Don't Pursue Lu Bu - A.K.A. Strategy for Defeating The Toughest General In Dynasty Warriors 3

"Don't pursue Lu Bu!" is a phrase uttered imperatively by Allied Forces commander Yuan Shao if you pass close enough to the spear-wielding ultimate warrior of the Three Kingdoms, Lu Bu, during The Battle at Hu Lao Gate in Dynasty Warriors 3. It's advice to consider seriously if you're playing through Musou Mode for the first time with any particular character; being only the first or second battle for your fighter, he or she will be very weak - in no condition to take down the most vicious and powerful man of his era on the battlefield. He can drain your Life bar by 75% with one swipe of his gigantic halberd, and sometimes your attacks, when unblocked, will do zero damage and leave Lu Bu unfazed (something that I have not found to occur against anyone else in the game. However, Lu Bu is beatable; your chances varying with difficulty level, the strength, defense and HP of your character, and your tactics.

As you approach Lu Bu, you can try to take him down a few notches with some arrows from a relatively safe distance, though this is generally rather ineffective, as

  1. if Lu Bu is in a group of his enemies, he'll be moving around so fast with his attacks that your arrow lock-on will become useless (there is no timing of arrow shots in this game, just placement) or
  2. if Lu Bu sees you (i.e. you come within his calculated radius of detection), he'll come running straight at you.
This can be an opportunity to get 2 or 3 dead-on shots in, but be sure to beat him back with your sword/spear etc. or get out of his way before he bulls you over.

Some people advise that you should block until your opponent finishes his string of attacks, and then strike, but I find the blocking system of Dynasty Warriors 3 to be a hazard to one's health. There is no targeting system - your character remains facing straight forward while blocking, and you can only move forward-back and side-to-side, making it virtually impossible to direct the block towards your constantly moving enemy, never mind the ten or fifteen grunts milling about and whacking you from behind.

Your fight will be different depending on the soldiers surrounding you. If you're alone and he has a number of allies, you basically have no chance unless your stats are maxed out. The fight will probably consist of you getting battered down to beyond the health level past which your Musou (spirit power, allows you to use your super-destructive Musou attack) gauge fills on its own, after which you'll run until it's full, then stop, wait for Lu Bu to appear behind you, turn, unleash the attack, then repeat until you win or die.

If it's just you and him, attack normally - if you connect, play out your attack string according to the max hits your weapon can deal out, ending with a charge or Musou attack. (The best attack string I can think of is to stun him with SST, (PS2 buttons; S= Square T= Triangle) then juggle with SSST, and finish with your Musou Attack.)

Very Important:If your attacks with square are blocked, make sure you do not deal out the maximum hits your weapon allows, because this leaves you wide open for Lu Bu to tear you to pieces. Instead, land two or three blocked hits, stop attacking, and go at it again until you do connect. This method leaves your opponent staggered just long enough for you to continue your assault.

If there are a number of your allies around, you can make the fight easier. Move out of Lu Bu's circle of detection, forcing him to concentrate on your side's soldiers. As he attacks them, run around behind him and attack - unless someone hits you, giving Lu Bu the time to turn around and strike, this never fails, and once he has been knocked away, run straight up to him, and he'll probably still be facing away from you, leaving him open to more attacks from behind. It helps that the time it takes enemy generals to get up from an attack is just a little more than the time it takes you to run to the position at which they land after being thrown by your attack.

So that's it! (......) It may seem like a lot to think about, but the rewards for defeating Lu Bu are great - you recieve the Special Item "Red Hare Saddle", which lets you start any stage with Lu Bu's legendary horse, Red Hare, who is the fastest in the game; a must-have for the large stages, as it can be exceedingly annoying to run the great distances, especially when playing with slow characters like Dian Wei and Xu Zhu (though the speedy Lu Xun is as fast as the slowest horse, don't ask me how). Secondly, if you do beat Lu Bu in Musou Mode, the summary of your exploits that rolls at the end of the game will include a self-esteem boosting announcement of your slaying of the "mighty Lu Bu".

So while the common advice is to stay the hell out of the man's way, pursuing Lu Bu isn't always a bad thing to do after all.

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