If you want to defeat Plague Knight, you'll have to make your way through the colorfully-named Explodatorium area, which unlocks a couple of points of interest on the world map.
From the entrance, start right across the beige blocks. As you run, flames will erupt from the blocks, hopefully behind you and not underneath you. On the far side, you'll find an area where you can jump up along several sets of blocks, still trying to stay ahead of the flames. That will get you high enough to reach the upper right side of the screen, where you can use downward thrusts to dig through the sand and drop into the next screen.
There is a beetle to your left here. You can let him get near, then hack him. After that, run left across more blocks before dropping down and heading back to the right after tending to or avoiding a second beetle. Here, a green rat is running back and forth, jumping between sand blocks. Destroy the blocks and the rat (note how striking him causes him to explode) and keep moving into the next screen.
There are more of the green rats here, running back and forth along some blocks. You can climb and then bounce off a rat to the upper left, slashing that wall and revealing an opening with a chest. The chest doesn't contain anything vital, just a lot of large gems, but you probably still want them. Collect the loot, then drop back down and continue right past more rats.
This is a dangerous area. As you proceed right, a dark bird will regularly fly toward the left, dropping explosive potions. These can knock you into pits, or they can land on blocks and eliminate them, which means that soon you may have no solid footing except those beige blocks from which geysers of flame erupt. There also are plenty of green rats, so your priority should be to avoid falling into any pits, either after a bad jump or because you bumped against something at an inopportune moment. Using your Phase Locket ability can help, to a degree.
As you near the far right side of the area, you'll need to negotiate a series of ledges that function as elevators. Jump toward each rat with a downward thrust from above to keep things simple. The last elevator is tricky because it doesn't come around as often. Stand on the upper ledge and wait for one to show, then let it start down along the screen. Don't jump right immediately or you'll bump your head and fall into the pit, trying to make it through the opening to the right. When it's safe, jump and pass through that opening to the next screen. You'll trigger the stage's first checkpoint.
In this area, you want to work along the upper level toward the green rat in the far upper right. Then make him explode and he'll blast away some bricks to reveal a ladder you can climb into the screen overhead. Do so and you'll find a room with circling ledges along a track and also some beige blocks. Jump to the blocks from the ladder and run along so that you are in time to jump on a green block as it starts up along the right side of its track. Jump left to another block as it comes down, then jump left from there to a ledge with a treasure chest. Open that for a Music Sheet
. Then head back right and descend into the previous room, where you tagged the checkpoint.
This time, you'll want to work to the lower left side of that room and drop through an opening you can create with an explosive rat. A cowled bird moves around an area with sandy blocks, tossing explosive vials. You can take care of it by letting the vials pass overhead in arcs and using regular stabs, or by any other means. It's an easy foe. Then you can pass right into the next screen.
This area has a series of enormous, glowing vials in the background. There's a floating enemy that will descend toward you as you enter. In the foreground, there are bubbling pots of goop. Every so often, their lids burst upward. You can ride the lids to reach the floating ledge overhead, and also to get high enough to easily cross a gap to the right. Avoid the spikes on the series of lids along the right edge of the area. When you're ready, jump and pass through the opening to keep moving.
The next screen has more of the same sort of hazards, but you'll have to proceed along a larger number of lids. Remember that if you're making careful leaps and don't want the lids to interfere, you should wait until they have just receded from flying upward. That gives you more time to leap safely and land between batches of spikes. Watch for the flying enemy here, as well; it'll go nuts if it gets close enough, and its jaws do a lot of damage. You also need to be careful not to let the lids send you flying upward into overhead spikes, which are fatal. You can see lids rattling just before they fly upward, so either use a phase move or get off the lids before the moment of eruption.
Near the far right side of the area, you will see a high ledge with a gem and blocks of sand. There are more of the flying enemies here, You can jump from a nearby lid and bounce from the backs of those flying enemies up to the higher ledge. Then cross to the right and slash at the weak wall to reveal a passage. Head through it to reach a secret area to the right.
Here, there are rats running along the bottom, along with a green knight on the upper ledge, near some red gems. Start toward him and he'll charge to meet you. He does move fast, so keep that in mind as you fence with him. Once you win, hit the gray block a few times and pass through it to the right. Beyond that, you can open a chest to meet with Chester. He will sell you the Alchemy Coin
for 3000 gold, if you can pay. Then you should head back left past the rats and slime. If you face that way and drop the coin, it will roll along the ledge and take out the enemies ahead of you, making it easy to grab treasure.
When you reach the previous room, drop down through the opening to find a room with an enemy walking back and forth on the upper level, tossing explosives. You can drop down for a turkey if you need, and then drop through the next opening to find another checkpoint.
Proceed right from the checkpoint and bounce from the rats to reach the gems on the higher ground, if you want. Continuing right, you'll want to keep moving quickly. One of the birds that drops explosive vials is in this area, and it will destroy the high ledges you can ideally run along. Keep moving right and avoiding slime.
As you near the far right side, you'll see green blocks along the ceiling. You can bounce from a bird and onto that ledge, if you're in a good position. It seems to be easier to do from the middle of the three highest green blocks, not the one to the far right. Once you reach the ceiling, run along it to reach a sandy block. Thrust down through it with your shovel and you can snag a Music Sheet
hanging in the air. Then keep moving right to tag another checkpoint.
When you continue right from the checkpoint, you'll run into a tougher mini-boss than is normal up to this point in the game. It is a wizard who is standing at a cabinet full fo spells. As you try to get close, he'll toss a bunch of spells your way. You should be able to get near while taking minimal damage, and then you can bounce on his head a few times while he finishes tossing spells. Then he will gulp one down and turn into a beast.
You can bounce along the beast's head as it crosses over toward the other cabinet. Then the beast turns back into a wizard and the process repeats. Stick close to your foe, bouncing on his head as possible, and eventually you'll deal enough blows that he collapses and leaves behind a turkey and lots of gems.
Continue right, passing almost immediately through another checkpoint. In this area, some blue-toned blocks regularly fire geysers of flame, whether you're passing over them at the moment or not. You'll need to time your leaps so you can pass right without getting fried by the flames. As you advance, you'll meet the charge of another of the agile green knights. You have to fight him between two sets of blocks that belch fire. Remember to watch out for the downward thrust attack he likes to use if he leaps into the air over your head.
After you defeat the knight, continue right along a few more ledges and you'll reach a vertical shaft with more of the flames. Use your locket if you want to easily fall down between bursts of fire, or just have great timing. Then continue right again. There's a floating enemy here, and past it a series of three ledges made up of nothing but blue blocks. You have to leap along them, and your locket can really help here. As you reach the far right side, make sure that you hack the right wall and pass through an opening to find a hidden room. Here, you can make a mad dash to a treasure chest and open it for some gems. Then head back left and ascend the ladder into the next chamber.
Here, there are geysers along the wall that you need to avoid. They can knock you from the ladders, so you definitely don't want them to hit you. Fortunately, you have enough space to stop and catch your breath between each one. With that said, you will want to quickly reach the top of the first latter to dispatch the flying enemies that are drifting toward you. Then you can take your time negotiating the remaining ladders.
The ladder along the upper left side of the room leads to a checkpoint, thankfully. Then you can start right as a spectral green knight approaches. He seems to be made of part ooze. You can drop down and break the wall to reveal a turkey. Then head right and climb along some green ledges using ladders. You'll need to break apart sand blocks and defeat more of the spectral knights as you ascend. Then you can proceed to the screen to the right.
Here, as you advance toward the right, you should notice an overhead ledge made entirely of sand, with more of the spectral green knights running along it. As you pass beneath, they will use downward thrusts of their shovels to dig through the sand and attack you. Don't let one catch you by surprise and knock you into a pit.
Continuing right from there, you can ride a pot lid up to a higher green ledge and defeat another of the cowled birds that tosses explosives. Then jump right and pass through an opening beyond that. You'll reach a room with the stage's final checkpoint. Steel your nerves, then continue right to face the area boss.
You'll have to drop down into an abyss from a high ledge, and you'll land in a confined lab area where the battle actually takes place.
Plague Knight moves around very quickly, tossing explosives and sometimes summoning oversized tubes filled with liquid. He also sends shots that follow you along the ground in the form of green ooze, which keeps you in the air and makes the potions more likely to hit you.
For the most part, Plague Knight is dangerous from a distance. If you can get in close, you may be able to slash him a few times and most of his shots will pass around you. Downward slashes can also work, but they usually limit you to only a single hit or maybe two and then Plague Knight moves out of range. It's better if you can get in a couple of hits at minimum, cornering him while he tosses potions. That will let you quickly drain his meter, and you can use your locket to prevent his attacks from hurting you for a couple of seconds, too. The glass containers don't seem to hurt you except when he makes them explode, so don't go out of your way to avoid them. In fact, they're almost helpful because you can easily bounce from them with downward shovel thrusts.
As long as you stick to your foe and get in a lot of hits, you should be able to outlast him. A protracted battle favors your opponent, so be careful to avoid that.
Once you win the battle, you'll get your usual reward and then you gain a couple of new options about where you can go on the map. Your next stop should probably be the Armor Outpost.
NEXT: Iron Whale