Lugaru Combat Strategy

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Unarmed Combat

Basic unarmed strategy is fairly straightforward. Beat up your opponent(s) and reverse their attacks and reversals. There are a few things that might not be immediately obvious:

  • Whenever you attack someone and knock them down, run up to their body and attack it. You will perform a quick soccer kick which is unblockable. Get in the habit of always doing this - it will add more damage to your attack. It also adds an extra attack to the mix which is significant for the following reason:
  • If you always do a round house kick, for instance, your opponents will catch on and soon they will reverse every round house kick you throw at them. Three attacks of any type in a row will inevitably lead to the last one being blocked and/or reversed. Make sure you vary your attacks.
  • One way to disarm an opponent is by tackling them and pressing the pick up key while you are on top of them. It is also possible to grab the weapon in the same way during a leg sweep, punch or leg cannon.
  • Wall-kicks and "leg cannon" attacks are extremely powerful but they very rarely work unless your opponent is near death or distracted. The wall-kick is useful as a show off, finishing move but not much else since your opponent will simply roll under it if they're not about to die. However, adding a flip just before you kick off from the wall can greatly increase your chances of a hit with this kick, since it serves to distract your enemies momentarily. It can be used in the midst of a group attack, and may result in knocking one enemy into another, but just as often you merely knock yourself down or get grabbed and thrown.
  • The leg cannon is extremely useful, but only if you time it right. Attacking from behind is almost always successful with proper timing, but get too close and the enemy will sense you (his ears will twitch) and he'll reverse your kick and flip or throw you to the ground. If you use it when your opponent is getting up from the ground, it will work 100% of the time. Two successive cannons will work most of the time: one knocking the enemy into the distance from behind, the next from the front while they are returning to the attack, still dazed from the first cannon. Attempting a cannon on an in-coming airborne enemy may result in a "Nice Aim" kill, but it often kills you, too, especially if you are weak.
  • You can pull enemies out of the sky if they happen to be jumping over you. Simply attack while they are overhead. This also works with swords and staffs; slash or clobber them as they fly by.
  • Enemies of course can do the same to you, but you can avoid it by flipping in mid-air (press crouch). By flipping in mid-air, all of your opponents will be stunned for a second or two.
  • If an enemy is near-death and is fleeing for help, you can tackle them, knocking them out or killing them instantly.
    This unarmed combat move is executed by Rabbit Running at an enemy and pressing the jump key when close. Successful performance usually rewards 5 points the first couple times, diminishing every time you do it again. On higher difficulties, or simply when an enemy is aware of you, they can throw you off themselves as a reversal, which in turn can be counter-reversed. The tackle does very little damage, if any, but the bonuses are that you knock them prone and you can disarm them in the midst of the move if they are carrying a weapon.
  • You can move silently and quickly by rolling instead of crouch walking. This will let you get close enough for stealth kills more effectively.
  • If you are stalking a wolf, it is best if you stay downwind.
  • For a quick way to evade around a corner, try performing two handsprings, the second one rotated 90 degrees from the first.
  • Jump high into the air while the enemy gets near you. Do some flips in the air: the enemy will become confused. Now "leg cannon" him. Look for a body and get behind it, when the wolf approaches again, throw the body into him, or try the "leg cannon" again. If stunning fails, dodge and repeat the trick.
  • It is almost impossible to sneak up behind a wolf because crouch-walking is too slow. They will notice you when you get too close. Instead, try jumping at them from a distance. They won't have time to react before you perform a spine-crusher.
  • Crouch-attack a dead or unconscious body to throw it. If it strikes an enemy, it gives a great deal of damage (enough to kill most rabbits in Easy mode). It also knocks them down, giving you time to run away.


Weapons are common in the later levels and are very useful to your survival. You can pick up weapons on the ground by crouching over them and pressing the pick up key. However, if you are slick, you can roll over the weapon and press the pick up key instead. This is much more useful in the heat of combat. Swords and knives can be sheathed in your belt. You can carry two weapons by sheathing one and holding the other. Normally, you can only sheath or unsheath weapons when standing still, but you can actually (un)sheath them while rolling or doing a flip in mid-air.

If two people using weapons attack each other at the same time, they will hit each others weapon. This often repeats until someone's weapon flies out of their hand or breaks.


See Category...

The knife's main use is as a thrown weapon. As a melee weapon, you are probably better off using your bare hands. If you slice an enemy wolf with a knife, their current attack will not be cancelled. That is, if a wolf is about to kick you in the face, and you slice him first, you will find yourself painfully hurtling across the map while the wolf has a tiny spot of blood from your weak knife. A good way to swiftly kill a wolf when you have a knife is to sweep him and stab him when he's down.

The knife is the only weapon that can be thrown, and it is extremely deadly. Against any un-armored rabbit, it's a one hit kill, otherwise it will take two hits. So, you can use it to stealthily dispatch most enemies without even being near them. If an enemy has already seen you, they will dodge the thrown knife most of the time. In a wolf's case, they will even catch it. To avoid this, make sure that you throw the knife as they are getting up from a fall or throw it from mid-air as you are doing a flip.


  • Some enemies (most notably wolves, but also armored rabbits) will survive a thrown knife and you can see it sticking out of them. If you knock them over, you can actually pull the knife out of them by pressing the pick up key while you roll over them. They may also pull it out themselves and use it against you. If you don't roll or cartwheel while you pull the knife out of the enemy, you will simply pull it out harmlessly.
  • You can clean your knife of blood by stabbing the ground (crouch and attack). This is crucial when you are stalking a wolf -- they will smell the blood and your cover will be blown.
  • Sometimes you need to retrieve your knife buried in a dead body, but they happened to have fallen face down. Simply kick the body by running toward it and pressing attack or kick it up punch it pressing crouch and attack.


See Category...

The sword is definitely the most powerful weapon in Lugaru. It has long range, it causes permanent bleeding damage, and it is indestructible. You want this weapon.

To acquire a sword, you must successfully reverse an enemy holding it. This is a dangerous task, but very easy once you know what you're doing. It is tricky because the range of the sword is greater than the range of the reversal, so potentially you can get slashed without the opportunity for a reversal. Note that you can always dodge the sword by performing a handspring (hold back and attack) which will change into a dodge animation. The most effective way to disarm an enemy with a sword is to run at them so that you are as close as possible and reverse their attack.

Killing enemies is not as simple as it might seem. After a few attacks you will find that your slashes will constantly get reversed. To avoid this, make sure you attack your opponents before they are in reversal range. An easy way to achieve this is to simply hold down the attack button - you will automatically attack the instant an enemy gets in range. This in turns pushes them back out of range and you can repeat this until the enemy is dead.


  • You can attack an enemy on the ground with your sword by holding down crouch and attacking. This is extremely hard to do when the enemy is alive, but is useful to do if you want to dispatch an unconcious enemy or are just sadistic. It is possible to perform this attack while the enemy is airborne after a leg sweep or strike. Enemies flipping overhead can also be slashed.
  • You can clean your sword of blood by stabbing the ground (crouch and attack). This is crucial when you are stalking a wolf -- they will smell the blood and your cover will be blown.


See Category...

The staff is an excellent weapon - while it lasts. The staff will break after a number of hits. It has two different attacks; the standing attack which brings the staff down vertically (note: this can be used to hit enemies on the ground) and the running attack, which will bring the staff around horizontally and send your enemy flying.

The most effective way to use the staff is to knock your opponent down either by sweeping him or performing a standing attack. Once they are on the ground, you can pound them until they are dead.

Attacking an enemy with a staff is dangerous. Like with the sword, the best way to disarm an opponent is simply to run at them until you are very close and reverse their attack. The staff has a longer range than your reversal's so you will need to be careful not to be caught in a situation where the opponent can hit you, but you can't do anything about it.


  • Try not to get into a parrying duel with enemies as your staff will break very quickly. Instead, try sweeping or rabbit kicking your opponent.

Stealth Kills

Stealth kills are very useful on many maps. If you don't want to draw out a fight which may attract the attention of other enemies, stealth is one of the best options. They are quick, usually silent, and always deadly. You must sneak up behind an enemy before you can perform a stalth kill. This is carried out by rolling or creeping up behind an enemy without them noticing, and attacking. They work unarmed and armed, with the exception of staves. All stealth kills are worth 100 points.

A Note on Wind

Be sure to watch the wind if you are stalking a wolf. A wolf will smell you if you are upwind of them. Also, rabbits can hear you. Stay out of the way of bushes, and roll up behind them; you'll be in position for the kill. Note that you cannot roll to surprise a wolf because rolls are too slow. You need to long jump to spinecrush a wolf, and it is advised to air control forward to gain speed before landing.

Scientific experiments show the following:

  • Snow falls in the direction of the wind. Staggering, but true.
  • Tree leaves swing in the wind. Every third swing the whole foliage leans in the direction of the wind. Handy.
  • Bushes swing, too. Every second and third swing the whole foliage leans in the direction of the wind. Useful in the desert.
  • It has been said that if you jump straight and land on sand or snow, the direction the dust is sent is also that of the wind (unverified for now).
  • A wolf smells you from further away if you are upwind, and/or if you hold a bloody weapon (wipe it).

Reversal, Counters, and Avoidance Techniques


Reversals are the soul of Lugaru. They earn points, and are vital during combat. With insane mode on, all reverses can only be used when facing the enemy. However for wolves, you can reverse from any direction, regardless of difficuly.

Unarmed Reverses

  • Basic Punch/Wolf Punch

Generally, enemies will never use Turner's punch, they will stick to the double punch. Wolves will punch, but they are irreversable for Turner, you can only block them

  • Double Punch

Reversed by hitting shift before the punch reaches impact. Too early will result in a hit, the double punch can hit both standing and crouched opponents

  • Roundhouse Kick

Hold shift to duck it, release it when leg is somewhat over you.

  • Leg Sweep

Hit shift when you see the attack coming, the window is open the entire time between the start of the move till before impact

  • Low Kick

Cannot be reversed and will only be used on down or crouched opponents

Weapon Reverses

  • Staff verticle swing

Close the distance between you and the enemy and hit shift while the staff comes down on you

  • Staff horizontal swing

Same with the above except it has even longer reach. Early crouching doesn't matter, it only hits standing opponents (you won't reverse though)


Unarmed Counters

  • Basic Punch

An extremely quick duck (shift) will allow you to dodge this attack

  • Roundhouse Kick

Hit shift when the enemy has your leg on his shoulder, not when you get kicked


Blocks are not reverses, they are moves to keep you from taking too much damage.


  • If you can't reverse a legsweep in time, still hit shift to duck. The legsweep will not knockover a crouched apponent, it just staggers them.

Low Kick

  • Crouching too long will cause an oppenent to low kick you, it is non-reversible, and pretty much unavoidable. Quickly let go of shift to stand up, you'll get hit anyways. But instead of going flying, you'll just get pushed back a little.

Wolf Punch

  • Can only be blocked, hitting shift will make Turner stop the attack. It would be a good idea to legsweep follow through, after blocking.


These are not rewarded as points, since they don't actually damage your foes. They will however, keep you alive.

Handspring/Roll follow through

  • One of the most important things, is to remember that alot of the damage is added into the fall. Hitting 'shift' won't always recover you in the air, most notably, you'll just flip in the air and still end up hitting the ground. So instead of 'shifting' during the fall, wait till you are about to hit the ground and then quickly press 'space' to roll or handspring away, uninjured.
  • This works well when you completely miss a legcannon. But, when you have a staff, just hold down 'space' after the legcannon, and you'll handspring away if you miss.
  • this will usually only work if you got hurt by yourself (if you tried to flip to gain balance and couldn't make it, you can hit space). You usually can't spring away after you get hit by something like a staff, or fell by getting kicked in the face.


  • You can use the jump button to quickly dodge legsweeps. When an enemy tries to legsweep you hit space, and you'll jump only a foot off the ground (it's binded to that attack, so it works pretty well).

Every level has one or more Optimal Routes, depending on what you wish to accomplish. The route for a high score will almost certainly be different than the route for lowest time, and finding the perfect path requires much time and dedication. Times listed are for the time shown on the High Score/Best Time screen, not on the Level Cleared screen, which are about six seconds longer.

Attack Bonuses

Whaleman does NOT approve!
Whaleman Does NOT Approve!

Barehanded Techniques

Press crouch when an enemy throws a barehanded attack. The type of reversal depends on the attack and your timing in response. A leg sweep is blocked with a foot on the ground and followed by an uppercut to the head. A roundhouse kick is caught on the shoulder by crouching and coming up under the leg, followed by a counter-kick to the midsection. A double punch reversal is turned into a shoulder throw by catching the hands and spinning. A normal punch is merely blocked, however the enemy will follow up their block with a hit to the face. There is also a reversal for a Leg Cannon, but no bonus, since it is only used against you; no enemy uses a Leg Cannon for you to reverse.

Same as reversal, but it requires that you knock out or kill the opponent with the blow.

  • Tackle 5 points (50 points if the target is fleeing, rewarded as a heavy impact)

Crouch-walk, then while still crouch-walking, stop crouching. You will begin to run on all fours. Run towards an enemy and attack.

This bonus occurs when you hit an enemy (dead or alive) into another. You can either "leg cannon" two enemies together, or crouch attack a corpse and launch it at an opponent. Sometime awarded when a normal strike (roundhouse kick, wall-kick, etc.) knocks two opponents together. Also awarded when you slam into a leaping opponent in the air, intentionally or otherwise, which unfortunately usually kills you.

Kill an enemy with a wall-kick.


  • Sliced 10 points

Attack with the knife.

  • Punctured 40 points

After 2 slices in a row, attack again and you will stab the enemy in the throat. Attack is a finisher so you could actually attack a well armored opponent multiple times in a row before doing this move.

  • Bullseye 40 points

Hit the enemy with a thrown knife.

  • Tracheotomy 100 points

Sneak up behind an enemy and attack with a knife.

  • Ninja Bonus 60 points
    The Ninja Bonus is awarded for a mid-air knife throw.

Kill with mid-air throw as you flip over an opponent. (You can throw knives while flipping - press crouch and pick up\throw in mid-air.)


Attack while wielding a sword.

Sneak up behind an enemy and attack while wielding a sword.


Vertically strike the opponent while standing still, can be awarded by hitting fallen enemies.

Attack an enemy horizontally by moving during your attack.

Note: Staff attacks are not named, their bonuses are properly awarded though.

-- A verticle strike is a solid hit, multiplied by 4.

-- A horizontal strike is a solid hit, multiplied by 6.


These techniques will gain you the weapon you're being attacked with, as well as the points listed, while dealing some damage to your foe.

Reverse a sword attack.

Reverse a staff attack. Points are not gained by reversing "verticle swings"

Reverse a knife attack.


Kill a wolf.

This occurs where your attack hurts the enemy so much that instead of rendering them unconcious, it kills them. May be awarded for many different successful attacks: staff strikes, after Cannon Legs into distant objects, drop kicking bodies into enemies, wall-kicking, etc.

Fall or jump on an enemy from above.

When an enemy is on the ground, crouch-attack them with a knife or sword.

This occurs when your enemy dies after striking (or being struck by) something, either intentionally or accidentally: a wall, the ground, your body, a knife, a staff, etc. Like "Touch of Death" it may be awarded when this is the result of a number of different attacks. It is also usually the result when chasing and attacking a fleeing enemy, leading to a tackle and the death of the foe.