With regard to the partial solution provided by FunkyChicken:
 
1.  When fighting Soulifage, the secret is to quickly dart to the SE
corner
of his cage to the chest there.  It contains much more than treasure; it
contains a bow and ice arrows!  If you hug the walls, you should be able
to
reach the chest without alerting Soulifage.  After you're equipped, then
just
walk slowly to the NW until he is alerted.  You should have enough time
to hit
him with the bow at least twice until you're cornered.
 
2.  To beat Soulifage, hit him with an ice arrow.  It will do good damage
plus freeze him in place.  Then, you can run in with your best attack and
hit him a few times.
 
3.  Make no mistake, you are going to need healing potions.  But it
seemed
like most of his up-close attacks (from whence you are moving in and
beating the
tar out of him) didn't do the catastrophic damage I expected.  When he
starts getting
back on his feet and can attack, retreat and hit him again with an arrow.
 
4.  Note: You'll spend a couple of reloads getting used to the arrow
configuration.
Hint: hit 'X' and you can shoot.  Then hit 'Z' to shoot an arrow.  Once
he's frozen,
then hit 'C' again to equip your melee weapon.  You'll repeat this a
bunch!
 
5.  I used about 20 arrows before I killed him.  You need to be careful
when fighting him;
don't get caught in a corner, or you'll be toast!  Instead, when you get
close to the
edge of the screen, freeze him with the arrow, then walk around to his
other side before
attacking him and breaking the freeze.
 
After defeating him, get ready to be pissed when you find Sardok, and he
tells you
that all this has been a training exercise.  Sheesh!

 
Subject:  Ruins after Soulifage.
 
I.  Post Soulifage
 
After you whip soulifage, Sardok shows up.  (Great, after
going through all of that!)  Follow him through the teleporter
and go back to town to recoup.
 
Visit all the shops and take advantage of the new supply
of wares.
 
Be sure to visit Jong.  At this point, my character was at
about 16 level and learned the first combination move from him.
You can also visit the townspeople again to get a little more info.
Be sure to see Ollicoot to the south for an update.
 
Note regarding armor/weapons/stats:
I made sure to ALWAYS get the best weapon available.
Sometimes you'll find a good weapon, like the Ranger
Sword, and sometimes you can only buy the best weapon,
like the Flamberge.  Have no qualms about trading that found
item for a better bought item.  Armor was slightly different.  My
Revenant
had good strength and constitution to equip armor.  However,
I continued to use the Cestus of Slicing e'en though there
were better gauntlets in terms of AC.  (P.S., it does add'l slicing
damage of 25 points!)  With chest and leg
armor, the heavier items decrease agility and speed.  I'd rather
keep the Barbarian items which allow for more weapon damage
and have no penalties.
 
II.  Ruins
 
The ruins are quite expansive and somewhat maze-like.
Before this point, I made it a practice to keep the map screen
on the lower right side to see where I was and where the monsters
were; it's important to this level.
 
The important thing to remember after entering the actual cobbled
ruins streets is to search everywhere.  You'll find lots of chests
which initially seem to have strange objects like vials and flowers and
such.  Keep them!
 
The level is pretty straightforward, but you must search everywhere to
find the chests.  At the end, you'll come to a portal and you must
provide three vials of essence from the items you've encountered.
If I remember correctly they are bone, flower, root, Issathi paw,
water (which you find in a vial), and something else.  There are six in
all.
When you get to the portal, there are (conveniently) six altars which
accept
the vials.  In your inventory, move the items over the empty vials to
make the potion.
Then you move the potions over the altars.  Note that you must find
not only the six components, but five empty vials (the sixth one
is already with the water.)
 
Note about monsters:  On this level you'll encounter druids, wraiths,
zombies, and the occasional spider and white dragon.  Regarding druids,
you may have noticed by this point that they can cast invisibility,
summon monsters (issathi and lurkers), and heal.  After they cast
invisibility, don't waste time trying to hit them... just stay a little
away and
wait till he becomes visible, then put a combination upside his head.
Wraiths can cast lightning and some sort of close-up conical drain
spell (vampiric touch?).  My suggestion is to dodge the lightning then
come up on them
with a running swipe.  If it hits, keep pummeling them with the jab.
If it doesn't hit, then move back because those drain spells can take a
toll.
I freaking hate spider queens!  They spawn smaller spiders as
nuisances,and their
web bows can do a lot of damage.  Not only that, but they are really
quick
up close, so you can't come in and whallop them to death.  The best way
to get them is to dodge laterally from the bows and jump in and hit them.
You can get one more attack on them, but then back off.  If you stay
there,
you'll be toast.  The white dragon is truly intriguing to fight.  Maybe
that's
just because there are few of them.  They have lots of hit points, attack
with
a horrid breath weapon, can snap at you from a long ways, and are uncanny
at blocking your attacks.  It's almost poetic.  Just face up to the fact
that
you'll need a heal spell or two in the quickslot.  Remember that you
can't
attack him from very far range because he'll zap you with breath.  Also,
you can't get very close due to his dexterous snapping and leaping. 
You'll
just plain have to earn him.  I find the quicksand spell useful for such
as this
due to the fact that it disables their attack plus lets you get some free
jabs.
 
--- End
 
For now.


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