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FAQ/Walkthrough by gudfooht

Version: 1.1 | Updated: 08/08/05

   ____         _____
  / __ \       / ___/
 / / < <      / /
/ /__/ /     / /___
\_____/ionic \____/ommando
               Elite Forces

Version 1.1
Copyright 2005 gudfooht
gudfooht ATTY yahoo DOTTY com

Only gamefaqs.com has been authorised to host this document. This may be not
be reproduced under any circumstances except for personal, private use. It
may not be placed on any web site or otherwise distributed publicly without
advance written permission. Use of this guide on any other web site or as a
part of any public display is strictly prohibited and a violation of
copyright.



Contents
--------


Introduction
Chapter 1: Background
Chapter 2: Play Modes
Chapter 3: The Glitch
Chapter 4: Techniques
Chapter 5: Know Your Enemy
Chapter 6: Right to Bear Arms
Chapter 7: Accessories and Other Treasures
Chapter 8: The Map
Chapter 9: Walkthrough
Chapter 10: Credits
Chapter 11: Colophon
Chapter 12: Version History



Introduction
------------


My motivations in writing this guide are two-fold. First, at the time of
this writing, there still wasn't a complete walkthrough for the game. So, I
decided to change the situation. My other motivation is my experience with
the glitch that has plagued some of the production cycles for this game. I
read about the glitch from disjoint sources such as game reviews and a web
site or two. But, there wasn't any information I considered comprehensive.
Since I had the pleasure of dealing with the problem first hand, I'm
probably as knowledgeable as anyone else is and I'm sure other people would
appreciate my efforts to document my findings.  And, yes, finally a
workaround to the glitch has been discovered, thanks to RollingSkull.

The intention of the walkthrough in this guide is to provide high level
notes about each stage instead of being completely comprehensive. The
walkthrough should be enough to get you through a stage with a minimum of
fuss while not missing any cool items. I try to avoid using micro-managing
directions because they tend to be overly verbose and a pain to comprehend.
Instead, I've tried to include ASCII diagrams as much as possible for tricky
spots.

I have also bothered to include a summary of the controls. Personally, I
find it annoying in guides (especially for games that have an in-game
tutorial) but I recognise that intact instruction booklets are far and few
between for used cartridge-based games these days.



Chapter 1: Background
---------------------


Bionic Commando: Elite Forces was released in 2000 for Game Boy Color. The
game was developed jointly by Capcom and Nintendo Software Technology
Corporation (NSTC).

Elite Forces offers an alternate universe to the original NES mission. Super
Joe is still being held prisoner behind enemy lines and the evil forces are
trying to raise the Albatross, but the similarities in plot end there.

There are quite a few notable features to the game: the option of a male or
female soldier, very fluid animations, and detailed stage backgrounds (and
foregrounds!). The game also features some actual voice cues. Although a bit
crunchy and digitised, it's about as good as it gets on Game Boy Color.

For those familiar with the NES classic, here are some differences:

* drop down (see Techniques section)
* bionic eye (see Techniques section)
* charging (see Techniques section)
* limited map movement (see The Map section)
* no neutral zones
* switch weapon and communicator at comm rooms
* secret comm rooms
* sniper mode
* more bosses instead of cores
* armor protects you from all hits, not just bullets.
* saving the game (on leaving an area and at comm rooms)

* choice between male or female commando
Areas 6 and 9 differ depending on which commando you choose. In terms of
game play, the only significant difference I've found between the male and
female commando is the way they fall off of an edge. The female seems to
drop straight down, whereas the male commando will do a slight air walk on
the way down, thus adding a tiny bit of horizontal travel.

* no "stun down" for rocket troopers
In the NES version, there were blue gyro troopers that would fire a taser-
like weapon downward while moving horizontally. You could goose these guys
with the bionic arm and they would drop down a bit, thus coming into range
of the wide cannon. In Elite Forces, the gyros have been replaced with
rocket boosters and goosing the troopers doesn't seem to do anything.
Fortunately, the rocket troopers aren't nearly as annoying.

* no "box bounce"
The box bounce is a glitchy move in the NES version that makes the infamous
Area Six a bit easier to deal with. It comes into play when a platform
overhead has boxes on top of it. Thus, you can swing from the platform, but
you cannot climb up. To box bounce, get the bionic arm attached at a 45
degree angle as high as possible to the side of a platform:

       [no]            [yes]
     XXXXXXXX        XXXXXXXX        X is a box
     ========       /========        = is a platform
    /              /
   &              &                  &
   ^              ^                  ^ is your commando
 =====           =====

Start your swing and your body will go up through the platform. Once this
happens, continuously extend the bionic arm to "bounce" up through the
platform and boxes. Now that I've spent all this effort explaining the box
bounce, just know that you can't really pull this off in Elite Forces.



Chapter 2: Play Modes
---------------------


There are four modes of play in the game:

* Overworld map (see The Map section)

* Standard
This is the side-scrolling mode. No jumping allowed!

* Commando style
This is an overhead mode of play exactly like Commando for NES. This mode is
used for the brief stages upon meeting an enemy truck on the map. The end of
the stage is always up and the purpose, aside from being a minor annoyance,
is to collect 1-Ups. In this mode, the bionic arm will swing in a circle as
the ultimate "back off" maneuver. I do not recommend using this technique
because it has the nasty habit of swinging enemies back in front of you
after you've gotten past them. There are four flavours of the overhead
stage: jungle, city, desert, and secret base. The desert stage is the best
because it offers two 1-Ups instead of one. There are only three types of
enemies you have to deal with: guards, cannons, and tanks.

* Sniper mode
A la Metal Gear Solid, jitters and all. Certain locations in the side-
scrolling stages offer opportunities to snipe. These locations appear as
unique structures in the background. A distinctive tone will sound along
with a symbol when you have reached a sniper area. Press up to enter sniper
mode. You have limited time to make three hits.  If you succeed, a care
package will drop from the skies. If you don't, you will be ambushed by lots
of enemies in side-scrolling mode. My technique is to lead the mark with the
crosshairs and let the mark walk into the kill zone. Part of the challenge
is actually finding the three marks. Sniper mode only appears in Areas 1, 5,
and 11.



Chapter 3: The Glitch
---------------------


Yes, there appears to have been a problem in the production of many of the
cartridges. In a specific situation, the game will freeze. First, a
description of "the glitch":

1. Save the game after completing an area.
2. Run into an enemy truck on the map.
3. Complete the brief, Commando-style stage. Picking up 1-Up items doesn't
   matter.
4. Enter an area.
5. Select your weapon.
6. The game will now hang briefly, then display a garbled Item screen. The
   game will not respond to any button input.

Note: You may have to progress through the game a bit. The glitch will most
likely show its ugly head after completing Area Five, but sometimes before
and sometimes after. There seems to be different severities of glitchy-ness
between cartridges. Even my "good" cartridge will glitch after Area 9
sometimes.

Apparently some people have it even worse.  From RollingSkull: "For the
record, my cart would get the save glitch without fail if I loaded a
savegame done with ANY progress in the game and then attacked a top-down
level and tried to enter a normal level."

In my experience, the system doesn't matter. The glitch will arise on Game
Boy Color, Game Boy Advance, and the Game Boy Player attachment for the
Game Cube.

Without further ado, the glitch workaround, courtesy of RollingSkull:

"What you must do before you load your saved game is to start a new game
with a new character, and then go and get yourself killed, getting a game
over, preferably in the first top-down stage.  After getting the game over,
then you go back to the main menu and load your save game.  Voila. No more
problems with the loadout screen borking after a top-down level."

In my testing, I found that getting the game over screen to appear would do
the trick, regardless of the circumstances. However, the game over screen
must occur from a brand-new game.  The enemy truck battle seems to take the
least amount of time to accomplish this.

I'm not certain that this will work for every cartridge out there, so I've
retained my original strategies for dealing with the glitch.

Now, a good topic for debate is whether this glitch makes the game
unplayable. My answer is no. The game can be completed even with the glitch,
but with so much extra challenge and potential frustration that it can
quickly sour your enthusiasm. The game is definitely much easier without the
glitch when you can stock up on nine lives before attempting each area.

Ways to deal with the glitch:

* Never save the game: pretend it's the NES version and play it straight
through in a marathon session, which takes me about an hour and a half.

* Stock up early: build up the maximum number of lives and hit points very
early then avoid all enemy trucks for the duration of the game. This is
challenging because, unlike the NES version, the available paths to areas
are severely limited until the areas are completed. If you decide to try
this route, be sure to utilise all three save slots to avoid getting
"too" stuck.

* Hybrid approach: try making it through the game without saving until
you've picked up both promotions, then stock up on 1-Ups and start saving
throughout the rest of the game.

If you do choose to save as you go, here are some general tips:

* Think ahead on the map: Don't focus simply on reaching the next area
while dodging enemy trucks. Think about what would happen when you do
complete that level. Is the enemy too close? Will you end up cornering
yourself? If so, do a bit of pointless backtracking to give yourself some
breathing room down the road. This should usually be an option: I've never
been put into a "squeeze play" by the enemy trucks.

* Don't save immediately after completing a level. Instead, progress to the
next area and try to enter it. If the game doesn't freeze, bail out of the
area and then save. If it does freeze, go back to a previous save file
(remember, you should be using all of them!) and stock up on 1-Ups, then go
from there.  Again, this is a strategy for when the workaround doesn't work
for your cartridge. Otherwise, always save after completing a level.

In my experience, there really isn't much recourse if you happen to be one
of the many unlucky individuals with a glitched cartridge and you want to
get it fixed. Here's what I've tried so far:

I called Nintendo of America's customer service line. First of all, the
person did mention that my complaint was not the first time they had heard
about this problem. She suggested I try to get a refund from the online
auction seller. When that didn't fly, I called back and a second person
informed me about repair options. She gave me a repair order number and told
me to ship the cartridge, $10, and a note describing the problem to the
authorised repair facility in New York State.

After a week, I got my cartridge back accompanied by a note from the repair
facility saying they wouldn't fix my game because it was a licensee product,
meaning Capcom made it and they wouldn't fix Capcom's stuff (I felt like
Ralphie after decoding Annie's secret message in "A Christmas Story"). All
they did was clean the cartridge. To their credit, cleaning a cartridge will
fix typical problems nine out of ten times. But, it didn't work in my case,
thus boosting my suspicion of an actual production glitch. I did not get a
refund until later because the repair facility ships all the checks to
Nintendo for processing.

Then I called Capcom and was told that Nintendo was in charge of the actual
production. So both companies are pointing the finger at each other and I'm
stuck in the crosshairs.

Regardless of who actually made the cartridge, the fact that it is no longer
produced actually dashes any hope for repair. With the Game Boy cartridges,
pulling chips off the motherboard simply isn't worth the time nor effort.
So, when a Game Boy cartridge does get "repaired" it is first cleaned. If
that doesn't solve the problem, they replace the battery, if applicable. If
it still doesn't work, they simply replace the whole cartridge.

Since I'm a casual, occasional gamer now and have no need for additional
headaches, I simply bought another copy (this works out pretty good for me,
because now I can include solid glitched-game information in this guide).
Again, even my "good" cartridge will freeze on me, but it just seems to
happen later in the game (like after Area 9). If you're looking for another
copy or are looking to buy the game for the first time, here are my
suggestions:

* As of this writing, the game is out of production so it will not be at
your local department store. Try dedicated video game shops, especially if
they deal with used games.

* Try before you buy. Try to make it past Area 5, saving and running into
enemy trucks all the while.

* If you're buying online, ask, ask, and ask again before buying/bidding.
State that some copies of the game freeze after saving and ask if this
cartridge is one of them. Even if the seller says that he/she has never
had a problem, ask if the seller will refund the price and shipping if you
discover the glitch.

* Try to avoid online auctions with flimsy refund policies or that try to
shove you off onto third-party resolution/moderator outfits when you have
a complaint. Using escrow would be great because you can try the game out,
then either give the okay to send payment or return the cartridge. Other
services that charge a credit card on the seller's behalf would be worth a
try since the service controls the purse strings, not the seller. Basically,
avoid putting money in the seller's pocket before you have a chance to try
the cartridge.

* One thing I've noticed in comparing my two cartridges is a difference on
the motherboard inside. The cartridge is made of clear plastic and here's an
approximation of what the back of the motherboard looks like in my glitched
cartridge:

 _____________________________
 | c1998 Nintendo            |  Unless otherwise noted, all lettering is
 |    '99                    |  printed on the motherboard in gold.
 |   1+-+-+7                 |
 |    | | |                  |
 |    +-+-+                  |
 |    | |.|                  |  The . is a hole in the gold rectangle.
 |   6+-+-+12                |
 |      cm                   |  The cm has a small circle around it.
 |3                          |
 |                         ()|  The ()'s are labeled TP1, TP2, TP3, TP4.
 |                         ()|
 |                         ()|
 |             @           ()|  The @ is the screw.
 |...........................|
 |||||||||||||||||||||||||||||  Pins on this row.
 +---------------------------+

On my "good" cartridge, the 3 (middle, left side) is actually a 6. I have no
idea what this means. If someone does know the significance of this number,
I'd love to know.

You've been warned. Good luck.



Chapter 4: Techniques
---------------------


Basic movements:

* left, right
run, aim bionic arm to the side

* up
aim bionic arm up, enter sniper mode

* down
crouch

* B
fire weapon (weapon cannot be aimed)

* A
use bionic arm (defaults to 45 degrees).
Notes: The bionic arm can be used to pick up distant items.

* start
status screen, pauses game

* select
use item

* select + A + B
exit the current stage

Interesting commands:

* bionic eye
hold up or down (pans the screen up or down).
Notes: The screen seems to pan quicker if you continue to hold up after
climbing up onto a ledge or hold down after dropping down from a ledge.

* drop down
quickly press down twice
Notes: you will pass through the platform and hang underneath. This is a bit
glitchy and doesn't work if any part of the commando sprite is "in" a barrel
or wall while crouching. In other words, don't stand right next to a barrel
or wall and try this.

* bionic goose
hit an enemy with the bionic arm for a stun effect.
Notes: not all enemies are affected.

* charging shot
press and hold B. Release B to fire.
Notes: I never bother to use this because it's so slow. Chances are good
that you'll completely forget about being able to do this.


Swinging technique:

* bionic slide

Attach the bionic arm to a wall or barrel in front of the commando and press
A to reel it in, thus sliding across the ground. This is usually performed
while crouching. This is a close cousin of the electric slide, but less
complicated, so try it at your next line dance.

* pendulum

Consider this situation:

          X        X is a fixture
    /              = is a platform
  X/
  /
 &                 &
 ^                 ^ is your commando
 ==========

There just isn't enough room on the left to grab the lower fixture and get
started. The solution is simple, but easy to miss in the heat of battle.

          X        X is a fixture
                   = is a platform
  X
   \
    &              &
    ^              ^ is your commando
 ==========

Grab like this, then start the swing by pressing left, but allow yourself to
swing back to the right and make your attempt for the next fixture.

* short swing

Sometimes two fixtures are just too close together to make an easy swing.
For example:

         X |             | is a wall
     X     |             X is a fixture
    /      |             = is a platform
   /       |
  &        |             &
  ^        |             ^ is your commando
 ==        |

From this position, pressing right to start the swing will put you too far
out to make a grab for the second fixture. You could make a mid-air turn-
around and grab the second fixture from the right. This is a rather
spectacular maneuver and I use it when I can. But sometimes there isn't
enough room, like the situation above. So, initiate the swing by pressing A.
This will start the swing and also start to reel in the bionic arm, making
the horizontal travel less. A variation of the short swing is to start the
swing by pressing left or right, then start reeling in the bionic arm. The
short swing mostly comes into play in the boss room of Area 14.

* drop start

You will be using this one a lot. This technique is useful when you must
travel along a ceiling but it is too high to reach diagonally. Instead, aim
the bionic arm straight up and reel yourself up to the ceiling. Then, drop
from the ceiling and immediately make a diagonal grab. You're on your way.



Chapter 5: Know Your Enemy
--------------------------


* Guard
Walks back and forth, pausing to fire at you if you're on the same platform.
The instruction booklet calls them infantry.

* Squatter
Crouches (usually behind barrels), then stands to fire. The instruction
booklet calls them infantry.

* Rat Man
It will rush your commando if you are on the same platform. It looks like an
oversized, anthropomorphic rat or armadillo. Stun it first with a bionic
goose if you're in tight quarters.

* Sniper
Stands still and aims in any direction to fire at you. Tan uniform.

* Paratrooper
Uses a parachute to drop on your head. Very annoying, but also rare.

* Rocket Trooper
Hovers in midair and will try to collide with you. Can also fire
horizontally. Can travel up, down, and sideways.

* Ceiling Cannon
Will pivot to fire at you. Can fire downward, diagonally, and horizontally.

* Alien
Probably a larger dinosaur or reptile, but looks strikingly similar to the
efficient killing machine of Hollywood fame.

* Incendiary
This trooper walks back and forth and attacks with a flame thrower. Crouch
to avoid his fire. Red uniform. Perhaps the strongest enemy. His fuel tank
will explode the first time you hit him, causing him to rush you. Your best
bet is to fire at him when he is just off screen.

(I had some trouble giving this guy a name. "Flame thrower" is a natural,
but it doesn't work well with a search function since it's the name of a
weapon, too. I thought "fire bug" would be cool, but it's totally non-
descriptive and a bit misleading: I can imagine frustrated gamers out there
on the look-out for fire-breathing stink bugs. I considered calling him a
"burner", like the boss from Parasite Eve II, but then people would get
confused with the rocket booster burners of the Albatross, even if I only
referred to them as rocket boosters. "Pyro" doesn't fit at all: he's a
soldier with a flame thrower, not a psycho. And "flamer", well... let's just
forget about that one, shall we?)

Obstacles

* Sewer Sludge
Just like a young schoolgirl with a crush, you can literally be swept off
your feet by the sludge. Sludge emerges from openings in the background and
immediately seeks out lower ground. If you become stuck in the sludge, grab
the ceiling or a nearby platform to pull yourself out. Can be very annoying.

* Spikes
Covers sections of the floor in most stages. Also covers some ceilings in
the later stages of the game.

* Elevators
Elevators are under your control. Just get on top and push up or down.

* Lifts
These are automatic elevators that go horizontal, vertical, or diagonal.
Time your movements carefully. Getting off of horizontal ones can be tricky,
especially when traveling to the right.

* Burners / Rocket Boosters
They appear on the floor and ceilings of Area 18. Forces you to make
progress while staying between flames. Adds much challenge to the area.

* Hot Air Vents / Trampolines
These are the closest you'll ever come to jumping. Gives a boost up into the
air in the direction you're facing. I'll say that again: You will bounce in
the direction you are facing, not necessarily the direction you are going.

* Trap Doors
Very easy to spot. Will open if you run onto them. Sometimes they hide
shortcuts, and other times they are an expressway to disaster.

* Skull and Bones
This is more of a helpful background feature than an obstacle. Their
presence indicates a deadly edge to a platform. In other words, if you run
off the edge and cannot grab something on the way down, you'll either be
dead or in a world of hurt.



Chapter 6: Right to Bear Arms
-----------------------------


* Particle Gun (female) / Assault Rifle (male)
Standard issue at the start of the game. I can't see any difference between
the two weapons so, since I always use the femme fatale, I will only refer
to the particle gun for the rest of the guide, except in the case of the
male-specific stages.
Pro: Long range, quick firing.
Con: A bit weak.

* Wide Gun
Acquired: Area 6
Fires three bullets at once: straight ahead and up and down at 45 degrees.
Pro: Wide area of fire; great for rocket troopers. Penetrates barrels.
Con: Short range. A bit weak.

* Laser
Acquired: Area 10.
Fires one beam straight ahead. Leave this one at home.
Pro: A somewhat powerful weapon.
Con: Very slow rate of fire.

* Pulse Cannon
Acquired: Area 11.
Equivalent of the NES version's rocket launcher.
Pro: A stronger weapon. Penetrates barrels.
Con: Shell must leave the screen before another one can be fired.

* Flame Thrower
Acquired: Area 14.
Fires a burst of flame.
Pro: Strongest weapon. Decent rate of fire.
Con: Doesn't penetrate barrels.



Chapter 7: Accessories and Other Treasures
------------------------------------------


Tools:

* Energy Pills
Acquired: Area 1.
Refills your entire health bar, but can only be used once per stage per
life. Unless circumstances dictate otherwise, don't leave home without them.

* Key Card
Acquired: Area 2.
Required for taking more than three steps in Area 5. This only serves to
force you to complete the stage without energy pills.

* Quick Charge
Acquired: Area 5.
Charging a shot takes significantly less time.

* Steel Boots
Acquired: Area 7.
Defeat enemies by kicking them as you swing.

* Rapid Fire Device
Acquired: Area 13.
The name is a bit of a misnomer. Equipping this tool will result in a burst
of three rounds coming from your weapon at once. This basically makes each
discharge three times as strong.


Armor:

* Helmet
Acquired: Area 3.
Allows you to take one hit without sustaining damage. This applies to
bullets, spikes, or colliding with enemies.

* Vest
Acquired: Area 8.
Allows you to take two hits without sustaining damage. This applies to
bullets, spikes, or colliding with enemies.

* Body Armor
Acquired: Area 15.
Allows you to take three hits without sustaining damage. This applies to
bullets, spikes, or colliding with enemies.


Communicators:

* Red
Available at the start.
Areas 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.

* Green
Acquired: Area 4.
Areas 6, 7, 8, 9.

* Blue
Acquired: Area 9.
Areas 10, 11, 12.

* Yellow
Acquired: Area 12.
Areas 13, 14, 15, 18.


Pick Ups:

* Capsule
Like the NES classic, you can level up by collecting capsules dropped by
defeated enemies. Leveling up increases your health meter. To increase your
level, you must collect roughly double the capsules you already have:

Level | Capsules
------+---------
    3 | zero
    4 | 15
    5 | 31
    6 | 63
    7 | 127
    8 | 255

* Super Capsule
It looks like a larger, red version of the blue capsules that enemies drop.
It is worth ten regular capsules.

* 1-Up
It looks like a red winged disc or heart. It allows you to start over at
the nearest door if you die. You can collect a maximum of nine lives
(touche, pussycat). These are easily obtained by completing the Commando-
style levels by colliding with enemy trucks on the map. Unfortunately, this
is a recipe for disaster if your cartridge is glitched and the workaround
doesn't fly. If this is the case, stock up on lives very early in the game,
restart a level if you die in a silly manner, and be sure to pick up the
occasional 1-Up scattered throughout the stages.

* Med Kit
It looks like a white bag with a red cross. I call it a nurse purse. Tops up
your health meter.

* Promotion
Found at the end of the secret Areas 16 and 17. It changes the colour of
your uniform.

* Care Package
While not a specific item per se, it is an air-dropped bundle that appears
in predictable locations in some stages. The contents might be a Med Kit,
Super Capsule, or 1-Up. A care package resulting from a sniper opportunity
will always contain a Med Kit.



Chapter 8: The Map
------------------


For those familiar with the NES version, this map may seem somewhat
familiar.

 3  4~~16     15--18
 | /|\    10    \  |
 |/ | \   | \    \ |
 2  5--6  |  \    14  (~~ denotes a path with a secret base)
 |  |  |  9---12   |
 |  |  | /|  /  \  |
 |  |  |/ | /    \ |
 1  7--8  11~~17  13

Unlike the NES classic, there are no neutral zones. Also, navigating the
map is very restricted because areas will only open up by completing
previous areas, thereby forcing a very sequential order of play. Completed
areas show as red and unfinished areas show as blue. Highlighting accessible
areas will display flashing green lights in the lower control panel along
with a green, rapid wavy line.  Areas that are still off-limits will cause
red lights and a green flat-liner. The game won't even allow a "just passing
by" movement to an off-limits area, as opposed to simply prohibiting you
from descending into the area. This can cause heaps of headaches for a
glitched cartridge because of the necessity to avoid enemy trucks for most
of the game.

Secret bases exist between Areas 4 and 16, and Areas 11 and 17. A secret
base is another type of Commando-style stage. Think of these as stationary
enemy trucks. Finishing Areas 16 and 17 isn't necessary to completing the
game and is not recommended for a glitched cartridge, unless the workaround
is in play.

There are four enemy trucks patrolling the map. Each truck's beat is a
very predictable loop:

Truck 1: 4  -> 2  -> 3  -> 2  -> 4 repeat
Truck 2: 5  -> 7  -> 8  -> 6  -> 5 repeat
Truck 3: 9  -> 10 -> 12 -> 11 -> 9 repeat
Truck 4: 13 -> 14 -> 18 -> 15 -> 18 -> 14 -> 13 repeat

The following is a listing of how to open a particular area along with the
item won for finishing the area.

Area    | Treasure      | How to open
--------+---------------+-----------------
Area 1  | Energy Pills  | start a new game
Area 2  | Key Card      | start a new game
Area 3  | Helmet        | start a new game
Area 4  | Green Comm    | start a new game
Area 5  | Quick Charge  | start a new game (get Key Card in Area 2 first)
Area 6  | Wide Gun      | complete Areas 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
Area 7  | Steel Boots   | complete Areas 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
Area 8  | Vest          | complete Areas 6, 7
Area 9  | Blue Comm     | complete Area 8
Area 10 | Laser         | complete Area 9
Area 11 | Pulse Cannon  | complete Area 9
Area 12 | Yellow Comm   | complete Areas 10 and 11
Area 13 | Rapid Fire    | complete Area 12
Area 14 | Flame Thrower | complete Area 13
Area 15 | Body Armor    | complete Area 13
Area 16 | Promotion     | find secret comm room in Area 4
Area 17 | Promotion     | find secret comm room in Area 11
Area 18 | Ending Credits| complete Areas 14 and 15


Chapter 9: Walkthrough
----------------------


* Area 1

Terrain: jungle
Enemies: guard, squatter
Recommended Equipment: particle gun, red communicator (it's all you've got!)
Boss: rocket launcher
Reward: energy recovery pills

At A Glance:
One main area and the boss room. One comm room. One care package. One sniper
opportunity. One 1-Up. Progress is up and to the right.

Details:
This stage is a decent place to build up your health meter to the forth
level, at the least. A good place to do this is the tree trunk with windows.
To make the guards reappear, duck in and out of the comm room.

You land next to a wrecked chopper, possibly Super Joe's. Run to the right
along the ground, up and over the barrel. Keep going until you reach a
silver metal column and climb up a platform or two to overcome the rise in
the ground level. Continue to the right until you reach the tree trunk with
windows. Climb to the top to reach the comm room.  The separate platform to
the left of the comm room holds a 1-Up. Just to the right of the comm room
is a sniper opportunity.

Continue to the right and climb the platforms supported by monkey totem
poles. Watch for squatters in this area.  A care package will drop on the
top platform just after the third monkey totem pole. Fall off the right edge
of this platform to reach the door to the boss.

Boss: rocket launcher
This room consists of two platforms and a rocket launcher attached to the
top of a wall on the right side. Just under the rocket launcher is a red and
yellow plate; presumably its guidance systems. Climb up to the right
platform, crouch at the right edge and fire on the plate. After the first
couple hits, the rocket launcher will tilt towards you and begin to fire. At
your position you should be safe. A slower tactic is to fire from the right
platform and use the drop down technique to dodge the rockets, then climb up
and fire some more.


* Area 2

Terrain: jungle
Enemies: guard, squatter
Recommended Equipment: particle gun, energy pills, red communicator
Boss: alpha platoon
Reward: key card

At A Glance:
One outside area, one inside area, and the boss room. Two comm rooms. One
care package. One super capsule. Progress is as follows:
Outside area: to the right, then up the tower.
Inside area: to the right with a progression of down, up, down, up.

Details:
Keep close to the ground while outside in the jungle. Make your way across
the first spike pit. There is a secret tunnel on the right side of the
second spike pit that runs underneath the comm room. The easiest way to get
there is to drop down from the platform to the left of the comm room and
grab the ceiling of the tunnel before hitting the spikes. Once inside the
tunnel, do a couple bionic slides to pick up the super capsule. Then,
continue to the right to leave the tunnel and double back to the comm room.
From there, proceed to up and to the right to enter the door on top of a
tower.

Once inside, go down the shaft and then use the elevator to the bottom.
After going right for a bit, work your way back up to the top. After going
right through a slightly descending staggered floor, you will reach an
elevator. Skip it in favor of the second elevator. Go down one level and
head to the right for a care package. Get back on the elevator to the bottom
floor. The next comm room is all the way to the left on the ground floor.
Once your communications are done, proceed to the right along the ground
floor, then work your way up to the boss room.

Boss: alpha platoon
This boss room will be very familiar for veterans of the NES version. A
reactor core sits on the right side of the room and wave after wave of
guards will do their best to give you headaches. The core also has two
mounted guns that give a beep before firing.

Proceed right at ground level taking out guards until you reach the core.
Climb up to the lower platform and situate yourself at the X in the diagram:

 ===========================
      ________                   = is platform
      |      |  ____
      | big  |  |  |             The core is
      |screen|  +--+             over here.
      +------+
        ||||        X
 ===========================

The left box represents the big screen TV and the right box looks like some
sort of hypnotic control panel. Crouching at the X will keep you safe from
the core's cannons. However, the guards on the platform above have a
tendency to drop down on your head, so stay on your toes. The guards are
about ready to jump when they start looking around after pacing a few steps.
At this spot, all but a sliver of the core will be just off screen but
you'll still be registering hits on it. If you see flashes when your bullets
go off screen, you're doing it right. Keep dodging guards, ducking bullets
and chipping away at the core until it's history. You can also fire at the
core from the edge of the platform, then run to the safe spot before the
core's cannons blast.


* Area 3

Terrain: jungle
Enemies: guard, squatter, rat man
Recommended Equipment: particle gun, energy pills, red communicator
Boss: phalanx (shield guard)
Reward: helmet

At A Glance:
One main area and the boss room. One comm room. One 1-Up. Progress is the
high road to the right.

Details:
This is a somewhat convoluted stage that is, fortunately, easy to navigate.
Start by climbing up, up, up over the green cliff. Watch out for the snappy
rat men. Stay on the high road and proceed to the right until you see
the tops of some pillars or columns in the shape of sitting felines. Between
the pillars is the comm room.

From the comm room, stay on the high road past the first satellite dish. A
high platform after the satellite dish will hold a 1-Up. To the right is the
second satellite dish and a tower with two yellowish-red spotlights. Use the
spotlight to swing over to an alcove in a cliff. Take out the squatter
behind the barrel and enter the boss room.

Boss: phalanx (shield guard)
This room is a standard core room, except you must defeat the soldier
instead of popping a reactor. The phalanx can shoot horizontally and
vertically but is not very fleet of foot, probably because he's carrying a
massive shield that will deflect all bullets. The strategy involves
literally running circles around the earthbound phalanx, although an
infinity symbol is more descriptive.

From the door, proceed to the right until you meet the phalanx. As with most
bosses, he'll give some blow-hard speech about your supposed immanent death.
Retreat to the left until you are to the left of the opening in the lower
platforms, around point X in the diagram:


 ==============      ===============
   _______               _______         = is platform
   |     |               |     |         M is floor
   |  @  |               |  @  |
   +-----+               +-----+
     |||  X             Y  |||
 MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM

Climb up to the platform and stay put until the phalanx is almost directly
underneath. Then start running right in order to drop through the opening in
the platform. He should pause to fire two shots upwards but he'll be
underneath the platform. Blast him while he is exposed, then repeat the
process on the other side by climbing up around point Y.


* Area 4

Terrain: jungle, waterfall
Enemies: guard, squatter, paratrooper, sniper
Recommended Equipment: particle gun, energy pills, helmet, red communicator
(To open Area 16, use the green communicator at the secret comm room)
Boss: beta platoon
Reward: green communicator

At A Glance:
One main area and the boss room. Two comm rooms. One meeting room. One care
package. Progress is to the right along the high road, then down to ground
level for the comm room, then up, then down, then up the waterfall on the
right-hand side, then left along the high road to the boss.

Details:
This level continues the general trend of an up, down, up, down, up stage
flow. This level also introduces the use of skull and crossbones icons at
the edge of certain platforms to indicate deadly ledges. In other words,
don't jump down!

Start by going up and to the right, dodging the annoying paratroopers. Then,
after crossing the high, long platform, begin making your way back down to
ground level to reach the comm room. The easiest way to do this is to simply
drop off the right hand edge of any platforms. This will lead right to the
comm room.

After the comm room, make your way up (and slightly left) to the high road.
Up here, there are two shacks like the ones you've already seen in this
level. Run to the left side of the left shack to get a care package. The
right shack has an open door. Inside is a meeting room where you speak with
the other commando. Savor the moment: it's the closest you'll come to an NES
neutral zone.

After the meeting room, work your way down the platforms and to the right to
arrive at the base of the waterfall. Hop down the staggered ground and climb
up onto to the closest platform. This is the Feline Hall because this level
of platforms has five feline pillars. Continue to the right and then work
your way up. Take out the sniper on the top platform, then swing your way to
the left on the high road to the boss room.

Boss: beta platoon
The strategy is exactly the same as for the alpha platoon of Area 2.

Secret Comm Room:
To open Area 16, return to this level with the green communicator, which you
get for beating this level. Now you need to find the secret comm room.
Proceed to the base of the waterfall and climb up to the Feline Hall (see my
description above). The fourth feline pillar actually sits on a platform.
Take out the guard then climb down and hang from the platform. From here,
get yourself moving to the right with a drop start and make another swing
from the roof of the tunnel. Here's an idea of the layout:

   start
 ==========MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM    = is platform
                 MMMM         MM    M is wall
                 MMMM         MM
                        +--+  MM    +--+
                        |  |  MM    |  |
    death        MMMM   |  |  MM    |  | is the door
    waits        MMMMMMMMMMMMMMM
    here!        MMMMMMMMMMMMMMM

When making your communications, be sure to wire tap too, although it's not
necessary to open Area 16. I find both transmissions to be funny, although
only the wire tap was intentionally that way. Your superior officer does a
pretty good impression of Mr. Obvious in the standard communication. Once
you're done communicating, you can complete the stage again or quickly exit
with select+A+B.


* Area 5

Terrain: mountain
Enemies: guard, squatter
Recommended Equipment: particle gun, key card, helmet, red communicator
Boss: sprinter
Reward: quick charge

At A Glance:
One main area and the boss room. One comm room. One care package. One sniper
opportunity. Progress is to the right with a progression of up, over bridge,
down, over spikes, then up again.

Details:
Up, down, up. This level is very straight forward without much exploratory
frustration.

The helpful surveillance system, always on the look out for intruders,
instructs you on the proper use of the key card. Head into the mountain and
go up. Take the first opportunity to go left and stop at the satellite dish
to get a care package (be careful: it's possible to run off the edge and end
up back at the start). Continue to the right and over the bridge.

After the bridge, take the elevator down. Head to the right under the
vertical wall and back up to the comm room.

After the comm room, make your way to the ground floor. A few steps to the
right is a sniper opportunity.

After the sniper op, cross the gap and make your way across the pit of
spikes under another satellite dish by swinging from the roof. Then, make
your way up to the ceiling of the base. Use the drop start technique to
swing from the ceiling to the right and on to the boss room.

Boss: sprinter
"Faster than 10 fast men," the sprinter has a simple strategy. Just stun him
with a bionic goose, get off about 10 rounds, back up a bit, and repeat.
This fight can be a little frustrating until you get the timing down.
Remember, you don't have your energy pills.


* Area 6 female

Terrain: cavern
Enemies: guard, squatter, sniper
Recommended Equipment: particle gun, energy pills, helmet, red communicator
Boss: wide gunner
Reward: wide gun

At A Glance:
Two main areas and the boss room. One comm room. Progress is as follows:
First area: to the right (there's both a high and low road).
Second area: up and to the right.

Details:
From the landing site, go through the door on the right to enter the
caverns. The first area is a rather large area and presents the first
opportunity in the game to get a bit lost. In general, progress is to the
right, but there's a high road and a low road to take. Both involve crossing
floors covered with spikes. The high road is suggested because it is more
forgiving and simpler. For those adventurous types, feel free to take the
low road, but I'm not going to bother describing it here.

Make your way to the right and up over the right hand wall. To continue
going up, you'll have to swing left for a bit. Continue up until you make it
to the top of the stage. From there, make your way right via the ceiling
until it forces you to come down.

After coming down from the ceiling and going to the right a bit, you'll find
a squatter behind a box. Take him out and you'll see a door on the other
side of a short wall, like this:


 MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM     M is wall
 M                             M     = is platform
 M             ===     ====    M     ^ is spiky floor
 M      ==                     M     @ is a box
 M                             M
 M===    MM^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^    M     +-+
         MM  +-+               M     | | is the door
 @       MM  | |               M
 MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM^^^^^^^^MMMMMM

Once through the door, the sailing is a bit smoother. This area makes steady
progress up and to the right. Most of the floor will be covered with spikes.
Make your way across the first set of spikes to the nearby comm room. From
there, go up to reach the ceiling. Use the ceiling and high platforms to
make your way to the boss room.

Boss: wide gunner
The wide gunner stays on the ground floor and marches after you firing the
wide gun at predictable intervals. There are two strategies: quick and dirty
or long and graceful.

Quick and dirty:
After his speech, run to the left wall and crouch in the corner. Just keep
shooting him, even when he runs into you. He will always retreat then turn
around and come back. A five-level health bar and energy pills will get you
through.

Long and graceful:
Run to the right of the boss room to meet the wide gunner. After chatting,
run away from him to the left to outrun his bullets. The wide gun's range
isn't very big. Immediately after the bullet fades, rush the gunner, firing
all the way. Stop right in front of him and he should stop and try to sledge
hammer you with the gun (if he fires instead, you were too slow). Get out of
the way by running away from him again. He will pursue and fire again. You
might be able to repeat this process twice before you run out of room. In
this sequence, I can never get him to just try to hammer me. The sequence
(if my timing is good) seems to be fire, hammer, fire, hammer, etc.

When you run out of room, you must get on the other side of the gunner. The
easy and painful way is to run through him and take the hit. A more graceful
way to the other side is involved and hard to explain, but here goes: Let's
say you run out of room on the left side of the screen. Climb up to the
overhead platform while the gunner is approaching from the right. He'll fire
to the right. Wait at the gap to the right in the platform. The gunner will
turn around and fire to the right, then pass under you, turn around, and
fire to the left. As soon as you see the fire to the left, cross the gap,
run a bit, and drop down. Then repeat the attack sequence. The reason for
waiting at the gap is to give you plenty of room on the ground floor. The
graceful way will take some practice because you can't see the wide gunner
from the middle platform.


* Area 6 male

Terrain: base
Enemies: guard, squatter, sniper, ceiling cannon
Recommended Equipment: assault rifle, energy pills, helmet, red communicator
Boss: wide gunner
Reward: wide gun

At A Glance:
Two main areas and the boss room. One comm room. One Med Kit. One 1-Up.
Progress is as follows:
First area, part 1: down and then to the left using lifts.
Second area: up and right, then left, up, and right using lifts.
First area, part 2: left along ceiling.

Details:
From the landing site, go through the door on the right to enter the base.
Upon entering the base, you'll see another closed door just to the lower
left. You'll be coming out of this door later. In other words, reaching this
door is not your immediate goal.

Make your way down using the elevator, then to the left a bit across the
spikes. Continue to go down to the ground floor. This will be your first
encounter with the lifts. Here's an very approximate diagram of the lift
area:

             \
              \
            /  \
           /     MM------MM\                        M    M is wall
     MM   /      MM      MM \                [start]M    = is platform
         /   K   MM      MM  MMM\          /========M    K is Med Kit
            ===              MMM \--------/         M   [] is door
 []                           X                     M  \-/ is lift path
 MMMMM              MMMM     MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM    X is reference
point

These lifts drive me crazy. One technique to make things easier is to "hang
five" while standing on a lift. This way, you only have to press left or
right a little bit to make it onto a platform.

There is also a shortcut to avoid some of the lift sequence. Stand at the X
on the diagram facing to the right with the bionic arm attached to the
ceiling at an angle. When the diagonal lift reaches the top, swing to the
right and you should land on top.

Ride the rest of the lifts over to the door. I recommend not going for the
Med Kit unless you really need it since it forces you to start over. Of
course, if you botch dropping down from the upward diagonal lift to the
downward diagonal lift, you'll have easy access.

Once through the door and in the second area, make your way to the right a
bit, then climb up the two platforms to a ceiling. Use the ceiling to swing
to the right to a higher platform. Then make your way to the left all the
way to the wall. The comm room is on the platform.

After the comm room, make your way up three more platforms. A lift will take
you to the right. Now there is a sequence of four vertical lifts side by
side. Make your way to the right across the lifts. The platform can be
reached from the third lift, so don't bother trying to get on the fourth
lift. After this, there are two vertical lifts side by side but, again, the
platform can be reached from the first one.

Now, again, are two vertical lifts side by side. In this case, wait for the
vertical lift to rise to the top so you can drop off the platform. There is
a second set of double vertical lifts under the first. From the second lift,
you'll see a ceiling to the right. From here, make your way to the right
hand wall. Drop down two platforms. You'll reach the skull and crossbones on
this third platform. Drop down but hang from this platform. Drop start to
the left and keep swing to reach a 1-Up. Come back the way you came and keep
going up. Make your way to the door.

A-ha! Now we've reached that mysterious door in the first area. From here,
cross four gaps by swinging from the ceiling. Two ceiling cannons will
discourage you from swinging the whole way non-stop. Enter the door to take
on the boss.

Boss: wide gunner
See the strategy in the female version of Area 6 above.


* Area 7

Terrain: cavern
Enemies: guard, rocket trooper, ceiling cannon
Recommended Equipment: wide gun, energy pills, helmet, green communicator
Boss: artillery cannons
Reward: steel boots

At A Glance:
One main area and one boss area. One comm room. One Super Capsule. Progress
is up and up.

Details:
Time to do some rock climbing. The whole stage consists of climbing up. From
the floor of the cavern, start your climb on the right hand side of the cave
for a couple of platforms. From there, continue to climb on the left side
since there are more forgiving platforms here. Eventually you'll reach the
comm room.

From the comm room, do some more upward climbing favouring the left side.

Soon you'll reach a small purple structure sitting on a platform. It's
probably a futuristic-looking mine cart but it looks like a weird UFO:

       ^
     (   )
 \-----------/
  \_________/
     /   \
   ( )---( )

For some reason this reminds me of Earthbound (what a weird game that was).
Anyway, it means you're close to the Super Capsule:

 MMM        2          MM
   V      =====MMMMMMMMMM     M is wall
               MMMMMMMMMM     V is stalactite
  S         1  MMMMMMMMMM     U is UFO mine cart
 MMM      =====M  MMMMMMM     S is super capsule
 MMM           M  MMMMMMM
 MMM      U       MMMMMMM
 MMM     ====MMMMMMMMMMMM

Make your way up to platform 1 then do a drop start heading left from the
bottom of platform 2. You'll probably be able to make it to the super
capsule on outcropping with this momentum, but you can always grab the
stalactite for more travel. Use the stalactite to get back to the right
without having to fall.

Make your way up a few more platforms and you will reach a small hall with
an elevator guarded by two ceiling cannons. Ride the elevator up to the boss
area.

Boss: artillery cannons
This can be one of the more frustrating experiences in the game. Your job is
to destroy the 12 control panels at various locations on the three cannons.
Meanwhile, rocket troopers will be doing their best to stop you.

These cannons are big! In fact, they are so big that their recoil measures
on the Richter scale. What this means is that you must be standing on solid
ground when they fire or you will lose your grip and fall. You must also
wait for the recoil to end before using your bionic arm again.

Each of the three cannons, situated at a 45 degree angle, have four control
panels. Two shots will destroy a panel and change its colour. To avoid the
very frustrating experience of missing a panel, be sure to climb all the way
to the top of each cannon. Pop all 12 panels to finish the area. I suggest
you always take out any threatening rocket troopers before doing any
climbing.


* Area 8

Terrain: suburban base
Enemies: guard, ceiling cannon
Recommended Equipment: particle gun, energy pills, helmet, green
communicator
Boss: delta platoon
Reward: vest

At A Glance:
One main area and one boss area. One comm room. Progress is right, down,
right, up, and left.

Details:
This stage is very straight forward. Go along the ground floor across a pit.
Then head down some S-shaped shafts to reach the ground floor. From here
there is a low road across the spike pits to the right hand wall. The high
road is easier; just use the platforms and ceiling. Soon you'll reach the
comm room.

From the comm room, go up. From there you'll make some Tarzan swings to the
left, then right, above a spike pit. Once you reach the top, continue to the
left to the final part, which looks like this:

 MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM
 M                   MM
 M    @              MM    start     M is wall
 MMMMMMMM=====MM=====MM=====MMM      = is platform
 M      M     MM     MM     MMM
 M []   M     MM     MM     MMM     [] is the door
 MMMM===M=====MM=====MM=====MMM
 M      M     MM            MMM
 M    @   @   MM            MMM      @ is a box
 MMMMMMMMMMMMMMM^^^^^^^^^^^^MMM      ^ is spiky floor

Boss: delta platoon
The strategy is exactly the same as for the Alpha Platoon of Area 2.


* Area 9 female

Terrain: city and sewers
Enemies: guard, squatter, rat man, alien, rocket trooper
Recommended Equipment: particle gun, energy pills, vest, green communicator
Boss: main security officer
Reward: blue communicator

At A Glance:
Four main areas and one boss area. The main areas alternate between sewers
and city. One comm room. One care package. Progress is as follows:

Sewer 1: Down to ground level, then right. Then up, left, up, right.
City 1: To the right at various levels of the five buildings.
Sewer 2: Down to ground level. Then right with an up, down, up progression.
City 2: To the right, then up to the top of the third, grey building.

Details:
This is a long stage and can try your patience the first time through.

First of all, welcome to the sewers. Fans of the NES version will instantly
recognise the round holes in the walls. These are the sources of the green
sewer sludge, which can easily sweep you into deadly pits. Follow the
passage's Z-shaped flow to reach the ground level. Swing over the small pit
and keep swinging from the roof of the lower level, noting the lovely
graffiti (What does it say? Pain? Rain?) until you reach a platform on the
right hand wall. Now go to the left and swing on the roof of the middle
level until you reach a point where you must do a bionic slide. After that,
reach for the left platform, then follow the ceiling to the right to reach
the door in the upper right corner.

Welcome to the big city. It's a bit of a mess. Anyway, your goal is to reach
the front door of the fifth building to the right. The problem is that there
are stacks of boxes between each building, so you have to climb each and
then make it over the boxes. You will have to make use of tiny fixtures like
lights and exhaust fans to make progress.

The third building is the motel and you'll have to make an S-shaped climb
through the halls within.

One of the tougher swings is to clear the boxes between the fourth and fifth
building. From the top platform of the fourth building, you must swing from
a light, then an exhaust fan, and then grab a light on the fifth building.
The trick is to still have plenty of swing radius when you grab the exhaust
fan. Otherwise, you simply can't make it far enough to reach the second
light. Aside from a couple of guards the area is completely safe, so keep
trying if you're having trouble.

Now it's time for the second sewer. Jump down to the ground level by
grabbing the ceilings of lower levels as you fall. Then go right and up to
the platform with a rat man. Use the ceiling to make your way right to the
comm room.

From the comm room, go right, using the ceiling to reach another platform
attached to the right hand wall. Drop down and cross the fire pit (Whoops.
Someone must have lit a match!) then climb up to the door.

The last main area is another happy trot down Main Street. You're goal is to
get inside the third building, a tall grey structure, and get to the top.
Getting over the stacks of boxes on the ground level is a simple matter. The
door to the grey building is on the ground level so if you reach the grey
building on an upper level, the game won't let you keep going to the right.
It's a bit mysterious until you realise you have to be "inside" the
building.

There is also a care package on top of the second building. Work your way up
to the middle of the building by using the hallway, then swing from the four
lights to reach a very high platform. Stand on the left side of the platform
for the care package to drop. Here's the layout:

                             G
                       X     G  X is where to stand for care package
                       ======G  = is platform
                             G  L is light
                  L          G  G is left side of grey building
            L                G  M is a wall
                             G
     L                       G
                             G
                L            G
                             G
 MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM=====


There's a bit of climbing to do once you're inside the grey building. A few
lonely rocket troopers will also try to change your mind. Here's a layout of
the ascent:


        D            D is the door
       ===           = is platform
           L         L is light
       L             M is ground floor
           L
       L
   ===
       L
           L
         ====
       L
           L
         ====
      L
 ====
       ======

 MMMMMMMMMMMM


Boss: main security officer
He's fairly agile and can jump up onto platforms. He will shoot horizontally
and diagonally. Parts of the floor and some of the platforms are electrified
and sparks will travel along them at regular intervals.

The quick and dirty strategy for the wide gunner (Area 6) can be applied
here, too. I'm not going to bother finding a graceful strategy. Just plug
him!


* Area 9 male

Terrain: sewer
Enemies: rat man, alien
Recommended Equipment: assault rifle, energy pills, vest, green communicator
Boss: main security officer
Reward: blue communicator

At A Glance:
One main area and one boss area. One comm room. One Med Kit. Progress is
up, then left.

Details:
This is the shortest stage in the game and can be beaten in just under one
minute (no kidding). In the drop area, climb up the platform and go in the
door. Once inside the door, note the Med Kit on the left side of the wall.
Now forget you ever saw it because it's quite out of the way and there will
be no need to get it.

From the door, use the ceiling to swing to the right. Climb up two
platforms. Cross over the right hand hot air vent, then turn around and
approach it from the right. In mid-air, climb up to the high platform. Climb
up two more platforms and defeat the alien. Use the ceiling to swing to the
left and grab the high platform with a huge spider web in the background.
Continue to the left to reach the comm room.

From the comm room, drop off the left side of the platform, bounce on the
hot air vent and use the ceiling to make progress to the left. Once you
reach a wall, allow yourself to fall to a lower level on the left. Drop down
from the platform to reach another lower level. Run to the left to reach the
boss.

Boss: main security officer
See the strategy for Area 9 female above.


* Area 10

Terrain: city
Enemies: guard, squatter, rocket trooper
Recommended Equipment: particle gun, energy pills, vest, blue communicator
Boss: laser security system
Reward: laser

At A Glance:
One main area and one boss area. One comm room. One Super Capsule. Progress
is up.

Details:
This stage is a wild and crazy climb. Don't expect to do much walking. This
stage is my favourite because it requires some creative maneuvers but is
relatively safe.

Start by making a little bit of progress to the right by swinging on three
lights in a row. From the next platform, swing on another light, then make
your way through the hall. It's all upward from here. Here's the first part
of the climb up to the comm room:

                      [comm]
                     =======
                        L        L is light
                  L              F is exhaust fan
               L     ====        = is platform
   H-->[bridge]                  H --> is hallway
  ==                             M is brick wall
      F

         ====
       L
  L
       F

  =====
       MMMMM
  L    MMMMM

         ===
      F

     @@@                 @ is a box
 =======
         L
     F
 L
   [start]
 MMMMMMMMM==

After the comm room, use the light to climb up to the next platform. From
here, swing left on the four lights in a row. You'll land on a platform
under a larger brick wall. Note that below the platform is a light and an
exhaust fan. Drop down between the two to land on the Super Capsule. To
climb back up, use a drop start from the exhaust to the light and back up to
the platform.

Use a couple drop starts on the overhead bricks to go left and up to the
next platform. There's still quite a bit of climbing to do:

    [door]
   ========
             L
         L
   L
         L
             L
         L
   L
         L
    L

 =====
      L
          L
    L
          L
    L
     @
 =====
          L

 MMMMMMMMMM======         @ is a box
                          = is platform
    L                     M is brick wall
                          L is a light
 ==
    L
            L ===
    L
 ==        L ====
    @@@@       F
    ====
          [start]
 ===MMMMMMMMMMMMM
    MMMMMMMMMMMMM
          MMMMMMM
          MMMMMMM


Boss: laser security system
Instead of defeating a boss, your goal is to make it out alive. Make your
way up along the platforms and lifts on the sides of the walls. These lifts
are actually wall-mounted lasers. They will pause and fire at you once they
reach the same horizontal level as your head. The only way to progress
through parts of this area is to ride on top of the laser lifts.

There are two ways to avoid the laser fire from a descending lift. One way
is to stand with your toes just over the edge of a platform and wait for the
lift to reach head level. When it pauses, crouch. The laser will miss you
and the lift will continue to descend. You will "catch" the lift with your
toe and automatically wind up on top of it. I like this way the best.

The other way to avoid fire is to wait for the lifts by hanging on the
underside of platforms until it's safe to hop up and onto the lift. However,
some of the lifts towards the top will stop below the level of a platform,
so they can still hit you. Plus, this technique is a bit more involved and
slow to boot.

In general, have your energy pills ready, use the technique above for
getting on the lifts, and don't assume you have to ride every lift just to
make it all the way up. The last three or four platforms are well within
reach of your bionic arm.


* Area 11

Terrain: city base
Enemies: guard, squatter, sniper
Recommended Equipment: particle gun, energy pills, vest, blue communicator
(To open Area 17, use the yellow communicator at the secret comm room)
Boss: rocket general
Reward: pulse cannon

At A Glance:
Three main areas and one boss area. One comm room. One sniper opportunity.
Progress is as follows:
First area: up and to the right.
Second area: to the right, with an up-down sequence at the end.
Third area: up, alternating a general right, then left, pattern.

Details:
This stage is rather straight forward with lots of swinging from the
ceilings. The second area of this stage also conceals the hidden comm room
to Area 17.

The first area is a very short city setting. Here's the entire layout:


                L           L
 ============
                               [snipe]       L
 ====                MM        =============        []
                L    MM                          MMMMM
                     MM                          MMMMM
             @@@     MM                          MMMMM
             ===  ===MM
        @@@          MM        M is wall
        ===          MM        L is light
   @@@@              MM        [] is door
   ====              MM        = is platform
     H               MM        @ is box
 MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM        H is happy garbage bin


Notice that the first three platforms all have boxes on top. The way to make
it to the fourth platform is to perform a series of drop start techniques,
starting at the location marked as H, which is the garbage bin in the
background at ground level that looks like it's smiling. From the fourth
platform it's pretty simple to make it to the sniper opportunity, marked as
[snipe] on the diagram. The target is a tall grey building with a chunk
missing from its right side on the left edge of the long platform. The final
swing to the door is made by horizontally grabbing the light and doing a
bionic slide that turns into a swing as you fall off the platform.

On to the second area. Unless you're trying to make it to the secret comm
room (described below), this area is very straight forward. Cross the first
gap using the light. The strategically placed barrels force you to use a
drop start to climb up onto the platform. From there, drop into the opening
(yes, there's a light just above, but it's only there to make you go crazy).
Once at ground floor, use the art deco lights to cross the pits. To cross
the third pit you'll have to swing from the final art deco light and use the
ceiling the rest of the way. From here, simply make your way to the top of
the stage, go a little bit to the right, then make your way back down to
ground level. The door is a little to the left.

The third area provides quite a bit more opportunity for explorations, but
I'll only describe the direct path to the boss. You start at ground level
(note the spikes overhead! You'll be swinging above them very soon). Make
your way to the right. Climb up one level, then use the ceilings to make
your way to the left. Climb up a few platforms until you can continue to go
left. Once you hit a wall, climb down a few platforms, go left a little bit,
then go back up.

Once you've reached the ceiling here the comm room is just overhead. Make
your way all the way to the right, then climb up one level and make your way
to the comm room using the ceiling.

After the comm room, go back the way you came by going right, then up a few
more platforms. From here, the door should be in sight. Here's a high-level
diagram of the layout:

 MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM
 M            []    M    [] is door
 M---- MMMMMMMMMM   M     M is wall
 M--   MMMMMMMMMM---M     - is platform
 M                  M
 MMMMMMMMMMMMM-- MMMM

The layout will tempt you to climb up on the right side, but you'll soon
discover that there is no way to climb up to the level of the door. So go
the long way around.

Boss: rocket general
This boss is the leader of the rocket troopers, but, fortunately, he will
only fly up and down. He pops off standard rounds like a hail storm and will
occasionally fire a heat-seeking missile. This boss absolutely slaughtered
me in my every attempt until I discovered my cheap strategy.

Run to the right for introductions, then immediately retreat until the
rocket general is off screen. Climb to the top platform. Up here, your goal
is to be able to hit the rocket general with your bullets while still
keeping him off screen. This should be in the middle of the top platform and
you'll have to use the audio cues to know if you're hitting him. Since he's
off screen, he will not fire his standard rounds at you. He will still fire
missiles, but they should (mostly) fall into your line of fire because
you're on the top platform. This is why I don't recommend the laser for this
stage; its rate of fire is horrible.

I consider this strategy to be very cheap because it takes advantage of the
fact that this is a video game; in other words, a computer program. The
shortcoming of the program is that the rocket general will not fire at you
if he is off screen. But, I also consider the rocket general's AI to be very
cheap; he simply lights you up with his standard rounds. So, I think my
cheap tactics aren't amiss against a cheap boss.

Secret Comm Room:
To open Area 17, return to this level with the yellow communicator, which
you get for beating Area 12. Now you need to find the secret comm room.

Proceed to the second stage of this area. Go ahead and drop down to ground
level; the hall with the art deco lights. The comm room is above this hall.
Make your way across the gaps using the art deco lights until you have to
use the ceiling to keep going right. Instead, climb the ceiling to make
progress to the upper-left. After two or three swings you'll make it to a
platform with a guard on it. Climb up to the next platform with a barrel.
Here's a diagram of the remaining terrain:

   S      S               L    M      S is enemy sniper
 =====  =====  L    L       ===M      L is light
                  @            M      M is wall
 == ==  == ==     MMMMMMMMM    M      = is platform
      @           MM           M      @ is barrel
 MM MMMMMM  MMMMMMMM X @       M     [] is door
 MM         MMMMMMMM====       M      X is a reference point
 MM   [] M  MMMMMMMM      MMMMMM
 MMMMMMMMM      MMMM====  MMMMMM
 [     art deco light hallway  ]

X marks your location on the platform with the barrel. You'll have to use
the ceiling to swing to the right and make a vertical grab for the high
platform. From there, make your way to the left and down into the alcove to
enter the secret comm room.

Like the first secret comm room in Area 4, the game developers tried to have
some fun with the wiretap transmission. Unfortunately, they overplay an
already weak idea, which makes for a spectacularly unfunny moment. It's not
even funny in a bad way. Anyway, once you're done communicating, you can
complete the stage again or quickly exit with select+A+B.


* Area 12

Terrain: city, sewer, base
Enemies: guard, squatter, rat man, alien, ceiling cannon, rocket trooper
Recommended Equipment: particle gun, energy pills, vest, blue communicator
Boss: helicopter
Reward: yellow communicator

At A Glance:
Three main areas and one boss area. One comm room. One care package. One 1-
Up. Progress is as follows:
City: to the right.
Sewer: down to ground floor, then right and upward.
Base: upward in a zigzag pattern using lifts.

Details:
If you're playing as the female commando, this will be your not-so-gentle
introduction to hot air vents and lifts. This stage can be a real challenge
the first couple of times through.

The first area is the city. Make your way right, then use the light on a
horizontal string to cross over to the next building. Take the high road and
use the sequence of three lights to make it to a grey building.

Once you are "inside" the grey building, run off the platform to drop down
one level. Keep going right on this level until you are out of the grey
building. Now there are two small platforms with boxes on top of them. Use
these two platforms and then the light to make it to the purple building. If
you want the care package, make your way to the high platform above the two
box-covered platforms.

Once in front of the purple building, you'll see two lights next to each
other. Perform a drop start from the left light to keep making progress to
the right. From here keep making your way to the right using lights and
platforms to reach the door. There seems to be a high, middle, and low road
here, so if you start high and fall, you should be able to grab something on
the way down and then keep going right.

Welcome to the final sewer (unless you're planning on completing Area 17).
Run to the right and drop off the edge. While falling, face to the left and
grab the ceiling of the third level (the first level being the one you just
fell from). If you don't make the grab, you'll land on spikes. Anyway, make
your way to the left, fall off the edge to the ground level, and go right.

Use the hot air vent to bounce up and use the ceiling to go right. Then use
a bionic slide to prevent the hot air vent in the floor from blowing you up
into the spiked ceiling. From here, use the sequence of two hot air vents
and immediately grab upward to a platform. Use the ceiling to go right and
grab the next platform. From here, face to the right and climb up to the hot
air vent. In mid-air, grab upward to reach the platform and the comm room.

After the comm room, hang from underneath the middle of the platform you
just climbed up. Don't drop down! Hanging from the middle will give you
enough room to perform a drop start to the right. Use the ceiling, then a
hot air vent, then the ceiling to keep going right to the door. Bye bye,
sewers.

Welcome to the Lifts of Insanity (my apologies to The Princess Bride). There
are 12 lifts with platforms strewn between that you'll have to negotiate.
Here's an approximate diagram of the entire area:

    [end up here]
 MMMMMM     MM     M
 MMMMMM     MM     M
 MMMMMM          []M      M is wall
 MMMMMM    4 ---MMMM      = is platform
 MMMMMM     \      M     [] is door
 MMMMMM      \     M   \-/| is lift path
 MMMMMM       \    M      U is 1-Up
 MMMMMM        \   M
 MMMMMM         \  M    1,2,3,4 are reference points
 MMMMMM          \ M
 MMMMMM      =====\M
 M    3            M
 M|MM ------       M
 M|MM   2          M
 M|MM   ====       M
 M|    /           M
 MM=  /    -----===M
 M                 M
 M               / M
 M===---------==/  M
 M                 M
 M--------====\    M
 M   U         \===M
 M   =             M
 M                /M
 M []       1    / M
 MMMMM-------MMM/  M
 MMMMM       MMM   M
  [start down here]

Before I get started, I'd like to reiterate a maneuver explained in Area 9
male, which is the "hang five" technique of getting onto lifts. Position the
commando so that the front foot is hanging off the edge of the platform or
floor and you'll automatically end up on top of a platform when it comes by.

Things get frustrating right from the start at Point 1. The first lift goes
horizontally very fast. The frustration comes in trying to step off of the
lift onto the right hand section of floor. The game play mechanics really
stink here and you have to start running for the platform the split-second
the floor comes into view.

Once going up the diagonal lift, you'll make your way back to the left. The
1-Up sitting on the very small platform can only be reached from above and
collecting it will make you start from the beginning again.

Progress shouldn't be too terribly frustrating until you reach Point 2.
You'll have to actually fall off of the platform and land on the lift. This
proved so difficult for me that I discovered another technique: let the lift
come up and go back down. Then run off the left side of the platform, turn
around in mid-air and grab it, pendulum swing right then back to the left
and fly out to the left. You'll end up on the platform. Most times I won't
even need to use the diagonal lift: I'll make it out so far that I can grab
the chunk of wall to the right of the vertical lift.

It's just a short ride to Point 3, where you'll have to do some mini drop
starts along the ceiling and then drop down to the horizontal lift under
foot. The timing is a bit difficult at first. If you're all the way to the
right edge of the ceiling, drop down as the lift is going left and the right
edge of the lift is under your feet.

Point 4 is a similar situation, except this time the turn-around point for
the lift is directly under foot, so you'll have to drop before the lift is
under your feet. You might have to try this a couple of times.

Boss: helicopter
This battle, while not very similar, reminds me of the awesome missile-
riding stage in Contra III: The Alien Wars. Anyway, run to the right and
climb up onto the helicopter. Make your way to the right until you reach the
door to the cockpit. Keep shooting the door. The hit detection isn't all
that great, but will turn red when you hit it. Defend yourself from the
oncoming waves of rocket troopers. This battle is the reason I don't
recommend using the newly-won pulse cannon: it's rate of fire will leave you
defenseless against all the rocket troopers. Once the cockpit door has taken
enough damage--and it's considerable, around 50 shots--it will flash red and
then open. Go inside to finish the area.


* Area 13

Terrain: desert
Enemies: guard, squatter, sniper, ceiling cannon, incendiary
Recommended Equipment: particle gun, energy pills, vest, yellow communicator
Boss: executioner
Reward: rapid fire device

At A Glance:
Four main areas and one boss area. One comm room. One care package. Progress
is as follows:
First area: to the right at ground level, then up the pharaoh statue.
Second area: down, then left, then up.
Third area: to the right, then down, then right.
Fourth area: to the right.

Details:
It's finally time to rescue Super Joe. This first of the desert stages is
also your introduction to the incendiary trooper. This guy in a red uniform
wields a nasty flame thrower and is incredibly resilient to your attacks. It
takes three shots from the pulse cannon to take him down; two from the flame
thrower. I still recommend the particle gun because of the boss, but feel
free to start with the pulse cannon and switch to the particle gun at the
comm room.

The first area is outside. Make your way right along ground level. The
easiest way to deal with incendiaries is to keep them just off screen and
shoot them (yeah, take advantage of the glitchy programming). Having a
barrel between you and the incendiary also works pretty good, especially
when armed with the pulse cannon since it penetrates barrels. Once you're
all the way to the right of the stage, climb the pharaoh statue. Towards the
top, use the pharaoh's nose to swing across the final gap.

The second area begins with a drop down a four-level shaft. Be prepared to
grab the ceiling to the left and make your way across the spike pit. Once
across the spikes, the area turns into a three-level hallway. Stay in the
middle level until you run into a vertical wall, then drop down to the lower
level. Take out the ceiling cannon, then swing out to catch a high platform
and climb up the rest of the way to the door.

The third area starts with an incendiary almost right on top of you. Get rid
of him quick. I have always taken a hit in this situation. Anyway, the
weird-looking section of floor is a trap door. Run on top of it and grab the
underside of the floor as you fall. Hesitate a bit on the platform here to
get a care package (probably to make up for the mandatory hit from the
incendiary). Climb back up to top level and prepare to drop down the next
trap door. Again, you'll start to fall, but grab the sequence of two
ceilings to the right as you fall.  From here you'll have to use four small
blocks to cross a wide gap to the comm room.

From the comm room, proceed to the right. Drop down through the trap door
and swing from the overhead platforms over the spikes. Once you start seeing
sarcophagi along the walls, it's safe to drop down. Now, you should see a
sarcophagus that is not blinking (second from the left on the bottom level).
This is a secret door that you must take to complete the stage. Press up to
enter the next area.

The final area starts off in a very similar manner to Area 14 of the NES
version; you must use the ascending ceiling to go to the right over a wide
expanse of flames, all the while dealing with three ceiling cannons. There
are horizontal lifts just above the flames but their purpose is to take you
back to the start if you fall. Once across the fire pit you'll have to get
up and over a wall, so zigzag up and then zigzag down again. Then climb up
the platforms to ceiling level.

Here begins one of the most challenging swing sequences in the game. From
the platform, grab the ceiling block to the right and then swing out into
the void. You'll have to catch the ceiling at a lower level. Now begins the
infamous Viper Pit, so named because of the huge snake painting in the
background. The Viper Pit is a sequence of five stalactites and then a short
vertical wall of which you must grab the bottom of. Here's a layout:

           1    2   3 4 5
 MMMMMMM   M    M   M M M  MMMMMMMMMM       M is wall
 MMMMMMM   V    V   M V M  MMMM   []M       V is stalactite tip
 MMMMMMM            V   V  MM    MMMM       = is platform
                           MM==  MMMM      [] is door
 [start]                            M
 MMMMMMM  [the viper pit]           M

This sequence even starts out tough because you must use the ceiling of the
hallway to swing yourself out into this madness. The swing to Stalactite 1
is easy enough. The difficult part is the swing from Stalactite 1 to
Stalactite 2. It's just a long way. Then to get to Stalactite 3, you must
allow yourself to drop into range. The swings between Stalactites 3, 4, and
5 are very quick. Then grab for the underside of the wall and climb up the
platform. From here the door is so very close. Perform a small drop start to
the right, grab directly overhead to the ceiling, then do another small drop
start to reach the door.

Boss: executioner
This guy is fast and can jump to any level within the boss room. Only
Arturus is more agile than the executioner. In general, he will deflect your
shots with his axe, but he must stop running to do so. This is good to know
in case you need a bit of breathing room to climb up a platform. This is the
reason I recommend the particle gun; using the pulse cannon could leave you
defenseless at the moment you need to stop him.

Anyway, the strategy is to obviously stay away from him, but only just out
of reach. After running a bit, the executioner will take a swipe at you.
That axe must be heavy because he has to stop and bend over to catch his
breath afterwards. This is the only time he is vulnerable, so get off as
many rounds as possible. Some may bounce off but a lot should connect. After
a few seconds the executioner will give chase again. Keep up this routine
until you start to run out of room, then climb up a level at the first
opportunity. The executioner will jump up, too. Then repeat the process,
dropping down to ground level when you reach the first gap.

Hooray, Super Joe is saved! Oddly, he congratulates you instead of thanking
you, as if he intentionally got captured and was hanging out behind bars
just to see if you were up to snuff. It must be a weird kind of brotherhood
in the Elite Forces.


* Area 14

Terrain: desert
Enemies: guard, squatter, incendiary, rocket trooper
Recommended Equipment: pulse cannon, energy pills, vest, yellow communicator
Boss: fuel room
Reward: flame thrower

At A Glance:
Three main areas and one boss area. One comm room. One care package.
Progress
is as follows:
First area: to the right at ground level, then up through central path.
Second area: down in a big zigzag, then up in a zigzag, then down and left.
Third area: to the right.

Details:
This mission involves infiltrating the fuel depot. With the exception of
Area 18, I find this area to be the most difficult because of its length and
its rigorous swinging sequences. This stage is definitely easier to handle
with some extra lives on hand. So, if you've suffered through the game with
a glitched cartridge and have arrived here clutching to your last life, I
hope you enjoy maddening, twitch-response challenges in which one mistake
means replaying the entire level. In all seriousness, if you are a casual
gamer just looking to have a bit of fun (like me) I suggest you restart the
game and make your way back to this point with at least four lives in tow.

You start outside and must climb a tower. Go all the way to the right along
the ground. Then, climb up until you reach the two-layer or "stacked"
platform above the incendiary. Take out the incendiary and make your way to
the left under the stacked platform. A short expanse of a single platform is
toward the center of the stage. Climb up and make your way back to the
extreme right for a care package. From here, climb up to reach the sequence
of trampolines. They act exactly like the hot air vents. As you bounce,
reach directly up for the next trampoline. Remember, you will bounce the way
you are facing, not necessarily the way you are going. Rocket troopers will
be flying about to make things interesting. All the way at the top is the
door.

Once inside, go right to the third and final vertical lift and take the
sequence of three lifts to the bottom. From here, work your way to the left
until you reach the skull and crossbones. You task is now to fall off the
ledge, turn around (face right) in mid-air, and swing from the bottom of the
ground you were just standing on. Keep swinging to the right to reach the
comm room.

After the comm room, use the ceiling to take the high road up to a very big
display screen. There are two incendiaries on this level. Work your way to
the right, climb up to the barrel-covered platform, and drop start to the
left and make your way up. On the top level, use the ceiling until you reach
the right hand wall. From here, drop down three platforms. The third will
have a skull and crossbones. Don't fall! Just hang on. Now drop start to the
left and swing from the ceiling until you reach the door.

Now things get tricky. First up is a sequence of three fixtures. You really
have to have some momentum going to make the swing from the second to third
fixture. Start by attaching as far up and left on the first fixture as
possible and swing out to the right. Now, aim for the bottom of the second
fixture in order to have enough swing radius to reach the third fixture.
After the third fixture is a platform. So far, so good.

From this platform is another fixture. When you swing out you'll reach a
wall in mid-air and start to fall. Be prepared to grab the ceiling to the
right. Here's a diagram of the wall because it's a little weird:

 & MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM
 ^ MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM       M is wall
   M MMMMMMMMMMMMMMM       U is attachment point
   U MMMMMMMMMMMMMMM
            MMMMMMMM       &
            MMMMMMMM       ^ is your falling commando
     MMMMMMMMMMMMMMM
     MMMMMMMMMMMMMMM
     M MMMMMMMMMMMMM
     U MMMMMMMMMMMMM
              MMMMMM
              MMMMMM
       MMMMMMMMMMMMM
       MMMMMMMMMMMMM
       M MMMMMMMMMMM
       U MMMMMMMMMMM

          [hallway]
         MMMMMMMMMMM
         MMMMMMMMMMM

You will be approaching this wall in mid-air from the upper left. You must
grab the blue semi-circular shapes (represented by U's in the diagram)
hanging from the wall, which will swing you into a small alcove. Then, drop
from the alcove and repeat it again and again.

After this free-flying experience there is a gradually ascending hallway
filled with troops. There is also a small gap to cross. Use the ceiling and
grab the platform to continue. After this is a bit more hallway. After the
hallway drops a level you'll see an incendiary. Take him out. Just to the
right is another gap. This one is a little tricky, but not very dangerous.
Here's a diagram:

                 [end]
 MMMMM         MM====       M is wall
 MMMMM                      = is platform
 MMMMM          X           X is fixture
 MMMMM         X   X
        X
  [start]
 MMMMM===   ===MMMMM
 MMMMM         MMMMM

Okay, start by swinging out on the fixture. You must grab the next fixture
instead of landing on the platform/ground. Then make your way up to the
platform. If you mess up, you have to start at the beginning on the left
side of the gap. How do you get back across? You have to hang from the right
hand platform and drop start to the left and grab the left hand platform.
Once you've reached the high platform, climb up another platform, and the
door is to the left. You made it!

Boss: fuel room
Like the laser lifts in Area 10, there really is no boss: just get out
alive. Unlike Area 10, the screen will scroll up automatically, just like
those annoying stages in Super Mario Bros 3.  And, there's a lot of tricky
climbing to do with flames licking the soles of your bionic boots. Yeah,
flames. The party starts when you destroy the fuel depot's control panel and
the petrol gets poppin'.  In short, this makes a hard stage even more
difficult.

Here's a diagram of the entire climb:

    [safe]
 ============

    X
        X
     X
   2
 ====

        MMMMM

        =====

    X
        X
    X               M is wall
        X           = is platform
    X               X is fixture
        X           ^ is spike
    1             ~~~ is trap door
 ====     ^^      1,2 are reference points
        ^^MM
        MMMM

 ^^^^
 MMMM

 ====

       =====

 MMMM

 MMMM~~~====

 MMMMM======

  [start]
 MMMMM~~~MMM

Yeah, it's a long climb. Most of the ascent will put your drop start
technique to task. Things usually go relatively smoothly until Point 1.
These fixtures are really close together but are situated just so a drop
start cannot get things started. Instead, attach to the lowest fixture at an
angle and press right to start a pendulum swing. But, once the right side of
the swing is reached, press A to start reeling in the arm. Swing out by
holding left, then turn mid-air to the right just in time to grab the second
fixture. From there the swing radius is sufficiently short for the rest of
the climb. This is pretty difficult. Most times I get a lucky bounce off of
the flames and am able to pull myself up without taking heaps of punishment.

From here it's one more drop start then three final fixtures. If you haven't
had to use the energy pills yet then you're pretty much home free. Attach to
the lowest fixture from the left side. Start the swing by pressing A (the
short swing technique) and swing out the to right for the next fixture. Grab
for the third fixture on the way back to the left and the final platform
should come into view. You're done!


* Area 15

Terrain: desert
Enemies: guard, squatter, incendiary, ceiling cannon,
Recommended Equipment: flame thrower, energy pills, vest, yellow
communicator
Boss: omega platoon
Reward: body armor

At A Glance:
Two main areas and the boss room. One comm room. One Med Kit. Progress is
as follows:
Outside: up in a right, left manner.
Inside: to the right, but the door is in the middle of the area.

Details:
I find this area to be much easier than its predecessor because the terrain
is less demanding and the boss is a cake walk.

When you land, take out the two incendiaries. Two pops from the flame
thrower will level them. Now, notice the three rectangles on the columns
that get progressively higher as you go from right to left. You're supposed
to climb all of these to get up to a sniper nest, but, being a casual gamer,
I only use the first two. Here's how: attach the bionic arm to the lowest
rectangle from the left side, not the right. Notice that you can attach on
the side of the rectangle. Get the hook as high as it will go. Now, pendulum
swing from right to left and grab the second rectangle high. From here you
should be able to skip the third rectangle entirely and simply grab upward
for the sniper nest.

From the sniper nest, go right and drop off the ledge. Take out the
incendiary and start taking the high road. After climbing up a few platforms
you'll notice a Med Kit sitting on some barrels. Grab it with the bionic
arm and continue to the right, and then up. Now there is a sequence of
platforms leading to the left. All of them have barrels on them to some
degree. Some are completely covered and some only have one or two. Anyway,
swing from the bottom of these platforms until you reach the door.

Once inside, drop off the right hand side of the platform and grab the small
fixture to the right on the way down. Swing out right for another fixture
and then a platform. If you mess up, you should be able to make your way
back to the left hand wall and up to the door again.

From the platform, swing right on two more fixtures and then on the ceiling.
You'll reach an elevator. Go up on level and run to the left for the comm
room.

After the comm room, run left, get back on the elevator and go up one level
to the top. Go to the right and drop off the ledge. Keep going right and
you'll reach a spot that looks like this:


 MMMM
 MMMM====     =====     M is wall
                        = is platform
      &
      ^    MM           &
 MMMMMMMMMMMM======     ^ is your commando

Your goal is to get across the small lip at the edge and hang under the
platform just beyond. Using the above platforms should do the trick. Now
that your hanging from the platform, perform a drop start to the left and
keep swinging from the ceiling until you reach the door.

Boss: omega platoon
The strategy is exactly the same as for the alpha platoon of Area 2, except
the core's rate of fire is very fast.


* Area 16 (secret)

Terrain: jungle
Enemies: none
Recommended Equipment: doesn't matter in the slightest
Boss: none
Reward: promotion

At A Glance:
One main area. Progress is up and right along fixtures.

Details:
Time to sharpen up your Tarzan skills. Once past the initial swing fest, the
ol' obstacle course is a safe place to have a bit of fun.

First up is a sequence of eight fixtures that cross a river. If you fall,
you die. The fixtures are very lenient since you can grab their sides and
their bottoms. It's even possible to overshoot a fixture but catch it on the
recoil.  Here's the sequence:


                @                                 safe!
           @         @     @     x                =====
      @                                x     @

 start      @, x are fixtures
 =====      = is platform

The sixth and seventh fixtures (marked by x instead of @) are not located
exactly as depicted, due to the limits of ASCII art.  The first x is
slightly higher than the fixture, and the second x is slightly lower. In
all, the progression of the last half of the sequence is a slightly
descending.

The most dangerous bit is done.  Now, work your way up a couple of
platforms. To the right is another gap with only two fixtures, then a
platform. After this, make your way to the left along the ascending ceiling
and climb up the platform.

Finally, you're completely safe. Just one more daring sequence. Up here are
seven feline pillars, each supporting a bit of ground (well, it's a green
block) that become progressively higher as they go right. The blocks aren't
as forgiving as the previous fixtures because you can only grab the bottoms.
Get a start on the first block in the middle and keep swinging and grabbing
until you make it to the platform above the head statue. On the platform is
your promotion and the way out.

This area serves as a decent preview of the type of maneuvers necessary to
complete the later areas of the game. If you thought this was a simple walk
in the woods, just wait a bit. You'll get some better challenges in Areas
14, 15, and 18.


* Area 17 (secret)

Terrain: sewer
Enemies: rat man, alien
Recommended Equipment: best gun, energy pills, best armor, comm not needed
Boss: none
Reward: promotion

At A Glance:
One main area. Progress is so topsy-turvy that I made a very high-level map:

 MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM
 MMMMM   2         3 M   5 M    M is wall, flames, pits, etc.
 MMMMM  MMMMMMMMMMM  M  M  M  [s] is starting door.
 MMMMM  MMMMMMMMMMM  M  M  M  [e] is ending door.
 MMMMM  MMMMMM       M  M  M  1,2,3... are reference points.
 MMMMM  MMMMMM MMMMMMM  M  M
 M[s] 1 MMMMMM 4        M  M
 MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM  M
 MMMMMMMMMMMM[e]           M
 MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM[  pit  ]M


Details:
The main challenges of this stage are negotiating the plentiful hot air
vents and taking out the enemies in close quarters.

Point 1: From the door, use the two hot air vents to go right and grab for
the overhang.  From here, grab the double hot air vent and start making your
way up the hot air vent shaft. Here's a diagram:

 MMMMMMMMMMM
 M
 M===MMMMMMM
 M         M
 M       V M    M is wall
 M V   V   M    V is hot air vent
 M   V     M    = is platform
 M V   V   M    ^ is flame
 M   V     M
 M     V   M
 M   V     M
 M         M
 M         M
 M     V   M
 M         M
 M         M
 M   VV    M
           M
           M
 ^^^^^^^^^^M
 MMMMMMMMMMM

From the double vent, climb up the next, and then the one after that. From
here, you should be able to simply bounce, bounce, bounce your way up.

Point 2: Once you reach the platform, an alien will attack immediately. I
get hit about half the time. Keep going right and climb up the platform
with the rat man on top. Then use the overhang to swing out to the right to
land on a descending floor with sludge coming out on it. Fall off the right
edge of this floor and catch the small platform to the right. Swing to the
right to land on the floor. From here, cross the small flame pit using the
two hot air vents.

Point 3: From here you'll have to drop down two levels while fighting off
rat men in very tight quarters. Then run to the left while taking out the
alien. Then drop down one level and take out the rat man. Under this
platform is a double hot air vent. Be sure to use your bionic eye to see
where you need to drop. Face right before dropping down onto the hot air
vents.

Point 4:

From the double hot air vent, make your way to the right along the ceiling.
Soon you'll come a hot air vent in another vertical shaft:

 MMMMMMMMMMM
 M
 M=========M
 M         M
 M         M
 M   V     M    M is wall
 M         M    = is platform
 M         M    ^ is flame
 M      V  M    V is hot air vent
 M         M
 M         M
 M   V     M
           M
           M
           M
 ^^^^^^^^^^M
 MMMMMMMMMMM

After bouncing from a hot air vent, you'll have to make a vertical grab for
the next. Climb to the platform and go right.

Point 5: Time to go back down:

 MMMMMMMMM
         M
  M======M
  M      M
  M======M    M is wall
  M o    M    = is platform
  M===   M    o is sludge pipe
  M    o M
  M   ===M
  M o    M
  M===   M
  M    o M
  M   ===M
  M o    M
  M===   M
  M    o M
 MM   ===M
         M
         M
 [ pit ] M


At the bottom of the shaft is a bottomless pit, so be sure to make your way
to the left along the descending ceiling once you get to the bottom. Keep
going right and you'll see the floor and an alien. Just beyond is the
promotion and the exit door.


* Area 18

Terrain: albatross
Enemies: guard, squatter, rocket trooper
Recommended Equipment: flame thrower, energy pills, body armor, any comm.
Boss: arturus
Reward: end credits

At A Glance:
Four main areas. One care package. Progress is as follows:
First area: to the upper right.
Second area: from upper right to lower left in big zigzag.
Third area: down in right, left, right; then right, up, and left.
Fourth area: right, then up.

Details:
Welcome to the Albatross. Like the NES version, the final stage has a
curious lack of enemies: there's only a few. Unlike the classic, the
Albatross is huge and you will have to make your way through it. This stage
is the ultimate obstacle course and, in my opinion, is much more difficult
than anything in the NES version. But, with some know-how and a little
practice (and a couple extra lives for good measure), it can be done. Also,
please note that there is no comm room and therefore no way to save your
game halfway through the area.

You land on top of the Albatross and must find a way inside. Run to the
right and slowly make your way across the series of eight rocket boosters in
the floor. The burn will last for a few seconds, then shift to the next
booster. There will always be a gap of three boosters that will not be
firing. Now climb up the platform and continue to the right. Make your way
across the gap using the sequence of three blue lights. They are all the
same height. Now you must make a short climb using small fixtures and tiny
platforms. Here's a diagram:

        [end]
        ====MM
            MM
          ==MM      M is wall
     X      MM      = is platform
            MM      X is fixture
 ==         MM
       X    MM
            MM
          ==MM
 [start]    MM
 MMMMMMMMMMMMM

There are also sparks running along set paths, so avoid them.  After this
small climb, run to the right to find another climb of five fixtures. A care
package (usually a Super Capsule) will drop when you are still on the ground
floor. Here's a diagram:

              [end]
        ===========

    X           MMMMM
       ?        MMMMM       M is wall
           X    MMMMM       = is platform
                MMMMM       X is fixture
    X           MMMMM       ? is reference point
                MMMMM
           X    MMMMM
                MMMMM
    X           MMMMM
                MMMMM
           X    MMMMM
                MMMMM
    X           MMMMM
                MMMMM
 [start]        MMMMM
 MMMMMMM        MMMMM

On the way up, a rocket trooper will most likely drop down at Point ?. The
smooth way to handle this is to proceed as normal, shoot him in mid-air, and
then make the grab for the fifth fixture. You must be very quick to pull
this off.  Once you finish this climb, run to the right and negotiate the
sequence of five rocket boosters. Then there is a small sequence of three
rocket boosters with the door just overhead.

Now you're inside the Albatross. Make your way to the left until you reach a
trap door. From here you can take the high road or the low road. To take the
high road, swing over the trap door and continue to make your way left
(highly recommended). The low road is thrust upon you if you fall through
the trap door. Down here you'll have to make a difficult swing to the left
on a sequence of four fixtures.

If you took the high road, you'll come across a series of hot air vents
along the floor and ceiling, except they're not! They are actually rocket
boosters, as you'll quickly discover. Anyway, keep going left, then drop
down the platforms until you reach a strange hallway full of reactors or
diodes. It looks like the hall is filled with yellow Christmas trees. Make
your way to the right and take out the solitary guard. At this point the
high and low roads reach the same point.  Fall off the right edge of the
platform and immediately grab for the lower platform to the right. Climb up.
From here you must swing from a sequence of four red lights.  They are all
the same height. After the fourth red light, drop down a few platforms to
the floor, then make your way to the left. Run off the left edge of the
platform to land on a lower, longer platform. From here you must swing from
a sequence of three fixtures then continue along the ceiling. The fixtures
are easy to see because all three of them are at the center of some sort of
turbine or gear. Anyway, it looks like a big grey-and-black sunflower.
Again, after the third fixture, you must travel along the ceiling. This
transition throws me off quite often. Follow the ceiling to the door.

Now it's on to the third area. Here's a diagram of the start:

 MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM
 M                   M    M is wall
 M[]  ^^^^^^^^^^^^^  M    = is platform
 MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM  M   [] is door
 MvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvMM  M  ^,v are spikes
 M               MM  M    - is lift path
 M               ?   M    ? is reference point
 M===MMMMM------ ==MMM
 M   MMMMM^^^^^^^^^MMM
 M===MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM
 M   MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM

Make you're way right across the spikes using the ceiling. Now you'll reach
Point ? in the diagram. Note that the horizontal lift doesn't make it all
the way to the right. In other words, you must swing out and land on it.
There is a sure-fire way to stick the landing. Position your commando as
such:

      MMM   M
       /    M
      &     M
      ^     M
 --   ===MMMM
 ^^^^^^^^MMMM

Your commando will be facing to the right (away from the lift) and the
bionic arm will be attached to the overhang. You'll have to slightly "hang
five" off of the platform to do this. Being positioned this way allows you
to see the lift. Now, wait for the lift to appear into view, then disappear
off to the left again. Once it disappears, start a double pendulum swing and
then swing out to the left. You should land on the lift as it approaches. In
other words, once the lift goes out of view, start the swing and go right,
swing left, swing right, then swing left and out to the lift. The first
pendulum swing serves as an easy way to eat a bit of time.

Once on the lift, get off on the left ground, go left, then drop down the
three platforms. Run to the right, take out the guard, and fall off the
right edge of the platform to reach a lower, longer platform. Take the
diagonal lift and grab the overhang at the top. Now, this is tricky. You
have to reel in the bionic arm to a dead stop. Then, drop start to the right
and get ready to grab a fixture on the way down. Make your way right using
two more fixtures and then grab the platform. Climb up to the ceiling and
make your way to the left along it. However, progress will be very slow and
meticulous because there is a sequence of six rocket boosters in the
ceiling, and then another sequence of four. You will have to make a series
of very short drop starts to get to the door. Yes, this is difficult, but at
least the ceiling is level (for now).

Once you reach the door you're back outside and underneath the Albatross.
Aside from the small stretch for the door, there is no ground whatsoever in
this part of the area. You'll have to deal with a ceiling of varying height
and rocket boosters. Here's a complete diagram of the area:

 MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM
 MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM^M^M^M^M^M^MMMMMM[]  MM
 M       MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM^^^MM  ! ! ! ! ! !    MM==  MM
 M[]       MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM  !!!                   MM    MM
 MMMMM       MMM^M^M^M^M^M^MMM             [----2----]    MM==  MM
 MMMMM          ! ! ! ! ! !          1
 [start]                                                    [end]

          ^
          ! is rocket booster
            (note: they are not all on at the same time)
          M is wall
          = is platform
         [] is door
 1, [--2--] are reference areas

This area is very slow going. Use drop starts every step of the way to make
progress to the right. The first six rocket boosters follow the normal
sequence: one burns for a few seconds, then the next one fires up, leaving
three clear boosters between the flames. The three boosters at Point 1
follow this pattern too, except they are all off when the non-existent
"fourth" booster is supposed to be firing.  The final six boosters at Point
2 behave slightly differently. Two boosters will fire at the same time, then
the next two, then the next two. Here's a diagram of the sequence:

 M^M^M^M^M^M^M --> M^M^M^M^M^M^M --> M^M^M^M^M^M^M --> repeat
  ! !                   ! !                   ! !

Once you make it through all this, you'll have to let yourself drop and
catch the underside of the wall. Climb up to the door and prepare for a
tough boss battle.

Boss: arturus
Super agile and quick, Arturus runs the show for a reason. He has two forms.
Arturus will harness the power of the Albatross and transform into an
invincible green monster. The other form is his normal human form, double
Uzis and all. He can jump to any level and can fire his Uzis at you at 45
degree angles as well as horizontally.

After Arturus' explain-all-before-the-big-fight monologue, he will transform
into the angry green giant. The giant doesn't shoot anything; he'll just try
to run into you. Avoid him but try to stay near a wall. After a while he
will turn back into the human Arturus. The best thing to do is to duck into
a corner and keep shooting him while taking his punishment. One more cycle
of giant/human should be enough for you to take him down.



Chapter 10: Credits
-------------------


Title ASCII art based on a concept by Christopher Johnson.
www.chris.com/ascii

This guide copyright 2004 Ted J Schrader

Only gamefaqs.com has been authorised to host this document. This may be not
be reproduced under any circumstances except for personal, private use. It
may not be placed on any web site or otherwise distributed publicly without
advance written permission. Use of this guide on any other web site or as a
part of any public display is strictly prohibited and a violation of
copyright.



Chapter 11: Colophon
--------------------


This document was created using Microsoft Word 97 per the suggestions of the
Composing Guide found on gamefaqs.com, except that the horizontal width is a
maximum of 78 characters instead of 79. I did this so the guide is displayed
in Notepad on my ancient Windows 95 machine without an annoying horizontal
scrollbar. I wrote a simple QBasic program to remove trailing spaces from
the end of lines (this seems to save around 1Kb per 80Kb).

Colophon Credits:
Thanks to www.qbasic.com for some helpful tips.



Chapter 12: Version History
---------------------------


1.0	30 MAY 2004

Initial full walkthrough.

1.1 6   AUG 2005

Added glitch workaround (thanks to RollingSkull).
Corrected various typos.

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