My name is Eric. I'm 33.
Here are some random things I'm into:
The Buy it/Avoid it Report - back issues #001 - Ilomilo, Uncharted 2, Infinity Blade, Pac-Man CE DX, Battlefield BC2: Vietnam, PixelJunk Shooter #002 - Batman: Brave & Bold, DJ Hero 2, Dead Space 2, Bionic Commando Rearmed, Marvel vs. Capcom 3, Bulletstorm #003 - Pokemon Black/White, PixelJunk Shooter 2, Monster Tale, God of War III, BIT.TRIP RUNNER, Torchlight #004 - Portal 2, Steel Diver, Sin & Punishment Star Successor, Pilotwings Resort, Crysis 2, Blocks That Matter #005 - L.A. Noire, Alice Madness Returns, Resident Evil Mercenaries 3D, Shadows of the Damned #006 - GoldenEye 007, Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet, AC: Brotherhood, Sword & Sworcery EP, Trenched #007 - Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Jetpack Joyride, Gears of War 3, The Binding of Isaac, Renegade Ops #008 - Dark Souls, League of Evil, Uncharted 3, Batman: Arkham City, Super Mario 3D Land #009 - The Buy it/Avoid it Report's Awards - 2011 #010 - Spelunky, Max Payne 3, Trials Evolution, Mario Kart 7, Escape Goat #011 - Super Hexagon, Tekken Tag Tournament 2, Lollipop Chainsaw, Mark of the Ninja
The Play it/Avoid it Report - back issues #001 - Bioshock Infinite, Darksiders II, Dead Space 3, Far Cry 3, Sleeping Dogs, Tomb Raider #002 - Dishonored, Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, Grand Theft Auto V, Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD, Rogue Legacy
Secret Moon Base - episodes Subscribe on iTunes - a podcast about video games and other stuff with my pals knutaf and Occam
The Binding of Isaac is brutally difficult, complicated and incredibly deep. These things combined can also make it a somewhat confusing, clumsy experience for those just starting out. After sinking 100+ hours into this beast, I figured I should at least share some general knowledge that Iíve picked up over that time. Hopefully this will help clear up some questions a few of you have about this mean motherfucker of a game.
This "manual" covers the original game content along with stuff that was added with The Wrath of the Lamb expansion. Although the expansion does make the game significantly more difficult in some ways but also adds a bunch of neat stuff that makes the overall game more fun too. If you don't have it, get it! Also, if you don't have it, a lot of the stuff mentioned below is gonna sound foreign.
Disclaimer: I didnít fully realize how huge this game was until I started cataloging all the different categories of items and rooms. This was initially supposed to be a ďquick referenceĒ guide for newbies to the game but it ended up being much bigger than I planned. The danger of SPOILERS is a possibility, I guess. I donít go into any depth about the story, specific enemy types or boss strategies. This will most definitely fall into TL;DR territory for most of you but Iím okay with that.
ISAAC > Isaac is the default character and your only available choice the first time around. He starts with 3 red hearts and all of his other stats (speed, rate of fire, power and range) are set at 2. He also gets one bomb.
+ If you complete "The Womb" stage with ??? you'll unlock the D6 for Isaac. This incredible item allows you to "re-roll" most Special Items you come across in the event that you find them unsatisfactory. Unlocking the D6 is a pain in the butt, no doubt, but so worth it. It takes Isaac from being a safe character choice to being one of the best (around), in my opinion.
MAGDALENE > Maggie has long, blonde hair with a red bow on top. This character is specialized towards health with 4 red hearts at the start and something called the Yum Heart -- a Rechargeable Item that fills one empty heart container per use. She is slightly slower than Isaac but her larger health bar and Special Item make her a decent beginner's character.
+ The Yum Heart is handy during the early levels of the game but don't be afraid to swap it out if you come across something better.
+ To unlock Magdalene you must collect 7 total red heart containers in a single playthrough. Seeing as Isaac already has 3 to start, you'll only need to find 4 health upgrades. This will just happen naturally over time so there's no real reason to "try" to unlock her.
CAIN > Cain is the dude with the eyepatch. He starts with 2 hearts, a key and a slight bonus to speed and power, though his range is slightly shorter than Isaac's. He also starts with a Modifier called the Lucky Foot. This effects almost every random thing in the game, meaning your pills will be better, you'll have better luck at the Arcades and you'll find more money. Cain is "easy mode", plain and simple.
+ To unlock Cain you must collect 55 or more coins in a single playthrough. I found this to be slightly more difficult than unlocking Magdalene because I had to keep myself from spending all my glorious wealth. The easiest way to "accidently" unlock Cain is by finding the Dollar.
JUDAS > This little guy wears a fez. He starts with only 1 heart (yikes) and 3 coins (who cares), but has the highest starting power stat of any other character. He also begins his quest with the Book of Belial. When activated, this book increases attack power through the roof but only for the current room.
+ Judas is a risky character to choose but if you can find some health upgrades early he can evolve into a pretty formidable beast. It's usually best to save the Book of Belial item for boss battles and difficult rooms, unless you've already replaced it with something better.
+ To unlock Judas you must defeat the second main boss. In order to do so, you must beat the game once to unlock an extended area of the game and then beat that as well. It's a tall order for someone just starting out but if you have Cain unlocked already, use him. Like I said, he's easy mode.
??? > This awful thing has blueish grey skin and X's for eyes -- I often refer to him/her as the dead baby. It starts with NO red hearts but has 3 soul hearts instead. On top of that bullshit, it cannot heal and all standard health upgrade items have absolutely no effect. The only way to gain more health is by collecting more soul hearts. Ughhhh. In other shitty news, it starts with an item called The Poop and, yes, it is as useless as it sounds.
+ You'll want to replace The Poop with ANYTHING else as soon as you can. Seriously, what the hell is poop good for? I used it to block an enemy's path once but that's hardly a strategy. Screw this dumb item.
+ To unlock ??? you must beat the entire game 10 times -- a hefty challenge. Though you may not necessarily want to unlock ??? for fun, remember that he/she is ultimately the only way to unlock the D6 for Isaac, so it may be worth the struggle.
EVE > Eve has black hair with long bangs covering one eye. She has 2 hearts to start along with slightly higher speed and a lower attack stat than Isaac. What makes her kind of intriguing is she also starts with two Special Items. The Dead Bird spawns the when you take damage in a room and will attack any enemies that get close to you until you leave said room -- he can be a real lifesaver at times but you obviously want to avoid taking damage if you can help it. The other one, known as the Whore of Babylon, transforms you into a black demon and increases your attack damage greatly, however it is only activated when your health drops down to 1/2 of a red heart.
+ There is a tricky way to keep the Whore of Babylon power indefinitely but it requires a steady supply of soul hearts, which it doesn't see as health. You'll also have to purposely avoid regular health pickups as they will increase your red hearts and transform you back into regular Eve.
+ To unlock Eve you must make 2 deals with the Devil in one playthrough. This is not terribly hard to do and may even happen accidently if you're playing like you have nothing to lose. The only factor you don't necessarily have control over is the Devil Room itself, but it'll show up after a boss battle eventually.
SAMSON > Samson has long brown hair and a red headband. He only starts with 1 red heart and 1 soul heart but all of his other stats are set at 2, just like Isaac. What makes him unique is his starting item, Blood Lust. This Modifier increases his attack power with each successful kill in the current room, eventually turning his tears to blood.
+ Obviously 1 freaking heart isn't that great so finding health upgrades is a must for Samson. The first few levels can be a real pain with him, even with his special power.
+ To use his Blood Lust properly, you'll want to focus on the weaker enemies (flies, grubs, etc) first, then use the increased power to take down the bigger guys. Certain bosses that spawn smaller enemies can be a real breeze with Samson if you use this technique.
+ To unlock Samson you must skip two Treasure Rooms in a single playthrough and successfully kill Mom. This can be done fairly easily as long as the first couple Treasure Rooms give you decent enough items to survive.
RED > Red hearts are the most common health item. An empty heart container can be filled by picking up one of these, though extra containers are harder to come by. Permanent health upgrades are usually the reward for defeating a boss.
BLUE > Also referred to as ďsoul heartsĒ, these are a non-permanent health upgrade. Once a soul heart is depleted, itís gone for good. I like to think of them as shields rather than health. They can be found in shops, hidden within dark rocks or obtained through special items.
WHITE (rare)> Very uncommon and only found in halves. They may appear to act just like a regular soul heart but they are far more special. If you manage to keep one in your health bar until you drop down to the next level, it will transform into a new permanent heart container! If you're lucky enough to find second one, it will create a permanent heart container right on the spot! (thanks bbain!) They reside behind the soul hearts in your health bar so protect them if you can.
+ If youíre low on health, check your map. If you left any hearts in previous rooms, it will show their location. Backtracking is always worth the trip!
+ Even if you have a bunch of hearts, donít get cocky. You can lose quite a bit of health in a relatively short amount of time if youíre overconfident. Itís been my downfall way too many times.
+ Donít hurt yourself! That might sound like an obvious ďtipĒ but there are many environmental things (explosive barrels, spikes, etc) that can be just as dangerous as an enemy if youíre careless. Play it safe and keep your distance. Thereís no time limit in Isaac so thereís no need to rush.
+ Some rechargeable items (like books) may give you hearts. So, even if you donít necessarily want to carry it around for the rest of the level, pick it up and use it once then replace it with your previous item.
SILVER > Can be found just about anywhere. Theyíre used to open locked doors, locked barriers and locked chests. Pretty standard key stuff. A single key can be the difference between getting a sweet new upgrade and being a regular turd, so think about that next time youíre about to use your last one.
GOLDEN (rare)> When found, this key is placed over your current inventory of silver keys. It grants you unlimited unlocks but only for the current floor. Itís still a good idea to actively search for silver keys so youíll be prepared for the next floor.
+ Always save one for Treasure Rooms (signified by a golden door). Thereís one Treasure Room per floor (unless itís an XL floor, in which there will be two) and those are where the big upgrades are. Besides the first floor, which is a freebie, all Treasure Rooms require one key to open so be smart!
+ If you have a lot of money, save a key for the Shop as well. Nothingís worse than having 43 cents sitting in your wallet but no key to open the freaking door with. Shops can be a lifesaver sometimes, but only if you can get inside.
+ This may be redundant but try to be frugal with your key usage. Locked chests are tempting but imagine using your last key only to get two pennies in return. Thatís not a good trade-off and itís happened to me more than once. Of course if youíre rolling in 10+ keys you can do whatever the hell you want.
STANDARD > Primarily used for blowing shit up. They have a blast radius of two panels, meaning theyíll damage the square theyíre on and two panels in each direction. Once mastered, you can be fairly surgical with your bombs if you place them just right. Though they only really come in one type, they can be upgraded with extra power, increased blast radius, poison effects, homing abilities and others.
+ Keep an eye out for dark rocks and blow them up! Theyíre noticeably darker than regular rocks and, if you look closely, they have a small ďxĒ on them. They usually have a couple soul hearts inside but sometimes money and keys too.
+ They can create bridges! Crazy, right?! If you need to cross a pit (to reach a useful item or chest) youíll need two things: a bomb in your inventory, and a rock on your side of the pit. More specifically, the rock has to be right next to the pit in question. If you place a bomb directly behind the rock, with the pit on the opposite side, the explosion will destroy the rock and create a bridge in the process. If thatís confusing, imagine where you would stand if you wanted to push the rock into the hole -- place the bomb on that panel. This is an insanely helpful technique that I use all the time.
+ You can push them around before they blow up. I canít say I use this all the time but itís good to know. You wouldnít want to carefully place one (to create a bridge, for instance) and bump it with your fat ass as you run for it. Itís embarrassing, even if youíre the only witness.
+ You are not immune to your own bombs so treat them with the respect they deserve. Once placed, get the hell away from it. Though bombs only have a two panel blast radius, itís always smart to move as far away as you can from a live one. Be safe!
+ Bombs are tricky to use properly in combat. Remember how I mentioned you can push bombs? Well, some enemies can too, and theyíll push it right back in your face. On top of that, the fuse on a bomb takes a few seconds to actually blow up. Since enemies tend to move around a lot, itís tough to predict where theyíll be in that amount of time and you can end up wasting more than a few -- not to mention hurt yourself in the process.
+ There are a few exceptions when bombs are actually pretty helpful during combat. A few bosses (Chub and CHAD specifically) like to charge directly at you with their mouths wide open. If you can plant a bomb directly in their path, they'll eat it, causing them to stop as it explodes in their stomachs for some pretty substantial damage. (thanks bbain!)
PENNIES > One cent. Theyíll look like little copper circles, just like in real life. These (and all other forms of currency) can be used to buy helpful items at Shops or gambled away at Arcades. Every penny counts so be sure to pick them up if theyíre easy to get to.
NICKELS > Five cents. Nothing more, nothing less. Theyíre dark grey and appear to be the same size as a penny.
DIMES > Ten cents. Theyíre small, silver and make a really neat sound when you pick them up. Worth using a bomb to obtain one from behind a rock wall, Iíd say.
QUARTERS (rare)> Twenty five cents. Even though you wonít see them often, they do exist so I figured Iíd list it here.
DOLLARS (rare)> Strangely, 99 cents is the maximum wallet amount. Regardless, youíll never have to worry about money again. Buy out all the Shops! Gamble in the Arcade! Go nuts!
+ Remember the common prices for items are between 3 to 15 cents before you waste a key on the Shopís locked door. No need to go in if youíve only got two cents to your name.
+ In the grand scheme of things, money isnít terribly important in Isaac. Itís a nice reward for clearing a room or opening a chest but donít waste a bunch of resources just to get to a couple of pennies. Money will come naturally over the course of your game so just spend it wisely.
+ When Quarters and Dollars are picked up, they're treated like Special Items instead of regular currency -- meaning Isaac will stand still and triumphantly hold the item up in the air. These few precious seconds can lead to unwanted damage if you happen to be surrounded by enemies at the time so wait until the room is cleared before picking them up! (thanks Wrenchfarm!)
PILLS > These are one-time-use items which have random effects for every playthrough. They can increase or reduce your stats but thereís absolutely no way to know until theyíre ingested. The game will keep track of pills youíve taken and, if you find the same one again, itís effect will be displayed next to it in the upper right corner. You can only hold one pill (or card) at a time.
+ My dirty little secret: I eat every new pill immediately because how else am I going to know if itís good or bad? This may technically be bad advice so eat them at your own risk. If youíre not a risk taker, you can ignore them.
+ There is one item in particular that promises ďbetter pillsĒ, so keep an eye out for that. It looks like a doctorís surgical mask.
+ One of the pill effects is known as "bad trip" and usually damages you by one full heart. If you manage to pick up another one, hold onto it! If your health drops down to 1-2 hearts (unknown exactly), the pill will transform into a full health one! I totally didn't know that! (thanks bbain!)
TAROT CARDS > These brown cards are also one-time-use-items but their effects are not random. They have specific names and have a huge variety of different effects. Learning them all is a challenge and I keep telling myself that Iím going to make a list or something but it hasnít happened yet. Take notes if youíre proactive. Google Ďem if youíre a cheater.
+ Hereís a few off the top of my head: ďThe MoonĒ teleports you to a Secret Room. ďThe ChariotĒ will make you invincible for a short period of time. ďThe DevilĒ will boost your attack until you leave the room. Obviously knowing their effects before you activate them means you can use them properly.
+ If youíre about to use a tarot card youíve never seen before, be ready for anything. You could be teleported directly to the boss which would be unfortunate if youíre not prepared!
PLAYING CARDS (rare)> These red and white cards can (with the exception of the Joker) double your current inventory of specific items which can be a huge help. Once used, they disappear from your inventory.
+ The 2 of Hearts doubles the number of red hearts you have up to, but not exceeding, full health. Itís handy if youíre at half health but obviously not so much if youíre already full.
+ The 2 of Spades doubles the number of keys in your inventory. If you have any, it will give you two. Sometimes I hold onto this for a bit to see if I can find any extra keys before I use it.
+ The 2 of Clubs doubles the number of bombs in your inventory. Yep. The tip I listed above applies here as well.
+ The 2 of Diamonds...*drum roll*...doubles your money! As with all the ď2 ofĒ cards, it can be immensely helpful if used correctly.
+ The Joker will teleport you to the Devil or Angel Room. These rooms will offer you Special Items, albeit in different ways. The Devil Room requires you to sacrifice health, while the Angel Room is just really nice and gives you the item free of charge.
* SPECIAL ITEMS * ___________________________________________________________________________________
MODIFIERS > These are items that become a part of your character when picked up, which is nice because inventory space is minimal in Isaac. They are usually a reward for defeating a boss, purchased at Shops for a premium price or a few other random ways. Youíll know theyíre special because they will be floating above a pedestal and look very unique. Not only do their effects stack with one another but they change Isaacís appearance as well. Witnessing Isaacís slow bizarre transformation is basically my favorite aspect of the game.
+ By and large, their effects are positive. They can increase your health, speed, damage, rate of fire, shot speed or luck. They can also modify your shot pattern, bless you with the gift of flight or make your skin poisonous to the touch. There are so many to find and unlock that I still havenít seen them all!
+ Not all can be seen as positive so remember ones you hate and avoid them. For instance, thereís a snake item that causes your tears to fire in a wavy pattern, which is not helpful to me. In fact, it usually causes more harm than good so I donít even bother picking it up now.
+ Take a good look at them before you pick them up. A lot of items can seem somewhat similar but have vastly different effects. Itíll also help you identify it if you come across it in the future.
+ When you pick one up, pay close attention to the bottom right corner of the screen. For a few seconds the game will show a description of that particular itemís effects.
COMPANIONS > These little guys and gals are neat. Once they join your ranks, theyíll float around or behind you, helping you out in various ways. Some will fire their own bullets or periodically gift you items. Others can act as 1-ups or block incoming bullets. Friends are cool.
+ Since they donít technically take up an inventory slot, donít be afraid to pick them up. Iíve yet to find one that I didnít like, though one of them does like to steal money off the floor before I get to it. Itís cool though because heíll poop out helpful items afterwards so weíre bros.
RECHARGEABLE ITEMS > These are items that you carry in the Space Bar portion of your inventory. They have to recharge after each use but can be used indefinitely. You can only carry one of them at a time so theyíll have to be swapped out if you want to carry something new.
+ Experiment! Like Modifiers and Companions, these come in all sorts of varieties so itís hard to summarize their individual effects without going into detail on each item. They can be anything from books to body parts to decoys. Some are serve as special attack moves and others can teleport you at random. Since the game wonít always spell it out for you, pick it up and try it out!
+ Theyíll recharge a some of their meter each time you clear a room of enemies. Some recharge faster than others so just keep an eye on the bar next to the item. When it reaches the top, you can use it again.
+ Donít get too attached. Your currently equipped item and the new one on the pedestal can be swapped so donít worry about taking something new for a spin. If it sucks, come back to the room and swap it back. Easy.
+ Avoid redundant effects. If your character already has wings, you probably donít need an item that grants temporary flight. If you have a ton of bombs, you probably donít need an item that can spawn one every so often. This seems obvious but I figured it was worth mentioning.
TRINKETS (rare)> These are items with passive abilities that can be swapped out, kind of like Rechargeable Items. You can only carry one at a time, with the exception of a Special Item which allows you to carry two. Your currently equipped Trinket is displayed in the upper left corner of the game screen. They have a wide variety of effects and are not explained by the game at all.
+ I... donít have a lot of help for you here. Some of these are okay but others seem useless. Iíve found a couple that donít even activate unless you have Ĺ of a heart of health! A couple examples of ones that I like: the Flat Penny (causes extra keys to spawn when you pick up money) and the Pinky Eye (some of your tears will be poisonous).
* STANDARD ROOMS * ___________________________________________________________________________________
COMMON ROOMS > These make up the majority of all floors. The room you start in is always empty but other common rooms will be a mix of enemies, rocks, shit, fire, spikes, pits and just about anything else. Items that are unreachable or unneeded at the time will remain there to be retrieved later if you wish.
+ If you enter a room with enemies in it, all doors will close and remain locked until every enemy on the screen has been killed. Once cleared, the doors will open and you might be rewarded with a small item or chest in the center of the room.
+ Shoot the shit! Seriously though, be sure to destroy all poop piles and put out all fires when possible. Every once in awhile youíll be rewarded with coins or hearts -- always a lovely surprise.
SELF-SACRIFICE ROOMS > Itís a bloody room with a single set of spikes in the middle. If you purposefully hurt yourself on the spikes enough, you might be rewarded with items. Itís like a horrible slot machine that you play using hearts and should only be used under rare conditions. If there are spare hearts lying around the map, for instance, take it for a spin and see what happens.
+ Some Special Items can grant temporary invincibility which, if used in tandem with the spikes, can trick the room into granting you items even though you haven't lost any health! (thanks PhilK3nS3bb3n!)
TREASURE ROOMS > You should get excited when you see this golden door! Inside lies an upgrade item that will either stack with your current abilities or be a rechargable item you can use over and over. Almost always worth the price of admission, one key.
+ As I stressed earlier, always keep a spare key around for these rooms. Just do it!
SHOPS > Signified by a coin on the Map, the doors are brown with a keyhole in the center. Usually a shopkeeper will have 3-5 items for sale -- if you touch an item you can afford, youíll buy it.
+ As a general rule, I usually avoid the Shop on the first floor. Itís rarely worth the key seeing as I typically havenít found much money yet.
+ Sometimes instead of a Shop youíll be forced to fight the mini-boss Greed. Itís not a super hard fight but it can catch you off guard so beware.
SECRET ROOMS > Every single floor has at least one secret room though itís location is not immediately visible on your Map. Inside are usually coins, but every so often you can find a special item or even a mini boss. Since their locations are random (just like everything else), finding them can be tricky.
+ To open their ďdoorĒ, place a bomb in the center of the wall adjacent to their location. If placed correctly, an opening will appear. Enter and collect whatís inside but remember that the door will disappear when you leave. If you need to re-enter, youíll need to blow the door open again.
+ These can be found through random accidents but may also be searched for if you have enough bombs to fund your research. A common place for the Secret Room to reside is an empty space on the map surrounded on 3 sides by rooms. These can be easier to spot early on, when the maps are smaller but may not be worth the effort late in the game. (thanks Wrenchfarm!)
+ There are a number of Special Items (like the Joker playing card) that can help you locate Secret Rooms. Very helpful.
+ If you're unfortunate enough to come across Super Greed hiding inside a Secret Room, just run out! Though most doors lock you in during a fight, the hole in the wall stays open and provides a nice little "oh shit" escape hatch. (thanks Wrenchfarm!)
BOSS ROOMS > The exit of each floor is guarded by a random boss. It should be pretty clear which door leads to the Boss Room due to the demonic skull that resides above the doorway. Since the dungeon layouts are random, itís not uncommon to stumble upon the boss room door before youíre finished exploring the full level. Itís your choice when you want to take them on so donít go through that door until youíre ready for a fight.
+ Since the bosses are random, your strategy will differ for each one. Figuring out the weakness and patterns for each one will take time. Even after 100+ hours, Iím still seeing variations and completely unique bosses from time to time.
+ As I said earlier, itís your choice when you choose to take the boss on. On rare occasion Iíll stumble across the Boss Room early and, if Iím in good shape, take them on right then and there. After the fight, Iíll collect the Special Item and use it to help me clear out the rest of the rooms. But do whatever youíre comfortable with.
* SPECIAL ROOMS * ___________________________________________________________________________________
LIBRARIES > The door looks similar to a Shop but if you look at the Map, youíll notice the icon is a book instead of a coin. Inside youíll find two books (random, of course) free for the taking. Unfortunately, you can only carry one at a time so choose wisely.
+ Books are placed in the Space Bar location of your inventory which means they can be reused indefinitely as long as you allow them to recharge. Since only one Space Bar item can be held at a time, if you already have something cool, youíll have to decide which youíd rather have. Decisions, decisions.
+ Some books cause a soul heart or tarot card to spawn when activated. These are worth picking up and using once, even if you donít plan on carrying it around with you. Take what you can get.
ARCADES > These should be easy to spot because thereís a huge neon sign above the door flashing the word ďARCADEĒ. Unlike most locked doors, this one is unlocked with a penny instead of a key. Once inside, there will be three games you can play.
+ The Slot Machine on the left is one cent per play and can reward you with more money, hearts, bombs, keys or sometimes pills. When youíre done using its services, blow it up with a bomb. You will almost always get something from inside.
+ The Blood Bank on the right is basically a hearts-for-cash ATM. It's often a good idea to use it if you have a bunch of spare hearts lying around. If you used enough times, it'll explode and grant you a special item! The IV Bag is kind of worthless, but if you're lucky you'll find a Blood Bag which increases your health and refills four hearts. Since the average amount of hearts required to make the Blood Bank explode is four, your hearts should be completely restored. This strategy isn't recommended once you progress past the Womb stage as it requires more health per each use. (thanks bbain!)
+ The dude in the middle wants to play a shell game with you. If you pay him a penny, heíll reveal an item under a skull, cover it and proceed to quickly mix it up with two other skulls. When he stops you can take a guess at which skull hides the item. Guess correctly, you get the item. Guess wrong, a buzzer will sound and a fly will spawn. You can blow this guy up too if youíre a dick.
CHALLENGE ROOMS > These rooms are marked by two crossed swords above the door, or a bloody sword icon if youíre looking at the Map. Inside is usually a chest containing some random item(s). However, if you choose to open it, the door will slam shut behind you and youíll be forced to battle 3 waves of enemies. If youíre feeling ballsy, go for it.
+ You can only enter regular Challenge Rooms if youíre at full health. Their doors remain locked otherwise.
BOSS CHALLENGE ROOMS > Similar to the regular Challenge Rooms but these have a Special Item inside, but BEWARE -- if you pick it up youíll have to fight two bosses in a row! Yep. Oh, and you can only enter if you have a single heart. Hmmm, nope. Not for me.
+ If you can enter, youíll see what item is up for grabs before you delve into the actual challenge. It may be worth the risk if the item is really, really good.
DEVIL ROOMS > After defeating a boss, a second door will sometimes appear with a demon head over the doorway. Inside you will be given the choice to sacrifice permanent hearts in return for various curses. A lot of these Special Items are fairly tempting but itís often hard to part with 1-3 full hearts. Choose wisely.
+ Every so often youíll have to fight a demonic boss instead. If defeated youíll be rewarded with a lump of coal. Merry Christmas!
ANGEL ROOMS (rare)> Same as Devil Rooms, these will sometimes appear after a successful boss fight. Inside youíll find any one of a few angelic items. Better yet, you wonít have to sacrifice any life in order to gain their heavenly abilities. Score!
+ Uhhh, if you're in it, you're lucky! Pro tips...
* THANKS FOR READING * ___________________________________________________________________________________
Hoooooooooly shit that took a long time. Of course itís only after writing this monstrosity that I realize you could have easily just looked at the Wiki or something else online, albeit without my literary touch. Regardless, itís been done and it was fun to write. I hope this helps to clear up some questions a few of you may have. I may do a combat strategy and basic enemy guide if you guys feel it's necessary. Of course if any veterans out there have any tips or suggestions that I failed to include, please let me know in the comments. That goes for mistakes too!