While most stages are fairly straight forward, the single most important aspect of surviving Athena is powering her up enough to the point where she can survive a couple of hits. Even when you bring Athena to near full power, it's not impossible for an enemy to wipe her out in a matter of seconds, so be careful, and keep your distance from the enemies as much as possible.
The descriptions of the walkthroughs beyond this world assume that you are able to keep most of your equipment in tact, which is no easy feat. This is the only world where the acquisition of protective gear will be spelled out in the walkthrough. If you lose your gear, or die without a K Slate, you will have to find alternate means of restoring your defense which are not detailed in the walkthrough.
- You will be confronted with enemies as soon as you land in the World of Forest. Kick the Nuupah slimes and the Boa enemies until a Boa drops a Club. Pick up the Club and keep attacking Boas until one drops the Hammer.
- Once you have the Hammer, keep walking right until you reach some blocks. (A flower will appear out of the ground for you to attack if you need Hearts.) Inside the first set of blocks, you should find the Shoes of Icarus which will increase your jumping ability.
- After you collect the shoes, keep breaking the blocks that you encounter. You should find a shield next, and immediately after that, a flail will be hidden to the left of a vine. Break the blocks to the right next to find some armor. And lastly, break the blocks under the small ledge to find a helmet. Now you have a complete set of the weakest protective gear.
- At this point, the horse-headed Pyutans will appear with swords. Begin attacking them so that they drop a Blue Sword. Collect it, and continue to attack them until they drop a Yellow Sword. Once you have the Yellow Sword, break the block as shown in the middle picture to the left to obtain a Blue Ring which will power it up to the projectile firing Red Sword.
- Lastly, there is a Bronze Crown hidden in the block directly beneath the stump pictured in the middle image to the right. If you break the block that contains it with you helmet and collect it, your Bronze Shield, Armor, and Helmet will all be upgraded to the Silver variety.
- At this point, you are fairly powered up, and can proceed all the way to the boss fight if you wish. There are, however, two optional activities that you can attempt.
- The first optional activity is to make the power-up platform appear that will transform Athena into Ultimate Athena. To do this, you must stand on the stump as shown in the middle image to the right, and squat down. This will make the platform appear down below. Jump on the platform to transform into Ultimate Athena. Remember that you will transform back to the same stats you had before you transformed when it wears off.
- The other option is to head down to the lower section. Down there, it is possible to obtain the strongest magic weapon, the Magic Tome. A Cane is hidden in a set of blocks below a platform that is high off the ground. Once you get this weapon, you can't break blocks, but a Scroll is hidden shortly thereafter, which you can obtain by breaking a block just above the ground with your helmet. Continue to the end of the first lower level, and before you have to return to the surface level, the Magic Tome is hidden in the large section of block in the lower right corner of the screen. Watch out for the Armadillos and Kassamus that patrol the area.
- On you way to the end, there is another set of protective gear. If you find the first set, the Bronze Crown, and the second set, you can have the Gold armor before you reach the boss. The second shield is at the end of the first lower level. The second armor is at the end of the second lower level. And the second helmet is just before the boss.
- The boss of the World of Forest is known as Hamadrius. He is a large tree with a menacing face visible on his trunk. He has two flailing branches which move non-stop and serve to keep Athena from getting too close and attacking him at point blank range. That is why it is essential to have a projectile weapon at this point in order to fight him; either the Red Sword, or any Arrow or Magic weapon. Stand as far to the left as you can, and continue firing at him as rapidly as the game will allow. Throughout the fight, Hamadrius will launch fireballs at you, which will arc through the sky before falling down and landing on the ground. His aim is fairly accurate, so you'll need to side step the fireballs while you fire. Focus on avoiding getting hit, and only fire at the tree when it's safe to do so. Upon defeat, Hamadrius will release many hearts for Athena to restore her health, as well as a K Slate, which will allow her to keep her equipment beyond death.
- There is a little trick that you can employ to avoid taking any damage during this fight. When you get close to the boss, the speed at which the screen scrolls changes slightly. This is your cue to actually run in the opposite direction, to the left. If you're successful, part or most of Athena will be obscured by the left side of the screen. The boss will lob fireballs so far, they will disappear from the screen and never hit you, while you are free to fire at the trunk of the tree without fear of getting hurt.
The maps presented here in this walkthrough do not detail every hidden item available in the blocks. These maps merely illustrate the position of the minimum items needed to achieve the highest level of offensive and defensive power. Other items, including items which will reduce your power, are not indicated, so be careful when destroying blocks.
- Just as in the arcade version, your first goal will be to defeat the Nuupah slimes and Boa enemies that advance towards you when you arrive in the World of Forest. A defeated Boa should drop a Club. Pick up the club and use it to attack further enemies until another Boa drops the Hammer. Collect it and proceed to the right.
- Your next goal will be to collect an entire set of protective gear. Break the blocks along the ground to collect, in order, a Helmet, Armor, and a Shield. Between the Helmet and the Armor, you can also find a Flail, although you probably won't want to hold on to it for very long. As useful as it is to break blocks down, it's near useless against the boss, and you'll need to prepare for that fight by powering up the Sword weapon.
- After you have a complete set of protective gear, the sword wielding Pyutans arrive. At this point, it's possible to advance all the way to the Red Sword. Simply fight Pyutans until one drops a Blue Sword. Pick it up and continue fighting them until another drops a Yellow Sword. Once you have the Yellow Sword, break the blocks to the right of the Shield to find a Blue Ring, which will upgrade your sword to a Red Sword.
- Last, but not least, don't forget to collect the first Crystal Heart from the platform above, and the Bronze Crown below that platform on the other side of the pit. The Bronze Crown will upgrade all of your Bronze gear to Silver gear. You should now have an offense of 8 and a defense of 9.
- Before you proceed, it's worth noting that while the platforms don't exist in the NES version, and there technically is no Ultimate Athena, you can use the mushroom at the very beginning of the map above to upgrade all of your equipment. And unlike the arcade version, you get to keep most of what you gained when your hit points reach five. To obtain this free power-up, simply squat down on the mushroom. This strategy is actually only recommended for expert players because reckless use of the Fire Sword can put you in a worse position than if you never had it at all.
- While there is an entire lower level below the starting area, there is only one reason to drop down, and that is to collect the Gold Shield which is found at the very end of the first lower level. Drop down, grab the shield from the blocks in the wall, and then jump back up to the top level. After a short walk, you will actually be forced to drop down to the second lower level in order to proceed. Grab the mirror to improve the durability of your armor while you're down there. If you have the red sword, you may even find a Flame Sword below and to the left of the mirror, but make sure you know what you're doing before you pick it up.
- The very end of the lower level can be a bit hectic, with Codas, Nuupahs, Pyutans, and even Kassamus all attacking. Try to keep your cool and collect the three valuable items found down here, including the next mirror upgrade, the red ring to strengthen the power of your sword, and the Gold Armor. You're only one helmet away from having a full Gold protective gear set. Once you have these items, return to the surface, but beware...
- The Coda archer in the tree to the left of where you arrive will instantly start firing at Athena, and it's very easy to underestimate how much damage he can do to you. As long as you're mindful of his presence, you should remember to jump out of the hole and immediately run to the right, jumping over the platform in order to get out of his range.
- A Gold Crown and Gold Helmet can be found at the end of this area before the boss. If you've found all of the other gear along the way, these two items will boost your defense power to the maximum value of 16. Holding on to these items throughout the game will be a challenge, but do the best you can, as they are vital to your survival.
- The boss strategy for the NES version is no different than the Arcade version. However, because of the way the screen scrolls into view, you cannot use the trick where you hide off the side of the screen. You'll have to remain agile and dodge the fireballs that come your way. They are, however, a little easier to avoid in this version than in the arcade.