By BOWIEtheHEROBOWIEtheHERO Last updated
These notes were originally written by me back in 2015 when I first picked up the run, a few of the strategies are old, but they're a good starting place to learn the general route, I shall be editing these over the course of the next few weeks to get them up to scratch. I'll not be deleting older strats, but adding in the faster ones and clarifying the difference.
Notes about me as a runner - I've run the game since 2015, performed the run at SGDQ 2017, held the record for the best part of 2017 and 2018, before being beaten by Hinge in October.
Most of the strats here, are a combination of Joshkaz' initial run that I learned from, overall optimisations, and then route changes from Hinge, the current record holder. Enjoy
My current PS2 PB can be found here (Yes, I PB'ed with Pandanosuke) -
I'll be editing in my HD PBs as well ASAP
The HD version is just out, strategies aren't changing too much, but execution of strategies is slightly, with the new movement options and the like.
Pre-Run Game Notes -
When I am describing where to move specifically, I am talking in relation to the way Samanosuke is facing, not the screen. If you enter a screen and I say left, turn Samanosuke to the left then move, not move to the left of the screen. This is important so you don't miss any hidden items or chests, or simply go the wrong way. These controls are using Tank control method. If you're playing HD be aware. I will be looking at writing some information on control type swapping as both are useful, even if Tank is mostly the superior control scheme for this game.
In the game notes I will write the answers like this
This means where the highlighted red square will be. Trick Chests either have numbers 1-6 or 1-8. You open them by rotating the numbers clockwise in a square. For the 1-6 chests you can only move the LEFT square or the RIGHT square. For 1-8 chests, there is an additional MIDDLE square. I will inform of the type of chest and the order of the squares to move
In the Game notes I will write the answers like this
1, 4, 2
6, 3, 7
This is referring to the symbols you must place down in answer to the question. The numbers correspond to the symbol to use to solve the riddle, starting with 1, on the far left of the choices and 8, meaning the far right
The Guide -
Getting Raizan and Enryuu
Run straight ahead to where Yuki is being held, simply fend off the Spiders with basic attacks, 8 hits on one of the Spiders is all you need. Slice 3 Times, Strafe forward to reset the animation, 3 again, repeat and then 2
Cross the bridge and watch the scene. Avoid the enemies outside the gate. Within the building Issen the required demons after the door is closed on you. Regular or Hajiki Issen, it's up to you. Hajiki can allow you to kill 2 at once if you're lucky, so enjoy.
Run through the next few screens, avoiding all the enemies. Jump down the hole and continue into the shrine. Check the alter, skip the Scroll information. Enter the shrine,turn left inside the shrine follow the path. Continue through the next door to collect the Thunder Sword Shiden
Go to the left, and open the chest found on the right hand side. It is the first of many trick chests
– L/R/L – You get a Rope Ladder
Go up the stairs further along the corridor.
Move ahead and to the right slightly to find a MAGIC JEWEL
Turn around and proceed along the path. Before the gate there is a CLUE chest to the left for safety – 1, 3, 6 – You get a POWER JEWEL
^^ Skip this when you get confident in not dying ^^
Approach the gate (Lv.1 Thunder Seal) and open it. Cross straight over the bridge avoiding all the enemies. Through the door. Take the path to the left and turn left at the top, avoiding the Axe-wielding Demon, enter the door.
Avoid the first demon, when the path opens to a square, turn left to the hole in the wall. Open the menu. Use your Jewel (s) and use the Rope Ladder, then descend.
Run ahead to the cave and the door in front of you.
BOSS FIGHT – Osric
Start off with two slices and then thunder magic – full attack combo, and thunder magic - Absorb
If you get any magic drops, use thunder whenever possible. Note you can get a free full combo after you use magic.
Go on the offensive attacking with 2/3 hit combos, only do the full 4 after dodging one of his attacks (best done by strafing whilst holding R1) Absorb souls when you can. Best thing is to dodge an attack, get a 4 hit combo into Thunder Magic then absorb souls.
You'll be out of magic after 2 uses, so go back to normal attacks, you have a lot more time to attack than you think, so get lots of hits and absorb the souls when you get a good amount / have the time
He'll start to charge when he gets lower on health, put space between the two of you and he'll charge then dodge, and you'll have time for 2 full combos. Use magic if he drops enough blue souls for you to use it again.
After defeating Osric, he will fall over, and reveal a path to go along behind him. Absorb the souls, then follow that path through the door, then through the next corridor to the next door. A quick cutscene then a miniboss, 'Reynaldo'
Reynaldo is actually a pretty poor miniboss, as you're just going to ignore him, and grab Enryuu just behind him.
Leave the room and return to the arena where Osric was. His body will disintegrate and the souls will be picked up by the nearby Blue Skulls. You want to kill it, and let it go to the next one and continue the chain until all 4 are defeated, this should put you up to 5 bars of souls (4 if you didn't absorb too much from Osric). The best method for killing them is using the
Enryuu and doing the forward stab attack, which continues into a rising slash. Two of those per Skull will result in a kill. Just make certain you are targeting the correct one.
At higher levels, if you don't get all 4 in order, reset. You need the souls. If you're just learning, keep pressing on for practise
Afterwards, leave through the Lv.1 Fire Sealed door.
SAFETY STRAT - Break the barrels ahead of you to reveal a chest containing MEDICINE (these are keepers as they give full health regen)
Run to the magic Mirror and upgrade Shiden AND Kouen to Lv.2 (4 bars needed to enhance both), then turn to the left and go back to the Rope Ladder, avoiding any enemies as you go.
At the top there will be an Axe Wielding Demon and more Blue Skulls. Kill the demon with an Issen and then finish off the Skull nearby. Unlike the last blue skulls, these ones disappear if you leave them too long. They will starting spinning, making noise. The rising slash will issen them at this point. Defeat the first one, then dash back to change the camera, another should have spawned. Kill that one, and push further to change the camera again, spawning a 3rd. Issen that final one. You should have now, another 4 bars of souls Between 8 and 8.5k souls in total)
Go through the door the Axe Wielding demon was in front of (to the right from the rope ladder), then go through the Lv.1 Fire Seal to the main part of the Castle – Skip the FMV and run through the main door on the far side of the room, and enjoy Toyotomi trying to steal Yumemaru. Another unskippable cutscene.
At the end of the Cutscene, grab the ARROWS in the chest to the right, then go through the Lv.1 Fire seal ahead of you. Left through the door, then along the corridor into another cutscene.
Run straight to the next room. You'll be blocked by a demon soldier so wreck him with the fire Magic, head to the right and go up the stairs.
Turn left and go round the corridor to the Lv.2 Red Seal, open it and enter the room. Open the chest to get the Left Half of the Saito Clan Crest. Leave and cross the hall to the other door, being protected by the Long Arm Demon.
As heartless as it seems, ignore the soldiers being attacked by Demons, and go round the landing to the next Lv.1 Fire Seal. Ignore all enemies in this next room and go through the door on the far side.
Break the barrels to the right of you, and get the Arrows in the chest, then go to the far side and up the stairs.
Strafe left, turn and grab the ARROWS in the chest. Turn around and open the Lv.2 Fire Seal in front of you.
This is a Puzzle section, and a pretty fun one at that.
After the cutscene finishes you'll have to pull certain levers to get through.
1. Samanosuke - Pull the one right in front of you
2. Kaede - move to the next two, pull the one on the right
3. Samanosuke – Pull the one on the left
4. Kaede – Move to the next set, pull the far left lever.
5. Samanosuke – Sidle to the left and pull the far right of the next three. DO NOT PULL THE MIDDLE ONE, IT DROPS AN ARROW ON YOU
Safety Strat - Grab the Holy Armour from the chest to the right of Samanosuke, if you want extra protection.
6. Kaede – Go through the door.
7. Next Room – Use Fire Magic to light the candles, then fill up your magic. Go through to the next room by checking the far left corner of the room.
This next Puzzle is a Hard one to type, so bear with me. There are a variety of trap tiles on the floor. X and +
The X's open holes in the floor to spikes in a line diagonally from the tile, in an X
The +'s do the same to the cardinal directions
There are 5 potential versions you'll see. I am of the assumptions it's on a global timer, as I tend to get the same ones now and then. I'll try to add in some explanation and visuals about these as I go. Maybe make some videos to put in resources for you.
Allow the next cutscene to play, then literally against the wall a little behind the door you entered is the next puzzle.
This next puzzle is a sliding puzzle, which is a lot harder to explain. The goal is to get the two pieces with the halves of the Saito Clan onto the corresponding segments in the middle of the bottom line.
The way I do this is the following, although I'm sure there is a faster route. If you can find one, let me know.
1. Move the two single blocks to the very bottom leaving an open square in the dead center.
2. Move the vertical oblongs into the middle, the open square is now the far left in the middle.
3. Bring the bottom left horizontal oblong up and the two singles just underneath it. This leaves a long oblong open along the bottom.
4. Bring the bottom right piece to the far left under the two single blocks
5. Bring all the vertical pieces down
6. Top Right horizontal piece, left and down to create a square on the top right
7. Grab the two silver vertical pieces, slap 'em in the top right
8. Right Saito piece in.
My fastest time with that is about 13 seconds. If you have a faster version, let me know.
That is also the last of the puzzle section, so onwards with the speedrun -
Run past Kaede to the other side and go through the door. Cross this next room to the other side and pull the rope, this will release all the traps and open the stairs in the middle. Go up them.
Turn right at the top of the stairs and run to the ladder, go down. Then about face and go down again. Open the chest in this room for the other half of the Saito crest. Go up the ladder twice again and make for the stairs once more. Before you get there, you'll come to a door with a hole in the middle. Use the Saito Crest halves to unlock the door. Go through and watch the cutscene.
Turn right and go through the screen doors and through the big door. In this next room run to the screens then defend, an enemy is waiting and will cut the screen doors down (or attack him first, up to you). Run behind the stairs, and grab the ARROWS from the chest. Go up the stairs.
Run around the balcony to the door on the other side and enter. Run to the far right corner cut the screen, and absorb the souls from the alter, then continue on the path to a ladder at the back go up. Time for another Boss.
BOSS FIGHT – Marcellus
Use Fire magic. A lot. You should have full magic so use it twice. Space back and wait for him to attack first, so you don't miss. If your spacing and angles are right, you can get two hits per fire magic (listen out, you'll know if you do)
If you're lucky you'll get big blue souls to absorb and possibly get another 1, possibly 2 uses out if you get another. If so, good RNG, if not, it's the ol' Evade and Slice routine for a bit. Feel free to attack his shield to push out more blue souls for Fire. But no need for Thunder magic, it doesn't hit him or deal damage to him, it just hurts the shield. The shield can break, but it's a waste of time.
4 Fire Magic and 12 or so good hits can be all it takes. Good luck
After defeating the boss absorb your souls. You should have 6 bars at this point, and 10k total souls. This is kinda mandatory, IMO. Collect your reward, the glowing green orb of Wind
Descending to the Underkeep and Kaede Pt.1
Leave the roof, and go to the Magic Mirror. Upgrade Arashi to Lv.2 and Kouen to Lv.3, then go back to the balcony. Turn right out of the door and open the Lv.1 Wind Seal, enter the room. Cutscene
You will regain control in a room just off from the Main Keep where you met Yumemaru and Toyotomi for the first time. Leave the room with Kaede, Yumemaru and the mysterious woman (totally legit!)
Turn left and go back to the entry hall of the main keep, go to the other end and turn right , avoiding the enemies and archers. Follow this next corridor to a Lv.2 Thunder seal. In this next room is a pedestal requiring you equip each sword and check it to continue.
There are lots of Reynaldo's down here so watch out for their underfloor tentacles, they'll stop you from moving for a good 3 or 4 seconds.
Run down the path and turn right at the junction, go through the door at the end
Follow the corridor and cut the tendrils, absorb the souls then continue through the door.
Follow the next corridor, go PAST the double doors to the other side and enter the room. Attack the reynaldo to get past him. Grab the Purifier bell in the chest and avoid the swinging axes on your way out, return to the beginning of the underkeep. Back at the junction, do not turn left back to the Main keep, turn right and use the Bell on the Ghostly door to continue.
Hold onto yer butt as you run down this next corridor as 3 Long Arm Demons burst out of the tankards. Go through the door at the end of the hall before the right hand turn.
In this next room run right ahead to the Lv.2 Wind Seal
Quickly get to the next TRICK chest
– M/L/R –
to get the Blue Key, leave the room.
Run straight ahead and back to the room with the tankards, turn left at the door and run to the double doors to use the blue key
Equip the Thunder sword and approach the monument for a cutscene.
Time for the first Segment using Kaede
Leave the room and talk to The legend that is "Dying Guy." Shouts to Dying Guy. Hero.
Get the Red Key, leave via the door behind you and go out the main door of the keep.
Turn right outside the keep and go to the door on the far end (back towards where the rope ladder is) – Pass the rope ladder and use the red key on the door at the opposite end of the map.
Run all the way to the end of this pathway ignoring everything. Attack if you need to to get by, but it shouldn't be necessary. Enter the door
Avoid the enemies and pass the Lv.3 Thunder Seal, you may need to block an incoming attack from the Long Arm Demon, enter the door at the end of the path.
Go between the wooden screens and kill the demon, there is a ladder in the far corner, ascend it to kill the demons above (knife or kunai, it's up to you. Kaede uses her Kunai if you press the magic button), return below and speak to the soldier for a SOUL ABSORBER. This is an integral item
Then go through the door behind you.
Follow this garden path and use the Shinobi Kit on the door. Enter and proceed through the little room, there is a dead soldier to the left just through the door, pick up the COG shining on the ground here
Return to the room and open the CLUE chest
– 5, 7, 2 –
this nets you another MAGIC JEWEL.
Return to the Ladder and go up to the balcony where you fought off the demons. Go through the door here. Cross to the other side, descend the ladder and run back to the other side and use the Shinobi Kit on the door adjacent to the Magic Mirror
Once more proceed along the path, you'll come to a door on the right, avoid that for now, turn left and go to the door a little further along
In here, cross to the other side and check the cupboard on the right, use the Cog here. Then pull the rope. The door will open, go in and grab the SILVER PLATE from the chest. Leave via the door you came in.
Now go to the metal door I told you to avoid. This is a smelting room.
There is a Chain to pull here, wait until the second fire has started for a second, then pull the chain so you can get past the door before it closes. In this room there is a GOLD PLATE to your left, grab it, pull the chain again to open the door and leave the smelting room.
Turn left out of the room and return to where you found the gear, climb the ladder in the fort, go down the ladder on the balcony and through the door to the right. Follow the path and go to the gate at the end. Use the Silver Plate on the right side and the Gold Plate on the left. The gate will open.
Go straight to the door on the left, go up the stairs and open the TRICK chest –
to get the Sacred Knife. Equip it, as it means you'll kick theriouth ath...
Back in the room with the fire just run slightly ahead to the right to go down the stairs (directly right from the door you entered from earlier)
Follow this path to find Yuki and the next Boss fight
BOSS FIGHT – Cloaked Demon
This guy isn't too much of an issue even though he goes invisible now and then. You should be able to get a full combo off after every successful defend.
NEW STRAT - The Kaede Issen. (The HARDEST Issen in the game)
This is a cool Issen. Easy on most regular enemies, but BS on the Cloaked Demon. Feel free to practise the basics on a reg dude. Kaede's Issen works by holding the R1 button to target. Hold forward and press attack at the time an enemy attacks you to do a sick wicked flip over the enemy. Then press attack again to cut the enemy's throat, or shank them in the neck, based on their size.
This works on the Cloaked Demon as he is a regular enemy.
HOWEVER - Timing and angles are bloody important for Kaede if your angle is off, you'll miss the approach even if the animation looks right.
Most of Cloaks move allow him to move quickly after their attacks so Kaede won't be directly behind them to get her issen off. The only move it reliably works on (as you can get it with others, it's just mad BS) is when he's sunk into the floor, jumps up and then strikes down with his whip sword. The move has enough end lag for you to get behind and Issen. If he's near a wall, he will be off centre and you can miss the issen approach.
That's all I'll say for now. Good luck. I've done it in a run only a handful of times. It's not mandatory for Sub 1, but it certainly helps. It's WR material.
I'm looking at how control stick movement might make this easier on HD. Hinge will likely get there first, I don't doubt
Facing your Demons, and Kaede Pt.2
You'll regain control of Samanosuke after the cutscene
Run ahead and open the chest to get some more MEDICINE if you want safety.
Head on to fight Stylado
This fight is a little trickier than others as Stylado is a little more defensive. You'll want to make good use of magic here, so start by immediately turning left a little bit and hitting him with a Thunder Magic usage. Then wait until he starts his animation to use his own magic, then plant another Thunder on him before he can fire his off
Immediately whip out Enryuu, and space for him to use his magic and lay some magic on him. Try to absorb any Blue souls he may drop so you can use more magic. But it shouldn't take more than 2 Thunders and 2 Fire to bring him down.
Absorb your delicious soul prize and go down the path Stylado came from. Open the small red chest for the EVIL PLATE and the larger chest for a ladder. Go to the opening and use the Ladder on the left. Ascend it and leave the room you're in via the door ahead.
Open the next TRICK Chest
-- L/R/L/R/R --
You'll get the bow, yay!
Run straight ahead down the corridor, through the door and use the Evil Plate on the big gross door further along. Skip the next FMV and leave the room.
Go to your right towards the door and go straight ahead through the next few doors to leave the Keep. We're going back to where we were with Kaede, so turn right out of the Keep and through the door on the far side
Cross the next map and use the Fire Magic to knock down the Minotaur. Go through the door we used the red key on. Continue along the path avoiding all enemies. Ignore the Thunder Seal once again and go to the next door. Climb the ladder to the fort again, absorb the magic, descend the ladder inside and open the Lv.3 Fire Seal.
Run up the path and down to the door.
Ignore the Barabazuu, and grab the DECORATED SWORD
SAFER SOUL COUNT STRAT
There are four Minotaur (Barabazuu) demons here that you need to silence – Let the smaller 3 approach for a second then lay a Fire magic on the lot of them, repeat when they all approach again to kill off the smaller three, switch to Wind, use it once, then absorb the souls, then finish Bara with the rest of your magic, and switch back to Fire, then finish him off with Thunder Magic
Go and grab the decorated sword (with the glowing green hilt) in the far corner of the map, then make your way back to the keep entrance. I trust you remember the way now. But on the way we're going to upgrade Arashi to Lv.3 at the mirror in the fort
Back at the map with the Rope Ladder will be some more axe-wielding demons and a couple more Blue Skulls. Issen the Demon as the absorber will be quite close. Then kill the first absorber. A second Axe-wielder appears, I chose to ignore him but kill him if you wish, but make sure to kill the second blue absorber that appears. Use wind magic if you have to, as it might be easier, claim your soul prize and then head through the door to the Keep Entrance.
In this courtyard, run straight past the Keep Door and turn right at the end to the furthest corner. An insect-like demon will break through and scare a soldier, leave them to their fun and put the Decorated Sword in the monument at the back and go through the door.
Follow the path and go straight ahead at the junction to reach the Lv.2 Wind Seal. Go in.
Turn left and grab the journal on the wall then go through the door it was on. Go to the door just to the left, and go through the Lv.3 Wind Seal on the opposite end of this floor in the room
Turn right and run through the gate. Avoid the Cloaked Demon and enter the gate just behind him. Feel free to grab the souls from the well to the right. Follow the pathway up and cross the bridge. Enter the door just ahead. Grab the Medicine to the left immediately.
Open the CLUE chest just next to the Magic Mirror
– 3, 6 –
To get a MAGIC JEWEL.
Use the two Magic Jewels you now have, fill up on Magic.
There are two options here now. Older and newer stuff. Easier and Harder. I shall write out the strats from here on out on bosses twice for both versions of the route.
Enhance Enryuu to Lv.2 and then the remaining souls making arrows into Fire Arrows
Just make all 40 Arrows Fire Arrows.
Go down the stairs just behind you and cross the river on the boat. Enter the building and grab the Great Bow on the altar on the opposite side
You will then be bombarded by insects and switch to Kaede again.
Kaede Part Two.
- The pathways are tight here so you'll have to use your epic Ninja Skills to jump over all the Hecubites. To do this, just attack them once, wait a beat, then input the jump (forward and attack). Turn left at the junction and use the Shinobi Kit on the door. Run straight ahead. Attack the Hecubite that jumps in your way and flip over it. Go through the door
Cross the room and continue back to the bridge, cross it and go to the small shack. Cross and use the Shinobi kit to go through the door. Head onwards and round the corner, through the door.
Head towards the other side. Pass the Blue Long Arm to his right, then pass between the two Skeleton demons through the door. Turn right and round the corner. Through the door.
Straight ahead through the next door.
Run straight ahead and guard the arrows. Then left round the corner to the door.
Climb the ladder. To the left, then right for the last TRICK CHEST
-- LL/M/RR/MM --
You'll get the DECORATED ARROW
Head down the ladder, out the door and cross to the immediate next room. Run round the back for the GREAT ARROW. Then use the DECORATED ARROW to unlock the chest and the door. Check the chest for the GREEN KEY, and leave.
Head straight, keep you movement slightly diagonal to avoid the archer, through the next two doors.
Head to the right, then go straight past the door. and the demons, and use the Green Key on the far side door. Go down the ladder, and use the boat to cross. Check the door to end Kaede's last bit
BOSS FIGHT - Hecuba
This Fight, man... It's risky
First bit is always the same.
Start with Arashi to hit her, the wind will affect her wings and knock her down to your level. Swap to Shiden and use Lightning to harm her. Swap to Arashi and use Wind again to drop her once more for another Shiden Thunder hit.
AT THIS POINT - Did you get a blue soul drop?
Yes? - Absorb it and do 1 more Wind and Thunder Combo, then go onto the next phase
No? - Immediately go to next phase.
Are you running older strats? (Enryuu Lv.2)
Okay, Equip the bow and fire arrows, then use the Soul Absorber. Any enemies within this ring will now die and give up souls. At this point - Proceed to aim at Hecuba and wait for the arrows to be notched and the fire tip to light, then fire, don't go too fast or you'll miss her due to i-frames
Keep absorbing and killing the hecubites when they spawn/get near you.
you'll need more arrows to kill her if you didn't get the 3 magic combo, but she'll go down shortly after the soul absorber ring dies down, if you didn't miss any hits.
Are you running newer strats? (Enryuu Lv.1)
Just get the fire arrows and bow out. Avoid the hecubites, and move sparingly to get the hits on Hecuba. Now and then kill off a hecubite with an arrow to keep yourself alive. this is just as fast as the other version if you're on point. Don't be afraid to pop a herb or some medicine
The End of the line
After Hecuba is down, you'll be in the room where Yumemaru was captured from Kaede's protection. Leave the room, and go to the right back to where the Demon Door was. Enter, menu. Equip Enryuu then use the Great Bow or Arrow, whatevers first in the list.
BOSS FIGHT - Marcellus II
This is another two phase fight, but pretty straight forward.
Phase one, just wait for him to attack and use Fire Magic. Two landings of that will push him into Phase 2. Absorb the souls.
Firstly, you'll want to keep Marcellus towards the walls. He'll always dash backwards to a wall if he can.
- Do you have 15 Fire Arrows left?
Yes - Sweet. Equip the bow and fire arrows, and drop all 15 into Marcellus' final form. After they're gone, swap to Shiden, it should have enough magic for a cast. Then Enryuu or Shippuu still should have magic left.
If you have Enryuu Lv.2 you can use that and hit him with it as well. Marcellus II's second phase he actually has knockback on hits until he's on low health when he'll stop suffering knock back. So Enryuu use until he no longer is knocked back into magic.
15 Fire Arrows is essentially when the knock back stops, so yeah. There's that. Choose the route you want. Fire Arrows is faster, but worth learning Enryuu if you don't have enough fire arrows and need to improvise.
Absorb the souls if you need the health, otherwise, run onwards. And cross the next room, max out your MP on the fountain. Then descend the large spiral. Hit the Reynaldos to get past them, and stop their grabby tentacles
At the bottom, grab the two medicines to the end, and head in to the final fight.
Skip the CGi.
FINAL BOSS FIGHT - Fortinbras
First information - Hitting Fort's tail does not deal damage to him it is an effort to bring his head down, and then smashing his head is where the damage is.
Hold R1 whenever doing anything that isn't just simply getting closer.
His Attacks and how to dodge:
Lightning - His hands'll glow purple, and the placement of the bolt will be highlighted. Just evade around them. They come in a few patterns, horizontal and vertical lines which can have spaces left in them. Circles with an empty centre, circles with filled centre, and RANDOM AS ALL HELL
If you cannot evade, using Shiden or Arashi magic has i-frames, and will likely bring the head down quicker.
Swing and Stab
He'll swing his hand at you, guard this and it will push you back quite far. then he'll follow up with a stab of his fingers. Just back dash this then run forward. Faster than guarding the stab, less knockback. On HD, you can use stick movement to run left or right.
On occasion he will follow up linear lightning with the swing. If you can get the angle right, the swing will knock you back through the gap left in the line of lightning. You feel like a boss when this happens, it's alright.
Grab and Kill:
VERY similar to the start up of Swing and Stab, he will (slightly slower) swing his hand at you, and grab you. Mash the direction buttons and attack button to get out ASAP. If he manages to breathe fire on you, it's a OHKO
This is not a OHKO breath, he'll slowly charge up, and his mouth will glow orange, then shoot out fire and follow you. Only way to fully dodge is get down to the bottom of the screen, but you can just use Arashi or Shiden for i-frames, or tank the hit on one side of the screen and strafe to the other and combo away.
So, his moves out of the way - Strategies
You have Enryuu Lv.2 - This will be your main damage on the tail to bring him down. Go in as much as you can, guarding and dodging only when he throws out something dangerous. When he starts to flinch, if you can, time the attacks so he's down for the final hit of Enryuu's 3-hit combo, then use Kouen for max damage. Use Arashi/Shiden where necessary on his attacks to avoid them and bring him down, but try to hit him when he's down with Enryuu where possible.
After you hit him when he's down he'll go back up and drop souls. If you get blues or need yellows, absorb. Ignore otherwise.
If you have Shiden magic available and no Kouen, you can use that when he's down for a little more damage.
NEWER - Did you notice that we didn't use the Soul absorber on Hecuba? Sure Hecuba was a bitch because of that, but NOW!!! It's magic time
We don't have Enryuu level 2, here. It's not as strong, but still fairly strong. So basically, save Kouen for when he's down, but feel free to be slightly more liberal with magic usage to bring him down, absorb souls when he goes back up. When you're completely out of magic from overusing it, use the soul absorber for a max refill, and restart the process. The luckier you get with blue souls from him the better this is overall, as you're going to use a lot more magic. This is the faster strat as magic can bring him down markedly quicker than Enryuu Lv.2 alone.
And that's about it.Final split on last hit.
Hope that serves as a nice, simple starting guide. Cheers, and happy speedrunning.
Any questions, pop them in the forums here, or message me on Twitter- @Bowie_Alexander
Questions about versions
Consider merging Remasters platforms together