Departure For Space(Pre-Stage)
During space flight, you should move into position to collect your first power ups. A wave of five enemies will first approach near the top, and split before reconverging. This is followed by a second wave approaching from the bottom, which stops just at the center of the left screen before turning back right. The third and fourth waves appear at the top then bottom, and are easy to intercept if you decided to use two powerups for Speedup.
After the initial four waves, you will encounter a mix of enemies from the initial waves and individual fighters. There should be at least four more powerups before you enter the base.
Sand Storm (Desert)
This first stage takes place in a desert full of sand dunes, and, for a first level, is difficult.
- There are mountains that can make it hard to reach enemies. If so, try Double shots so you can reach enemies better. Missiles also help, but sometimes you'll want to get real close to the terrian if you're playing with the Upper Missile.
- Sand lions appear often; they have little health, but are deadly. They can leap from one side of the terrain to the other, and fire sand balls that split into three smaller ones. Take care while destroying them, as sometimes they can catch you by surprise.
- There are six sand dragons in this stage; each will surprise you by rising from the sand. They attempt to ram the Vic Viper,and fire sand balls that split in a circle of eight. but like the sand lions, they have little defense, so as soon as you see them, fire. Just watch out for the bullet firing Dee-01 cannons.
- Other enemies occupy the land too, such as hatches and cannons. The Duckers make a return from Gradius, and are as annoying as ever, as they fire a 2-way spread. The hatches still release enemies in a frenzy, but are easy to take care of. If so, at the beginning of the level, you can destroy the sets of enemies that come out, then destroy the hatch for points.
- At times, you will see flying enemies. They rarely appear, but still watch out for the other enemies. Some foes are red and give power ups, but don't get distracted, as sometimes they fire bullets. Keep an eye on enemies from hatches; they fire lots of bullets on higher levels.
- At the first set of floor turrets and hanger, a walker appears on the top of the screen. This is followed by a second one containing a powerup.
- A sand dragon will fly out of the sand on the first set of dunes (there are a total of three sand dragons on this stage.)
- Past the second set of hangers where the ceiling drops and where you can attack floor targets for a powerup, a walker will arrive from the left.
- A second sand dragon will come out of the sand. A third will come out a bit further.
The first boss, reminiscent of an earwig, will approach once you reach the end of the base.
It follows a simple attack pattern:
- It will open and close it's jaws. These jaws will block shots to the core.
- After a while, it launches five shots in a spread pattern. The only one likely to hit is the one in line with the core.
- When the shots hit the side, an enemy will fly from the walls and create a spider web.
- Goliath will also move forward and back at times.
It is vulnerable to shots in the center. When Goliath is about to die, it turns red. Once defeated, the Vic Viper will fly forward to the next stage.
There is hardly anything different, although there are no sand lions. Goliath is slightly different, as its small set of pinchers don't move. More than one enemy now appears at a time during the fight, making it harder.