Now, it is time to get into the stages themselves. Per “pestro87” Strand & Luke “Aquas” Schirmer are here to tell us about the first two stages in this bug riding adventure. Let’s get this beetle in the air!
Stage 1 contains many larger bugs and semi-large flying bugs. During the first section of the stage, there are also three larva colonies hiding in the tree stumps. The larva colonies can be used for linking the overall counter in between the waves as each larva can be destroyed individually. On Ultra the larvae also shoot out a large spray of suicide bullets when they are destroyed.
As per CAVE tradition, Stage 1 has the lowest scoring potential compared to the other stages. From a scoring perspective, the larger bugs are somewhat lucrative for score on all modes but in the grand scheme of things it doesn’t add very much. On Original and Arrange Mode you want to point-blank them and on Maniac/Ultra (no-MAX) you want to hold C and tap A while you shoot them. On Maniac/Ultra MAX you want to hold C on the tree stumps with the windmill on them and then switch to tapping C rapidly as the laser counter turns red.On the other larger enemies you want to slowly tap A and then switch to rapidly tapping C as the laser counter turns red, as outlined previously in the section about enemy specific counters.
On the other larger enemies you want to slowly tap A and then switch to rapidly tapping C as the laser counter turns red, as outlined previously in the section about enemy specific counters.
The Stage 1 boss is the easiest boss in the game but he does have a few patterns that can be challenging on higher difficulties. For the first phase, you want to slowly tap-dodge the first pattern and macro-dodge the fast stream of bullets. During the second phase, there is a safe spot on top of the boss on Ultra for the first bullet pattern.
During the first half of the second stage, you will encounter large moths, ground enemies as well as flying popcorn enemies but most notably are the flower-like enemies that opens and closes their shell. These enemies are invincible when their shell is closed. This makes them lucrative for score as you can build up the counter quickly by point-blanking them during their invincibility period. They will keep their shell closed as long as you stay on top of them. This can be dangerous, though, on Maniac and Ultra as they shoot out bullets when they open their shell.
Once you have reached the half-way point of Stage 2 you will be greeted by the first mid-boss in the game. He has a few tricky patterns that require you to tap dodge through them. On Maniac you want to utilize the “tap A then tap C” strategy as he is very useful for score. This is a re-occurring strategy for the mid-bosses on Maniac, so keep it in mind throughout the game.
On 1.5 Maniac MAX, he is an incredibly useful enemy for increasing your counter in the entire game. For example, by utilizing an A (2/12) and C (1/5) auto-fire rate you can bump up the overall counter from 0 to 800k-900k during the boss fight but you need to prolong the first phase until the boss times out.
If you are playing for score on Original then you want to speed-kill this boss since the overall counter will not go up during the boss fight, only when the boss is destroyed. If you speed-kill him then a few more regular enemies will appear afterwards as well. This is another re-occurring strategy on the mid-bosses in Original mode.
After the mid-boss a new type of enemy will appear, large insects that come from a pit of quicksand. You will fight a couple of these enemies in addition to the regular enemies that you previously fought, before reaching the boss. The insects that appear from the quicksand, fortunately, have an easy pattern to dodge and upon being destroyed they will cancel all bullets on the screen.
Right before entering the second boss fight there is a bit of a gap and you will notice that your counter will decrease a significant amount during this period. As such, you want to keep the flower enemies alive for as long as possible and then destroy the last two flying enemies once the flower enemies are off-screen in order to keep your overall counter from going down too much. This takes a little bit of practice on higher difficulties.
During the first phase of the second boss ,you can destroy six of his smaller legs, three on each side. Each leg will shoot out bullets. You want to apply a combination of micro- and macro-dodges throughout this fight as the bullet patterns are rather varied. A little persistence, and you’ll catch on to the patterns and make it through.
What do you think? Are there any strategies you use in the first two stages to help your score? Have some questions? Join us in the comments below!
And don’t forget to join us next time as we explore stages 3 & 4!