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Introduction: Life's a Witch
Nex Entertainment's Bayonetta sets itself apart from other third-person action titles with an attention to high-octane, graphically impressive thrills and a seductive, gun-wielding witch for a protagonist. You may have gotten through other action titles without much problem but found yourself coming in for a harder time with Bayonetta: the game's longer than average and places an emphasis on hardcore gameplay, with fast reflexes required to make it through later levels. Well, we can't make you a better twitch-gamer - but we can talk you through what to expect from each of Bayonetta's 16 levels, so you'll know what skills to learn, when to take a breather... and when to be ready for a fight.
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Prologue to Paradise
The game begins with a Prologue that sets the story, introduces our heroine and lets you learn the basics. Take it easy in this section, as it's one of the only times when the pressure is well and truly off. Learn the controls and basic play mechanics of Bayonetta and take as long as you like to get a feel for how Bayonetta moves under your control.
Once you're done with the Prologue, head down the train platform to proceed to Chapter 1, The Angels' Metropolis. Use the skills you learned in the Prologue to defeat the area's low-level enemies. Watch out for mysterious light patches of wall in this section: smash these breakable portions by hitting them with a regular attack. There are two bosses in this level, and both can be seen off by keeping your distance and concentrating on gun attacks.
The next chapter, Vigrid, begins with another boss match, this time against Jeanne: a warrior with moves similar to Bayonetta's. Play a defensive game, landing counter-attacks when Jeanne lunges at you. Continue this defensive stance throughout the level, as the newly-introduced burning angel enemies will wear your health down if you engage them while they're on fire. The two bosses from Chapter 1 make a re-appearance here, and can be defeated with the same defensive strategy: dodge until their guard is down then land a heavy attack and get out of there.
The next chapter, The Burning Ground, takes place in an underground realm of fire and lava. Carefully jump between platforms and use your Witch Time skill to slow down enemies so they don't knock you into the fire. With less bosses in this level, careful platform-juming and a timely progression through the level's obstacles are the order of the day.
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The First Cardinal Virtues
The next chapter, "Cardinal Virtue of Fortitude," is one long boss fight. Battle a multi-headed monster named Fortitudo on a suspended platform: the main challenge here is not falling down. After doing enough damage, the battle will proceed to the ground, then back into the heights again for you to see Fortitudo off.
Visit Rodin's shop and buy some healing items before proceeding to the next chapter, "The Lost Holy Grounds." It's a long haul that you'll need to set aside some time for and pace yourself. You're pursued throughout this level by a pair of enemies named Grace and Glory. Keep an eye on both of them to ensure you don't get taken down by surprise attacks. The bosses of this level arenother fight with Jeanne and a flying snake that's vulnerable to gun attacks.
Save your magic as you negotiate the water and spike-traps of the next level, "The Gates of Paradise." Once you make it to the arena filled with furniture and debris, you'll be glad you have those magical reserves, as they can be used to defeat your enemies with telekinetic attacks. The boss of this level is a clone of you that can be defeated using the same defensive techniques as employed against other female enemies.
The second chapter-long boss fight, "Cardinal Virtue of Temperance," is a battle against a giant named Temperantia. Keep a steady hand for the quick-reflex challenges that he poses, and wait until his outstretched hand-tentacle is ready for atacking. Once you've defeated his arms, charge at the head and unleash your strongest barrage of attacks. You may need to heal during this section, but you'll be rewarded with a high combo score.
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Down Route 666
Things are getting evil now as Bayonetta heads down a highway to hell. This fast-paced level is a test of fast reflexes, requiring you to jump between cars and fight off attacking angels. Make it through this section and you'll be awarded a motorcycle to finish the level upon.
In the next level, "Remembrance of Time," defeat enemies to pick up the keys and gears necessary to unlock the chapter's doors and machinery. A new enemy in this stage, the Kinship, is best defeated by keeping your distance and firing while dodging. Another new enemy, the Golem, can be defeated by focusing your attacks on its central core.
The next level, "A Sea of Stars," presents one boss best defeated at close range, and another, tougher boss from who you'd better keep your distance. After these bosses, the level presents a series of timing and accuracy challenges, requiring you to head down a treacherous spike-lined path to access the end-level gate.
The next level is another boss fight, against the monster Iustitia. This monster is deceptively easy: while it boasts a wide range of attacks, they all boil down to dodging its tentacles and attacking its head whenever it approaches the platform you're standing on. Activate WItch Time when the head is close to make the most of these moments.
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Tower and Sky
Infiltrating an airship, Bayonetta makes her way through the chapter "The Broken Sky." The cue to watch out for here is a purple glow on the margins: this indicates an attack from without that you must prepare to dodge. The boss is an updated Bayonetta-like enemy who uses all the same attacks as you've learned. As you're accustomed to these techniques, the key is to watch for the clue that they're on the way, avoid, and counter.
Sapientia, the stage-long boss of "Cardinal Virtue of Prudence," has four legs, each bearing a face that must be defeated while dodging its attacks. After this, take control of the boss to steer it into a fatal confrontation with a waiting demon, then escape down a passageway while Sapienta fires on you.
The "Isla Del Sol" chapter is pretty much a reprise of "Route 666," this time riding a missile. Fly in circles to evade the dragon bosses, then defeat Jeanne one last time using the same cautious, dodge-heavy techniques and the new moves you've learned along the way.
Avoid breaking statues in the next level, "Tower of Truth:" they unleash monsters. This long level is light on set-pieces or tricks, presenting a succession of fights with various enemies. Use your Witch Time and learned skills and don't be afraid to heal when you're not fast enough with the dodges.
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The Final Stretch
The penultimate level is a series of battles against holy adversaries who have misused their power. The battle with Father Baldur is heavy on quick-reflex prompts, but besides this, the priest's ranged fireballs, close-quarters sword and area-attacking bubble spell are fairly tame compared to what you've come up against by now. The best time for an attack is at the end of his three-hit sword combo: block or dodge, then activate Witch Time and land damaging blows until he goes down.
After this, the game seems to be over... but this is a ruse before the true funal battle. First up, though, is a fast-paced motorbike-and-missile sequence that will test your jumping and dodging reflexes. Once this is over it's time for the true final boss: Jubelius. Dodge her ranged elemental attacks and wait for her to attack from on high, then land a counter-attack to damage her. After a few of these attacks, she will switch to a platform attack much like the fight with Fortitudo near the start of the game. Use the same dodging and countering techniques you did for that fight, until Jubelius returns to her first attack pattern. While her elemental attacks will be tougher this time, if you can avoid them long enough to land some powerful blows against her downward attack, you'll have beaten Bayonetta for real.