Gradius 2/Life Planet

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  • The pre-stage of this planet returns to the format established in the beginning with formations of squadrons that fly in from the left. Once you complete it, you will begin a stage whose cellular theme is part of the Gradius tradition, going back to the sixth stage of the original game, and the first stage of Salamander.
  • You are initially greeted by organic cannons that line the top and bottom of the tissue that you are flying through, accompanied by flying enemies that approach and shoot before retreating back to the right. Notice that the width of the tunnel does not remain constant as you fly through it, it shrinks and widens at various points along the way.
  • Shortly after the stage begins, you will have to blast your way through destructible tissue in order to advance to the right. Like the particles in the Plant Planet, you will have an easier time removing them if you are equipped with Lasers.
  • Once you pass through the first set of particles, a new enemy will appear. What initially looks like a small cellular enemy soon grows and separates into what resembles three red blood cells. They may approach from the right or from the left. They float around and try to home in on your position. Take them out before they get too close to you.
  • Right around the time you fine a time limited power-up, the Option Barrier, new tissue particles will extend from both the top and bottom wall. There is a safe spot right in the middle where the Option Barrier is. However, collecting the barrier will help you substantially, since the rotating Options can help cut a path through the tissue and protect the Metalion as you try to find a safe course through the particles. It's possible to avoid most of the danger by staying fairly far to the right.
  • The rest of the stage is spent shooting through particle walls to survive the advance through the stage, dodging red blood cells, and shooting the cannons that line the tissue. Eventually, the tunnel will start to get very narrow.
  • When it's at its most narrow, you will find another time-limited power up, the Rotary Drill. This power-up will enable you to destroy the particles merely by touching them as you fly along. You will still want to fire your weapons to clear away any enemies that approach. Collecting the Rotary Drill will enable you to travel back through the lower portion of the particles that extend below the narrow portion of the tunnel. Flying down into this spot will give you access to the second bonus stage in the game (which, ironically, hides the entrance to the third bonus stage of the game.)
  • Beyond the narrow tunnel, you pass through an area where corpuscles are ejected from several holes in both the top and bottom walls. They appear with a regular frequency and fly up or down to the opposite side of the screen. Missiles and Up Lasers are your best defense against them. This is followed by one last set of particles before you reach the boss.

Boss: Giant Cell Nucleus[edit]

You won't be fighting a Core ship to complete this stage. Rather, you must destroy an organic monster to advance to the next stage. This boss is almost a complete opposite of the boss from the sixth stage of Gradius. Rather than the object in the center be the target, and the objects on the side present the firepower, it is the center object that sprays the space around the Metalion with projectiles, while the two objects near the top and the bottom are the targets. The projectiles can be destroyed with your shots, providing you some measure of protection. You must begin focusing all of your firepower on one of the two smaller organs near the top or bottom until you see an explosion, indicating that it is defeated. Then you must safely cross from one side of the screen to the other in an effort to destroy the other organ. If you are successful, you will be able to advance to the next stage.

Nemesis '90 Kai changes[edit]

This stage of the remake remains very faithful to the original. None of the stage's contents have changed, just the pace at which they appear. One very important difference to consider is the point near the middle where the particles rise and descend from either wall. In the original, once you collected the Option Barrier, you were generally safe staying to the right and letting the particles close in behind you. This isn't the case in the remake, and you're actually safer staying to the left, allowing the particles to close up in front of you and then shooting your way through them. The Rotating Drill time limited power-up is still present, but its only true purpose is to help you access the hidden bonus level (see Secrets). Before the boss, you will still find a chamber where corpuscles are ejected, but they travel very plainly up or down, instead of slightly forward like the original.

Once again, you must destroy the two organic nodes above and below a central source of firepower. If you have enough firepower yourself, then the spray of bullets won't present much of a problem. However, if you fail to clear away enough of the particles leading up to the boss, you may find it very difficult to get into a position where you can shoot the nodes. If you have Up Lasers, stay low to the bottom of the screen, blast your way through, and let the Up Lasers clear away any particles above you. Vice versa if you have the Down Lasers. Since this is not a core ship battle, there is no core to invade, and you will simply advance to the next stage.