Psychic 5 is a game with a time limit. This means that you have every right to make best use of the allowed time limit by staying back from a danger and working out a way to safely clear the threat before charging on. Take your time, because a single mistake will cost you a life. If you don't see how you're going to clear an enemy or a terrain obstacle, chances are that you won't make your way past the hazard alive. In this game, as with many classic games, you have to think. When you're just beginning to play, the time limit is a much smaller threat than everything else.
Sometimes you have to defeat an enemy to clear a path, but just staying in the same place and swinging your hammer indefinitely is not going to get you anywhere. Although it is often advantageous to get rid of small enemies, it is often, actually, safer to walk through a big enemy after stunning it than to try to defeat it, especially if the big enemy is fast (such as a chair or a teapot) or very tough (such as a strip light or a flower). Or you can simply go around it, with or without stunning it. In some areas, the 'magic spot' is your best solution. A big enemy soon regenerates after being destroyed, so hitting big enemies indefinitely is nothing but a waste of time (point leeching aside) . However, if the big enemy has released too many small enemies, destroying it is sometimes the safest way to deal with everything. When you stun a big enemy, if the enemy seems too close, don't just tap the hammer button repeatedly in hopes that you can hit it before getting killed; try to move away a bit, or even walk past it and hit from the other side. Against fast enemies, well-timed hammering may be safer than rapid hammering.
Be wary of terrain hazards, such as fires and moving boxes. Learn the rules about terrain. A small-sized Esper is slightly taller than 1 space, and moving boxes and containers are exactly 1 space tall and wide, but walls are slightly thinner than 1 space, missing a bit on the lower and right sides. A large-sized Esper is slightly wider than 1 space. This means that a small Esper can enter a space between a container and a horizontal wall iff the wall is above, and a large Esper can enter a space between a container and a vertical wall iff the wall is on the left. A small-sized Esper on the right side of a wall can hit a container through the wall, often accidentally when you don't want to.
As you gain more experience, you'll die less often from enemies and terrain, and the time limit will start to become a more noticeable factor. The first thing in avoiding time outs is to know where the Time UP items are and get them. You also need to play more efficiently and avoid unnecessary waste of time; sometimes you'll find a better route than the one you have been taking. Getting Smileys which are not in your path is often considered waste of time. You can also save some time through effective use of Stop icons and the broom. Finally, it sometimes helps to select a faster Esper, in areas where there is little use for Akiko's hovering.
Learning the skills in managing and deploying the icons is very important. For beginners, the P power is extremely helpful, but the power of Stop icons should not be underestimated. Experts may not be as dependent on the P power as novices, but it is nevertheless helpful, and Stop icons are always nice, and most of all, they want x2 icons to boost their scores. And a few more lives, from spelling EXTRA, are always reassuring.
The beginner has not learned the best maneuvers in each area, so he needs the P power mainly to destroy big enemies. He also dies frequently, and has a greater need for replacement P power icons. On the other hand, the expert does not have to rely on destroying big enemies to survive, and he wants more space for other icons, such as Stop and x2 . For these reasons, while the beginner wants to hold on to P Power icons, the expert would get rid of excessive P Power icons by deploying them.
Stop icons offer a period of high safety, and they can also be used to get the broom. Though one does not have the lasting power as a P icon, they are very helpful when deployed at the right moment.
x2 icons are essential for getting high scores. Needless to say, they are best deployed as early in a scene as possible. The 2nd or 3rd x2 icon in a scene is twice as effective as the previous one, so it is sometimes worth it to deploy them even later in a scene. The player should be careful not to get a 4th x2 icon in a scene. Excess x2 icons in scene 8 should be disposed of to make room for other icons (and to make it easier to collect default items).
Usually, it is a good idea to deploy EXTRA letters with the first Smiley ? box or fake wall available, unless one needs to get another important icon instead. One can reduce the appearance of duplicates with some planning. However, should one get more than one copy of a lit letter, it is often better to get rid of the excess rather than to hold on to them until they become useful.
The player should always be careful when hitting ? boxes with important default items: don't make an icon appear by mistake! In areas with a lot of ? boxes or fake walls in one's path, if one has too many icons (such as 4), it may be worth it to get rid of an extra icon (an excessive P power or Stop icon, or a duplicate EXTRA letter) to make it easier to get through without wasting too much time.
Understand the strengths of each Esper, and choose the best Esper to deal with the tasks and hazards in each area. In most places, the kids are the best. Bunta is needed to force open a large number of doors (without the broom), while Genzoh is used to smash Satan or to deal with tough, threatening enemies when one doesn't have the P Power. Makoto should not be used unless the player has a good idea of why.
Genzoh is incredibly powerful against Satan, and should be used every time once you've got him. The intermediate player should work on getting him as early as possible; refer to Getting the Espers. Not only does this makes fighting Satan a lot easier in scenes 3 and 4, it also gives you a much larger Magical Bonus.
The Secret Bonus is one of the keys to high score. All 8 of them total 2560k points, but if you miss any one of them, that's one million points less. To get the highest scores, it is essential to be able to get the Secret Bonus consistently.
To get the Secret Bonus, you need to match the thousandth digit of your score with the number of times you have already got the Secret Bonus in this game. To efficiently match your score, you need to know the score values of enemies and items, and also keep in mind the current score multiplier. Enemies are the obvious source of points, but when there are containers, items can help too. When you have a x2 or x4 multiplier and there are no items, you'll need to use the 500 point bonus for small enemies to change between odd and even digits, while if you have a x8 bonus, it may be better to hit the small enemies themselves. There's also a Jewel nearby in most scenes. Matching the score is more difficult in the later scenes.
One should be careful not to make careless mistakes, such as reading the wrong digit or deploying an icon instead of the Secret Bonus.
All 100% Bonus
In your first games, it is advisable that you do not try to get all the food. In many areas, just getting past is many times easier than getting all the food. However, you should try to get the food in areas where it is safe to do so, so that you'll receive icons.
When one becomes more experienced, one wants to try for the All 100% Bonus. In most scenes, the main obstacles in one's way are the enemies, which threaten to kill the player when he is trying to collect food. Because the player is spending more time in the same place, some big enemies will release a lot of small enemies and try to overwhelm the player. One needs to find a way to deal with them. Sometimes the 'magic spot' or the broom provides the best answer. Sometimes destroying the big enemies with the P power or a strong Esper solves the problem. Yet sometimes a good solution is to avoid fighting more than necessary by skillful planning and opening the food pots in the right order, since food pots are containers which can block enemy movement or serve as foothold.
All Gold Bonus
For the expert player who can clear the game in one credit, with all the Magical Bonus, Secret Bonus and All 100% Bonus, his next step is the All Gold Bonus. Intermediate players would also want to play for the All Gold Bonus in scene 1 and sometimes scene 3, so as to get Espers sooner.
There are two main strategies to getting the All Gold Bonus. The obvious one is 'modulus counting'. For example, when you are in the middle of collecting one of the 4 remaining sets of food, and you hammered once to open a ? box, you hammer 3 more times before opening the next food pot. This should have been easy, except that you're also playing the game meanwhile! In practice, this can become very distracting, and is sometimes dangerous when you want to reduce unnecessary hammering. While with some practice, it is manageable in many areas, in some areas, such as when you are adjusting score with enemies for the Secret Bonus, this is just too painful. Besides the hammering count, you also need to keep in mind the current modulus (number of food sets remaining).
In most scenes, it is far more comfortable to reduce the burden of modulus counting by making use of 'break points'. The idea is that when you have just finished a set, before you begin the next one, you can freely hammer to your heart's desire without saying "goodbye" to the All Gold Bonus. To make use of break points, you have to know the food information, and sometimes combine this with knowledge about the stage layout so that you get to a break point just before you enter an area where you need to hammer a lot. You sometimes also need to know the sets by their appearances, so that you know where you're at after some good hammering exercise in a count-free area. The strategies in these pages are often centered around break points. In many cases, it is important to start with the correct sets, usually the smaller ones.
Either way, when going for the All Gold Bonus, one should avoid unnecessary fighting, especially against tough big enemies, outside count-free areas. One needs to develop good evasion skills so that one can get pass big enemies even when one does not have the P power. Counting when opening ? boxes is often easy, but counting while doing some major fighting is quite distracting and rather difficult.
If you make a mistake and open the wrong kind of food, you can recover by leaving it alone and getting the right food first, as long as there are enough food pots in the current area to finish the current set. There is some risk involved, as you lose the All 100% Bonus if you die, but the All 100% bonus is only 1/5 as much as the All Gold Bonus, and the risk is usually worth taking, unless you're running out of time.
Until one has remembered all the food information in the scenes, it is recommended that one prints out a hard copy of the food information and refers to it during play. Not only does this enable one to play with more strategy, it also helps one to remember the food information, eventually after some games.
Beyond the All Gold Bonus: Point Leeching on Enemies
You're getting all the Magical Bonus, all the Secret Bonus, All Gold Bonus in every stage, and still want to improve your score more? You can keep hitting enemies for points until you have just enough time to kill Satan before time over. This is done with big enemies, often as soon as they appear, because they are worth 1000 points each (and subject to multiplication too). In order to do this efficiently, you need to have enough attack power (or the P power) to destroy the enemy in one hit. You can also hit enemies until time runs out when you have more lives than you need to clear the game, since you don't get bonus points for lives remaining when you clear the game.
You also need to find where in each scene to best do it; I'm leaving this to the player. In some scenes, it's a nice idea to do it inside Satan's room, after disabling Satan.
Actually, hitting big enemies is an easier way to get a high score than getting the All Gold Bonus and perhaps the Secret Bonus. But some player may feel that it is a rather boring and tedious thing to do (or to talk about!). Getting the bonuses seems like a more valid demonstration of your skill than getting a high score from hitting big enemies. Thus, point leeching is mentioned last. No mistake, it does affect your score significantly. But we're playing the game primarily for fun, are we not? So we should do the fun thing and learn to play for the bonuses first before we bore ourselves with hitting enemies. After all, while a skillful player who can nail the bonuses can always raise his score by hitting enemies, it doesn't work the other way round.