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The Binding of Isaac Guide

The Binding of Isaac Tips

by catrap0



Release Date:September 28, 2011 Developer:Edmund McMillenPublisher: Valve CorporationESRB Rating: M (Mature) Number of Players: 1

The Story  When Isaac's mother starts hearing the voice of God demanding a sacrifice be made to prove her faith, Isaac escapes into the basement facing droves of deranged enemies, lost brothers and sisters, his fears, and eventually his mother. 

The Gameplay  The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth is a randomly generated action RPG shooter with heavy Rogue-like elements. Following Isaac on his journey players will find bizarre treasures that change Isaac's form giving him super human abilities and enabling him to fight off droves of mysterious creatures, discover secrets and fight his way to safety. 


Arena - The arena doors only open when you have either full health or at least 6 red hearts and have defeated all the enemies in the room.

It’s usually best to avoid arenas if they just contain an ordinary chest.

Secret – Secret rooms are almost always in between three or more rooms, so if you have extra bombs its worth trying out a square on the map if three rooms surround it. You’ve probably already noticed this too, but the secret room entrance is always located in the middle of the wall.

The secret room of each level is almost always in the space with the most adjacent rooms. For example, if the dungeon features a U shape, the ‘hole’ of the U will have 5 adjacent rooms and will be most likely to be the secret room. Using this tactic eliminates the need for X-Ray Specs or the Spelunker Hat.

Even if you know where the room is by using a Compass, Spelunkey, or the x-ray glasses it is worth mapping out the rest of the dungeon before going into it. If the secret room connects to a shop, treasure room, or arena you will be able to enter them from the secret room without having to fulfill the requirements, sparing you a key or allowing you to enter an arena without full health.

You can also try entering an arena, stealing the treasure, and then exiting through the secret room to avoid having to finish off the enemies that spawn.

Stores vs. Treasure Rooms – If you only have one key and a surplus of money (25-30+ coins), I’ve found that it is usually worth going to the store rather than the treasure room if you already have a secondary weapon you really like. The store is usually guaranteed to have a passive upgrade whereas the treasure room is more likely to have a secondary weapon. You may also be able to buy another key if nothing else so it’s usually worth the trip.

Store Sales – If an item in the Store has its price in a red font that means it is on sale. Items on sale are always reduced 50% with the price then rounded up to the nearest penny.

An upgrade called Steam Sale can be found or bought in the store that will permanently make every single item in every single store on sale. Buy this item. 

Arcades - Start off by blowing up the skull game because it is pretty much useless unless you really need hearts or keys. Then put as many coins as you’re willing to spend, into the slot machine. If it spit out extra hearts that go over your max, Deposit hearts into the blood machine to try blow it up into blood bag.

Slot Machines – I have to admit I’m always weary of slot machines, but it’s silly to avoid them in the game. If you have a bunch of coins you may as well feed them into the machine, it seems like a 50% chance that you’ll get something. Also, sometimes it gives out huge payouts

You can use items that grant you invincibility including Book of Shadows, The Gamekid, My Little Unicorn, and The Chariot to use blood donation machines multiple times without losing health.

The idea here is to get the maximum amount of spins out of the slot machine because it is really the only one worthwhile if you have a surplus of keys and bombs, which is really you should have if you are wasting money in the arcade. The slot machine will often toss out pills or even better loot on rare occasion, so it is best to spend your money there if you want to really pump up your character.  

The Devil Room – Best trades are The Pact, Brimstone, Spirit of the Night, The Mark, Guppy's Head, The Nail and Lucky Foot (better with a D6 charge, so you can pick it up and then reroll it)

How to raise devil room spawn:

No damage on floor = +35% No Red heart damage before boss = +65%

No Red heart damage on boss = +35% A no damage floor will give you a 99% chance at a devil for your first deal.

Blowing up a Beggar (the 3 skull guy in the Arcade counts as well) for an extra 35 %(?) (Doesn't stack after first one on floor.),

Having the Book of Belial gives a 25% Higher Chance of a deal with the devil (When held.) Having The Book of Revelations Gives 35% Higher chance of a deal with the devil (When held.)

Have only one Pentagram: +20% Have multiple Pentagrams: +30% If you took a deal with the devil on the previous floor, the chance of spawn is x0.25

If you took a deal with the devil on the floor before last, the chance of spawn is x0.5 Subsequent deals - floor immediately after deal (x25%) Floors after (x50%). This is of the total so the max you can get after your first is never higher than 67.5%.

Declining a devil deal means you do not get the negative multiplier and also a 50% chance for the room to be an Angel Room. No Angel rooms once you pay for an item in the Devil Room.

Krampus does not count as a devil deal. 10% chance to spawn, 40% chance to spawn once you pay for a devil deal.

Angel Room- Pretty much an extra Treasure Room.  







How do I get more heart containers?

There are a few ways of getting more heart containers. The first way is to find an upgrade item that increases your max HP. Such items can be found from Item Rooms, Shops, Beggars, or as a drop from a Boss. The second way is to find the pill for that play through that increases your HP. This can be difficult, as there are many pills, and only a couple will give you more heart containers. Finally, if you’re brave, lucky, or have a bit of spare health already, you can donate blood. A blood donation machine has a small chance to drop a blood bag (destroying the machine), which restores 5 HP, and increases your max HP by one. A good tactic is to use it in an Arcade, as both of the other games in that room have a chance to dispense hearts to replace the ones you donate.

Crossing gaps – How do I get across these gaps without a ladder? Bombing a rock adjacent to a gap will blow the rock into the hole, plugging it and making a bridge. However, the bomb must be on the opposite side of the rock. Several items allow you to fly over or cross gaps: Transcendence (collectible), Lord of the Pit(collectible), Ladder (collectible) can cross 1-block gaps, The Bible (charged item), The Pony (charged item, but allows this permanently), Shears (charged item), and The Hanged Man (card). The Magnet (item) will pull items across gaps to you.

How should I prioritize using Items, Keys, and Bombs?

Items that increase your health are very, very important, and you should pick them up whenever you get the chance. Conserve at least one key per level to get into Item Rooms, free items are much better than a few coins or having to buy items. If you have enough coins, and already have an active item you like, try using a key on the shop, because there’s a high chance you’ll be able to buy a key there. Keep bombs for entering Secret rooms, bombing X Rocks and for bombing the various slot machines and blood donation machines, you’ll make much more from those as opposed to bombing chests or single coins.

The darker stones (Blue Rocks marked with a faint X) that sometimes show up can be blown up (with a bomb). This yields items, such as bombs, soul hearts, keys, coins, the ‘small rock’ pickup or reveals a golden chest. § Destroying poo piles and extinguishing fire sometimes yields a coin or a half heart.

Early on, it’s better to save your keys rather than opening up the shop door when you don’t have enough coins to buy anything.

You can use bombs to destroy slot machines, blood donation machines, beggars and the cup game NPC to get items from them. Bombs can be used to open a door in a monster-filled room to escape if you can Totally Handle without Any Significant Issue it (This doesn’t work if the door needs a key) but when you return to the room, all of the enemies will respawn. Bombs can also be used to move items surrounded by spikes away from the danger. This does not work for items surrounded by holes or pits.

If you beat the boss on the current level with full health and there are extra hearts laying around, you can use a blood machine the exact number of times equal to the number of extra half-heart

Having a Ladder/ Transcendence / Lord of the Pit /Horse item can protect you from any melee enemies if you stand over a gap. Keep these items in high priority to get, especially in later floors like The Depths where there are Knights. Bible and Hanged Man can grant flight for one room as well. If you also have the Ouija Board along with a flight item, you can even fly over a rock and shoot enemies while immune to both melee and any non-piercing projectiles.

Pills - Pill effects are randomized each time you play, that is to say that while the orange pill may have given you better tears last game, it may cause you to ♥♥♥♥ bombs the next time you play. While the effects are always random, once you discover a pills effect that pill will have the same effect for the duration of the playthrough.

Secondary Weapons - Secondary weapons recharge by clearing rooms, but not all secondary weapons recharge at the same rate. For instance the Tammy’s Head will recharge every time you clear a room, but the Yum Heart requires six cleared rooms for a full recharge.

You can purchase a Battery from the store that will allow you to recharge items by doing damage, however recharging in this way does not differentiate between items. It will charge each one block at a time no matter what the item is, however this is in addition to the charge you get from clearing rooms so it is almost always a good buy.

Bombing Doors – If you need to escape a room or just don’t want to clear it, regular doors can be forced open by bombing them. This applies to troll bombs and fly bombs as well.

Beggar Kid - If you see one of these you should always try to get at least the first item out of him, if you have a lot of coins you should give him money until he disappears. I’ve gotten everything from tarot cards, to HP upgrades, to secondary weapons out of him before he disappeared. These guys are a ♥♥♥♥ing life line, especially in The Womb, so you should always look out for them.  

Soul hearts- buy these right before a boss where it’s critical to have as much health as you can help get a devil/angel room.  

Eternal hearts- grab right before you leave the floor, since if you have one when you move on to the next floor you get a full health container. 

Poo and Fire - About ~5% of the time there will be items hidden in poo or fire, you can shoot them to see if they contain anything. It seems to usually be hearts or coins.

Special items in shops can disappear if you leave and then return again. 

After you beat the game a sixth time to difficulty increases. 


There are no item or shop rooms, hearts are very scarce, and rooms have regular monster replaced with bosses.

If there is one item you want to save for The Womb it is bombs. Items, Slot Machines, and Beggars are almost never easily accessible, often requiring you to cross rocks, spikes, or unlock blocks to get to them. Tinted rocks now look the same as other rocks in the womb.

If you can find a Full Health pill or an offensive tarot card like The Devil or Death you’ll want to carry it on you into The Womb and save it for the final boss.


These appear in mini-boss rooms which are normally unmarked on the map until entered. Having the compass or spelunker helm will identify them.

Envy Probably the most annoying of the sins, especially if encountered in pairs in later areas. His rewards are scant and his risk of hurting you is high. Envy floats around the room like a Blast fly/Fistula. Dealing enough damage will cause him to split into 2 copies of his head. Killing those will spawn 2 medium heads each. Each of those will spawn 2 miniature heads each when killed. Each successive head size moves faster and is harder to hit making the room rather chaotic if you don’t focus well enough. Killing Envy will reward a Troll Bomb, or if you’re lucky, Shoop-da-Whoop.

Pride One of the easier sins, he will walk around randomly and either attack by raging and shooting strange lasers in each of the 4 diagonals. At other times, he will jump up, put on his Troll Face, and drop 6 troll bombs in random locations in the room. Pay close attention to the bombs and keep out of his range/attack spread and he will die pretty fast. Rewards a Troll Bomb, Tarot Card or the Anarchist’s Cookbook

#\Wrath Pretty easy, though he can be painful, Wrath is a carbon copy of Bomberman in many ways. He will send bombs sliding at you which will eventually explode and hurt whatever is in his path. Wrath’s room is always a specially designed room with a Bomberman grid and randomly placed rocks. Wrath can only do blast and touch damage, plus his own bombs can hurt him. Since touching his bombs doesn’t use you, you can push or launch them back. Killing him will reward bombs, troll bombs, Mr. Boom, or Mr. Mega. NOTE: Having Bobby-Bomb will make Wrath’s bombs turn back towards him.

Greed definitely one of the more annoying sins, though your trouble is often worth it.Greed can either be found in shops or secret rooms instead of what you want (treasure) and appears more frequently if you are carrying more cash with you. Greed rarely gives any warning to when or how he will attack so either take him out fast or be VERY careful.Greed can either fire a quick attack of 3 blood balls in a triangle pattern (hard to dodge!) or summon a pair of hoppers to assist him. Getting hit by Greed’s attack will cause you to drop coins and lose a coin off of whatever you had total, so a net loss always occurs if he hurts you. Defeating Greed grants you a pile of coins or the coveted Steam Sale.

Lust will come out sprinting. She can only chase you down like Gemini but she won’t stop for anything but the knockback of your tears. Slower moving characters will get beaten down fast if they aren’t careful as Lust always deals a full heart of damage at all times. KEEP MOVING! Killing lust will sometimes reward a pill, the Virus (cooties?) or Roid Rage. &Sloth& A rather slow and lazy fellow, he’ll either spit chargers at you or cough up exploding goo blobs. Sloth’s attacks often kill off his minions, and he has a limit of how many he can spawn, so just play it safe and he’ll die pretty fast. Sloth will usually drop a Tarot Card or, rarely, Bob’s Rotten Head.

Gluttony A fat little man with a big body… He will either quickly fire out a large circle of blood balls (hard to dodge) or fire off his signature Blood Beam (which he will telegraph in advance). Gluttony’s room typically has a gaping pit in the center, so use it to get some distance between you and him. Be patient and he shouldn’t hurt you too much. Killing Gluttony yields hearts and sometimes (rarely) <3, the Bucket of Lard, or the Raw Liver.


Famine is the starved out horseman of the Basement. He can replace any boss in the basement once unlocked. Like all riders, he has 2 phases and in each phase has different attacks. In his normal form, Famine will either spawn pooters (up to 2 at a time) or, if the player is within his direct horizontal line of sight, he will telegraph a charge attack where he will charge at you, head off-screen and return on the opposite side. His second form will causeFamine to but cut down to only his head, at which point he will float lazily around and cough up fans of 3 blood balls periodically, aimed at the player. General strategy: In his first form, Famine is easiest in that you can provoke him to attack by charging, which will destroy any pooters he hits and will also prevent him from spawning more pooters in the meanwhile. Keep him charging and you can chip him down to his second form without a scratch! In his second form, do whatever you want, just avoid getting hit when he does attack (which gives you reasonable time to dodge). Your reward is your first Cube of Meat.

Pestilence is the rider of the caves. He will float around on his horse and summon chargers and spitties below him.Pestilence leaves a trail of sickly slime which will hurt you if touched. His final attack is a ball of goo which he lobs at you and which explodes on contact with the ground, leaving more slime and hurting anything in its blast radius (enemies included, though not the rider himself). When he is hurt enough, he will lose his head, at which point his horse will cough up flies and he will continue firing goo balls at you. Not too difficult really, a relaxing break in comparison to, say, Gurdy.

Pestilence can be dealt with by simply ignoring the enemies he spawns and instead paying more attention to his goo trails and lobbed goo grenades. Allow Pestilence to take care of his own minions! When his head comes off, he’s nearly dead, though the flies that get coughed up can annoyingly block your shots. At this point you shouldn’t have any difficulty claiming your next cube of meat.

War is the rider of the Depths While War is rather hard to encounter, he is not too hard to fight, though most certainly isn’t as easy as Monstro II. War’s normal attacks are generally harder to dodge, though taking him to his second form will eliminate all of that danger. On his horse, War can: Fire a circular spray of fast moving blood balls (hard to dodge!) Fly into the air off-screen and release 6 troll bombs throughout the room When provoked into a charge, War will attack horizontally once, then again about 1/2 a room lower and again 1/2 a room lower until he finally returns to his original starting position (the result is 3 consecutive nonstop charges from the top to the middle to the bottom, or the middle to the bottom to the top or the bottom to the top to the middle depending on where he starts). When War takes enough damage, he will lose his horse and chase you Lust style, in which form he is a pushover. Hurting him enough will trip him briefly. Not too hard, just watch out for his charges and definitely be prepared for an unexpected attack. Killing him nets another Cube of Meat

Death appears in Chapter 4: the Womb! Death can summon scythes to attack you from across the room, either in a pair, which will track you, or a quartet which will travel acros

Conquest is basically an upgraded war,  can appear instead if any boss. His randomly-spawning beams, don’t seem to beam at the door.


Mom’s Heart, unlike Mom herself, is a stationary boss. Killing it is likely EASIER than killing Mom at times. At the start of the battle, Mom’s Heart will be flanked by two eyes. Take these out first. No exceptions. Mom’s Heart has a predictable behavior: If there are enemies with it, the Heart will rise off-screen and hide. If there are no more enemies with the Heart, the Heart will descend and summon more. After a few seconds, the heart will rise away again. Once all of the enemies spawned are killed, the Heart will return and summon more.  I recommend dropping a bomb where the heart returns before each wave.

This can continue forever if you don’t focus on the Heart while it is vulnerable. When the Heart is down, concentrate on it! Hurt it as much as you can, THEN kill its minions. Once the Heart is down to about 33% of its HP, Mom will scream out Isaac’s name erratically (you’ll know it when you hear it) and from this point forward the battle gets a bit more intense. Instead of hiding, the Heart will now stay down and summon enemies, all the while sending blood bombs flying in random directions, exploding and leaving blood pools. These can hurt enemies too, but don’t count on it. Just kill the Heart as quickly as possible to avoid getting too hurt. At this point, you shouldn’t need too much more advice, just kill the heart and if you have all your heart containers full, be ready to have the chance to go deeper!

It Lives!  Once unlocked (after beating the Heart/Satan a cumulative total of 9 times) you will unlock It Lives! It Lives will now ALWAYS replace Mom’s Heart and simply ups the difficulty by spawning bosses instead of normal enemies. The only difference between Mom’s Heart and It Lives is the difficulty of the enemies (bosses and knights and such) which get spawned. Otherwise, the only difference is aesthetic and that much I won’t spoil for you.

***************** Chapter 5 – Sheol: *****************

This battle consists of 3 phases and I highly recommend you stock up on HP before you fight him if possible. Lastly, if by some rare chance you’re carrying the Bible item, use it BEFORE even entering the room as using it in front of Satan at ANY time will instantly kill you.

Part 1: Satan will summon The Fallen flanked by two exploding leeches. Focus on the leeches first as they can hurt The Fallen if detonated properly. A well timed bomb before these minions appear can wipe out both leeches and put a dent in The Fallen though this is difficult to pull off. See the Fallen’s section for more info on him, there’s no other twist here besides the 2 leeches and the natural Full Heart damage penalty in the level.

Part 2: Clearing out Satan’s minions will causeThe Fallen angel himself to face Isaac. Satan will rise from his pedestal and transform into a massive demon. Satan’s first form will hug the back wall and will travel back and forth with no real pattern. He will frequently cough up two consecutive fans of large blood balls, which obviously do 1 damage each. The fans will always be pointed directly at you and are densest when first fired. Strafing is always an option but Satan has a problem with that too. Passing in front of Satan may trigger a very quick attack in which he will either spew a blood beam from his mouth or fire two beams from his hands (leaving room in the middle). The reaction time required to dodge either attack is VERY quick so avoid passing in front of Satan and additionally try not to stop there when doing so! This battle doesn’t change at all for the entire duration, so play things safe and chip his HP to 0.

Part 3: When Satan his 0 HP he will fall to the ground, but the get back up and leap off-screen, laughing. Now comes the most chaotic part. Play this by ear and avoid getting hurt too much, but balance this with the fact that you want to get done ASAP! This is the VERY end so be prepared to come within an inch of your life. In this new form Satan, from his invisible perch above, will send his massive feet crushing down on you in an attempt to crush you just like in your battle with Mom. The feet will display a shadow before falling, will land and release an explosion (splash damage will happen!). The legs will come crashing down one after the other, raising up to come crashing down again. All the while, Satan will constantly summon Exploding Leeches (up to 2 at a time) which can cause plenty of trouble if you aren’t careful since you usually don’t see them spawn.

- the 1st title for the game was Love Sick, and the 1st build was code named “Tears”, the title “Mom” was also considered before settling on The Binding of Isaac.  - the games title is not only a play on the biblical story of the same name, but also a play on the word structure of The Legend of Zelda  - the sound when you pick up a key is a play on the same sound in gauntlet, i also did this in smb.  - the original game took me and Florian less than 3 months part time to finish, it was originally planned to be a free flash game that i was going to sell to a sponsor, but after demoing it to a few other devs they convinced me to release it on steam.  - steam had suggested the game sell at 9.99, but we set it to 4.99 because i assumed it was far too weird and inaccessible to catch on and i wanted more to play it.  - the wrath of the lamb expansion was actually started because my wife Danielle 100%ed the game and wanted more content. (she had well over 500 hours clocked in by that time).  - isaac was originally going to featured 8 bit art, but i decided to go with the hand drawn look to save time. this is why the icon for isaac is an 8bit image.  - ??? (aka blue baby) is a reference to my 1st “game” dead baby dressup and the mascot called “the blue baby”, also my screen name on newgrounds.  - there was an item in the Halloween update called “the pumpkin mask” that got cut because i hated it. it can still be seen in game when an item goes into an “undefined” state, but has no function.  - The Sad Onion was the 1st item ever made. In Isaac’s initial design the game featured only 20 items, almost all were just stat padding items which later became the “boss pool”.  - Spoon bender is a reference to uri geller.  - the way isaac wears moms bra is a reference to weird science.  - the necronomicon is an obvious evil dead reference.  - a lot of the drug references in he game are references to alice in wonderland, a story the game also mirrors ( as well as mario ). - the teleporter is a nod to Spelunky, one of the games biggest influences. (aside from zelda of course)  - the dead bird comes from a comic i did about my childhood called thicker than water .  - a lot of isaacs themes reference the movie psycho.  - the icon for brimstone is an alchemy symbol that means Sulfur

How do I copy my save?

The game’s save data is contained in two files, both of which need to be moved between computers in order to get everything migrated properly. These files are “so.sol” and serial.txt. I have a Mac and a Windows machine, so I’ll go ahead and list the location of said files on both platforms (if anyone has any Linux info, feel free to chip in). On the PC: serial.txt: Can be found in the game’s steam installation folder, something along the lines of C:\Program Files\Steam\SteamApps\common\the binding of isaac\ so.sol: Can be found over at %appdata%\Macromedia\ Flash Player\#SharedObjects\\localhost\ The “random string” bit is some combination of letters and numbers which is impossible to predict. Assuming you’ve ever run the game, simply search for “so.sol” at “%appdata%\Macromedia\ Flash Player#SharedObjects” (you can type this in your run prompt to get there). On the Mac: serial.txt: Can be found in the game’s steam installation folder, something along the lines of ~/Library/Application Support/Steam/SteamApps/common/the binding of isaac/ so.sol: Much like the PC, only over at ~/Library/Preferences/Macromedia/ Flash Player/#SharedObjects/4UUE5CSF/localhost/ On Linux: so.sol: Much like the PC, only over at ~/.macromedia/Flash_Player/#SharedObjects/randomstring/localhost/so.sol As a final note, you need to move both files, and to launch the game at least once on the target machine to know where they should go.

Crashing While Alt-Tabbing – It’s usually safe to be alt-tabbed for about a minute before the game crashes, so if you want to go out of the game then come back you have about a minute to do so.

How to setup a joypad for Binding of Isaac: Download Xpadder- Recommended Settings: w, a, s, d – Move up, left, down or right. Set to Directional Pad and L3. ↑, ←, ↓, → – Shoot up, left, down or right. Set to R3 and 4 buttons. Spaaaaaace – Use current activated item. Set to R1. shift, e – Set to L2 and R2. q – Use single use item, either a tarot card or a pill. Set to L1 p – Pause the game. Note that when paused, p resumes while esc offers to quit. Set to Start. f – Toggle fullscreen. Set to Back/Select.

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