Created and maintained by Ian | Last Update: 24/12/2013
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Introduction
In search of your captured friends, you as ASHURA, or together with your comrade-in-arms, BISHAMON, infiltrate far into the vast enemy stronghold. Use AUTO-RIFLE and ARROW-GRENADE against such foes as the Riflemen, Bazooka soldiers, Artillerymen and a host of others. (Taken from the box)

This game is a vertical-scrolling shooter in the tradition of Commando or Ikari Warriors. It's a solid all-round game, especially considering it was one the system's earliest releases. A great feature of the this game is the 2-player co-operative mode. It's also pretty difficult, so that's where this guide comes in.
The controls
The directional-pad will move your player around the screen. The direction you hold is also how you aim your shots. You cannot scroll back down the screen or shoot behind you however.

Button 1 fires your regular M-60 weapon. You can only have 2 bullets on screen at a time.

Button 2 fires your arrow-bomb.
Power-ups
During the game, you will come across various power-ups. Here's some information on what they do and how to attain them:
Arrow-bombs: Gives you 5 arrow-bombs. These are found by destroying prisoner huts (Levels 1-4), patrol cars (Level 5) and rocks (Level 6). Also found at the end of a level when the barricade becomes destroyable (after killing enough enemies).
Mystery item: This kills all the enemies on screen and gives you 2 arrow-bombs. However, if you have all power-ups equipped (Stinger, L & S) and at least 7 arrow-bombs, it gives you an extra life. Found by destroying 2 huts in a row without dying.
Stinger: Upgrades your arrow-bombs and gives you 2 arrow-bombs. On impact, shrapnel will fly in 4 diagonal directions and kill enemies on contact. Found by destroying 3 huts in a row without dying.
Long range: Makes your M-60 bullets travel further and also gives you 2 arrow-bombs. These are found by killing a certain number of enemies in a row without dying. The number depends on the level (further information below).
Super: Makes your M-60 bullets pierce enemies (allowing you to destroy several at a time) and also gives you 2 arrow-bombs. These are found by killing a certain number of enemies in a row without dying. The number depends on the level (further information below).
When you die, you will lose any stinger, L or S power-ups you have. Your number of arrow-bombs will also reset to 5.
General tips
  • You receive an extra life each time you clear a round.
  • Only 1 power-up can appear on screen at a time. So if an 'L' or 'S' power-up is on screen, wait until you collect it before destroying a prisoner barrack.
  • Try to make steady progress through the level. If you stay in the same part of the level for 20 seconds (so the screen doesn't scroll) then grenades will start to come down from the top of the screen.
  • When you have the L and S power-ups, be aware that your M-60 bullets will stay on the screen longer. As you can only have 2 bullets on screen at a time, it may mean your fire rate will slow down.
  • Only 4 enemies will appear on the screen at one time.
  • Do not make contact with tanks or police motorcycles as they will kill you.
  • In 2-player mode, you will both have infinite continues on Level 1 but no more from Level 2 onwards. Player 2 can join in at any time during Levels 1 and 2 but not from Level 3 onwards.
  • Destroying huts and patrol cars are worth 1000 points. You do not get any points for destroying rocks in Level 6. Collecting an item gives you 500 points. Some of the points awarded for killing enemies are incorrectly listed in the manual and end credits. The correct point-scoring can be seen below.
Level 1 - Jungle Zone
Points for completion:
5,000

Activate end-of-level barricade:

Kill 16 enemies

L and S power-up items appear:
Kill 21 enemies (without dying)
Enemies
 
Infantry - 100 points
Standard enemy that roams around. 1 bullet to kill.
Bazooka - 150 points
Moves down across the screen. Shoots quick-moving bullets vertically then runs off. 1 bullet to kill.
Flamethrower - 200 points
Does not move. Shoots large flames in various directions. 1 bullet to kill.
Sniper - 150 points
Does not move. Shoots quick-moving bullets vertically. 1 bullet to kill.
Tank - 1,000 points
Moves left and right. Shoots quick-moving bullets and rockets. 2 arrow-bombs to destroy.
 
Level 2 - Thick Forest
Points for completion:
10,000

Activate end-of-level barricade:
Kill 24 enemies

L and S power-up items appear:
Kill 21 enemies (without dying)
Enemies
 
Infantry - 100 points
Standard enemy that roams around. 1 bullet to kill.
  Knife - 100 points
Moves down the screen in diagonal directions. Throws quick-moving knives. 1 bullet to kill.
Mortar - 150 points
Does not move. Throws grenades around the screen. 1 bullet to kill.
 
Level 3 - From Swamp to the Jungle
Points for completion:
20,000

Activate end-of-level barricade:
Kill 28 enemies

L and S power-up items appear:
Kill 29 enemies (without dying)
Enemies (same as Level 1 except for a palette swap)
 
Infantry - 100 points
Standard enemy that roams around. 1 bullet to kill.
     
 
Level 4 - Desert
Points for completion:
50,000

Activate end-of-level barricade:
Kill 28 enemies

L and S power-up items appear:
Kill 29 enemies (without dying)
Enemies (same as Level 3 except for a palette swap)
 
Infantry - 100 points
Standard enemy that roams around. 1 bullet to kill.
     
 
Level 5 - From the Town to a Mountainous District
Points for completion:
100,000

Activate end-of-level barricade:
Kill 28 enemies

L and S power-up items appear:
Kill 29 enemies (without dying)
Enemies
 
Policemen - 100 points
Standard enemy that roams around. 1 bullet to kill.
  Riflemen- 150 points
Moves down the screen. Shoots quick-moving bullets. 1 bullet to kill.
Rolling policemen - 200 points
Moves left and right across the screen. Shoots quick-moving bullets vertically. 1 bullet to kill.
Police motorcycle - 500 points
Moves down the screen quickly. Throws grenades. 1 arrow-bomb to kill.
 
Level 6 - From the Seaside to the Enemy Fortress
Points for completion:
1,000,000

Activate end-of-level barricade:
N/A (Final boss - see below)

L and S power-up items appear:
Kill 29 enemies (without dying)
Enemies
 
Commando - 100 points
Standard enemy that roams around. 1 bullet to kill.
  Rocket Launcher - 100 points
Roams around the screen. Shoots quick-moving bullets. 1 bullet to kill.
Flamethrower - 200 points
Does not move. Shoots large flames in various directions. 1 bullet to kill.
Tank - 1,000 points
Moves left and right. Shoots quick-moving bullets and rockets. 2 arrow-bombs to destroy.
 
Final boss

Strategy:
Firstly, you have to destroy the 2 turret walls either side of the face. They have 10 hit points each. An M-60 bullet does 1 hit damage, an arrow-bomb does 3 and a stinger can do up to 7 if hit just right.

When the walls have been taken out, you need to destroy the face in the middle. This also has 10 hit points.

All the meanwhile, you have keep on the move so as you don't get hit by any grenades or bullets.


Secrets
 
150 arrow-bombs
At the start of each level, there is a way of getting an instant 150 arrow-bombs. You have to kill a particular enemy with your second M-60 bullet. Your first M-60 bullet can hit anything and using arrow-bombs beforehand will not affect anything. The 'item collect' sound effect will play if done correctly.
Level 1: 6th enemy Level 4: 5th enemy
Level 2: 8th enemy Level 5: 8th enemy
Level 3: 6th enemy Level 6: 7th enemy
Super Stinger
The Super Stinger is an arrow-bomb upgrade that kills all enemies on screen. To get it, you firstly need to have the L and S power-ups equipped. Then you have to kill 4 enemies with 1 M-60 bullet. Unfortunately, this will only last until the end of the level.

Killing 4 enemies with 1 bullet can be tricky but here is a video with some examples on how it can be done:
Destroy prisoner huts twice
You can sometimes destroy the the same prisoner hut twice. First, destroy a hut as usual, then scroll the screen until the ruins are almost off-screen and the hut will be restored. Destroy it once more and an item will appear. This is difficult without stinger bomb parts. It's a good way of increasing your arrow-bomb supply and boosting you score.



On Level 6, once you've reached the shore, all the rocks in this section can be destroyed to reveal power-ups. Remember only one item can appear on screen at a time, so to make the most of it, don't destroy another rock until you have collected the first item


Continue codes
If you run out of lives on a particular level, enter the corresponding code on the title screen and press 1 to continue from the same stage.

Level 2: D, U, L, R
Level 3: R, R, L, U, U
Level 4: D, L, R, L, L
Level 5: R, R, U, U, D, R
Level 6: U , D, R, L, L, D, D
Alternate versions
In the US, this game is known as Rambo: First Blood Part II and it Japan it is known as Ashura.

Rambo plays identically to Secret Command, however, Ashura (in typical Japanese fashion) is more difficult. Some differences I've noticed include:
  • Flamethrower enemies cannot be destroyed with an M-60 bullet
  • More enemies need to be killed for the L and S power-ups to appear
  • More enemies need to be killed at the end of the level to activate the barricade
  • The final boss requires more hits
 
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