As this third title’s opening cut-scene, we are greeted with the news that ‘Armed with Wings’ no longer goes by this nom de plume; a fact which is highlighted by the unexpected action of growing a shiny new set of wings and making the grand gesture of sealing the decidedly nasty Vandheer Lorde inside a white cuboid-like prison in which he is to remain for the foreseeable future (I think it’s really for eternity, but don’t let Mr. Lorde hear this). After watching these remarkable tense events unfold, you are given control of the martial artist formerly known as ‘Armed with Wings’. Simply walk over (at a frustratingly slow pace) towards the suspicious-looking figure of darkness in front of you and watch the cut-scene continue.
Meet Network, a stereotypically evil-looking fellow who should be instantly assumed to be the acting antagonist of the game, representing all that is sinful, unholy and downright mischievous. A battle ensues between the two Gods of power and we are left to assume that the clash of power between the two annihilated both. Since the protagonist of the second game is now effectively in the naughty corner of the supernatural platform-gaming world, and the potential cast of this game just got cut down considerably, we are introduced to Leo, who we are to assume is the hero on which we are to pin all of our hopes and gaming skills.
As the game begins, you take control of Leo in the familiar shadowy hues that are so typical of the series. Your location is Leo’s home village, which appears to be akin to the ‘Home’ location where Vandheer Lorde returned to frequently in the previous game. Ignore the upstairs route for now and continue to the right until you reach a woman who turns out to be your mother. Press space to casually wax lyrical with her about the proliferation of dark spirits and other worrying issues. She informs you about the blacksmith and the benefit of using his services to upgrade your various attributes, weapons and fighting styles at the cost of experience points which you can gain through simply playing through the game.
Return to the stairs that I told you to ignore earlier and familiarise yourself with the blacksmith character, and purchase an upgrade to one of your four attributes if you wish; this comes at the cost of 500 experience points. Ignore the building which you are given the opportunity to enter and return to the lower level, proceeding all the way to the right, past your mother and into the portal. The adventure begins, though at this stage you are to be accompanied by your mother; humiliation takes a flash-based form.
Before I continue, I will assume that since you have taken the time and trouble to search for a written walkthrough such as this, and that the very act of doing so indicates that you are familiar enough with the game to have already played through it to an exhaustive degree, then you will be armed with the knowledge of the control system. I will therefore not be delving into the particulars of the assignment of the controls within the game, particularly since the game’s first level incorporates an informative guide to the controls with related examples of the various controls demonstrated through various basic challenges in the level.
The business-end of the game begins thusly at ‘Chapter 1: Forest Trails’, the entire level stained with a beautifully delicate sandy hue, which you will notice changes according to the particular level you are playing (one of many delicate, aesthetical touches which makes the game so enthralling to play). This chapter is a relatively simple matter, partly due to the fact that it incorporates a series of tutorial-like instructions in order to allow you to learn as you play, and also because ‘Armed with Wings 3’ has no difficulty selection; the relative difficulty of the levels and number of puzzles involved therefore increase with each level as opposed to being user-selected.
Proceed to the right, hopping up the ledges and stopping at the mechanical barricade ahead. You are prompted by the floating instructions to use your eagle to grab the key; no one knows better about how to make progress in the game than the game itself, so obey the instructions and use the key to open the inconveniently-locked shutter. Behind this shutter door awaits a series of manikin-like objects on which you are prompted to test out your melee and sword attacks; whether you do so is up to you, but it is advisable to make the most of an enemy which doesn’t fight back since all enemies from this moment on are very much alive and able to upset your initial state of good health. Use Leo’s handy ledge-grab function to heave yourself up the next elevation and enter the portal to the next section.
Your first live enemy lurks ahead, which it appears to be a tall creature with an unhealthily-slouched posture: end what looks to be his life of lower back pain with a few swipes of your sword, or by encouraging him towards the pitfall just behind his position. Use your eagle of eager assistance to venture into the pitfall and grab the key hidden below, holding onto it while you tackle the second advocate of poor posture that is the single enemy waiting ahead. You may use your eagle as a grappling point to access the spinning film-reel icon above by positioning him about one inch away from the platform and making the jump. Collecting these icons and unlocking the cut-scenes is an optional task; I therefore won’t be covering the location of the entire collection within the game . Use the key to unlock the door and press onwards into the pulsating portal behind it.
Two more wandering, slump-backed enemies roam up ahead, begging to be confronted and for their presence to be eradicated entirely. Two platforms lead downwards to an enclosed area where another lone enemy paces continuously until you halt his progress. Permanently. Jump up the high platforms to the right and enter the portal to the next section collecting the orbs of health along the way.
Run up the incline and hope onto the box at the top, using it to access the area to the left. Collect the health orbs and make use of your eagle yet again in a tactical way in order to manoeuvre yourself into a jump (using the wall as a jumping surface by pressing the ‘Up’ key as you make contact with it) that is sufficiently high enough to collect the spinning reel above. You should have opened up a chest simply by running past it on your way, where a handy key waits within; grab this with your eagle for later use and continue to the right once again.
Slice and swipe your way through the single enemy wandering aimlessly in your path and travel up the stairs and steps to encounter your next challenge that will enable you to use the key you’ve been saving for a rainy instance such as the one you are about to face. Using your eagle as a basic aviation device, fly him upwards and into the narrow tunnel, flying to the right until the tunnel changes direction to a downwards path (you may fly upwards at this point to collect an optional power-up hidden above); follow the path around and emerge conveniently on the opposite side of the door that blocks Leo’s way. Fulfil the key’s understated destiny as a security device and use the now-accessible portal.
Your first boss battle awaits just beyond the confines of the visible landscape, waiting for you in the unfamiliar territory to your right: make your way towards it to dispel the fear of the unknown, collecting the health orbs along the way. Once you pass underneath the elegant-looking archway, the boss of this first chapter makes himself apparent, and you are probably wondering what all the fuss was about. Possessing the appearance of an overweight relative of the previous enemies, this boss wields a brutal-looking sword and has the ability to perform combination attacks against you.
Don’t let his ridiculously disproportional leg-to-body ratio unnerve you; defeating him is a simple task. Watch out for his special move, which consists of him summoning several large swords to suddenly emerge from the ground at pre-designated, evenly-spaced points of origin. The points at which the swords emerge from release dust before the swords emerge, indicating exactly which points you need to avoid if you wish for your blood to remain inside your body. Simply stand still in the safety of the between-sword spaces until they return from the ground from whence they sprung. He also has the tendency to run uncontrollably towards you; if he does this, simply run away from him, and use the wall as a jumping surface to escape if you find him backing you up against it. Use your combination of fist and blade to reduce his health to nil, healing yourself with your special move along the way if necessary. Once his health depletes, he will make a dramatic scene whereby he flashes a great deal and explodes into a puff of black matter which rises vertically into the air.
Watch the cut-scene where Leo displays some arrogant behaviour, boasting that these dark creatures aren’t so difficult to defeat after all. With his ears likely burning at this remark, the boss finds one final ounce of life and attempts to attack Leo as he boasts. Luckily, your mother isn’t so quick to dismiss the evil spirits and slices the boss in half, much to the shock of Leo. With your limbs still intact, you return to the village where more dramatic scenes await the following morning.
It turns out that the evil forces are greater in number and have a more plentiful supply of villainous behaviour than was once anticipated, demonstrated by all the ransacking and kidnapping of the village’s inhabitants by Gaaz (a burly-looking entity of evil) and his evil posse. Those kidnapped include your mother, and so the adventure begins. Leo must undertake this adventure alone with only his eagle and his sword, with view to possibly acquiring some much-needed humility along the way.
Once back in control of the action, we must some meaning and seek a resolution to all this recent drama in the village. Talk to the blacksmith to hear his overwhelmingly pessimistic outlook of the situation with an accompanying lack of faith in your ability to resolve this sordid situation. Much against the blacksmith’s advisement, Leo wishes to seek both vengeance and the return of his mother, preferably (but not necessarily) in this order. The blacksmith will ask you to meet him in his workshop; respond to his request by venturing to the top section and entering the large barn-like building.
Despite the fact it isn’t your birthday (and if it was, it would be the most tragic and upsetting coming of age in history), he has the gift of the traditional karate fighting style to give to you; this makes your melee attacks more deadly and allows you to perform more impressive combinations of moves, and also has the secondary advantage of being more profitable in the way of experience points. Every cloud has a silver lining, though this lining won’t bring your mother back, so bask in your recently acquired abilities and knowledge, upgrade you attributes and special move to your recently acquired power blast if you wish, and proceed to the lower level of your village to transport yourself via portal to the next chapter.
You emerge at the ominously-named Chapter 2, bearing the title of Desolation. Immediately release your eagle and fly to the left, through the conveniently eagle-sized gap and up to a second special move power-up icon. Collect the icon to add the ‘double blast’ to your collection (though you cannot use it until you finish this chapter and return to your village to equip the damn thing). Summon your eagle to return and proceed to the right, climbing up the stairs and following the instructions by using your eagle as a grappling point to reach the ledge above. Continue leftwards at this point and watch as a shutter descends swiftly behind you. If you are suspicious that a dangerous situation is afoot, then your supposition is correct; an enemy wielding a spear sidles in from the left: use your new-found fighting skills to put an end to his silliness and jump up to the ledge behind him to proceed to the next section.
Continue to the left again and continue your unashamed use of the bird as a strategic tool to in aiding your movement through the level; this is done by leaping up to the ledge as before after a little help from the wall as a jumping surface, grabbing the eagle, using the wall on your right as another jump surface, allowing you to jump off it and conquer this fairly tricky movement puzzle.
After walking to the left, the ‘camera’ pans out to give you some visual perspective on another tricky situation which requires further eagle deployment. This time, you must pick up the key in front of you and navigate your eagle with gentle, gradual movements through the spikes to insert the key into the receptacle on the other side. [You can fly upwards at the first elevation in the spikes to locate the optional spinning-reel icon to grab with Leo in due course if you fancy unlocking another cut-scene]. After the key is inserted, the spikes cease to be a hindrance and leave a large chasm for you to navigate. Jump down into the gap, go to the extreme left and place your bird just above a point which is equidistant from the top of the crate to the ledge above.
Use the bird yet to gain altitude and grapple onto the ledge above. Once up here, you can place the bird just to the right of the lateral midway point between the edge of the ledge and the spinning reel, use him as a stop gap and collect the icon. Repeat the previous step to get to the top of the ledge once again and continue onwards.
You are faced with a vertical shaft which requires you to make multiple jumps from the walls in order to reach the top. Using the health power-up orbs as a guide, make your multiple leaps by using the ‘up’ button on contact with the wall and skill permitting, you will make it to the top. With barely a moment to relax, two spear-wielding men of questionable character charge in from the right; show them your new fighting style and continue to the right. Up the steps, you are faced with another (slightly larger) vertical shaft, which you should be more than equipped to deal with at this stage. At the top, run to the left, dispatch another enemy and enter the portal to continue.
Ignore the shaft which is immediately above you as you start the next section: there is nothing but empty disappointment up there, so just continue to the right. Use your bird to grab hold of the handle and pull the door mechanism downwards, leaving him there while you to pass underneath. Two enemies are waiting for you a little to the right, so make short work of these gentlemen. Use the wall by jumping against it, rebounding and grabbing the ledge to the left, and continue onwards in this westerly direction where lo and indeed behold, another portal waits for you.
Some more mild platforming awaits you in the form of being required to locate and push a pressure switch: do so by using your bird yet again as a grapple point to grasp onto the edge of the platform above and travelling upwards and to the right to locate the switch. Once pushed, return to the ground level and rightwards, past the now-open door and into the watchful gaze of another man with a spear. Take care of him, since he was disturbing the peace which you need to release your eagle once again, fly upwards into the small passageway and pull the cord (leaving your eagle to hold it in place) to open the second door which blocks your otherwise fluid progress. Once past the door, return your eagle so he is about your person once again so you can exit through the portal ahead.
Continue to the right, transcending the stairs and collecting the health points en route. Halt your movement at the top; you have a special ability to collect. To do this, simply release your bird and venture with a little altitude to the left, where the ice shot awaits in a crevice for your collection. As seemingly the only purpose of this level is to collect this power up, you may walk to the left and into the portal of exit.
As you begin the next section, ensure you don’t wander to the left as your curiosity will result in a swift meeting with the spikes below which were waiting just out of view. Avoid this, since you have a boss battle ahead of you in the form of the infamous Gaaz. After a pitiful exchange of some pretty amateur smack talk, Gaaz pulls his sword from the ground, and I don’t think he is simply trying to show you how pretty his blade is: He wants a fight, and he’s going to get it.
Gaaz has a significantly larger arm span than the previous boss and is therefore deadlier from a longer range. He will attempt to perform his own combination of moves as you try and issue your own form of brutality. His excessive size is also his biggest weakness, since he is large to the point of being cumbersome and extremely slow with his movements. He will walk towards you at a laughable pace, allowing you time to plan your next attack. Do not underestimate his power once he is in attacking range, however.
Pay attention to his behaviour as well, since Gaaz will eventually perform his special move which consists of waving his sword dramatically and summoning a blast of energy from underneath your current position; this has the ability to knock you back a considerable distance, and seeing as there is a spike pit to your left that is dying for the arrival of its next unfortunate victim, I would advise against remaining still in light of this attack once you recognise that he is performing this special move. Simply jump out of the radius of his attack and continue fighting him. Unlike in previous titles, pushing him into the spike pit won’t work as he will simply re-materialise on solid ground. Don’t worry; his health will deteriorate quickly enough with your normal attacks, and once it has he will fall to his knees and vaporise into a black smoke of nothingness. Watch the cut-scene in which you rescue your mother, but come to the realisation that the evil at work is more powerful than first imagined.
On that grave revelation, you return to your village with your mother in tow. Go and talk to her and exchange a few words as she proceeds to state the glaringly obvious, summing up the problem that lies before you and also gifting you a rather deadly-looking sword upgrade. She occasionally speaks a little sense, so go to the blacksmith to switch to your new sword, upgrade your attributes and select whichever special ability you may be in the mood for (I hear the ‘Ice Blast’ opens well and has deadly notes which linger on the palette: an excellent vintage). Your new sword deals considerably more damage than your standard model, so without further delay, return to the ground level and enter the portal to continue your quest of ever-increasing danger with the third chapter.
Emerge gracefully into the snowy wilderness that is Chapter 3: Frosted Despair; its blue-hued beauty marred only by the ominous situation which has already been discussed and (if the previous events of the game are anything to go by) is extremely likely to deteriorate into violent chaos very shortly. Begin by running to the right and carefully jumping over the spikes below onto an intermediate platform before jumping to the safety of more consistently solid ground to your right, using your ability to grab onto the ledge and pull yourself to safety.
The next section is a little tricky and is the most revealing test of your movement skills and manual dexterity yet. You approach a pitfall with spikes below, where you are greeted with the optional spinning film reel, enticing you dangerously from the spike pit below. To obtain this, you must position your eagle at a sufficient height as not to touch the spikes when using it as a dangling point and subsequently using the walls on either side to perform alternating jumps to safety. A similar technique must be used to conquer the height of the next platform; using the bird as another grappling point to begin your jump at a sufficiently high point, you must use alternating jumps between the wall and the slanted platform which runs parallel. If you perform this correctly, you will still be alive and now at the top of platform having conquered the challenge.
A single enemy waits for you at the top which should be no more than a minor inconvenience with your new blade. Hop up onto the platform behind the now-deceased foe and descend, following the glowing orbs of health and tackling two more enemies at the bottom. Hop onto the platform and exit through the portal.
Work your way to the right of the cave, battling three enemies along the way and dropping down the only gap you can see. Jump into the upward-flowing stream of physics-defying madness and let it take you up to the uppermost level of ground which has a key terminal which is lacking a key and a door to the right through which you must enter to locate said key. Once through the door, use your eagle to pull the cord to its full extent and leave him at this position while you exit through the same door and expose the key which lies in the chest beyond the recently-opened shutter, disposing of the single enemy that looms behind it in the process. Leave the key there and return through the door. This time, use the eagle to travel down the small tunnel and pick up the key; return him to Leo and, with key in claw, return through the door and to the locked terminal across the wind-tunnel gap to the right.
An Indiana Jones-like situation waits for you up here, with a boulder that is attached to a wire dangling precariously at the crest of the slope. Behind it lies another special move, which you should collect before using your sword to cut the wire and release the boulder, beginning its descent down the hill and to the base of the stream of air, sealing it up and allowing you to access the tunnel below and to the right where the portal sits in wait to take you to the next section of the chapter.
No more than a little jumping and swashbuckling awaits you in this section. Firstly, run over to the large chasm containing two platforms of differing height which look rickety at best. You are right to be suspicious of them since they will collapse shortly after you land on them, which incidentally makes it a little more difficult to collect the spinning reel that sits squarely in the middle of the chasm. My recommendation is to place the eagle at a position that is slightly above the spinning reel and leave him there; once you have control of Leo again, run and jump to the first platform and quickly hop to the eagle and use him as an intermediate point between the two platforms, hop to the next one and then to solid ground on the other side. If all went swimmingly, then you should be both alive and in possession of the latest cut-scene bonus feature that can be accessed from the main menu. An unarmed enemy waits for you on the other side of the chasm, which can be disposed of with ease by ushering him politely but firmly with your fists directly into it. Hop onto the next ledge and into the next portal.
More platforms of lesser width await your presence in this section; three of them to be exact, and each of them have the collapsing feature that the previous platforms held, though their extremely narrow width makes them much harder to navigate. The aim is to hop across three of them in quick succession and make it to the other side; this much is clear. Before you embark on your impressive acrobatics, you must position your eagle between the last platform and the solid ground above; after you have arranged this, you are ready to make your move. Alternatively, you can allow the platforms to collapse and fall to the ground below. From here, you can walk up the slope to the right and use your bird in the usual fashion to allow you to reach the destination platform on the opposite side. These two routes lead you to the same location; up here you must dispose of the enemy and enter the portal above. Note that if you took the easy way out and gained access to the platform from the right hand side, it will not be possible for you to collect the spinning reel icon since the portal now stands in the way. Whether you took the honourable or cowardly road, exit through the portal and to the next section.
This section is an example of the ever-increasing difficulty of the game as you progress further towards your final goal, and also testament to the increasing number of puzzles you have to tackle in order to reach the end of the chapter. The first section of the room consists of intermittent platforms of increasing altitude which must be navigated by means of the vertical streams of upwardly-rising air which you have previously encountered. This time, there is the added twist of some lengthy spikes waiting for you at the top, so if you get carried away and fail to control your upwards movement, you will meet the grizzly end that is to be the expected outcome of a sudden meeting between man and spikes. To complicate things, there is a spinning reel to be collected in the midst of all the up-draughts and the spikes; this is the toughest challenge yet.
As is tradition, position the eagle slightly above the spinning reel if you wish to grab it along the way. Return to the consciousness of Leo and hop into the first stream of air, letting it carry you up to a sufficient height so that you can exit the stream above the spinning reel but not so high that it becomes hazardous to your continued existence. Upon collection of the (optional) reel, enter the next stream across before meeting with the spikes below you and allow it to carry you up to the platform above the small tunnel. This last manoeuvre will require you to come remarkably close to the spikes above, so it must be done carefully; even if a few tries are required, it is still fairly achievable and should not prove to be too much of a problem. Two unarmed enemies wait on this platform, so slay them with vigour and observe the closed shutter in front of you: clearly, some more eagle action is imminently required.
Dispatch your eagle and fly him to the left and to the tunnel that is slightly below you, leading him to the right and then following the health orbs up to a handle that looks to be just about the right size for use by a bird. Pull the handle downwards until the cord is fully extended, allowing Leo passage to the shaft and the ability to make a leap of faith, descending with great speed to the ground below. Down here lurks an unarmed enemy and a portal; kill the enemy and enter the portal (never the other way around).
The moment you enter the next section, you get the distinct feeling that a significant event is about to take place. Walk across the metal bridge and a little further to find that indeed something is about to go down, but at this point, it is impossible to discern exactly what this is. As calmly and collectedly as ever, the heroic force of everything that is right and honourable stands before you: he is the martial artist formerly known as ‘Armed with Wings’, and he makes his title (or lack of) very clear upon conversing with him. It appears that he has been standing here since the beginning of the game, guarding the box of white light which apparently passes for a prison in this world. Before any more pleasantries or phone numbers can be exchanged, the most superlatively evil force appears behind you to crash the party. After some unfortunate events, the prisoner is set free from the prison and so the boss battle begins.
This boss is Vandheer Lorde, the acting protagonist of the last game but undoubtedly an evil force within this one. He is tall, mysterious and those who played the previous game will be aware that he is extremely dangerous, so bear this in mind when attempting to defeat him.
His attacks consist of his gigantic icy blast which has always been his signature move, and also the usual fighting combinations with his sword. He may not appear to be very dangerous at first due to the incredibly relaxed pace at which he walks towards you, but due to his height, arm span and the length of his sword, he is a formidable foe and can deal a significant amount of damage before you get the chance to respond. I recommend that you use your combination attacks against him after performing a jump to avoid his initial swing in your direction. His health takes an incredibly long time to deplete; it dwindles away extremely slowly, and when it reaches only 1/5 depletion, a cut-scene interrupts the action.
You are knocked to the floor, but before you are slain, the Lone Warrior intervenes to defend you, sealing Vandheer Lorde into his prison once again but on an extremely temporary basis; looks like you have no choice but to make like bamboo and shoot. After possibly one of the easiest boss battles in the history of gaming history itself, you arrive back at your village, but with the feeling that Vandheer Lorde is still out there somewhere, shaking his fist and saying something along the lines of ‘I’ll get you Leo, if it’s the last thing I do’ .
[Note: If you are going for a complete run of the game, collecting all cut-scene reels, then you need to equip the sky strike ability which you will need to be able to collect a reel in the next stage]
Walk up to your Mother and the Lone Warrior and talk to them; after a little conversation and some major revelations that are central to the storyline, the Lone Warrior imparts his fighting knowledge in the form of fighting upgrades. Go to the blacksmith to equip the God Fist and the Godly Blade and proceed to the portal below to embark on your next adventure with the Lone Warrior in tow.
Armed with the knowledge that you are in fact the next big thing in hero terms, and that you are actually an all-powerful warrior with a wealth of power waiting dormant within your soul, simply dying to be accessed, you begin your journey through the questionably-spelt Chapter 4: Ruines (sp) of an Empire. The action bursts forth immediately with an enemy trudging over awkwardly from the right; slay him before the title of the level has the chance to fade from the screen and push on in the direction he came from. You approach a bridge whose stability looks questionable at best, so ensure that your crossing of it takes place in a hasty manner and watch it collapse behind you as you run.
At the other side of the rickety overpass, you have your first encounter with the ‘archer’ class of enemies. With all the information you need to know about these fellows in their title, you should dispatch him quickly before he gets the chance to fire off too many projectiles in your direction. Initially, you can hide directly underneath the platform he stands on, and if you didn’t fancy taking him out with a special move, you can go hand to arrow with him after using your eagle to allow you to clamber up onto his platform. Once you reduce his quiver to no more than an empty bag without an owner, proceed to the right with caution.
Out of the game’s visible field is an archer firing arrows from a platform high above you, so ensure that you keep moving to avoid his arrows which intermittently shower pain upon you from above and deal with the two unarmed enemies which are skulking about on the ground level to your right. If you are an individual with explorative tendencies, you may have used your eagle to gather visual intelligence of the area which the cowardly archer is using as a base for his irritating form of warfare. Behind him sits a cut-scene reel with a few orbs of health as a bonus. It almost breaks my heart (but I think I’ll get over it) to tell you that you will not be able to collect this reel by conventional means of movement.
There are two ways to access this cut-scene reel: If you took heed of my advice above, you would have equipped the sky strike as your special move and will be able to perform it twice in a row in order to launch you high enough boost yourself to the altitude required to get onto the platform above; the second option is to leave it and return to this level having completed the game and attained the teleport ability, which also allows you to gain access to the platform. The latter is of course only for the worryingly dedicated gamer; if you would have listened to my parenthesised words of advice not so long ago, you wouldn’t need to go through so much hassle. Having made your decision about either collecting or leaving the reel, proceed down the hill and into the portal to the next section.
Walk over to the right, moving at a consistent pace to avoid the arrows from the archer who is perched cunningly on a platform above you and to the right. If you are of violent disposition then you can deal with him with the special that you have equipped, but if you can resist the urge to end his amateur archery then simply keep moving and follow the health orbs downwards onto the platform below. Yet another archer waits for you, this time below and to the left; ensure that his untimely demise takes place quickly to avoid losing too much health. To your right is a spike-lined chasm with small platforms dotted across it; these are easy enough to cross, but watch out for the descent of the platforms as you step on them and make your way quickly across. Your swift movement should have kept you relatively puncture free from the arrow-happy enemy waiting at the other end of the chasm. Show him the business end of your sword and continue to the right.
On the floor below you, a burly, spear-wielding enemy lurks suspiciously; he is accompanied by a tunnelling skull (this is the first encounter of these within the game) which burrows in the ground and jumps out as it approaches you, dealing you some damage if it manages to make contact. You can see the top of the skull’s head as it moves, so defeating it should not be too much of a problem. Once both enemies are defeated, it is time to get that teleport ability that is ensconced visibly behind a moveable shutter. Get your falconry gear out (not literally, and you should know this by now) and send your eagle for a vertical exploration. At the top and to the right you will see a pressure plate, which simply has to be the ticket to getting that teleport ability.
Use your eagle to allow you to pull yourself up to the platform on the left where you originally dived down from for the purpose of clearing the ground below. Once up there, place your eagle at an appropriately equidistant point between your platform and the smaller one which sits in the middle. You must make sure that you do not hang from your eagle, but have him close enough to comfortably (and cruelly) use him as a stepping stone so that your contact with the middle platform can be as brief as possible, since it will collapse underneath you and ruin your chances if you are not fast enough. Once you make it to the small area on the right, step on the pressure plate and drop down to the floor once again to claim your prize. Shame you cannot try it out until the next visit to the blacksmith, since it its quite useful and just looks damn cool.
Proceed down the stairs to the left and drop down the gap, where two jumping skulls are waiting for your presence. Dispose of these ridiculous enemies as before, or simply jump over them. It makes very little difference to me: all I ask is that you continue onwards to the portal and make your exit from this section.
A few more pressure-plate shenanigans are imminent. While you just try and stop yourself from jumping for joy absolute, pick up the cube on the floor with your bird and pop it onto the plate in order to move past the door that initially blocks your way. You will encounter a second pressure plate which you should step on, if only to watch the foolish jumping skull which falls into the newly-opened pit, trapping himself there. Oh wait, the spinning blade ability is down in that pit too? Perhaps the skull was onto something after all.
Either go to the right and clear the area of the numerous jumping skulls there, or simply leave them for your exit journey. Regardless of your action regarding the skulls, the spinning blade power-up is simply too tasty a dish to pass up on, so let’s get collecting. The pressure plate releases the shutter too quickly for you to be able to reach it in time, and even if you could, you would end up trapped like a damn fool. Look pleasingly upon your eagle and fly him to the cube you used earlier, which should still be located on the first pressure plate. This plate also releases the door remarkably quickly, and travelling at normal place is simply not fast enough, so grab the cube without lifting it and press the ‘w’ button to recall your eagle at an accelerated pace which should be sufficient to get you past the door before it closes. You can now place the cube onto the second pressure plate and let it remain there while you jump into the pit and collect the spinning blade ability, which is possibly the most impressive special move in the game. Proceed to the right and exit through the portal yet again.
The next section contains a massive rift, which in case you were wondering is definitely bottomless and by no coincidence is fatal should you be silly enough to misjudge the jumps across it. The rift has three platforms across it which you must jump across, spending minimal time on each one because yet again, these are the kind of platforms that rudely descend beneath your feet without warning. No one ever said this game had manners.
An archer waits for you across the gap, so dispose of this ridiculously annoying individual and press onwards, only to be greeted by another task of slightly higher perplexity potential. This next rift also has three platforms which lay across it, but has the added complication of having a spinning reel at the end of it which requires some positioning of your eagle in order to collect it without falling into the wilderness below and suffering a close family bereavement in the form of yourself. Position the eagle to the left of the spinning reel in order to use it as a stepping surface when you reach the final floating platform and jump from it, putting your life in the hands of your winged accomplice. If all goes well, you should easily make the first three jumps, and the fourth will allow you to step on the eagle momentarily before you grapple the edge of the precipice, grabbing the reel in the process. These are entirely optional, remember; if you wish to forego the opportunity of unlocking all aspects of the game, be my uninvited guest.
The requirement of skill in your manoeuvring becomes greater and greater as you progress, and reaching your destination at the top of this next part is no exception. You are faced with a falling platform to your left which allows you access to the solid platform which juts out directly above you. Place your eagle just to the left of this solid platform and use the wall to the right to perform a jump which lands you comfortably on the falling platform so that you can make a swift jump from here, into the clutches of you eagle and then onto the solid platform. Once up here you can easily jump up to the ground above you, watching out for the archer that is discharging a steady stream of arrows your way. To kill or not to kill: a dilemma which Shakespeare himself wrote about in a slightly more poetic fashion, but we know what he was implying. Either way, move swiftly to the exit portal to claim your victory over this tricky section of Chapter 4.
Surely there must be a boss battle soon, I hear you ask. Sit back down and have another sip of patience; we’re nearly there but not quite. More puzzles o’ logic are ahead, and this one requires a wee bit more observation and skill than the last. You begin the next section trapped between two shutters, so your immediate reaction should be to deploy your bird of prey to assess the situation here. Fly upwards and through the tunnel of suitable width for a bird, travelling to the right and pulling on the obvious handle to release the door that hinders Leo’s progress. Leave the bird on the handle for now. Run all the way to the right, hopping over the gaps in the metal girder until you have a not-so-chance meeting with a pressure plate in the floor.
Stepping on it hoists up the door that was behind you at the beginning of the level. The plate will stay down permanently, so relax your itchy eagle finger and use the wall to the right as a rebound surface from which you should jump and climb the stairs above you and to the left. Another shutter doing an excellent job of being a shutter is in front of you; return to your eagle, flying left through the tunnel again and then upwards, to the right, over the spike pit and up between the gap in the girders to release the second pull-switch of the level. Jump to the left and over the gap in the girders, leaving your eagle on the fully-extended switch so Leo may continue to the left unhindered. Use the vertical walls which run parallel to jump between until you reach the top. Run to the right, over the two collapsible platforms and onto the solid ground to the right of them. Here you will find a chest with a cube inside. Eagle o’clock chimes loudly.
Quickly return your eagle to your present location and grab the cube, flying it leftwards before the shutter closes and down one level, placing the cube immediately to the left of the shutter door to your right on this level while you pull down the switch (which is to your left), leaving the bird in place. Bring Leo down to this level, past the cube and the shutter door (which is now open thanks to your trusty bird); travel down the stairs to the right, and then the stairs to the left until you reach another closed shutter. Release the bird from the pull-switch again, flying him in a leftwardly direction over the spikes, into the small tunnel which leads to the left, then taking the right turning again. You should emerge at the first pull-switch, which you should pull (obviously) to its fully extended position for Leo to pass. With the door that was previously closed behind you at the start of the level now open, you may pass it, jumping across two platforms and opening a chest with a key. Devastatingly, it isn’t over yet.
Grab the key and fly it into the middle of the section of epic puzzlement where a key terminal is eager to be used. This opens a door to the right of the level to which you now must return. You know what to do here: use the eagle to fly back through the small tunnel and return him to the cube which you placed next to the shutter earlier. Pick up the cube and place it on the pressure plate at the top left of the level. This will retract a seemingly isolated and currently useless girder at the extreme bottom-right of the stage. Now you use your eagle to pull the first switch that you used in the level which opens the necessary shutters and lets you access the door which you opened with the key. Follow the trail past this shutter and all the way to the ground below where some burrowing skulls have been dying to meet your acquaintance. Greet them with nothing less than a fine example of some extreme, high-stakes fencing until they exist no more.
Proceed to the right and up the stairs. Some enemies wait just out of reach above you: this is where you must go. Use your eagle to gain enough height so that you can jump between the two walls and reach the area above where two unarmed foes and one spear-wielding maniac are waiting. Relieve them of their life duties and enter the doorway, which only leads to yet more trouble.
The trouble I’m referring to comes in the form of two horrendously tall gentlemen with spears, a few unarmed enemies that tend to lurk rather than walk, a few burrowing skulls and an archer thrown in for good measure. Take care of this frankly unnecessary ruckus and perform the traditional releasing of the eagle in order to grab and pull down the handle above. After what seems like an eternity of ongoing platform action, you have reached the exit portal. Let’s just hope the next level doesn’t take inspiration from this one.
Emerge at the next section and run forward onto the metal girder-like object. This immediately feels like a boss battle, and a quick trip to the right will confirm this assertion. Here, we have the ever-menacing Vandheer Lorde waiting with his back to you (for added mystery), moaning about being the ruler of an empty empire and generally feeling a little sorry for himself. Apparently evil overlords get depressed too, let’s just hope he doesn’t start getting existential on us. After a little more smack talk that appears to be written for a PG-13 audience, the sometimes-evasive Vandheer Lorde teleports away, followed by the Lone Warrior, leaving you to make your way back to the village by more conventional means of transportation. Before you can begin your journey home, a giant skull emerges from the ground. Welcome to the next boss; you’ve earned it!
We’ll call this one Skull Boss: I’ll admit it isn’t the best or most creative name, but it does the job. It immediately starts attacking with what appears to be its primary move, consisting of projectiles which fall from the sky. These are relatively easy to dodge since the path of the projectiles is highlight with stream of white light. The frequency and number of them means you have to keep moving, however, or you will find yourself lacking in enough health to survive for enough time to even make a dent in his health. It also fires black, spherical projectiles from its mouth which travel extremely slowly but at possibly the most inconvenient height, being too low walk under them but too high to be able to jump over them without the help of your eagle or the conveniently-placed column at the very left of the boss-fight arena.
My recommendation is that you attack the giant, porous collection of bones (with long, flowing hair worthy of a shampoo advert) with any long-range special attack you may have equipped; this will chip away at his health in minute amounts and allow you to dodge his annoyingly frequent attacks whilst still being on the offense. Once he fires enough of his black, slow-moving projectiles, he takes a literal bow and makes the classic mistake that is typical of all platform game bosses by leaving himself open for attack. This is where you can deal the most damage, bursting forth with your sword attacks which should be nothing less than deadly after your upgrades from the Lone Warrior.
After repeating the above attacking methods enough times, the skull will take a permanent bow and the battle will be at its conclusion.
Brace yourself for a harrowing cut-scene in which events take a dramatically upsetting turn, with Leo’s mother meeting her demise and her essence being used to fuel Network (the overall boss and culprit behind all the bad things that have happened in this game so far) and his transition into his complete form. Leo sees the commotion from afar and is too late to intervene; with his grief in tow, he returns to the village where you regain control.
Upgrade whichever statistics and attributes you feel will benefit your journey through the last chapter and take your pick of the special moves you have accumulated thus far; the single or double blasts are the most powerful while the spinning blade is extremely fun but not quite as overwhelmingly deadly as the other attacks. You may even want to try out your newly-acquired teleport ability, which is not an attacking move but allows you to whisk around the level and confuse your enemies considerably while evading them and dealing damage as you whisk by. [I highly recommend the teleport ability, so much so that I have felt the need to italicise the text and apply bold formatting to it: it makes the boss battle with Network considerably easier.] Once you feel you have made the selections which are best for you, proceed to the portal and to the last chapter of what has been quite the epic adventure.
Chapter 5: Final Struggle bears the same dark colour scheme as your village and in contrast with the previous chapters, it is almost completely devoid of any noticeable colours or themes thereof; this is how you know that the situation just got serious and that the end is in sight. The title of the chapter is also a clue, but I prefer to acknowledge the more subtle nuances of the game. Run to the right and notice that you do not encounter any obstacles, enemies or puzzles, and instead are led straight to another portal at the right of the room. A little eerie, but let us continue.
Another area that is as devoid of sound as it is colour, and contains no enemies yet again. Simply walk up the double set of stairs and into the portal. Things that are this easy make me nervous, because you just know that some happenings are afoot. Proceed to the portal and enter it.
Through this portal, you begin your inevitable encounter with Network in the form of a short cut-scene in which it becomes obvious that Leo is the physical form of ‘Armed with Wings’, illustrated by well, Leo having wings momentarily in the cut-scene. With minimal fighting talk and maximum swiftness, the battle begins.
The final boss battle with Network is a tough one, and not just because he is a powerful overlord of evil and the antithesis of Blackmist, or because he is able to feast on other life forms to heal himself. Firstly, he possesses the ability to perform hard-hitting combinations with a high number of successive moves; being caught up in one is pretty much like getting a taste of your own medicine, and boy does it taste bitter and a little like blood. Network also incorporates his ability to teleport into his combinations, allowing him to shift away from you, towards you or behind you, continuing his relentless combinations and really putting a downer on your day.
The best way to go about defeating this towering titan of an adversary is to hit him with your sword attack combinations as much as possible. Projectiles are ineffective and any other attacks are just a waste of your energy. If you listened to the advice which I placed in bold and italics not too long ago, you will have the teleport ability equipped and can use it in much the same way that Network does: attack him with a combination and quickly teleport away as soon as it looks like he is going to make a violent counter-offer. Use the teleport move defensively as well; if it looks as if you are about to get stuck on the business end of a massive combination, teleport away and sneak up behind him to deal some damage. Once half of his health has dwindled away, the inevitable escalation of his anger and fighting technique takes place. He raises his fist and releases a burst of energy, making the ground to the right sink into nothingness and leaving a pitfall which I suggest you avoid entering at all costs. We get the message: now he means business, and the change of the music from relaxed to distressing makes things all the more urgent.
In his agitated form, Network skulks about with the same nonchalant way, but now has the ability to cast out a double-blast of dark energy from either side of him, the radius of which is quite extensive; try to avoid getting caught in this if you can. He also sends up multiples pulses of dark energy from the ground in rapid succession and in your direction; again, jump away from these if possible. His third move sees a flourish of dark energy emanate from him, whipping its way towards you and causing a great deal of damage. It is a sensible move to avoid being caught in any of these attacks. Continue with your usual attacking methods when you get the opportunity. You cannot push him into the chasm which he created earlier as he will simply teleport back onto solid ground. Once his health diminishes, Network appears to be defeated, and with a giant blast of upwardly-travelling energy, a cut-scene begins.
Reeling from his defeat and his surprise at you being the one that Blackmist has chosen to be the force of good in this world of free-roaming evil, Network summons his last option and transfers what is left of his physical form into Vandheer Lorde (I had almost forgotten about him). Armed with a terrifying sword that is brutal in shape and even more terrifying in length, the final battle is upon you. Oh, and this battle is going to be so intense that it requires its own chapter; just a warning!
You just know that things are getting serious when the chapter you are playing contains the title of the game itself. Chapter 6: Armed with Wings is your last battle in what has been a thoroughly epic and beautifully-animated third title in what has proven to be an excellent series of games. Now, Vandheer Lorde’s arsenal of moves is initially similar to those of your previous encounter with him, only this time you are going to have to fight him to the death, and I’ll be damned if that death is going to be Leo’s. He comes at you ferociously with various combinations, all of which can break the flow of your combination moves and can cause you a considerable amount of damage and general upset should you find yourself on the receiving end of the entire thing. I recommend using your teleport as much as possible if you think you are going to get tangled up in his combinations, otherwise you will find your health depleting extremely quickly.
Vandheer also has his signature ice-bolt move, which he fires out at you occasionally; these are easy enough to avoid with your teleport ability. Continue hacking away at him with your God Cutter combinations and watch his health reduce steadily yet painfully slowly.
He will sometimes teleport a number of times in quick succession, materialising both behind and in front of you in an alternating pattern, with his final materialisation being permanent and resulting in power strike that will send you flying alarmingly high into the air; ensure that you teleport away from this if you see it happening. Occasionally, he will teleport into the air, and from this position will proceed to fire a devastating bold of dark lightning onto you from above; again, the teleport ability is useful here, so use it to avoid being caught in the carnage of Lorde’s special attacks. After you have used your sword to attack Vandheer with enough consistency and ferocity, his health will dwindle just like that of any other adversary; when his final drop of health is sucked from him, the battle will end and will conclude with the game’s very last cut-scene.
This last animation contains Lorde’s disgust at being beaten by a child, Leo’s realisation that he is actually Blackmist (it’s about time; he doesn’t appear to be the sharpest pencil in the artists’ collection) and Leo/Blackmist’s flagrant use of his all-powerful abilities to educate Lorde and Network’s misguided forms on the meaning of true power by ridding the world of evil, starting with them. Oh, and on a jollier note, Leo is able to resurrect his mother, and even through a family reunion with balloons and cake doesn’t form part of the closing animation, my imagination made it happen regardless. A hefty congratulatory pat on the back s is in order: you have managed to complete what is possibly the most challenging and without a doubt the most enjoyable flash-based platform game I have ever encountered. I can only imagine the sheer extent of the next game’s greatness, so stand by for further words of guidance for the next Max Games addition to this series.
After completing Armed With Wings 3 why not move onto the final chapter - Armed With Wings Culmination.