In The Wind (Volcano section)
- Think of this part as a replica of stage 1 from Gradius. The enemies you know and hate are back, including Jumpers, Duckers, Dee-O1 cannons, and Uros cannons. Hatches also are scattered around the place, an with all the bullets now being fired at you during the stage, you need to stock up on shields for the stage.
- After you see the first big cliff, you will see a purple Uros cannon at the bottom behind it. Either stick your Options in such a way that one fires a missile there, or use a Mega Crush. If you destroy it, the music(In The Wind) changes to "A Long Time Ago", which will play until you die or make it to the Underground section.
- There is not much new to this stage, but there is one catch: After the volcanoes, the screen will start shaking, and not only will there be platforms falling from the ceiling, but Jumpers will start coming from behind. Avoid the enemies and platforms, and you should be fine. When you're done, look for a hole in the ground. Go into the hole, and cannons will be on the walls in the tunnel. When you get out of the tunnel, you will be underground.
- This part starts off by splitting the area into two sections: The bottom section involves erupting volcanoes, and the top is a maze with enemies everywhere, most of which are hatches. Try both paths to see which is better for you.
- When you're done with that part, the screen will scroll up, and you will be back on land. Enemies are everywhere, and free flying enemies will also intercept the area. Jumpers will also come from behind, so be careful.
- Next, you will carve tunnels in a dirt area. Cannons and hatches are present, and so are indestructible rocks. The rocks are hidden in the dirt, and when the dirt under them is cleared out, they fall, so watch carefully.
- After the dirt area, you will see two volcanoes at the top of the screen. A hatch is in between them, and two more hatches are at the bottom. Then, you will see a surprise: The Iron Maidens. These ships make a return from Gradius, and are about the same, except they appear from the lower right, not the upper right. When all Iron Maidens are finished, you will meet the boss
Boss: Big Core Mk 3
This boss has a difficult attack pattern:
- It will open up its arms and fires two long lasers, trapping you between them.
- While you are trapped, Big Core Mk 3 will fire reflecting lasers(4 lasers if one core remains).
- It will close up and fire five lasers(4 if one core remains) .
This boss has three cores to destroy. If you are powered up with full options and missiles, the slowdown can be taken advantage of to make things easier. If you are not, the laser attacks after destroying two cores will probably be too difficult to avoid. Instead, you may wish to attempt to time the boss out until it destroys itself while braving several rounds of the slightly-less-dangerous reflecting lasers. When all cores are destroyed, you will move on.
The screen doesn't shake when the platforms are falling. That part comes before the volcanos, not after. In the underground section, the first half is removed. The falling rocks can be destroyed. The Iron Maidens are also different. A falling platform appears when the underground section starts.
A bonus stage can be found by destroying all land-based enemies while on the volcano part of the level. Then, when the underground falling platform lands, destroy the cannons on it, and fly where the platform used to be.