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You can only have one Special Weapon at a time. Collecting the same weapon upgrade multiple times will usually upgrade the weapon. If you collect a different upgrade you will switch to that weapon and drop back to level 0.

Similar to when you collect a Power Chip, the Zanac flashes to indicate temporary invulnerability whenever you collect a Special Weapon bonus. Special Weapon upgrades either appear in Weapon Distros on the ground or are dropped by Cargos.

When you use your Special Weapon to shoot at the rare Eye Eye statue, any counters will get reset to maximum and you will automatically be upgraded to the weapon's most powerful level as well as racking up some points. Obviously, this only works with weapons that can hit targets on the ground.

Tile 0 - All Range Weapon[edit]

Description: This is your default weapon when you start the game or after you die. It is actually reasonably powerful, especially because it is the only weapon you can fire behind you or directly to the left or right. You are also able to fire diagonally.

Level Description
0 You fire a single bolt of energy forward or in the direction you are steering.
1 You will fire twin bolts of energy.
2 The width between the twin bolts will increase.
3 No change.
4 No change, but the weapon can be used to destroy bullets.

This weapon works against ground and air targets, but it will not destroy bullets unless it is leveled up four times. Weapon 0 is very useful in stages with long stretches of Degid attacks. However, its weaknesses are blocker enemies (like Eggs, T-Cells, Mortars etc.) sine they can block the way to other enemies.

Tile 1 - Straight Crusher[edit]

Description: A ball of energy shoots straight forward from your ship until it leaves the screen. You can only have one ball of energy on the screen at any time. A counter displays the number of shots you have left. Each time you collect Tile 1 the counter will refill.

Level Description
0 You release a ball the same size as the single bolt of Special Weapon 0.
1 You will release twin bolts of energy.
2 You will release one large ball twice the size of the original bolt.
3 No change. Just additional stock
4 No change. Just additional stock.
5 Large ball moves much slower now, but rotates in similar fashion as Weapon 3. (not pictured)

In general, this is a poor weapon except at level 3-5. Even then, Tile 7 is still much better. It will destroy just about anything, even CHIPs.

This weapon works against both ground and air targets, even bullets.

Tile 2 - Field Shutter[edit]

Description: A shield protects a portion of your ship from all attack. Cannot be shut off and is powerless against targets on the ground. A counter will indicate how many more hits the shield can take, but the lower the counter the less of your ship is protected. Conversely, collecting more Tile 2 upgrades will increase the counter and area protected.

Level Description
0 A shield will be appear that can sustain 50 hits.
1 An enhanced shield will appear and absorb 80 hits.
2 The shield will absorb 100 hits.
3 An enhanced shield will appear and absorb 120 hits.
4 The shield will absorb 140 hits.
5 A full shield will appear all around Zanac for a full 80 seconds.

For some reason, the System really, really hates Tile 2. Collecting it will make aggression levels shoot upwards and you can expect to be assaulted by Degids after picking up even a single one. Because of this and the fact that it leaves you with the Conventional Weapon as your only offensive weapon, it can be seen as useless for players who have good spatial awareness and can consistently avoid destruction through their skills.

For those who want to upgrade this weapon to maximum, this is how formula works:

  • Picking up Field Shutter for the first time unleashes a squadron of Degids (in 1st area). You should either move to one side of the screen and shoot halves before they reach you or moving to the leftmost or rightmost edge of the screen. Initial Degid attack stops rather quickly. Sometimes picking it up for the first time causes 2 red Golgos to appear instead.
  • Picking up another weapon 2 causes two red Golgos to appear (if they didn't appear in the first time). It's best to get close to them to eradicate them. This may sacrifice your shield's power a bit, but gets rid of them quickly.
  • When collecting another weapon 2, Sig activity will increase and now appear frequently and in bunches. Sig attack lasts much longer than previous two.
  • Soon after Sigs, Mortars show up who won't leave you alone until Weapon 2 is maximized.
  • Maximized weapon spawns a several Valkyres. Also, when continuing picking up that weapon a lot, they start spawning too.

It's important to note that using an Enemy Eraser (or destroying a Fortress) removes those scripted spawns entirely and prevents further scripted enemies from spawning. When using weapon 2, it is a very viable strategy to only refresh the shield when you either have an Enemy Eraser at your disposal, or you're about to destroy an enemy fortress. What's particularly effective is to destroy all fortress cores but one (preferably the easiest one to deal with, definitively not Round Core or Big Core) and wait for tile 2 to appear. As picking up weapons grants you 5 seconds of invulnerability, you can use that to fly up to the remaining core and destroy it quickly from point-blank range while invulnerable. The resulting explosion will destroy Valkyries that managed to spawn, if any, and prevent further from spawning, thus granting you a very safe way to refill your shield to maximum capacity every time you fight a Fortress.

The Field Shutter does destroy bullets. However, it is useless against Valkyries and hatched Eggs (which will quickly drain it on contact) and it only works in a 180 degree field in front of Zanac; any hit from behind will destroy the player instantly (this includes bullets that were fired off-screen and Yellow Degids, as they approach the player from behind).

You can get this weapon to maximum only once per game. Picking up another weapon 2 tile causes it to revert to level 4. If you hit an Evil Eye while having a level 1-3 shield, it will be upgraded to level 4, not 5, and level 5 shield will become unattainable.

Weapon 2 is arguably the most powerful special weapon for a player that doesn't have godlike spatial awareness, because it stops the vast majority of things that can threaten Zanac. It works best paired with Super Guns and a few Red Landers to increase your firing speed, which balances out the loss of secondary damage source. It's arguably the easiest way to beat the game without losing any lives in process because of how potent it is at stopping enemy fire. As long as you stay at the very bottom of the screen, side hits cannot harm you - this includes things that can be normally troublesome to deal with, such as waves of blue Degids or Logas. You can still be easily defeated by yellow Degids (the ones that come from the back) or Valkyries (which tend to drain your shield extremely fast on contact with Zanac, taking only about a second to drain even 140 shield units), so the player must be aware of sections where those enemies appear & how to fight back. Fortunately, the areas with Yellow Degids/Valkyries are usually either skippable via warps, or manageable with an Enemy Eraser that actually stops them from spawning entirely once used while they began showing up.

The player must also watch out for stationary turrets, as they can fire while already being off-screen, and those bullets can come at an angle from behind and destroy you because the shield only protects you in a 180-degree angle from the front; any hit from the back will go through. It is thus recommended to destroy all stationary cannons/turrets along the way, or carefully avoiding their line of fire once they move off-screen.

It is also important to know that upon contact with Capital Ships and T-Cells, the shield gets disabled. Pressing "A" will re-enable the shield. In case of T-Cells, if you hold "A" during collision, the shield will come back instantly; it is actually almost gapless (loss of protection lasts for 1 frame) so it is extremely unlikely you will die from a bullet, even if it hits you right after you fly into a T-Cell. For Capital Ships it is a bit different, as the shield goes away and can be re-enabled after a short cooldown period (couple seconds). The shield has a bigger hitbox than Zanac, and will be disabled upon contact with the Capital Ship before it touches (destroys) Zanac, so it's a good indicator that an evasive manouver is overdue. In case other enemies beside the Capital Ship are present on the screen, one has to pay extreme attention not to get hit by a stray bullet during the short period when the shield is disabled.

Lastly, the interaction between shielded Zanac and Blue/Red Landers is bugged. The Landers, coming in contact with the shield's hitbox, upon collision, will quickly drain it similarly to how Valkyries do; you can pick up the Lander without losing much of Shield's durability by ensuring Zanac itself touches the Lander - you will still lose some shield units, but if you do it swiftly, you'll lose 5-10 units maximum.

Tile 3 - Circular[edit]

Description: A ball of energy circulates around your ship, destroying everything it touches but leaving everywhere else vulnerable. A counter ticks down each second the weapon is running until it runs out and returns you to Tile 0. Collecting another Tile 3 will upgrade the counter and potentially upgrade to a double version of the same weapon. You can't deactivate this weapon, but it can be deactivated when it bounces off a capital ship.

Level Description
0 One orb will circle around the ship.
1 No change, just an increase in time.
2 Two orbs will circle around the ship.
3 No change, just an increase in time.
4 Two orbs will circle around the ship at a wider range.

This is only marginally better than Tile 2 (offensively), but eventually a ship or bullet will sneak past your perimeter and destroy you making it a less than desirable weapon. Defensively, it thus lacks the reliability of Tile 2, and should be avoided unless you want to spice things up. However, it can be useful against Degids due to their relatively slow speed but being able to attack from sides.

The Circular is powerless against objects on the ground, but will destroy anything in the air including bullets.

Tile 4 - Vibrator[edit]

Description: When you activate Tile 4 a ball of energy about the size of your ship travels forward a fixed distance, then begins oscillating horizontally across a portion of the screen. A counter displays the number of hits it can take before disappearing. You get 60 hits each time you fire Tile 4; each hit makes the field of energy a little smaller, much like Tile 2.

Level Description
0 A small orb will vibrate in front of the ship.
1 A medium orb will vibrate in front of the ship.
2 A large orb will vibrate in front of the ship.

Unfortunately, while the weapon is active you cannot move it or fire another one. This means that only a fixed portion of the screen is protected from incoming enemies for any portion of time and it can do nothing against enemies that attack from the side or the rear of your ship. You just have to dodge and use Conventional Weapons on the rest. When your 60 seconds are up you can put the Vibrator in a more useful part of the screen but you will probably get killed first.

It does work against bullets and objects on the ground. Vibrator is moderately useful when attacking fortresses, capable of eliminating a large number of cores at a time.

Tile 5 - Rewinder[edit]

Description: The Rewinder shoots a ball of energy upwards from your ship a fixed distance, then the ball falls back until it hits the Zanac at which point you can fire again. It moves with your ship as you steer left and right but is always directly in front of it.

Level Description
0 You release a ball the same size as the single bolt of Special Weapon 0.
1 You will release twin bolts of energy.
2 The width between the twin bolts will increase.

Tile 5 will destroy bullets and Ground Targets. It is marginally useful against bases but is otherwise likely to leave you vulnerable unless you can upgrade to its maximum level. As a reward for sticking with this difficult weapon, it will evolve to a new weapon if you collect three more Tile 5s after reaching Level 2.

Tile 5 - Laser[edit]

The laser is a concentrated blast of energy that will crash through every enemy uninterrupted. With each additional Tile 5 that you collect, the length of the laser will increase, up to a maximum of four times.

Level Description
0 Collect three more Tile 5s after reaching the Level 2 Rewinder to fire the laser.
1 The length of the laser increases.
2 The length of the laser increases.
3 The length of the laser increases.
4 The laser reaches its maximum length.

The laser can destroy bullets and ground targets, and won't even ricochet off of large enemies. It can even destroy egg husks with relative ease. However, it can only be fired straight, so it's best to use with Super Guns for added side protection.

Tile 6 - Plasma Flash[edit]

Description: A single ball of energy travels from your ship. When it contacts an aerial enemy the entire screen is cleared of everything other than Special Weapon upgrades, just like when you touch an Enemy Eraser. A counter displays the number of shots remaining before you revert to Tile 0. Collecting each additional Tile 6 will reset your counter.

Level Description
0 One crash bolt will fly forward until it hits an enemy.
1 No change, just additional stock.
2 Enemies will be instantly destroyed when you press A button.
3 No change, just additional stock.
4 No change, just additional stock.
5 You get one single stock of a crash bolt. When it hits, every single enemy and bullet on the screen will turn into a Blue Lander, and you will return to Special Weapon 0.

It does not affect targets on the ground at all. Tile 6 is useful to get through the occasional patch of dense enemy craft, but you might be better off sticking to another Special Weapon and using Enemy Erasers instead. Power up Tile 6 just once early in the game to collect a large number of extra lives and gain fire rate upgrades. However, if you die and find Weapon 6, it's not always a bad idea to pick it up. In stretches of level where System send predefined enemy waves to you, Weapon 6 not only clears the wave, but also stops the predefined wave prematurely which can be useful in such Areas as 8.

Tile 7 - High Speed[edit]

Description: Arguably the best offensive Special Weapon in the game. A rapid fire stream of energy balls shoots from the front of the ship. It veers a little bit left and right as you steer in those directions, but does not shoot directly to the sides or to the rear. A counter displays the number of seconds of continuous fire left. Collecting another Tile 7 will reset the counter to 200.

Level Description
0 An open line of bolts will fire at high speed from the ship.
1 A half-open line of bolts will fire at high speed from the ship.
2 A closed line of bolts will fire at high speed from the ship.
3 A line of large energy bolts will fire at high speed from the ship.

This works against Ground Targets and bullets.