The Battle of Olympus

From Red Candle
Jump to: navigation, search


The Battle of Olympus is a 2D action adventure game for the NES. It can be compared in a few ways to Zelda II, most notably the style of combat and character sprite poses. Rather than allow progression through leveling up, all of the power in the Battle of Olympus comes from collecting items, some of which must be bought with money. Thus, when the player dies, instead of losing experience after a game over, the player has to worry about their olives, which are the currency.

The player controls Orpheus, who is attempting to rescue his girlfriend, Helene. The player gets to choose the ingame names for both characters, but these will be the names used in the guide for the sake of consistency.

Weapons, items, and more

(Special thanks to the folks at for having the names of items and gods. As much as I've played this, I didn't know many of the official names!)


The most basic of weapons. It doesn't do much damage, but it's what you're stuck with until you can find something better.
Staff of Fennel
The melee attack of this is stronger than the club, but weaker than the Faerie sword. The advantage of this weapon is that you can shoot fire after being taught by Prometheus. The fire, aside from damaging many foes, will burn certain obstacles like webs and dead plants, and also light up dark caves. Fire is shot by holding up and pressing B.
The staff is obtained by first defeating the Lamia in Attica and rescuing the boy.
The fire for the staff is obtained by defeating the lion in Argolis, and then rescuing Prometheus from the door guarded by the lion.
Faerie sword
This weapon lacks a ranged attack, but hits harder than the club or Staff of Fennel. This item is necessary for some enemies to have a hitbox, such as the cyclops in the forest of Pelopennesus.
This weapon is obtained by killing the Hydra in Pelopennesus and saving the Faerie guarded by it.
Divine sword
This is the strongest weapon. It comes with the ability to shoot lightning straight forward. This is also done by holding up and pressing B. The lightning costs half a bar of your health to use until you obtain the bracelet of power.
This weapon is obtained by paying 70 olives to Hephaestus in Phthia.

Usable items (second row of inventory)

Harp of Apollo
This harp has two primary purposes. It allows Orpheus to break free of the harpy's controlling song as well as stun her temporarily. It also allows Orpheus to call Pegasus at any of the pillars of the sun to get from one place to another quickly.
It is obtained by talking to Apollo in Pelopennesus.
This item also has two uses. The first and most important use is to call Poseiden's dolphins to help Orpheus cross oceans. The second use is to wake up the statue that guards the doorway in Attica to get through to Phthia.
This is obtained by paying Poseiden 60 olives in Laconia.
Trojan Pitcher
When this contains nectar, it can be used to completely refill the health of Orpheus. It can be used while his health is completely empty, as long as he has not yet gone through his death animation. Thus, it is usually a good idea to wait to use this until Orpheus has actually taken a fatal hit. Be quick, though!
This is obtained by striking the base of a pillar on the second screen in Laconia, just right of the sun pillar.
Eye of Graeae
This reveals hidden doorways, which contain fragments of love.
This is obtained by slaying the graeae in Laconia in the door guarded by the harpy.
Moon Crystal
This allows Orpheus to see Hades' reflection until he's at half health, and then Hades himself once below half health. Normally, Hades is invisible to the player.
This is obtained by talking to Artemis in Phrygia.

Passive items (third row or not shown)

Sandals of Hermes
These allow Orpheus to jump higher, and also walk on ceilings. More on this in the tricks section.
These are obtained by talking to Hermes after he's been summoned by Zeus in Arcadia (which happens when you visit his temple in Argolis).
This allows you to block basic projectiles like arrows. The blocking hitbox can be very awkward, and dodging is often more effective.
This is obtained talking to Athena in Attica.
Salamander skin shield
This has the function of the normal shield, but also blocks fireballs. Again, awkward block hitbox.
This is obtained by giving 70 olives and 20 salamander skins to Circe in Crete.
Salamander skins
These are used to purchase the salamander skin shield.
These are obtained in the salamander pit, which is the pit just left of Hermes' temple in Argolis.
This is necessary to unlock the door which the second love fragment is hidden behind.
This can be obtained by talking to the old man in the house just outside of Athena's temple. Orpheus must already have the first fragment of love as proof that he is the hero before the old man will give him the key, though.
Bracelet of power
This doubles the damage that Orpheus deals with all weapons, and allows him to shoot lightning from the divine sword without taking any damage.
This is obtained by paying 80 olives to Ares in Crete. Careful to make sure that Orpheus has 80 olives, otherwise Ares will discard the sandals and force Oprheus to walk all the way back to Hermes to get them back!
Fragments of love
These are the messages from Helene that will allow Orpheus to save her. All three are required to get to Tartarus, where Helene is hidden.
The first is found in Argolis. It is in the first of the two caves at the end, hidden in a door that must be revealed by the orb.
The second is found in Phthia, which can be found by entering the waterfall through the top entrance. In the middle of the cave, using the orb will reveal the door which the fragment is hidden behind.
The final love fragment is guarded by a barrier that requires the first two love fragments to open, as well as a minotaur that must be defeated.
Golden apple
This apple refills health when obtained, and then halves all damage taken afterwards.
It is found by slaying the dragon found on the other side of the waterfall cave in Phthia.
Consuming these increases the maximum health of Orpheus.
See the "ambrosia locations" section below for more information on where to find these.

Ambrosia locations

  1. In the salamander pit located in Argolis (the pit just left of Hermes' temple), the first door has an old man that will sell Orpheus ambrosia for 50 olives.
  2. In Pelopennus, on the screen with the cyclops that leads to Laconia, Orpheus can duck on the branch of the third tree and swing at the tree to shake free ambrosia out of it.
  3. In Laconia, the dark cave on the bottom right contains a cyclops that drops ambrosia. He also guards a fountian.
  4. In Phthia, just one screen directly right of Hephaestus' temple, there is an old man in a doorway that will give Orpheus ambrosia for free.
  5. In Phrygia, there is a man in the top layer of the tower's inside that gives ambrosia. This ambrosia is also free.

List of purchasable items and services by cost

  1. 30 olives: Nectar refill in Hades' temple
  2. 50 olives: Ambrosia in the salamander pit in Argolis
  3. 60 olives: Ocarina from Poseiden in Laconia
  4. 70 olives: Divine sword from Hephaestus in Phthia
  5. 70 olives (and 20 salamander skins): Salamander skin shield from Circe in Crete.
  6. 80 olives: bracelet of power from Ares in Crete

Tips, tricks, and mechanics


When Orpheus runs out of health or falls down a bottomless pit, he dies. On the game over screen, two options are given: continue and retry.

Orpheus spawns at the last entrance to the map he entered
Keep all items obtained and their state (flask filled/empty)
Lose half of current olives, rounded up if odd (will lose 46 olives if carrying 91)
All progress with NPCs is saved (bosses, townspeople, gods)
Orpheus spawns at the last temple where he received word of the gods (password)
Everything is reset to the last point where Orpheus was given word from the gods
This includes olives, items, and progress obtained through fighting bosses or talking to people

This means that if Orpheus needs to go through a dangerous area to spend a large number of olives (getting the divine sword in Phthia, for example), it is often a good idea for him to talk to a god in their temple and get the word of the gods so that he doesn't have to farm olives again.

Olive farming

There are a total of 330 olives worth of items in the game. As such, it is necessary for Orpheus to farm them sometimes.

Speedrunning method

This method is the fastest method, but also takes the most skill. It is also the most accessible method because of its location. It takes place on the third screen (from the left) of Arcadia. There are six slimes in the treetops. When a slime dies, it remembers the horizontal coordinate of where it dies. Imagine this as a vertical line going straight up and down from the spot where the slime died. Once Orpheus travels far enough for that line to have gone offscreen, the slime spawns back up in the treetops on that line (at that horizontal coordinate). So, if Orpheus keeps killing slimes closer and closer together, they'll eventually clump up and become easier to kill in fewer swings. With enough clumping, it's very possible to kill all six slimes in one swing. Side note: when traveling form right to left, it is much easier to line up the slimes since they spawn with half their sprites onscreen.

Casual method 1

This method is best done with the Staff of Fennel and the flames. In Attica, just outside of Athena's temple, there are two scorpions and two satyrs. They spawn somewhat frequently, and both die to the Staff of Fennel in one shot. This spot is favorable for casual purposes because it has a fountain to heal at and a god to save at. Somewhat slow overall, but it gets the job done safely.

Casual (and 100% speedrun) method 2

This method is best done with the faerie sword or the divine sword, depending on which pit is used. In Argolis, there is a snake pit and a salamander pit. Snakes are a good source of olives, and if Orpheus needs to farm salamander skins, this time also works well for stocking up on olives. Not much to say here, just keep killing snakes or salamanders!

Enemy item drop mechanics

When a normal enemy dies, it can either drop an olive, a bay leaf, or nothing.

  • When first entering a new map, there is a 25% chance of an olive drop, 25% chance for a bay leaf, and 50% chance of nothing.
    • Olives add to your olive count
    • Bay leaves restore one bar of HP
  • If a respawning enemy (bird, slime, satyr...) drops an item when it dies, it will not respawn until the item is picked up. Use this to your advantage.
  • After 100 items in total drop (ie. 40 olives and 60 bay leaves, or 75 olives and 25 bay leaves...), the chances of both drops get cut in half to 12.5%, meaning Orpheus now has a 75% chance to get nothing from enemies. This resets when Orpheus leaves the 'map' he's in. (If farming in Arcadia, for example, Orpheus can leave to Attica and come back to Arcadia to reset the drop luck.)
  • At most 75 of a particular item can drop. After that item is out of drops, the other item can still drop. This is reset by leaving the 'map.' As an example, 75 bay leaves may drop overall in one area. Orpheus can still obtain olive drops, but no more bay leaves will drop until the luck is reset.
  • Drops are determined by a cycling counter that is not reasonable for a human to manipulate most of the time.

Bat behavior

Bats swoop based on Orpheus' vertical position. For each vertical position of Orpheus, a bat has two options. A higher swoop, and a lower swoop. Every 16 frames, the bat changes which swoop it wants to do. However, once every four sets, it forces itself to choose the higher of the two swoops. Therefore, if the bat's projected trajectory is unknown, it is slightly safer to assume it will do the high swoop than it is to assume the low swoop. If possible, Orpheus should always jump a reasonable distance before the bat's swoop range to cause it to swoop high over his head without being an obstacle for him.

Crouching projectiles

Since the button combination for firing projectiles with the staff or divine sword is up+b, it isn't exactly clear how to shoot projectiles while crouching, which is a necessary skill. To shoot a projectile while crouching, hold down, attack, and then immediately press up. Orpheus should fire the projectile from the crouching position. Make sure to hold down again if you want to stay crouching!

Jumping and the sandals

One thing to note about jumping in this game is that Orpheus will do a full jump regardless of how long the A button is held. Therefore, when doing a normal jump, it is usually best practice to simply tap the A button. The height of the jump depends on Orpheus' horizontal momentum. Once Orpheus has the sandals, jumping forward with enough momentum and holding the A button will flip gravity for him and take him to the ceiling if possible. For the gravity swap to work, Orpheus must have a reasonable amount of momentum and a valid ceiling above him.

Boosting and invulnerability frames

The direction Orpheus gets hit depends on which side he gets hit from, and which way he's facing. Turning around in some cases can change the direction in which Orpheus moves. This is the case with the dead bushes in Pelopennus, which allows Orpheus to pass through if he jumps left into the bushes, but faces right just before he hits them.

When an enemy has been struck, there is a short period of time which they flash, don't move, and are invulnerable. During this time, they also don't deal damage, either. Orpheus can pass through many enemies by striking them and walking through quickly before they become active again.

Route 1: any% with divine sword

This route has the current record as of the time of the writing. This is the safest route for obtaining a deathless run, as many monsters lategame are a nightmare without the extra damage and utility provided by the divine sword. It requires 130 olives and gives 3 good opportunities to farm olives with the speedrunning technique. Two valid methods of obtaining these olives are farming 45/45/40. Alternatively, one can opt for a 65/65 olive farm and skip the third altogether, but this increases the likelihood of bad droprates. 45/45/40 is a much safer route.

Part 1: getting the sandals

  1. First goal is to get to Zeus. He's located on the fourth screen in the white building. However, it's a good idea to farm before going in since the best farming spot in the game is one screen right before his temple. If using the 45/45/40 farming method, get 45 olives here. Otherwise, get 65.
    • It's possible to jump over the bull inside of Zeus' temple. From the right, jump on the seam just before the bull. From the left, jump just after the seam.
  2. Head left just beyond the farming screen and take the first tree trunk that's on the right side of the screen. Follow the path all the way to Argolis.
  3. In Argolis, head all the way to the far right cave and enter it. Once inside, there will be many bats and snakes. It's okay to take hits from them, just try not to die. On the second screen of enemies, go into the door just beyond the first snake that attacks. Talk to the man inside and you'll be told to buzz off.
    • With careful execution and a tiny bit of luck, it's possible to do a jump-couch-attack through the snake and pass thorugh it with its invulnerability time.
  4. Immediately after exiting the temple, fall into the first pit to the left. This is the salamander pit. Carefully jump over all of the salamanders and go to the far right door to exit. You'll find yourself at the entire cave's entrance. Go back to Arcadia through the door on the top-left.
  5. Go back to Zeus' temple. Here's the second big farming opportunity. With the 45/45/40 olive route, now is the time to farm 45 more olives. Hermes will be waiting to give Orpheus the sandals.
    • If doing a marathon run, talk to Hermes again for a safety password.

Part 2: getting the ocarina

  1. Go back out to the main part of Arcadia, and head to the far right door to Pelopennus.
  2. Take the far right door, and go through the small transition room to get to the maze portion of Pelopennus.
    • To manipulate the jumping bird in the next room, let go of the directional pad while Orpheus goes through the door into the next room. I find that more often than not, this causes it to spawn in a favorable manner.
  3. Once more, head to the very far right.
  4. Jump over the web and head to the first door on the left of it. Follow this path all the way to the brown plant blocking the way. Damage boost through this plant by jumping at it from the tree branch closest to it, then facing right just before hitting the plant.
  5. Keep heading left to find the hydra, defeat it, and get the faerie sword. EQUIP IT.
    • When far away from the hydra's spawning point, try to keep its spawn one 'block' away from the edge of the screen.
    • When close to the hydra, stand about a 'block' and a half away.
  6. Head back all the way to the right until the maze section. Once in the maze section, take the next door on the left.
  7. Take the door to the left once more to reach Apollo's temple, and get the harp.
    • If doing a marathon run, here's another good spot for a word of the gods.
  8. From the temple, go one door right.
  9. Go two doors left.
  10. Get the ambrosia and kill the cyclops.
    • The ambrosia is in the third tree, on the branch. Duck on the branch and swing at the tree. It can also be hit from below, but hitting it from the branch helps get the bat out of the way.
    • The cyclops takes four hits with the faerie sword. Keep it stunned if possible, and it won't even get a chance to throw a rock!
  11. Take the door behind the cyclops to Laconia
  12. Go right, minding the birds and monkeys. Use ceilings to avoid enemies.
  13. Strike the third pillar in the next room, opening the floor to drop to Poseiden.
    • Striking the third pillar from the left is technically faster, but risks taking damage or death (if Orpheus is too far right or left when entering the hole). Striking the pillar from the right allows for dealing with the scorpions and avoiding rocks dropped from birds.
  14. Take the door that Orpheus lands by. Inside is a dark hallway. It's just a short straight hallway. Hold right, and once clear of the door, hold up as well to enter Poseiden's temple.
  15. Purchase the ocarina for 60 olives.
    • Again, if doing a marathon run, here's a great spot to get a password.

Part 3: the first love fragment

  1. Head back out to the left, going through the dark hallway and the transition hallway.
  2. Climb up the stairs to the main floor of Laconia again, and head right.
  3. Strike the base of the first pillar right of the sun pillar. The pitcher will fall. Collect it.
    • Remember: the pitcher starts empty. Don't expect to get a free health refill from it for a while!
  4. Use the ocarina to call the dolphins at the far right edge. Travel right until the next land mass.
  5. Switch to the harp, and use it to defeat the harpy.
    • Her hitbox is very awkward. Try to aim for her chest. Use the harp to render her song useless, and cause her to flap up and down for a brief moment.
  6. Go in the door that appears once she is dead, and kill the graeae inside for the orb.
    • The layout of this room is slightly dangerous. It may be worth investigating this room with the staff of fennel before attempting to do it in the dark.
    • If the graeae are causing trouble, stick to the far right wall. This way, they will only spawn left of Orpheus, allowing much easier dodging.
  7. Climb out back to the main portion of Laconia, and head right to the sun pillar. Play the harp to get picked up by Pegasus and get dropped off in Arcadia.
  8. Here's the last good farming chance. Make sure to have 70 olives total before going to Argolis.
  9. Once in Argolis, go to the second to last door from the right. After the transition screen, there will be a bat and a snake. Use the orb to reveal a door right next to them, and go through it.
  10. Take the top left path as much as possible, and go through through the door to the first love fragment.
  11. Go back outside, and play the harp at the sun pillar.
  12. Orpheus will land just outside of Athena's temple, by a fountain. Fill up the pitcher at the fountain.
    • If doing a marathon run, talk to Athena for a password. Unfortunately, Orpheus will also get a shield, costing more time, but it's worth not dying in Phthia.

Part 4: the second love fragment

  1. Talk to the man in the house just left of the fountain for a key.
  2. Head left until getting out of a transition cave.
  3. Go right, and play the ocarina near the statue. It will wake up and become a boss. Kill it.
    • Several strategies here. General idea is to dodge the rocks, and hit it as often as possible without pushing it back off the platform it starts on.
  4. Go through the door to Phthia.
  5. Go left and down the stairs.
  6. Head to the left, and back up the stairs.
    • The bird is annoying, but if you can get it to drop something, let the item stay there instead of picking up to preven the bird from respawning
  7. Go all the way left to the temple and buy the divine sword for 70 olives. EQUIP IT.
  8. On the way back, instead of taking the stairs down, there's an optional ambrosia just to the right that makes the rest of the run a bit easier. It's a free extra 4 health. Grab it if desired.
  9. Go all the way back to the entrance, and head right. Climb up the stairs.
  10. Continue right, using an attack to get through the centaur. Jump into the top half of the waterfall while holding up to enter the top part of the cave.
  11. In the long cave with the crawling creatures, use the orb to find a door behind the third crawler. The key will unlock the next door, which hides a love fragment.

Part 5: the final love fragment, to Tartarus

  1. Go back to the first screen of Phthia, and play the harp at the sun pillar there. Orpheus will land in Laconia.
  2. Head right, and use the ocarina to cross the ocean.
  3. Use the ocarina again to continue right beyond where the harpy once was.
  4. Go all the way to the right, jumping over the axe wielding armor, and through a transition screen.
  5. Go right three doors, and enter.
  6. Go two doors to the left to find the room with a barrier and a minotaur. Kill it and get the love fragment.
    • If health is needed before or after, a fountain is one room left of the minotaur.
    • The minotaur can be killed with good rhythm in such a way that it will never get an attack after it is damaged once. Trap it in the pillar to the right.
  7. Go back out to the main hallway, and head right. Enter the third door.
  8. Go to the left door, and then continue left out of Crete
  9. Use the ocarina to call the dolphins. One screen left there will be a new structure floating in the air above the ocean. Jump up and enter the door there.

Part 6: Tartarus!

  1. Enter the doors of this maze as follows:
    1. Left
    2. Right
    3. Left
    4. Left
  2. Kill Cerberus, and enter the door that spawns.
    • Cerberus regenerates health, so make sure to keep a steady stream of hits going on him!
  3. Carefully head right. If necessary, fill up health on the first door outside of Cerberus' room. Take the far right door at the end of the hallway.
  4. Use the treetops as ceilings, and continue right. At the end of the screen, there are two doors. Take the second one from the right.
  5. These next two screens are challenging, and a bit luck based. Carefully jump the ceiling gap in the first room. In the second one, use an attack to stun the snake as Orpheus passes through it. It may shoot fireballs in such a way that does not permit Orpheus to pass, in which case death is likely. Continue and keep trying, as the first of these two rooms is a checkpoint. Get to the top right door.
  6. This next room is a checkpoint as well. Kill birds if necessary, and go to the room to the left.
  7. Go right. On the next room, kill the ghosts, and take the top path to the right. One more ghost will spawn. Mind the bats, and go through the door.
  8. Back to the left. Take the door in the top center for a health refill, otherwise go to the far left door.
  9. Take the far left door once more to enter Hades' temple.

Part 7: Hades' Temple

  1. Head right. To get through Lamia, hit her and pass through her. Make sure to jump shortly after hitting her so that Orpheus is not touching her when she is unstunned.
  2. Up the stairs and to the left.
  3. Up the stairs once more.
  4. Go to the right, sticking to the top path.
  5. Skip the first staircase going right, but take the next.
    • If the pitcher is empty, DON'T skip the first staircase - take it to refill, which will restart this area.
  6. Loop around the wall and go down the staircase to the right.
  7. Take a hit from the snake, and go down the stairs below.
  8. Go through the door to the right, and through the transitional hallway where Helene is in statue form.
  9. Using the divine sword, carefully shoot 28 crouching projectiles to hit Hades. Use the pitcher when needed.
    • Make sure not to spam too quickly. Hades gets pushed back slightly with each attack.