This is the final stage of the game. Like the previous stage, there are multiple routes to the boss. Unlike the last stage, there aren't that many options. There's the long route, and shortcut up the middle of the stage. Refer to the points on the map above, and their corresponding points below to learn which path is best for you. Continue to stock up on keys from shops, as you will get considerably fewer of them from pots. Note once again that there is no dungeon in this stage.
(A): Only a short distance in, and you are presented with a choice: Up or to the right.If you have already maxed out your weapons and armor at this point, and wish to proceed directly to the boss, heading up would be your best bet. Watch out for the Spinning Skull coins that attempt to block your path. If however, you still need to collect more Zenny in order to better equip yourself, or you're simply trying to achieve the highest score possible, take on the challenges found to the right.
(B): Proceed cautiously down this section; right after opening a treasure chest, a boulder will fall from the sky. Retreat to the left until it crumbles, and then proceed to the right. After the next treasure chest. watch out for another boulder that falls from the sky, right around the vicinity where a purple plant pops out of the ground.
(C): This location hides one of the secret items in this stage: a star which increases your armor's strength by 3 levels. Just below this is a captive who runs a shop. Given the star's location, don't buy any armor higher than level 6. Save your money, and let the star get you closer to level 8 for free.
(D): Watch out for the snake at the top of a pillar, and the plant waiting to rise up out of the ground between the pillar and the captive. Then rescue the captive who points out that there are things hidden behind walls. Sure enough, if you strike the wall behind him, you will discover a piece of bamboo, worth 30 extra seconds of time. The captive found far to the right from here has a shop.
(E): Once you begin walking through this section, you'll have to deal with no less than three boulders dropping from the ceiling above. Proceed in a little bit until you hear the boulders falling, and then back out until the danger disappears. Then continue a little further to trigger the next boulder and repeat. Red witches appear on either side of the hallway. In the middle, a Ninja will appear and attack you. Nearly every pot will contain an enemy. Another Ninja will be waiting for you on the far left side by the pillars.
(F): Visiting this area is not required. However, if you do, rush in and grab the POW as soon as you can see it to immediately clear away all of the enemies from the vicinity. Then you can safely claim the treasure chests beyond. Climb up to the section above to find a captive who gives more time. He's guarded by a purple plant, and red witches will appear as you use the pillars to approach him.
(G): As you climb up to the highest level of the stage, be sure to stop and examine this section along the left wall. Inside, you'll find a strawberry which can enhance your armor by four levels. This will come in handy as you prepare to head down thefinal corridor, and the game throws everything it can at you, to keep you from reaching the final boss.
(H): Along the final corridor, you will encounter a large collection of Spinning Skull Coins. Many of them float above the ground, but at least two move along the floor. When you reach the final coin, be on your guard; on top of a Ninja suddenly appearing before you, a boulder will drop from the sky. The Ninja may distract you just long enough for the boulder to kill you, so be careful. If you do not wish to remain in a long protracted fight, rush to the captive. This captive runs a shop, and visiting the shop will clear away the enemies. Additionally, as this is the last captive in the game, it has an unusual property: it returns continuously. After leaving the shop, the captive will reappear, allowing you to visit it as many times as you like until you are satisfied. However, the only thing you should buy from him is the highest weapon you can afford if you haven't maxed out your weapon yet, and then the highest armor you can afford. You'll need it for the battle ahead.
Boss: Black Dragon
You have made it to the final boss, the fearsome Black Dragon. As you might expect, he is the most powerful of the dragons. He has themost health of any boss (eight bars), and he has a number of powerful attacks. Like the Red Dragon before him, he can breathe two fireballs at you, but these fireballs can be stopped by your weapon. Also like the Red Dragon, he can cast a spell that emits sparks from his horn which travel to the ground. When they touch down, they erupt in blue flames which can cast the spell of "Lose Direction" on you. This causes left and right to become reversed. If you don't notice this, you can wind up running closer to him when you attempt to run away. If you are struck by this, the words "LOSE DIRECTION" flash in yellow in the upper right corner of the screen. If you are struck a second time, the effect will be reversed. Note that, if you happen to die in this fight, you will return to location H on the map, just before the Spinning Skull Coins.
He flies just like the other dragons, choosing to rise or fall somewhat randomly around the screen. It is in your best interest to walk below him when he is high in the air, before you get close to the wall and have nowhere to run away to. Striking him in the head with your chain whip tends to be more effective at damaging him than hitting him with your throwing knives. Concentrate your effort on his head until he completely runs out of health and is defeated. Congratulations.