- : Turn left/fire pulse rifle to the left
- : Select special weapon/fire special weapon
- : Turn right/fire pulse rifle to the right
You play as 'Ranger X', a special combat suit equipped with a pulse rifle, thrust pack, and various special weapons. Your objective in each level is to destroy all 'targets,' special weapons or structures that are important to the enemy's military. The radar at the top of the screen shows the number of targets left, and points to any that are close by.
The yellow bar at the bottom left represents your shields. As you take hits, it will turn red. If you get hit when your shields are gone, you die.
Your thrust pack allows you to fly, but you have to come down to the ground every once in awhile to allow it to cool off. The gauge at the bottom right shows how overheated the thruster is--once it reaches yellow, your thruster will die, and the ranger will plummet.
You will always be accompanied by a vehicle, or ex-up, in your missions. There are two:
- Ex-up Indra: Unicycle with auto-targeting pulse rifle. To get it to jump, hold the d-pad down, then release.
- Ex-up Eos: Airship that fires lasers as support fire. It follows you slowly throughout the mission.
You only start the game with two special weapons, but you pick up more in later stages. You can only have one equipped at a time, but you can change while inside an ex-up. Outside the ex-up, press to fire the weapon. Some of the weapons, like the flame unit and seeker charge, require you to hold the button down to get the most out of them.
Ranger X's special weapons require power, represented by the green bar next to the heat gauge. They are powered by solar energy, so as long as you remain exposed to light the power gauge will continuously refill.
There are power-conversion units inside most of the missions to convert power to shields. For the large version, stand inside of it, and it will convert slowly until you run out of power, or your shields become fully repaired. For the miniature version, moving near it will do the conversion immediately, then vanish. The large version is the more useful of the two, but you will only find it in the first two missions.
Every time you die, you will have an option to continue if you have any lives left. You will be returned to full health, but your power will be at the same level it was when you died. You get an extra life every 200,000 points.
- Take advantage of your thruster pack. Use it to fly above incoming shots. Dodging is much easier when you aren't confined to the ground.
- Often, it's hard to figure out where a boss is vulnerable. Listen for the impact sound, and watch the enemy's health bar. The Indra's auto-targeting can also be useful.
- Proceed slowly. Health isn't as important in the first couple of missions, since you can always backtrack to the power converters, but later on every bit of shielding is precious. You don't want to charge blindly.
- Don't be afraid to use a lot of special weapons when fighting enemy targets. That's what they're there for. Every stage has somewhere you can go to backtrack and recharge solar energy, even the underground one.
- Don't wait until your thrusters suddenly die to look for a landing spot. You should start looking as soon as the meter goes into the red. You want to have control over where you end up.
- If you want to make a controlled descent, don't wait until the last minute to activate your thrusters. They take awhile to kick in, and in that time you might find yourself plopping into a pool of acid or some equally painful situation. Keep tapping up to slow you down.
- On the flip side, don't feel like you need your thrusters to always be on when you're flying. You can move a surprisingly good distance on drift alone. By temporarily releasing the up button every so often, you can spend a much longer time in the air.