Dear Cheat Guide To BloodLair,

My recent job change has brought me more money–and a lot more headaches! I used to see my friends several times a week but, lately, I've been too strapped for time. This has many of my friends accusing me of being "too good" for the old gang. How do I make them believe that's simply not true?

—Stressed Out In Stamford

Dear Stamford,

After the opening sequence, in which you meet the other members of the Lycanthro-Vampire Suppression Task Force and board the chopper, you'll be automatically taken to the Equip screen and given a chance to choose items. If you chose to play as Gerhard, your choice is limited to the Combat Axe or three Flasques of Holy Water. Choose the Axe, which works adequately on both Fiends and Angry Villagers and can be upgraded to the Hellbard once you reach the Darkwell. Gerhard can always use his extra Soulpoints to buy Holy Water later in the game–and the Flasques you find in the BloodLair itself hold either Holy Water or the supernaturally powerful X-Ichor. If, on the other hand, you decide to brave the Darkling Mountains with Aurelia, the brutal and buxomly Brit, you are automatically equipped with her grandfather's Moon Amulet–a useless encumbrance at first, but by expending Soulpoints, you will eventually be able to control the Changelÿng attribute granted by Aurelia's weregenes. Equip Aurelia with the game's most useful early weapon, the Double-Blessed Shotgun, and a box of Cruciflares. Leave the Magnum for now. (When you reach the Tavern of the Damned, you'll find one hidden under the defiled roulette wheel.) Now, board the chopper for Fanngustan.

Dear Cheat Guide To BloodLair,

My son is being bullied by an older boy at school. But that's not all: It just so happens that this unruly child's parents are old friends of the family. My husband Jeff and I have spoken to the parents several times, but the teasing continues. Jeff says it's a little extreme to break off our friendship with the couple for the actions of their son, but I'm not so sure. What do you think?

—Peeved In Peekskill

Dear Peeved,

In Stage Four, as you regain consciousness atop Mount Darkling, you'll immediately see that the Priest's daughter has been abducted–by the same BlasphoDaemon that attacked the other members of your LVSTF team and crashed your helicopter. Immediately kill the Villager who's trying to impale you on the sharpened cross, then talk to his frightened pals to get an apology and some game info. They'll also tell you the way to East Magwych, which is automatically added to your MAP screen. After the ShadowFiend scares them off, vanquish it (remember, by using your combo attack of L2+D-up+X, O, X, you gain extra Soulpoints) and then search the bodies of your team members for extra Holy Water. Proceed to the Moonwell, which is just past the Bridge in Magwych.

Dear Cheat Guide To BloodLair,

My retired, 67-year-old mother recently got a computer. At first, the whole family was thrilled to see her navigating the Net with the best of them, but now we're beginning to worry. It seems like she's dropped all of her old hobbies, like painting and mall-walking, to spend all of her time staring at a screen. Should I urge her to get offline?

—Concerned In Columbus

Dear Columbus,

Congratulations! You've finally made it to the BloodLair, where the BloodKing sits on his corrupt throne atop a dais fashioned from the heads of his vassals. Look carefully during the movie, and you'll recognize the chopper pilot, the villagers from Stage 11, and Gruppenführer Von Steudel. The Priest's daughter is chained to the Black Obelisk at the BloodKing's feet. The object is simple: Defeat the king, avert the Apocalypse, and, if possible, save the girl to preserve the legacy of the Morgansterns. As you go about this task, be sure to keep in mind the following:

  • Combo, combo, combo! Use Fist of Holiness if playing Gerhard, or the Fang of Contention if you drank enough X-Ichor to transform yourself into Dark Gerhard. Aurelia should use her Queen's Gambit Slash to reduce the king's Soulpoints and block his Essence Drain attack.
  • Don't transmorph into were-form! It may be your most powerful offensive tactic, but the BloodKing will use the priest's daughter to trigger your BloodLust and affect the ending of the game.
  • Don't try to save Holy Water, Starbolts, or Cruciflares! Once you've reached this final stage, you have no reason to hold anything back.
Once the BloodKing is banished again to Asmodaeus' dungeon, sit back and enjoy one of the game's eight cinematic endings. Then save to play again as the other character. Or, if you're going through BloodLair for the third time with a rating of 85 or better, you can select ArkAngel as a playable character, complete with bonus game ending! Confidential To Stalked In Stoughton: To get Aurelia's sexy Union-Jack armor, go to the EQUIP screen while in the Temple of Withered Hope. While holding Select, press L2, R2, O, and X. You should hear Aurelia say, "Pip pip cheerio, Vic!" Now select Whitemail in her Armor slot and... wow!

The Cheat Guide To BloodLair is a nationally syndicated advice columnist whose column, Ask The Cheat Guide To BloodLair, appears in more than 250 newspapers.