Hellsinker/Strategy

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Spirit Scoring Strategy

General Overview


The biggest factor in earning more Spirits is your STELLA level.

  • The following [values / objects / behaviors] will change depending on your STELLA.
    • Enemy's base Spirit value
    • Milking performance (i.e. Inner Spirit Raising and Pooling efficiency)
    • UNCHAIN bonus (killing MASTER enemies)
    • Amount of needle bullets from enemies (FINELINE)
    • Amount of destructible bullets spewed from enemies
    • Running Spirits
    • Number of enemies in some places
    • Rex Cavalier's (S7 Boss) 5th attack pattern
  • Even the difference between STELLA 9 and STELLA A is huge. Always try to keep your STELLA at A.
  • Surviving as long as possible and killing each enemy in the most Spirit efficient way is crucial. Figure out the most efficient way to milk Spirits for every enemy you see.

Routes are mostly thought out by balancing "Survival Consistency" and "Milking".

If you choose to survive, you will lose the opportunity to milk.

If you choose to milk, you will put yourself more at risk to get hit. Everyone has their own comfortable routes, so figure out your best routes based on this.

Emphasis by character

Although every source of Spirits must ultimately be integrated when scoring with any character, different characters will still find much of their gameplay defined by exploiting different systems.
The following table attempts to summarize which mechanics are relatively more and less important to each character.

Executor Comparative importance of Spirit mechanics
Much more important Relatively more important Relatively less important
Deadliar Gradual value raising Item collection
TLB kills
Nothing
Fossilmaiden Gradual value raising
TLB kills
Item collection
Nothing Grazing
Tick points
Immortality bonuses
Minogame Grazing Immortality bonuses TLB kills
Kagura (Moon Cradle) Tick points
Destructive value raising
Immortality bonuses Gradual value raising
Kagura (Ecliptic Chariot) Grazing?
Item collection?
Nothing? Everything else?
Kagura (Infernal Sabbath) Immortality bonuses Gradual value raising Tick points
Kagura (Xanthez) Destructive value raising
TLB kills
Tick points Immortality bonuses

STELLA Tricks


Most Segments feature a way to increase STELLA rapidly. These are the first things one should learn when aiming for Spirits.

  • Segment 1 Lead: Repeatedly hitting the invulnerable part of the MONO-WINGs will cause them to drop lots of LUNA Chaff which can be collected for STELLA. Clearing waves quickly will cause more MONO-WINGs to appear.
  • Segment 1 Behind: Quickly clearing the opening waves will spawn lots of zako whose bullets can be erased for LUNA Chaff. Afterwards, a green STELLA item and two MONO-WINGs appear.
  • Segment 2 Lead: UNCHAINing the enemies at the beginning and then quickly clearing the following kamikaze zako will produce up to 3 green STELLA items.
  • Segment 3 Lead: Destroying the tailguns of the two CLIONEs will produce a green STELLA item each. Another appears in the middle at TIMER ~7.
  • Segment 3 Behind: ZINC-OWLs drop lots of LUNA Chaff when shot at.
  • Segment 4: Approaching the HONEYCOMBs in SECTOR 03 will cause them to drop a ring of LUNA Chaff. MONO-WINGS appear in SECTORs 05 to 08.
  • Segment 5: No trick, must be built up gradually with efficient play.
  • Segment 6: Rapidly hitting one or both of the 1000KNIGHTS while performing the initial graze will accelerate STELLA gain drastically.
  • Segment 7: Destroying the 6 high-value ORNITHOPTERs at TIMER ~17 will produce up to 6 green STELLA items.
  • Segment 8: Two green STELLA items appear at the beginning. The STELLA increase over time does not stack with itself, so it's beneficial to wait several seconds between collecting each. Graze the needles fired by the first enemy waves or wait in their SEAL range.

Immortality Bonuses


  • Gaining Extends in the Immortal state (max lives) gives increasing Spirit bonuses.
  • Starting value is 80, increasing by 40 each time you Extend after the first Immortality bonus.
    • 80, 120, 160, ...
  • Spirit BREAKTHROUGH is worth 200 + 40 * (current Immortality count)
  • Kill BREAKTHROUGH is worth 160 + 40 * (current Immortality count)
    • These bonuses are a single lump like normal Immortality bonuses; if you're not at maximum lives when the BREAKTHROUGH is achieved, all of the bonus will be lost.
  • Getting a BREAKTHROUGH will reset your NECESSARY value for Extends, which equates to faster Extends, which means more Immortality bonuses down the line.

FINELINE (grazing)


The player accrues Spirits for each frame that needle bullets are inside the player's grazing radius. (There are a limited number of other grazable bullet types such as purple chains and the S7 boss's wisps)
This grazing is termed FINELINE.

  • Because grazing is continuous, there is a direct relationship between the size of your graze radius and potential Spirits gained. The size of all the graze radii are as following[1]:
Executor Bootleg Ghost When firing main shot When Suppression active When Suppression inactive During Forbidden Shell
Deadliar Solidstate/Aspirant

2400 units

5600 units

2400 units

n/a
Adept

2400 units

5600 units

Fossilmaiden Any

2500 units

3600 units

n/a
Minogame Solidstate/Aspirant

2400 units

4400 units

2400 units

9600 units

Adept

2400 units

4400 units

Kagura Solidstate/Aspirant

2800 units
(6600 units)

2800 units

2800 units

n/a
Adept

2800 units

6400 units

  • Maximizing the intersection of needles and grazebox is the objective. Staying equidistant between as many needles as possible is often better than chasing them to the edge of the screen.
  • Grazing with Adept is easier as the Suppression Radius becomes unnecessary and you have more control over when it activates.
    • Adept Moon Cradle is forced to graze with the Suppression Radius inactive due to her autofire ability.
      • Non-Adept is forced to graze while autofiring which is highly impractical. This is possibly a vestige of Kagura once having standard graze behavior.
  • If held, Deadliar's Discharge does not cancel bullets until released, but provides invincibility anyway. This can be used to extend grazes.
  • Fossilmaiden always has a bad graze range. She can mitigate this somewhat by using Cloak invincibility to supergraze.
  • Using Minogame's charged main weapon (Forbidden Shell) will increase their grazing radius dramatically. Abuse this if you are playing Minogame.
    • Combine with Nimbus Cluster Yellow for supergrazing.
  • Invincibility from taking a hit cannot be used for grazing.
  • Grazing with lower STELLA will decrease the Spirit gain rate from grazing (low STELLA also often makes needle bullets shorter).
    • Around 25% of your grazing efficiency is lost if grazing with STELLA 9 instead of A – big loss!
  • Any death will still reduce your graze income regardless of STELLA because the graze rate is also modified by the SURVIVABILITY score of the current Segment.
    • e.g. 3 deaths = 55% FINELINE for the remainder of the stage.

Inner Spirit Raising and Spirit Pooling (tick points)


Inner Spirit Raising is a mechanic that allows you to raise the kill value of targets by hitting them rapidly.
There is also a parallel, more traditional tick points mechanic, which is based on the same principles as Spirit Raising.

  • In order to use either system effectively, it's fundamental to find an appropriate hit rate/damage ratio.
  • When a projectile weapon is fired (i.e. one that produces "bullets"), an aura is generated around the player character which delivers many hits while dealing almost no damage. The closer the target is to the player, the denser the hits become. The following table lists the number of hits per second applied by main shot aura at very close range, excluding the bullets.
Executor Aura hits/sec
Deadliar 420
Fossilmaiden 60
Minogame 380
Kagura (Moon Cradle) 210
Kagura (Ecliptic Chariot) 30
Kagura (Infernal Sabbath) 300
Kagura (Xanthez) 270
  • Supplementing shot auras with other weapons leads to diverging results. For example, Deadliar's main shot itself does not contribute a useful number of extra hits, whereas Minogame's more than doubles the total hit rate.
    • Therefore for Spirit Raising purposes it's usually more productive for Deadliar to point his main shot away from the target, while Minogame has more reason to consider pointblanking underneath a target.
  • Characters with low hit rate auras need to focus on other tools, e.g. Fossilmaiden's orange lance subweapon.
    • The hit count to Inner Spirit ratio of other weapons will also vary wildly. The only solution is experimentation (or copying someone else's strategies).
  • In order to raise the value of fragile zako, it's necessary to use the weakest attacks to avoid killing them too fast; for targets with invulnerable or regenerating parts where damage isn't a limitation, going all out to maximize overall hits is the clear line of play.
  • Hitting multiple targets simultaneously will enhance the raising efficiency for all of them.
  • Hits landed on non-essential parts of enemies can contribute to the value of the core too.
  • Many enemies are heavily damage resistant when first entering play, which is a prime opportunity to get lots of free hits in.
    • Segment 2 WATERLEAPERs, S6 SCARY-STUPAs and S7 MASTERs are some examples.
  • The more the Inner Spirit value of a target is raised, the more difficult it becomes to raise further.

Tick Points

  • Tick points are predominantly based on hit count like Spirit Raising. Gross hit count and the number of simultaneous targets are the only practical factors.
  • The number of pooled Spirits further scales by 1/24th of the total number of SLAVEs that have been UNCHAINed.
    • For example, 1200 total UNCHAINed = +50 = 150% tick point income.
  • The number of effective hits is stored in a buffer which is emptied every 3 frames when the awarded Spirits are calculated. This implementation results in a bug where pooling more than 21.4 Spirits in a single interval will overflow the range and wrap around, awarding a negative value instead. This bug is mostly a concern for Moon Cradle who is vulnerable to it throughout Full Sequence Order runs.
  • A technical breakdown of tick point mechanics can be found in this post.

UNCHAIN


  • Killing MASTER enemies will give Spirits based on the number of SLAVEs attached to it when killed.
  • The amount of Spirits given is exponential based on how many SLAVEs there are. Even killing one SLAVE can decrease UNCHAIN Spirits by more than half in some cases, though overall you don’t gain many Spirits from UNCHAINing except on the S4 boss.
  • UNCHAINing is nevertheless very important as UNCHAINed enemies may drop Life Chips or produce revenge needles, in some cases leading to 1000+ FINELINE grazes. As mentioned in the section above, it also improves tick point rate.
  • Some enemies are worth much more by killing them without UNCHAINing them.
    • Segment 3 Lead SEAGULL flocks are an example.

NUTCRACK (destructible bullets)


  • Not much to say. Try to destroy as many as possible with clever use of your weapons.
  • The largest NUTCRACK bonus comes from the S4 boss if both of its wings survive until past TIMER 211.
  • Try not to Discharge as it will cancel the bullets without giving you Spirits.

Running Spirits


  • "Interest" on your stage Spirit passively accumulated over time. Gaining more Spirits earlier in the stage = more profit.
    • Try delaying an Extend to the beginning of the next Segment to gain more Running Spirits later (most noticeable on Segments 6 and 8).
  • Income rate scales with STELLA level. The rate at STELLA level A is double that of level 1.
    • Typically works out as +1% Spirits per ~13 seconds at level A. There may be extra modifiers during some parts of the game.?
  • Additionally, a flat quantity of Spirits is awarded per frame, derived from the STELLA level and a stage-specific value.
  • Does not apply to bosses, Segment 5 mid-stage, or the Segment 6 midboss zone.

Stage Clear Bonus


  • Gives you around 50 ~ 150 Spirits for most stages.
    • Based on STELLA and the number of times you died during the stage. The formula is shown on the Segment end screen.
    • SURVIVABILITY scores are 100, 90, 75, 55, 30, and 5, lowering with each death.
  • Clearing the TLB will give you 1000.
  • Overall, does not give a ton of Spirits but is a nice bonus.

Ingots


  • Killing bosses/some boss phases and certain cues within stages will cancel all bullets on screen into Ingots.
    • Each worth 0.2 Spirits and 0.05 NECESSARY.
  • Also occurs after achieving a BREAKTHROUGH.
  • Sometimes you will want to optimize bullet cancels like in other STGs (cancel when screen is most dense).
  • With Deadliar and Fossilmaiden, you can use your Mistletoe to collect Ingots (and any other items).

The Last Present


  • Killing the final form of the Segment 7 boss near timeout will transfer a lump quantity of Spirits.
    • Killing him on MEMORY TRANSFER... REMAIN 0 will grant you 345.6 Spirits.
    • Killing him after or before REMAIN 0 will drastically reduce the bonus.
  • Use the BGM to accurately time it. The female voice with note of C is the perfect cue.
    • TIMER 246.5

Shrine of Farewell


The Shrine of Farewell is often looked at as a "bonus stage" in regular survival play, which serves to give some lives back in the form of crystals and get the player back on their feet.
However, it is extremely important for Spirits, as playing the Shrine perfectly will reward 424 crystals to the player, with each crystal having a value of 1/200 of the player's Spirits before the Shrine, enabling the player to amplify their score by up to 2.12x.
This requires good TERRA management to optimally reach the Shrine after Segment 7.
Conversely, it is possible to exit with a net loss in Spirits if you do not collect at least 200 crystals.

  • Speed kill every single enemy you see.
    • Remember the patterns and when you can damage the enemy efficiently.
  • The calculation for CRYSTALLIZE is:
Take ST as STELLA level -1.
For boss first and second attacks:
  (ST + 9) - (misses on pattern * 4)
    if (ST / 3 + 6) is greater, then (ST / 3 + 6)
For boss third attack:
  (ST * 3 + 9) - (misses on pattern * 6)
    if (ST / 2 + 12) is greater, then (ST / 2 + 12)
For Kaname Stones:
  ST + 9
  • Dying or having anything below STELLA level A will reduce your CRYSTALLIZE gain.
  • Kaname Stones & boss first and second attacks are worth at most 18 CRYSTALLIZE.
  • Each boss's third attack is worth at most 36 CRYSTALLIZE.
  • Bombing a Kaname Stone will invalidate its CRYSTALLIZE.
  • If you are playing Deadliar, Fossilmaiden, or Kagura2, going to the top of the screen while your option is deployed at the bottom will cause all of the crystals to fall into the option and be collected, enabling the full 2.12x Spirit multiplier.
    • Other characters will need to manually collect crystals. This is quite random and varies in difficulty between characters as they have different collection ranges. A 1.70x multiplier (340 crystals) is about the best result that can be hoped for.?
  • You don't need to score/milk in this stage unless you are really really comfortable with it.
    • The two milkable patterns are Virginal Order on Temperament Nil (by grazing the needles), and Desperate Annulus on Al4th (by bombing and using aura on the red blobs she shoots out to gain spirits and increase her inner spirit value). These combined give out a few thousand Spirits but cost a lot of precious time.

Destroying the TLB repeatedly


  • Destroying the TLB (Lost Property 771) will give you 7 Spirits each time, and destroying it 7 times will increase its value by 7.
  • The total Spirits gained from the TLB is represented by the following formula.
 Σ[n=1,y] 7 * floor((n/7) + 1)

Where y denotes the times you destroyed the TLB.

  • For example destroying the TLB 79 times (kill value shown as 70) will be around 3479 Spirits.

Token Scoring Strategy

Token Values


Values of each Token item.[2]

Item Decimal value Fraction of 1 Token Internal value1
LUNA Crystal (0) 0.05000 1/20 600
LUNA Crystal (1) 0.05750 ~1/17.3 690
LUNA Crystal (2) 0.08050 ~1/12.4 966
LUNA Crystal (3) 0.11883 ~1/8.41 1426
LUNA Crystal (4) 0.17233 ~1/5.8 2068
LUNA Crystal (5) 0.24116 ~1/4.14 2894
LUNA Crystal (6) 0.32533 ~1/3.07 3904
Frozen Crystal 1.50000 3/2 18000
LUNA Droplet (stage) 0.16225 ~1/6 1947
LUNA Droplet (boss) 0.04050 ~1/25 486
Reliquia 0.08333 1/12 1000

1 Token score = internal value / 12000.

Ingots have a scaling value:

 (STELLA level - 1) * 150 + 800

For example:

STELLA level Decimal value Fraction of 1 Token Internal value
1 0.06666 1/15 800
A 0.17916 ~1/5.58 2150

Sources of Freeze Cancels (FSO)


For multi-part or CHAINed enemies, it can be assumed that the destroying the core or MASTER is what triggers the cancel.

Stage Enemy name Number available
1L COFFIN 2
1L Rex Cavalier (wings) 4
1B COFFIN 3
1B Quiet Minstrel (core) 2
2L UNNAMED 452 (Sinistar) 1
2L UNNAMED 447 (small stone) 5
2L UNNAMED 447 (large stone) 2
2L Scarlet Queen (talon) 2
3B C-MOON 2
3B Sunken Bishop (arm) 2
4 SWALLOW'S NEST 4
4 URCHIN 2
4 UNNAMED 450 (SECTORs 20-31) 16
4 UNNAMED 443 (SECTOR 32) Respawning
5 KAREIDOSCOPE Respawning
7 UNNAMED 499 (MASTER on left) 3
7 UNNAMED 500 (MASTER on right) 3
Shrine Kaname Stone 4
8 UNNAMED 389 (giant crab) Respawning

Boss Token Decay


  • Stage Token score falls continuously during boss fights.
  • Budget your time spent on bosses to minimize the loss. Speedkill any bosses that aren't going to produce useful amounts of Tokens.
  • The decay per frame can be represented as:[2]
 (Token / 300000)+0.00025
  • For example at 4307 Tokens you will lose 1 every ~1.14 seconds.

Misc

Stage-specific modifiers


Shared modifier


These values are used for various stage-specific tweaks, such as STELLA and TERRA loss, and Running Spirits rate.[3]

Stage Value
1L 0
2L 1
3L 5
4 3
5 3
6 5
7 6
8 7
Shrine 0
1B 0
2B 1
3B 5
EX1 0
EX2 0

Tools & memory addresses


v1.009


Additional Information Mod Cheat Engine script - 3.0 direct download

Steam v11


Stage Spirit totals
Address Type Description
hs_dx9build.exe+71266C 4 byte Base kill values and NUTCRACK
hs_dx9build.exe+712670 4 byte UNCHAIN bonuses
hs_dx9build.exe+712678 4 byte Running Spirits
hs_dx9build.exe+71267C 4 byte Pooled Spirits (combined raised inner value and tick points)
hs_dx9build.exe+712680 4 byte FINELINE bonuses
hs_dx9build.exe+712684 4 byte Stage end bonus
hs_dx9build.exe+712688 4 byte Immortality bonuses

Spirits from items, special income such as shooting at GARLAND, and TLB kills are not represented in the above.

General scoring
Address Type Description
hs_dx9build.exe+712658 4 byte Hit buffer
hs_dx9build.exe+712698 4 byte Total Spirits
hs_dx9build.exe+7126A4 4 byte Current stage Spirits
hs_dx9build.exe+7126B8 4 byte UNCHAINed enemy total
hs_dx9build.exe+712650 4 byte Gem level (0 to 27936)
hs_dx9build.exe+712674 4 byte Unmodified Tokens
hs_dx9build.exe+7126AC 4 byte Modified Tokens
hs_dx9build.exe+9705B4 4 byte Shared stage modifier
Survival & Extend related
Address Type Description
hs_dx9build.exe+71CE60 4 byte Frames since last death
hs_dx9build.exe+71C484 4 byte Pattern miss count
hs_dx9build.exe+71C498 4 byte Stage miss count
hs_dx9build.exe+712648 4 byte Immortality count
hs_dx9build.exe+7126BC 4 byte Total miss count
hs_dx9build.exe+712644 4 byte Extend count since BREAKTHROUGH
hs_dx9build.exe+712640 4 byte NECESSARY
hs_dx9build.exe+71C480 4 byte SURVIVABILITY
hs_dx9build.exe+71CE68 4 byte Invincibility countdown
Other resources
Address Type Description Maximum value
hs_dx9build.exe+71264C 4 byte TERRA 240000
hs_dx9build.exe+71C44C 4 byte SOL 259999, Fossilmaiden: 51199
hs_dx9build.exe+71C450 4 byte LUNA 153599, Fossilmaiden: 51199, Xanthez: 240000
hs_dx9build.exe+71C454 4 byte STELLA level 9
hs_dx9build.exe+71C458 4 byte STELLA 5119999
hs_dx9build.exe+71C430 4 byte Subweapon charge 3600
hs_dx9build.exe+71C9A4 4 byte Subweapon supercharge Varies (measured in frames)
Triggers, settings, etc
Address Type Description
hs_dx9build.exe+46690C 4 byte Stage frame timer
hs_dx9build.exe+712568 4 byte SATISFACTION adder
hs_dx9build.exe+712578 4 byte SATISFACTION sub-level step
hs_dx9build.exe+712694 4 byte Bullet cancellation score
hs_dx9build.exe+71C408 4 byte Bootleg Ghost (0 Aspirant, 1 Solidstate, 2 Adept)
hs_dx9build.exe+71C434 4 byte Equipment ID (0-3)
hs_dx9build.exe+71C43C 4 byte Graze range
hs_dx9build.exe+71CEA0 4 byte Speed modifier (10000 = 100%)
hs_dx9build.exe+7C6F78 4 byte Phase/wave timer (can be used to skip around on the final boss)
hs_dx9build.exe+97052C 4 byte Stage ID (0-16, also used for menu items)
hs_dx9build.exe+9705B8 4 byte Character ID (0-3)