Stage 1: Jungle
From where you start, you can drop into the water or just start moving to the right. If you do go into the water, you’ll be able to get the only “F” power-up on this level; if you stay on the high ground, you’ll be able to get an “M” (machine-gun), an “R” (rapid-fire), and an “S” (spread). Not really a tough choice…
Of course the bridges will begin to explode when you step on them. Four well-timed jumps will get you across bridges, but falling into the water won’t kill you (during this stage!).
Be on the lookout for the enemy near the edge of the second bridge — and for his buddy hiding in the foliage. For your trouble, you get to grab the highly-coveted “S” power-up that floats by, which will make your life much easier…but if you miss it, there’s another chance soon, where the lower ‘water’ route rejoins the higher route.
You’ll then pass two more floaters, an “R” on top and an “L” below. I recommend just going for the “R”, but you Laser fans may have other ideas. After a few more pits and robots, you’ll get to the first boss.
Not much of a boss, really; a glowing orb-lock and some enemies. Jump up, kill the sniper at the top, jump down slightly and shoot the turret guns. Don’t get too close, or they’ll take you with them when they explode. Once the smoke clears, jump all the way down, duck and shoot at the glowing area until it blows up.
Stage 2: Base1
Get ready for 3D action (LOL)! Shoot your way through five rooms to reach the boss. Each room has a glowing lock that creates a sort of electric fence in front of you, as well as plenty of other dangers…
The first room has a lock in the middle; stay in front of it and just keep shooting it. There’s a ‘sweet spot’ in the middle where the enemies won’t be able to hit you. Once the wall breaks open, run forward into the second room. Here, the lock is on the left and there’s a turret on the right. Shoot the turret first (or just duck to avoid its shots), then stand and shoot the lock until this wall blows up. Run into the third room and you’ll see a center lock flanked by turrets, and enemies that sometimes throw grenades at you; avoid the explosions, duck the shots, and keep shooting the lock until this wall explodes.
The fourth room has a nasty twist; in addition to the turret, rolling pins of death will come at you out of holes in the wall. Shoot down at them or jump, but either way keep pelting that lock until the wall bursts open. Last but not least (and not even really last), the fifth room has a bigger, tougher lock…as well as three turrets and plenty of enemies.
Room six is the “Boss Room”. Shoot two turrets, four glowing orbs, and then a floating bubble-shooting boss. The bubbles aren’t a big deal (slow and shoot-able, especially if you have a decent power-up weapon), and the boss won’t take too long. Ride the lift up and into the next level.
Stage 3: Waterfall
Start at the bottom and work your way up. Among the hazard are Dig-Dug-style falling rocks that will kill you (what doesn’t?) — as soon as you start seeing them, there should be an “F” and then a “L” power-up in the vicinity.
Up a ways, you’ll see a metal bridge platform with moving flames; as you approach, a pair of floating power-ups appear (left is “B” as in Bulletproof, the right is an “R”). Grab both, if at all possible. the Bulletproof WILL protect you from the flames; otherwise, you’ll need to jump them.
Keep going up and things get more difficult with small moving platforms, enemies hiding in the waterfalls, and progressively less ground and more turrets and soldiers overall. Look for an “S” power-up and then an “M” power-up before you get to the top platform.
Once you’re at the top, jump up to make sure to reveal the whole area and cause the boss to appear. Looks like “Alien” to me (“Game over, man, game over!”), but he’s actually not too tough. The hardest part is dodging all of the spiraling fireballs. You can shoot off his flailing fire arms to make it easier on you, but to kill him dead you need to shoot him in the head when his mouth is open. Jump through the hole to the next level…
Stage 4: Base2
Another 3D Base level, with eight rooms this time.
The locks are armor-plated this time around, so destroying them takes longer. The first room has a pair of turrets and some of those annoying rolling-pin things. Enjoy it, because it just gets worse; the second room has FOUR armor-plated locks; you need to duck to hit them, all while jumping over more rolling pins and getting out of the way of grenade bursts.
The third room has only two armor-plated locks and one turret. And rolling pins. Get through to the fourth room and you’ll find the same setup, but lower. The next room has two locks on either side of a central turret. Sixth room: one lock and rows of rolling pins (I have better luck ducking and shooting them, versus jumping over).
Speaking of jumping, the next room has a turret in the middle, under a lock that you’ll need to jump to hit. This can be kind of a pain, so take out the turret first to make it as easy as possible on you. Room Eight
has a big lock and three turrets, as well as rolling pins and grenades to worry about. You’re probably better off just shooting the lock and ducking when necessary, but feel free to take out any turrets if there’s too much heat.
Boss Room: finally, a serious challenge. There’s a big gun with moving shields and three glowing spots; if you shoot the spots, the boss will appear, so you may want to get the gun out of the way first (but you don’t need to — and enemies will keep showing up until you start fighting the boss!).
We used to call this boss “spasm helmet” because he has two helmets which turn into four ghostly helmets (and spasm all over the place). Just to make things harder, he’ll also shoot tiny bubbles at you (Don Ho?), which can be hit — but don’t waste the time trying. He’s only vulnerable when the ghost helmets come together (they’ll look a little more solid). Elevator to Stage 5…
Stage 5: Snow Field
Back to good ol’ side-scrolling run-n-gun action. The wooded cover and white snow make enemies and bullets (and especially grenades) a little tough to see, and there are more of them. When you begin, you’ll come across an “M” power-up before too long (if you want or need it), and then a floating “R” — which you definitely want.
After kind of a big drop, you’ll see an “F” power-up, but don’t even bother…because right after that, you’ll start to see some water and suddenly THREE floating power-ups come at you from behind. One is the rarest of all, but also pretty useless (Flashing Falcon), while the others are a Rapid-fire and a Spread. If you’re uber, try to grab them all. I usually have the Spread already at this point so I mainly go for the Rapid-fire.
One more jump after this area and you’ll see an open area. As you head in, a vehicle that looks like the snowplow of doom comes rolling in. The trick to this is to go far enough into this area to get the screen to stop scrolling, and then turn around and head for the extreme left side. The tank-plow’s bullets will not hit you if you’re in the proper place, but you can hit him.
Keep shooting and it will turn yellow; after you shoot it some more it will turn red and come right at you. Destroy it before it reaches you, and move on. Hope you liked that experience, because (after passing a lone gunman in the grassy knoll) you’ll have to do it all over again.
After the second plow of doom, you’ll go through an area with way too many grenades flying out from the trees. There’s an “L” power-up about halfway through this part, but I never bother to get it unless I have no other choice.
You’ll finally reach another smooth area like the plow-tank screens but with a shed of some sort at the far end. The final boss, a pointy spaceship-thing, will appear in the sky — just shoot up; your shots should destroy anything he throws down at you in one hit (including the mini-bosses that appear if you take too long), and any decent weapon should take him out too, with surprisingly little difficulty.
Stage 6: Energy Zone
As nasty as the snow field was, this level is even worse. Those Windows Screensaver Tubes you see at the top of the screen sometimes blast hot fiery death at you,
After a few advance soldiers, you’ll find an “M” power-up. The next power-up is in the middle of the screen, “L” for Laser…or maybe for “Look Out!” because that hot fiery death I told you about is overhead. It looks like you can avoid it just by jumping from the lower platform, but my experience tells me that there is only one way to deal with these hazards without becoming crispy: Fake Out the Flame. That’s right, jump but immediately turn around so that you land where you started, and then quickly jump forward again.
More flames await you: two more from the top (you should be okay just running along the bottom platform, but prepare to stop if your timing is off) and then a hellish sequence of side-firing flames on small platforms. You need to duck while they’re firing, then run or jump in the second between flame cycles. The only thing that you have going for you is that if you move fast enough, you can often pass two close flames at once before having to duck and wait again.
There’s also a few soldier trying to shoot you every so often, just to make things interesting. The saving grace is a “B” power-up that appears right in the middle of a top-to-bottom jet of flame on your way down from the second duck-and-jump series. Get that, and the next stretch will be SO much easier…but watch out, because there’s a side-to-side jet at the bottom that makes it very difficult to time correctly.
If you miss it, the rest of the level is more tricky than what you’ve already been through. Timing jumps and flames, and avoiding bullets, will seriously tax your skills. I know players who stop completely if they miss that “B” power-up, others who won’t try to get it because of the difficulty, but I also know for a fact that it can be done.
Luckily, your reward for getting past all that is the next boss, a humanoid robot (or maybe a dude in battle armor). He’s fairly easy, if a bit unpredictable — he mostly moves back and forth, but sometimes jumps around too. Just shoot him and jump over him when he comes too close. If you take too much time, he’ll lay down little rolling mines on the floor; these can be a pain to shoot or avoid. His pants will change to purple as he takes damage, and then red when he’s really hurting.
Stage 7: Hangar
Somewhat similar to the last level; you’ll be able to choose high road or low road in some places (the high road is usually slightly easier), and the death from above comes in extending claws this time. The good news is that the claws are easier to deal with than the fire, because they maintain regular patterns that you can memorize.
Once you get past the first batch of claws, there is an “F” power-up (it’s up to you); after the second batch, an “R” (rapid-fire, so get it). Right afterward, there’s a stretch of platforms that send up spiky walls, but these can be destroyed or (if they’re low enough) jumped on and over.
There’s a tricky little area with claws along the low road and spike walls on top. Immediately afterward, there’s a mine cart rolling toward you — jumping on it is about the only way that you can reach the “B” power-up way up top (which will make the rest of the level so much easier, of course).
A floating “M” power-up will tell you that end of the stage is near, but there’s one last nasty area: a series of long claws followed by a spike wall immediately afterward. You’ll need to move back and forth UNDER the claws (very carefully, of course) while shooting the wall.
A few more basic enemies later, and you’ll be at the boss. With the Spread power-up, this fight is easy; otherwise, it can be tricky because plenty of enemies appear, along with a pair of turrets down below that shoot triple-balls at you. Your true target is the glowing orb-lock above the door. Shoot it, and you’ll be done.
Stage 8: Alien’s Lair
Almost right away, two floating power-ups will come from the left — you’ll want the bottom one most, it’s a “B” that helps considerably. The top is an “M” (i.e., there if you really want it).
A little farther, you’ll see the rolling facehugger aliens and then a big ol’ alien head that blocks your way and spawns more rolling enemies. Shoot him (her?), and the wall in front of you crumbles.
Next, you’ll be in an area with wall-mounted alien mouths that spit tracker-bombs at you. These bombs start slow but pick up speed quickly, so they can be a pain to deal with.
After the first set of mouths, a fast floating power-up “S” comes from behind you, and you should definitely grab it if you don’t already have it. A few more mouths later and you’ll start to see the little walking facehuggers (spiders, scorpions, whatever) that let you know you’re almost done…
The ‘mother’ alien (Red Falcon) is a fairly easy fight after everything you’ve done to get to this point. The sacs on the ceiling and floor will periodically emit the walking facehuggers, and there’s a mouth-turret below and to the left that can give you some trouble, so taking these out could help matters. However, your ultimate target is the heart, and it doesn’t really need to take much damage before it explodes; a dozen or so Spread shots should do it (it beats faster the more damage it takes).
YOU’VE DESTROYED THE VILE RED
FALCON AND SAVED THE UNIVERSE.
CONSIDER YOURSELF A HERO.
If you let the credits roll, you’ll end up starting from the beginning on harder mode, keeping all of your points and current power-ups.