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Yes. Once you have reached an Attack Level of at least six, you can finish building levels and start gaining extra men inside of The Palace on the Sea. If you turn off your game, you will lose any extra men you gain, but this technique will help you make it to the Great Palace.
From the entrance of The Palace on the Sea, go right and head down the first elevator to enter the maze. Continue right to the next elevator and go down, then go left until you reach the area where blocks begin to fall.
Stand to the right of where the blocks fall, and let them fall until the screen has filled with them. In the first column, use your sword to knock out the first four blocks above the bottom-most block. In the second column and third column, leave the bottom three blocks and knock out the next two. In the fourth column, leave the bottom four blocks and knock out the next block.
Stand in the gap you created in the third column from the right, face left, and stab repeatedly as the small orange creatures fly into your sword. Occasionally, you may have to move forward to pick up the items they leave behind. You'll rack up free lives very quickly.
You need to have placed all six Crystals in the first six Palaces.
No. A palace will only turn to stone if the special item has been obtained and the Crystal has been placed.
Every palace prior to the sixth Palace has enough Keys for its doors. If you are short on Keys, you may have used one Palace's Key in another Palace, and subsequently locked a Key away by closing off the palace. If you don't have any Keys, use the Fairies spell to fly through the keyhole of any locked door.
Actually, there is no door there. The NES Atlas is incorrect.
You must have missed a Magic Container or two somewhere. In addition to doing what they ask of you, you must also possess a certain amount of Magic Containers before they will give the Spell to you. The rule applies to the Sword Techniques. You have to have a certain amount of Heart Containers.