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Not trying to brag, but I was able to beat him my first try. I did overheat once and started to plummet to my death. But I managed to slow my descent by spinning and then maneuvered myself into some falling water, which saved me. I felt he was challenging but by no means cheap.
It's only after you have lost everything that you are free to do anything.
I wouldn't call him cheap, but if you beat him on your first try it has more to do with luck than skill. There were numerous times he spawned a wall of magma right where my ship was, and also numerous times I got caught between the bottom of the area and his spinning lava blades of destruction.
Check out my LittleBigPlanet levels at http://lbp.me/u/pengi2dave88/levels, and my Interactive Fiction at http://tinyurl.com/ifdb-b-a-c.