Mark of the Ninja: Remastered’s “A Blade at His Neck” brings you closer you get to the end of your journey, and everything becomes more difficult. You have finally tracked your target to a fortified castle, and now you just have to get through his defenses to engineer the confrontation you’ve craved. Fortunately, most of the optional objectives and scrolls are hidden away near the start of the stage. That means that when the time comes, you can focus more readily on the challenges that await. As you prepare for this leg of your journey, make sure to bring lots of poison darts and upgraded smoke bombs. They could very well be the difference between success and failure.
Kill Karajan Without Being Detected
You complete this seal by clearing the last leg of your journey without any guards detecting you. Entering Karajan’s chamber completes the objective and essentially marks the end of the stage. If you are spotted while making your way to his corridor, restart immediately from the previous checkpoint until you get your approach just right.
Your approach begins as you enter the final in a series of castle spires, near the stage’s upper right corner. You can climb along the top of those towers and then drop down along the right side of the last of them. Kill a guard, then head left through a doorway. You’ll be treated to a glimpse of the security system ahead, and will see Karajan holed up in his panic room. Then you receive a new objective: Disable Karajan’s Security. Start by grappling up to an overhead vent and ascending to the next chamber. You will soon find a large crate with a crank to its left.
To ascend this shaft, which is lined by lasers, you will need to turn the crank enough that a horizontal gate opens. Then you can drop down into the recess and pull a lever. The crate overhead will start rising. You can grapple up to it and ride it as it ascends. Start by sticking to the underside as a laser scans the passage from side to side. Then climb to the left side as the crate continues to rise, so the lasers firing from the right side of the shaft don’t fry you. When you safely can, return to the bottom of the crate as another laser sweeps across the shaft. Then hold onto its right side as the crate rises past lasers firing from the left. When you reach the top of the shaft, you can interact with the panels to disable the lasers and also one of Karajan’s doors.
Return to the room that granted you access to the tower. To the left, you should see a single red laser beam sweeping back and forth. Throw a smoke bomb to prevent it from detecting you, then rush through to the next room. Here, there are blue waves that detect motion. Cross carefully through the room, moving only when you aren’t within those blue waves. Then climb the wall and grapple up to a higher ledge, where you will face another small test.
There are stationary crates positioned along this vertical shaft. Two lethal lasers sweep up and down, and you have to climb along first the right wall, then the left wall while using the crates to prevent yourself from being fried to a crisp. It seems to work best if you mostly climb along the walls, rather than clinging to the crates. They only slow you down, which is lethal. Make your way to the upper left side of the passage to turn off the lasers and open another of Karajan’s doors.
Return to the lower room with the motion sensing rays. Head left again through a door. You will need to use another smoke bomb to sneak past the laser you find here. Then, rather than heading toward the left (you will return in a bit), drop down to the lower level and pass through the door to the right. Here, a laser positioned on the ceiling moves back and forth. You can rush to a door and then drop down to a lower ledge while the laser passes overhead. Then you can head right and through the door to a yellow patch of light that serves as a checkpoint.
With your progress saved, it’s time to backtrack to the previous room and head to its lower level. There, you will find a door leading left. The next room has several guards. Take out the one near the door, then drag him quickly with you up the stairs and back toward the room to the right. With a corpse following along, you can pass through the room that waited just beyond the checkpoint. On its far right side, you can deactivate a generator. Guards pour into the area, and you receive another new objective: Assassinate Count Karajan.
You need to return to the corridor to the upper left, where you dropped down and went right instead of continuing to the left. However, quite a few guards lurk between you and that destination. Use any architecture you can find to keep sneaking in the desired direction, and take your time. There’s no rush, and getting spotted will just mean you have to go back to your last checkpoint. When you near the far left side of the chamber in question, there is a sniper at ground level. Get as close as you can, then toss a Hisomu Terror Dart when you can safely rush him and eliminate him. Next, grapple up to the nearby grapple point he was guarding, and from there jump to the overhead handholds. Finally, ascend and follow that passage to find and execute your target.
Pickpocket Both Keys
As you are notified from the start of the stage, there are two guards with keys you will need to use in order to find Karajan in his protected chamber. You can acquire the keys however you like if your only objective is to clear the stage, but to obtain the seal you will need to try your hand as a pickpocket.
The first pocket you must pick belongs to a guard you encounter near the very start of the stage. From the start, head left and ascend through a corridor. You will see a wall of lasers along a passage to your right, so head left and climb some more. Head right when you can, past a crate you should pull a short distance to the right. Just beyond that, there is a gap in the ceiling and three soldiers stand beneath you. One of them has the key. You need to drop down to the grapple point above him, then dangle from it so you descend between the left and right guards. Descend quickly and a button prompt should appear. Make sure you do not press the button you normally use to attack. Press the alternate button indicated by the prompt, then perform the additional move instructed. You will pick a pocket if you did things correctly. Otherwise, you will kill your foe. In the event that you accidentally do the latter, quickly pause the action and select the option to resume from the previous checkpoint. You have to be quick about it, because if you’re not, the game will auto-save with the seal failed and you’ll have to restart the stage from the beginning to take another crack at the seal.
The second key is on a soldier who lurks a little later in the stage. From where you find the challenge room, head left past the Elite Guard and the dog. Start climbing along the left side of the building, and don’t enter the small room to your right. Instead, ascend one more level, to where a dog is sleeping and a man is standing guard. Let him see you, so that he runs in your direction. Leap up to the wall, then drop down and kill him when he gets close.
Past the dog and to the right, descend one level so that you’re now on the right side of the room you ignored a moment ago. Proceed to the right, looking for breaks in the occasionally malfunctioning lasers so you can push through them to reach the far right side of the passage. You will activate a checkpoint. Ahead, there are more guards to eliminate and then you can ascend to where an Elite Guard is standing to the right from a street lamp. He is blocking a route you really want to take.
Take the Elite Guard however you like, whether by stunning him with darts or smoke. Past where he was standing, you’ll find a vent in the ceiling. Crawl up through it and activate a checkpoint. Then you need to head into the next room in a hurry. Along the right side, there is a soldier with the key. You can rush up to him from behind and pick his pocket before he detects you, if you like. He or his friends will kill you just after that if you don’t take an approach with finesse, but you will still receive credit for the theft and a seal will be awarded (just make sure, as before, to steal the key rather than immediately killing the guard holding it).
Get Smelled by All the Dogs
There are three dogs located throughout the stage. They’re encountered fairly early on, and you need all three of them to detect your scent. The ideal situation is that they smell you and you will receive notice that they have done so, then you execute them before they can raise the alarm.
The first dog is patrolling with an Elite Guard. To find it, head up the wall from where you pick the first soldier’s pocket. Press the switch to open the gate to the left, then head in that direction and use vents to sneak past the Elite Guard without being detected. The dog often follows a short way behind him, so let the platform head left while the dog sniffs a short distance behind it. Burst out from the vent so the dog catches a whiff of you, then duck back into the vent and find shelter. The dog will smell you and you will receive credit.
The second dog is not far away, slumbering on a ledge. Head left from where you let the first dog catch your scent. Ascend along the wall and watch the ledges to the right as you do. Most of the way to the top, you will see the hound ahead of you, with a guard just beyond that. Let the guard see you, then jump to the wall and wait for the guard to approach. When he does, drop down and kill him. Then throw a dart at the lamp above the dog to wake it up. Leap onto the wall and let the animal come sniffing in your direction, then drop down and kill it once it has smelled you.
You have only one more dog to worry about. Find the second guard with a key. His location is noted in the previous section above. From where you find him, descend and head toward the right into the area labeled The Panic Room. In that direction, you’ll find a large crate you can push. Beyond that is a bit of shelter, with a dog patrolling. Jump behind the shelter, then let the dog get near you. It will smell you and then you can jump out from behind your shelter and kill the animal before it starts barking. You will receive your seal as a reward.
Voice of the Hisomu
A Blade at His Neck Scroll #1
After you clear the challenge room (while working to obtain the second scroll, as outlined below), head back left along the passage. When you emerge through the vent, jump to the ledge to the upper left and interact with a blue fuse box that is placed there, on a gold-colored plate attached to the wall. You’ll open a gate to the immediate left. Proceed in that direction and use the vents in the floor to avoid the Elite Guard and his dog. Continue left and then ascend the tower along its leftmost wall. You will pass various guards who may spot you if you get careless and hurry too much, so be mindful of their presence as you climb. When you reach the top point of the wall, you’ll find a small ledge with the scroll resting on a pedestal.
A Blade at His Neck Scroll #2
From the stage’s starting point, head left a short distance and then ascend through the chamber until being instructed to acquire key cards. There is a scroll visible overhead in a tiny room, but that’s a different one than you are pursuing at the moment. Head left along the corridor and then ascend along the wall. At the top of that short shaft, travel right through the cramped corridor to reach a large crate. Drag that crate toward the right, about the same distance as the width of the crate, and then continue advancing toward the right. Below, you will see three soldiers standing around beneath a horizontal laser beam. Continue past them and push through a vent opening to the right. To find the stage’s challenge room, ascend the wall in that direction to reach a vent. Roll through the vent and along the lengthy corridor to reach your destination.
To clear the challenge room, complete the following steps:
- Upon entering the room at the fourth of four levels (counting the floor), drop down to the third level.
- Pull a lever, which starts the odd platform moving left along a track. It will interfere with lasers as it moves.
- Wait for that moving ledge to reach the far left side and head back to the right. You can run under the closest laser while the platform is shielding you, which seems to work most easily if you’re coming from the same direction the moving platform is.
- Let the platform continue left while you leap up to the fourth level and press the tiny yellow panel on the wall. This changes which side of the room the laser on the third level fires from, so that it now is firing from the right side rather than the left.
- When you safely can, drop back down to the third level and let the moving platform provide shelter as you head to the room’s far left.
- Hop up to the fourth level and pull the lever, which opens a gate near the room’s lower right side. It also produces a puff of smoke, and causes a new yellow panel to materialize on the lowest level, between the two vertical laser beams.
- On the room’s left side, drop down from the fourth level to the second level and pull the lever. This causes another moving ledge to start traveling left to right and back again.
- Use the moving ledge to allow you to pass the first vertical laser to your right on the second level.
- Drop to the first level and activate the panel that appeared there when you pulled the lever near the upper left side of the room.
- Hop back up to the second level, and jump up to cling to the handholds on the roof of that level.
- As the moving platform moves back toward the right, match its pace and crawl quickly along the ceiling toward the right so that you pass over the laser on the floor as the moving platform is shielding you.
- On the other side of that laser, drop down to the lowest level and head to the right to claim your scroll.
A Blade at His Neck Scroll #3
Follow the same directions provided above for the second scroll, up to the point where you push through a vent positioned above a group of three guards. Instead of ascending the next wall, descend to find a vent positioned along ground level. Pick the lock on its cover and then break through the vent to find a panel on the wall. Activate the panel, then roll left through the passage that leads under the gathering of guards. Emerge from the floor to their left. Now grapple to the vent in the ceiling, which a short time ago was blocked by a large crate that you moved out of the way. After passing through that vent, head left to finally claim the scroll.