Well, there wasn't really anything posted here yet, so I figured I might as well post this here. (Also, I needed a place to put it!) ;P
This is a complete drawn map and written guide to Hollow Bastion, at least to the best of my ability. (I know there are some inconsistencies...) This took me about a month to complete, working on and off when I was bored. Hopefully people can find it useful!
Welcome to the Hollow Bastion guide! This guide and map is designed for those who have trouble getting around the maze that is Hollow Bastion…in other words, everyone. The guide also includes all of the secret passageways and hidden areas of the castle, at least that I have found. Each of the rooms are ordered by level, or level approximation, as it's near impossible to tell exactly where all of the rooms are in vertical relation to each other.
Please keep in mind that these maps are *not* to scale. This is all based solely on what I can see by playing the level, so some areas are less than accurate. However, they are accurate to the best of my ability.
On with the tour!
These are not a part of the castle itself, so they don't necessarily count as a level. They serve as the entrance to Hollow Bastion itself, and house a number of chests and one trinity. Level XA is what you see first off: a series of floating islands that lead up to the entrance. Follow these up in a spiral to reach the first lift, which will take you up to Hollow Bastion itself.
Level XB is the water beneath the islands, which you can normally walk on top of. If you enter one of the floating bubbles around the islands, they will take you beneath the water level and let you walk underwater for a brief period of time. There are a few chests under the water, so it is worth seeing where the bubbles actually go.
Castle Gates, Entrance Hall, Library, Lift Stop
The Castle Gates are the direct entrance into Hollow Bastion. As you enter, you'll notice there are two different sections: one on level 1A and the other on level 1B. The section on level 1B can only be reached from the Library, and from there the Lift Stop on level 1B. The first section, on level 1A, will take you two places: to the Entrance Hall, and to the Base Level. We'll cover the Base section first (more on that below.) Around the Castle Gates are two lifts that move in two circles above you. To activate these lifts, there is a crystal on each level of the Castle Gates. Once both crystals are activated, they do nothing afterwards. The lifts can only be reached by the section of the Castle Gates on level 1B. From those lifts, you can glide to three free-standing platforms, both of which contain chests. (One of these chests should have some puppies in them.)
When first visiting Hollow Bastion, you cannot enter the Entrance Hall until you and Beast take a trip to the Base Level and Waterway. The lift to the Waterway is on the far right end of the Castle Gates on level 1A.
The Entrance Hall is where you first enter the castle proper, from the large double doors as the Castle Gates. It's a basic circular room on two levels: 1A and 1B. On level 1A is a large fountain, and a staircase that curves on either side of the fountain. Above you is a platform hanging from chains, and two smaller platforms that hover around the center one. There are two new exits from level 1A of the Entrance Hall: the door directly across from the entrance leads to the Lift Stop, and the door to the left leads to the Library. At first, you can only access level 1B of the Entrance Hall from the Library. You also cannot enter the Lift Stop until you complete a puzzle required to open the door. Completing the puzzle requires a few chores on level 1B of the Entrance Hall, which means going through the Library first. However, once you complete the puzzle, you can enter the Lift Stop any time.
The Library is another mini-maze within itself, but also acts as a Heartless-free zone within Hollow Bastion. The Library itself exists on two levels: 1A and 1B. Level 1A is primarily bookshelves. There is a curved staircase by the windows which leads up to Level 1B, with more bookcases, a reading table and a save point. To work through the Library, you must pick mismatched books off the shelves and put them in their proper spots. A few of the books are hidden in different spots: some are on the tables, and there's one on top of the bookcase that's accessible through a green trinity. It's fairly easy to figure out.
What's easy to miss is the secret door that leads from the Library to the Lift Stop. Even though you can get through the Library without activating it, if you place *all* of the books back into their proper places, you'll open the secret door on level 1B of the Library (directly across from the save point.) The secret door leads to a dead-end in the Lift Stop, with a lift that takes you up and outside the castle. The lift in fact takes you to the Lift Turntable (more on that below.)
The Lift Stop is a brain-racking maze of dead ends, entrances and exits. It exists as the center point of the castle, and all of your traveling is essentially a giant spiral around this center point. A portion of the Lift Stop exists on literally every level of the castle. Where the lifts within it take you depends on 1) what way you enter the Lift Stop, and 2) how you activate the crystals within it.
We'll take the Lift Stop as it relates to each level of the castle, as opposed to an area in of itself.
On level 1A of the Lift Stop, directly from exiting the Entrance Hall, there are several options of travel. The passage curves to the left, where a door takes you back out to the Castle Gates on level 1B. There are also two crystals. The one closest to you activates the lift, while the one farther away on the left changes the direction of the lift. You have two choices here: to the upper level, or lower level.
The upper level first: choosing for the lift to go up takes you to a ledge above you, still in the Lift Stop, on level 1B. There is a chest there, but nothing else…not very exciting.
The lower level is a bit more complicated. Choosing for the lift to go down takes you down to another ledge on level 0A. From there, a door leads back into the Waterway. This Waterway passage is not very well lit, and crawling with Heartless. At the end of the hall are two platforms, one of which takes you down to level 0C, and the other back up to 0B. The platform at the far end takes you down to the Dungeon, which hides some chests and even a trinity! If Beast is in your party, he can smash through one wall and open a passage back into the Waterway Maze…this also works vice versa. The platform on the right takes you down to a dead-end section of the Lift Stop. It contains nothing except a crystal that gives you a lot of stuff when you activate it.
To get back up to the Lift Stop on level 1A, follow back the route you took. From there, the passage leads back out to the Castle Gates on level 1B.
Base Level, Waterway
When first entering the Base Level, you'll find yourself on level 0A. To your left is a ledge, which leads to more of the Base Level, and to the right is part of the castle wall, which leads to the Waterway. There is a lift at the entrance to the Base Level which will bring you back to the Castle Gates. (Note: this is the *only* lift that works when Sora becomes a Heartless!) There are two bubbles in this area. The first leads to the Waterway, which is on level 0C, and the second bubble leads to level 0B; the upper portion of the Base Level.
By taking the second bubble, you travel underneath the ledge to the left, and up onto the other side. There are a few platforms here for you to jump onto the ledge itself, which is level 0B. From here, you can also glide to some of the nearby ledges, and the balconies of the castle wall. On the ledges are two crystals, which extend the balconies out from the wall. After that, they do nothing. By jumping across the balconies also on level 0B, you'll find a secret door that leads into the Waterway. However, this particular door only takes you to a very dark passage, and there's not much in it. Going into the first bubble takes you into the Waterway maze.
While there is no way to be certain, it is assumed that Ansem's machine is somewhere on this level. This is based on the fact that he says he is completing his experiments beneath the castle, near the dungeons, and the look of the hallway when you visit it in End of the World. Perhaps the secret door that leads to the dark passage is close to the room with Ansem's machine?
There are multiple entries into the Waterway, which is itself very confusing. When you first arrive with Beast, navigating the Waterway is essential. Here's the basic route:
The bubble will take you into the Waterway entrance, still on level 0A. There is a wall that Beast needs to smash through, as well as a save point. Smashing through the wall takes you to another hallway with a bubble at the end. This bubble takes you below again, to level 0C, where the actual maze begins. The maze is simple as long as you don't get turned around. There are four buttons, all of which need to be activated in turn. Follow the route provided after activating each button, and you'll end up at a dead end with yet another bubble. This bubble takes you to yet another hallway, with a platform that lifts you up to level 0A once again. At the end of the hallway is a final button: this button opens the Main Entrance. Once you've activated this button, it does nothing afterwards. In order to get back, follow the route you took to get there: take the platform back down to level 0C, take the bubble back into the maze, push each of the buttons in turn to bring the maze route back to the beginning, and enter the bubble that brings you back to the Base Level.
This maze is the most you have to do when you're alone with Beast – afterwards, you can enter the Entrance Hall any time.
The Great Crest is comprised of a series of balconies outside the castle. There aren't many Heartless here, but there are many, many lifts to take up.
To get to the Great Crest, take the lift from the far end of the Castle Gates. There are two crystals there, but the one jutting out on the parapet is the one that summons the lift.
A series of short stairs then takes you to an enormous outdoor lift. This lift will take you across the length of the castle, past the partially-exposed Heartless symbol that Hollow Bastion is famous for. Before the lift finishes its course, a gang of Heartless always attack. Once they're defeated, a crystal appears in the middle of the lift that will bring it back to the castle.
Once the lift lands, follow the stairs up and to the left to reenter the Lift Stop. You're still on level 2A. Inside the Lift Stop, there is only one way to go, and that is up. The lift takes you up to Level 3A, where another door takes you back outside to the Great Crest.
Again, there is not much in this area. This large, circular balcony again offers only one new route, which is up. A lift will take you up to level 4A; the High Tower.
The High Tower is a bit complex, and a hot spot for Heartless. It consists of a huge balcony split by two giant, movable blocks. Together, these blocks form the ever-present Heartless symbol.
When first entering the High Tower, there are again two crystals: one which will summon the lift to take you back down, and the other which will move one of the huge blocks. Touch the crystal to move the first block, since both blocks need to be moved to form a staircase to the Chapel. Once all of the Heartless are defeated, go through the provided doorway and into the Lift Stop on level 4A. There are no lifts available from this point, so follow the passageway back out to the High Tower. This brings you to the other side of the High Tower, where more Heartless await. There is also another crystal which activates the second block. With both crystals activated, a staircase forms to the Castle Chapel.
But wait…there's more!
If the blocks are raised high enough, they open a secret passage beneath them. It's possible to reach this passage by gliding from the High Tower, although it requires some tricky flying. This secret passage leads you back into the Lift Stop, at a dead-end spot I'm calling level 3B, since it doesn't quite fit anywhere else. There is not much in this passage except for a chest containing more Gummi Ship crap, but it's fun just to find it all the same.
And just when you thought you were done…there is actually a *third* crystal at the top of the block staircase, on what is now level 4B, before entering the Chapel. Touching this crystal activates the first block again, bringing it up to a hidden ledge on the far left of the High Tower. At the end of this ledge is yet another crystal…this one activates the Lift Turntable.
Remember the secret passage on level 1B of the Library? This is where it goes. A long tunnel takes you to the outside of the castle, and all the way up to level 4B. At the top of the lift route is a turntable that splits the route in two different directions. The crystal tucked into the ledge on level 4B changes which direction the turntable takes you: left or right.
Either way you choose, both routes will take you back to essentially the same place. The lift goes back inside, to the Lift Stop on level 5A. The lift stops at the very center pillar of the Lift Stop. This center pillar is split down the middle by one of those invisible barriers, so you must try both routes in order to visit both sides of the pillar. The sections of the pillar contain two floating chests which, naturally, give you more Gummi Ship crap. From here, it's impossible to exit the Lift Stop from any other route…you must take the lift all the way back down to the Library.
Castle Chapel, Grand Hall, Dark Depths
Following the normal route, when you head up the stacked blocks and through the door on the left, you will be back on the Lift Stop on level 4B. No lifts are available, so follow the route provided and through the door into the Chapel itself.
The Chapel itself is as simple as can be: a long room ending in a Round Table-esque circular junction. Pay attention to the decor, and you'll notice this is where Maleficent has been holding her conferences with the other villains.
At first, there appears to be no exit from the Chapel. After fighting Maleficent the first time, a portal appears to a hidden room beyond the Chapel. There's nothing waiting in this room but boss battles: mainly the fight with Dragon Maleficent. This is also where Sora fights the Organization member in Final Mix. This hidden room isn't accessible after the boss battle.
After fighting Dragon Maleficent, a new door appears on the right side of the Chapel, directly in front of the save point. Through this door is the Lift Stop yet again, now on level 5A. There are no lifts and no invisible barriers here, so it's quite easy to fall down to level 4B. The passage leads to another door, which takes you into the Grand Hall.
As the final stop in Hollow Bastion, the Grand Hall is where a lot of the story goes down: the Princesses of Heart are held here, Sora fights Riku here, and gets transformed into a Heartless for a brief period.
The entrance to the Grand Hall on level 5A contains the pod-like chambers where the Princesses are held, as well as a large tapestry with the Heartless symbol. At the end of the hall is a large circular room. This room is dominated by a huge platform, being called level 5B, which is reached by two curving staircases on either side. The staircases also circle up and around the walls, and a few chests are hidden up here. The Oblivion Keyblade is also in a chest in this room. The enormous doorway shaped as a Heartless symbol leads to the Dark Depths.
Aside from a boss battle against the Behemoth Heartless, and the keyhole to Hollow Bastion, there's not much in here except a swirling mass of very colorful darkness. This is the very last passage of Hollow Bastion – you can go no further.
Congratulations, you've made it through the Hollow Bastion guide! While it may seem difficult at first, traveling up and down the castle a few times will make navigating it much easier. I give props to the game creators for coming up with such a complex level…this world was a huge challenge to map out!