead.  On the left
hand side of the second and third bar is the name of the selected spell.
The second bar represents your magic points and the third one indicates
how many magic points is required to cast the selected spell.  Below the
third bar is a list of spells that you have learned.  You can gain magic
points by getting hit, hitting your enemies or picking up magic potions.

In the original mode, the format is very different.  There is a much
longer health bar on top of the screen.  Below that is your current
level
and name of the selected spell.  On the right hand side is your weapon
and
defense level and the current stage.  The list of spells now have a
number
besides each icon to represent the number of times you can cast that
particular spell.  Yes, you don't spend magic points to cast spell in
the
original mode, you just pick the spells up and cast them.  You can pause
the game and bring up the menu by pressing the start button.  The menu
has
the following options:

1. Item menu
2. Spell book
3. Stats screen
4. Save (only appears at the end of every stage)

Choosing 1 will bring up the item submenu, which has the following
choices:

1. Use an item
2. Dump an item
3. Explain the usage of an item

The spell book command allows you to arrange your spell books.  You can
only have at most eight spells ready at a time.

The stats screen gives you the following information:

Status   --- only two conditions, normal or poisoned
Level    --- your current level
Health   --- your current and maximum hp
Weapon   --- your weapon level
Shot     --- your long range attack level (you can only power up twice)
Defense  --- your defense level
Exp      --- your current experience
Next Exp --- experience needed for next level


======================
4. Advanced Strategies
======================

In addition to the basic attacks, each character has one combo attack.
Kashon: square, square, square, right, square
Vorg:   square, square, square, up, square
Tyora:  square, square, square, down, square

Basically you can press the direction after the second hit connected. 
As
long as you don't get hit and keep attacking, you should be able to pull
off the combo.

This feature makes Kashon the easiest character to play, due to the fact
that pressing up or down may move you away from the enemies and you want
to push the enemies as far back as possible.  Kashon also has the
biggest
attack range, making him the best character for close range combats.
Tyora, on the other hand, has the most powerful shots and the most
powerful magic.  Vorg seems to be a balance between the two.

If you hit an enemy with a close range attack, it will stop attacking
for
a short while.  This is very important when fighting a group of enemies.
If you decide to stay back and shoot at the enemies, eventually one or
more of them will close in on you.  When this happens, use the close
range
attack immediately or you'll get hit.  Some enemies can do a lot of
damage
close up.  The most effective way to get rid of the enemies, aside from
using a high-level spell, is the combo attack.  It can kill most enemies
in one hit and can kill off a group of them at once.  Try to save your
precious spells and magic points for the bosses.  When things get ugly,
however, don't hesitate to cast a spell.  Fire is usually good enough to
get you out of trouble.  Learning when to use a spell and what spell to
use is the way to master this game.


==============
5. Arcade mode
==============

First of all, you can skip the character choosing screen by pressing
L1+start instead of just the start button like usual.

There are seven difficulties in this mode.  Aside from inflicting more
damage, the difficulty level doesn't seem to have any effect on the
behaviours or frequencies of the enemies.  However, the harder the game
is, the harder it is to gain life or magic points (very important).  At
the easiest level, you can nearly solely rely on your spells to finish
the
game.

The first stage is different for each character.  There are two paths
that
you can choose after the first stage.  It's not really important since
all
it does is swap the order of the next two stages.

If you beat the game without continuing or if you do not continue when
you
died, you will get to the ranking and high score screens.  You may get
ranked only if you are playing as a single player.  If you are playing
solo and you died, you will have to start over from the beginning of
that
stage.  This makes it pretty hard to finish the later stages all by
yourself.  To get around this, you can join in as player two when you
are
about to die.

There are six different endings in this mode.  One ending for each
character in one player games, and one for each pair of characters in
two
player games.


================
6. Original Mode
================

There are 17 stages in this mode.  At the end of each stage you have the
choice of going down to the next stage or stay at the current one.  You
are also allowed to save your game.  Since it is next to impossible to
complete the whole quest in one try so it is necessary to have an
understanding of how this mode works.

You begin the quest with 4 items:  A small health potion, a magic gem, a
power up book and a herb.  The menu gives you the following choices:

1. Begin the quest
2. Move items into or out of the storage
3. Save/Quit game

Initially, you will be able to carry 24 items.  When you make it back to
the throne room for the 6th time, your inventory will be expanded to
hold
up to 32 items.  When you return for the 11th time, it will be once
again
expanded to hold up to 40 items.

Hints and Tips:

1. Once you started the quest, there's no turning back.  The only times
   that you can get back to the throneroom is when you died or when you
   use the magical gem.  Whenever you die, however, you will lose all
your
   inventory items and your weapon and defense levels will be halved
   (rounded down).  While you still get to keep your level and the items
   in the storage, it is really undesirable to die, especially when your
   attack and defense level is very high.  This also makes the magical
gem
   the most important item to keep.  Since all treasures are random, I
   suggest avoid saving the game until you have at least one gem in your
   possession.

2. You can wear one of the three amulets:  The ring that protects you
from
   poison, the necklace that prevents the enemies from stealing your
   stuff, and the bracelet that increases your defense by 10.  It's
   entirely up to you which amulet you wear, but I'd suggest using the
   necklace.  There's nothing worse than losing a magical gem or a
health
   potion and it's fairly easy to get the cure poison herb anyway.

3. Sometimes when you stay at the same stage instead of than going down,
   you may end up not getting any treasure at all.  There's a glitch to
   fix this, however.  Just load the game again and you will start
getting
   treasures again.

4. When you get to stage 13 and 14, you will be facing a lot of mages.
   At times you will be bombarded by the purple ball that when hit will
   power down your long range attack.  Instead of using the power up
book
   to restore your shots, you might want to suffer a bit and wait until
   you make it to stage 15.  If you use a book chances are you will be
hit
   again so you will end up wasting a power up book.

5. You will not get any treasure at the final stage, so make sure you
have
   everything you need when you get there.  You have to fight through
the
   usual horde of enemies followed by 8(!) bosses.  It isn't as bad as
it
   sounds since if you can make it this far most of the earlier bosses
   should be just a piece of cake.


============
7. Item List
============

Arcade mode:

Power Up: Increase the power of your long range attack.  You can only
          power up twice I think.  This item looks like a card with the
          letter 'P' on it.
Health Potion: A green potion that restore your hp.  There are two
sizes.
Magic Potion: An orange potion that restore your magic points.
Herb: A small green leaf that increases your maximum hp as well as your
      current hp by a small amount.
Spell Book: Learn the spell shown on the icon.


Original mode:

Bronze Chest: May contain any items.
Copper Chest: Carries spellbooks.
Silver Chest: Requires a silver key to open, usually contains better
              stuff than the unlocked chests.
Gold Chest: Requires a gold key to open.  Contains the best stuff.
Silver Key: Use it to open a silver chest.
Gold Key: Use it to open a gold chest.
Projectile Book: Increase your shot power.  Looks like an arrow.
Weapon Book: Increase your weaopn level.  Looks like a sword.
Defense Book: Increase your defense level.  Looks like a shield.
Health Potion: Green potion that comes with two sizes.  The small one
               restores 30 hp and the big one restores 90 hp.
Cure Poison Herb: Looks like a little grass.
Life Herb: Increase your current and maximum hp by 2.  Looks like a red
           and green leaf.
Leaf: A big leaf.  It has a random effect.  Most of the time it does
      nothing, but occassionally it will increase your maximum hp, your
      weapon level, or your defense level.
Magical Gem: Teleport you back to the throne room.
Ring: Prevents you from getting poisoned.
Necklace: Prvents your items from being stolen.
Bracelet: Increase your defense by 10.
Spell Book: Allows you to cast that spell 1 to 3 times.


=============
8. Spell List
=============

In the arcade mode, there are two types of spells: one-use spells which
only allows you to cast the spell once and unlimited spells that you can
use repeatedly provided you have the magic points.  Some spells are
available to a certain character only and are indicated below.

Fire:
Fire is the cheapest spell and you always have the fire spell learnt in
the arcade mode.  Even though it is the weakest spell, it's also one of
the most useful spells in the game.  When you cast fire your hand will
produce a small flame, hitting anything in its path.  You can use it to
push back enemies as well as cancel their attacks.

Thunder:
Thunder hits everything on screen but the damage is so small that I
won't
recommend you using it in the arcade mode.  It does cancel the attacks
of
the enemies but I'd rather use fire instead which costs less.

Freeze:
When you cast this spell, everything on screen will be frozen for a
short
period of time.  You can attack freely while the enemies are frozen. 
Some
enemies have some resistance so they will only be frozen very briefly.

Slow:
Slow produces a small bubble.  Any enemy hit by the bubble will be
slowed
down, effectively paralyzing it.  If you are lucky you might hit more
than
one enemy but most of the time it's just an expensive version of freeze
that does less.  Don't use it except when fighting bosses.  Certain
enemies are immune to slow as well.

Wind:
This spell brings a strong wind that cancels most attacks of the enemies
on screen.  The wind lasts quite some time so it's very handy if you
want
something that allows you to kill two group of enemies.  One-use spell.

Phoenix:
High damage spell that hits everything on screen.  Kashon only, one-use
spell.

Nightmare:
This spell is like slow except more powerful.  I really won't recommend
using this in the arcade mode except when fighting a boss since it costs
a lot and only affects one enemy.  Vorg only, one-use spell.

Summons:
Well it's kinda hard to decide whether this is a good spell or not. 
This
spell chooses *randomly* one of the three possible forms of attack.  So
if
you are unlucky you might get something you don't want.  Tyora only,
one-use spell.

Meteor:
Inflicts lots of damage to everything on screen.  One-use spell.

Heatbody:
When you cast this spell, your body will be surrounded by fire and you
become invincible for as long as the spell lasts.  The spell is
especially
powerful in the arcade mode since you can gain back magic points very
rapidly by hitting enemies when you are invincible.  One-use spell.

Death:
The ultimate spell, kills everything on screen or cause huge damage to
bosses.  Undead creatures are immune to this spell, however.  One-use
spell.


=========
9. Bosses
=========

Here I am concentrating mainly on the arcade bosses since most of the
bosses in the original mode are similar or identical to those in the
aracde mode anyway.

Wyvern:
The easiest and wimpiest boss.  Just close in to do a combo attack, then
move back to dodge its attack and repeat.  If you have trouble against
it
just use fire to cancel its attacks.  There is also a black and a gold
wyvern in the original mode.   Those are upgrades from the one in the
arcade mode with more powerful attacks and more hp but shouldn't be too
difficult with the help of spells.

Hydra:
Depending on the path you choose, it might be the first boss you
encounter
in the arcade mode.  I consider it a bit harder than wyvern since you
have
less room to move around.  If you have trouble dodging its attacks, just
cast freeze and you should be able to get in at least two combos before
its free again.

Evil God:
This guy can be a bit tricky since some of its attacks do quite a bit of
damage.  You can do the following to kill it quickly.   First do a combo
as fast as you can, then move back while it start charging at you,
twice.
If you stay at the left hand side of the screen it won't hit you.  After
that do a combo followed by slow.  If it's still alive when it's free
you
can always cast slow again or just kill it normally.

Sand Worm:
This boss is pretty tough.  It shoots big fireballs that deal lots of
damage.  Add to this the spikes which hovers around for a while before
flying towards you.  It's simply impossible to dodge both the spikes and
the fireballs all together.  The best way to kill it is a combo followed
by the death spell immediately.  If you don't have death, heatbody is
the
next best choice.

Minotaur:
The minotaur is tough if you don't know what to expect.  Once you are
familiar with its attack pattern, however, you can kill it without any
problem.  When it walks forward, it will either swing at you with the
axe
or shoot something at you.  In the first case you can simple move behind
it or cast lightning to cancel.  In the second case, you can react
according to what it shoots.  If it's a row of ice that kinda follows
you, move up a bit then quickly move down (or vice versa).  If it's two
rows of ice just stay put (or adjust your position a little) and they
should go past you.  If it's a bunch of fireballs then simply move up.
Close in to do a quick combo when it walks back, or stay back with long
range attacks if you are playing Tyora.

Stone Grifon:
This guy is *hard*, and I mean it.  There's simply too many things
around
the screen to have any reasonable strategy.  Let's see, it summons a big
bird and two turrets that attacks you.  The stone grifon itself have
various ways of attacks too.  The best way to kill it: combo, meteor,
then
combo again.

Efter, 1st Form (Arcade mode only):
Efter in its original form is probably the hardest among the final stage
bosses.  It can fire a row of really big fireballs, charge and slash at
you at the same time (the most dangerous attack btw) and summon a sword
that swings around.  There will be two swordsman at the beginning of the
fight.  Get rid of them and you should get a health potion and a magic
potion.  If you can afford it, use heatbody to kill Efter.  Otherwise,
just use the slow spell which should allow you to kick in two combos.

Efter, 2nd Form (Arcade mode only):
This one is easy.  Every time you kill it with a combo it will retaliate
with a beam attack.  So just do a combo, move down a bit and wait for
its
beam, then move back and do a combo and so on.

Heradious (Arcade mode only):
This guy is not tough by itself, but you probably won't have much hp
left
by the time you are fighting him, so be careful.  This guy is very
vulnerable to phoenix, so if you are playing Kashon and have the magic
point cast it as soon as it attacks.  If not, just do a combo, cast fire
to cancel its attacks, then repeat a combo again.  You probably won't
have
time to finish the combo though, so pull back to avoid taking extra
damage.

Final Boss (Arcade mode only):
This one is also easy.  Just slash at it with the combo and occasionally
cast fire to kill its helpers.  Finish him and you beat the game.

Final Boss (Original mode only):
Well, this guy is simply harsh.  It's swing can take off a big portion
of
your hp and the frequency of its attack is ridiculous.  Thankfully you
are
not fighting him in the arcade mode, so just dump every spell you have
on
him.  Meteor, heatbody and death are all very effective against him.


===========
10. Secrets
===========
If you beat the arcade mode at easy level or harder without continue,
you
will be able to play the extra round.  Basically you get to play the
game
again from the beginning but this time you will be facing much tougher
oppositions.  I am not sure whether anything special will happen if you
beat the extra round without continue (is this even possible??).

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