Those rulers who stand at the top of the world, at the precipice of their power and at the very peak of their performance often fail to acknowledge the dizzying height of the sheer drop which stands before them; this has never been truer than it is in the fictional worlds of computer games, and the emperors which rule over them. As a ruler of a fictional country, made-up world or an imagined realm, there is always that one stubborn hero or meddling heroine to challenge your power, and the story of ‘Armed With Wings’ is no exception to this. Commencing seamlessly at the previous game’s conclusion, ‘Armed With Wings 2’ you are in control of Vandheer Lorde, a previous villain and full-time warrior king of the original game who in the sequel is the acting protagonist whose kingdom has just this second fallen before him. This is a seriously bad day for a man to have forgotten to renew his kingdom insurance.
In a departure from the original, ‘Armed with Wings 2’ offers pretty much non-stop, unrelenting battles with enemies of various difficulties and abilities with the odd boss battle and mild strategic puzzlement to wrap your head around. A detailed listing of the controls can be found in the ‘Instructions’ section which branches from the main menu, but I’ll give you a brief: Firstly, movement is controlled with the directional arrows and a jump can be performed after holding ‘up’ to charge and releasing it. Combat controls consist of ‘Z’ for punch, ‘X’ for kick and ‘C’ for a sword swipe. Your magical abilities are performed by pressing ‘A’, which initiates a grab, ‘S’ which sends a fireball in the direction of your foes, and ‘D’, which performs a special move which is specific to whatever sword you have equipped in your inventory at the time. Any further issues with the controls can be directed towards the instructions section of the game itself.
One more note: Your choice of difficulty setting on which you choose to play the game will directly affect the number of enemies which you encounter and occasionally the difficulty of the challenges which you face. This guide is for the completion of the game on the ‘normal’ difficulty setting and so your actual experience may at times differ from the guide ; adjust your expectations accordingly if you are playing on either easy or difficult modes and don’t say I didn’t warn you.
On a quest for the four swords of Eden, you are unfortunate enough to gain control of Vandheer Lorde at the moment of his downfall and must facilitate his escape from the palace. Warrior King, you will go on my first whistle.
Imagine that I have just blown a shrill, piercing whistle and let us get this adventure started. You begin the level entitled Escape, the main aim of which should be no secret to you at this point. After watching the drama unfold in the cut-scene, proceed left until a still-loyal guard kneels before you to deliver the devastating news that your power has indeed been successfully challenged and your once-loyal followers are now in pursuit of you with the aim of capturing/expelling/killing you for your inability to defeat the Lone Warrior (the gentleman with the sword and the eagle) of the original game. Follow the guard to the left and arrive at a bridge where he is unfortunately killed, leaving you to defend against four imperial guards which were once your devoted followers. Dispatching them is easy enough providing you don’t allow them to encircle and overwhelm you; after the deed is done, proceed left and onto the next section of the level.
Just a bit of running involved in this room, plus a bit of light fighting action as a result of the three guards blocking your path; their presence should not unsettle you, and after they are dead, hop over the mini spike pit and keep heading left to the next chamber of unknown challenges.
More jumping involved in this section, this time it is in order to scale a few high ledges, the last of which requires that you press an attack button mid-jump in order to inject some more height into your leap. At the top, you face a chasm with small platforms littered across it with sharp and ever-deadly spikes fixed to the bottom. Simply jump from platform to platform until you make it across; be careful with your jumping as it can be a little tricky to perform an accurate landing at first. A little practice will ensure you are able to perform successive jumps with minimal fuss, therefore prolonging your life by allowing you to not be pierced with spikes as a result of a misjudged leap. Two guards await your arrival on the other side of the rift; show them the error of their ways and press onwards.
(Small tip: When facing multiple enemies near the edge of a very large drop or even a shallow fall to spikes below, you can make extremely short work of them by simply attacking them in the direction of the precipice and pushing them over the side in only one or two moves. This will save you time, effort, and most importantly, health. Why exert yourself when you can let gravity do the work for you?)
Oh how lovely, we are greeted by Quema Tormenta, also known as the first boss of this whole sordid affair. Walk left and approach him, letting the cut-scene take place. After marvelling at the classic, pre-battle intimidatory repartee, the fight begins and you are in control of Vandheer once again. This is an exceptionally easy boss to overcome, and he should be dead within minutes of your arrival should you have the skills to have gotten yourself this far in the game, and in life itself thus far.
He will attempt to defend himself with a barrier of fire, which is impenetrable but is only used intermittently. His attack consists of his ability to materialise burning jets of fire underneath the ground you are standing on; if he does this, then simply jump your way out of the proximity of the blast. This behaviour (which is nothing short of high-stakes arson) will continue for a little while until he attempts to shoot an instantly-fatal fireball in your direction; simply jump over this and advance quickly in his direction. For some reason, bosses of video games never seem to learn from their erstwhile colleagues and will insist on using an incredibly powerful attack which is also physically taxing to them, leaving them susceptible to damage whilst they recover. Unsurprisingly, Quema cannot help but take a knee after his large fire blast; this is where you can deal him damage with your choice of sword, fist or magical fireball. After a few repeats of this cycle, his life is yours for the taking. Approach him, exchange some obligatory final words and return him to the dust from which he once rose. Move onwards (which in this case is leftwards) to your goal.
After all the commotion in escaping from the first level, I imagine Vandheer is feeling a little drained, so he heads to his Home; this place acts as the central hub to which you return after completing each level. Here, you are able to save game, rifle through your inventory to equip different weapons, and proceed to your next mission when you decide to do so. Another cut-scene takes place here and you also learn that the blade of water resides in this very location. Pop over to the gentleman of exceedingly large stature, have a chinwag with him and equip your newly-acquired sword if you wish. Talk to Eivana to save your game and converse with Hawken in order to proceed to your next mission; you are off to Gusty Valley.
The second part of your quest for an impressive sword collection sees your make an easterly excursion to Gusty Valley. After you begin, head right and jump up to the top of the series of ledges. An enemy waits at the top that has the ability to control tornados and because he is such a nasty gentleman, he cannot resist sending them in your direction in an attempt to push you off the edge and into the spike pit below. Hop over the tornado and teach him to be more respectful of dangerous meteorological phenomena by ending his life (that pit of spikes behind him looks mightily inviting; you know what to do). Hop over the deadly pit of potential impalement and proceed to the next section of the level.
This section of the level will be your first encounter with the upwards-flowing jets of air which were the main source of frustration in my completion of the game. The concept is simple enough; you simply have to enter the stream of vertically-gusting air and allow it to carry you upwards to your destination. It sounds simple enough, but you must enter it at the right angle and with enough initial momentum to carry you high enough to reach the ledge above. Spike pits will almost exclusively be waiting underneath these gusts of air, and getting a jump wrong will usually lead to you careering with great speed to a certain death below.
With the above warning in mind, enter the first stream of air and let it carry you to the ledge above. Usually, one of the three guards waiting at the top will attempt to foil your efforts in advance of you actually being there for his efforts to be effective. This overly-enthusiastic guard will fall to his death; it is up to you to make sure the others face the same fate with a little influence from your blade. Continue to the right, jumping over the spikes and helping a few more guards into the spiritual plane by knocking the over the edge and into the spikes below. Continue right once more, hopping over the ledges and reaching the end of the section.
The next section involves yet more jumping, but the stakes are a little higher this time because the jumping takes place across a very large, spike-lined valley, and the only way across is over a series of small platforms. Jump into the first jet of air to carry you to the top of the valley and watch the camera pan out a little to give you some unnerving perspective. Hop across the ledges one at a time, using the air streams where present to aid your crossing. Bear in mind that your angle of entry is less important than your exit trajectory when you go to leave the stream. It may take a few goes, but you will make it across easily enough. The last two platforms are at an even higher level than the rest; use further caution with these and proceed to the next section of this particular level.
In front of you, there is a terminal of sorts protruding from the ground. Much like a button which bears a ‘Do Not Press’ warning, this switch-like structure looks like it is begging to be used, so head over to the metal bridge-like surface, turn around, and send a blue fireball-like projectile hurtling towards the damn thing. The bridge will open and release another gust of air, lifting you to the top and allowing you to hop off onto the ledge. Give in to the temptation to tamper with the nearby switch up here; this time, a horizontally-flowing gust should flow in from behind you, allowing you to ride its helpful path to the next available ledge.
Another switch-like tempter; surrender to the temptation yet again and hit this one to open the door that blocks your progress ahead. Hop over to the next ledge and be prepared to use the two intersecting jets ahead/above in quick succession; hop into the one ahead to travel upwards and use the horizontal one that intersects it to carry your momentum to the left, over the spikes below and safely onto the waiting ledge. Try not to relax yet, your journey leftwards is halted by the six guards that very literally descend upon you from nowhere. Make them feel silly for entering in such a dramatic fashion by giving a convincing theatrical performance of a man killing six guards with his sword. With no one around to applaud your performance, move to the left and to the next section.
I know this layout: A discrete room which lays at the top of a difficult upwards climb with a distinct lack of enemies and obstacles, following a long, arduous struggle to get there; I smell a boss fight. Attack the switch to activate the final jet of the stage. Ride the jet up to the platform where Vindstot waits calmly, and I have a feeling that she has the blade of wind. Your strong desire for the blade should be all that concerns you here; after a little banter between warriors, the battle begins.
Jump down from the platform immediately since Vindstot will proceed to fire some oscillating lightning-like bolts at you which hurt a fair bit. In true boss fashion, all this exertion will lead her to become tired and attempt to get a little bit of rest between attacks. This is foolish behaviour at best, and allows you to activate one of the two air streams, hop back onto the ledge and deal her some damage whilst she is in her docile state. This procedure can be repeated until her health bar depletes.
Her tomfoolery sadly doesn’t end here, however. Instead of moving gracefully into the category of ‘deceased’ like any decent enemy that has just been beaten both fairly and squarely, she gets right back up and whips out the Blade Of Wind. Perhaps this time she means business. You now stand atop a platform with a distinctly dizzying drop either side which have yes, you guessed it, spikes at the base. This time, there are no projectiles, only the swipes from her blade and the occasional tornado sent your way. Hitting her off the edge will just make her teleport back onto solid ground. You simply have to get close enough to swipe continuously until her health depletes enough for her to realise that her resurrection was a selfish and fruitless act which cost you time and energy. Make your annoyance evident by ending her life and collecting the Blade of Wind.
Another cut-scene separates your victory speech and your arrival back at Home. Perform the standard procedure of switching to your new blade, saving your game and talking once again to Hawken, which will facilitate your transition from your humble abode to the next stage of your quest, which seems to be gaining momentum by the minute.
The third section of the adventure takes Vandheer Lorde to Fuego Mountain in search for the wonderfully appropriate Blade of Fire. Wait a second; Fuego means fire, and your next acquisition is destined to be the fire blade? This is no coincidence: We have some not-so-subtle wordplay on our hands here, and I have to say that I’m a fan of symbolism. Let us continue.
When you begin the level, it appears as if there is simply no way to overcome the spike pit ahead without falling to a grizzly death. Such thinking is understandable since all that can be seen is a spike pit and nothing to help you over it. Luckily, I have seen what is on the other side, and it responds extremely well to a spot of supernatural fireball attack. Shoot a fireball in a rightwards direction and it will disappear from the screen and into the zone of uncertainty that is the abyss that sits just out of the currently-visible confines of the screen. Watch as your act of faith pays off by extending a bridge a majority of the way over the spikes, leaving you only a small gap to overcome with a simple powered-up jump. Watch as an imperial guard falls ineptly yet willingly into the trench of spike-shaped doom. The three guards waiting on the business end of the spike pit will not be so generous, so it is up to you to usher them to a similar fate; unfortunately in this instance, their deaths will be on your conscience. Leap proudly over the ledges to the right and move on to the next fiery offering.
Another simple room which requires minimum effort; walk to the right until you reach a break in solid ground. Apparently, it is impossible to get competent staff to guard your empire these days because an imperial guard will crash casually into the lava. Perhaps he thought he would help you out by providing you with a practical demonstration of the consequences of going for a dip in the lava; a generous act which will not be forgotten, since we are now aware (not that you should have been oblivious to the fact) that contact with the lava means instant death. Your leaps across the platforms ahead should therefore be undertaken with caution. The platforms descend into the deadly magma a few seconds after you land on them, so I suggest you charge your jump for a time which is slightly less than how long it takes for them to fall and jump to the next one: repeat until safely on the other side. Direct two more imperial guards to a combustion-fuelled demise and proceed to the next section.
This room reeks of simplicity. Simply follow the metal bridge until it tapers downwards, make some jumps from platform to platform until you run out of said platforms. Make a leap of faith and fall to the bridge that resides below. Your exit is laid out for you to access; move on to the next section.
This stage requires at least a little effort; you are here to be entertained after all, and being spoon-fed your victories simply isn’t going to allow you to become the best warrior you can be. No less than five imperial guards are littered across the viaduct-like bridge that you are using as your walking surface. Short work can be made of them in the usual manner by luring them against a wall and attacking furiously until they no longer exist. Be careful however, since an elite guard with irritatingly superior abilities lays in wait at the other end. These guards are identical to those in the original game, performing powerful combination attacks with a final blow that cannot be blocked; it is recommended that you attack him just before he performs his final move, or use your magic to display your physical and (perceived) moral authority over him. You may now freely perform a leap to the ‘onwards’ portal at the end of the level.
Now that you have had to work a little for your progress thus far, be prepared to work a little more. You have arrived at the third customary boss battle of the game and he goes by the name of Smoking Martillo. The name is not an attempt at making the man sound more mysterious; he is named as such because he literally smokes. It is up to you to prove to him that doing so is unhealthy for his ongoing existence as your presence there. Be patient as the elevator platform (this technology seems out of place in a mountain, but we should probably let this slide for now) ascends to your destination and deposits you in front of the boss for some mandatory big-talk and pre-battle intimidation conversation.
Martillo is not the most difficult boss in the game, and beating him his fairly straightforward if you know how; the following words will impart this knowledge to you, so you have little excuse if you should fail. With no environmental dangers to worry yourself about, you can concentrate on simply attacking Martillo and avoiding his vein attempts at a retort. Martillo has a combination attack which is similar to your own; incidentally, his attack can interrupt your combinations so bear this in mind if you are in the mood for some Mortal Kombat-esque fighting methods.
He can use his filthy habit to push you backwards with an exhaling of smoke that appears too powerful to originate from the lungs of a smoker. After this, he will usually turn himself into a glowing orb which hovers in the air and travels in your direction; simply attack this ridiculously inefficient and ineffective manoeuvre with a magic fireball or if you are feeling defensive, simply jump over it and continue with your regular attacks. After what should be a relative short amount of time in which very little physical effort was expended, Martillo’s health bar should deplete, and you must run towards him and present him with the gift of being free from his corporeal body. After a small quip about wanting one last cigarette (those things will kill you), you must end his life. Who would want to live as a monochromatic, flash-animated silhouette anyway?
After a cut-scene where events take a decidedly deceitful turn, you return to your home location, though now it is has the more appropriate title of ‘Betrayal’. Lord Hawkin has had a change of heart and has decided to stack you squarely in the back by fatally injuring Eivana and making off with the most coveted and powerful (this explains why it was coveted) of all the blades in the game: The Blade of Lightning. At this stage, I recommend you do two things: Firstly, save your game, since you have come too far to simply let this progress go; secondly, equip your new blade-shaped acquisition. I say this because the Blade of Fire is probably the best weapon in the game next to the Blade of Lightning, since its special attack uses relatively little power and its special attack is quite devastating to those caught in its proximity at the time of attack.
Betrayal is the last of the adventure-packed stages, and you simply have to proceed left from your base location to get to the next section. The end of the game approaches so rapidly you can almost taste it, so let’s finish this quest so we can be home in time for a nutritionally balanced meal as the head of your kingdom once again.
Continue with your leftwards momentum and you will encounter a pesky elite guard. Luckily for you, there is no need to go about the fight with conventional means; simply encourage him in the direction of the pitfalls behind him. His elite status has no significance when battling against gravity and spikes, and instant death awaits him. Hop over the spikes only to encounter another elite guard, which you may also introduce to the conveniently-placed (for you, anyhow) spikes below. Yet another elite guard makes an entrance at the extreme left side of the level, along with several of his friends; you may simply hop over these persistent fellows and make an exit to the next room with minimum effort.
This stage is almost pure platforming: There are some elite guards posted around the room but they are minor inconveniences at most since you can simply ignore them, jump over them, or throw them into the spikes (where applicable). Of course, if you are a keen fighter, have anger management issues or simply dislike the cut of the elite guards’ jibs then by all means engage them in a fight to the death.
The level itself consists of a series of platforms which you must carefully jump across in order to progress to the end of the level. From the beginning, you must travel to the left, leaping over the platforms as you go and avoiding the spikes. After this, you must take the jet stream ride to the top of the room and in a rightwards direction, doubling back on yourself and encountering more elite guards on your travels. After a little more jumping to the right, you must make your way upwards, past the final elite guard and over to the exit.
The final stage involves yet more platforming shenanigans; simply jump your way across the falling platforms and make your way to the exit at the extreme left of the room.
Fresh from his recent betrayal of you and undermining of your entire quest, Hawken waits in brooding anticipation of your arrival. I won’t lie to you; this is one of the most difficult fights of the game, superseded only by the boss which immediately follows him, so you are in for quite the tough bit of gameplay here. Luckily, I am not a motivational coach, and so these pessimistic words are simply an indicator of the difficulty of the situation. Watch the pitiful exchange of oft-misspelt words between the two and let the battle commence.
In spite of Hawken’s standard-issue blade, he proves to be a difficult enemy to defeat since he is almost constantly moving and attacking. As if this wasn’t already annoying enough, your attacks fail to knock him back like they have done with previous bosses. He doesn’t even have the decency to perform horrendously inefficient, self-defeating, supernatural attacks which drain him of his energy and leave him vulnerable: you simply have to fight him, avoid his combinations and use the Blade of Fire to its full potential.
The best technique is to simply jump over him when he attacks you and reply with an attack of your own. Use a combination of your magic and your trusty sword and his health will dwindle soon enough. After he stumbles helplessly to the floor, make him pay for his barefaced disregard for honour and trust by striking him down with the Blade of Fire.
In spite of the fade to black, the game is not over yet. Keep running to the left, up a remarkable number of stairs and then even further. There’s one more boss fight until home time, kids, and it isn’t going to be a relaxing affair.
Armed With Wings is the fifth and final boss of the game. Let’s be honest, you expected to face him all along since he is the one responsible for your situation, plus your entire quest is based upon the acquisition of the ultimate weapon in order to dispatch this man once and for all. He is extremely difficult to defeat, more so than Hawkin, and he isn’t going to go easy on you.
Firstly, he is immune to projectiles, so it will be conventional attacks and nothing more that you must use to defeat him. He also doesn’t seem to stagger backwards when you attack him, so his deadliness is pretty much constant without much of a break in between attacks.
Special sword attacks and combinations are obviously the most effective so ensure to perform these when you can. He is most vulnerable when he finishes his combination attacks, so ensure you time your assaults accordingly. You can use your projectiles to bait him into attacking them, which gives you time to run towards him without being knocked back and becoming outrageously frustrated. Continue to dodge his attacks and dish out some of your own until his health has failed him and he kneels before you.
After a little back-and-forth about the reasons for their actions, a light discussion of metaphysics and the disrespectful dismissal of Armed with Wings’ story, things take an unexpected turn for the worst for Vandheer Lorde. Armed With Wings literally grows wings out of his back and becomes the physical embodiment of Blackmist. Now you know you are in trouble. He has come to collect your soul and coincidentally, to end the game on an obvious cliffhanger to make way for a sequel.
After the credits roll, start the game again and load your progress; you will be able to access the Blade of Lightning in all its glory. Hopefully, this is enough of a reward for your efforts because it is pretty much all you get. Stay attentively tuned for reviews and walkthroughs of Sun Studios sequel, ‘Armed With Wings 3’, which promises to be the best one yet.