Items to collect
As a general rule, ignore all the Cyber Elves and concentrate on clearing the mission with a high score. You can come back later and collect every Cyber-Elf without pressure, as well as upgrade the level of some weapons by using them.
Elves to obtain (4):
- Mission Notes: Protect 10 crates (2 pts each, -2 for each lost)
- Clear Time Limit: 2:50
- Enemies Killed: 64
EX Skill walkthrough
For this mission, Elpizo has received word that Neo Arcadia is moving important goods. Elpizo wants Zero to board an enemy transport train bound for Neo Arcadia and seize the load of supplies. These supplies would prove very useful for "Operation Righteous Strike," since Elpizo is moving many of his troops.
Out of all the missions, this one is the most straightforward of them all; make your way to the freight car and seize the supplies. You must keep any from being taken, or you'll get docked at the end of this mission.
Right away, you'll board this train in motion, unlike the one in the last game. Just like the first, never fall off the train cars, or else you'll lose a life.
First engine car
Although getting across the train isn't too confusing, as soon as you move across the first engine car, you'll be greeted by one of the persistent Carryarms from the last game, which still fly in to drop off another very annoying enemy, Spikings, steel wheels covered in spikes, which also roll across the cars without being dropped by Carryarms. The two almost always appear on the upper paths of the train cars. Memorize where these annoyances appear, as they can chip away your health if you blindly dash down the train. The first car has only one incoming Carryarm. Try to charge up your Z-Saber as they sweep in to destroy the pairs they come. Dashing underneath the Carryarm on this car is risky, but possible.
The most recurring danger of the level comes as you try to jump across train cars. Towering checkpoint gates usually pass over the tracks to clear incoming trains of any unwanted objects and keep the train in motion by continually re-supplying it with electricity to power it along the rails. These are signaled by two gates with yellow flashers, then one with red flashers. After these go by, jump, because a huge, electrified gate will sweep over the cars, doing severe damage if it hits you. However, they do clear away any enemies on the train car roofs at the time, which can make it easier to get across. You can avoid these by diving into the open chambers of certain train cars.
As you jump from car to car, mind the couplings, as you'll get steamrolled if you fall through the gaps, unless you negated the instant death effect with Putick.
When you jump onto even-numbered cars on the train, you can go either up onto the roofs of the next train car ahead or down into the chambers of it. For these cars, it's faster and more prefeable to go down, as the upper paths are usually overrun by enemies, but beware of the incoming Spiking below if you go down. If you didn't defeat Phoenix Magnion, there will also be Pantheon Guardians patrolling the lower chamber, as well as many other train cars.
When you jump onto odd-numbered cars on the train, you can only go up. This car has one Spiking that appears, followed by a Carryarm. There will be two Pantheons as well if the troops aren't limited.
Again, your best bet is to head down, but multiple Spikings will come after you, including one dropping down from behind. However, the lower chamber leads to a Life Energy Capsule that refills 8 HP.
Crossing up here is just like the third train car, except the Spiking appears immediately, and then you'll encounter the Carryarm further down.
Yet again, go down. There are still more Spikings, but this time, you'll find Energy Crystals to make it worth your while, as they help you raise Cyber-Elves.
Second Engine Car
This train car is surprisingly devoid of enemies, and the checkpoint gate is the only danger here. However, there's a reason for the lack of enemies here. The seventh car is actually the engine of another train following close behind the one you need to board for security purposes. This can be tricky jumping from either the engine face or cowcatcher, as Spikings and checkpoints can hinder a safe jump. Fortunately, you can make use of a Life Energy Capsule before jumping.
The Second Train
Now that you've boarded the train carrying the supplies, you'll find reinforced groups of enemies await you.
Right away, a Carryarm will come by, so look out. As you head further, you'll encounter a defensive new enemy, Yadokroid. These hermit-crab Mechaniloids can't be harmed by Buster shots while covered by their shells, and they try to send bullets of their own back. Slice through their shells with a charged Z-Saber to take them down in one hit. If you hit them with a weak strike, it will just remove their shells, allowing you to inflict damage with your Buster, but they'll flee in terror and rapidly open fire while doing so.
It's actually best to go up this time, as no enemies will be there besides Pantheon Guardians if the troops aren't limited. The lower path has Yadokroids hugging the ceiling that drop to attack, along with ones already on the floor.
This car only has a few Spikings rolling down it. Aside from the first one that appears, it's easy to get past them.
"Sub-Boss": Carryarm Brigade
After getting across the third car, you'll finally reach the freight car. The operator will alert you that enemy Mechaniloids are arriving to ship the supplies on the train away, and you need to stop them.
Hop to the top of the supply stack and get ready. A massive number of Carryarms will appear to grab the supplies. You can't let any get away with supplies, or you'll lose 2 Mission Objective points for each of the ten crates they snag. Slash them as they come with your Z-Saber. They always appear in the same order; one that drops down above you, another that drops down in front of you, and finally, one that comes in from the direction you're facing. Try not to get roughed up by them, because you'll be in big trouble if you lose enough health. You'll probably rack up enough enemy kills to satisfy part of the mission, but you'll have to wait through precisely 32 of them before they finally stop coming (provided they don't cart of all the crates). They won't return after this mission, because there won't be any crates left to protect.
Compared to the Carryarms just now, there's not many enemies here. Just watch out for the Pantheon Guardians if the Power Room is still active, and the Spiking nonetheless.
Go down once again, but beware of the Spikings as always. Pay special attention for one sneaking up from behind. You'll find another Life Energy Capsule to refill your health, which you definitely will need for either your health or the Sub Tank you might have, as the engine car you're about to jump onto next has no enemies, but your presence on the train has been discovered...
Boss: Panter Flauclaws
When you reach the edge of the train engine, the view will shift to the front of the trains. Zero notices a blue train has pulled up beside the red one, with the Mutos Reploid Panter Flauclaws riding atop the roof. The Reploid has been alerted to Zero's location after noticing the bedlam inflicted on the supply train. He's invaded an area under watch by his master, Harpuia, so it seems awfully foolish to him for someone to be up to no good out in the open. Panter is here to stop Zero's efforts of helping the Resistance in a battle aboard the railways...
Panter Flauclaws is actually a huge difference compared to Hyleg Ourobockle in difficulty. He is incredibly agile, and has a deadly arsenal of abilities to fight with. Being a Thunder-element boss, he's weak to ice, and freezes on contact with Ice-based attacks. However, if you just defeated Hyleg, he can be downright vicious. A full Sub Tank is crucial for this boss fight. On the other hand, if you defeated Poler Kamrous and obtained both the Ice Chip and the X Form, every charged shot will deal him 10 damages, thus making the fight quite fast. When Poler Kamrous' EX Skill is equipped, however, the buster deals less damage.
The battle against Panter Flauclaws takes place on the two trains. They will weave back and forth on the tracks, which can be a confusing battlefield. If you fall over the edges of either trains, you'll die without Putick's ability, or you'll die immediately if you try to slide in between the trains to evade Panter and they sandwich you together.
Panter will try a variety of clever moves, and he's not got a specific pattern, so keep an eye on him. If he gets down on all fours and leaps, it's harder to hit him. It also warns you if he's preparing to attack.
His simplest, but one of his nastier attacks, is throwing two pink blasts of electricity toward you. Simply dash over them to avoid harm.
If you try to stay away from the train Panter stands on, he will try far-range attacks. He can jump into the sky and unleash diagonal kicks at you if you get very far out of range. Dash forward to dodge this brutal attack.
Panter may occasionally stand still, just to fake you out and throw two pink boomerangs at you that spin around him like shields. To dodge, stay a far distance away, as they're short ranged. If he's too close to do it properly, dash over him if you must. You can also throw the Shield Boomerang to counter his own boomerangs. Although it has a delayed charge compared to the other weapons, it does a massive amount of damage when the Ice Chip is equipped and it saws into Panter.
Panter Flauclaws also uses boomerangs an orbiting set of shields, throwing out three that block your attacks and keep you at bay. Wait until they return to him, then attack in the brief second he's unguarded and immobile.
Panter's stronger attacks are green. These are very dangerous attacks, because Panther relies on them a lot, and they do fierce amounts of damage. Panther might throw three green boomerangs as he leaps over the trains, two on one side, one on the other. Where only one flies is a small gap. you have to be in the right place at the right time to avoid getting hit, and it's considerably tricky to dash between the space between the boomerangs and dodge them. Due to the difficult timing to avoid it, this is perhaps the worst attack he has.
EX Skill: Tail Spark
When facing him at A-Rank or above, Panter Flauclaws uses his mighty Tail Spark attack. He will charge up a pair of green electric sparks, crouch down, and flood the train he's on with an electric current that crawls down the whole engine. Jump to the other train if he unleashes this attack and stay well away from him. He's invincible during his attack, so just wait it out. Keep in mind that if you stand too close to Panter after he finishes unleashing Tail Spark, he's liable to use a pounce on you.
Panter's agility is his strong suit. Even so, you can still predict how to dodge his attacks fairly well, and with the Ice Chip equipped, you've already got him beat.
When Panter Flauclaws is defeated, he's ashamed for not being good enough to protect Neo Arcadia. He feels shame over not living up to Harpuia's expectations as he dies.
Since Panter Flauclaws is an element boss like Poler Kamrous, you'll receive another Element Chip for your victory. Being a Thunder-element boss, you'll get the Thunder Chip. It's just like the one you got from beating Aztec Falcon, but just like the Ice Chip, Zero wore that one out long ago. You'll be able to charge up Thunder-element attacks that shock and stun enemies like before. Once again, Fire-element bosses are especially weak to it, because they use a considerably greater amount of electronic devices to safely control their pyrotechnic weapons so they avoid roasting themselves or others. One bad jolt of electricity scrambles their inner-workings like an egg.
However, beating Panter at the all-important A-Rank or higher will also score you the EX Skill Spark Shot. Equip this, and instead of a normal Thunder Charge Shot, Zero will fire a powerful energy spark from his Buster. Unlike the normal charged attack, when this one strikes an enemy, it doesn't just stun them or rip through them; it splits into two smaller sparks that damage even more enemies in the way. This EX Skill will be especially useful to have in later battles.
- As you transfer to the train, head left from where you appear and drop down over the side of the engine to find a Cyber-Elf box resting on the cowcatcher with Cyber-Elf Emick inside.
- Destroying Carryarms isn't worthwhile, but destroy ten Spikings, and you get Cyber-Elf Biraero.
- Destroy four Yakodroids to get Cyber-Elf M-orapp.
- You might be tempted to jump immediately on one of the cars, but you'll miss something if you do. On the narrow walkway at the end of the train car directly following the freight car rests a Cyber-Elf box, with Cyber-Elf Clockle inside.
When Zero returns to base, Elpizo announces his men now have enough supplies for an all-out attack on Neo Arcadia.
With Poler Kamrous and Panter Flauclaws gone, Phoenix Magnion and Hyleg Ourobockle remain. Since Phoenix Magnion is a Fire-element boss, the Thunder Chip is key to defeating him. It's time to stare down the most menacing of the four bosses in this group.