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To the Top of the Mountain: SW1 and SW2


by iamduffan

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The story:

Princess Terrana, younger sister of the infamous Princess Lunara, hopes to prove herself worthy of the title "Shenkuu Warrior" by racing her way up some of Shenkuu's tallest mountains armed with nothing more than her wits and a shiny grappling hook.

The game:

Your goal in both the original and updated versions of the game is to guide Princess Terrana up the mountain.

You use your mouse to aim and click to fire the hook. Some games offer the option to switch controls to the keyboard, but Shenkuu Warrior does not. Therefore, it is very important to have a functional mouse that doesn't get stuck or jump wildly across the screen. I find that I have more control with a regular computer mouse than a track pad, but I still managed to get myself a shiny trophy on my laptop. My suggestion is to use the button to click, rather than simply tapping the pad. Tapping is not the most reliable method of clicking, and it can change your aim just enough to make you miss.

You cannot pause Shenkuu Warrior in the middle of a climb, but you have an infinite number of lives. I believe the ground in Shenkuu must be remarkably soft, because the princess can pick herself up and instantly be ready for another attempt, no matter how far she falls. If your phone rings or Meepits overrun your Habitarium (it could happen), you can let Terrana rest at the base of the mountain and come back to her when you have time.

Shenkuu Warrior is also a game without cheats. Unlike Carnival of Terror or Sutek's Tomb, there are no power-ups for typing certain words. You just have to get in the rhythm and practice until you get used to it.

SW1 and SW2:

Shenkuu Warrior 1 will always hold a special place in my heart. I'm glad that it did not retire to the Game Graveyard along with other prototypes, like Destruct-O-Match and Meerca Chase, to be forgotten and entirely replaced when SW2 debuted. That being said, I also enjoy a game of Shenkuu Warrior 2 every now and then. Originally, I tucked it into my favorites because I thought it would be like sending six scores a day instead of three and earning another easy 3k. Boy, was I wrong at first. Though incredibly similar, SW1 and SW2 are just different enough that mastering one does mean you've mastered the second.

Modes:

The original:

Shenkuu Warrior's main screen has the options: "Play game," "Instructions," and "Sound On/Off." Once you click "Play game," you find yourself at the bottom of a mountain ready to go. That's all there is to it.

The update:

Shenkuu Warrior 2's main screen has similar options: "Start," "How to Play," and volume controls. Once you click "Start," however, you are told to select a mode, Training or Zen. While these may sound like the options in other games, like Typing Terror and Snowmuncher, where you get unlimited play but no points, rest assured that either option can earn you neopoints.

The difference between the modes is just which level you start with, which is the topic of the next section.

Levels:

The original:

SW1 is divided into levels based on the different mountains Princess Terrana climbs. She starts with a low one that usually takes me four clicks to climb and moves on to progressively higher mountains. The only difference between the levels is the height of the mountain.

Each mountain has three stages: green, brown, and white. They represent the space on the mountain where trees grow, the height where they cannot, and the snowcap, and serve to give you an idea of how high you are. Nothing is more refreshing than getting to the white section on level six and knowing you're almost to the top.

The update:

In SW2, each of the modes brings you to a different level. Training Mode starts you at the beginning. In this version, you climb a tree first. While it makes sense that someone would want to start by practicing climbing a tree before attempting a dangerous climb on a mountain, it also means that some of the ledges are floating in midair. I tried to ask the Wise Old Gnorbu about this once, but he just kept showing me pictures of Kreludor and demanding that I tell him what phase it was in, so I gave up and just assume some bored faerie set up this course.

After you reach the top of the tree, you proceed to the next level. On level two, you start at the brown, treeless area of the mountain, because you go parallel from the top of the tree you just climbed. The next level starts once you reach the snowcap.

The final level is also the starting point for Zen Mode. You start at the top of the mountain and climb on clouds. This level, like the zen versions of other games, has no ending. You simply keep playing as long as you can. This is, obviously, the hardest level of the game. Some of the clouds are fixed like the ledges in previous levels, but some slide back and forth across the screen. Other clouds are just part of the background and cannot be hooked. When you're just starting out, it can be hard to spot the difference.

Aiming:

The original:

Aiming your hook might be a little hard to get used to in this version, but that is my only complaint. Do you see that little half circle on the bottom of your screen with the hook coming out of it? That's the angle you use. If Princess Terrana is all the way to the left of the screen, and you position your mouse directly next to her in the middle of the screen, she will fire her hook up, not to the right. My trick is to imagine the little half circle is directly underneath the princess and aim that way.

Once the hook reaches the edge of the screen, it will ricochet off and fall back. If it hits a ledge on its way down, you will connect and zoom up from the same angle as if you'd aimed directly at the ledge. i.e., you'll go left even if you originally aimed right.

If you miss a throw at any point, you can simply click again and fire another hook immediately.

The update:

The one real improvement in this version of the game is that aim is straight forward. The hook will shoot out directly where you click. You don't have to worry about lining up the little half circle or hoping you didn't miscalculate. The hook goes right where you told it to.

If the hook reaches the edge of the screen, it falls straight down. It is very unlikely that you'll hook anything this way, but if you did, you'd go up just as if you'd aimed right at the ledge.

If you miss a throw at any point, you can click again and fire another hook, but it won't have the same power as the first throw. Your hook might only go halfway to the target, and trying again quickly will only let it go a quarter of the way, by which point you will have fallen if you aren't already standing on solid ground.

Shenkuu Warrior Two Exclusives:

Coins:

Technically, they're the family crests of noble Shenkuuians (Shenkuuese?), but they're essentially coins. They lie scattered along the various levels. You gain points for collecting them and a times-two bonus if you can get all the coins that are in formation, either diagonal lines or circles. Coins can be collected either by going over them with your mouse or Princess Terrana. You do not have to click on them.

I suggest ignoring the coins when you're just starting. They only serve as a distraction. Going out of the way to collect coins can cause you to lose your focus and fall, and you'll only have to start over again from the beginning of the level.

As an added nuisance, when you click on a coin, it doesn't fire the hook. The game doesn't realize that you've clicked on the playing field. Always be ready to fire again quickly if your mouse winds up in a coin-infested area.

Broken platforms/Purple clouds:

Starting high up in level two, the first stage of the mountain, and continuing into level three, the snowcap, there are broken platforms. You can tell by looking at them that they're different, and when you latch onto one, you'll see how. The platform breaks off and you start to fall more slowly for a few seconds. The wooden posts remain, and you can latch onto one of them to continue rising. They are a much smaller target, so if you have a shot at an unbroken ledge, you should try for that one instead.

Purple clouds are the Zen Mode equivalent of broken platforms. They go poof when you hook on. If you look closely, though, you can see little purple dots where they used to be. You can hook onto these and keep climbing.

Kites:

Some of the ledges have red kites attached to them. If you hook onto one of these, it will carry up a short distance. Don't sacrifice yourself to make a difficult shot for one, but by all means try to get the kites.

Kazerius:

Once you get high up in level three, the snowcap, you'll start to notice purple dragon-like creatures floating around. These are Kazerius. You cannot latch onto them, but if Princess Terrana glides over one it will carry her up higher than the kites and collect all the coins you pass. Given the choice between a kite and a Kazeriu, go with the Kazeriu if you can.

Balloons:

In Zen Mode, you'll notice little brown hot air balloons. You collect these the same way as coins, but they serve a different purpose. Collecting balloons allows you to create a ledge by hitting the space bar. The bar on the top of the screen keeps track of how many ledges you have, so use them wisely. They'll appear close to the top of the screen.

 
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