The Zanac ship's standard gun weapon system can be upgraded from it's original power level a total of six times. Each new Zanac ship begins at power level 0. The standard gun can hit targets on the ground as well as in the air, but cannot destroy enemy bullets. The primary method through which the system is upgraded is by collecting Power Chips. There are other methods, all of which will be discussed below the following table, which illustrates the standard gun's power at each level.
- For more details on this topic, see Zanac/Items.
Power Chips are the safest, yet slowest way to upgrade the Zanac ship's standard gun weaponry. You will rise one level in power for each Power Chip that you collect, for the first five Power Chips. After that, the effect of Power Chips depends on a certain condition. In order to use Power Chips to upgrade to the Super Gun level of power, you must remain with Special Weapon 0, and never switch to a different special weapon. You must also collect 13 more Power Chips above and beyond those that you collected to obtain Level 5. There are other methods of obtaining Super Guns as well. See the Super Gun section below.
There is an alternate method to upgrade your ship's standard guns. You can take your chances by crashing into a Box (that is, without shooting at it to determine its contents before hand). If you crash into a Box that contained a Power Chip, you will survive the collision and be automatically upgraded to Level 5. If the Box contained enemy bullets, or nothing at all, you will not survive the collision unless you had temporary invulnerability from collecting a Power Chip. Crashing into more boxes can lead to the attainment of Super Guns.
There are three methods by which a player can obtain the Super Gun level of power.
- The first, which has already been mentioned above, is by collecting a total of 18 Power Chips while while not picking up any weapon pickups, other than Weapon 0, from Cargo carriers. If you succeed in doing so, you will be upgraded to Super Guns, and you are then free to collect any other special weapon. You may collect Special Weapons from Weapon Distros as much as you like during this process. Note that dying won't reset your chip counter.
- The second method is to crash into Boxes. If you manage to successfully crash into, and survive, five different Boxes which contain Power Chips, you will automatically be upgraded to Super Guns, regardless of which Special Weapon you have. This is, of course, an extremely risky endeavor, and very difficult to pull off when crashing into a random Box. See Box strategies and this section for more information on how to attempt this safely. Note that dying won't reset the successful box crashing counter.
- The final method of obtaining Super Guns, is by locating the Eye Eye building (which only occurs in levels 3, 5, 8, 11, and 12) and shooting it until it grants you Super Guns. Shooting the Eye Eye with your Standard Gun will automatically upgrade it to Super Guns and also net you some points. However, if you do this when you previously had anything less than Level 5 guns, make sure you don't pick up any more Power Chips; doing so will make you drop back down to your previous weapon level. It is only safe to pick up Power Chips if you upgraded to Super Guns when you were already at Level 5.
Boxes sometimes appear alone, but most often they will appear in sets of three. Early in the game, and when the Aggression Level is low, there will usually be one box that contain bullets, one empty box, and one with a Power Chip. If you shoot two out of three to reveal that neither contain a Power Chip, it is probably safe to run into the remaining Box to get your upgrade. As the aggression level increases this will no longer be the case — Boxes will begin appearing in sets of three bullets or sometimes even two Boxes of Power Chips with one Box of bullets.
Whenever you pick up a weapon upgrade, your ship will flash for a few seconds to indicate it is invulnerable. When you pick up a Power Chip, it makes sense to use the period of invulnerability to run into any other nearby Boxes. If they also contain Power Chips you may end up upgrading to Level 5 or Super Guns and will also restart the short period of invulnerability. Once in a while (like Area 3), the System will flood the screen with nothing but Boxes, and you can use this domino effect to quickly obtain Super Guns.
- It is possible to go directly from level 0 to level 5 by crashing into a box that possesses a Power Chip. See the Power Chips.
- It is only possible to obtain the Super Guns by collecting 18 Power Chips if you remain with Special Weapon 0 throughout the entire time that you collect Power Chips. See the Super Guns.