- The pre-stage for Ancient Planet is a bit different than the first two stages. It's more of a traditional Gradius pre-stage where enemies squadron fly in a pattern, appearing on the right side of the screen. If you have Lasers and a few Options, you can make short work of them. Otherwise, try to line up with the bottom crest of the high squadrons, and the top crest of the low squadrons to eliminate them entirely and obtain the power-ups they leave behind.
- This stage starts out like a traditional Gradius stage, with some enemies flying through the space between the floor and the ceiling, a few ground cannons firing upward, and some of the pods that you first saw in the Collosus Planet stage that scatter six bullets outward as they fall.
- Not long after you fly through this stage, you will begin to see what looks like ruins; platforms suspended from the ceiling, or propped up above the floor by ancient columns. The columns are so ancient in fact, that they will disintegrate under a heavy amount of firepower. Any platforms that were attached to them will drop down to the ground below. You're not always required to destroy the columns to proceed, but there are occasions where you're forced to.
- If you destroy the first column attached to the ceiling, you will reveal a time limited power-up, the Vector Beam. Collect this power up to shoot a powerful beam of energy forward that spreads out as it travels. This is a rather useful weapon to have, so take advantage of it while it lasts.
- You will soon reach sections where you must destroy some of the columns in order to advance through the stage. In one case, an entire stack of platforms are raised above the floor by a single small column. Make sure you get down there to destroy it quickly so that you leave yourself enough time to fly up and above the platforms as they fall down and create a pathway forward near the ceiling.
- This is quickly followed by a set of platforms that are elevated above the floor by two tall columns. It's tempting to shoot the first one, get in close to the second one, and fly forward beneath the falling platforms. But if you hang back far enough to the left while you destroy the second column, you can fly up above the falling platforms to collect a second Vector Beam power-up.
- You'll fly through a stretch of empty space, where some single enemy fighters will fly towards you from the right, and pods will appear in all four corners of the screen which slowly track down your position.
- When you reach the next section of the stage, you will find a hatch which releases enemies that fly around in a circle a few times before charging at the Metalion. Behind this hatch are a few more columns that you must remove in order to continue forward.
- This is followed by a pod on the ground and a set of individual columns stacked on top of each other. The more you shoot down, the lower the platform on top will fall, giving you a greater range of movement to avoid other attacks.
- There is yet another Vector Beam power-up to be found near the end of the stage. To collect, you'll need to quickly fly in below a staircase of platforms to destroy the column on the floor that holds them all up. As they fall, fly ahead of them, and double back as you fly to the top to destroy a small column suspended from the ceiling. Destroy this column to obtain the Vector Beam.
- The final challenge requires you to shoot the first of three columns to drop one platform, followed by two columns holding up the remaining platform, and fly beneath this last platform in order to escape the stage and challenge the boss.
Boss: Misfits Ship
The boss of this stage is identical to the boss of Plant Planet. Use the same strategy of trying to maneuver between the two center laser beams to remove the shields and destroy the core. Hanging back to the left of the screen can give you more time to react to the position of the laser beams as they appear.
Nemesis '90 Kai changes
The upgraded remake of the game stays pretty faithful to the essence of this stage. There are still many pillars and columns to shoot down and cause the collapse of many platforms that serve as barriers to your progress. However, with the increased pace of the game, the pillars feel easier to destroy, and you may at times even destroy some of them off-screen before you even see them. There is a still a gap in the middle of the stage, and there are still three Vector Beam time limited power-ups to collect. Each must be obtained by moving platforms out of the way after shooting out their support columns. Be aware of how fast you are moving and how much space you have to move around in. Things can become a bit cramped at times, and it's easy to misjudge where you are and crash into things.
Rather than returning for a second appearance, this is the first time you fight against the Misfits Ship. When it arrives, it announces its presence by firing off two gigantic lasers at the top and bottom of its wingspan. Stay lined up with the core, and you will easily avoid the lasers. Then the Misfits begins to use its four smaller laser cannons. Unlike the original version, the inner and outer lasers travel at different speeds from one another, adding to the complexity of its attack. You must, of course, dodge the bullets that appear as a result of shattering any shields before you can access the core. Once you invade the core, be aware that there are some gates you have to destroy before you reach the final gate that grants you access to the power-up that you can obtain.