Most games start you out nice and easy in order to help you learn the basics and mechanics of the game. This game starts by throwing major firepower at you right from the start. You'll have to deal with three diving seeker jets before the game slows down enough for you to stop and get your bearings. After these three jets, and a bobbing pod, the first Energon Cube seeker arrives. You'll have to aim at it very carefully to hit it. Shortly after that, the Blitzwing tanks start to arrive. Jump carefully over them while keeping your eye open for more Energon Cube seekers. After a while, some insect looking enemies will appear. These move along a sine wave while firing in your direction. After these appear, the seeker jet containing the first Rodimus letter will appear. Shoot it down and collect the R. From that point, you can race to the end of the level, jumping over the few tanks that appear. To defeat the Cybertron Moon Base at the end, transform into a truck, and park yourself directly beneath the base. Fire upwards at it until the base is destroyed.
This stage is similar to the previous one, except that you will be required to jump a lot more. The ground is uneven, and platforms are present to jump on. Seeker jets and Blitzwing tanks will still hound you throughout the stage, but one enemy that is particularly troublesome are the drones parked on the platforms. They fire straight to the left or right, depending on where you stand. They take three shots to remove. You are best off traveling over them or under them, but if you intend to shoot down every Energon Cube bearing seeker jet, you may need to remove them from the platforms first. The O Rodimus letter will appear after two Blitzwing tanks roll by. Towards the end of the stage, you will see a large collection of columns. Transform into a truck and roll through the section to remain safely below the diving saucers that hunt out Magnus's vertical position. They can't drop as low as Magnus in truck form. However, it is during this section that Starscream will appear. Shoot him twice if you wish to take advantage of the warp to Stage 4. One more Energon Cube seeker will fly by. If you're lucky, you might collect the Barrier, in which case you can crash through to the end of the stage. Otherwise, stay low. Defeating the two Cybertron Moon Bases is much like the first boss fight. The danger is that you have two wave-motion attacks coming at you instead of one. When the coast is clear, and no more attacks are approaching you, transform into a truck and take each base out one at a time, first the left, and then the right.
All of the Time Tunnel stages are vertical. In the first one, you start at the bottom, and must climb to the top. Along the way, you will face Ratbat, who hovers in place along certain sections of the tunnel, and wall mounted cannons. The enemies don't appear in huge numbers, and they tend to only occupy one side of the screen at a time, so it's fairly easy to position Ultra Magnus on the opposite sides as you ascend. Eventually, you will encounter gaps in the platforms patrolled by hovering pods that float back and forth. Ultra Magnus is a quick jumper, so you should be able to squeeze him up along one side of the opening or the other when the pods are out of the way. When you reach the top, the boss you must face is a giant Decepticon Insignia. The symbol will shoot pulses that travel in wide arcs. The weak point of the symbol is the flashing point near the top over the center. Use the platforms to line up with the weak point, and to jump over or dodge the pulses.
The Subspace City starts out as a collection of platforms that you must guide Ultra Magnus over. Obviously, falling through the empty space at the bottom of the screen will spell his doom. Seeker jets will fly out to attack, and to deliver power-up Energon Cubes if shot. Eventually, you will reach an enclosed area where you will have no choice, but to transform into a truck to enter. Once inside, you will have to deal with new enemies; a tall drone that slowly bounces from the floor to the ceiling, smaller bat like enemies that descend from the ceiling to attack, and fireballs that also bounce through the passage. Power-up providing seeker jets will continue to appear, including the one that gives you the D Rodimus letter. This is the first stage where you might earn the F Energon Cube that grants you the power of flight. If you collect it, use it to fly to the top of the screen and over the remainder of the stage. If not, escape the passage, and jump over the platforms to the final tunnel section which leads directly to the boss fight. The boss of the stage is the Decepticon warship known as Nemesis. It has one weak point directly beneath the nose cone. It fires multi-directional shots aimed at wherever Ultra Magnus is when the shot is delivered.
This stage starts out fairly peacefully, requiring Ultra Magnus to simply make a few jumps from platform to platform. A few vertically moving platforms like those found during the boss fights will appear to make the leaps easier. You will eventually see what appears like a mechanical volcano. You can safely pass through it unless a large fireball happens to be erupting at the time. Once again, you could potentially collect an F Energon Cube that will let you fly through most of the stage. Be prepared to shoot down the seeker holding the I Rodimus letter. You will encounter low lying tunnels that you can drive through, but it's not always safe to do so since there's little maneuvering room inside. Another volcano will send out tiny fireballs that travel in waves. Once you make it to the end, your boss will be the Stunticon Gestalt known as Menasor. As menacing as he may appear, he is actually one of the easiest bosses in the game. Menasor bobs up and down, but he always fires his laser beam in a straight direction at regular intervals, so his weapon is very easy to dodge. His weak spot is the flashing point at the top of his head.
Stage 6 is the reverse of Stage 3. You will be working your way down to the bottom of this Time Tunnel. Right away, you will encounter the three pods that guard one of the tunnel gaps. You may find it a lot more difficult to slip past them while falling, so it's best to remove them before you proceed. Simply go to the left end of the platform, transform into a truck, and send missiles through the gap to destroy the pods before dropping down. The same will be true for the two pods below that, and as a bonus, you will be able to hit the cannon drone below them. Stick primarily to the left side of the screen as you drop down and you'll reach the bottom. You'll fight another Decepticon Insignia. This one fires slow wave motion pulses that lock in on your horizontal position and shoot forward. Use the same strategy as the one you used for the first insignia.
Stage 7 is a rather challenging stage in its own right. The slick ice covered ground makes stopping a chore, and the first half of the stage is covered with low flying saucers that drop down to your level in order to collide with you. Transform into a truck to avoid getting hit by them. Then continue to drive forward until you see one of the insect enemies from the first stage. Slow down because a new type of enemy is about to appear. Soundwave will periodically pop his head out of the ground. If you are driving along at full speed, it's virtually impossible to stop on time and avoid a collision. After a second Soundwave appears, transform back into a truck and roll below the saucers, but be prepared to shoot down the seeker that contains the M Rodimus letter. After that, you may notice Starscream passing across the screen. If you can shoot him twice, you can activate a warp to Stage 9, but you will miss the opportunity to collect the U Rodimus letter from Stage 8. After Starscream goes by, transform back into a robot to prepare for a new kind of low flying saucer that you can't drive under. You can jump over them or shoot them. Near the very end of the stage, you will see a gray head of Optimus Prime. It has no significance, just continue to the end of the stage. The boss of this stage is the Combaticon Gestalt named Bruticus. This fight will be extremely similar to your fight with Menasor. However, Bruticus can actually aim his gun which makes him slightly more dangerous. He still fires at regular intervals, so you can time your jump and avoid most of his attacks. As always, his weak point is a spot at the top of his head.
Stage 8 will be an entirely new Time Tunnel. And unlike Stage 3, your first trip through the tunnel will be in the downward direction. Unlike most vertical stages, there actually is a Rodimus letter, even though there are no seeker jets. In order to find it, you must look for an opening to the left that looks like the one depicted in the screenshot to the left. The correct entrance will be the second one that you encounter. Inside, you will see a small bat-like creature guarding the letter U. You can collect the U and transform into a truck to fire upward at the bat. When you succeed in killing it, a picture of Megatron will appear, suggesting of course that he was the one responsible for Optimus Prime's destruction. (You don't actually have to defeat the bat, the battle will eventually time out and return you to the stage.) Continue to slip past all the enemies and drop to the bottom where you will face yet another Decepticon Insignia. This Insignia fires fast pulses directly at Ultra Magnus, but it is no more difficult than any of the others.
This final horizontally scrolling stage provides the players with a challenge. In order to clear the stage, you must navigate the blocks that make up the stage along a particular path, very much like some of the later castle stages in Super Mario Bros. Failure to do so will result in you being sent back to the beginning of the stage. Unfortunately, there is no visual or audio cues to let you know that you are proceeding in the right direction. You must simply know it or guess correctly. Alternatively, you can view the correct path in the spoiler window below. Good luck with Energon Cubes can essentially make or break this level for you. Flight or Barrier are both a terrific boon to getting through the level with a little trouble as possible. After the first section of blocks, you will run over a small alcove with three small objects. Destroy the objects and shoot the left wall to reveal the Takara logo, which you can collect for 5000 points. You will traverse through largely empty corridors until you reach the second set of blocks that you must correctly maneuver through. As the second set of blocks will not have cannon drones, it will be much easier to cross. The boss of the stage is none other than Megatron himself. However, this Megatron is quite a bit larger than Ultra Magnus, suggesting that he has augmented his natural size through some process. Despite his size, he is no more difficult to defeat than Bruticus and you can rely on the exact same strategy to defeat him.
As stage 6 was the reverse of stage 3, so too is stage 10 the reverse of stage 8. Now you must climb up the second Time Tunnel. There isn't a lot of strategy that you can employ while climbing, just very careful timing. Enemies can be found evenly distributed throughout both sides of the stage, so you must be very careful when choosing a side to proceed on. You can try to shoot some of the wall cannons to make the way easier, or you can try to simply jump up and scroll them off the screen quickly. Either way, pay attention to the timing of the cannon shots, as they fire at regular intervals. When you reach the top, you will be presented with the final boss of the game: the giant transforming Decepticon city, Trypticon. This fight will be just like the previous fight with Megatron, except for two things; Trypticon fires much larger fireballs at you, and he takes twices as many shots to defeat. If you succeed in defeating him, you will be presented with one of two endings depending on whether or not you successfully collected all of the Rodimus letters.