A Life M36 Planet

Welcome to my walkthrough and translation guide for the MSX1 cartridge game "A Life M36 Planet: MotherBrain Has Been Aliving." This is a game I've been wanting to play for years now solely because of the amazing Engrish title (which, based on the official Japanese translation of this traditionally English-represented name, 生命惑星M36: 生きていたマザーブレイン, would be more elegantly rendered as something like, "Teeming Planet M36: The Living Mother Brain") -- and when I finally had the chance to pop it into my MSX, I was delighted to learn that it's actually a really good game!

It plays out as a flip-screen Metroidvania (somewhat comparable to Maze of Galious), and it's clear somebody at development studio Pixel was a big fan of Metroid, as there are many Metroid-like elements that clearly served as inspiration here. However, title screen music aside, M36 (as it will hereafter be referred to) is in no way a rip-off of Metroid, opting instead for a more story-heavy RPG-style approach, featuring towns, NPCs, experience, levels, side-quests... the works! In many ways, it reminds me of a sci-fi take on the NES/Famicom classic "Faxanadu."

Because of this, however, the game isn't really very playable without being able to read Japanese, since much of what you're supposed to do is unintuitive unless you can read the dialogue or context clues that lead you to the proper solution. Fortunately, that's where this document comes in! ;)

In terms of the MSX library, M36 is probably most comparable to the slightly obscure platformer "Cross Blaim," though with lesser visuals and... basically, greater everything else. This is, in effect, the game I was hoping for when I bought Cross Blaim, and is IMHO the superior title in just about all regards.

It can be VERY buggy at times, and the sprite flicker is absolutely horrendous (owing, it appears, to the fact that Pixel layered two sprites on top of one another to create detailed two-tone enemy sprites as opposed to the usual solid-color sprites seen in other MSX1 games, effectively doubling the number of sprites on the screen at any one time), but overall, this game has a really unique atmosphere to it, and provides a lengthy, engaging quest to complete with a story that -- while vaguely nonsensical and bizarrely obsessed with plankton -- is pretty freaking badass for 1987.

As mentioned above, this is not just a walkthrough, but a translation guide as well. Though I know for certain I've failed to record minor lines of text here and there, I've made an effort to translate every single line of Japanese in the game to the best of my ability -- meaning this walkthrough won't just tell you how to go from point A to B, but actually help you understand exactly why you're striving to get there, and what awaits you when you arrive.

My English text is embellished a bit in order to sound more natural (I'm a professional translator and editor by day, so it's hard for me not to do this!), but a cool dude who goes by the name Hubz has taken it upon himself to patch simplified versions of this text into the game so you can actually play it in English -- and the end result is pretty freaking awesome! He did an excellent job of cutting just enough to make the text fit into the rom, without cutting so much that the flavor and atmosphere of the original work is lost.

You can download the IPS patches for the translation here! And you can view a trailer for it here, produced by MP83:

This includes a bugfix version of the patch, which I'd highly recommend using for reasons which will be made clear a few sections down from here. You'll thank... er... Manuel Pazos later!

Do note, however, that I'm leaving the "full" translated names of all areas, NPCs, items, etc. in this walkthrough, rather than striving to match the text of the translated rom, since (1) it's pretty clear what's what even when it differs slightly from the translation, and (2) having the expanded translations available here will allow for good compare-and-contrast so interested parties can get a taste of what all is involved with fan-translating an 8-bit cartridge game, and also so people playing the Japanese rom will have a fuller experience.

I also owe a big debt of gratitude to MP83, whose tireless QA work helped make Hubz's English translation patch of the game even better, and who also went about fully mapping the entire game for your viewing pleasure. Check it out here (though beware spoilers, obviously).

More thanks are owed to Manuel Pazos for creating and tweaking a Java-powered password generator for the game, which has proven absolutely invaluable during QA, particularly due to some of the game's more serious bugs (which he also helped fix up for the English patch, as noted above). You can find the Java program here (and read on in this walkthrough to learn about the ways in which the game's password system is bugged!).

Still MORE thanks are owed to Larsthe18th, who created IPS patches for the original Japanese rom that allow for invincibility, or invincibility + superjump (with the caveat that you might get stuck, so, per his words: "Be sure to use OpenMSX with the Superjumps, as sometimes the player gets stuck in the scene; if that happens, use the REVERSE button [PageUp]"). You can download these IPS patches here:
Invulnerability patch
Invulnerability + Superjump patch

And as far as people involved with this project go, I absolutely must give a shout-out and thanks to the mighty Brandchan for converting this Word-document walkthrough into a snazzy-lookin' HTML webpage! This will make it much easier to share online, and update on the fly as well. (Though an updated PDF version will be made available shortly as well through CheatMSX, for those who want it!)

Oh, and if you don't plan to play this game yourself, but would still like to follow along with game footage while reading through this guide, there a Japanese Let's Player duo that posts under the moniker "Yukkuri Jikkyou Play" ("Let's Play Slowly") that played through the entire game in an 8-part video on Japanese video-sharing site NicoNico Douga. Their commentary is overlaid on top of the gameplay footage via synthesized Japanese voices, and there are sections they cut or fast-forwarded through, but it is more or less a complete playthrough from beginning to end, and it's thanks to these videos that I was able to get as much of the game text transcribed as I was (and also note boss strategies and item placements and what-not in much more exacting detail than if I'd simply relied on my own memory of playing through the game).

So I do also owe the team at Yukkuri Jikkyou Play a debt of gratitude, and I figure it's worth linking their videos here via Nicoviewer in case anyone else wants to check them out.

Part 1: http://nicoviewer.net/sm17713205 (getting started, exploring Bizan)
Part 2: http://nicoviewer.net/sm17904498 (more Bizan)
Part 3: http://nicoviewer.net/sm17930407 (end of Bizan + boss, beginning of Dark Caves)
Part 4: http://nicoviewer.net/sm17993980 (more Dark Caves + boss)
Part 5: http://nicoviewer.net/sm18071209 (end of Dark Caves, beginning of Terona)
Part 6: http://nicoviewer.net/sm18096136 (more Terona + bosses)
Part 7: http://nicoviewer.net/sm18124070 (end of Terona, beginning of Godessa + boss)
Part 8: http://nicoviewer.net/sm18165573 (more Godessa + final boss + ending)


How To Play

At the title screen, you're presented with two fairly standard options: START and CONTINUE. Contrary to what you might expect, however, if you're resuming a previous adventure via password, you're going to want to select START here, as the CONTINUE option is used solely to continue after a Game Over.

Upon starting a new game, you'll be presented with the following Japanese prompt:
⇒ なまえを いれてください
➣ Please enter your name

This is, as expected, where you'll enter a name for your character. You are limited to a measly four letters, but there don't appear to be any restrictions on what character set you can use for name entry (English lettering is the default, but you can press the Kana key to type in Japanese instead if you're so inclined), nor does this serve as any sort of hash for passwords (so you're free to use a different name every time you play, even when resuming an in-progress game via password). If you enter no name at all, the game will assign you the default name "Ryu."

Once you've entered your name (or just decided to run with "Ryu"), press trigger 1 (button A) or the space bar and you'll see a prompt that you'll soon become very familiar with:


This is the standard confirm/cancel prompt that's used throughout the game, but since Pixel decided to use Engrish for it, it just further adds to the charm of playing a game called "A Life M36 Planet: MotherBrain Has Been Aliving." ;) It has been left intact in the fan-translation patch.

After confirming that the name you selected is the one you want (and telling the game that yes, you are indeed OK), you'll see this prompt next:
⇒ パスワードを いれてください
➣ Please enter a password

If you're starting a new game, just press trigger 2 or the shift key here to begin playing from the beginning. Otherwise, you may type your password and press trigger 1 or the space bar to resume a previous adventure. Note that passwords are CASE SENSITIVE (despite the fact that they always consist entirely of capital letters), so make sure you turn on Caps Lock before you start typing!

There is no "saving" in this game, but if you die and get a Game Over at any point, your password will be displayed on the title screen. You have all the time in the world to write this down (and can listen to the rather creepy yet half-plagiarized-from-Metroid title music while you do so!), after which point you can select either START to enter a password, or CONTINUE to resume play. Do note, however, that the cursor always highlights START by default, so if you get a Game Over and just mindlessly press space or trigger 1 rapidly so you can get back to playing, you might find yourself... less than thrilled with the result.


There are actually some interesting quirks regarding passwords vs. continuing which you may want to take advantage of during gameplay.

  • When you enter a password, you will resume play from the entrance to the research facility, overworld area, or cave system you last died in, with half your money gone and only 30 health points (all energy tanks will be empty). However, if you purchased any of the three blaster weapons or either/both of the two options, they will all be fully charged now, regardless of what state they were in when you died. Your plankton will be fully healed as well, provided they weren't "dead" at the time.
  • If you instead choose to continue, this will not be the case: option energy will be healed, but blaster energy will remain exactly as it was when you died, your plankton will retain their HP loss, and you'll still be out half your money. However, you will have half of your health tanks (rounded down) refilled instead of just 30 measly HP with no health backups whatsoever.

Because of this, when money isn't a concern, it's recommended to jot down your password and START a game with it after getting a Game Over so you can have your blaster and options refilled, then immediately die and select CONTINUE. You'll be out 3/4 of your money instead of just 1/2, but you'll have a full blaster, full options, full-health plankton, *and* some backup health! It's the best of all worlds!

During gameplay, trigger 1 (button A) or the space bar is used to shoot your blaster, and trigger 2 (button B) or the shift key is used to jump, as per usual MSX standards (and in contrast to usual NES standards). If you have a gamepad capable of rapid-fire, using rapid-fire on trigger 1 is highly recommended, but DO NOT use rapid-fire with trigger 2 (meaning you should also ensure your "rensha" turbo dial is off, if your MSX has one) -- once you purchase the Power Shoes, you'll need to hold trigger 2 a split second longer in order to high-jump, and rapid-fire completely messes this up, causing you to continue low-jumping as you did before.

If you wish to speak with an NPC, interact with an object, or open a treasure chest, you may do so by occupying the same space as that NPC/object/chest and pressing trigger 1.

To open or go through a door, simply stand in front of it and press up on the directional pad.

You may also press down on the directional pad to duck, and you can shoot while ducking.

Additionally, at any point during regular gameplay, you may open the item menu (where you may USE or DROP any of the max 7 items in your inventory) by pressing trigger 2 while holding down on the directional pad (so duck + jump, basically).

The HUD on the bottom of the screen displays dialogue and game messages along the right side, while displaying the following stats on the left side:

LIFE - (player HP out of 30)

(energy tanks display here as boxes with L shapes in them)

EXP - (experience needed for next level-up)

NIL - (money on hand)

(blaster power)

(Option A power)

(Option B power)

G - (Giuth plankter's HP)

Z - (Zeuda plankter's HP)

Some of these stats (such as the Giuth and Zeuda plankton HP) are things you won't need to worry about until much later in the story, and others (such as the blaster and option power numbers, as well as energy tanks) won't even appear at all when you initially start the game, since you begin with no energy tanks, no special blaster, and no options.

Experience and leveling works a bit differently than you might expect, too. The number displayed next to EXP on the HUD is not the amount of experience you've amassed, but rather the amount you still need in order to achieve a level-up. In other words, this number counts down, not up!

Once the EXP counter hits 0, you'll gain one additional energy tank (which will refill your life to 30 should it drop to 0). There are a maximum of 10 level-ups you can achieve over the course of the game; you'll know you've hit max level if you've got 10 energy tanks and the EXP display permanently reads 10000.

Grinding is mildly effective at certain points, but M36 does do its best to actively discourage it:

The enemies themselves, too, will often actively dodge your shots, swerving or jumping to avoid getting hit, making what little grinding you will be doing (more for money than for experience) a bit more of a challenge than in your typical Metroidvania. (To be honest, it's actually kind of impressive how well-constructed some of the enemy AI is in this game!)

Additionally, it should be noted that while you are able to gain up to 10 energy tanks by the end of the game, sleeping at inns will only fill up to a maximum of 6. Even if you stay at the inn a second time, you'll never gain any health beyond those first 6 energy tanks, and -- in some cases -- you may even be *reduced down* to 6 energy tanks' worth of health should you have more at the time.

The only way to recover health beyond 6 energy tanks is by using "Yunkales" (healing items). Or by receiving a kiss from one very specific NPC. ;)

FINALLY, this game has some bugs and glitches in it, and they're potentially quite serious if you're not careful! (See below for the most serious bug of them all!) These include:

So, yeah. Game's not super-duper stable. But none of these issues detract from the game's awesome atmosphere and fun gameplay, if you ask me! At least... not much. Your mileage may vary, but I think if you stick with it, M36 will win you over -- its ambition and charm more than make up for its shortcomings.

General System Text Translations

These are featured in this document for the sake of completeness, and basically include generic lines of text that you'll be seeing in multiple places and under multiple different circumstances. During the walkthrough proper, I've tried to limit the translations I feature to dialogue and journal text only, so as not to distract too much from the core of the gameplay experience -- so this is basically all the extra stuff that didn't quite fit in with those dialogue and journal texts. If you're mostly concerned with just playing through the game, I'd recommend skipping this section, consulting it only as needed.

Upon opening the item window with an empty inventory:
⇒ なにも もってません
➣ You have no items
Upon opening a treasure chest with an item or amount of money in it:
⇒ (name)は (item/Nil) てにいれた。
➣ (name) acquired (item/Nil).
⇒ (name)は (item)をみつけた。
➣ (name) found (item).
Upon opening a treasure chest with an item in it when you have a full inventory:
⇒ (name) は (item)をみつけた。 しかしざんねんなことにこれいじょうもてなかった・・・
➣ (name) found (item). Unfortunately, there was no bag space left for it.
Upon opening an empty treasure chest:
⇒ たからばこは からっぽだった。
➣ The treasure chest was empty.
Upon opening a trapped treasure chest:
⇒ (name)は たからばこを あけた。 たからばこは びっくりばこだった。 (name)は びっくりして しばらくうごけなかった。
➣ (name) opened the treasure chest. It was a "shock box"! (name) was caught off guard and couldn't move for a short time.
Upon entering a new area:
⇒ (name)は (location)に たどりついた。
➣ (name) arrived at the (location).
Upon using an elevator in the Bizan Research Facility:
⇒ したへ まいります!!
➣ Going down!
⇒ うえへ まいります!!
➣ Going up!
Upon attempting to open a locked door without triggering the appropriate flag to enter it:
⇒ ブー!
➣ Bzzt!
Upon attempting to use an item you're not sure how to use:
⇒ (name)は (item)を つかおうとしたが つかいかたがわからなかった。
➣ (name) attempted to use the (item), but wasn't sure what to do with it.
Upon attempting to use an item in a spot where it can't be used:
⇒ (name)は (item)をつかった。しかし ここで(item)をつかっても なにもなりませんよ、(name)くん
➣ (name) used (item). However, using (item) here has no effect, (name)!
Upon successfully dropping an item:
⇒ (name)は (item)をすてた。
➣ (name) dropped the (item).
Upon attempting to drop a key item(sometimes):
⇒ (name)は (item)をすてようとした "やめてください"とさくしゃがいった。
➣ (name) attempted to drop the (item). "No! Don't do it!", yelled the game's creator.
Upon either the Giuth or Zeuda plankter HP ticking all the way down to 0:
⇒ (plankter type)のプランクトンは ほとんど しんだもどうぜんに なってしまった。
➣ The (plankter type) plankter has stopped moving and seems rather dead.
Upon dying:
⇒ ゲームオーバー
➣ Game Over
After dying:
⇒ パスワードです よーくみてね
➣ This is your password! Study it closely.
Shop text:
⇒ らっしゃーい!! なんにいたしやしょう?
➣ Welcome! What can I do ya for?
Inn text:
⇒ いらっしゃいませ! ひとばん 25Nです とまってください。
➣ Welcome! One night's stay will cost you 25N. Please, stay a while!
➣ Yes/No
Plankton clinic text (if you have no plankton):
⇒ いらっしゃい。 ここはプランクトンのびょういんです。 どうかしましたか?
➣ Welcome. This is a clinic for plankton. Are you in need of my services?
Plankton clinic text (if all your plankton is still "alive"):
⇒ いらっしゃい! おや? あなたのプランクトン げんきがないみたいですね。 げんきにするには 120ニールかかりますがいいですか?
➣ Welcome! Hmm? Your plankton don't seem to be doing too well. I can help, but it'll cost you 120 Nil. What do you say?
➣ Yes/No
Plankton clinic text (if you have one or more plankton with 0 HP):
⇒ すみません。 もうわたしのてにはおえません。Bタミンをつかえば いきかえりますよ。
➣ I'm sorry. There's nothing I can do for a plankter in this state. You can bring it back from the brink, however, by using a B-tamin.
After making use of services at any shop, inn, or plankton clinic:
⇒ まいどありがとうございました。
➣ Thanks very much!
After turning down services at any shop, inn, or plankton clinic:
⇒ また きてください。
➣ Come again.

Item List

Item Name


Item Name




Unique Usage Text


Unique Usage Text




Standard healing item. Heals roughly 45 units of health when used, or one and a half energy tanks.

(name)は ユンケェルを のんだ。

(name)は すこし げんきになった。

(name) drank the Yunkale.

(name) felt a little better.


Power Shoes

Increases your jump height by a significant amount. Takes effect immediately upon purchase, and is permanent.




Research Log

A research log written by Professor Daryl. Has his official seal affixed to the front cover. Key plot item; do not drop this or you cannot complete the game.





A letter written by a man named Robin. Key plot item; do not drop this or you cannot complete the game.




Shimura's Diary

Full name: "Diary of Acting Commander Shimura from Research Group Alpha." Optional lore item.




Research Notes

Same name as "Research Log" in the Japanese, but this is a different item. Provides a crucial hint for completing the third area. Optional lore item.




Daimon's Journal

Full name: "Journal of Commander Daimon from Research Group Alpha." Key plot item, but can be dropped immediately after reading.




Child's Toy

A toy stolen from a child in the Terona settlement. Key plot item; do not drop this or you cannot complete the game.

(name)は こどものおもちゃを てにとってみた。 てづくりの なかなかあじわいぶかいものであった。

(name) examined the Child's Toy closely. It looked homemade, and seemed like it held sentimental value.



A key found in the Terona Research Facility. Key plot item; do not drop this until after you've obtained the Weck.

(name)は Keyを ながめた。 キラキラしてて とてもきれいなKeyだ。

(name) stared at the key. It sparkled quite beautifully.



Professor Daryl's official seal, taken from the front cover of one of his research logs. Absolutely crucial plot item; game does not typically let you drop this, but don't try, because you're screwed if you somehow succeed!

(name)は ダリルはかせのもんしょうを てにとった。もんしょうは ふるくなってはいるものの みるからに りっぱそうである。

(name) examined Professor Daryl's seal. Although unquestionably old, it possessed a certain dignity and stateliness as well.


Music Box

An old, broken music box that once belonged to a man named Robin, given to him by his mother when he was a young boy. Key plot item; do not drop this or you cannot complete the game.

(name)は オルゴールのふたを あけた。

すると とつぜん・・・

(name) opened the lid of the music box.

Upon doing so...



A mysterious device that helps calm the chaotic thoughts preventing bio-engineered telepaths from communicating. Key plot item, but can be dropped right after obtaining if so desired.

(name)は ウェックのスイッチを いれた。はたらきだした。

(name) flipped the switch on the Weck device, powering it on. It began emitting strange waves throughout the area.



A lamp, to light the darkness. Lasts for a limited time before burning out.

  • (name)は ランプをつけた。あかるくなった。
  • ランプは ちからつきて
  • (name) lit the lamp. Everything became brighter.
  • The lamp's light went out.


Beta Virus

A strange virus, big enough to hold in your hand. Prevents you from healing (even at inns!) as long as it's in your inventory. Should be dropped immediately.




Giuth Killer

Dropped by enemies in the Dark Caves. Makes the Giuth plankter's health deplete more rapidly (and should thus be dropped as soon as possible when picked up!).

  • (name)は ギウスキラーを のんだ。 とても まずかった!
  • (name)は ギウスキラーをすてた。せいせい した。
  • (name) drank the Giuth Killer. It tasted absolutely terrible!
  • (name) dropped the Giuth Killer. What a relief!


Zeuda Killer

Dropped by enemies in the Dark Caves. Makes the Zeuda plankter's health deplete more rapidly (and should thus be dropped as soon as possible when picked up!).

  • (name)は ゼウダキラーを のんだ。 とても まずかった!
  • (name)は ゼウダキラーをすてた。せいせい した。
  • (name) drank the Zeuda Killer. It tasted absolutely terrible!
  • (name) dropped the Zeuda Killer. What a relief!


Cold Medicine

An item you can purchase from the shop in the Tauccia settlement. Can be delivered to Sheena's father to win his favor and provide you with a hint as to what you're actually supposed to do to help him. Also serves as an alternative healing item to the Yunkale, though you cannot carry more than one at a time. Not affected by the Beta Virus. Completely optional.

(name)は かぜぐすりをつかった。でも かぜをひいてなかったので ききめはなかった。

(name) used the Cold Medicine. However, since he wasn't sick, it had no effect.



A vitamin supplement for plankton. Revives them to full health, even bringing them back from the brink of death.

(name)は Bタミンを つかった。 プランクトンは げんきになった。

(name) used the B-tamin. The plankton immediately reacted, recovering fully.


Blaster Fuel

Restores your blaster to full power. Dropped randomly by enemies once your blaster fuel gets low (below 80).

(name)は ブラスターの ねんりょうを ふやした。

(name) restored energy to his blaster.


Option Fuel

Restores options A and B to full power. Dropped randomly by enemies once your options start to die off.

(name)は オプションの ねんりょうを ふやした。

(name) restored energy to his options.


Giuth Plankter

The first boss, in its most basic plankter form. Its life ticks down as you play, but it can be healed via the plankton clinic or by using a B-tamin.




Zeuda Plankter

The second boss, in its most basic plankter form. Its life ticks down as you play, but it can be healed via the plankton clinic or by using a B-tamin.





A strange plankter that's for sale at the shop in the Tauccia settlement. Apparently has healing properties strong enough to cure diseases heretofore thought incurable.




Powered Kilapsi

An enhanced version of the Kilapsi plankter.





A strange plankter that's created by fusing two other plankton together.




Powered Labyrin

An enhanced version of the Labyrin plankter.




Power Suit

An upgrade to your suit. Increases defensive capabilities.




Power Suit

An upgrade to your suit. Increases defensive capabilities.




Power Suit

An upgrade to your suit. Increases defensive capabilities.




Option A

A ball that floats in the air above your head and damages any enemies it comes into contact with. Each time it does so, however, it takes damage as well. It will start to blink green, then red, when it's close to being destroyed -- but a quick reload via password or usage of Option Fuel will restore it to full health.




Option B

An even better floating ball that stays close to you and actively seeks out nearby enemies to attack. Because of this, it takes damage more quickly than Option A, but it too can be restored via password reload or with Option Fuel.




Laser Blaster

An upgraded weapon that shoots a massive laser beam across the screen. Significantly better than your standard pea shooter, but has limited ammo (250), which can be replenished only by using Blaster Fuel or by reloading your game via password.




Pulse Blaster

An even better blaster that has a lightning bolt-esque appearance. The coolest-looking weapon in the game by far.




Bacteria Blaster

The strongest, yet least impressive-looking blaster. Shoots out a dull-colored cloud of bacteria that hovers in the air for a short while after discharge (which does make it function kind of like a net, catching enemies that walk or fly into it), but has a frustratingly short range.



Full Game Walkthrough + Text Translations

The game begins with you in an open, seemingly desolate alien landscape. There's no story or anything -- you're simply plopped right down into the game. (Backstory can be found in the game's manual, apparently, but sadly, I don't have that...)

As you stand there, blue slimes will materialize at various points on the ground, providing you with your first real enemies to take out. They're not particularly threatening, but they do tend to pop up without warning, and they respawn endlessly (as most enemies do in this game), so it's best not to waste too much time here.


There is an upper limit to the number of enemies that can be spawned on any screen at one time, and that upper limit... is four! And the treasure chests these enemies drop actually count toward that upper limit of four -- so if you kill three enemies and leave their treasure chests unopened, only one enemy will be able to continue spawning in unless/until you collect the contents of those chests. You can totally use this to your advantage at certain points during the game, leaving treasure chests unopened until the last minute to serve as a sort of "crowd control" mechanic -- so do keep this in mind as you proceed!

If you move one screen to the right, you'll see a white tower with an elevator door attached to it. This is the entrance to the Bizan Research Facility -- the first major area you're expected to conquer. Stand in front of the door and press "up" to enter.

(Note: Sequence-breaking is possible in this game, but extremely difficult to accomplish, so it will typically not be accounted for in this walkthrough. In this case, if you should choose to go left instead of right at the beginning, and you're able to somehow survive the onslaught of enemies that attack you upon doing so, you'll eventually come to a cave where everything is pitch-black and enemies you can't even see more or less one-shot you. If you instead choose to bypass the Bizan Research Facility and just keep going right, and -- again -- you're able to survive long enough to make it all the way to the end of the road, you'll come to... a dead-end at what appears to be a series of totem poles. So, yeah. Sequence-breaking is cool, but for now, let's just go into the research facility and get this party started properly, shall we?)

Welcome to the

Only a few screens in, you'll come to a pair of elevators. The one on the left takes you up to higher, more dangerous floors, while the one on the right takes you down into the basement. You'll definitely want to start with the one on the right, as basements and catacombs are your friends in this game. The survivors of... whatever happened to this planet have all taken up residence in underground cave systems, setting up small settlements where they're all kind of just getting by (the Japanese actually identifies them as "villages" rather than "settlements," but "settlement" just seems like the right word here).

This first settlement, Bizan, will be your base of operations during your time here, as it's the only settlement in the entire research facility.


Immediately upon entering, you'll see an NPC wandering around. NPCs have rather bizarre movement patterns, usually undulating back and forth in place, and often moonwalking. They also disappear when you talk with them, warping over to the dialogue box until they're done speaking. And if their sprites happened to be glitching out when you started the conversation (due to the MSX1's sprite limitations), the "freeze-frame" sprite warped over to the dialogue box will retain those glitches.

Below, I'll be listing translations of every piece of dialogue you'll encounter in this particular settlement. This listing assumes you'll always speak with NPCs wandering around outside before you enter any residences or shops on the screen, and also that you'll be proceeding to the left after entering town, eventually working your way back around to the elevator.

NPC outside:
⇒ こんにちわ。
➣ Hello.
Speak again:
⇒ lげんき?
➣ How are you?
NPC inside residence:
⇒ lまちはずれにすんでるトムじいさんなら なにかしってるかも・・ いってみれば?
➣ Old man Tom, who lives at the edge of town, might know something useful. You should talk to him.

[move one screen to the left ]

NPC outside:
⇒ こんにちわ。
➣ Hello.
Speak again:
⇒ こんにちわ! つかれたら やどやにいったほうが いいわよ
➣ Hello! If you're feeling tired, you should go to the inn.

Items for sale in the shop here:


10 Nil

Power Suit Lv.1

250 Nil

Power Shoes 

450 Nil

Laser Blaster

800 Nil

 You'll definitely want to buy the Power Shoes as soon as you possibly can, as you won't be able to get very far without them -- they're this game's High-Jump Boots, basically. (To reiterate, however, if your MSX comes equipped with a "rensha" dial for rapid-fire, make sure it's OFF, as any sort of rapid-fire will interfere with your high-jumping capabilities!)

The Laser Blaster is also a must-have, and just makes combat ridiculously satisfying, since you can mow through enemies like they're nothing with it. It has limited ammo, but enemies will eventually drop Blaster Fuel that you can use to fully recharge it whenever it starts to get low or runs out, and resuming your game with a password will also bring it back up to its max charge of 250 shots. (If it runs out during exploration, though, don't panic! Your pea shooter may not be as powerful, but it can still get you through most situations, and also has a minor advantage over the blaster weapons: it doesn't have to directly hit an enemy in order to deal damage. If your pea shooter's shots fly *directly* above or below an enemy, it'll still count as if the enemy was hit -- presumably grazed by the passing bullet!)

The Power Suit is worth buying as well, and since it's so cheap compared to the other items, it might be worth buying first, as it does seem to make some difference in how much damage you can take. It doesn't make THAT MUCH difference, though, which is probably why it's so cheap.

As for Yunkales, you can get a free Yunkale from one of the residences elsewhere in town, and if you take the elevator back up to the research facility, then immediately back down to the settlement, that treasure chest will respawn. As such, you can save some money by just doing a few loops around town until your inventory is full of Yunkales.

[ move one screen to the left ]

NPC outside:
⇒ トムじいさんは とっても ものしりなのよ
➣ Old man Tom is extremely knowledgeable.
Speak again:
⇒ そこは トムじいさんの いえよ
➣ That's old man Tom's place right there.
NPC inside residence (Old Man Tom):
⇒ おや? たびのおかたとは めずらしい。 このほしのことをしりたいらしいが、 しらんほうが あんたのためぢゃ。 かえりなされ!
➣ Hmm? Rare to see visitors around here. You seem like you want to know more about this planet, but you're better off not knowing anything. Go back from whence you came!

[ move one screen down ]

NPC outside:
⇒ ユンケェルは からだのつかれを とってくれるよ
➣ Yunkales can be quite refreshing when you're feeling a little low on energy.
NPC inside residence:
⇒ さいきん わかものがずいぶん すくなくなってしもうた。 みんなちじょうにでようと むらをでていったきりかえってこんのじゃ。 だぶんギウスにやられたんじゃろう。 あんたも きをつけてね。
➣ The number of young people here has certainly been dwindling of late. Everybody just wants to get back to the surface, so they've been leaving town and never returning. They've probably all been done in by Giuth...

Note that you're able to go left from here, but it leads to a wall that's ever-so-slightly too high to jump. If you save up and buy the Power Shoes from the shop, you'll be able to make this jump, but doing so nets you... absolutely nothing. There's only a dead-end up there. So you'll want to go right from here instead.

[ move one screen to the right ]

NPC outside:
⇒ おにいさん、うらないのバアさんにあったかい?いちばん ひだりのへやだよ。
➣ Hey, bro, have you met with the old fortune-teller yet? She lives in the residence on the left.
NPC inside left-most residence (fortune-teller):
⇒ ムージラ グームラ、このよは おわる。 みんな てんばつじゃ。
➣ Mujira, gumula, this world is ending. All shall incur the wrath of Heaven...
NPC inside middle residence:
⇒ むかし このほしはとてもも さかえていたららしい。 ところが おおきな せんそうが このほしを ほろぼしてしまったということた。
➣ Long ago, they s-say this planet was v-very prosperous. But then war came and it all fell to ruin.

The right-most residence just has a treasure chest in it, which contains a Yunkale. This, as mentioned above, will respawn every time you exit and re-enter the settlement, so you can stock up on Yunkales without having to buy them simply by doing a few loops around town.

[ move one screen to the right ]

The cross symbol by the entrance here may lead you to believe this is a place where you can heal, but nope! This is very specifically a plankton clinic. As in, a clinic that heals plankton only.

You don't have any plankton right now (why would you?!), but later in the game, you will, and their HP will constantly be ticking down toward 0. If you bring them to this clinic before their HP runs out, you can spend 120 Nil to heal them up to a max of 239. (I think the actual maximum HP for plankton is 250, but for some reason, the plankton clinic will never raise their HP higher than 239. Weird!)

You can technically save money this way, but it's also a hassle to keep coming back and healing your plankton. You're probably better off letting them die, then just buying a "B-tamin" later in the game -- B-tamins cost 800 Nil, but when used, they'll instantly revive "dead" plankton and restore them to full health. Which you'll literally only need to do once, as there is only one very specific point in the story when the plankton in your inventory have to be "alive."

[ move one screen to the right ]

NPC outside:
⇒ バイバイ
➣ Byebye!
Speak again:
⇒ ん? おれは なーんにも しらん! バイバイ
➣ ...Hmm? I don't know anything useful at all. Byebye!
NPC inside residence (Robin's mother):
⇒ わたしのむすこ ロビンは ちじょうにでようと ビザンけんきゅうじょにいったきり かえってきません。 どうしてるのかしら、
➣ My son, Robin, went up into the research facility to find a path back to the surface, but he hasn't returned since. I wonder what happened to him...

[ move one screen to the right ]

NPC outside:
⇒ こんにちわ。 ちじょうで ロビンにあわなかったかい? ロビンがいなくなってもう ずいぶんたったなあ。げんきかなあ。
➣ Hello. Have you run into a man named Robin on the surface, by any chance? It's been a long time since he left. I wonder if he's doing all right.

[ move one screen up ]

Getting up to this screen from below is tricky if you don't have the Power Shoes, as your positioning when you make the jump needs to be nearly pixel-perfect. It's a good place to get used to this, though, as you will be required to make some pretty difficult jumps later on in the game.

Anyway, there are no NPCs or residences on this screen, so once you've scaled that mini-cliff, it's time to move along!

[ move one screen to the left ]

This is the first inn you'll come across. Inns are great, because every inn in the game only charges 25 Nil to heal you, which is quite a steal! Later on, however, you'll start to notice that inns don't quite *fully* heal you. They will for a long time, but after you get your seventh energy tank and beyond, staying at an inn will only ever fill up your first 6 tanks. Some will even knock you back *down* to 6 tanks, which is just rude!

[ move one screen to the left ]

You are now back at the elevator!

You'll be returning to the settlement later once you've collected a few key items, but for now, you're done here, so you might as well head back up.

* * *

As you continue to explore the research facility from here on out, you should try to save up some money, as you'll definitely want to buy the Power Shoes, Power Suit, and Laser Blaster before taking on the boss of this area.

Couldn't hurt to gain a couple levels while you're at it, too! Though be sure to watch that experience counter: after your ninth kill on a single screen, you'll stop gaining experience from the enemies on it. Always best to keep moving, so you can maximize your gains!

Just be sure not to let your guard down too much, however, as death = losing half your money. And that can be quite painful this early on!

Progressing through the research facility, you'll quickly learn that each floor is color-coded, making it relatively easy to keep your bearings despite the lack of a map feature.

The bottom floor is blue in color, and you'll find yourself returning to it through alternate elevators a few times during your trek. Eventually, you'll find a doorway (not an elevator door, mind you, but just a regular, plain old doorway!) in the blue area. Enter it, and you'll be in a small room with a treasure chest in the back. This chest contains the "Research Log" item.


Open your inventory (by ducking and pressing the jump button at the same time), and USE the Research Log. The following text will display in the dialogue window:
⇒ (name)は にっしを よんだ。 にっしにはこうかかれていた。
「・・1ミリほどの ちいさないのち・・・かれはかみなのか あくまなのか?
かれのいのちは もはや だれにも うばうことはできない! このわたしにさえも・・・
わたしは とんでもないものを つくってしまったのかもしれない・・・」
そして(name)はにっしのひょうしについていた ダリルはかせのもんしょうを てにいれた。
➣ (name) opened the research log. This is what it said:
"A tiny life, less than one millimeter in size...Be it god, or be it devil?
Whatever it is, it's no longer possible to take that life away. Not by anyone, myself included.
I may have created a monster here..."
Professor Daryl's official seal was loosely attached to the cover of the log. (name) removed the seal and pocketed it.

The Research Log item will then automatically be swapped out for the "Seal." This item is going to permanently take up one of your seven item slots for the rest of the game, basically, but you absolutely MUST keep it, as it's your only ticket to entering the final area. If you attempt to drop it, you'll get a message preventing you from doing so... yet the bugged password system will sometimes get rid of it for you, unfortunately. And in the Japanese Let's Play I watched, the LPers were somehow able to discard this item anyway, and wound up having to restart from the beginning at one point because of it. So... don't do that!


Anyway, moving along, you'll encounter another treasure room on the red floor, in which you'll find a Yunkale. Nothing too special, but by the time you find it, you'll probably need it, so it's kind of a nice little bonus!

As an aside, you may have figured this out on your own by now, but whenever you enter a new screen, be sure not to linger by the edge of it for too long, as enemies can and will spawn behind you! The safest part of any screen is near its center, always.

Eventually, you'll make your way to the top floor of the facility, which is white in color and features some of the most devastating enemy patterns in the whole area. If you hit the white floor before finding the Research Log, you'll probably want to double back and grab that before continuing onward.

There's another treasure room on the white floor, which contains yet another key item: the Letter. Note that this shows as ロビンのてがみ, or "Robin's Letter," in the item window when you first open the treasure chest, but simply shows as てがみ, or "Letter," in your inventory.


USE the Letter, and the following text will display in the dialogue window:
⇒ (name)は てがみを よんだ。 てがみにはこうかかれていた。
「さよなら・・かあさん、 かあさんに いちどだけでも ちじょうを みせてあげたかった・・・
でも もう だめだ。
こどものころ かあさんにかってもらったオルゴール・・・・ あれがあれば ギウスを・・・・
➣ (name) read the letter from Robin. This is what it said:
"Goodbye... Mother. I just wanted Mother to be able to see the outside world one time. Just one time...
But I'm not going to make it.
When I was a child, Mother bought a music box for me. If only I still had that, I might've stood a chance against Giuth..."

You might be tempted to drop this item after reading it, but you absolutely should not! If you do, you won't be able to complete the game, and will need to restart from scratch. And unlike the Seal, there's no safeguard in place to keep you from dropping the Letter -- if you want to screw yourself over, you totally can!

Anyway, there were people in town asking about Robin, so before progressing any farther, you should return to the Bizan settlement and let them know what became of him. Or rather, let his mother know -- the other dude never changes his dialogue, so he'll just have to remain blissfully unaware of his friend's grisly fate!

Before you talk to Robin's mother, though, you should speak with Old Man Tom again. He may be a bit more forthcoming with information than he was before, now that you can prove to him you mean business!

[return to Bizan settlement ]

If you've forgotten where Old Man Tom's residence is, it's the one in the top-left corner of town.

Old Man Tom:
⇒ おお! もんしょうをもっているではないか!
それを てにしたものがこのほしを へいわにみちびくと、いいつたえられてきた。
よろしい、おまえにこのほしのなぞを はなそう。
いまから すうひゃくねんまえのこと、うーん、 はなせばながくなるので マニュアルをよんでくだされ。・・・ ・・・そういうわけで ゴーデッサけんきゅうじょは あとかたもなくくずれさり ダリルはかせも しんだ。 ところが うわさでははかせは べつのばしょで けんきゅうしていたらしのぢゃ。 そこがどこかは わしもしらぬ。そしてそこには はかせがかいはつちゅうだった しんしゅのプランクトンが みかんせいのまま のこされた という はなしぢゃ。 おそろしいことに そいつはだれにもころすことができぬ えいえんのいのちをもった いきものだということぢゃ。
➣ Oho! Is that the professor's seal?
We have an old wives' tale here that says the bearer of that seal will lead this planet to peace once more.
...All right. I'll tell you about the secret history of this world.
It all started several hundred years ago, and... hmmm... actually, this could take a while, so how about you just read all about it in the instruction manual instead?
...You good? Good. So in short, the Godessa Research Facility was wiped off the map completely, and Professor Daryl died in the chaos. Rumor has it he'd done some research in another lab as well, though I have no idea where that might be. They say he was in the middle of developing some new types of plankton there, but died before he could finish his work. What's creepiest of all, though, is that those new plankton are supposed to be immortal. No one can ever kill them, no matter how hard they try.
...Anyway, that's all I got.

Kind of unfortunate that they decided to skip over the backstory in favor of having you read all about it in the manual, since a complete-in-box copy of this game is not exactly easy to find these days! If anyone has manual scans they'd be willing to share (or better yet, a CIB copy of the game they'd be willing to sell me!), please email me at wyrdwad AT metalbat DOT com, as I'd be very interested in doing business with you. ;)

Anyway! Time to talk to Robin's mother. But before that, since it's on the way, let's drop back in on the fortune-teller, shall we? She lives in the left-most residence on the screen with the three doors.

⇒ うーむ・・・おまえさんなにもんだい。 このほしのことを すこしはしってるようだね。
あんたは もうじき しぬよ。いや あんただけじゃないがのう。
あのこは かつて 1ミリほどのちいさないのちだった。 しかし あのこもせいちょうし ははおやになりおった。いまごろ かわいいこどもを たくさんうんでるころだろう。 ん? あのこ とは だれかって?
ずのう だよ。 ふくしゅうにもえた きょだいなずのう"マザーブレイン"だよ。 もうだれにも あのこをとめることは できないんだよ。 ムージラ グームラ、このよは おわる。 みんな てんばつじゃ。
➣ Hmm...Just who are you? Seems like you know a thing or two about this planet now. Shall I tell your fortune?
...You are soon to die. But you won't be alone.
That child was once a tiny life, less than one millimeter in size. But she, like all lives, grew. And inevitably, she became a mother. She's now given birth to many a precious baby, in fact.
...Hmm? Who is "that child," you ask?
She's a brain. A giant "Mother Brain," bent on revenge. And no one can stop her anymore. Mujira, gumula, this world is ending. All shall incur the wrath of Heaven...

And so the Mother Brain has been name-dropped, for the first time in the game! Certainly not the last, though.

Robin's mother lives two screens to the right of the fortune-teller. Let's see what she has to say.

Robin's mother:
⇒ ロビンのてがみを おばさんに さしだした
てがみを よみはじめたおばさんのかおが みるみる あおざめてい
ああ、ロビン!! しんでしまったのね!! でも あなたは ゆうかんだったわ。・・・
えっ? オルゴール?
そうだったわね、むかしまずしかったころ あなたに こわれた やすいオルゴールを かってあげたわね・・・。
たびのおかた、 てがみをとどけてくださって ありがとうございました。やくにたたないかもしれませんがむすこのオルゴールをうけとってください。 せめてものおれいです。 どうかごぶじで。
➣ Handed Robin's letter to the woman. As she read it, you could see her face getting paler and paler. "Oh, Robin! I can't believe you're dead! You were so brave to do what you did... ...Hmm? The music box? I remember it well. I was poor back then, but I found an old, broken music box, and bought it to cheer my baby up... Traveler, thank you so much for delivering this letter to me. I doubt it will be of much use to you, but I'd like you to have Robin's old music box. Consider it my way of saying thanks. And please, take care out there..."

The Letter in your inventory is now swapped out for the Music Box. Once again, the game will let you drop this if you try, but you absolutely need it to continue, so guard it with your life!


Using the Music Box makes a short, out-of-tune melody play (it is broken, after all!), but doesn't seem to actually have any effect on your surroundings. Remember, though, that Robin's letter said he "might've stood a chance against Giuth" if he still had his old music box!

Now, assuming you're as high-level as you can be (which would be level 3 at this point), and have purchased everything there is to purchase from the shop, you're ready to head out for some boss-busting. Return to the white floor, and just keep pressing forward -- elevators will briefly take you through the rest of the facility until you eventually find a screen on the green floor with a conspicuous doorway in it. As soon as you enter this screen, the music restarts, which is how you know you're somewhere significant.

If you enter this door, you'll come face-to-face with the first boss, Giuth. Except... the room is pitch-black. You can't see anything at all, so you're basically fighting blind, and will most likely die without ever seeing what hit you. (Or, if you're like me, you'll shoot around randomly and somehow actually succeed in beating the boss, despite not being able to see it! But this is not recommended, for any number of reasons.)

Since you shouldn't really be expected to fight the first boss in total darkness, step back out of the room and start killing things. Focus your attention on the flying enemies in particular, and open every treasure chest they drop. It shouldn't be long before one of them drops a lamp -- ランプ in Japanese.

Note that these creatures won't start dropping lamps until you've entered the boss room at least once; I guess the game expects you to learn of the problem before it offers you a solution!

Also note that if you have somewhere in the vicinity of 1700-1800 Nil, enemies will stop dropping treasure chests at this point in the game, so you'll need to return to the Bizan settlement and spend some money before you can get the lamp. I guess that's the game's attempt to keep you from grinding too much in this first area!

And ALSO note, you'll never be able to have more than one lamp in your inventory at a time (subsequent treasure chest drops from those selfsame flying creatures will tend to be conspicuously empty if you have an unused lamp on your person), but as soon as your inventory is lacking in lampitude, you'll generally be able to find a new one very quickly and easily by killing the same type of monster again. For the next little while, you will ALWAYS want to make sure you have a lamp in your inventory at all times -- never, ever be without one for very long, because if you run out of lamplight while in the middle of a dark area, and you have no replacement... well, let's just say, things are not going to end well for you! (It's not as big a deal here, though, as the only dark area in this entire facility is the single screen comprising the boss' room, and lamplight lasts an entirely reasonable amount of time, so you'll definitely beat the boss long before things go dark again.)

Now that you have a means of lighting the darkness, proceed back into the boss room and USE the Lamp. Your surroundings will brighten, and Giuth will be fully visible, in all its hideous glory!

Time for boss number one!

Boss Fight

Giuth doesn't really do much, leaving the attacking up to the bouncy balls that share its space. If this were the whole battle, it would be a piece of cake to take the thing down! But sadly, it seems like your shots aren't doing any damage to it.


The missing link, of course, is the Music Box. Giuth cannot be damaged until you play the Music Box in its chamber. Do so, and the boss will start moving around, with fodder enemies spawning a bit more aggressively as well. It's now a bit more difficult to hit without getting hurt yourself, but you're obviously doing damage now. And after only a few good shots with the Laser Blaster, it'll be toast.

Be sure to open the treasure chest dropped when the boss is defeated before you leave the room -- if you leave the room without doing so, it negates your defeat of Giuth, and you'll be forced to fight the boss again.

Oh, and this is what's in said treasure chest:

[KEY ITEM ACQUIRED: Giuth Plankter]

It's the boss itself! In plankter form!

This shows in the item window as ギウスのプランクトン, or "Giuth Plankton," when you open the treasure chest, but simply shows as "GーP" in your inventory. (You'll note that throughout this document, I use the term "plankter" to refer to a single entity, and "plankton" only when referring to multiple entities. This is the correct scientific nomenclature, though the Japanese just uses "plankton" every time.)

Now that you have the Giuth Plankter in your inventory, you'll start to notice the "G" display on your HUD slowly counting down (this might not appear for a short time, though, after you leave the room). If this number reaches 0, your Giuth Plankter is more or less "dead," and you'll need to purchase and use an item called a "B-tamin" later in the game to revive it. To prevent this, you can go to one of the two plankton clinics in the game and pay a small fee to heal your Giuth Plankter -- but honestly, I say just let it die and buy the B-tamin. You only need the two plankton in one very specific part of the game, and it's kind of a pain to keep them both alive until then, so as far as I'm concerned, it's worth the extra money.

Fortunately, every time you reload your game via password, your plankton recover to full health, so that's kind of a nice perk!

...Anyway, you're done here! You've successfully conquered the Bizan Research Facility. Next stop: the Dark Caves! Be sure to collect another lamp before you leave, if you haven't already (though you can technically do that once you get there, too, if you'd prefer; lamplight only lasts for a limited time, but its countdown to being extinguished is frozen when you're in areas that aren't dark, meaning you'll never run out of lamplight unless you're specifically in either the Giuth boss room or the Dark Caves).

Oh, and you can toss the Music Box now. It's served its one and only purpose. Just don't tell Robin's mother -- she might be kind of upset! ;)

[return to the overworld ]

Once you've exited the facility, head left. You'll quickly learn that unless you're within one screen of a major area or under the canopy of a thick forest, debris will CONSTANTLY rain down on you from above, forcing you to either dodge skillfully or just keep on running without ever pausing to take in the view.

The problem with this is, slimes will sometimes materialize directly in your path, knocking you backward into the line of fire of the falling debris. So you'll probably want to not only run, but also jump like an idiot over and over again, and hope you don't accidentally jump into a stray satellite piece or something.

Things get even more dicey when you get into the woods, since giant bugs will come down from the sky and try to buzz you. These are worth a good deal of experience when killed, and drop decent money as well, but THEY'RE much more likely to kill YOU at this point, so you might just want to cut your losses and keep running.

If you continuously jump while running through the woods, though, the bugs that come down from the sky may target you while you're in the air and end up flying right over your head, which is a fairly convenient way of dealing with them.

Eventually, you'll come to a cave entrance, and the second leg of your quest begins...

Welcome to the

As the name implies, these caves are usually pitch black, and they're a bit too complicated to navigate without being able to see where you're going. Fortunately, that lamp you lit in the Giuth boss room should still have a bit of life left in it -- but when it runs out, again, you need to make sure you have another lamp handy. If you didn't grab one in the facility, you should kill some of the flying creatures here now and make sure you get one before progressing any farther into the caves (it's dropped by either the bat-like creatures or the pink birds). And every time you use a lamp, you need to make sure to prioritize getting another before continuing, lest you wind up trapped in the dark somewhere down the line.

Note that much like the 1700-1800 Nil limit in the Bizan Research Facility, the Dark Caves seems to have a 2700-2800 Nil limit -- so if you have more money than that, you'll need to spend some right away, or else enemies may stop dropping treasure chests. And no treasure chests means no lamps!

Once you're all set lamp-wise, proceed to the left and fall down the pit. Veer right as you fall, or you'll likely land on top of an enemy and take some minor damage.

At the bottom of this pit, the road forks: you can go left, or you can go right. For now, you're going to want to go right, as the left path will lead you to an alternate cave exit that dumps you out into a swamp that you're MUCH, MUCH too low-level to deal with right now (it will almost certainly kill you very quickly!).

For the next little while, your path is pretty linear. Then, eventually, you'll find yourself walking off-screen to the left and suddenly emerging in another settlement. That was rather unexpected!


This one is much smaller than the Bizan settlement, consisting of only four screens (and only one of them has people living in it!). The screen you entered from has nothing of note on it, so let's head left and see what we find.

[ move one screen to the left ]

Enter the residence here and you'll find a treasure chest containing a Yunkale. This can be very, very easily exploited, since it's so near the town entrance: just grab it, leave the residence, walk one screen to the right, exit town, immediately re-enter town, then go back and check the residence again, and bam, the Yunkale has respawned! In no time at all, you can heal yourself to full with free Yunkales, then fill up whatever inventory space you have left with more of them for later.

And I would definitely recommend you do exactly that before moving on. And when you're ready...

[ move one screen up ]

The door on this screen leads deeper into the caves, so let's save it for later and check out the last screen of the town first.

[ move one screen to the right ]

There are two doors on this screen. Each of them houses one NPC you can talk to.

NPC inside left residence (Sheena's mother):
⇒ こんにちわ。 たびのおかた わたしのはなしを きいてくださいな。
わたしのむすめ シーナといいますが かのじょはふじのやまいに かかってしまったのです。 なんて かわいそうなのでしょう。かのじょは かのじょは まだわかいのです。ああ! わたしは どうすればよいのでしょうか?
シク シク シク ・・
➣ Hello, traveler. Won't you listen to my sorrowful tale?
My daughter, Sheena, has contracted an incurable illness. Oh, the poor thing is suffering so! And... And she's so young! Aah! What ever am I to do?
*sob* *sob*

You'll note there's a door in the back of this house, but if you try to enter it, you'll just get a "Bzzt!" in the text box. Looks like you'll have to do something about Sheena's illness if you want to go through that door!

NPC inside right residence (Sheena's father, whose name you later learn is Wicken):
⇒ こら こら かってに はいってきてはいかん!!
わたしは むすめの びょうきのけんきゅうでいそがしいんだから!
➣ Hey! Heeey! Who do you think you are, barging into a guy's house like this?!
I'm busy researching my daughter's illness, and can't be bothered right now!

There's nothing more you can do here right now, but remember these two NPCs. They'll be very important later on.

If you head down from here, you can go back the way you came. Or, you can head left and exit deeper into the caves. The latter is what you're going to want to do.

* * *

After exiting the Rolm settlement, you're immediately confronted with one more fork in the road. You can either drop down and keep on descending, or head to the right (by dropping down to the next screen for just a brief moment, then hopping back up again). You'll want to do the latter.

Right around here is where you'll first encounter the weird blue fish-men. These guys deal pretty heavy damage, and also tend to dodge your shots by jumping over them. BUT! If you can kill them, you'll get a lot of experience for it, and some pretty decent Nil as well. So it might be worth farming these guys -- if not now, then soon, as you're about to be confronted with some rather pricy items.

That's right! Even though you only just exited one settlement, you're but a small handful of screens away from another. Proceed right just a short ways, and you'll find a doorway that will you take you into the Tauccia settlement. (It looks like there may be a cave leading beyond this screen as well, but there's no way to reach the ledge behind the Tauccia entrance -- believe me, I've tried! Which is a shame, as that cave leads right to the boss area, which would save a GREAT DEAL of time and effort if it were accessible...)


This is quite a bit more heavily populated than Rolm, and also very straightforward -- it's shaped in a linear zig-zag pattern ultimately leading to a creepy dude standing by a dead-end wall. Yay?

Let's start by chatting up the locals on this first screen.

NPC outside:
⇒ やあ!
➣ Hey there!

...My, how helpful.

⇒ ごきげん いかがかな?
あんたに いいもんをやろう。
これは おそろしいちからをもっておる。
ヒヒヒッ!それはあとでのおたのしみぢゃ!! ヒッヒッヒッ!!
➣ Well met, young one!
I have something interesting for you.
It's called the "Beta Virus"!
It holds within it a truly fearsome power.
What kind of power, you ask?
Hee hee hee! You'll have to find that out on your own! Hee hee hee!

At this point, the "Beta Virus" item is thrust into your inventory against your will. As long as you have this item, you can no longer recover HP -- not through Yunkales, and not even by resting at the inn. Your HP can only go down, not up, when the Beta Virus is on your person.

...So, obviously, you want to drop this immediately. Which the game readily lets you do! Might seem kind of pointless, but later on, treasure chests dropped by enemies will occasionally contain Beta Viruses, and it's entirely possible to pick one up without noticing (you'll often have multiple treasure chests stacked on top of one another, and if you're not keeping a close eye on the dialogue window, the message informing you of what you got may go by before you have a chance to read it). So consider this kind of a "test run," to let you know what the Beta Virus is and why you should probably be very careful never to keep it around.

Speak again:
⇒ ヒッヒッヒッ! ちゃんと ベータウィルスをもってるみたいじゃのう
➣ Hee hee hee! I see you've still got the Beta Virus.
That's good!
Be sure and take good care of it, now.
Hee hee hee!

What a jerk!

[ move one screen to the left ]

NPC inside residence:
⇒ たびのおかた このまちには ウィルスのせいで あたまがおかしくなってしもうたものがおる。 きをつけなされ。
➣ Traveler, beware: in this town, there are those who have lost their minds on account of the virus...

[ move one screen up ]

NPC inside residence:
⇒ lぬまをわたったところにもまちがあると きいたことが あります。 でも そこのひとたちはテローナけんきゅうじょで バイオかいぞうされたひとたちで うわさでは きがくるってるらしいわ。 いかないほうがいいわよ。
➣ I hear there's a settlement across the swamp as well. However, the people there supposedly received bio-modifications at the Terona Research Facility above them, and have gone utterly mad as a result. It's probably better you stay away.

[move one screen to the right ]

NPC outside:
⇒ くらやみのどうくつにはウィルスが うようよいるらしい。 きをつけたほうがいいよ
⇒ The dark caves are absolutely crawling with viruses. You'd best proceed with utmost caution if you're going out there.

There's also a much-needed inn on this screen.

[ move one screen up ]

NPC outside:
⇒ えっ? どうくつ? まあ おそろしい! あそこにいったら にどともどってこれないわよ。
➣ What's that? You come from the caves, you say? How dreadful! If I were to set foot out there, I fear I'd never come back...

[ move one screen to the left ]

NPC outside:
⇒ どうくつのウィルスはふめつだ。 たとえ あんたがころしても つぎからつぎにうまれるんだ。 あそこには あくせいウィルスがあつまってできたゼウダがいる。 あんたに ころせやしない
➣ The viruses in the caves can't be stopped. No matter how many you kill, they'll just keep on multiplying, endlessly. I hear there's a creature there called "Zeuda" that's formed entirely from malignant viruses all joined together. Trying to take it down would be an utterly hopeless endeavor.

Incidentally, this line of dialogue suggests that the "mice" you've been encountering thus far are actually supposed to be macroviruses. Eww!

Also, be sure to remember the name Zeuda...

NPC inside residence:
⇒ このまえ しむらけんじというひとたちがききましたよ。 かれらは これから ふたてにわかれて どうくつを ちょうさにいくと いってたわねえ。 でも あれから だいぶたったけど・・ どうしたのかしら・・・
➣ I hear we had a faction in town called "Shimura Kenji" a while back. They said they were going to split into two groups and explore the caves. It's been an awfully long time since they left, though. I wonder what ever became of them...

One of the heads of this group is later revealed to be named Shimura, so I assumed the other would be named Kenji... but nope! He's named Daimon! And Daimon is the commander, with Shimura being the sub-commander! So I'm not sure where the name "Shimura Kenji" came from here. The word "kenji" has a gajillion homonyms in Japanese, and could potentially mean something like "search party" with a bit of creative kanji cherry-picking, but that would still imply that the group was named after its sub-commander rather than its actual commander. So... yeah. I'm not entirely certain how to translate this, and thus decided to just leave it as "Shimura Kenji." It literally never comes up by name again, so that should be good enough, right? ;)

[ move one screen up ]

Items for sale in the shop here:

Cold Medicine

40 Nil


500 Nil

Power Suit Lv.2

950 Nil

Pulse Blaster

1860 Nil

OK, there's a lot to take in with this shop. First of all, the Cold Medicine! This is a completely optional item, but works well for the sake of the narrative, as you'll never have any clue what the second item on this list -- "Kilapsi" -- is or does without buying the Cold Medicine and delivering it to Sheena's father back in Rolm (er, unless you've been reading this walkthrough, anyway!). So feel free to do that if you want (I mean, it's only 40 Nil, so it's not going to hurt your savings any!), but you definitely don't have to.

If you do, though, this is the text you'll see:
⇒ おじさんに かぜぐすりを てわたした。「むすめのために かぜぐすりを かってきてくれたのか? ・・うーむ・・とりあえずどうも ありがとう。わたしは >ウィッケンだ。よろしく。しかしざんねんだが むすめは じゅうびょうでかぜぐすりなんかではなおらんのだ。キラプシさえあればよいのだが・・・
➣ Oh, my, did you buy this for my daughter? ...Hmm... Well, I appreciate the thought, at least. Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Wicken. Unfortunately, the illness my daughter has can't be cured with simple cold medicine. Now, if I had some Kilapsi, that would be a different story...

So, yeah. Now you know what you'll use "Kilapsi" for! And all you had to do to find out was learn that a girl in the next town over has an incurable illness, and decide to buy her some freakin' COLD MEDICINE for it. What an idjut! ;)

The other three items in this shop are all must-buys. Kilapsi is... well, exactly as you just read. And the Power Suit upgrade is a no-brainer, of course. Then there's the Pulse Blaster, which is a weapon upgrade that makes your already badass Laser Blaster even more badass by turning it into a frigging LIGHTNING GUN.

Everything here is super-duper expensive, though, so you're likely going to need to grind a bit to be able to afford it all. Be sure to gain a few levels while doing so -- move from screen to screen a lot so you constantly get experience for your kills, and eventually, you'll have enough to buy all three of these items AND you'll have a bunch more energy tanks for your troubles!

Though before you grind, you might as well check out the final screen of this settlement.

[move one screen to the right ]

NPC outside:
⇒ ほほう あんた ギウスのプランクトンを もってるじゃないか。 そいつは あくまマザーブレインのこどもだ。 もってると ろくなことにはならないよ。 さっさと すてちまいな! みのためだよ
➣ Hoho! I see you have the Giuth plankter with you. That's one of the children of that devil, the Mother Brain. Take it from me: that thing is bad news. You should throw it away immediately! It's for your own good.

You can actually try dropping the Giuth Plankter, but the game will absolutely never let you. Which is good, because you DEFINITELY can't beat the game without it!

If you happen to speak with this NPC before you acquire the Giuth Plankter, or after you've gotten rid of it later in the game, his dialogue will instead read:
➣ ・・・・・

Anyway, that's it for Tauccia. Whew! Time to head out, grind till you can't level any more, then find the boss of these here caves.

* * *

Actually, before that, let's go cure poor Sheena of her illness. You can do this at any time between now and the conclusion to the next area, but you might as well get it over with now. You'll feel like you've done a good deed, and you'll also score a permanent means of fully healing yourself from now on (as in, topping off ALL of your energy tanks, even if you have a full complement of ten), so there's no real reason NOT to do this.

[ return to Rolm settlement ]

As you may recall, Sheena's father (whose name you've since learned is Wicken) was the one attempting to find some means of curing his daughter, while Sheena's mother was just... kind of freaking out. So let's speak with good ol' Daddy and see what he has to say!

⇒ おじさんに キラプシをてわたした。
「おおっ! キラプシをかってきてくくれたのか!! ありがとう!! おれいに なにか できることがあればよいが
そうだっ! のこりのキラプシを もっと きょうりょくなものにしてやろう。 ちょっと まっててくれ!」
- すうじかんご -
「またせたな。 これをもってゆきなさい。 なずけて パワードキラプシだ。 きっと やくにたつはずだ!」
➣ Handed the Kilapsi to the old man.
"Ohh! Did you buy this rare, curative plankter for me?! Thank you so much! I don't know how I can ever repay your kindness...
...Ah, wait! How about I split the Kilapsi and enhance one for you too? It might take a while, but please do wait. It'll be worth it!"
-Several hours later-
"Sorry to keep you waiting so long, but the enhancement was a success. I call it... Powered Kilapsi! Please, take it. I'm certain it will be of use to you!"

The Japanese actually just says he'll use it to cure his daughter, then "power up the leftover Kilapsi" for you. But that implies it's actually a group of multiple plankton, as opposed to a single plankter... which seems to contradict something from later in the game. So I improvised a bit in my translation. Hope no one minds!

Anyway, Sheena is now cured! And also:

[KEY ITEM ACQUIRED: Powered Kilapsi]

Yep. Get used to seeing that in your inventory, because you're going to have it clean through to the end of the game. It's not just important, it's literally one of the game's MOST important items, period.

But all that aside, what say we check in with the patient's mother, and -- hopefully -- the patient herself as well?

Sheena's mother:
⇒ まあ! あなたがむすめのいのちをたすけてくださったかたですね!! ありがとう ございました。なんと おれいをいえばよいか・・・ さあ むすめにあってやってください。ごゆっくり
➣ Well, now! If it isn't the brave soul who saved our daughter! Thank you so very, very much. Words cannot express how grateful I am. Please, go speak with her yourself! You'll always be welcome here.
Speak again:
⇒ あら! こんにちわ。 さあ むすめにあってやってください。ごゆっくり
➣ My! Hello again! Please, go say hi to our daughter while you're here. You'll always be welcome here.

You're now able to go through the door in the back of this residence, which leads to Sheena's room.

⇒ わたしがシーナです。
あなたが わたしのいのちをたすけてくださったかたですね。
どうも ありがとう。
おかげで こんなにげんきになりました。
おれいといっては なんですが
➣ My name is Sheena.
And you're the one who saved my life, aren't you?
I am forever in your debt!
Look at how alive and full of energy I am thanks to you!
I don't really think it's proper to call this a reward, but...
*smooch* ♥
...best of luck to you out there!

This little kiss will fully recover your health every time you speak with Sheena. So from now on, after resuming your quest via password, just head on down to Rolm and let Sheena kiss some HP into those energy tanks of yours. ;)

Now that that's over with, it's time to head toward the boss of these caves. Exit Rolm out the upper-left doorway (toward Tauccia), but this time, drop down instead of going right. After some time, you'll come to the Dark Caves' final fork in the road: there's a doorway embedded into the rock, but you can also go right.

Fortunately, your decision here is an easy one, as there is only exactly ONE screen to the right, and it contains a treasure chest. So you can just hop on over, grab what's in it, then hop on back and go through the doorway.

And what IS in that treasure chest, you ask?

[LORE ITEM ACQUIRED: Shimura's Diary]

Actually, the official name of this item that appears in the dialogue box when you open the chest is (*takes deep breath*) だいいちちょうさだんふくたいちょう しむらのにっき, which roughly translates as "Diary of Acting Commander Shimura from Research Group Alpha." In your inventory, however, the name is understandably shortened to just しむらのにっき, or "Shimura's Diary."

And my notation of this as a "lore item" is not a typo. This is very specifically NOT a "key item," as it literally exists solely to enhance the game's lore. As far as I'm aware, there's no one you ever need to give this to, so you can totally avoid picking it up if you want -- or just read it, then drop it! Which is what I'd recommend.

Here's what's written in the dialogue box when you use this item:
⇒ (name)は しむらのにっきを よんだ
「・・・なかまが つぎつぎに たおれている。 のこった われわれも じかんのもんだいだろう。 あとは たいちょうのグループに きたいする
➣ (name) read Shimura's Diary. This is what it said:
"...We're dropping like flies here. It's only a matter of time before those few of us who remain follow suit. It's all up to the commander's group now."

Note that when I played through the game, I held onto this (not knowing for sure if I needed to or not), and I encountered a strange bug related to it. When resuming my game via password, I opened my inventory only to find out that Shimura's Diary had somehow transformed into the Research Log! So, naturally, I used the Research Log to double-check that this wasn't just a weird naming glitch, and nope -- it was legitimately the Research Log from the Bizan Research Facility! Which... was kind of problematic, since as you might recall, reading the Research Log swaps it out for Professor Daryl's Seal. Which I already had. And which can't be dropped.

So now I had TWO Seals. And I couldn't get rid of either one of them.

I had to reload once more, and this time drop the Research Log without reading it first, in order to free up that spot in my inventory.

So, yeah. When you're done reading Shimura's Diary, just get rid of it! You'll be better off.

Anyway, head through the doorway, and you'll find yourself undergoing a long gauntlet of tricky platforming. You'll need to "get into the groove," so to speak, to avoid taking a lot of damage here, as the enemies are merciless and the platforming precise.

There's also another section here where it looks like there's an additional cave exit off to the left of one of the screens, but there's no way to reach it. That's the other side of the unreachable cave entrance next to Tauccia. Blasted game needs to stop taunting me with super-convenient shortcuts that are totally unreachable!

Also, I thought it prudent to note that you'll be receiving a lot of "Giuth Killer" drops from defeated enemies around here. These items seem to cause the Giuth plankter to lose HP at an accelerated rate, so you should definitely discard them as soon as you get them. The game even kind of thanks you for dropping them, adding "What a relief!" (or "Phew!" in the fan-translated rom) to the usual drop dialogue.

Later on, you'll start getting similar "Zeuda Killer" drops as well, which function the same, but for the Zeuda plankter. Those, too, should be dropped immediately, because it's just as crucial you keep the Zeuda plankter alive as it is the Giuth plankter (read on to find out more about Zeuda).

Better to fill up your inventory with Yunkales than Giuth Killers anyway, since this gauntlet of tricky platforming ultimately ends with a doorway leading to... the game's second boss! And this time, there's no music box you need to play or anything like that -- it's just you versus a legitimately creepy-looking monster plankter!

Boss Fight

This is, according to one of the NPCs in Tauccia, a "mass of viruses all joined together," and defeating it is an "utterly hopeless endeavor." And admittedly, it is probably the second-toughest boss in the game next to the Mother Brain herself! But it is far from a hopeless battle.


The strategy here relies on the fact that you can generally run past it while it's moving, since only its head actually hurts you -- and its head is rarely near enough to the ground to connect with you. Unfortunately, you can also only hurt it by shooting it in the head, so you're going to need to rely on well-timed jump shots to take this thing down. Meanwhile, macroviruses are continually spawning that hurt a fair deal when they touch you, and they may even knock you back into Zeuda's head, which hurts a LOT.


The key is to jump and shoot, and then -- while Zeuda is moving toward you -- shoot and kill the spawning macrovirus and get over to the other side of the room. Turn around, shoot and kill the NEXT spawning macrovirus, then jump and shoot again, and continue this pattern until the boss is dead. It doesn't take all that many hits, fortunately, but the timing is tough, and getting knocked out of the room (thus forcing you to restart the fight) is always a very real (and very annoying) possibility.

Once Zeuda is defeated, it will drop a treasure chest containing -- predictably -- the plankter version of itself.

[KEY ITEM ACQUIRED: Zeuda Plankter]

This will, once you leave the boss room, add an HP countdown number to the "Z" indicator on your HUD, giving you yet another plankter to babysit for a time. Unlike Giuth, however (which is, let's be real here, probably already "dead" by this point in your playthrough), Zeuda is pretty likely to survive until its purpose has been fulfilled, since that purpose is coming up reeeeelatively soon. (Of course, if Giuth is dead, it's a moot point, since you'll need to use a B-tamin anyway, and B-tamins apply to both Giuth and Zeuda when used!)

Anyway! Your goal may seem a bit unclear now, but you might recall that an NPC in Tauccia mentioned another settlement in the Terona Research Facility across the swamp. Remember when you dropped down that big pit right at the beginning of the Dark Caves, and you could choose to go either left or right? I told you then to go right, as that's where the meat of the caves can be found. And I said not to go left, because that path leads to a cave exit that dumps you out into a very deadly swamp.

Well, it's time to take that left path now, because that deadly swamp is precisely where you need to be.

You've got a looooot of backtracking to do if you want to get all the way back to the start of the Dark Caves, but there is a shortcut! If you just let yourself die, you can either jot down your password and then immediately enter it (to refill your blaster) or select CONTINUE from the title screen (to refill three energy tanks' worth of health), and you'll instantly be warped back to the Dark Caves entrance. The downside, of course, is that you'll lose half your money -- but as long as you don't have a whole lot saved up, it might actually be worth it, especially if you can get a blaster refill out of the deal!

In fact, that's what I would recommend here. Rolm is fairly close to the Dark Caves entrance, and you can talk to Sheena there to score a full health refill, which you will ABSOLUTELY NEED for traversing the swamp. So as long as you can get from the cave entrance to Rolm in 30 HP (which should be pretty easy at this point), that is absolutely your best bet.

Once you're ready, take that left passage from the bottom of the starting pit, and work your way up. You will encounter another fork in the road at the top of the corridor, but you'll obviously want to go left from there, since right will just take you back to the entrance leading out toward Bizan.

Eventually, you'll exit the caves and find yourself in a rocky clearing -- but before you go any farther, I'd suggest heading back in for a moment and using the lamp in your inventory (or dropping it). Nothing is dark where you're headed, so there's no point taking up one of your precious few item slots with a lamp for the next few hours. You will eventually be headed back through the Dark Caves, but as you might recall, lamplight doesn't tick down when you're not in dark areas, so everything will still be bright when you return, and you can just kill some flying creatures to get another lamp drop at that point.

Anyway, once you've taken care of de-lamping yourself, head back out into the rocky clearing where you'll instantly start getting bombarded by... meteorites? We'll say they're meteorites. Run left from there, and after a few more screens of dodging meteorites and tiny blue blob-bugs, you'll be greeted by your very first screen of swampland!

This swamp definitely sucks, as it's a seemingly neverending gauntlet of meteorites falling from the sky, marshy muck that drains your health as you stand in it, more blue blob-bugs, and funky aliens that aggressively try to both shoot and body-slam you.

There's no maze element here -- just screen after screen of pain. I would recommend jumping constantly (to avoid as much damage from the muck as possible) and always, ALWAYS moving to the left, never stopping for even a moment if you can help it.

Eventually (mercifully!), you'll find the entrance to the Terona Research Facility. Technically, you could've come here earlier, but the door would've just done the whole "Bzzt!" thing when you interacted with it, as it requires both the Giuth and Zeuda plankton be in your inventory before it'll allow you in.

Now that you've got them, though, it's time to do some Terona conquesting. Though as one last bit of cruelty, the game actually forces you to press up TWICE in order to go inside -- once to open the door, and then again to step through.

Once you're in, though...

Welcome to the

Like the Dark Caves, this area is never "announced" in your dialogue box -- but it is, for sure, the Terona Research Facility that that NPC in Tauccia was telling you about. And it's also the most maze-like and confusing part of the game... so I actually drew you guys a map!

Rather than telling you which direction to head at every fork in the road, I figured I could just refer to each relevant spot you need to visit by its letter designation here. So, with the foreknowledge that your starting point is the right-most screen depicted on this map, this is the basic structure of the Terona facility:

Terona Research Facility Map

A = Terona Settlement
B = Item: Research Notes
C = Key Item: Daimon's Journal
D = Money
E = Item: Yunkale
F = Taeniisek Settlement
G = Key Item: Child's Toy (enemy drop)
H = Key Item: Weck
I = Boss: Linda #1
J = Boss: Linda #2
K = Boss: Linda #3
L = Boss: Linda #4
M = Boss: Linda #5
N = Computer

Your first goal should, of course, be point A. Which basically means walking left until you hit the big vertical shaft, dropping down to the bottom of it, then proceeding two screens to the right and going through the door.

There's a lot to note here, but for now, just try your best to make it to point A in one piece, and we'll cover the rest as it becomes relevant.

Point A is:


As with the facility itself, no name is shown in the dialogue box when you enter this particular settlement. But since the main settlement in the Bizan Research Facility was just called Bizan, I think it's fair to assume that the main settlement in the Terona Research Facility is probably meant to be called Terona... so, I'm rolling with that!

This is a rather oddly structured settlement, as it consists of two tiny donut-shaped sections connected to one another by a stumpy little corridor.

As per usual, we'll start by talking to the NPCs outside, then the NPCs inside (when available), and just work our way around.

NPC outside:
⇒ げんき?
➣ How ya doin'?

[ move one screen to the left ]

There's an inn on this screen, which you'll definitely be making ample use of during your time in this facility!

[ move one screen down ]

NPC outside (little boy):
⇒ うえーん! うえーん! ぼくのだいじにしてたおもちゃが なくなっちゃったよーっ!!
➣ Waaah! Waaah! The toy I loved mostest of all is gone!
NPC inside residence (boy's sister):
⇒ まったく うちのおとうとのおもちゃを ぬすんだのは どこのだれなの! ひどいわ!!
➣ Honestly! What kind of monster would steal a toy from my little brother?! It's unconscionable!

If this sounds important to you, then your RPG senses are well-honed, because it totally is. You'll be returning to these two later on.

[move one screen to the right ]

NPC outside:
➣ ・・・○○○○・・・

I'm not translating this, for obvious reasons. This is meant to represent an NPC making incomprehensible sounds. You'll be seeing this same line of dialogue from several NPCs here. Obviously, you'll be revisiting all of these people later!

[ proceed through door to small corridor section of settlement ]

NPC outside:
➣ ・・・○○○○・・・
NPC inside residence:
➣ ・・・○○○○・・・

[move one screen to the right ]

There's another plankton clinic here (the last one you'll encounter in the entire game), as well as a shop.

Items for sale in the shop here:


14 Nil

Option Fuel

140 Nil

Power Suit Lv.3

2000 Nil

Option A

3200 Nil

You'll definitely want to save up for the Power Suit and Option A. The options are actually pretty sweet, as they're floating orbs that follow your movement and damage enemies to the touch, with the caveat being that they lose a bit of their own HP in the process. If they run out, they simply disappear, but they can be recovered either by resuming your game via password, or by using the consumable Option Fuel item. Option Fuel can be bought from this shop, but enemies may also start dropping it when your options are low in health or destroyed. (Provided you didn't encounter a password bug that glitched out all your consumable items, anyway...)

Getting back to the option itself, Option A's function is essentially that of a catch-all for enemies above you, since it hovers far off the ground and sweeps back and forth horizontally over a fairly wide area. The more melee-oriented Option B is definitely more useful, but it also tends to "die" quicker as a result, so Option A is unquestionably worth having around as a sort of "second-tier aerial sentry." Definitely don't leave the Terona facility before buying it, or you'll have a much harder time in the final area!

[ move one screen to the right, emerging from corridor into second "donut" section ]

This screen has no NPCs or residences.

[move one screen to the right ]

NPC outside:
NPC inside residence:
⇒ となりまちのタエニーセクのひとびとは リンダのちからによって テレパシーのうりょくがふうじこまれています。 そのちからをと といてあげてください。 かれらを じゆうに してあげて ください
➣ The people in the neighboring settlement of Taeniisek have had their telepathic abilities sealed away by Linda. Please, do what you can to break that seal and restore those abilities. Free the poor people from their burden.

Finally, some useful info! Not only does this NPC inform you that there's a second settlement to be found in this facility, but also that there are people there who have telepathic abilities, that those telepathic abilities are on the fritz, and that someone named Linda is responsible for that particular state of affairs. That's a lot of intel in just a few lines of dialogue!

Though there are two more screens to this settlement, both are empty (one has a residence in it, but there's nobody home), so let's return to the facility and see what else we can learn about the people here who can't quite seem to form words, the Taeniisek settlement and its telepathic residents, and this mysterious "Linda" figure...

* * *

The first clue is actually quite nearby -- just head a few screens to the left of the Terona settlement entrance (point B on the map), and you'll find a doorway leading into a small treasure room. Open the treasure chest therein for some very interesting bits of game lore.

[LORE ITEM ACQUIRED: Research Notes]

Open your inventory and USE the Research Notes, and the following text will display:
⇒ (name)は けんきゅうにっしをよんだ。 にっしにはこうかかれていた。
「わたしたちは けんきゅうに けんきゅうをかさね ついに かんせいまで こぎつけた。 それはひとの のうを バイオかいぞうし とくしゅなのうりょく、たとえば テレパシーのようなものをみにつけ・・・
そして そののうりょくはいでんするのであ・・・
(また よくよめない)
しかし かれらのこんらんをさけるため そののうりょくは ウェックがないと はっき できないようにしてある。 ウェックは・・・(やぶれていて よめない) にほかんしてある。」
➣ (name) perused the research notes. This is what they said:
"We've been researching day in and day out, and finally struck paydirt. We've learned how to bio-engineer the human mind to allow for the mastery of supernatural abilities such as telepathy and
(can't read this part)
These abilities become inherent, and are even depended upon
(can't read this part either)
In order to overcome the mental confusion this creates, the 'Weck' device must be enabled. The one we developed is being sto-- (document is torn here) --g for safe keeping."

Note that the "can't read this part" parts are not some sort of editorial comment; that's actually what it says in the Japanese. Seems you found some pretty badly damaged research notes! How eerie...

Also, apparently all those NPCs you couldn't speak with in the Terona settlement have telepathic abilities as well, but they haven't yet learned to control them unaided. It seems you need an item called a "Weck" in order to speak with them.

You can now drop this item (you may not have even needed to find it in the first place, though it's not like you had to go out of your way to do so!), but before moving on in earnest, you may wish to save up for at least the Power Suit Lv.3, if not also Option A. Doing so is best accomplished by seeking out those tall green Dalek-like robots that just move back and forth. They take a few hits to defeat, but when they drop treasure chests, each one usually contains right around 100 Nil.

...That is, unless they contain Beta Viruses. Yes, the Beta Virus is now a standard enemy drop here in the Terona Research Facility, so keep one eye on the dialogue window every time you open a treasure chest, and if you see the characters ベータウィルス appear, make sure to open your inventory and drop it like a bad habit!

Don't get it confused with こどものおもちゃ, though. That item, which translates as "Child's Toy," is actually a key item you need in order to complete the game -- and one of the enemies somewhere in this facility WILL drop it when defeated. You may even get it on your way to the next settlement -- in which case, you should hang onto it for later. We'll be coming back to this at a later point in the walkthrough.

There's also... one more thing that will occasionally show up in treasure chests in this facility: traps. Referred to in the Japanese as びっくりばこ, or "surprise box" (I translated it in my system text as "shock box" because it sounds cooler!), opening one of these treasure chests will (theoretically) freeze you in place for a split second. Fortunately, it's pretty tame, since the effect of the "shock box" doesn't last very long (and sometimes doesn't even happen at all), and if you're anything like me, you're not going to be opening a lot of treasure chests when there are still more enemies nearby anyway.

...Of course, all of this advice isn't going to mean anything if treasure chests don't drop at all. As with Bizan and the Dark Caves before it, Terona's got a Nil limit too: this time, somewhere in the vicinity of 5700-5800. If you have anywhere near that, go spend some money a.s.a.p. or you won't get any chest drops anymore!

Once you're ready to seek out the second settlement, you'll need to start by climbing aaaaall the way to the top of this very Metroid-like vertical shaft -- and this is definitely easier said than done, since a lot of the jumps you'll need to make require some serious precision, yet you also need to contend with the flying enemies that threaten to knock you down a screen or two if they touch you. Having Option A helps a great deal here, since Option A will briefly incapacitate (or, if you let it, kill) the flying enemies that would otherwise get in your way. However, Option A is kind of a double-edged sword, since it might also kill some of the gun turrets attached to the tops of walls... and believe it or not, some of the jumps you need to make are SO precise that you actually have to stand ON those gun turrets in order to stick the landing! Just be careful not to let the turrets get destroyed, though, and you'll be fine. And should one or two end up getting wasted, you can always drop down one screen and then climb back up to respawn them.

As you climb farther and farther up, you'll find a couple more doors leading to a couple more treasure rooms. First is point C on the map, which contains another optional lore item.

[KEY ITEM ACQUIRED: Daimon's Journal]

Finding this item is actually one of the game's trigger flags for spawning the next boss, so you absolutely have to at least find it -- though you can drop it after reading it.

As with Shimura's Diary before it, Daimon's Journal has a much longer and more complex name in the dialogue window when you pick it up than it does in your item menu. The full name is だいいちちょうさだんたいちょう だいもんのにっき, which I'd translate as something like, "Journal of Commander Daimon from Research Group Alpha." In your item menu, it simply shows as だいもんのにっき, or "Daimon's Journal."

USE it and the following text displays:
⇒ (name)は しむらのにっきを よんだ。
「われわれは なんとか ここまでた たどりついたが もう これいじょうすすむことは できないだろう・・
それは われわれのまえに たちはだかる あくまたちのためにだ。
そいつのために なかまはみな しんでしまった。 のこるは わたしひとりだ
だが わたしも もう ちからつきた・・・ にんむを はたせなくて ざんねんである・・・
➣ (name) read Daimon's Journal. This is what it said:
"We've made it this far, but it looks like we won't be getting any farther.
And it's all because of those devils that have appeared before us.
Make no mistake: they're all the same person.
And thanks to her, everyone else is dead. I'm the only one left.
But I'm not much longer for this world myself. I deeply regret that I'll be leaving my mission unfulfilled..."

So there's some presence in this facility that can take on multiple forms, apparently! Curiouser and curiouser...

You can drop this item after reading it, as it's not required to complete the game (and may transform into Shimura's Diary anyway, if you resume your game via password).

At point D on the map (the very top of the vertical shaft), you'll find another treasure room containing a fairly decent amount of money (always between 142 and 145 Nil). You should make a note of this treasure room's location and visit it again each time you pass by, as the treasure chest inside will respawn every time you enter and leave a settlement (or die and continue).

Head left from this treasure room to begin your trek across the long horizontal corridor connecting it with the facility's second vertical shaft. You'll note a distinct lack of enemies in this connecting corridor -- there are some, but not nearly as many as you might expect, making it fairly easy to cross.

Unsurprisingly, this is just to lull you into a false sense of security. ;)

When you cross back the other way later on, you'll be SWARMED with enemies. Basically, whenever you move through this corridor from right to left, it's an easy trek, but if you move through it from left to right, it's a madhouse.

Eventually, you'll make it to the second vertical shaft. There is one screen beyond it to the left, but the only thing over there is a locked door, so you might as well just start descending -- the entrance to the Taeniisek settlement is on the very bottom.

Along the way, you'll encounter a couple more locked doors, as well as a single treasure chest perched on top of a wall at point E on the map. This treasure chest contains a Yunkale, but beware: if you leave the screen without opening it, the treasure chest will be gone when you come back.

Once you hit bottom, you can once again proceed one screen to the right if you wish, but the only thing waiting for you there is another locked door. For now, you should just step inside the elevator at point F on the map and check out this facility's second (and slightly more mysterious) settlement.


This settlement is the most straightforward yet, as it's literally just a row of screens stretching off to the right until it dead-ends. Let's take it screen-by-screen, as per usual.

NPC outside:
⇒ NEOでんせつ かんけつへん がでるよ
➣ The final entry in the Legend of Neo series is coming.
Don't miss it! ♥

*sigh* Sadly, this fourth wall-breaking NPC statement would prove to be false, in the end. And that really is a bummer!

See, the company that made this game, Pixel, had released two prior MSX titles chronicling the adventures of a futuristic hero named Neo. Titled "Zeta 2000" (which was one of those rare cassette-only Japanese games) and "Thunderbolt," they were meant to be the first two entries in a five-part epic sci-fi saga... but while Zeta 2000 was a pretty awesome game for its time, Thunderbolt was apparently a rather troubled production. Pixel had made quite a few lofty promises about it, but was unable to deliver on most of them, producing a game that is -- by all accounts -- a mere shell of what it was intended to be. And poor critical reaction to it caused the remaining three titles in the series to ultimately get canceled. "A Life M36 Planet" is the closest we ever got to a third entry, and while it's easily Pixel's best MSX game, it's also unrelated to the Legend of Neo series (for some reason). And it was to be Pixel's last hurrah on the system.

If you're interested in learning more about Pixel and the Legend of Neo series -- and Zeta 2000 in particular -- there's a really great English-language blog entry about all of that from 2013 that I found a while back:


It goes into great detail and features numerous screenshots of Zeta 2000 in action, most of which are animated GIFs designed to showcase its various gameplay features. There are links to a bunch of useful Japanese resources related to Pixel and Zeta 2000, as well. And while this is all only tenuously connected to M36, if you've read this far into my walkthrough, then chances are you'll find this stuff pretty interesting too. ;)

Anyway! Let's move on, shall we?

NPC inside residence:
➣○●○● #ー

Here we go again! You'll be seeing this string of nonsense text a lot in Taeniisek, though it's notably different from the string of nonsense text seen in the Terona settlement. That's because while the Terona residents are unable to control their telepathy without the "Weck" device, the Taeniisek residents are instead having their telepathy purposefully inhibited by this mysterious "Linda" entity. There's a whole lot of nonfunctioning telepathy in this facility!

After you inevitably stop this Linda person, you'll be returning to Taeniisek for some very important telepathic dialogue with this and other similar NPCs.

[move one screen to the right ]

The inn is on this screen, and as always, it's a welcome sight that you'll undoubtedly be making ample use of. Additionally, there is one NPC wandering around outside.

NPC outside:
⇒ あんたは なんということを してくれたんじゃ!!
ギウスとゼウダはマザーのこどもなのだぞ! それを・・・ ころしおって!!
➣ Wh-What have you done?!
Giuth and Zeuda are the Mother's children! You... You need to kill those things dead!
...Rnng... Because of Mother, we...

[move one screen to the right ]

NPC outside:
⇒ ピクセルを よろしく!
➣ Give Pixel my regards!

More fourth wall-breaking. Poor Pixel. :(

NPC inside residence:
➣○●○● #ー

[move one screen to the right ]

NPC outside:
➣○●○● #ー

Items for sale in the shop here:


18 Nil


800 Nil

Bacteria Blaster

2800 Nil

Option B

3600 Nil

You can buy the final weapon upgrade here -- the Bacteria Blaster -- as well as Option B and the long-awaited B-tamin. And you'll definitely want to save up for all three(unless you've managed to keep Giuth and Zeuda alive this whole time, in which case you can forego buying the B-tamin).

The Bacteria Blaster is the strongest weapon in the game, but as a followup to the badass lightning-shooting Pulse Blaster, it's... honestly kind of a letdown, at least visually. Unlike even the Laser Blaster, the Bacteria Blaster does NOT travel the whole length of the screen. Its range is fairly short, in fact! And it doesn't even look all that cool, either, as it's just a spray of gray dots.

The one thing it DOES have going for it, though, is that it hangs around in the air for a tiny bit after you shoot it, meaning enemies might get caught in its beam and damaged more than once, or additional enemies might end up walking or flying into it and taking damage.

Ultimately, you're probably going to want to have it, as it doesn't freeze you in place nearly as long as the other blaster weapons, and the lingering effect really does prove to be a rather notable asset. It also does more damage than any other weapon. However, as far as I'm aware, you don't actually HAVE to upgrade to it if you don't want to -- the game can theoretically be completed with the Pulse Blaster if you really want to try it. It's up to you!

And either way, Option B's awesomeness more than makes up for any drawbacks related to the Bacteria Blaster. Option B looks identical to Option A, but it stays extremely close to you at all times, and it actively seeks out any enemies that get anywhere near you. Basically, it's like a loyal puppy that will run out and attack anyone who tries to give you any guff! It's an absolute must-have, and will make traversing enemy-filled corridors measurably easier for the remainder of the game.

The only downside is that it attacks enemies SO OFTEN that its HP drops really rapidly, making its usefulness somewhat short-lived between password entries. But while it's around, it's always an absolute life-saver.

Oh, and just to be totally clear: you can, and should, have both Options A and B at the same time. It's an awesome sight to see your space-man walking around this alien planet, flanked by two hovering orbs of death that move out of sync with one another and keep the general vicinity clear of hazards. Definitely the coolest upgrades in the game!

[ move one screen to the right ]

NPC outside:
➣ ○●○● #ー

[ move one screen to the right ]

NPC outside:
⇒ いらっしゃい。 ここは タエニーセクというむらです。 ごゆっくり どうぞ
➣ Welcome. This settlement is called Taeniisek. Feel free to stay here as long as you'd like.
NPC inside residence:
➣ ○●○● #ー

And that's it for Taeniisek, for now! Now that you're fully upgraded, it's time to head back to the first vertical shaft. So let's get out of this settlement and back into the research facility!

* * *

Before you leave this wing, though, there's an offshoot horizontal corridor you might want to check out, just for the fun of it. You'll pass by another locked door, and then eventually -- at point N on the map -- you'll find a small room in which there sits a very yellow computer system. Examine it, and the following message will appear in your dialogue box, accompanied by several beeps and bloops:.
⇒ 〜〜−・
 ・・   ・・・
げんざい このコンピュータシステムは リンダのちからによって さどうできません
➣ 〜〜−・
 ・・   ・・・

Linda again! This is yet another spot you'll need to revisit after you've taken care of her. And as my map labeling might suggest (with N being the highest letter I used), it's actually the very LAST spot you'll be revisiting in this part of the game.

So let's leave it be for now, and return to the first vertical shaft -- bearing in mind, of course, that the horizontal corridor leading to it is going to be teeming with enemies this time around.

Your goal, as you ultimately head back toward the Terona settlement, is to find that little boy's stolen toy that his sister mentioned. I previously thought this was a random enemy drop like the lamps, but it turns out it's not: it's always dropped by the green Dalek-like robot at point G on the map, though it will only ever start dropping after you've spoken with the little boy in the Terona settlement.

Once you finally get your hands on it...


...it's time to...

[ return to Terona settlement ]

...so you can give it back to...

Little boy:
⇒ あっ! ぼくのおもちゃだっ!! ありがとう! どこにあったの?
へんなかいぶつがもってたの? ふーん、まあ いいや。ありがとう。
おれいに これをあげる。 これはねえ このまえ けんきゅうじょにあそびにいったときに ひろったんだ。
どこのカギだろうね? えへへ。
➣ Oh! It's my toy! Thank you! Where was it?!
A weird creature had it? Hmm. Well, whatever! Thanks!
Since you went to all the trouble of looking for it, I'm gonna give you this key. I found it when I snuck out to play in the lab earlier.
I wonder what it's to? Eheheh!


Truly, the key-est of key items! (See what I did there?)

It should go without saying that both the Child's Toy and the Key you exchange it for are very important items that you absolutely SHOULD NOT DROP, as you won't be able to progress the story without them.

Anyway, now that you've returned the little boy's toy, why not see what his big sister thinks of your "selfless" deed?

Boy's sister (inside residence):
⇒ おもちゃが みつかってよかったわあ。 えっ? あなたが みつけてくれたの? それは それは ありがとうございました。
こんど デートでもしましょう。
➣ I'm so glad my brother's toy was found. What? You're the one who found it? Well, then! My brother and I owe you many thanks
We should go on a date when your adventure is over.
I'll be waiting for you here. ♥

Sadly, this is never touched upon again. Could've made for good sequel bait, too! ;)


* * *

This facility has about a million locked doors in it, but it's fortunately the one closest to the Terona settlement, at point H on the map, that the key unlocks. Inside, you'll find a treasure chest containing:


Yep! It's the device you read about, which can unscramble the brains of would-be telepaths and allow you to communicate with them (though again, only the ones in the Terona settlement; the ones in Taeniisek are being silenced by Linda, so as long as she's around, you won't be able to communicate with them, Weck or no).

This means, of course, that it's time once more to...

[ return to Terona settlement ]

As soon as you're inside, USE the Weck, and the resulting text will indicate that you've flipped the switch and activated it. You will now be able to speak with all the NPCs who previously only said, "・・・○○○○・・・."

Every other NPC still says the same thing as before, so I'm just going to guide you to the relevant NPCs and indicate what they're now telling you.

[ move one screen down ]

NPC outside:
⇒ テローナけんきゅうじょには マザーブレインのみぎうでともなる じょおうリンダがいるわ。 かのじょには からだがないの。 だからいろいろなすがたに へんしんできるのです。
➣ There's a "queen" who rules over these Terona labs named Linda. She serves as the Mother Brain's surrogate here. She has no body of her own, but instead can take on different shapes of her choosing.

[ proceed through door to small corridor section of settlement ]

NPC outside:
⇒ マザーブレインは リンダをつかって きみをためしてるんだ。 かのじょにまけたら すべてが おわる。 けっして すがた まどわされるなよ。
➣ Mother Brain is using Linda to test you. If you lose to Linda, it's all over. Don't let her changing form throw you off track!
NPC inside residence:
⇒ わしはリンダがいくつからだを もってるかは しらんが へんしんしたそのからだを こうげきして ふうじこめると もう そのからだは つかえなくなるはずぢゃ。
➣ I don't know how many forms Linda has, but I do know that each time you seal away one of her forms through battle, she should lose the ability to transform into it anymore.

[ move two screens to the right, emerging from corridor into second "donut" section ]

[ move one more screen to the right ]

NPC outside (randomly picks from one of these two dialogues each time he's spoken to):
⇒ リンダに ダメージをあたえるには レーザーBLか それいじょうのものがあれば よい かも しんない ね
➣ In order to damage Linda, you'll probably need a Laser Blaster or higher.

⇒ リンダのこうげきを ふせぐには PWスーツL3があれば ・・・いや それでも・・・ うむ・・ とにかく てごわいはずだ。 ぜったい。
➣ Maybe, with a Power Suit Lv3, you can stand up to Linda's attacks. Although... hmm... R-Regardless, she's a formidable foe. Do not underestimate her.

OK, so you finally have a little concrete intel on Linda: she's a shapeshifter, you have to defeat her, each form you defeat will be permanently removed from her repertoire, and you can only damage her with one of the blaster weapons (so no pea shooter).

The question is... where do you find her? And as far as I can tell, this is never actually addressed. I guess Pixel just wanted you to wander the facility randomly for a while!

But I can do you one better. ;)

What the game doesn't tell you is that after you learn all this intel about Linda, one of the previously locked doors near the second vertical shaft just kind of... silently unlocks itself. (The trigger for this is actually having found Daimon's Journal and the Weck -- even if you don't have either of these items anymore, the act of having found them in the first place is what actually unlocks this door.) It's at point I on the map, and as soon as you step inside, the first of five battles with Linda will unceremoniously begin!

(If you still have the Key, you can actually discard it now. And the Weck as well -- as soon as you pick up the Weck, it's served its purpose, so the only reason to hang onto it would be if you want to talk to all the villagers in Terona settlement again.)

Boss Fight
("Pac Fist")

The Japanese Let's Players I watched called this version of Linda an "unsettling Pac-Man," and... yep, that's about right. Except whenever she swoops down toward the ground, she folds into what looks like a fist -- so I'm going to call her "Pac Fist."


The only requirement for this battle is one of the blaster weapons (with an adequate amount of ammo left).


If she touches you, she does a LOT of damage, and it's kind of hard to avoid her. The best way to win this fight is to try to coax her down toward the ground, and position her in such a way that the tip of your gun is precisely in the center of her body. Then, using a rapid-fire controller or "rensha" function (or just slamming button 1 over and over like your life depends on it), you should be able to keep her stun-locked until she's dead.


Some of the enemies flanking her MIGHT knock you away, but you should be able to get her down to the mat before that happens, such that only a few more shots will do her in.

You'll know you won if Linda suddenly starts speaking to you -- she only speaks AFTER each boss fight, then flies away to one of the other previously locked rooms.

After this fight, she says the following:
⇒ フフフ・・・
あなたに わたしは ころせないわ。 なぜって? それは あなたが いちばん よくしってるはずよ。
わがちち ダリルはかせは あなたたち にんげんに ころされた。 そのためマザーは ふかんぜんのまま せいちょうし しにたくても しねない からだになってしまった・・・わたしもよ。 マザーや わたしの くるしみを あなたたちにもあげるわ。 おべえておきなさい。 はははは・・
➣ Hoo hoo hoo...
You cannot kill me. Why, you ask? You should know that answer better than anyone.
My father, Professor Daryl, was killed by you humans. As a result, Mother's development is imperfect and she cannot die, even if she wants to. Nor can I. And so, I shall deliver to you the same suffering Mother and I have been forced to endure lo these many years. Savor it well! Hahahaha...

Once again, although there's no indication given of this, another door has silently unlocked itself now, with Linda's second form awaiting you inside. Gather your bearings, then head on in through the door at point J on the map for round two!

Boss Fight
("Hovering Jellyfish")

This form is much easier to deal with, but may drag on a bit. Basically, Linda is hovering against the ceiling, ever-so-slightly too high to hit with your blaster, and she's throwing stuff down at you. It's pretty easy to dodge her projectiles (and they don't really do that much damage anyway), so you basically just need to wait for her to swoop down (which she does every so often), and make sure you're jumping and shooting when that happens.


Essentially, just keep jumping and shooting in her general direction, then run underneath her to the opposite end of the room when she gets too close. Most of your shots will miss, but if you have the Bacteria Blaster, things will be a bit easier, since the Bacteria Blaster lingers for a split second after you fire it -- meaning it's more or less ensured that there'll be some bacteria beam left in the air whenever she swoops down, dealing a small amount of damage each time. You should have plenty of ammo for this, and eventually, she'll be toast.

Upon defeat this time, Linda will say the following:
⇒ どうです? わたしとの たたかいは くるしいでしょう?
あきらめなさい。 そうすれば らくに なれるわよ。
もし くるしみをのぞむなら また あそんで あげても よくてよ。 ふふふふふ・・・
➣ Well? How is it, fighting me? Are you miserable yet?
You should just give it up. Do so, and I can help you rest in peace.
Unless you enjoy suffering, that is! Then, by all means, let us play again! Hahahahaha...

The next form can be found in the now-unlocked room at point K on the map.

Boss Fight
("Leaping Insectoid")

This version of Linda is basically just a giant bug creature that hops at you. If you time it right, you can run underneath her while she's in the air, avoiding all damage (since she doesn't hurl any projectiles your way this time) -- though you need to jump in order to hit her, so you'll want to make sure to keep your distance as best as possible, time your shots well (she's easiest to hit when she's at the apex of her jump), and just pick away at her bit by bit.


Again, this battle could get a bit drawn out, but it's not especially difficult or threatening.

Upon defeat, Linda will simply taunt you:
⇒ あそびは ここまでよ これいじょう さからうなら ようしゃしないわ。 かくごしておきさい。
➣ Playtime's over now. If you insist on defying me again, I will show you no mercy. Prepare yourself.

...As an aside, how much do you want to bet this song may have inspired the developers during this part of the game?


It's an ENORMOUS hit in Japan -- probably one of the most well-known and highly regarded jpop songs of all time. And it happened to debut in May 1987, which is the same year A Life M36 Planet was released! The question is... which LINDA LINDA, LINDA LINDA LINDA came first? ;)

...Ahem! Anyway, the next Linda battle site can be found at point L on the map.

Boss Fight
("Shooting Lobster")

Another fairly easy form. All she does is shoot bullets at you in a predictable pattern, and move a little bit toward you when you draw near. And it's that last part that makes her kind of easy to take down, since lining up your shot is actually quite a bit simpler when she does half the work!


As with her first form, you need only position yourself so the tip of your gun is more or less in the very center of her body, then just start rapid-firing. She'll be stun-locked, and you'll beat her before she has a chance to get even one more hit in on you.

She speaks the following upon defeat:
⇒ あなたは このリンダにどこまでも さからう つもりのようね。 わかったわ。 こんどまたあえたら わたしの ほんとうの すがたを みせてあげましょう。 まってるわ。
➣ It seems you intend to defy me, no matter what. All right. When next we meet, then, I will reveal to you my true form. Don't leave me waiting...

Whew! Time for the decisive battle. You'll find Linda, in her true form, one screen to the right of the Taeniisek entrance, at point M on the map.

Boss Fight
("True Form")

Well, if nothing else, this is arguably Linda's creepiest-LOOKING form, bearing some resemblance to a giant version of the severed Medusa heads from the Castlevania franchise (except blue). Though Pac Fist may still be creepier-looking! I guess it's a toss-up.


And in fact, this fight is very similar to the one against Pac Fist, except Linda moves a bit more quickly now, and fires out needles rather than spawning enemies to flank her. The strategy is more or less the same, though: lure Linda down to the ground (by standing underneath her until she starts to move downward, then quickly getting out of her way), and try to position your gun so its tip is basically touching her nose.


Because Linda moves so quickly and erratically, this is much more difficult this time around, but if you can pull it off and start shooting, you'll have her completely stun-locked, and you can just rapid-fire your way to victory -- she won't be able to fight back.

When you see these words appear in your text box, you'll know you've succeeded:
⇒ ・・おまえは・・
・・よくも わたしを・・・
まちがえるな、まだ わたしは まけたわけではない。 じきがきたようだ。 わたしは これから マザーのもとへかえる。 ゴーデッサで おまえを まつことにしよう。 またあえることを たのしみに していますよ。
➣ ...You...
You actually... beat me?!
Well, make no mistake, I'm not finished yet! This is but a minor setback. I will now return to Mother's side. We will meet again at the Godessa Research Facility. I look forward to our teary reunion...

And that's it for Linda! Or at least, that's it for Linda FOR NOW. She will be back, as promised! But the entirety of the Terona Research Facility is now free of her tyranny, which means all the previously incomprehensible NPCs in Taeniisek will now be able to speak with you normally, and that computer you found that was "remotely locked out by Linda" should now be accessible.

Let's start with the NPCs, since you're right next door to Taeniisek anyway.

[ return to Taeniisek settlement ]

As with the Terona settlement, only the NPCs who previously said "○●○● #ー" when spoken to have new dialogue. All other NPCs say the same things as before, and will thus be skipped in this walkthrough.

NPC inside residence:
⇒ ざんねんなことだがいましがた タオラが ぜんめつした。
タオラというむらは マザーブレインがいるところのちかくにある。
マザーの まのては こくこくと われわれに ちかづいておる。 おそろしいことぢゃ!!
➣ I'm sad to say that just a moment ago, Taora was wiped out completely.
Taora is a settlement in close proximity to the Mother Brain.
And Mother's wicked hands draw ever closer to us as well, bit by bit. The end is nigh!

[ move two screens to the right ]

NPC inside residence:
⇒ まっておったぞ!
いよいよ マザーとの たたかいのときがきたようじゃな。 おまえに マザーのことについて はなしてやろう。
むかし ダリルはかせは キラプシとラビリン というプランクトンを バイオけつごうし マザーをつくりあげた。
それから すうひゃくねんたったいま マザーは さいぼうぶんれつによりじぶんのこどもを つくりだした。
そうじゃ リンダ ギウス ゼウダのことじゃ。
そしていま そいつらを たおしたおまえを マザーは おそれはじめている。
リンダは すでに マザーのもとにかえった。さあ ギウスとゼウダを けつごうし ラビリンをつくり マザーのところへゆくがよい! ゆうきをもって ゆけ!!
➣ I've been waiting for you!
The time has finally come to face off against the Mother. Allow me to tell you more about her.
Long ago, Professor Daryl biologically fused plankton called Kilapsi and Labyrin, and the Mother was born.
Now, hundreds of years later, the Mother has produced children via cell division.
Those children are Linda, Giuth, and Zeuda.
And since you've defeated all three, the Mother has begun to fear you.
Linda has already returned to her side, but the others remain in your hands. You must fuse Giuth and Zeuda to create Labyrin, then proceed to the Mother's location! Take courage, and march forth to your destiny, youngster!

Concrete instructions! Seems you need to combine the Giuth and Zeuda plankton into a brand new plankter called "Labyrin." But where would you go about doing that? Hmmm...

[ move one screen to the right ]

NPC outside:
⇒ マザーはねえ なにか かえしてもらいたがってるよ。
➣ The Mother is desperately seeking to have something returned to her. Something she's lost...

This is a very important clue for the final battle. Take note of it.

[move one screen to the right ]

NPC outside:
⇒ ううっ! なんということだ! タオラにつづいてヘムアも ぜんめつした!
マザーが いよいよ うごきはじめたんだ!
➣ Oogh! This is terrible! Not only has Taora been wiped out, but now Hemua as well!
The Mother has begun to move, and we are all poised to pay the price...

So the final area has at least two settlements in it, but apparently, they've both been destroyed already! I actually kind of like that these telepathic NPCs know this, too -- it lends credence to the idea that they have supernatural abilities at their disposal which are powerful enough that Linda would've wanted to keep them sealed away. It's a subtle touch, but a pretty cool one that helps give this part of the game an extra little pinch of atmospheric dread.

[ move one screen to the right ]

NPC inside residence:
⇒ もりのはるかむこうがわに いまはなき ゴーデッサけんきゅうじょの あとがある。
そのしたに ヘムア タオラ そして マザーブレインがいるマリボスむらがある。 ながく けわしいたびになるぞ! くじけるでないぞ!
➣ The scattered rubble of the Godessa Research Facility can be found on the other side of the forest.
Beneath it lie the settlements of Hemua and Taora, as well as that where the Mother Brain herself dwells: Mariboth. Your journey to reach her promises to be long and perilous, but do not lose heart! You will succeed!

And there you have it: your next goal is the ruins of the Godessa Research Facility on the other side of the forest (read: the other side of the whole freaking game world!), which contains no less than THREE settlements that have all been completely wiped out by the Mother Brain.

But before you go, you're going to need that "Labyrin" plankter...

* * *

You've probably figured out where you need to go to get it, but if not, just take a look at the map. There's only one letter left, and it's point N -- the computer.


With Linda's influence severed, the computer that she'd previously locked can now be accessed. Head on over to that part of the map and check it out, and the following dialogue will be displayed:
⇒  ・・・
   〜〜ー・    ・
  ・・・   〜〜〜〜
リンダのちからがかかいじょ されました。
それでは ゴーデッサけんきゅうじょのコンピュータと こうしん します
・・・200ねんまえに ダリルはかせがかいはつしたプログラムで しんしゅのプランクトンをごうせいします。
ギウスとゼウダを しようします。
  ・・  ・・・
  ・・・   ・・
ラビリンがかんせいしました。 しかし まだ パワーぶそくです。 どこかでパワーアップしてください。
➣  ・・・
  ・・・   〜〜〜〜
PURPOSE: Synthesize new species of plankter.
  ・・  ・・・
  ・・・   ・・
...Of course, this is assuming your Giuth and Zeuda plankton are still alive. If they died, I'd suggest reviving them with a B-tamin before interacting with the computer. If you don't, you'll just get a message telling you... to do that, pretty much:
⇒   ・・・   ・・

おや? ギウスのプランクトンがありませんね。 (おや?ゼウダのプランクトンもありませんね。) ざんねんですね。
➣   ... ..
Hmm? You don't have a living Giuth plankton. (Hmm? You don't have a living Zeuda plankton, either.) How very unfortunate.

This message also displays if you interact with the computer again after obtaining Labyrin.

Anyway, that's the last you'll ever have to see of Giuth and Zeuda -- the G and Z numbers on your HUD will stick around for a little while, but they are now utterly meaningless, as the two plankton are gone from your inventory forever. And in their place...


...is a plankter you don't actually have to even bother keeping alive, because it's basically indestructible! Yaaaay!

It is, however, lacking power. So you're going to need to find some way of enhancing it, or "powering it up," before making the trek toward the Godessa facility.

Fortunately, as you might recall... you know a guy! Sheena's father, Wicken, managed to enhance your Kilapsi plankter into a "Powered Kilapsi" earlier... so maybe he can do the same with Labyrin!

And yeah, the Rolm settlement in the Dark Caves may seem like it's far, far away... but bear in mind you're about to make a trek across the entirety of planet M36. You'll be going back through the Dark Caves, back through the forest, past the Bizan Research Facility, and through ANOTHER patch of forest to the ruins of the Godessa Research Facility. So in the grand scheme of things... a visit with Sheena's father isn't really all that far out of your way!

So it's now time to make your exit from the Terona facility and cross the swamp again. Once you leave Terona, you won't be able to return (no Giuth and Zeuda to trigger the door!), so be sure you're ready before you go! And once you get into the Dark Caves, don't forget to kill a few flying creatures and grab a lamp -- you'll probably need at least one before you finally emerge from the darkness for good.

[ return to Rolm settlement ]

Sheena's father:
⇒ おお! ひさしぶりだな。 ん?! なんと ラビリンをもっているではないか!
おまえなら ほんとうに このほしを すくうことができるかもしれん。 よし、ラビリンを パワードラビリンにしてやろう。 ちょっと まっててくれ!」
「またせたな。 ほら、 これだ。もっていきなさい
そうそう むすめにあってきたか? あいたがっていたぞ。」
➣ "Ohh! Long time no see! Hmm? My, my! You've actually managed to get your hands on Labyrin?! You know, you just might be able to save this planet after all...
OK, let's do this! Hand me that Labyrin, and I'll enhance it into Powered Labyrin for you. Just give me some time, and I can make it happen!"
-Several hours later-
"Sorry to keep you waiting again! The enhancement was a complete success. The Powered Labyrin is yours!
Incidentally, have you spoken with my daughter yet? She's been longing to see you! You should go say hello."

As expected, Sheena's father demands only a few hours of your avatar's time, and bam! Absolute success.

[KEY ITEM ACQUIRED: Powered Labyrin]

While you're here, you might as well drop by the residence next door and check in with Sheena, too:
⇒ いよいよ さいごの たたかいになるのですね。
あなたの ごぶじを おいのりしています。
➣ The time has come for the final battle.
I'll be praying for your success!
  *smooch* ♥
Best of luck to you.

Good ol' Sheena fully heals you with a kiss once more, sending you off to your ultimate destiny in style!

And so, you can now take your leave of the Dark Caves... for good. To exit, you'll need to proceed back up and to the left, as if exiting out to the swamp again -- but when you reach the top of the vertical corridor, head right instead of left, and you'll be able to work your way out to the forest from whence this whole crazy journey began.

Your goal here is to continue all the way to the right, as far as you can go -- though it might not be a bad idea to drop by the Bizan settlement again along the way, just to stock up on Yunkales (and maybe also die and use a password to resume your journey, so your blaster and options will refill). The only three items you absolutely need in your inventory at this point in the game are the Seal, the Powered Kilapsi, and the Powered Labyrin -- everything else can be dropped, meaning you'll have four inventory slots you can devote solely to Yunkales.

The section of forest to the right of the Bizan facility is pretty rough, as you'll have more dive-bombing bugs, randomly spawning slimes, and a new threat to contend with as well: jumping aliens that do a LOT of damage when they hit you.

You don't need money at all anymore, though, and any experience you might be able to get from these guys is negligible, so your best bet is to just try to avoid absolutely everything the forest throws at you, and just keep running to the right.

Eventually, you'll hit what looks to be a series of totem poles. Stand in front of the tall one to the left, and USE the Seal from your inventory. The following text will (or, at least, should) display:
⇒ (name)は ダリルはかせのもんしょうを ふりかざした。 すると とつぜん・・・
➣ (name) held Professor Daryl's seal up to the totem. Upon doing so...

Suddenly, the ground will shake, and the entire right side of the screen will rise up, revealing a door. It's the Godessa Research Facility -- not in ruins after all, but fully intact!

If this DOESN'T happen, then either you don't have the Powered Kilapsi and Powered Labyrin in your inventory (since both are required for the Seal to be used here), or...the game has bugged out. During his testing, MP83 found himself unable to use the Seal here, despite all conditions for doing so being exactly right. He tried dying, taking down a password, then resuming via that password, only to find that his Seal had been replaced by the Child's Toy -- so obviously, something was messing up royally.

This was later discovered to be a result of the Tauccia old man bug, so it shouldn't happen to you if you're playing a rom with the bugfix patch applied. But if it does (like, if you're playing an unpatched rom, or the original cartridge), then you're likely going to want to use the password generator to plop yourself down at the Bizan lab (closest save point) with 8 energy tanks, jump boots, Bacteria Blaster (or Pulse Blaster), the Seal, the Powered Kilapsi, the Powered Labyrin, and four Yunkales. Definitely kind of annoying, but... such is the buggy nature of this game! ;)

Anyway... time to explore the "final dungeon"!

Welcome (?) to the

Right away, you'll be able to tell that this place doesn't mess around -- largely because one of the most common enemies you'll encounter in here is a flying, strobing probe that periodically makes the screen flash wildly (freezing time for a moment and emitting a VERY LOUD NOISE as well), unavoidably damaging you for quite a bit of health (as in, basically a whole energy tank's worth of HP) from literally anywhere on the screen. The only way to dodge this attack is to be firing your blaster when it happens, so keep heading toward these guys while firing constantly, and try your best to stun-lock/kill them before they have a chance to AOE the crap out of you. Or just run off-screen, if you can!

The problem with doing the latter, though, is that you want to stick around on each screen for a bit, since virtually every treasure chest that drops from the other most common enemy here (that being the super-fast giant bouncing atom) contains a Yunkale -- and you will need to absolutely CHUG those things in order to survive this gauntlet. However, there's a bit of a trick to making Yunkale chests drop here: atoms will only drop Yunkales if you have fewer than three in your inventory. If you keep two on-hand, though, then kill a bunch of atoms until there are four unopened chests on-screen, it's likely that all four will contain Yunkales -- meaning you can pick up two, drink two, then pick up the remaining two.

This is absolutely the best way to stay alive during your trek through Godessa!

There's quite a bit of leveling-up to be done here as well, if you want to take the time to do it... but it's not as straightforward as leveling-up has been elsewhere. Here, it seems like after gaining a decent amount of experience from any given screen, you will no longer be able to gain any more experience from that screen ever again -- not by exiting and re-entering it, not by resuming from password... not at all, period. You'll need to find another screen to grind on instead.

Except... you also won't gain experience from enemies farther in. No, it's kind of like... you have a very specific range of screens that will grant you experience, and that range keeps changing. So once you stop gaining experience, you just have to keep wandering around and killing enemies until you find another screen where that number on your HUD starts counting down once more.

It's extremely time-consuming, but you should absolutely do it before getting too far -- the max level in this game is 10 (as in, 10 energy tanks), at which point your experience display will permanently show "10000" for the rest of the game. You don't actually *have* to go all the way up to level 10 in order to beat the game, however -- I was able to do it at level 9 (just barely, but still!), and MP83 even managed it at level 8.

At any rate, this first part of the Godessa facility is a mostly straight shot toward a distant elevator, with only one fork in the road. At the fork, you can choose to go either right or left, and if you choose right... well, then you chose wrong, because that way simply leads to a dead-end. (Though for me, that dead-end wound up being the only place I was capable of gaining experience for a time, so at least I got some use out of it!)

Choose left instead, and just keep moving. Always, always keep moving!

Note, however, that a new enemy type is introduced partway through your trek: yellow sky-fish that skim along the bottom of the screen in swarms and periodically leap up at you. These things do a pretty good amount of damage if they touch you, and are absolutely not worth trying to kill, as any treasure chests they drop tend to contain insultingly small amounts of money (like, we're talking in the order of 9 Nil). Which is doubly insulting, since money is useless to you on the whole at this point... but even if that weren't the case, the AMOUNT they're giving you is basically just pennies!

So avoid the sky-fish, but kill the bouncy macro-atoms and the strobing probes when you can for their precious, precious Yunkales.

Admittedly, you might not make it to the elevator on your first attempt...or your second... or your third. Simply put, this gauntlet of enemies is REALLY, REALLY TOUGH. Options A and B definitely help a lot, though, and will likely be the saviors that ultimately guide you through to safety.

Or... relative safety, anyway. Once you enter the elevator, you're by no means done with the onslaught! Rather than leading to a settlement -- or even a ruined settlement -- it leads to a chamber with a single bouncy macro-atom in it and another elevator. Take THAT elevator, and you'll be in a room with a single strobing probe... and yet another elevator. Take that one, and you'll be faced with three bouncy macro-atoms and one more elevator. And then, finally, you'll stare down two strobing probes and just ONE MORE elevator.

Enter it... and the screen will go dark, accompanied by the following message in your dialogue box:
⇒ よくぞ ここまで きたな(name)!!
しかし ここで おわりだ! ここで けっちゃくをつけてたる。 わたしを たおさぬかぎりここから でることは できないのだ。 あきらめて マザーに いのちを ささげろ!!
➣ You've done well to come this far, (name)!
But this is as far as you go. We fight to the end this time. The room is locked; there's no exit without defeating me. You might as well just give up now, and offer your life as tribute to Mother!

The screen then fades back in... and for the sixth time, it's Linda. In fact, this is a game with only nine boss battles, and 2/3 of them are Linda!

It's the penultimate showdown. Are you ready?

Boss Fight
Final Form

I wish I could say this is a really cool final showdown with Linda... but it's more or less identical to her fifth form from the Terona Research Facility. She looks and behaves exactly the same (still basically just a glorified Medusa head from Castlevania, hurlin' needles at you!).


The strategy remains the same as well: try to lure her down to the ground and stun-lock her by shooting continuously when the tip of your gun is touching her nose.


The thing that makes this battle more difficult is the fact that you're likely pretty low on health by the time you fight it -- and you may even be low on blaster ammo, which would be particularly bad! But with enough perseverance, you can get Linda in just the right spot to stun-lock her into oblivion, finally putting her to rest once and for all.

And when you do defeat Linda (for real this time!), she says the following:
⇒ ・・・(name)よ・・・ つよくなりましたね・・
もしかすると あなたは・・
・・マザーを たおすことが できる  かも    しれな い・
ほんとうは マザーも それを  のぞんで   いるの  です・・
・・いきな  さい。そして・・・かならず マザーを・・
➣ ...(name)... You're stronger than I thought...
Maybe... Just maybe...
...you have... what it takes... to defeat... Mother...
I believe that's... what she wants... as well...
Do not fear... what lies ahead...
Live... and fulfill your destiny...
Defeat... Mother...!

The doors in this room now unlock, giving you two possible choices of where to go. First, you should definitely take the door on the left, which leads to...


This is not the most welcoming of settlements, however! This is what displays when you first enter it:
⇒ (name)は やっとのおもいで ヘムアに たどりついた。 しかし そこは すでにマザーのてにかかり はいきょとかしていた。
➣ (name) arrived at the Hemua settlement after what seemed like an endless gauntlet. However, the settlement lay in ruins and devoid of all life, thanks to the Mother Brain.

And indeed, this is a settlement presented in absolute silence -- no music, no sound effects -- and without a single soul to be found anywhere. Every residence is empty, and the whole area genuinely feels... well, dead!

Atmospherically, this reminds me a lot of the empty, ruined towns and crumbling castle at the end of Castlevania II: Simon's Quest, which I always found to be extraordinarily eerie -- though I think this is actually creepier, on account of the fact that it's presented in absolute silence. If you're playing the game late at night, it's honestly kind of unnerving, even. Very well done, Pixel!

Your visit to this devastated settlement isn't just for ambiance, however. There's both a shop and an inn to be found, and though they're as empty as every other residence, you can press trigger 1 while standing inside the doorway of each to make use of its function.

In the shop's case, pressing trigger 1 inside the doorway will refill your blaster ammo and both options to 250.

And in the inn's case, it will display the following text:
⇒ やどやは すっかり あれはてていた。
しかし とりあえず ここで ひとやすみすることにした。
➣ The inn was eerily empty and quiet.
It was, however, still mostly intact, allowing for a moment's respite.

...and then heal you up (or down) to six energy tanks. (Yeeeeah, probably best not to stay here if you have more than six energy tanks' worth of HP already!)

Once you're healed up and have your blaster and options at max, exit the settlement and take the right door to continue down the road to Mother Brain.

* * *

The area beyond the door is basically a sewer system. As you might expect, stepping in the muck (or walking through the muck-falls at the bottom of each screen) hurts you, so you'll want to try your best to stay on top of platforms as often as possible as you work your way over to the right.

Staying on top of platforms isn't particularly easy, however, as you're going to be inundated with bouncy macro-atoms and hostile aliens the entire time, both of which absolutely looooove to knock you down into the juice!

Persevere, however (and maybe try to max out on Yunkales by killing some of the macro-atoms along the way), and you'll reach a small room, from which you can enter...


Once again, this settlement is in ruins, and presented in absolute silence. Upon entering, you're greeted with this message:
⇒ (name)は タオラに たどりついた。
しかし ここも すでにほろびてしまっていた。
➣ (name) arrived at the Taora settlement.
Here, too, everything lay in ruins...

As with Hemua, there's both a shop and an inn here, so you're able to refill your blaster and options and recover yourself up to 6 energy tanks' worth of health.

There's something else very notable about this settlement, however: it's an actual, honest-to-goodness checkpoint! As in, if you die -- either to the Mother Brain, or on your way to the Mother Brain -- and select CONTINUE, you'll continue from here. Or if you write down your password and resume play later on, you'll resume from here!

Up until this point, dying and continuing would've taken you aaaaall the way back to the Godessa Research Facility entrance. (Yes, even if you made it all the way to the sewers!) But now, you've got a legit base of operations from which to launch an all-out assault against the Mother Brain!

Savor this moment, as it's perhaps the most mercy Pixel has shown you this entire game. ;)

Once you're ready to proceed toward the final encounter, exit from the right side of the settlement into the very last area.


* * *

And what a last area it is! The Japanese Let's Players compare it to something out of Salamander/Life Force, as the entire screen is pulsating and looks very, very organic (and also hurts to stand on!). And the music -- which comes hot on the heels of the utter silence from the ruined settlement, mind you -- is the game's standard boss theme, played for the first (and only) time outside of a boss encounter.

Again, all you're doing is running to the right here, but not only does the ground hurt you, the blue dudes who spawn (and continuously respawn) in from either side of the screen are doing everything they can to keep you from surviving long enough to find out what awaits you on the other side of this goopy intestine-looking place. Don't bother stopping to attack anything -- in fact, if you have a rapid-fire controller, do what I did, and just hold right on the D-pad plus rapid-fire jump (for the first and only time) so you're just constantly leaping to the right, heedless of all dangers. You WILL take damage, but you should find yourself avoiding a fair number of hits by staying in the air as often as possible. Your options, too, will help you out a lot here (particularly Option B, as expected).

If you really want to, you can actually shoot segments of the ground to kill their harmful effects, then stand there without taking damage and fight the blue dudes to rack up Yunkales, Blaster Fuel, and Option Fuel. The latter two aren't really needed/aren't going to drop, though, if you're just passing through after resting up in Taora, and Yunkales are perhaps a bit more easily farmed in the sewer area -- though it's really a matter of preference.

Eventually, with some perseverance, you'll emerge into the final ruined settlement.


This... barely even qualifies as a settlement, honestly. There's nothing at all here -- no inns, no shops, and only two screens total. It's basically just a pass-through to the final boss, giving you one last chance to chug some Yunkales before heading through the last door of the game -- a door which literally connects directly to the Mother Brain's chamber.

When you're ready, head on in, and the final encounter begins!

Final Boss


OK, so this is easily the most complicated boss fight in the game -- as it should be! It's also a bit odd, though, and would probably be pretty difficult to figure out on your own. I owe the fact that I was able to beat Mother Brain (on just my second try, even!) to having watched the battle unfold via the Japanese Let's Play videos I linked at the start of this document. So once again, big thanks to Yukkuri Jikkyou Play for being... well, basically the only people on the entirety of the internet to ever actually record and document themselves playing this obscure-ass game (before now, anyway!). ;)


The Mother Brain's chamber is dark (not in a "should've-brought-a-lamp" sort of way, but in a "conscious-choice-for-ambiance" sort of way), with only three things visible: the Mother Brain herself, the red fish creatures she has flanking her, and the door you came in from. The geography of the room is pretty simple: there are two steps leading down from the door to the Mother Brain, and that's it. Even with the ground not being visible, it's very easy to get your bearings.


Mother Brain is basically a mess of blue tentacles, with what looks to be a red, beating heart tucked all the way in the back behind them. If you try to attack the heart, however, you won't be able to, as the tentacles serve as both a barrier preventing you from getting anywhere near it, and as a shield that absorbs your shots. And the tentacles are indestructible.


Seemingly, the only thing you can do here is attack the red fish creatures -- but that doesn't actually accomplish anything, as every time one of them dies, another just spawns in its place.


Think back to what the NPCs in Taeniisek told you, however: one mentioned that the Mother had three children, and another mentioned that she desperately wishes to have something returned to her.

So that's the first thing you should do here: return the Mother's children to her. Open your inventory and USE either the Powered Kilapsi or the Powered Labyrin, and the following dialogue will display in the window:
⇒ (name)は PWキラプシ(ラビリン)を マザーのほうへ ほうりなげた。
「?! おまえは わたしのこどもを かえしてくれる つもりか?・・・
だが わたしには こどもが ふたりいるのだ。 おまえがもっているとはおもえんが・・・・
➣ (name) flung the Powered Kilapsi (Labyrin) at Mother Brain.
"...?! You intend to return my child to me? Why?!
No matter...I have two children now, and it's unlikely you come bearing both."

I added the "now" to this line as a translation embellishment; the original just says "I have two children," but it's firmly established earlier that she actually has three, with Linda being the third. However, as Linda is now quite dead, the statement "I have two children now" is a fair -- if depressing -- interpretation. (Also, does Kilapsi count as one of her children? Seems more like one of her parents. This is kind of confusing!)

Next, open your inventory and USE the other powered plankter. The following dialogue will display in the window:
⇒ (name)は PWラビリン(キラプシ)を マザーのほうへ ほうりなげた。
「おお! わたしの だいじな こどもたち・・・
おまえは こどもたちを いきたまま つれてきてくれたのですか? さぞ たいへんだったことでしょう。
でも あなたは なぜそうまでして くるしむのですか? あなたにとって このほしがどうなろうと かまわないはずでしょう。
あっあまいな! かつて ひとびとは へいわを のぞんでいなかった。 だから ダリルはかせはころされたのです。 そんなひとたちのために あなたは・・・・
➣ (name) flung the Powered Labyrin (Kilapsi) at Mother Brain.
"Ohh! You've brought them! My precious children!
And they're alive, no less! But why? Why have you put yourself through so much misery to deliver my offspring to me?
What do you hope to accomplish? This planet should mean nothing to you.
You did it so the people of this world could know true peace?
Th-That's preposterous! These people never truly desired peace in the first place! That's why they killed Professor Daryl! And yet, you've gone to all this trouble for them..."

The battle will now resume, and by all appearances, nothing will have changed. With no other options available to you, I guess you're just expected to start killing the red fish creatures and see if anything happens! They're a lot like the yellow sky-fishes from the Godessa facility, but much more sluggish and -- as a result -- much less threatening, so killing them is an absolute piece of cake.


Hop down to ground level and keep on killing fish (try to kill all three at virtually the same time if you can) until you see the heart behind the tentacles start to move (which will happen after the ninth red fish is killed). Once this happens, STOP killing the red fish IMMEDIATELY -- because when the heart starts to move, the red fish creatures will begin respawning as faster, smarter, and more aggressive blue fish creatures instead. If you react quickly enough, you can avoid having ANY blue fish spawn, which is the ideal way to win this fight, since you can hop up to the top step and the red fish will more or less just leave you alone.


Even if you wind up with a full complement of three blue fish, however, you can still win this with a little luck -- just hang around on the top-left corner of the screen, turn on rapid-fire, duck and shoot out to the right, and pray to your deity of choice that you strike the final blow before your blaster energy runs out!


Regardless of fish color, the Mother's heart will move around the screen in a slow spiral pattern, and you basically just want to make sure you shoot it at every opportunity you get. This is best done from the top step, near the door you came in from.


If you managed to retain a few Yunkales, these can potentially come in very handy, because if the heart ever comes into contact with you, it REALLY HURTS. It does more damage to you in one hit than any other enemy in the entire game (again, as well it should), so if you don't have a few Yunkales to spare, just 2 or 3 hits from the Mother's heart may be all it takes to score you a Game Over.


However, once you've gotten the hang of this battle, it's entirely possible to win it without getting hit even a single time.


And if you can hold out long enough, or do a decent enough job dodging the heart while also striking it with your blaster, then Mother Brain... will be deading.


(Sorry, I had to! Heheheh.)

After a dramatic explosion sound, the Mother Brain's final words will be displayed in your text box:
⇒ ・・・(name)・・
・・よくぞ わたしを たおした。 なまえのゆうきと やさしさが わたしをたおしたのだ。 いま このほしのひとびとにも それが わかった はずだ。 これで かれらは このほしを へいわに さいけんし あらそいなど おこさないだろう。 それが いまはなき ダリルはかせと わたしのほんとうの ねがいであった。・・・
・・わたしの やくめは おわった。・・・
・・・わたしは これから はかせとともに えいえんのねむりに つこう。
このほしの へいわを ねがいながら・・・・
➣ ...(name)...
...You have bested me. Your courage and kindness have won out against my bitterness and dread. And I believe that you represent the future of this planet's people. They will know peace once more, and there will be no further wars to come. It's just as I'd always hoped, deep down, together with the late Professor Daryl...
...My long mission has ended...
...Now, I will join the dear professor in eternal slumber...
...praying...that this peace may continue... forever...

(Incidentally, there's... a pretty unfortunate typo in the Japanese here. Instead of using the code that displays the name you entered at the start of the game, the text here actually just uses the word "なまえ" in Japanese -- the word for "name." So the Japanese doesn't actually say "Your courage and kindness have won out" -- that's just my rendering of it. The literal translation would be, "Name's courage and kindness have won out." Oops!)

Anyway... you won! Your long mission has ended, and peace has been returned to planet M36!

The ending is a fairly modest affair, consisting of a jerky text scroll followed by staff credits. But the text scroll is entertaining, and the satisfaction of beating a final boss that actually FELT like a final boss was more than enough to make me nod in appreciation at what this game was able to accomplish within the limitations of the MSX1 hardware.



With Mother Brain defeated,


the residents of planet M36

ちかの すみなれた まちやむらを

emerged from their underground

あとにし じつに200ねん

settlements into the night air

ぶりに ちじょうにでた。

for the first time in 200 years.

いま このほしのれきしは かれら

The future of this world now lay

あたらしい せだいとともに

in the hands of this new generation

だい2ページめを むかえ

as the page turns on their


troubled past. They step forth

かれらは かこのれきしを こころ

to rebuild, etching their ancestors'

に きざみ 2どと このよう

shameful deeds into their hearts

なことのないよう へいわをちかい

so that they will never again

このほしの さいけんのために

repeat the mistakes that


brought them to the brink of ruin.



そして (name)は

As for me, I said my goodbyes


to the M36 residents, and will

ちきゅうにきかんし つぎのよう

now return to earth to submit

な ほうこくしょを せいふに

my report to my superiors just


as I would on any other mission:




"...Planet M36 is swarming


with viruses, bacteria, and


other contagions, making

あり われわれ じんるいの

it a less than ideal choice

いじゅうには ふてきとう

for Terran migration and





なんちゃって シーナ ないしょで

Nah, just kidding! I actually plan to

また、あいに いくからねー!!

visit M36 again in secret, so I can


spend more time with Sheena!


- (name)

...Not to mention your date with the sister of the weird kid who lost his unspecified toy in the Terona facility! ;)

Anyway, that's "A Life M36 Planet: MotherBrain Has Been Aliving." By 1987 standards, this game is absolutely astonishing -- clunky, glitchy, and possessing of numerous gameplay flaws? Sure. But its ambition, charm, and atmosphere (my three M36 keywords!) are off the charts, and it's a game that I feel more MSX enthusiasts should play, as I would genuinely rank it among the top ten best titles I've played on the entire system. Much of that is personal bias, of course -- I'm a sucker for sci-fi Metroidvanias with good lore and unsettling mood shifts, so this game pressed all the right buttons for me -- but I truly do think other MSXers would enjoy it too, and I hope that this document has helped some of you experience it the way it was meant to be experienced.

Thanks for reading, and if you have any comments, questions, or criticisms, please feel free to drop me a line at wyrdwad AT metalbat DOT com, or seek me out on the MSX Resource Center or any number of other nerdy/esoteric message forums, where I will invariably be registered under the name Wyrdwad.

...And again, if any of you have a complete-in-box copy of this game you'd be willing to part with, I am VERY interested, so don't hesitate to drop me a line! ;)

Take care!

-Tom Lipschultz